Letters to the BV Editor April 2022


We find ourselves in such troubling times of late. What is – for want of a better word – fascinating to me are the different opinions and levels of compassion for the Ukrainian people shown on social media. I am astounded once again at our country and their willingness to help. However there are just some that just don’t get it.
My six year old has shown more compassion than a lot of adults I have seen. I have attached a picture of her with the goods she purchased because I am proud. Proud to have raised a strong and thoughtful young lady. Entirely independently, she put her dolls house up for auction to raise funds to buy toys for the Ukrainian refugee children. As it happened she received donations instead, and raised £150 to buy toys and toiletries with. This is after both she and my son donated £10 each from their birthday money to take bags of food and toiletries to cubs to be sent on. I am so very proud of them both.
Sammie Peckover, email

Food not solar
THE ongoing conflict in Ukraine has serious implications which will affect the long term future of food prices, farming and food production in Britain.
Ukraine exports more than 25 million tonnes of wheat a year; 15% of the world’s wheat exports. It is one of the four major world exporters of grain.
It has just been announced by Ukraine that, because of the invasion by Russia, the planting of this year’s grain crop has been delayed, if not totally wiped out in parts. This means there will be no exports of grain in 2022, as they will need it for their own consumption. It does not take a crystal ball to see that if we do not look to our own resources to feed ourselves, then the future will look very bleak indeed.
This then brings in the question as to why thousands of acres of agricultural land, capable of food production, is being proposed for adaptation to solar panel farms?
There are a number of proposals for solar panel farms being considered locally affecting excellent agricultural land – the largest of which is the one near Hazelbury Bryan, 190 acres of an industrial power plant across prime farmland in an AONB.
If allowed to go ahead, land will be lost for food production for the next 40-plus years. Climate change will only add to the problem; as crop yields fall where droughts are becoming the norm, populations will look to move, with the accompanying conflicts that will ensue as a consequence.
David Armitage, Sturminster Newton

Car Parking Charges
I am writing to congratulate Dorset Council on making my working life considerably more difficult. Along with high inflation, record price rises for fuel and an increase in National Insurance and Council Tax, you have almost doubled the cost for me to park my car in the Long Stay car park in Wimborne, which today went up from £3.20 a day to £6.00. Forget about inflation running at 8% or fuel at 40% – you have managed a very profitable 87+% overnight! As this car park, along with many others, appears to be run by a private company, it makes me wonder who Dorset Council is actually working for: residents and council tax payers in Dorset; or the private companies that are making an absolute killing from these exorbitant charges. What, I wonder is your “cut”? Of course this rise will be justified as part of a wider “green” agenda to encourage people out if their cars and on to public transport, but in reality it is nothing of the sort. I cannot use public transport to get to Wimborne from where I live in North Dorset, as the service is functionally useless for work purposes (try it yourself and see). Which means the price rise is simply nothing more than a good, old-fashioned rip-off. As with so many aspects of government, both local and national, it leaves me seething at the complete lack of consideration by those elected (and not elected) to power towards the population they represent.
Shaun Linsley, Stour Provost

Misleading increase in Council Tax precepts?
Yet again, Dorset Council has grossly misled Council Tax Bill payers regarding the annual percentage increase of the Adult Social Care Precept. The charge this year for my Band E property is £248.16. Last year, the charge was £226.49. Elementary mathematics shows this to be a 9.5% increase – yet on my bill the ‘change from previous year’ is shown as 1.0%.
Last year, the actual increase was 37.7%, when the claimed increase was 3.0%. Following correspondence with Dorset
Council on this gross misrepresentation, the justification for this chicanery is on the basis that the mathematics is ‘prescribed by government’.
I have chased down the associated legislation – and while their thus authorised convoluted arithmetic employed may technically legitimise Dorset Council’s claimed percentage increase, it nonetheless does not represent to the bill payer the true ‘change from previous year’.
I have no truck with the amount charged to provide this important service – my dissatisfaction is with the Council’s duplicity of its presentation.
Alan Bennett, Leigh

On a Cow’s Life
Thank you for tackling the BBC’s Panorama show on the dairy industry (‘Is Hardy’s ‘vale of little dairies’ a place of brutality?’, March issue) . I’m not a farmer, have no ‘insider’ knowledge, and I was horrified by the programme. It was reassuring, then, to read what experienced local farmers (Surely the writer Andrew Livingston is your columnist and also a farmer?) condemning the actions seen in the programme.
James Cossins’ words ‘if this is farming, I want no part of the industry’ had more truth in it than the whole Panorama investigation, I felt.
I do understand the need for balanced reporting, but I felt the closing paragraph being given to the Vegan Society representative tilted what up to then had been an interesting and fair article. It left a feeling of judgement on an industry which the rest of the article had seen as unfairly attacked.
John Grey, Sherborne

A deep thank you
We wanted to express our sincere gratitude & thanks from the bottom of our hearts you all helped save my husband’s life…
We hope this message will reach out to all those persons who helped us on St.Leonard’s Avenue, Blandford Forum on the morning of Sunday 20th February 2022; you all played a very important part in saving my husband’s life.
We wanted to reach out to send a personal message to express our sincere thanks & gratitude to all those who appeared literally out of nowhere that day and helped in every way – you were all like angels. By providing immediate medical assistance you all helped save my husband’s life.
We are extremely fortunate & blessed to say that two weeks on he is still with us, and though he remains critically ill he is on his way to making a full recovery with the help of all those people above, the Dorset Ambulance & the amazing NHS staff at Dorchester Hospital.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts
Patricia & Family, email

On Tales from the Vale
I don’t feel the need to obey his instructions and ‘email the editor’ (March issue, p.22) about Mr Palmer’s innocuous views on women driving in Saudi. Likewise, I see no reason to complain about his ‘Mr Bush and his broccoli’ story.
However, I don’t appreciate his need to bash Sherborne’s charity shops – it’s not the first time he has pointed out that books in Sturminster Newton’s Emporium are a quarter of the price. The Emporium no doubt has a quarter of the overheads the Sherborne charity shops have.
It’s not a competition Mr Palmer – and we’re all welcome to vote with our feet. With the price of fuel the way it is, that small saving of 75p a book would be gone of Sherborne residents chose to drive to Sturminster Newton anyway.
Annie Calsop, Stalbridge

I do really enjoy reading your magazine as it covers such a wide range of interesting subjects.
However what you write about as ‘Blackmore Vale’ is mainly about North Dorset and hardly ever covers anything in the South Somerset area of Blackmore Vale.
I would like to see more content about places such as Templecombe, Horsington and Henstridge.
I was brought up in that area during WW2 and I am sure you should include the whole of Blackmore Vale and not just that of North Dorset.
Apart from that, I think that you are doing a very good job and I wish you every success.
David Peckham, Romsey (aged 89)


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