Hills fantasy

THE directors of Malvern For All continue to spin a web of fantasy over the Malvern cable car.

In over 50 years I have never known a topic given so much disproportionate publicity in the media in general.

The facts which continue to be ignored are these: lEncroachment on the Malvern Hills is against the various Acts of Parliament.

lThe Acts were formulated to protect the beauty of the Malvern Hills against desecration and commercial exploitation.

lIndeed, Malvern For All has been forbidden by Malvern Hills Conservators to make any survey on the hills.

lThe cable car would violate the Malvern Hills area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) and the protected Ancient Monument status of the higher slopes of the hills.

lThe lower slopes are in a Conservation area.

The following have rejected the cable car after the overwhelming vote by Malvern Hills Conservators to uphold the Acts of Parliament: lMalvern Town Council lMalvern Hills District Council lTwo independent online polls, where over 85 per cent were against.

lOver 90 per cent were against in a Neighbourhood Plan general survey.

lHarriett Baldwin MP, who upholds the Acts of Parliament.

lThe disabled access argument has been comprehensively rejected by disabled groups.

lThe Voice of the Malvern Hills Group.

Leave our pristine Malvern Hills alone, untainted by dreadful steel towers, litter and joy riders.

All the points made by Malvern For All in the past, present and no doubt in the future are irrelevant.

Peter Smith Malvern

Perfect peace

IS it not time that Malvern For All realised that Malvern is neither a ski resort nor populated by geriatrics.

When I go walking on the hills I value the peace and quiet and the nature abounding there.

Should the time come when I need mobility aids to do this then there are many tracks well maintained by the Conservators that provide excellent access to those areas that I value the most.

Neville Mills Malvern  

Is it best idea?

HAS anyone actually considered whether a cable car is a suitable way to get people with limited mobility up to the Beacon?

They’re not that easy to get into and a lot of people are very nervous of them.

What about some kind of land train?

H White Malvern

This is reality

I CONGRATULATE C Whatmore (September 25) on his excellent use of stereotypes and sweeping statements.

The ‘real world’ that he alludes to is one of people on the move as a result of war and persecution, just as it was as a result of the persecution of Jews and others in the Thirties and during and after World War Two. The ‘real world’ of Malvern is one of an ageing population, developers building large sheltered accommodation and nursing homes. Hardly a town to attract the young. This situation, of course, is putting disproportionate pressures on our health services.

He rightly refers to the shortage of social housing. But who was responsible for that? Margaret Thatcher and successive Governments that have failed to build sufficient houses.

Has he challenged that or the present discrimination against the poor and disabled?

Which newsreels has he been watching? What I have seen is patient processions of families and amazingly well-behaved babies and young children, and angry scenes at border crossings when armed police have shown little restraint. But is that surprising? I am sure from the tone of Mr Whatmore’s letter that anger is not an emotion alien to him.

We gave a home to an Afghani asylum seeker – a cultured and gentle human being. He is now a British citizen, working hard, but has been beaten up by a group of white Brits. I suppose they were defending our country.

Veronica Edwards Malvern

Utter nonsense

THANK you, C Whatmore, for the excellent letter on the refugee crises (September 25).

I could not have written anything better.

On the other hand a few pages later I came across the article, ‘Clamour mounts to take in refugees’.

What utter nonsense for someone to come out with the statement: “After a short period of time the refugees become self-financing and end up being net contributors to our economy”.

How many of our own hard-working people have to resort to getting benefits just to keep their heads above water?

I am probably the only person, so far, to actually really want to help the Syrians – not by taking them in, but rather by getting the Western leaders to stop meddling in their affairs.

Bill Kovacs Malvern

Same problems

GIVEN that very large numbers of the displaced people currently in Europe are genuine refugees fleeing war, persecution and intolerable conditions in camps to which they cannot possibly return any time soon, and given that many thousands of local communities throughout Europe, just like Malvern, have exactly the same problems and reservations as expressed so forcibly in your columns, I ask the same question that I put three weeks ago: what actually should happen to all these people – old, young, children, families?  I have yet to hear an answer from any of your correspondents who say we shouldn’t be taking in any.

James Pertwee Malvern

Surely, a joke?

I DO enjoy reading through the letters pages of the Malvern Gazette; there always something that causes to me to smile to myself, especially from your regular contributors such as Haydn Edwards et al. However, when reading through the September 25 edition, I started to get worked up by M Jackson’s correspondence up until the last paragraph “... they might bring disease that we have eliminated”.

It then suddenly occurred to me that it was obviously an editorial mishap and that you’d printed your April Fools article a tad early, because nobody really thinks like that. Do they?

You did have me going for a bit though!

Simon Elmes Malvern   

Pointless debate

I attended the recent council meeting to show my support for the motion regarding Syrian refugees.

It was the first time I had attended a council meeting, and although I can’t say that I followed all the procedural intricacies involved, I did leave the meeting having witnessed the unanimous vote in favour of the proposal to accept Syrian refugees.

So why have there been reports since then that the council has changed its position and will not accept the refugees unless there is additional funding?

If this was an issue why was it not debated at the proper forum – at the council meeting?

The lack of transparency is worrying. What’s the point of a debate before the public if decisions are then overturned elsewhere?

Gill Carter Malvern

Heartless U-turn

WE are appalled by Worcestershire County Council’s heartless U-turn on its commitment to invite about 50 Syrian refugees over here.

It reflects the dismal lack of leadership and cooperation exhibited by our Government in response to increasing numbers seeking sanctuary in Europe.

Although later heartened by the outpouring of public sympathy for those in Calais, we were dismayed at the nasty rhetoric from media and politicians, eager to spread fear and insecurity to arouse support. Misinformation is the tool of these manipulators of public opinion.

