Open letter to Cllr Ken Rhatigan

Thank you for your email concerning the Planning Application for a warehouse on land at Oakdown Farm Dummer. 
In the email you state that ‘employment opportunities need to be right if the application is moved forward’. You also talk about ‘detailed information’. 
Have you had assurances regarding the employment numbers from the occupier? If not, who has provided these? What meetings have you had with the occupier during 2020? Were any or all of these meetings prior to the article published in the Gazette on April 5, when you recommended that the councillors on the Development Control Committee approve the warehouse application?
You cite the approval of the development of the Basingstoke Golf Club and the steps taken to upgrade the plan and protect the trees. This Oakdown Farm application is not the same. 
The Council will not be able to make any improvements both in planning terms or mitigation to the environmental impact as the warehouse approval is a full application with no room whatsoever for changes to be made. 

Christine Northam

Delivery will be judged by people
Dear Editor,
There are numerous issues within Basingstoke right now that are making everyone’s lives a misery. 
We are currently the only place within Western Europe that has permafrost due to the lack of investment in the ice rink. We have a homeless football club playing in a league against smaller teams. We have a lack of schools. We have American corporate takeovers of GP surgeries which has driven standards to an all-time low. We have poor leisure facilities. 
We have a field where a new complete-service hospital should be.
We have an emptying town centre. The list goes on.
The Conservatives now have no excuse to deliver on the things that our great town is in desperate need of - they have a clear majority in parliament and a clear majority in the borough. We all know that the money can readily be found as shown by the billions handed to the contacts of the Prime Minister over the past 12 months, and we all know that laws can be changed rapidly with their majority. The question is: does our local administration have the energy, drive and desire to improve the town for the good of all of us? We will quickly know the answer to this.
My own opinion is that there should be sufficient progress to show on all of the above within 12 months. 
With the mandate that the Conservatives now have, poor performance and a failure to deliver for Basingstoke will not go unnoticed by the people.
Kieran Kerswell, Grove

'I will work for all residents'
Dear Editor,
I write to thank the voters at the recent elections. I am honoured to have been re-elected as the County Councillor for Whitchurch and the Cleres division in north west Hampshire. I’m encouraged that the total number of votes cast for me and the Conservatives has increased by 10%, over the votes cast in 2017.
I will work for all residents of the town and villages; working to defend our local services, to ensure our roads and paths are maintained, to promote more recycling and to defend our environment.
Hampshire Conservatives have a six-point plan to boost the county’s economy, develop young people’s skills, protect the countryside, support our families and schools, improve people’s health and tackle climate change. 
The voters have endorsed our plan and given us another strong majority; recognising how well we run the county.  A number of factors make the next few years challenging ones.  I promise to continue to work hard for the residents of Whitchurch and the Cleres and meet those challenges.
Tom Thacker, Hampshire County Councillor, Whitchurch and The Cleres Division 

A tightly contested election
Dear Editor,
I would like to thank the people of Brighton Hill for re-electing me on May 6, and to thank all the party activists and candidate colleagues who worked so hard in this election. It was a very tightly contested election, and I am humbled, honoured (and, dare I say, relieved) to have been re-elected after five years to serve again.
It was a tough night for all the opposition parties. Labour lost three seats, the Lib Dems lost two, and the independents lost five.
The Conservatives gained five seats, and due to the reduction in the overall total, now enjoy a majority of twelve.
It’s clear that national political themes like the vaccine bounce had an effect on this election, which came less than 18 months after a landslide general election victory. 
This, combined with a compressed campaign period of just over eight weeks to deliver leaflets and knock on doors, influenced the other parties’ ability to introduce new candidates to the electorate and raise their profile. In many cases, voters stuck with the incumbent candidates, or names they recognised from previous elections. Seven out of the eight Labour candidates who did not win in Winklebury, Norden, Brookvale and Brighton Hill were new candidates. We lost one councillor, and two who were stepping down did not have replacements elected from the same party.
It would be easy to conclude that since opposition plans to run the council have been “comprehensively stopped”, that the issues we campaigned on do not matter to the electorate. That would be a lazy and dangerous assumption to make.
The cutting of grant funding for the Anvil and Haymarket is extremely unpopular and should be reversed.
The Town Centre economy needs reviving and empty units occupied, especially the Top of Town.
The football club will need the council’s help to return to the Camrose.
Our health workers deserve a decent pay rise, much more than the paltry 1% the government has offered, in recognition of their huge work during the pandemic and making the vaccinations happen.
We do not want our doctors’ surgeries being sold to American-owned subsidiary companies.
We need massive improvements to our recycling rates, and a massive step up in our response to the Climate Emergency.
The ice rink will need rebuilding or replacing, and a massive step up is required from the new administration to make this happen. There is nothing to show for the past two years, and the one councillor who knew most about the ice rink - Kim Taylor - has not been re-elected.
I would like to thank Kim Taylor for all the hard work she put in for three years as a Brighton Hill councillor, and the work she was doing with the Ice Users’ Forum. She did not deserve the unwarranted criticism she got in other parties’ election leaflets. And while some self-appointed local political experts have gleefully stated what a huge loss she will be for the Labour group, the loss of her expertise on the ice rink is a loss for the Borough as a whole, and the ice users in particular.
I would also like to thank my colleagues who are stepping down, some after many years of service, and who have not received the praise they are due. Colin Regan has chalked up well over 20 years’ service for the people of South Ham, it will be hard to imagine him not on the Labour Group. Sean Keating is retiring after 21 years’ service. Mark Taylor and Ruth Cooper after seven and three years respectively, both are involved in running the Winklebury Wizards football club, and Ruth’s last twelve months have been particularly difficult due to contracting the virus and developing long Covid. And last but not least, Paul and Jane Frankum, whose lasting legacy will be three Labour councillors elected for Popley.
Cllr Andrew McCormick, Labour, Brighton Hill

Overwhelmed by so many votes
Dear Editor,
I would like to thank everyone in the Chineham ward who voted for me last week. I was delighted to be re-elected and overwhelmed to receive so many votes. 
I promise all my residents that I will continue to work hard, resolve your issues, support, and listen to you. I love representing the ward I call home, and together we can continue to make it an even better place to live.  Thank you again for your support and faith in me.

Cllr Laura Edwards, Conservative, Chineham Ward Councillor

Miscarriage of justice
Dear Editor,
Reading the horrendous story of Jo Hamilton’s persecution by the Post Office (Gazette, Thursday, April 29) sent a shiver down my back. 
Once upon a time, I was in favour of capital punishment but now, with my advancing years, I have learnt to appreciate the finality of execution, where the accused might have been innocent all along.
It would be interesting to know what the actual faults were in the Horizon accounting system. Years ago, when I was writing financial programs, it did not take me long to realise that the input of, say, a comma instead of a full-stop, would produce an entirely different calculation.
Fortunately, I had a boss who would say ‘I do not believe the figures in this financial report’. Clearly, Post Office CEO Paula Vennells had little life experience. The old saying goes ‘if it doesn’t look right, then it probably isn’t’.
The damage has been done. Even now, the accused have not been re-imbursed, and the former Post Office management remained unscathed in this appalling miscarriage of justice.
Hugh Sawyer, Winchester Road, Basingstoke

Something to hide, candidates?
Dear Editor,
In my recent visit to the voting booth, I was astounded at the number of candidates withholding addresses on the ballot paper. Since when did this become the norm? Do they have something to hide? My assumption was that these people were interviewing for a job in public office?  I must confess I put party preferences aside in favour of people who were proud residents of the area.
Dr James Henry, an address in Basingstoke and Deane