• Letter to the Richmond & Twickenham Times,15/08/14

Sir:- The seven editions of your paper since the Gloriana imbroglio began have carried 37 letters about it. Assuming you have followed your usual practice of printing letters for and against in proportion to what you receive for and against, we can use them to estimate the state of public opinion. I make it 7 for (two from one person), (19 %), 23 against (62 %) and the rest neutral (19 %). So please lets not hear any more from Lord True’s acolytes about how everyone loves Gloriana, only a few Lib Dems opposing it for political reasons, etc.

Actually the borough’s Lib Dems have been silent on the merits of the scheme, even after Vince Cable’s letter to residents, except for Cllr Alexander Ehmann who spoke up on behalf of the residents of St Margaret’s at last month’s cabinet meeting. It was local residents who packed out the protest meeting at the Winchester Hall, as the ward councillors who turned up to claim ignorance of the scheme must have realised. It was the same local people who packed out the cabinet and council meetings. It is the same local Riverside people who are waiting for their councillor, Susan Chappell, to come clean about when she first knew about the scheme.

The strength of feeling is extraordinary, far greater than that which the Lib Dems aroused when they tried to develop the pool site, as Orleans Gardens is used every day of the year whereas no-one had seen the pool site for 30 years. It has been aroused and spread by social media: Facebook, Petitions24.com, Twitter, YouTube and local blogs, flatfooting the council’s expensive PR consultants with their glossy leaflets that no-one reads.

We must hope that the Heritage Lottery Fundwho have twice already tried to explain to the Council that a new shed for a new boat is not heritage, will next month waste no time in rejecting their bid as the embarrassing fantasy it is.

Yours, etc.

Christopher J Squire

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