The 3,000 men, women and children in Calais represent a tiny fraction of the world’s 20 million refugees. Most in the French port come from areas of conflict and persecution: Syria, Sudan, Eritrea, Afghanistan.

Europe takes very few refugees compared to countries like Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. Over 85 per cent of refugees live in poor neighbouring countries.

Although Germany and Sweden have accepted appreciable numbers of asylum applicants, the UK and France (which receives twice as many as the UK) lag far behind.

Erecting fences to deny needy people access to a means of living in safety is odious, short-sighted and ultimately ineffective. It does not address the manifest problem of refugee flows or the underlying problems of abuse and insecurity, from which refugees flee.

The whole Mediterranean refugee situation merits EU-wide organisation and management. Safe routes must be established for refugees from Africa and Syria, and there must be managed resettlement within the EU.

We must respond to current needs far better; with political courage, leadership and cooperation with partner countries.

Dr Trevor Trueman Malvern Hills Amnesty International

Callous decision

ON September 17, there was unanimous support from across Worcestershire County Council for a notice in favour of our local councils taking proactive steps to take part in the scheme to relocate Syrian refugee families.

The council formally recognised the urgent need for action and its determination to play its part in accommodating an equitable and realistic number of refugees in Worcestershire.

In view of this, our steering group met to discuss the practicalities of organising the large number of people in our community who have volunteered to help welcome some Syrian refugee families to Malvern.

Last Tuesday, however, the leaders of the county council and the six district councils agreed that they would only submit an application if national government provided funding for five years.

All the evidence from other councils who have taken part in this scheme suggests that five years’ worth of funding will not be needed. After a short period of time, the refugees become self-financing and contribute to the UK economy.

The decision of the council is callous and shameful and was reached by a small majority. It is preventing us from playing a part in alleviating the suffering of even a small number of people.

Many councillors have shown their support and, along with a huge movement of people in the Malvern community, are dismayed that that we, in Worcestershire, have not offered sanctuary to a single refugee during this current, ever-worsening crisis.

Ruth Forecast Malvern Welcomes Syrian Refugees

Just enjoy life

REGARDING your article of September 25 about the helicopter landing on Castlemorton Common, I would like to suggest to David Smallwood that next time he is lucky enough to witness the exciting and unusual experience of a helicopter landing nearby, instead of peering over his garden hedge taking photos, perhaps he could have done what my children and I did when we saw it land on our way back from school.

We stopped to talk with the pilot, admire his fantastically shiny blue machine, enjoy a little chat about how helicopters work and what they are like to fly, and find out why he had landed (to pick up a friend as it happens).

There was no danger to person or livestock in his landing there, and it gave lots of people pleasure to see a helicopter close up.

Except Mr Smallwood, who I think perhaps needs to try to enjoy life’s unexpected moments a little more.

Sarah Rowe Welland

They’re welcome

READERS wishing to express an opinion write letters to their local newspaper.

Needles on their various opinion compasses differ wildly.

The needle may indicate good, evil, right or wrong, honour or fear, an urge to help and comfort or hate and punish.

I have applied my own moral compass to examine what we should, indeed must do at Zest for Life, once Syrian refugees arrive here in Malvern.

Syrian refugees are particularly welcome to join us, part of our world family in desperate need of humanitarian love and support.

Zest for Life is open to anyone. We gather every Wednesday at noon for lunch at the Octagon Community Centre, Brook Farm Drive, Malvern (just off Poolbrook Road and Watkins Way).

For more information email friends@theoctagon.org.uk.

Martin Lawrence Malvern

Brilliant care

WE wanted to write a letter to express our gratitude to all the staff at Perrins Nursing Home in Malvern.

Our mum, Margaret Simpson, spent the last six years of her life, since she suffered a major stroke, being cared for by professional, caring and tremendously hard working staff.

Without exception mum was treated with dignity and care.

The staff could not have made more effort to ensure her final years were as comfortable as possible. They work long hours without complaint, not only caring for their patients but also the family and friends who come to visit.

We cannot praise the staff enough. They touched our lives and demonstrated what it is to have a true vocation.

Marie Claire Parsons Caroline Heath John-Paul Simpson Malvern

No one wants it

THERE were a couple of petitions on a Government website earlier this year, one for building a cable car and the other against.

A petition needs 100,000 signatures for an Act of Parliament to be considered.

A petition supporting the building of a cable car on the Malvern Hills received 142 signatures. This is not 142,000 – it really is just 142.

Malvern has a population of more than 30,000, and only 142 citizens have signed up for the proposed cable car.

The second petition on the Government website, opposing the installation of a cable car, showed that there were more than four times as many signatories.

Obviously, the cable car proposal lacks any real support or the likelihood of legislation.

I trust that the cable car campaigners will let the Malvern Hills be a wonderful and unspoilt landscape and an attractive feature that draws in visitors from around the world.

Pete Watson Malvern

Read the signs

COULD someone please suggest how to stop cyclists reducing walkers’ enjoyment of the Malvern Hills by the riding of their bicycles on footpaths that are clearly labelled No Horse Riding Or Cycling On This Path?

To help those cyclists who are unable to read, the path signs also show in pictorial form that riding and cycling are not allowed on certain paths, which are obviously intended for walkers and not them (usually because they are narrow).

Mike Yolland Malvern

Be very careful

I had cause to visit Walsall Town Hall the other day, which took me through the town centre on foot.

Good grief, even the charity shops were boarded up.

I’ve no doubt that like other West Midland towns it was once a thriving place until the huge nearby retail park opened some years ago now.

Please, Worcester City Council, think very carefully before allowing any retail development that is not within the city. In fact, don’t, unless you want our city to suffer the same fate as others.

C D Lee Worcester