Letters to the Press

This page shows a selection of recent letters sent by representatives of Havant Liberal Democrats to the local press.

To The News, from Councillor Faith Ponsonby, March 2016
Dear Editor,

The sad thing about the Bondfields by-election last Thursday was that such a small number of people voted – only 1 out of every 6 possible voters cast their vote at a polling station or by post. The Conservative candidate, now the councillor for this ward, was supported by fewer than 5% of the total electorate, with nearly 70% of those who actually voted voting for one of the other candidates. Just twenty-one more people going to the polls and voting a certain way would have changed the result, and could have made a difference for the ward residents.

So the real winner in this by-election was the 'Don't knows', the '”nothing I do will change things” people' and the 'can't be bothereds'. It implies that 86% of the voters in Bondfields do not care about who represents their community – and I am sure this is not true. More likely, they no longer trust 'politicians' – though at the Borough level, you really want someone who will work for the community. Most local councillors are not 'politicians' in the Westminster sense, just ordinary people who want to serve the community.

In Australia voting is compulsory. It was really sad last Thursday that people were passing the polling stations, and not popping in to vote. In some countries, people risk their lives to cast their votes. Here it is so easy to vote, and you no longer need to have a reason to ask for a postal vote, but can request one simply because it is easier.

All 4 parties with candidates in this by-election put leaflets through every letterbox, and at least two parties had campaigners going out to visit homes, despite the cold and the rain. Some electors were telephoned, too. With 3000 homes in the ward, talking to every single voter is almost impossible in the 5 weeks of the by-election period. Moreover, often campaigners find door-knocking or phoning daunting, so only the candidates and a few others are prepared to do this. Personally, I love talking to people, finding out their concerns and worries and trying to do something that may help. I have never been treated with rudeness – though aggressive dogs do sometimes scare me!

So in the coming Borough elections in May, please do get involved, read the messages the candidates are giving, look online, contact them and ask for a visit, and make up your minds about who will be the best champion for your community, regardless of party politics.

Cllr Faith Ponsonby

To The News, from Councillor Ann Buckley, September 2012
Dear Sir,

The proposals for East Street in Havant have left many residents both angry about the possible removal of the White Hart and the relocation of the war memorial and disappointed with content of the plan.

As residents we have waited for a decade for proposals that would improve this important and historic street.

What I find most disappointing is that only a tiny section of the street is being looked at, whereas we need a plan for the whole of East Street from the old post office and the vacant Hampshire County Council offices downwards.

Cllr. Ann Buckley

To The News, from Councillor Ann Buckley, July 2012
Dear Sir,

Recent letters to the News show real concern about proposals to demolish the White Hart public house in East Street.

The latest information that Havant Borough Council have arranged a consultataion on three possible options will take place over just four days, in the Meridian Centre, from 14th to 17th August, in the middle of the school holidays, will not put local residents' minds at rest.

In the past residents opposed both the Meridian Centre and Potash Terrace, and suggested alternative uses for these sites but were not listened to.

East Street, the most historic, and once the most attractive street, in the Borough has been left to deteriorate over the last decade and the council has done nothing to stop this decline. Now Havant Council are coming forward with proposals without any prior imput from residents. I am sure many not away on holiday will attend but how much notice the council takes of residents' views is another matter.

Cllr. Ann Buckley

To The News, from Councillor Ann Buckley, March 2011
Dear Sir,

The News drew attention to raw sewage in Langstone Harbour on 23rd February with a second article on March 7th. What surprised me in the first article was that the local MP and Government Minister, David Willetts did not seem to be aware of that untreated sewage had entered the harbour.

There are 34 Conservative Councillors on Havant Borough Council and each receive an e-mail giving details of these discharges when they happen. The information is also on the Langstone Harbour Board web site. Four Conservative councillors sit on the Langstone Harbour Board, yet they do not appear to take these environmental issues serious enough by keeping their MP in the picture.

