Heritage lost

Dear Editor,

With all of the latest interest in Andover’s heritage and pages of photos of the many fascinating and historic buildings that were tragically demolished in the name of progress, I thought that I would enlighten your readers to the true face of Andover’s Conservation.

You would hope and expect that our local conservation team would be at the ready to preserve the few remaining historic buildings. Not so I’m afraid.

Situated within a so-called conservation area, there is a grade 2 listed building - Anton Laundry. After many years of neglect, sadly it is on the verge of being beyond saving. 

It is listed under the Buildings and Conservation Areas Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest. This “protected” cottage has for many years been left, boarded up with a badly damaged roof completely open to the elements. Brought to the attention of the Conservation Team on many occasions by myself and I believe several national heritage groups. I have been assured that it will be dealt with as a matter of urgency.

But nothing has been done. It’s called “demolition by neglect”. So expect to see a block of flats there at some point in the near future. If you are interested in conservation and the fate of this important part of our town’s history, please contact the Conservation Team at Test Valley Borough Council.

I hope that you have better luck than me. Conservation? What conservation?

S Voice, Shepherds Row

Sister Sally

Dear Editor,

It was so sad to read your article about a “nurse suspended for forging documents”. Clearly Sally had made a terrible mistake, but tell me of one human being who hasn’t. The article was one-sided because Sally did not defend herself or tell her side of the story.

I am a very ill person and have been for over 39 years, mainly cardiac and bowel related.  Between June 2006 and May 2007 I underwent 18 operations for diverticula disease because my GP failed to repeatedly spot dozens of ulcers in my abdomen - the GP still hasn’t apologised.  For over three months I had to have my bowel dressings changed every morning and I had to use the surgery and A&E because the district nurses failed to visit me.  Most of those dressings were changed by Sally, a very kind, considerate and very supportive sister.  I also saw her on many occasions for my other problems and she was always wonderful and caring.  She has obviously done wrong but please don’t take all her pride and self respect away.  For whatever wrong she did I would have no hesitation in seeing her for medical care in the future.  I for one will willingly stand by her.

TWP (Bill) Overton, Goodworth Clatford

Emotive time

Dear Editor,

The recent wind and rain suggests winter. But no. 

‘Tis the season of mellow fruitfulness as evidenced by the vast array of autumnal colours on offer as well as the plentiful supply, from the well stocked hedgerows, of blackberries, elderberries and sloes which help to make up wildlife’s food banks and not forgetting Eric the Mushroom Man foraging for the fruits of the ripened fields. 

Migration plans are high on the agenda as birds crowd around in an excited chorus of chirping discussion. Watch them fly.

See the trees lightening their load as the wind entices psychedelic cascades of oranges and lemons blending with the golds and rich crimsons that appear to ignite, like burning tears, before your eyes. 

The wonderful autumn hues provide glorious colourful joy as leaves jostle and dance together to the tune held on the breeze, vividly contrasting with the stark black and white of winter to come. 

The clocks will soon have their half yearly adjustment so darkening the landscape. The sun continues to lower itself in the sky. Woollens and wellies will be readied. All heralding colder days and nights ahead along with the spooky, haunting mists that shroud the streetlamps’ watery reflections. 

Look forward to the crystal glaze of the chilly frosts that will provide a satisfying soft crispy crunch under foot because not long now before Jack or Jill Frost will be putting in an appearance although their superb icy artistry on the window pane seems to be a far cry just now. Long ago the glass canvas would be attacked by a disfiguring, very cold finger and mar the sparkling frozen pastiche. It had to be done.

Natures early morning regime is splashed with a kaleidoscope of many colours as the early morning dew sparkles on the bejewelled cobwebs. Enjoy a sharp intake of breath and taste the edifyingly clear early morning air. What a tonic.

At present you do not have to venture very far to be entranced by the vibrant vistas orchestrated by Mother Nature’s seasonal brush strokes. Our friendly robin nods his approval too as he portrays an early Christmas card image. 

I accept the winter to come and being cuddled up. I look forward to the new life that Spring provides. I enjoy the summer and the warm evenings with a welcome glass of wine. And then there is Autumn. 

Autumn is natures changing of the guard and what a change. So, embrace this emotive time of year for how fortunate are we to be able to enjoy the exhilarating amphitheatre that is the “magic of Autumn” here in little ol’ Andover. 

John “Nature Boy” Porter, Millway Road, Andover

Winter worries

Dear Editor,

Are we heading towards another winter of discontent? 

The last major occurrence was in 1978-79 when Callaghan’s Labour government failed to control widespread strikes against pay controls. 

The behaviour of far-left unions did not help. The situation has some parallels. This government is letting us all down.

It is letting us down because it is incompetent. Let’s just consider a couple of examples. 

After Brexit and Covid it has failed to sort out the need for HGV drivers either by visas for foreigners or testing and training new ones. The fuel shortage is just a manifestation of a wider problem. 

One only needs to look at a supermarket shelves. Meanwhile shortage of abattoir workers means we will have to slaughter hundreds of thousands of pigs and other farm animals. It is not just bad news for farmers but cruel. Another problem that was foreseen but nothing was done.

The inevitable gas price increase has been due to market forces but has been made worse by a failed regulatory system that allowed companies to trade without a sustainable business model. There has also been no strategic stockpile to reduce the shock unlike Germany or even Italy. Yet again the government has reacted to events and not managed them.

You can argue that ideology has a part to play in this, today the Prime Minister was arguing we either have massive immigration or a non-functioning economy or society.The reality is  lack investment in the NHS and social care has meant that we had to import these workers from elsewhere. As a country we produce few doctors and nurses, let alone care workers.

However, there are areas where even ideology cannot cover up incompetence. 

The performance of the Metropolitan Police and Cressida Dick has been shameful. Despite overseeing a number of disasters, failing to prepare for the fallout from the Sarah Everard murder takes the biscuit. 

She had only had six months. Advice to the public that if challenged by a lone male officer to flag down a bus or run to the nearest house illustrate the lack of imagination let alone understanding of our senior police officer. 

She does a disservice to those officers who have kept the faith and not let the public down. She drives a horse and cart through the consensual style of policing so beloved by us by destroying trust even further. Yet Dick is a useful lightning rod for the discontent many of us have for the police cuts and incompetence emanating from the Home Office.

Do you think things can get worse? Yes, we are heading into a winter of discontent.

Cllr Luigi Gregori, Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesperson, North West Hampshire