I’ll avoid town car parks in future

One really does wonder about the intelligence of borough councillors.

Yesterday we fought our way in to Basingstoke through some of the worst road conditions ever. Road works all the way, a nightmare. One would assume you need the councils permission to re tarmac a stretch of roadway to include a major roundabout or to dig a deep trench as part of a major drainage scheme and space these operations apart, not all on the same day.

But we decided to park at the top of town and this beggars belief. How many of the struggling business owners were consulted on the new parking charges.

I would have thought the Basingstoke Borough Council have a duty to encourage people in to the town – not with this latest fiasco of adding ten pence to every hourly pound, worse still, charging now for the free hour. Had it not been for a kindly young lady who was able to ‘give’ me a ten pence piece, the machines don’t take ‘fives,’ my time in town would have come to an end. I will avoid a return.

Graeme Hewitt, Oakley.

Council has gone quiet on climate

We have not heard much lately, about BDBC’s Climate Emergency, and its plan to make the Borough carbon neutral by 2030. I suspect they have realised, how hard this boast, is going to be to achieve. What are they doing to, in the one area, they can make a difference, Planning? With all the developments planned, including Manydown, shouldn’t BDBC be offering inducements to Developers to fit energy producing equipment. This initiative should come from the Government, but as Boris believes every home can be powered by wind power, I don’t think we should expect too much. The Government, is also banning the installation of fossil fuel boilers in new builds after 2025.

New homes should be fitted with solar panels and water heating. You can now even get roof tiles, that produce electricity. There are also air and ground source heat pumps. How many of the homes on Manydown or other developments will have any of these features? Very few, if any, I would suspect, perhaps some developers can prove me wrong. If BDBC, is as passionate as it claims, about Climate Change, it could offer reduced Planning costs for fitting energy producing devices. But if it has to choose between making a difference and making money, I think we all know what BDBC will do.

David White, Coates Close, Basingstoke.

Challenging non-mask users

I think the lady who challenged Mr Penfold for not wearing a mask was very brave. I only wish I had the nerve to do the same. I am in the same sort of age bracket to this man but always wear a mask. I find them hot, uncomfortable and downright annoying.

I can’t see properly as they ride up and at times I have almost passed out wearing one. To say it’s not anybody’s business is nonsense. This virus does not discriminate between us and can be a killer. Therefore it’s everybody’s business.

As it stands, anybody can just stop wearing a mask and say they are exempt without having to prove it. This is serious and genuine exempt folk should carry a card signed by their GP.

H Reed, Basingstoke.

New hospital good in theory

New hospital for Basingstoke, it has a nice ring to it doesn’t it? But let’s just think about it for a moment. When it comes right down to it, what is it you want from your NHS? You want to be looked after when you are ill, or you have an accident. Illness comes in many forms, and cannot be lumped into one category. So obviously it might be a good idea to have places where very serious illnesses can be treated, a sort of concentration of highly skilled professionals.

Let’s say a accident and emergency centre, or a centre specialising in heart problems, or one for cancer, another for maternity. But the point is they don’t all have to be on the same site.

Another thing to think about is bringing relatively minor medical treatments out of the hospital and into the community. The idea being that minor treatment or surgery is done at your local surgery. Now this means modification or even extensions might be required at primary care surgeries (the doctors), but it would be to the advantage of the local communities concerned.

So it might be the case that a new hospital is built, but it might be rather smaller than the existing one. But your money will be used to provide the services you need, and that may mean the new hospital, plus the modification of the old one, or even demolishing some of the old one and building a new structure that might be a maternity unit, or a cancer treatment centre.

The point I struggle to make is don’t expect another multi-storey giant block of a hospital, it may be a much smaller one, but there will also be much work to do on the old hospital site, so that you the patients continue to get world class health care from your NHS.

