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Social conscience

When Graham Payne died a few weeks ago, his legacy was to serve Trowbridge and his Drynham ward which he undertook admirably for well over 45 years.

Very shortly a new councillor will be chosen to carry the flag that Graham did.

It needs a councillor with a social conscience and with past experience , who is local to and who lives in Trowbridge and who knows the Drynham ward inside out and the people within it.

Just before Graham died I chatted at great length about his wishes and who he thought should fill this important position.

But before we even got into the detail, one name above everybody else’s came to the fore.

We both concurred and agreed that John Knight should be chosen to contest this seat. So we both approached him to come out of retirement to stand in the Drynham Ward.

And there are very good reasons why the Conservatives should chose him as the most suitable candidate.

But in todays climate, local conservative candidates can be somewhat overwhelmed by what has happened at a national level by entrenched remainer MPs when it comes to Brexit and which has, sorry to say, decimated decent hard working local politicians because peoples wishes have not been carried out.

However, In John Knight we do have a local conviction politician with many years experience as a town, district and county councillor, who has strong and decent values, is of personable good character, and who is a dedicated supporter of Brexit , very much like Graham Payne was

Now John Knight has over the years switched between a Conservative Party councillor and an Independent because he felt strongly about certain issues.

There is nothing wrong with that, so it would certainly not do him any harm to stand as an Independent if the Conservatives decided not to have him as a candidate.

And some may not know this but Graham Payne actually served a term as an Independent when he felt the Conservatives were not carrying out local peoples wishes.

John and Graham were at the forefront and both instrumental in fighting hard for the appeal that was won to get a Cineworld cinema into the Innox Riverside development.It was just so unfortunate that Morrisons went through a period of superstore cutbacks which ultimately affected the Bowyers site and its redevelopment with an 8 screen cinema which would have been better placed with better car parking.

That said there is still no sign of life on the Bowyers site but I know John would do like Graham did to make sure questions are asked regarding progress of the site with its Mixed Retail Leisure designation and how it should fit into the town plan.

John, like Graham, strongly believes that selling the Trowbridge Multi Storey Car Park is a disgraceful course of action the council has taken, especially considering that the car park was given to the town in 1974 with the express attached condition that a 99 year covenant to keep it a free car park should be instituted upon it legally and that is only halfway through its contract.

John also shares his concerns surrounding the future of three special schools and threatened closures.

He has personally had much experience in transporting local special needs children to and from both Larkrise and Rowdeford School and can fully empathise with the parents campaign.

So this is why we need John Knight in the Drynham Ward to fight for what he knows is right for the town and its people as well as other important local issues.

He therefore gets my endorsement 100%.There could not be a better individual as a successor to Grahams dedication and hard work for his constituents

Mike Baxter, The Croft, Trowbridge

Public safety first

In response to your article last week on knife attacks in Trowbridge.

It is the first responsibility of government in a democratic society to protect and safeguard the lives of its citizens.

In these changing times, with their limited resources, our Police are unable to offer the high level of safety we have come to expect.

As a Town Councillor, I have requested on numerous occasions that our Police enforce a minor offence like riding a bicycle on the pavement or littering.

I have not been asking for any large-scale commitment.

I would just like a public prosecution to demonstrate these offences still exist.

In my view, the boundaries of what is considered acceptable or tolerated in society has moved from a sensible position to crisis point.

However, I now fully accept that the Police can no longer operate to the extent I would like.

Therefore, as a Town Council we must step in and give support in tackling crime.

This can be achieved by recruiting security staff who use the powers of citizen’s arrest operating in conjunction with the Police.

For a Town Council, this principle is no different from us taking over the playgrounds, or road sweeping from Wiltshire Council to ensure a service or provision is retained.

What is the point of investing in our park or other facilities if the public do not feel safe?

As a Town Council we can scale back our financial commitments to Active Trowbridge, The Civic Centre or Museum to provide Private Police like the ‘My Local Bobby’ scheme.

I reiterate public safety must come first and this can be achieved by a pro-active highly visible deterrent.

It always worked in the past.

Edward Kirk, Town & Wiltshire Councillor for Trowbridge Adcroft

Decision made

By the time this letter is published, if it is published, the underhandedness of Wiltshire Council will become more apparent.

Regardless of what they said - and they were going to have meaningful discussions with parent groups - they are going to approve the move to put all three special schools under one roof at Rowdeford.

As usual, the problems for those with disabilities will be completely ignored, as will the voices of the parents who can see the vast amount of problems ahead.

When these children with a vast array of learning difficulties reach the age of eighteen Wiltshire Council will have no responsibilities for them, as they are currently making underhanded cutbacks to the vulnerable adults budget again, which is an easy target to cut back.

