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Viewpoint: Moving Magpies and an open letter to Nationwide

Featuring discussion on Maidenhead United's proposed move to Braywick Park, coronavirus and Nationwide's decision to close a village branch. Scroll down for all of this week's letters.

Rugby club right not to welcome Magpies move

Maidenhead Rugby Club are right to object to Maidenhead United Football Club moving to the running track at Braywick with an expensive new stadium, and fully professional football.

At a time when professional football clubs in the lower leagues are finding it hard to find a viable way forward, why on earth do Maidenhead United want to go fully professional?

It’s an absurdity.

It’s interesting that Peter Griffin expects that he will have to reduce his financial input into Maidenhead United in the foreseeable future.

I have had to take the same decision with cricket. I expect that many others will make the same choice partly because they will see essential charities (in my case, TVAP and Thames Hospice) struggle for funds and more worthy of the limited support now available, than young people playing sport, which I and my friends did simply for the pleasure of it and the craic afterwards.

Maidenhead United should follow the example of Holyport FC and operate prudently and stop having grandiose and unrealistic ambitions to the detriment of the Rugby Club.

Maidenhead Rugby Club has added immeasurably to the lives of tens of thousands of children, over the years, teaching them how to play rugby and also to grow up to be civilised human beings.

The rugby club can't provide that service to the community without ample rugby pitches to play on near to their clubhouse.

I am sure that RBWM council members will support that view and refuse the proposal which is likely to become a white elephant in the not too distant future.

PETER PRIOR

Chairman

Summerleaze Ltd


Football club move an environmental mistake

I read with concern your article in this week’s paper about the planned Maidenhead United move to Braywick Park.

This move would create another significant erosion of greenspace in our town, which is detrimental to the environment and the health of our residents.

I agree with Steve Bough, chairman of the rugby club, that it’s not just about the loss of the rugby pitches, it’s also about the loss of space in Braywick Park which is used by many people for sport, recreation and dog walking.

Our nation faces a mental health crisis, with one in five people now suffering from depression according to a recent report from the Office for National Statistics.

Many studies have shown that access to local green space is extremely important for people’s mental health and wellbeing.

It’s also important in the fight against the effects of climate change, as our council itself recognises in its own Environment & Climate Strategy, in which a key objective is to ‘protect and enhance our natural environment, green our towns and urban areas and increase awareness of biodiversity’.

A significant area of green space in Braywick has already been lost to the development of the leisure centre, with its enormous car park, and the new Forest School.

And our council is determined to build on the greenbelt land of the golf course which would remove a massive area of green space in our town.

When will our council realise that local people value their green space, that our growing population wants access to more of it not less, and that the continued erosion of it will have long term damaging consequences for our lives?

When will it start actively protecting every inch of green space, connecting areas together with traffic free footpaths and cycle paths, and planting more trees to help with cooling, oxygenating and filtering pollution in the years to come?

TINA QUADRINO

Maidenhead resident and member of the group campaigning to Create Maidenhead Great Park


42,000 deaths, 505,000 COVID cases and chaos

In response to Pamela Smith (Viewpoint, October 1): please feel free to suggest a more effective (and quieter!) way than a loudhailer to gently remind people to follow COVID guidelines.

It is incorrect to call press conferences and news stories ‘public information’.

They are neither neutral nor purely educational or instructional.

It is also incorrect to accuse the Green Party of hindsight and of not offering solutions.

The Green Party, on April 21, nearly six months ago, proposed a ‘Community Shield’ solution (coronavirus.greenparty.org.uk).

It proposes a ‘network of locally-based community protection schemes’ with experts who know the local lie of the land.

This showed foresight, not hindsight, and predicted the current mess.

There is increasing criticism of Mr Johnson and his government because of their disastrous performance. People cannot stay silent while he wrecks our country.

Comparing Mr Johnson’s performance with others:

Taiwan is an island just off the coast of a large continent, a democracy of 23 million people: it is mainly back to normal except for a few measures (public transport face covering and 14-day quarantine on entry to the country for most). Schools, shops, offices and bars are all open. There is no social distancing. They’ve had seven deaths and 517 cases (at time of writing).

