This letter was sent to the Haslemere Herald on 3rd March. The author has given kind permission to publish it on the parking website.
I hope you will be able to find space for my response to a letter from Chris Cook of Longdene Road last week (‘Parking Plans for Haslemere’, March 1st), a sadly bitter letter, expressing to an astonishing degree a personal animosity to people he does not know and who have done him and would wish to do him no harm.
First, we should be able to find time and space in our lives to commemorate those who have gone before, and honour them for their courage or their sacrifice (memorials), or achievements (blue plaques) as well as of course considering the well-being of the living. We do not have to choose one or the other.
Second, a civic society has the uncomfortable duty to question the authorities, some of whom, once elected or appointed, assume they have the electorate’s on-going permission to introduce previously unheard of schemes. Members of voluntary organisations demonstrate each year by renewing their subscriptions that they approve of what is being done in their names. If they don’t approve, they don’t pay.
Third, those of us who are lucky enough to have the energy and health to work for various voluntary groups need also to be able and allowed to speak and write as individuals, without others assuming they know what we are really speaking for whichever organisation fits the subject under discussion.
Last, I have heard no single person, nor spokesman for any of these local organisations, whether or not I have any personal involvement, to have anything but complete sympathy for those who live near the station, or anywhere else blighted by inconsiderate all day parking. All have been totally convinced that these roads must be an absolute priority in finding the earliest and best possible solution to the dire and very stressful problems the residents endure. Mr Cook is wrong if he believes otherwise.
For ourselves, we have known in the past what it is like, and almost daily we see what it is like for him and others in a similar situation.
As he says, this is a complex problem which requires a holistic solution. Yes, indeed it does. On that at least we can all agree.