READERS’ LETTERS January 27

Readers’ letters from the January 27 issue of the Observer.

I WAS dumbstruck to read in the Observer that Chichester District Council voted to close the public toilets in Itchenor.

Chichester District Council encourages tourism to support local shops and businesses which in turn pay rates to the council in order that it may provide a whole range of vital services.

Chichester Harbour is one of the council’s greatest assets, drawing visitors to the harbourside villages of which Itchenor is one.

All year round – but especially from Easter to autumn – the village welcomes hundreds of tourists, coaches full of people arrive regularly to take advantage of trips on the solar boat or the Chichester Harbour water tours vessel, the Wingate.

Weekends can see 300 cars in the car park.

After a trip on the water we all know what is the most pressing need on the return to dry land.

Yet, having openly encouraged all these visitors Chichester District Council are pulling the plug on the most basic of amenities.

The Salterns Way cycle route attracts cyclists throughout the year and walkers tread the coastal paths every day; what comfort is it to these people in the winter months to learn that the nearest loo is only ten minutes away in Bosham, by ferry that is, but a ferry that only operates from April to September!

If the planned closure goes ahead, the word ‘squatters’ will take on a rather different meaning in Itchenor and we will be confronted with a potential health hazard.

Of course, in time the pressing needs of visitors will be but a thing of the past because people simply will not choose to visit a harbourside where the lack of facilities has rendered it more reminiscent of India than a quintessentially English village.

I suppose we should be thankful that it will only be human excrement which tarnishes the harbourside now that dog bins have been provided at public expense for those unable to scoop up their pets’ business.

Peter Arnold, Itchenor

SO, CHICHESTER District Council is not legally obliged to provide public conveniences but it is okay to demolish them to make more car parking space or sell off the land for development, to put money in its coffers.

The East Pallant loo is a well-used, functioning amenity, a working building, an acceptable piece of public convenience architecture.

Why doesn’t CDC just mothball it until times get better?

Perhaps it is because it spoils the outlook from their recently refurbished council offices, no doubt well endowed with cosy loos.

If they wanted to save money why did they unnecessarily refurbish the central toilet near Marks and Spencer, making it overly complicated, almost baffling and intimidating.

Again, why should Selsey lose one of its toilets and no doubt the trees that surround it for yet another squiffing development?

And Itchenor, where are people to go instead, the harbour?

It is short-term thinking that serves us ill, all done in the name of making economies, which no doubt will be gone in a flush.

Ted Osborne, Hunston

WE ALL recognise the need to save money in these difficult times; however the report in your newspaper of the above decision is hard to understand.

We read that Chichester District Council is to withdraw the funding for the maintenance of the public lavatories in Itchenor and to close them in three months’ time.

Our village is identified in numerous tourist publications produced by the district council, by road signs and on websites.

Visitors are directed to Itchenor where there is a car park, public access to the harbour, footpaths and cycle routes.

This brings large numbers of visitors many of whom have had a lengthy journey and who require the provision of these facilities.

Closure cannot be an option.

Our district council needs to reconsider this urgently.

Christopher Mead-Briggs, Chairman, Itchenor Society

IN NOVEMBER you reported on the dramatic rise in visitor numbers to the area and the comments of Cllr Nick Thomas: “We need to make the most of this renewed interest and find ways of keeping tourists coming back year after year.”

I would agree with this opinion wholeheartedly.

In the same edition the planned closure of the tourist information centre in South Street was reported, and recently the proposed closure of a city-centre public convenience as a cost-saving exercise?

Visitors to the city centre require the use of public toilets and we should be looking to preserve these or lose the valuable visitors.

Ideally, every car park should have a toilet as every restaurant/cafe should provide toilet and hand- washing facilities.

Alongside your report on the proposed East Pallant closure, was a report showing, albeit fewer shoppers over the Christmas trading period (for obvious reasons), there were still thousands of visitors to the city centre.

I have emailed Cllr Nick Thomas and Ms Kim Long, city centre manager to ask for their feelings on the proposed toilet closure, but regretfully have not received a reply from either at the time of writing.

I do understand cuts need to be made in public spending but someone needs to be overseeing the whole picture.