Perhaps if Wiltshire Council stopped wasting taxpayers money on political ideology there would be enough to go round.

Good luck to the parents and carers in their battle with the council. The council have already made their minds up as to what is happening. They are no doubt prepared to fight the parents and carers, knowing that they will get their own way in the end, regardless of cost to the taxpayer.

Tony Fellenor, Farleigh Close, Chippenham

In poor repair

I would like, but won`t get, a full explanation from Wiltshire Council what it has against Westbury library and why it feels the need to lie at every opportunity it gets. I went to the library today (Tuesday, 21 May) to do work on census returns - as I often do but the computers were so slow it was impossible.

The librarians, as usual, were extremely polite and tried to be useful but they were let down, yet again, by engineers who haven`t a clue what they are doing and couldn’t care less.

Apparently they had two engineers at the library that morning, but the computers were still incredibly slow - I rest my case.

Remember a while back we were assured that the listed building (Westbury House - the library) was in very good condition and well maintained. What a load of rubbish.

The main door porch is riddled with damp patches, the toilet room has damp patches with paint coming off the walls.

In the room where the computers are there are damp patches in one of the corners, in the same corner a weed has been seen coming through the wall. Not to mention the amount of cracks and damp that was clearly visible when the heritage tours took place etc. If this is, as the council insists, a well maintained and cared for building, I`d hate to see what they called uncared for.

Westbury is a town to be proud of, no matter what our beloved council do to it. We pay our council tax so it`s about time we got something back.

Ms Stroud, Warminster Road, Westbury

New referendum

There must be plenty of people who are sick to the back teeth of the Brexit fiasco.

Every politician and pundit seems to be stuck in their own arguments and too scared to change their mind or look at the bare facts.

Here are a few that I have taken directly from Office of National Statistics so at least these should be accurate.

In the 2016 referendum 17.4 million people voted to leave the EU and 16.2 million people voted to remain.

The voting population at that time was 56.1 million. Thus 31% voted to leave and 28.9 voted to remain.

This means that the majority of 40.1% did not actually vote. This could be because they were uninterested, did not know what to vote for or were happy with the status quo.

There was a higher proportion of the elderly population that voted to leave and a higher proportion of the younger voters preferred remain.

In 2016/17 there were 1.45 million persons between 16 and 17 years old. During 2016 /17 a total of 1.05 million persons died, predominantly elderly.

If we assume the majority (i.e. the non voters) now know what it is about (its been on the news every night !) then it is obvious to any thinking person that another referendum is the only fair way to solve the impasse.

Whatever that result the Government will then have a mandate to get on with running our Country.

Rick Jotcham, By email

Brexit damage

BREXIT has already done great damage to this country.

The NHS is suffering, there is a growing major shortage of GP doctors and dentists, hospital specialists and staff.

Previously people from the EU helped fill those gaps but now with the chronic uncertainty, many have left.

The decline in the value of the pound and the constantly fluctuating exchange rate may suit and benefit the Brexiteer millionaire speculators, but it has forced many skilled medical staff to return home to Continental Europe.

Now Farage talks of giving the NHS to American Health Care companies after BREXIT.

These companies already hold many sick and disabled US citizens to ransom.

The average cost of health insurance for a family in the USA is $28,000 a year (around £22,000).

Drugs are deliberately more expensive, and medical treatments can plunge families deep into debt for years.

Yet the United States has the highest level of maternal mortality (deaths of expectant women) in the industrialised world, 20-50% of those deaths being regarded as being preventable.

US healthcare is rated the most expensive in the world with worst outcomes than almost any other developed country!

The so called Brexit Party is a limited company, with no actual members, no manifesto and no published policies.

Farage and his big pal, Donald Trump, want a BREXIT which puts the NHS and British Food Standards in the hands of US Big Business.

A P Milroy, Bellefield Crescent, Trowbridge

Positive figures

The latest UK jobs figures were announced this week and it’s great to see Wiltshire and the South West continue to lead the way.

The main takeaways, nationally, are that the employment rate is at a joint record high, the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since 1974, there are more women in work than ever before and average weekly earnings have increased by 3.3% in the last year.

Encouragingly for us, the South West has the highest employment rate (79.6%) of any UK region as well as the lowest unemployment rate (2.4%).

Wiltshire has seen some very positive figures. For example, Chippenham (37%), North Wiltshire (34%), Devizes (31%) and South West Wiltshire (28%) are among the areas that have seen big drops in the number of people claiming key out-of-work benefits since 2010.

This shows the government’s reforms and sensible approach to the economy are working.

It’s important to remember that behind every employment number is a person whose self-esteem, mental wellbeing, economic circumstances and life chances are all vastly improved by being in the workplace.

Peter Booth, Chairman, South West Conservatives

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