SIR: I have held off writing this letter until the local elections were over; but it alludes to your editorial comment of April 19 in which you criticise some Conservative city councillors for changing their stance on closing Andover Road, a stance that for good reasons had broad support from all political parties and other major players in the city.

The chief culprits here were Cllr Horrill, the leader of the council, and the Winchester MP, Mr Brine. Your comment, with which I agree, implied that the change was purely for electoral reasons. Happily the tactic did not work, but that does not absolve the leader of the council from being so irresponsible. Here she is in charge of solving significant problems of planning in Winchester, yet showing that her judgment is severely lacking. Her undoubted charm and ability to chair a meeting cannot make up for her obvious lack of strategic good sense. The same could be said of Mr Brine. I do not think that Wintonians take well to political craftiness and lack of principle.

May I suggest how they might redeem themselves? I propose that they knock together the “heads” of Hampshire County Council and Winchester City Council so that they produce a traffic plan for Winchester before the plans for Silver Hill and the Station Approaches are finalised. Nothing will work unless they do.

My own view on that plan (and many are of the same opinion) is that it must prioritise traffic-free streets and park-and-ride. I know that this approach is not favoured by some people living outside the city who want to park inside it. But it is the essential ingredient for promoting a city that will be attractive both to vital small retail businesses as well as to citizens, shoppers, and tourists. It is a formula well tested for similar sized cities in other countries.

Jock Macdonald,

Stockbridge Road,