Chipping away with some of these cuts without considering the whole picture is a poor strategy.

Michael Galvin, West Street, Selsey

YOUR CORRESPONDENT Bridget Stap (Readers’ letters, January 6) asks three very pertinent questions about waste disposal and recycling: why can glass bottles and jars now be put in the burgundy recycling bins; why do we only recycle plastic bottles; and why can’t all the other waste be used to provide energy for lighting and heating?

The answer to the first question is simple. A new ‘Materials Recycling Facility’ (MRF) has been built at Ford, near Arundel, which can mechanically sort and separate all dry recyclable material (glass bottles and jars, paper, card, cans, foil, etc), ready for recycling.

Until this plant was built it was not possible in this area to separate glass from the other recyclate, so it has been collected for many years via the many bottle banks around the district.

Putting glass bottles and jars in the burgundy bins will enable the council to save money by removing most of the bottle banks.

The plastics question is more complex.

In simple terms all plastic bottles can be readily recycled, but virtually all other forms of plastic cannot.

The Ford MRF can separate and remove this material (typically yogurt pots and margarine tubs), but there is no commercial market for it at present.

Most of this residual waste is packaging, especially food packaging.

Many people think that if it is plastic it should be recyclable, and with the best of intentions, ‘burgundy bin’ it.

I offer the following guidelines as best practice when disposing of plastic materials: If it is a plastic bottle of any description, rinse it, and ‘burgundy bin’ it – if there is the odd one that doesn’t comply, it will be weeded out at the MRF.

‘Black bin’ all other plastic. It may have a recyclable logo on it but that does not necessarily mean that it is readily recyclable.

Another recycling/waste treatment plant is at present being built near Horsham.

When this is finished in two or three years’ time, all ‘black bin’ waste (including non-recyclable plastics) will be sent there.

Organic waste will be separated out and treated in an ‘anaerobic digester’ to provide power and a soil conditioner, the rest (including plastics) will be processed into ‘refuse derived fuel’ (RDF), which can also be used to generate power.

The contamination of recyclable material with organic waste from unwashed or partially empty (but otherwise recyclable) containers is a particular problem; if organic matter is put in recycling bins, the whole contents of those bins can be rejected.

Recycling companies cannot or will not process materials covered in ‘tikka masala’ or engine oil, etc.

An especially-offensive problem is when disposable nappies are left in recycling bins.

The contents of contaminated burgundy bins in a freighter full of otherwise very good recyclable material can result in the whole load being rejected and sent to landfill.

Our refuse freighter crews do what they can to prevent contaminants and other unsuitable materials reaching the MRF, but the problem is getting worse in some areas.

This could seriously affect our ability to maintain high recycling levels and reduce the income councils get from recycled materials.

This income is used to offset the cost of waste collection and disposal, which is paid from our council tax.

Obviously we need more recycling and waste treatment facilities such as those at Ford and (shortly) Horsham, but there are huge difficulties in providing them.

Suitable sites have to be identified, the necessary licences and permission obtained, and funding provided.

These are time-consuming and expensive procedures; especially where there is (understandably) vigorous and vociferous local opposition.

Bridget Stap says she will continue to take her bottles and jars to the supermarket for recycling.

That’s fine; at least it will be recycled, but the income from this will go towards the supermarket’s profits.

If the glass is put in the burgundy bins, the recycling will count towards this district and not to the supermarket, and the income will go towards keeping down your council tax.

The choice is yours.

Cllr John Connor, Portfolio Holder for the Environment, Chichester District Council

RE: CENTRAL School playing fields.

As reported recently, over the past six months there has been an active public consultation taking place over the need for a safer school playing field and a recreational area on the WSCC-owned ‘Old Brewery’ fields west of Orchard Street.

This consultation has been supported by local council members and officers, Mr Goff, the head of Central School, local residents groups and local individuals.

There have been a couple of well-attended local meetings and a working group set up late last year to try and understand each others needs and agree a suitable solution for the whole field.

At the end of the meeting late last year there were two options being considered – one by Mr Goff and a variation on this put forward by the Orchard Street Residents’ Association.