Now I’ve said all this because I have attended meetings of the North Hants Clinical Commissioning Group’s Communication, Education and Information Forum, as a Community Ambassador and as chair of the Camrose, Gillies and Hackwood Partnership Patients Participation Group. What I have said is not etched in stone, but it is my comprehension of what was said at the said meetings.

Brian Simmonds, Belmont Heights, Hatch Warren.

Brewdog welcome addition to town

It’s fantastic news to hear a new bar is coming to Basingstoke, especially an up-and-coming chain like Brewdog. At a time where the other towns are struggling it is a good sign of our local economy that businesses are willing to set up shop here in our town.

Plus it’s nice to know there will be a bar we can go to when the inevitable second lockdown is lifted.

James Bryan, Old Basing, Basingstoke.

Responding to Keir Starmer’s two-week lockdown proposal

I’ll agree to another lockdown if Serco give back the £12bn they took from the public and gave us an Excel Spreadsheet and sod all else.

Then we’ll have the money to compensate people and business during another lockdown! The money is there to make it work, it’s just in the hands of the Tories and their mates.

Marcus Amillian via online Basingstoke.

I’ve said all along, more people will die from the economy shrinking than from the virus.

At the end of the furlough at the end of October, unemployment will hit the roof. Tax payers will be Tax receivers. The NHS is funded by Tax receipts. Poverty will increase. So the economy is essential to health. That’s the challenge!

Steve Rebbettes via online, Basingstoke.

Two weeks won’t do nothing. Needs to be at least six full lock down. I don’t know why we all bother. I

feel pity for anyone who has it, or has lost someone close to them through it, I really do.

But I don’t think we’ll ever see the end of it. So we should just get on with our lives.

David Marsh via online, Basingstoke.

Reaction to The Mole development

As a kid living and grow up just yards away from the mole and then spending a lot of money there in my later years I loved it there but like the saying goes use it or lose it

Steve Stratton via online Basingstoke.

The problem is, if the locals don’t support it by using it, then who will?

It was a nice place but out of the way to easily be accessible unless you drive there, which then limits how much you can drink, with in turn limits your spending. A shame, but it’s not a surprise unfortunately.

Rich JB via online, Basingstoke.

My mum lives up the road from the pub, I have been in there many times for food or just a beer or two.

I’ve never known it to be very busy which is a shame. I guess turning into a house was probably inevitable.

Kim Gregory via online, Basingstoke.

It was saved last time by locals who said they needed a pub then it closed as no one used it.

I love pubs but dong use it lose it.

Sam Pitman via online, Basingstoke.

My friend, Enid Byatt, will be spinning in her grave.

Pattie Penny via online, Basingstoke.

New helpline for families

The arrival of autumn has been a difficult time for children and families with the impact of Covid-19 once again affecting all of our lives with new social restrictions and increased uncertainty. At Barnardo’s we know that families in Black, Asian, and minority ethnic communities have been hit hardest by the virus.

Official statistics show Black people are four times more likely to die of the virus compared to white people, while the pandemic and recession are worsening existing inequalities. As a result, children in Black and Asian communities are suffering bereavement, mental health problems and fear for the future - yet many remain hidden from essential support services and have often been left to suffer in silence.

They urgently need support to deal with a complex and unique range of issues which is why Barnardo’s in partnership with the National Emergencies Trust, and with the support of the Covid-19 Support Fund established by the insurance and long-term savings industry, has launched the UK’s first specialist helpline of its kind for Black, Asian and minority ethnic children and families impacted by the pandemic.

Barnardo’s is proud to be at the forefront of responding to the challenges faced by vulnerable children and young people.

Black, Asian and other minority ethnic families can call our helpline for specialist support on 0800 151 2605 or visit https://helpline.barnardos.org.uk to access the live webchat and resources.

In these uniquely challenging times, we are also working in partnership with government, business and other charities through our wider See, Hear, Respond service to support those who need us most. Children, young people, parents and carers can call the support line on 08001 577015 to request help.

Emma Bowman, Barnardo’s