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Take litter home

I AM a dog owner, a responsible dog owner, taking notice of the numerous signs around and about our local green spaces and clearing up after my pet. What bugs me is that there are no signs saying Clean up after Yourselves. It appears to be absolutely fine for a large percentage of human beings to just drop their rubbish wherever they feel fit.

This morning I picked up 44 empty cans, ten plastic bottles and half a bucketful of odds and ends of paper and plastic from an area no more than 40 square metres opposite my home. As this volume of material exceeds what is acceptable in my black recycle box, I then had to take it to the recycle centre. More unnecessary effect on the environment.

Trowbridge is a very beautiful town, with some extremely accessible green open spaces - why oh why can’t EVERYONE take responsibility for their own rubbish and leave these parklands in a spotless condition for everyone to enjoy?

Carole Elford, Lambrok Road, Trowbridge

Lunch’ll be back

FURTHER to the reports on the cancellation of the Christmas Day lunch organised at County Hall, Trowbridge by volunteers from Company for Christmas, we would like to clarify some key points.

Your reports claimed that the cancellation was due to not having access to the County Hall kitchens. Because our main meals are donated and cooked by Apetito, we can serve our guests without kitchen access and did so in 2014 when we first used the venue.

It should also be clearly understood that the cancellation was shared widely with our guests, partners and supporters in October.

Sixty guests enjoyed an alternative free lunch and entertainment with us at the Tesco Extra Community Space in Trowbridge on December 23 and a successful lunch was held in Corsham on Christmas Day. We were told that the Salvation Army made offers to the homeless community to hold something specifically for them on Christmas Day.

It takes months of planning to hold this event, and everything is done by volunteers, willingly giving up their time and Christmas Day for others. While we weren’t able to have all the logistics in place for 2019 – and this is something that upset us greatly - we are already working with our partners and supporters to ensure a solid foundation for future years.

We very much hope the Wiltshire Times will support us.

Kate Dewey, For and on behalf of Company for Christmas

Council tax unfair

TROWBRIDGE Town Council charges a Band D a Council Tax rate of £153.98 (2019/20).

A neighbouring Parish Council charges a Band D a Council Tax rate of £14.28 (2019/20).

What do the residents of Trowbridge receive over and above the residents of our neighbouring villages by paying up to £139.70 (978%) more in parish council tax?

I have been removed from the Policy & Resources Committee, which looks at this in detail, due to a change in the political structure of our Town Council. However, at the Full Council meeting on January 21, I will ask this question and argue that rather than considering the increase in our charge to £164.98 (the proposed amount), we must allocate and recover a more realistic amount of our fixed costs from neighbouring parishes.

From my previous proposal and the support of the Town Council, we achieved this to a very limited extent with the Museum Project and Core Grants. We need to do more to ensure a fairer funding of our services and not just increase the already disproportionate amount Trowbridge residents are expected to pay.

Edward Kirk, Town & Wiltshire Councillor for Trowbridge Adcroft

Help our climate

JUST before Christmas, Trowbridge Town Council applied for planning permission for new sports pitches etc adjacent to Doric Park in Hilperton.

Whilst one supports the provision of new sport facilities for the Trowbridge area, Wiltshire Council recently declared a Climate Emergency and so could the council provide more information on the following points?

Firstly, the building appears to have a large flat roof. Why is only a small part to have solar panels? Why not fit them to all the roof?

Secondly, what provision has been made for transport to the new facility? The bus service is non-existent whilst the provision of cycle paths is poor; surely the town council will not be encouraging yet more use of the car?

The town council has rightly recognised the part it has to play in stopping climate change, but what steps is it taking to put those words into action?

Ernie Clark, Wiltshire Councillor for Hilperton Division, Independent Group leader, Wiltshire Council

Brexit’s coming

WITH Brexit inevitable, and a majority Tory government, it is worth reflecting on their past decade’s achievements. It adds up to very little I’m afraid.

Only now are we promised spending where it should never have been cut in the first places, police reductions being a prime example. Railway franchising is a widely acknowledged failure for users and taxpayers alike but it didn’t stop Johnson in the final day’s of his last government finally ridding itself of Branson’s Virgin trains as it had tried previously and failed.

Recent annual fare rises are just one of a vast number of stealth taxes imposed upon us over the decade and it is worth stating here and now that the Conservatives are not and never have been the party of low taxation. They are certainly the party of low income tax but pile on the stealth taxes elsewhere (e.g. insurance tax, NI increases, airport taxes).

Another ruse is to reduce national grants to local authorities who then are forced to cut services/ask towns to take on responsibility with no accompanying financial input. Blame the government fair and square for the policies that have caused such increases with more to come.

This is about to get worse for Wiltshire ratepayers as a result of the latest local government settlement. The Conservatives have no cohesive strategy for resolving the social care crisis with no prospectus commitment other than cross party talks - this is simply a ruse to blame the other parties for the party’s own failures over the last decade to address the problem. So what of the settlement?

Wiltshire will be allowed to increase our rates (some independent commentators say by up to 10%) to try and address the problem locally rather than provide a universal national policy. This will simply create larger care disparities, no doubt enthusiastically supported by all Wiltshire MPs as it kicks any plan further into the long grass that they have to vote upon.

All I ask in any local MP’s future statements is what I term “the truth plus”. For example Michelle Donelan MP insisted, rightly, that her government was spending more on schools than before. Applying truth plus she would have added “but we now have thousands more schoolchildren so we would have to spend more to keep up but we have actually reduced the amount per pupil, so all schools with increased pupil numbers will be worse off.”

When readers next hear that the government is spending £x billion on a particular area of responsibility always remember that truth plus is “we are indeed spending £x billion extra on the NHS/Defence/Prisons/Probation/Judiciary/Universal Credits but this only represent a fraction of the sum we need to spend just to stand still”. Incidentally I chose the alternative options because each one has been a Tory disaster area in the last decade and continues to be so.

Finally I predict that the election results show that within a decade we will have a United Ireland and a devolved Scotland both with the strongest ties possible to Europe leaving Wales and England isolated and the poorer for the break up of the union. Only one good thing emerged from the election - the demise of Corbyn and all he stood for. With a more moderate set of policies the damage would have been less severe.

John Baxter, Deverell Close, Bradford on Avon

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