Much to everyone’s surprise the erection of fencing started in the new year on the northern side of the field.

It would appear that the layout of this is similar to the proposal put forward by Mr Goff but does not address local concerns regarding public access, safety and maintenance raised through the consultation.

It seems to satisfy the needs of the school but creates many potential problems for the remaining area of field.

In essence, it is short-sighted and does not address the bigger picture.

It now seems that Mr Goff made the unilateral decision to reject the local alternative without informing anyone, not even local council members, and has accelerated the erection of this fencing to forestall any pressure to compromise.

This is in spite of the fact that the field owners WSCC have supported on-going negotiations for consideration of the future of the whole field, not just the school playing area.

Of more concern is that it also transpires that Central School submitted an application in July 2010 to CDC for a certificate of permitted development to erect the fence as proposed by Mr Goff.

Because the fence is less than six feet high and not adjoining a road then it can go ahead without further discussion or consent from CDC.

It seems that there is nothing legally wrong in Mr Goff’s actions as far as planning is concerned although the ethics of doing this while still allegedly taking part in discussions with the community is something else.

I now understand that WSCC has very little control over the decision-making process for the erection of this fencing.

While it is not a private school or an academy it is run by its governors who have almost complete say over the use of funds and grants received from central or local government.

So, while it is Mr Goff who appears to have completely ignored public opinion and the on-going consultation process, it is likely that there have been a couple of dictatorial governors who have been pulling his strings.

WSCC as landowner and CDC as the local planning authority have had little say in this matter.

In my opinion this whole consultation process has been a complete farce that has wasted considerable time and money for many and is completely contrary to WSCC and central government policy regarding local community engagement.

Local county councillor Louise Goldsmith and I were secretary and treasurer of Central School PTA for several years and I am proud to say that we worked well with the headmistress and local community.

Sadly, I believe the current board of governors have now isolated the school from the local community as a few dictatorial members focus on their self-interest without any thought for the world beyond their school boundary.

Paul Wreyford, Chichester

IS IT true that Keith Newbery’s article in last week’s Observer led to the departure of the shadow chancellor Alan Johnson?

In nautical terms Keith blasted off a full broadside in his rather acerbic article criticising the inability of Alan Johnson to recognise, in a BBC television interview, economic statistics he should have known in his position.

The result of Keith’s article has resulted, it seems, in the shadow chancellor’s resignation, although personal circumstances were mentioned in his resignation letter.

Keith’s article may have been a hole below the waterline which may begin the sinking of the whole ship under Labour leader Ed Milliband.

Who knows?

Eddie Clamp (With tongue greatly in cheek), Selsey

I WOULD like to thank everyone who voted for us and who encouraged their friends and relatives to support us as well in the recent Observer’s Community Cash Giveaway.

We were so overwhelmed to win the £1,000 donated by Chandlers building supplies.

A special thank-you must go to Danielle Charbonneau who originally put us forward, and the people who selected us for the shortlist.

The money will go towards the garden area for our ‘golden oldie’ cats.

This will be attached to Viv Eadon Lodge (our new animal and facilities building) and allow the older felines to spend time in a safe environment, and will be large enough for people to go in and sit with them.

Requests for our help still continues; for example, last week we were asked to take in 16 unwanted animals!

We need more people to contact rescue centres when they want a pet, to give us some room to take in more.

Call us on 01243 641409

Monique Y Turk (Founder), The Cat & Rabbit Rescue Centre, Chalder Lane, Sidlesham

CAN YOU help us help others?

For a number of years the Rotary Club of Chichester Harbour has been supporting many families in the Chichester area by providing clothes, toys, food, and small items of furniture.

The Refuge in Chichester provides temporary shelter for women and families escaping domestic violence with around 60 families having been helped in the past year.

Our club provides each family with a ‘welcome box’ that contains a supply of emergency food rations and a voucher for £50.

We also provide very good quality ‘nearly-new’ clothes, bedding and toys where these are needed.

During the year we also receive requests from health visitors to support families who, as a result of the current financial climate, are finding it difficult to provide even the basics needed to keep themselves fed and clothed.

Where we can, we respond.

Over the Christmas period alone, we helped more than 160 families.