Their country is well-run and learned the lessons from the SARS outbreak in 2003.

We’ve had 42,000 deaths, 505,000 cases and chaos.

We have a choice: follow Mr Johnson further along the road to ruin or follow the Green Party approach, or similar, and get our society back towards normality.

CRAIG McDERMOTT

Secretary

East Berkshire Green Party


Nationwide must reconsider closing

An open letter to Nationwide Building Society:

I am a long-time member of the Nationwide Building Society and have investments with your Burnham branch.

It is insensitive for your board of directors to close the branch during this period.

They must be aware that the Government are discouraging people from using public transport while coronavirus is still prevalent within the community.

If the branch closes how are those who are elderly, disabled or do not drive going to access one of your other branches in Maidenhead, Slough or Marlow.

Nationwide Building Society carried out an extensive advertising campaign over a year ago and placed adverts in the majority of the national and regional newspapers guaranteeing that they would not close a single branch for a period of two years.

Clearly a PR stunt .

With so many banks closing their branches, citing the lack of footfall and persuading customers to go online, Nationwide Building Society represented a beacon of hope to those who do not use online banking and, more importantly, a company that still believed in community branches.

I would further add that Burnham village is an expanding commuter town with a number of developments in progress both in the high street and within a mile radius.

Churchill’s are building a substantial retirement complex which is nearing completion for over 55s just off the High Street.

Nationwide owns the freehold of their Burnham branch so you are not beholden upon a landlord.

Queues form outside the branch office most days. If the branch closes, you are adding the problem on to another branch.

I want to reiterate the fact that Nationwide publicly announced that no branch office will close for two years.

No ifs, no buts.

On behalf of the community of Burnham, and in the context that the village has no other bank or building society, I ask that Nationwide Building Society reconsiders its current policy of closing the Burnham branch whose staff have served their customers with courtesy and professionalism, representing your building society with great dedication and loyalty.

PAUL SHERIFF

Past Chairman

Burnham High Street Association


EU is well known to bend its own treaties

Ted Goodhew worries that trust in the UK could be undermined if Parliament authorises the violation of a treaty (Viewpoint, October 1).

That is certainly a risk, although I see the Norwegians still trust us enough to conclude an agreement on fisheries.

After all we would only be violating a treaty with the EU, which is well known to bend and break its own treaties.

Not just with the illegal eurozone bailouts, as widely highlighted – ‘We violated all the rules’, the French economy minister Christine Lagarde admitted – but on other occasions, including a period of two years during which the EU Parliament was unlawfully constituted.

It is also noticeable that some politicians who have been vociferous in their condemnation of the Internal Market Bill were around at times when the EU was brazenly breaking its treaties, but they said nothing about those breaches of both international and domestic law.

Not just international law, because as Lord Denning observed in a 1974 court case ‘Parliament has decreed that the Treaty is henceforward to be part of our law’, and so UK ministers who were complicit in breaches of the EU treaties were also breaking domestic law.

Finally, while I am no fan of Boris Johnson it has to be recognised that he has been faced with the task of getting us out of the mess bequeathed to him by his predecessor, and given his character it is perhaps not surprising that he is prepared to fight fire with fire.

Which predecessor also seems to have forgotten that her own barmy Chequers proposal involved the UK signing up to a ‘common rulebook’ through a new treaty with the EU, but with Parliament reserving the unilateral power to ignore EU rules it did not like.

Dr D R COOPER

Belmont Park Avenue

Maidenhead


‘Congrats Boris, you’ve just played a blinder’

No wonder Michel Barnier is lifting hopes of a Brexit deal. It hasn’t got anything to do with the fact that MPs just passed the UK Internal Market Bill that our treacherous MP bitterly opposed by any chance?

This simply underlines how the EU works.

Send an appeasement envoy like Theresa May and she raises the white flag of surrender by giving the EU everything they could have wished for.

Yet elect Boris Johnson and pass a bill that puts Britain in control and all of a sudden when the EU know the writing is on the wall the little creeps all of a sudden want to play ball.

Thank you so much Boris Johnson because you have just played a blinder.

GEOFFREY BROOKING

Bridge Avenue

Maidenhead

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