Come on council, be a team player

Dear Editor,

In answer to Cllr Ken Rhatigan saying that he thinks the Camrose is too small for their ambition, I have emailed him and other councillors. The Gazette and the Basingstoke public should be aware of the following:

The Camrose ground is actually bigger than Crawley’s League 2 ground. The Camrose is 26,359 sq metres to Crawley’s 25,284 sq metres. Crawley Town FC, a football league division 2 club, used to compete season after season against Basingstoke in the same Southern League and our Camrose.

Yet we have a councillor spreading rubbish about the size of The Camrose.

The Camrose football ground, owned by Basron and Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council

The Camrose football ground, owned by Basron and Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council

This means that The Camrose is 1,075 sq metres (over a quarter of an acre) enough space to build a substantial clubhouse and academy complex and therefore the Camrose site is superior of League 2 Crawley Town FC.

The Camrose is the right location for the club to be in. By the way, Crawley’s Broadfield Stadium is council-owned and has a capacity of 6,134, very close to the capacity that The Camrose used to have and yet they are in the football league. Good job Cllr Ken Rhatigan is not a councillor in Crawley.

Come on, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council - you can be a major team player here!

I also recently pointed out to Cllr Simon Bound that, given his repeated past statements that the Camrose was the best place for Basingstoke Town Football Club. There was now an opportunity to make that happen. He referred me without comment to my ward Cllr Rebecca Bean as portfolio holder. Now that the council leader, Cllr Rhatigan has said the best place for the football club is South Manydown, I await with interest what she will say. Probably anywhere but helping to save the Camrose.

Steve Frangou, Basingstoke.

Manydown is a ‘political football’

Dear Editor,

It’s disappointing to read council leader Cllr Ken Rhatigan’s negative response to the future of The Camrose as the home of Basingstoke Town Community Football Club (BTFC).

South Manydown is not the place to put the home of a football club for a town the size of Basingstoke. South Manydown could well be the place to put a training ground and a second or third pitch, but not the main stadium. The main stadium needs to be at the Camrose. The place Lord Camrose wanted it to be when he gave the land under covenant to BTFC. Before it was taken away from the club and its supporters in 2017.

The Camrose is surrounded by South Ham, the Berg estate and Brighton Hill and is close to Kempshot and Beggarwood the heartlands of the Club’s support. To suggest it moves to Manydown which has been a “political football”and a major cause of development embarrassment to the borough council for the best part of 25 years is a crazy idea.

For one, just think about all of the extra car parking that would be needed and the subsequent air pollution when the supporters drive there and the protests from the new residents who would argue the value of their property.

Steve Partridge, Basingstoke.

Council - honesty is the best policy

Dear Editor,

Basingstoke and Deane has declared a climate emergency and have a climate policy which aims to make the Borough carbon neutral by 2025. This is nothing more than wishful thinking.

Environmental groups are urging the Government to take the opportunity provided by Covid to change economic direction away from business-as-usual towards an environmentally led policy. Unfortunately, all the talk is of “getting back to normal”. Make no mistake, this means continuing economic growth - the very thing that has led to the climate emergency.

This continuing agenda will increase consumption and waste. It will also reduce green space and biodiversity, add more people, houses, traffic, concrete and tarmac, and add to the strain on the already water-stressed south. The list goes on. How on earth does any of this help the environment and reduce the UK carbon footprint? Our politicians, both local and national, just do not get it.

I agree with Martin Heath’s letter in last week’s Gazette (February 18 ), the council climate plan lacks proper vision for the future. At the same time the council promotes Basingstoke, via Love Basingstoke website, as a place to come. A crazy growth agenda that could lead to a city the size of Southampton. This would undermine any gains an already weak climate policy may bring.

If Basingstoke is to have a climate policy, they must not shy away from inconvenient truths. Honesty must be the best policy. Many scientists believe, with evidence, that it is too late to stop catastrophic climate change within most of our lifetimes. If we carry on with business-as-usual, we may prove them right.

Peter Bloyce, Old Basing.

Why not drop the retail park plan?

Dear Editor,

One positive way for the council to support the town centre would be to drop the idea of the proposed rival retail development on the leisure centre site.

Fraser Reavell,

Cromwell Road

Charges killing the town centre

I had a dental appointment at 11am on Monday and tried to pay my dues but the machine would not accept my registration number. Short of time, I left a note on my windscreen. Returning to the car twenty minutes later I was in receipt of a £50 fine. I confronted the parking attendant later unsympathetic to my situation who told me is should have toured the car park for another meter.