In order to be able to respond, we need to obtain and store a range of goods.

We have been very fortunate in being able to use a large garage in North Mundham which we could use freely for our storage.

Unfortunately, the garage is now required by the owner for other uses and we have to vacate it by the end of February.

We urgently need to find somewhere to store our supplies.

Our work depends upon us being able to respond to requests at very short notice.

We would love to hear from any Observer reader who can help us.

Ideally, we need a clean and dry facility with easy access that we can use for ‘free’.

Alternatively, we would consider purchasing a storage unit if we could find a suitable secure place to site it.

If any reader can help us, we would love to hear from you.

Please contact either myself – Bob Rendall – on 01903 882431 or Therese Brook on 01243 585426.

Bob Rendall, Rotary Club of Chichester Harbour

I READ in The Daily Telegraph that the secretary of state for culture, Jeremy Hunt, believes that the time is ripe for really local television based on its local news value.

He opined that people living in Barnham are not interested in what happens in Southampton.

Living in this estimable parish of Aldwick, one can sympathise as we care more for shopping in Chichester than in Bognor.

Now as for the ancient Parish of Barnham, and its news, there is the shattering revelation that money is to be frittered on improving a play area in remote Farnhurst Road as a result of the valiant enterprising efforts of house-builders.

But we may pass over the loss of the major local hostelry adjoining the noble Southern Railway edifice, and indeed the fact that several trains a day call at the station on their way to and from Southampton should one wish to escape in either direction.

Of course, we can expect a riveting daily news bulletin from the studios of Mega-Barnham TV, eg on the exciting outcomes of meetings of Barnham Parish Council and its galaxy of committees, sub-committees and working parties.

Sports coverage I hear you cry?

Well just get the cameras and replay equipment across to Oliver’s Meadow and watch Sky Sports put in a bid.

The drama output – the Eastergate Players, and at Christmas the nativity plays from the local schools and playgroups.

Foreign news?

Of course, and NOT Southampton.

Send the OB tricycle down to Ford Prison and wait for the next riot.

Variety?

Barnham Scouts can revive the ever-popular idea of Gang Shows, marvellous, clean-living stuff.

And the uplift of Songs of Praise from a rota of the local churches.

They’ll be queuing up, just you watch.

Coming up, Pub Question Time, topics to be asked ‘Why Isn’t My Husband in Ford Prison, he was an Accountant?’, ‘Can we See the End of the World from Yapton?’, and then the cut-and-thrust of next May’s climactic parish and district election campaign – may I volunteer my international and logistical experience as the incisive anchor man for the Election Night Special and as chairman of the Committee of Public Duty that will be called upon to take over the running of the parish’s civic affairs when the expenses scandals are revealed on the night?

Bidd RA (Col Retd), Aldwick

RE POTENTIAL housing around Pagham.

Regrettably, I was unable to attend the ‘Meet the Planners’ meeting but that was not because of any lack of interest.

Two issues in particular are a cause for concern, and I am sure I am not alone in my fears.

Firstly, we have the increasing amount of agricultural acreage which is falling into the hands of developers, which could be taken out of the food-producing stock at any time unless the planners are prepared to stand firm.

Several fields flanking Summer Lane are believed to be owned by developers as well as, notably, the land in Hook Lane. 

What leasing arrangements exist between these developers and the agricultural companies (mainly Barfoots) is a matter of conjecture.

We also have to face up to the follies of 17-20 years ago when Pagham was so built-up there was no space left for recreational use.

It is scandalous that a prominent organisation such as Pagham Bowls Club have no home in Pagham but have to base themselves in Bognor.

The infrastructure in Pagham (and including Nyetimber) is totally unable of accepting any large-scale housing development which should automatically preclude such development taking place.

Not only would space be required for dwellings, but even more land would be needed for school(s), doctors’ surgery (Malcolm Ridley expressed the view at the Hook Lane enquiry that Grove House could not cope) and youth facilities.

Insofar as the latter are concerned, if facilities are not provided the community is heading towards social disorder.

We also have to face the additional requirement for jobs – unless of course we exacerbate the present exodus from Pagham and Bognor towards Chichester and other localities.