I was also surprised that at our recent full council meeting at Havant Borough Council, that the fact that raw sewage which had been pouring into our harbour for six months, did not even feature in the report from the Cabinet member for the Environment.

As a ward councillor for Bedhampton and Hampshire County Councillor for the area, I have in the past taken this issue of discharges into Langstone Harbour with Havant Borough Council and the Environment Agency and put questions at the Langstone Harbour Board.

Langstone Harbour is a stunning location and we must do all we can to protect this fragile environment which appears to be increasingly threatened by both heavy rainfall and housing numbers, leading to more storm discharges into our harbour.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Ann Buckley, Member Langstone Harbour Board

To The News, from PPC Alex Payton, March 2010
Dear Sir,

A dedicated bridge for cyclists using the Hayling Billy makes sense at any level.

It would provide a vital link in a network of sustainable transport that would help to reduce car use and therefore help the local environment. A continuous cycleway from Havant for Hayling would be a major tourist attraction and thus help the Island's economy. Cycle sales have gone through the roof in recent years as more and more people re-discover the joys of pedal power. It sits well with the borough's aim to improve health through physical exercise.

On the wider matter of cycling generally on the island much remains to be done. In theory Hayling should be a cyclist paradise with its fine sea views and unspoilt lanes. I wish the Sustran's bid every success and pledge my full support.

Alex Payton, Lib Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, Havant Constituency

To The News, from Councillor Susan Stocker, January 2010
Dear Sir,

I would like to thank all those who organised the recent evacuation of Langstone House due to a gas leak.

The care and thoughtfulness shown by everyone involved, including the well-rehearsed emergency planning team of Havant Borough and Hampshire County Councils, Guinness Hermitage, the Police and Southern Gas, who rolled into action in the early hours of Monday morning, was I am sure much appreciated by all the residents affected.

Havant Leisure Centre housed the evacuees and the staff couldn't have been more helpful, providing hot drinks and food, DVDs, games and puzzles. And thank you also to St John Ambulance volunteers who were on hand to help with medical problems.

Southern Gas representatives gave regular updates about what was being done, and last, but not least, a thank-you to whoever fed and watered the parrot, lizard and kitten who had to be left behind.

Cllr. Susan Stocker

To The News, from Councillor Ann Buckley, January 2010
Dear Sir,

I should like to send my praise and thanks to all the home carers who have continued to work braving this terrible weather to reach people at home providing important services for their clients in their own homes.

These carers travel between clients on foot or bike by public transport or car and ensure that older people or those with disabilities or health conditions are well nourished warn, clean safe and well. Without the help the home carers provide thousands of people in Hampshire would not be able to live independently at home.

During this time of such low temperatures when many people are house bound and at the risk of hypothermia increases the work home carers undertake is even more important.

Cllr. Ann Buckley

To The News, from Councillor Ann Buckley, April 2009
Dear Sir,

The News on 20th April reports the planting of an oak tree in Leigh Park by local MP David Willets to symbolise the start of a regeneration drive in Leigh Park.

Surely seeds of regeneration for Leigh Park, or acorns, should have been planted over the last 17 years since David Willetts was first elected and those would be bearing really good fruit by now.

Cllr. Ann Buckley

To The News, from Councillor Ann Buckley, April 2009
Dear Sir,

Cllr. Pierce Jones states in his letter published in The News on March 30th about the current financial crisis "incidentally don't expect any help from MPs they never saw the crisis coming and are clueless about a solution".

He may wish to say this about his own Conservatives and the Labour MPs who have not shown foresight, but the Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor, Vince Cable, has been dubbed in the national press as 'the soothsayer' for his prescient analysis of today's turbulent economy.

Last April I put a question at the Havant Council meeting asking if the council's new homelessness policy took into account the possible impact of sub prime mortgages and being on the edge of a recession. The answer given to me by a member of the Havant Executive was "we do not have those mortgages locally"!

Cllr. Ann Buckley