With a car park now only with half the usual number of cars human issues do not have a sway. Until a while ago the first hour was free.

I am surprised Basingstoke shop owners are not hitting out at the car parking charges, the way things are the town is being destroyed.

Graeme Hewitt, Oakley.

We need to know how Covid started

Dear Editor,

When Boris Johnson in a briefing on February 17 was asked by a journalist who to hold accountable for the coronavirus pandemic, he answered that most of the evidence seems to point to zoonotic diseases in Wuhan. Johnson is among those calling for an international treaty on pandemics that would see countries agreeing to share data about outbreaks of viruses and infectious diseases. Understanding the source of Covid-19 outbreak is vital to preventing future pandemics.

The first known reported death (January 2020) in China from the virus was a regular at the Wuhan market. The market was known to contain domestic, wild and farm animals. Animals known to be susceptible to the virus include minks and pangolins.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) investigation key conclusions were to get a better understanding of what happened in December 2019 in China and how the virus jumped from animal to animal and then spread to humans through an intermediary animal species. Also, what other animals could have introduced the disease into Wuhan.

With a UK death rate rapidly approaching 120,000 it is vital that WHO gets to the bottom of the Covid-19 outbreak and more needs to done to move towards international pandemic transparency to avoid another disaster of this scale. Otherwise, we will always have to rely on science, however long it takes, to come up with the solutions.

Jeannette Schael, Tadley.

RAF anniversary

Dear Editor,

This month marks the 80th anniversary of the RAF Air Cadets. So, RAF Benevolent Fund has joined forces with the youth organisation to help mark the milestone.

Throughout their 80-year history, the air cadets have been inspiring their members to go on to great things, whether that be as part of the Royal Air Force itself or further afield – from Olympic medals and Oscar nominations to topping the charts or even becoming a NASA Astronaut.

Linford Christie OBE, Tom Fletcher, Dr Michael Foale, Rory Underwood MBE and Richard Burton were all members of this extraordinary youth organisation.

Throughout the years, cadets have played a key role in helping us to be there for the RAF family, whether that’s raising money, supporting events or helping to raise awareness.

To celebrate this anniversary, the RAF Benevolent Fund has launched an online book collecting memories from former and current members, asking them to share what their time as an air cadet meant to them. Visit for more information.

Amelia Lupson, RAF Benevolent Fund.

Every little does help

Dear Editor,

The Pink Place, a Basingstoke cancer charity that offers free wellbeing support and services to adults affected by cancer and their partners living in North Hampshire, would like to thank the following people who added to the success of our Chinese New Year Celebration on February 12: Julie Shepherd, Community Champion from Tesco (Chineham, Basingstoke) for donating a Chinese Takeaway Meal for two to the winner of our Chinese lantern competition; and our Guest Speaker Veronica Tyrrell from Hong Kong and professional quiz writer Janet Crompton who brought all fun, entertainment and wonderful enthusiasm to our party, giving a much needed boost to our group during these challenging times.

We also like to congratulate our winner of the competition Sarah Baker (Basingstoke) whose creative contribution has made our Craft Crowd sessions popular and brought many hours of enjoyment during the lockdown.

The Pink Place has a variety of sessions to help combat the feelings of loneliness, anxiety and depression for cancer patients who are shielding during the pandemic. Anyone who has been or is going through cancer, and who may be experiencing a difficult time during these uncertain times, can get in touch with the charity. Don’t suffer in silence, we can help.

Christine Griffiths, Fundraising and Events Manager, The Pink Place.

Catch Up with a Coffee

Dear Editor,

With the promise of an end of lockdown looming, I urge your readers to continue to check in on loved ones. One in six people live with an incurable condition called Raynaud’s that causes painful ‘attacks’ when it’s cold, so winter can be agonising.It’s likely you know someone with it but may not realise it.

As the only charity supporting people with Raynaud’s, Scleroderma and Raynaud’s UK is urging people to organise a virtual catch-up with friends and family to make sure they are okay and, at the same time, raise money to help us continue our vital work. We would love you to grab your favourite mug, get online together and donate £5 by texting CATCHUP to 70450.

Sue Farrington

Chief Executive, Scleroderma and Raynaud’s UK

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