At the present time, the community is (just about) coping.

Expand the demand on our infrastructure, and money must be found to provide additional facilities.

It would not be right to expect all council tax payers to finance them, either through district or county councils.

That being so the developers would have to ‘cough up”.

The land at Hook Lane was adjudged to be part of the strategic gap and valuable green belt by the government inspector at the public enquiry a few years ago – what has changed? 

Any, (even moderate) housing development in the Pagham and Nyetimber area would also accelerate the need for improvements to the road from Runcton to Nyetimber.

There is an increasing number of juggernauts delivering and collecting from the Barfoot site, and the road is becoming ever more dangerous, as the relatively-large number of road traffic accidents testify. Bends need to be ‘straightened’ and, in some cases, widening should take place. 

How would all of this be co-ordinated?

Ray Radmall is quoted as saying we are not ‘nimbys’. 

If we are, it’s because there is no more room in our back yards!

Geoffrey King, Oaktree Close, Pagham

THE RESIDENTS at the lower end of Barrack Lane in Aldwick are not happy bunnies.

Why? Because whenever it rains they have to endure flash floods in the road and so far Arun District Council – particularly the highways department – has turned a blind eye.

I enclose some photos so you can see the problem.

The council, to its credit, was quick to unblock the drains of leaves during November/December, but this operation was a bit like rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

The flooding is still a threat and the drains are still blocked – particularly between the Royal Bay Nursing Home and Coastguards Parade.

Perhaps the council will take another look at the problem.

Maybe, just maybe, it will try to sort it out.

Geordie Campbell, Barrack Lane, Aldwick

PART of the team that prepared the planning application for ‘Hotel A’ at Butlins, I was disappointed to read of Ian Harris’s reaction in the story Hotel v Heritage fears, in your free sister-paper The Bognor Regis Guardian of January 5.

Because Hotham Park and Bluelands Wood are in the conservation area, particular care was taken to assess the character of the area and design the proposed building to enhance that character, as the second part of the article makes clear.

There are a host of supporting documents that can be viewed on the council’s website but anyone particularly interested in the impact on Hotham Park should read the Heritage Statement, which is part of the Design and Access Statement, and look at the photographs in Appendix 2.

The proposed new hotel (or where it will not be seen – its outline) has been superimposed on photographs of the conservation area that its impact can be accurately assessed.

I hope the majority view will be that Hotel A will make a positive contribution to this part of the town.

Sue Organ, (MSC in Historic Conservation), Chartered Town Planner, South Street, Havant

HERE IS a reply to a letter concerning a recent letter in the Bognor Regis Observer sent in by Councillor Mary Harvey, on the subject of the Felpham Parish precept set for 2011/2012.

A parish council does need to be responsible and ensure that the parish is clearly able to pay what is due when notified in advance of future charges.

We also need to ensure the council does not put itself into a position of having little or no balances as a contingency to any emergency or unforeseen situation.

All councillors take very seriously their responsibility with regard to care, prudence, openness and transparency.

In this respect each committee and its members reviews its spending requirement for the coming year, which are then reviewed again and then presented and discussed at main council prior to a democratic decision and vote.

The decision was taken to raise the precept by £6,027 to cover the costs expected and advised of, which equates to an increase of £ 1.52 per annum on a band ‘D’ property in Felpham.

If we had high reserves we may have been in a position to have used those as others might do, however, this was not the case.

A democratic vote was taken on the precept figure on Tuesday January 4, 2011, where it was resolved that for the financial year 2011/12 the figure for Felpham would be £98,609.

This equates to approximately £22.85 per annum on a band ‘D’ property.

All but two members present voted in favour of the very carefully considered budget, one of those voting against being Councillor Mary Harvey.

The letter in the Observer of January 13 claiming such a large increase is unnecessary comes from the aforementioned councillor who was involved throughout in the precept and budget decision-making process, and was given every opportunity to express her views on the subject, which is of course her right to do.

It was a shame it was felt necessary to voice her views/dissatisfaction through the media rather than through the proper channels of the council, thus undermining the integrity of her fellow councillors and the purpose and principles of the democratic process.

