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OPINION: Letters to the editor of the Newbury Weekly News

The demise of the Kennet makes me sad

The Dead Kennedys was an old punk band back in the punk era of the late Seventies when the River Kennet was one of the finest rivers in the country.

People travelled from all over the world to fish its hallowed waters and go home with a good catch, record-breaking fish and a few fishy stories.

The River Kennet in Newbury
The River Kennet in Newbury

When you looked over any bridge into the River Kennet, you could not see the river bottom for shoals of fish, beautiful lush weeds and reeds.

All you see now is built up piles of silt, carrier bags, traffic cones and shopping trolleys. Now it is the dead Kennet!

After years of adding millions of gallons of excrement into the river by the UK’s largest water company (unnamed) and the consistent predation by the American signal crayfish on the fish eggs and fry, the life has been sucked out of the river.

Gone are the huge shoals of bream, six pound plus chub, beautiful roach and the famous Kennet barbel.

You may catch the odd mature fish that survived the pollution but mostly all you catch are fish that are just a few years old or feral trout in the Newbury town centre free stretch that the kids can catch on bread.

It doesn’t appear that we have moved on from the Victorian days and the big stink when the Thames and its tributaries where an open sewer system.

It appears that paying out the fat cats and shareholders is much more important than preserving nature.

When will we ever learn that nature is our heritage and our responsibility and we cannot play fast and loose with it?

Every time I look at the Kennet, I feel so sad and at the same time extremely frustrated with the continuous damage that is has sustained.

Ian Sanderson

Thanks for helping to salvage our gazebo

May I through your letters page thank the members of the Thatcham public who helped to salvage our gazebo and tombola prizes and money when the wind blew our gazebo and stall and money got carried away by the wind on Saturday.

Your help was most appreciated. Thank you.

Brian R Hare
Chairman, Thatcham Royal British Legion branch

Why must I have a smartphone to park?

Why oh why do companies assume that everyone has a smartphone that can be used at their parking machines?

I can use my bank card to pay and always carry a few pound coins just in case.

I do have a very basic mobile phone that I keep in the car in case I break down.

Ah well, I will no longer shop in the Kennet Centre.

It’s time we took control over how we shop and not allow ourselves to be coerced in this way – the customer is always right, okay?

Briony Canning

Bicycle nuisance in town is not a new thing

I recently stumbled across a piece in the Newbury Weekly News as far back as December 6, 1877, reporting the Annual Dinner of the Newbury Bicycle Club at the White Hart Hotel.

It reported the speech of the vice-chair and captain of the club (Robert Martin) which included: “There was, he regretted to say, such a thing as a bicycle nuisance (hear, hear).

“Now it would be the endeavour of himself and every member to knock everything like a bicycle nuisance out of existence (hear, hear and applause).

“They might rely on it that no member of the club would be guilty of frantic riding, no riding on footpaths to the annoyance of pedestrians, no pushing by people who were driving (?); indeed with proper caution, and proper respect for the feelings of others, there need be no such thing as a bicycle nuisance (applause).”

Of course he went on to praise the sport (which at that time would have been on penny-farthing bikes) and the institution, and toasts were duly given and responded to.

The evening ended with “several excellent songs with pianoforte accompaniment being sung”.

Hear, hear!

Brian Sylvester
Oxford Road, Newbury

Why is Priory Road getting such poor post?

I have today (April 6) received an envelope from the Post Office containing a form I sent a local horticultural society (on February 27 this year) with a cheque covering my annual membership.

I had a letter wrong in the post code address.

The Post Office opened my correspondence (which had the treasurer’s name and correct post code on a form within) and returned it to me five weeks later.

My copies of Private Eye, posted to me once a fortnight, which should arrive on a Thursday, are frequently up to five days late.

Recently we went a complete week without any post.

Is Priory Road, Newbury, the only place receiving such a poor postal service?

Lynette Edwell
Priory Road, Newbury

What can the new ‘heat sensors’ be used for?

On the face of it the ‘heat sensors’ which West Berkshire Council have installed to check roads for gritting seem like a good idea.

However, if one takes a dystopian view, it is also possibly a very dangerous development. Check roads to see whether anyone is out and about? Fanciful? Conspiracy theory?

Time will tell but by then it may be too late.

Robert Jolley

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