End of misery

Dear Editor,

I was delighted to see this week that, following the government’s intended legislation on banning the sale of leasehold properties other than flats, Persimmon Homes has agreed to allow leaseholders to buy their freeholds for £2,000.

This practice, which affects the majority of my constituents in Picket Twenty and Picket Piece, was totally immoral and exploitative. It has caused misery for many of my residents who could not sell their homes because banks would not lend mortgages on them, as to fall behind on ground rent could lead to repossession by the developer.

To buy a house and find you have to pay hundreds of pounds every year to the company who sold you it, for no benefit, is a sad state of affairs. Add service charges on top and that is a fair wedge of money which residents have to fork out each year.

I’m really glad that Persimmon are leading the way on fixing this problem and I very much hope that the other developers in Andover will follow suit. I look forward to the day when leasehold charges on houses are a thing of the past.

Cllr Chris Donnelly, Andover Downlands (TVBC) and Andover West (HCC)

A case of ‘Nimby’

Dear Editor,

Has Test Valley Borough Council gone back to The Dark Ages?

With reference to last week’s article in the Andover Advertiser on Creepers Cottage, I quote: “The residents would make ‘disconcerting noises’”. I am horrified that the council could be so negative, institutionalised and selfish towards anyone who has learning disabilities.

They should be able to live in a ‘home’, not an institution.

A sure case of Nimbyism [not in my backyard).

Clare Smith, Fyfield

Solar Farm

Dear Editor,

I live at Perham Down and am writing to express my support for the average size Solar Farm planned for an area between Kimpton and Perham Down.

Renewable energy is a step towards addressing the climate emergency that both national government and some local councils have declared. Wind and Solar power produce the cheapest electricity for the consumer. They also reduce reliance on imported fuels with the associated fluctuations in energy market cost.

The farming land proposed to be used for the solar plant is not lost to farming. The solar farm construction is extremely low impact and land can be reintroduced to farming at the end of the solar farm’s life. It is beneficial for the land to be left fallow.

The proposed 186 acres used is miniscule when compared to the land lost to agriculture due to overproduction, soil degradation and climate change. It is good that the route for works vehicles is being considered. I am a little confused by the argument against using Station Road.

HGV traffic for Tesco, the new Sydenham’s builders’ merchant and Buses all use Station road. The 20-speed limit makes it a very safe road. Construction traffic could avoid times of high traffic demand or when pedestrian use is highest. Introduce a temporary lower speed limit of 10mph for construction traffic and/or varying the route for the 16 (2 HGV vehicles an hour based on an 8-hour day).

Duncan Guy, Perham Down

Wrong picture

Dear Editor

The article about four deaths in a week (“Drivers need to take responsibility”, June 25) is certainly tragic, but I don’t think motorists should be entirely responsible. According to your photograph, we should be driving on the right-hand side of the road, when the rest of us are driving on the left.

J.A.Peck, Game Lodge, Weyhill

School days

Dear Editor,

I went to the now-gone, Andover Grammar School. So, memories of those five years remain.

In the large hall and long corridors there would be many voices, loudly chatting, laughing, although we would gather in our small groups and didn’t feel it was too loud then. Yet the numbers were in their hundreds I am guessing now.

There was a stage for the head teachers, deputies and others to sit on their wooden chairs. Black flowing gowns and flat black hats with tassels held them tall. In assembly the girls sat to the right, the boys to the left. How the teachers kept that silence, I wonder but I recall it may have been due to their raised shoulders and utter silence, with eyes pointing in the direction of those misbehaving.

The hall was also the dining room for lunch. Round tables and red seated chairs were set up, with our choice of where to sit. Teachers also.

The kitchen staff worked over three open shelves, dishing fully cooked lunches. Roast beef, roast potatoes and gravy was scrumptious. Fish and chips on a Friday special. And puddings. Sponge with chocolate sauce. Rhubarb crumble with thick, yellow custard. Hot steaming vegetables were shining green, gold and creamy. The kitchen staff were always so kind, friendly and willing to ensure we ate well and happily. The large tins of water, sat in the middle of the tables with short glasses for each person. Salt and pepper too.

After lunch was play time. The toilets beckoned first, which I certainly don’t forget. The old school building had very dark and thick glossy painted walls, with dull colours of shadowed dark cream and beige. Each toilet had a wooden seat and high ‘pull down’ chain for the flush, from the tank close up to the ceiling. The toilet papers, well, they were small single sheets of a light, shiny but crackly paper. How they were ever invented I’m not sure with the deluxe loo rolls now sold.

Play time, was either out on the fields, or sports where it was boys at the top and girls at the bottom field. Or we just walked around the very long school building, on tarmac grounds, chatting. I remember the bicycles had a covered stand with the metal to attach with a chain. As I lived outside the town, we had a fairly long walk to the bus collection point on a residential road. The coach drivers, also were pleasant, comfortable to be with and watched for any misbehaviour. Following a cookery class, I had to carry my sponged pudding and little cakes home in a tin box, with the plates in too. My curve-shaped wicker basket was the fashion, at the time, and a leather satchel, carrying family memories, over my shoulders.

It was quite a journey to the bus pick up point, The Avenue, perhaps compared to those nowadays where cars are used far more. I often drive on that road now with clear memories, and my eyes turn each time to the pathway we all used.

I firstly shared this with a friend from my school days. We have been friends for 53 years. Jo couldn’t remember as much as this but we both shared the memory of the swimming pool that was fenced in with wood, and two changing rooms. I certainly recall being asked to enter a competition, probably due to a space not filled. Although my swimming was not good enough to win.

But, I did love hockey and rounders. The grey, skirt style shorts and white, sporty shirts were a delight whilst swinging the hockey bat at the hard ball, towards teammates was worth my competitive interest and energy.

I was actually hit by a ball also, on my head I think, but hey there were no tears, the referee ran straight towards me, holding me back on the side to view only for a while, which left me as the cheer leader. The goalkeeper, Angela I believe – well how dressed up was she? Thick shoulder pads, rock hard, helmet with strong, metal face barrier and a tough fighter against the opponents.

Rounder’s – do we still play rounder’s? The competitions, raised confidence and pride, we would be calling out to each other, ‘run, run, run’. With lots to chat about following the competitions.

Well, memories for sure. I’ve enjoyed writing and sharing this. So, hope you do too.

Linda Price, Andover