We have always tried to be prudent and will continue to be so, and in light of the information above we hope Felpham residents will understand that the majority of its councillors act with restraint and consideration.

We are sure Felpham residents have seen over the past number of years a parish council that does ‘think’ and ‘understand’ its responsibility to the community to which it serves, now and into the future – particularly in light of its imminent future residents.

Paul English, Chairman, Felpham Parish Council and, Dennis Peerman, Vice-chairman and chairman of finance committee, Felpham Parish Council

HAVING READ Mrs Brown’s letter in the Observer saying that no cars should be allowed in Bognor precinct, I felt I had to reply.

Many disabled drivers in this area would find it extremely difficult or impossible to walk from car parks, cross roads, negotiate pavements to reach the shops and carry shopping back to their cars again.

The concession for disabled badge holders only lasts until 10.30am and the precinct is free of traffic for the rest of the day.

I am sure the many kind and helpful people who shop in Bognor would not want to deny the disabled this bit of help.

M V Sage (Mrs), Bognor Regis

A COLLECTION was held in Bognor Regis on behalf of the Bognor Regis Lions Club on December 17, 18 and 19, and a total of £841.90 was donated.

All of the money went towards the purchase of hampers and toys for those in need in our local community.

Our thanks go to everyone who contributed, to the manager and staff of Morrisons for their support, and to Macaris for supplying much-appreciated hot drinks.

Linda Wellard, Felpham, Bognor Regis

ONCE AGAIN we would like to thank everybody in the Aldwick and Pagham area who gave so generously to the Poppy Appeal, helping us to collect the final sum of £9,214.73.

It makes the Royal British Legion members feel so proud to see people in the area being so generous in helping the Poppy Appeal and Help the Heroes.

Once again, thank you so much.

Branch Committee, Aldwick Royal British Legion

ON BEHALF of Pagham Pram Race Committee, may we through your excellent local paper take the opportunity to thank all those who contributed to the 65th continuous running of the event by turning up to support/spectate and who donated/ contributed so generously to the street/bucket collection.

We would also like to thank the entrants who go to so much effort in preparing spectacular prams of topical and colourful themes, as well as all the runners and riders, (many being second or third generations of local families) who take part in this now well and truly established local charitable event.

There are so many people who turn up and help us by freely giving their services and time assisting around the course including TMS Systems, Kennedy’s Agricultural for the rostrum, St John Ambulance, Sussex Police PCSOs, the publicans at The Bear Inn, The Lamb Inn, Pagham Road and Kings Beach, Pagham, Bognor Hotham Rotary Club and the many helpers who turn up on the day.

We thank our faithful primary sponsors KIA, a local garage group at Slated Barn and New Barn Aldwick.

Thanks to the generosity of all who donated, the bucket/street collection on December 26 raised a new record total of £2,055.61.

The raffle held on December 16 raised £1,385.40 making a total of £3,441.1.

These sums, together with proceeds from a bingo event held on September 4, 2010, has allowed us to donate a total of £4,550 to local good causes and charities, benefiting local old and young alike. A further sum of £215 donated by the race/class winners has also been passed on by the pram race committee to their nominated charities.

We are always pleased to hear from local old or young who may have ideas to improve the event or, may wish to assist the committee in keeping the race running for the next 65 years.

Please get in touch by ringing 07775 664286 and let us know your ideas.

In conclusion, and on behalf of our president, Derek Bell, I would like to thank you all, as well as my brilliant and hard-working committee, without whom, none of this would be possible.

We all wish to dedicate this year’s event in memory of Graham Knight, a much-respected member of the committee.

He passed away last September and is hugely missed, but well remembered by us all.

Tim Holland, Chairman, Pagham Pram Race Committee

PLEASE, PLEASE let Morrisons expand and improve its store in Bognor Regis.

I have visited many of its bigger stores around the country and they are super.

The goods, the prices, the staff and the cafeterias are always excellent.

Those of us that do not drive are so grateful to have a major supermarket in the centre of town.

It really is time to enlarge it enough to accommodate the paying customers.

