Where, Don, are these facilities?
I WOULD cheerfully buy Don Ticehurst a pint over which to discuss our apparently intractable disagreement about the need for development in South Ruislip, and his suggestion that there are plenty of social and cultural facilities in the area already [Extra vehicles will cause gridlock, Gazette, February 6).
Unfortunately, two of our local pubs, The Black Bull on Victoria Road and The Eastcote Arms on Field End Road, have closed with no date for reopening.
Please join our celestial survey
I WOULD be very grateful if your readers could spend five minutes participating in an inspiring cosmic survey.
Bill Bryson, my predecessor as President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), once said: “Glance at the night sky and what you see is history, and lots of it. Our faithful companion the North Star appears not as it is now, but as it was when its light left it sometime during the early 14th century.”
If watching the stars is the closest we can get to time travel then a campaign to raise our sights to what is above us, and to combat the light pollution that increasingly robs us of our celestial views (and spoils the environment below), is all the more vital.
Your readers can really help this campaign by counting the number of stars visible with the naked eye in the constellation of Orion, and then posting the results on the CPRE website (where they also have the chance to win a wonderful telescope).
We will plot the data on a map and use the results to campaign for better and more cost effective lighting that will allow all of us to enjoy the night sky, one of our greatest natural wonders.
Star Count 2013 is February 8-16 and more detail is at www.cpre.org.uk. Thank you.
SIR ANDREW MOTION
president, Campaign to Protect Rural England
Council ignores skaters once again
I AM writing to you in the hope that, after reading this, you may wish to look into the current contruction that is under way for the Hayes skatepark.
I became aware of plans to build a skate park next to the existing BMX track in Dawley Road, and attended many meetings over a number of years.
The incredible slowness and delays were ever so painful, but we had been given money by EMI to redevelop some land there, and Hillingdon Council would also donate some funds. In total we had about £160,000 in the kitty.
One of my roles was to research who was suitable and who was not, and we then gained a shortlist and got designs in, from Gravity, and Freestyle, and the council insisted we also had a tender from Blakedown.
The chosen design was by Gravity – by the user group anyway – but the council decided Blakedown “offered the best park for the money”, and awarded it them.
Blakedown are known for constructing playgrounds, tennis courts and the like, but have not done brilliantly at skateparks.
One way to put it would be that if you were a golfer and wanted a new golf course creating, would you be happy if the council gave the contract to a company that made bowling greens?
I was a resident of Hillingdon until 2007, when I moved to Southport. When hearing of Blakedown winning the bid against our advice, we basically had only one weapon: as the council held half the money, we simply refused to hand our half of the money over, and this went on until the project got shelved.
Finally, years later, plans carried on, further tenders were submitted and the winning design again went against the user group choice, and was by a company called Wheelscape.
Guess what? The building contract has been awarded, once again, to Blakedown! I’m gutted!
So, it may well be after the horse has bolted, as work has already started, but all I can do now is try from a distance to ensure they build a decent park that will last the test of time, and not become a flooded, cracked eyesore that can’t be skated.
At the end of the day, I just want to see that a decent, usable facility is built there, so we are hoping to make a continued check on progress.
There are better sites for school
I APPLAUD your article about Lake Farm school development and Boris Johnson’s interjection over the size required [Boris throws future of Lake Farm into doubt, Hayes and Harlington Gazette, January 30].
There are other sites in the borough eligible – the old swimming pool site for one – but the high and mighty in Uxbridge would rather sell it off to the more lucrative property speculators as they have done in many parts of Hayes, taking many green open spaces in their wake.
I name the Glenister Hall site as one, which incidentally would have been ideal for a school.
Also, note Mr Puddifoot’s remarks on Hayes having a need for more school places. I would like to point out that if he and his council had not shovelled nearly every migrant and their offspring that crosses our borough boundaries into Hayes, there would not be an education problem here.
Help me find my mate Robin Lewins
MY NAME is Brian Lister. I am a 75-year-old living in Tyne and Wear.
During the Second World War my best friend was an evacuee from Harefield.
His name is Robin Lewins.
Robin was placed two doors from me, with a family named Beatty, in Church Street, Shiney Row.
Robin and I started school together – Shiney Row Infants’ – as four-year-olds on the same day in 1942.
We were close friends and playmates throughout the war, until Robin was returned to his parents in Harefield when the war ended.
I would dearly like to know the whereabouts of Robin now. If anyone has any information I would very much appreciate hearing from them.