Sumner should be thanked for his great actions

12:08pm Tuesday 18th December 2012

ON READING an article in the Andover Advertiser (November 2) entitled “In line for recognition”, one of political self-praise for two ex-Test Valley borough councillors, I couldn’t help wondering when the TVBC would drop their animosity against the ex-councillor who did more for Andover and Andover Rural than ALL the TVBC put together.

Apart from answering and successfully dealing with the hundreds of queries, problems and complaints of the residents, in not only the ward he represented but the whole of Test Valley (Andover, Romsey and the rural areas), two very important deeds stand out which a lot of people are either too young or too new to the area to know about, or choose politically to ignore the fact that but for Peter Sumner’s actions, a lot of elderly people and babes in arms would have died prematurely.

A firm based in Manchester called British Vita had been given the green light by the then leader of TVBC, Councillor John Morgan, to come to Andover Walworth estate when Councillor Peter Sumner started his objection campaign – for according to professional experts the fumes from the “safe clean chimney” lying in the basin of Andover would reduce the average healthy person’s life by one year, and if there were an accident, the whole of Andover would have been evacuated.

Peter Sumner organised Andover for the first time in its history to unite as one body of intense objection – housewives, workers, management, shopkeepers and students.

He hired the Guildhall out of his own pocket, got Squires of Bridge Street to put televisions inside and loudspeakers on the outside.

He got the BBC to show a film of a fire that the firm had in Manchester which resulted in deaths of firemen and policemen who attended the fire.

The meeting was a success, the Guildhall was packed, the adjacent alleys were crammed, and all the way to Bridge Street was one solid mass of people.

At the following full council meeting, one by one the councillors changed their vote and refused permission for the firm to come to Andover.

Secondly there would be no hospital in Andover today had Cllr Sumner’s hospital appeal failed.

The hospital was scheduled to be pulled down and houses built.

In spite of political back-stabbing, his incredible effort collected enough money and donated equipment to build an operating theatre, raising the status of the hospital.

William McCabe, Mornington Close, Andover.

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