Doreen Carter, Elbridge Crescent, Rose Green

COLIN FIRTH is a very good actor who has been greatly admired for some years now and the Golden Globe award he has received for his terrific performance in The King’s Speech is richly deserved.

What is perhaps equally admirable about him is illustrated in a friend’s story from New York.

About five years ago, then in her early 60s, my friend had been long resident in the city.

One chilly winter’s day, while shopping in a posh department store and wearing a new, very stylish, bright red coat, she was feeling, and looking, pretty good.

She stopped to admire the spectacular floral display and chat to a sales assistant in the (expensive) flower section when Colin Firth happened to stroll past.

Both women recognised him of course so automatically smiled at him.

He smiled back, nodded and greeted them courteously while going on his way into another department nearby.

A few moments later a manager emerged from the department into which Colin had just gone and, gathering and wrapping up a massive bunch of stunning red tulips, presented them to my friend with a flourish.

She was both astonished and puzzled until he said ‘From Mr Firth, because he says you have a lovely smile and these will match your coat!’

His charming gesture made her whole week, so not only a brilliant actor but a nice man too.

Maggie Ferrari, Oak Tree Court, Midhurst

ON THE afternoon of Saturday, January 8, my wife had a serious fall while walking the dog in the local woods at Rogate, breaking her shoulder in three places.

She eventually struggled to the main road and successfully flagged down a lady motorist (who normally never uses that road).

This good samaritan transported both casualty and dog back to their home and generously offered further assistance.

As a result of this samaritan involvement and a timely 999 ambulance response, my wife was in St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester, that evening.

Several hours of operation followed in due course.

Happily. my wife is now back home after successful surgery.

I would like to record how grateful my family is for the unidentified good samaritan, who we understand lives on a farm near Iping.

It is encouraging that there are so many caring people in this community and we also applaud the sensitivity and professionalism of the ambulance team, the A&E team together with all the surgeons and staff involved.

These conjointly succeeded in minimising what could have become a family disaster and we are immensely grateful to them all.

Peter Shaw, Rogate

RE LAST week’s ‘mystery bird’ pictures from Annelise Richardson of Westbourne.

I agree with Annelise – her bird must be a pipit, a meadow pipit, and no doubt a very hungry one, like all the unusual birds that appeared in gardens during the wintry weather.

I also had a brief sighting of a meadow pipit in my Midhurst garden during the worst of the weather – the first I’ve seen in the garden ‘since records began’ 30 years ago.

Hugh Horne, Chichester Road, Midhurst

THE REASON the application for change of use of ‘Unusual Food’ to a ‘Costa’ was because Midhurst would have lost a ‘significant’ amount of retail space.

This was not about stopping ‘Costa’, more losing a large retail environment.

In my experience the cafes in town are rarely so busy that you can’t be served within a few minutes. Both Comestibles and Caffe Verdi have espresso machines and use branded coffee; Segefredo, Lavazza, etc.

The lattes and cappuccinos they make are easily comparable, if not better, than Costa.

The fresh sandwiches are made using bread baked that day from the Midhurst Spinning Wheel Bakery and they have a wide choice of fillings.

To allow a national coffee shop chain to acquire valuable retail space may be the thin end of the wedge.

What next?

I am not sure that the owners of Stepping Out or Frasers would agree with Audrey Mail if the likes of Fat Face, White Stuff or Oasis wanted to move in!

S South, Midhurst

MY LETTER of January 13 should have said that its illustration was of a sculpture by Jaume Plensa that in 2009 was squatting balefully in the courtyard of the archbishop’s palace in Salzburg.

It uses the same interlacing-letters technique that the artist proposes for Chichester Cathedral’s ‘Severed Hand’.

Tim Hudson, Hawthorn Close, Chichester

HOW NICE it was to read recently in your free sister-paper The Bognor Regis Guardian an article praising the work of our binmen.

If anyone has ever watched those guys work then you’ll know how hard they do it.

Obviously, I can only speak for the crew that works in our road, but they move so quickly and efficiently – hardly pausing for breath!

When you consider the problems there have been in other areas of the country we should be very grateful for these men and the job they do, which at times must be most unpleasant.

DL Lambert (Mrs), Dryad Way, Felpham