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Bury Free Press readers' letters to the editor

Planning, the environment and a call to join in the National Day of Reflection are among this week's topics.


I was amazed to read comments relating to the fate of the Cornhill precinct in Bury St Edmunds (Bury Free Press, March 12).

Cornhill Walk Shopping Centre Bury St Edmunds.
Cornhill Walk Shopping Centre Bury St Edmunds.

I remember when the fabulous art deco-style Odeon cinema stood there before and the reaction to the building of the monstrosity that is now in its place. I always thought that the then struggling cinema could have been an ideal event venue but of course this was eventually realised and hey presto from beneath flags and bunting The Apex appeared.

The precinct was doomed from the start, along with the excuse for a precinct which was where Iceland is.

Now this prime site is going to be improved, campaigners get their way and now we have to continue to suffer the eyesore. Incredible that the nearby Grade I-listed Moyse’s Hall was used in the argument against the proposed upgrade but not in favour of ridding us of the hideous building already there (or preventing it being built in the first place). If the Odeon was still there it would be listed, I can’t imagine the present Cornhill getting the same level of affection.

The high streets are changing quickly and inevitably some residential properties will fill the gaps left by failing retail.

I know Cambridge is a different kettle of fish, but we should look at how they do it: artistically and fully committed.

Trevor Goodfellow, Thurston


Regarding the Cornhill Walk development; ‘these people obviously want to look at this ugly building forever’, said Peter Murphy, from the developers.

No, they didn’t want their lives ruined by a lack of privacy and no regard for their environment. Common sense prevailed at last. Pity the flats being built in Tayfen Road and those hideous flats on King’s Road roundabout got through.

Dave Baldry, Rougham


Regarding the comments on the cycle lane in Risbygate Street (Bury Free Press, March 12). I am a cyclist and I use that lane when I can, but I feel unsafe because often people use it as an extension to the footpath. Some move out the way but others tend to think they have right of way so I have to go into the road.

Also, when you get to the top there is always a white van parked half on the footpath and the whole of the cycle path causing an obstruction for pedestrians and cyclists. In any other town they would be fined for parking on the path, parking on a double yellow line and parking on a cycle path.

Another thing is you see cyclists not using it anyway so, yes, I agree with the shops, it’s a waste of time having the cycle lanes.

Also it makes it harder to clean the roads as the road sweeper can’t get to the kerbs, so the rubbish is left for the cyclists to run over and cause a possible accident. This is the same with all the temporary cycle paths as there are bollards they make it an extension to the footpath. It’s like the purpose-made footpath/cycle path near the new college and round Marham Park estate – it’s wide enough for both but the pedestrians use the whole width; once again some people move but some won’t.

No real thought has gone into this – are any of the planners cyclists?

David Flaherty, via email


I am writing in response to your article headed ‘Health centre recognised by Queen’ (Bury Free Press, March 12).

The success of Woolpit Health Centre in delivering Covid vaccinations has been somewhat understated in the local press.

I was one of over 2,000 vaccinated on Sunday, February 7, in the snow.

If you care to look at their Twitter or Facebook accounts, their success at mass vaccinations has been excellent. On one day they achieved over 2,300 vaccinations, this at a village GP practice.

This is achieved though excellent planning and lots of people prepared to give time and effort. There was no complex appointment process, I received a letter stating a timed slot that had been allocated.

It was conducted in a car park on an industrial estate and, other than checking paperwork and receiving the injections, the vehicle hardly ever stopped. Vaccinations were delivered through the car windows – both sides as well as front and rear as required. The injection ‘bays’ could service three cars simultaneously.

From leaving home in Rattlesden and getting back was just under half an hour.

By the way, the senior partner at this practice is Dr R J West MBE.

K Widdick, Rattlesden


March is usually a month in our calendar that is hopeful of the spring and summer to come. But this year March holds a different significance, marking the anniversary of when the UK first went into a nationwide lockdown.

The last 12 months have been challenging for so many and as a charity dedicated to caring for people at the end of their life and supporting the bereaved, Marie Curie has witnessed the impact of the pandemic first-hand.

While we can start to see glimmers of hope and lockdown easing, millions of people have been bereaved, many unable to properly say goodbye to loved ones or grieve with the support of friends and family. That’s why Marie Curie and over 60 organisations are leading a National Day of Reflection on Tuesday, March 23, one year since the first lockdown, to remember those who have died during the pandemic, from any cause and to show support for anyone who has been bereaved.

On this day, we would like to invite your readers to join a minute’s silence at noon. We also hope readers will also take a moment to reach out to someone they know who’s grieving and at 8pm to take candles and lights out on to their street for a minute’s remembrance.

As relentless as this crisis has been, it has also shone a light on the courage, resilience and solidarity of the nation.

People have put their normal lives on hold for the good of the many.

We trust an annual day of reflection will continue to support those who need it most.

To find out more about the National Day of Reflection, visit www.mariecurie.org.uk/day-of-reflection.

Angela Taylor , Community Fund-raiser Marie Curie


The suggestion of a John T Appleby tourist trail (Bury Free Press, February 12) is an interesting one. It would, of course, raise the profile of the Appleby Rose Garden in the Abbey Gardens.

Do others feel, as I do, that the rose beds are in need of some refurbishment? Somehow they have not looked their best for a few years. It is likely to be quite an undertaking involving various organisations, and expensive as rose beds cannot just be re-planted, but surely a worthwhile one because so many local people and tourists enjoy this ‘quiet haven’ in the Abbey Gardens.

Perhaps it is a project which West Suffolk Council, Bury Town Council, the Bury Society, Bury in Bloom and other interested organisations and townsfolk could contribute in various ways? I would be glad to donate if a fund was set up.

I write as someone who remembers when the ‘Suffolk Summer’ book was first published and the rose garden first planted.

Marion Duncan, Bury St Edmunds


When it suits us in time of trouble, the first people we turn to is one of the emergency services, and yet when one of those service’s (the police) turn up at a gathering to enforce the current restrictions drawn up with the sole safety of the public in mind, they are treated with contempt as if they the enemy at the door.

Why the protesters couldn’t have turned up at Clapham Common, left their floral tributes then make their way home in a peaceful manner is beyond me.

I am – rightly or wrongly – of the opinion that we in this country have, if not the best, the one of the best police forces in the world, perhaps no longer of the ‘Dixon of Dock Green’ style, but also not the gun-carrying/toting ‘John Wayne’ police forces of the USA among many other countries.

Until all the facts emerge, it is irresponsible to pass judgment on Saturday’s drama, but as one presenter on LBC radio said last Sunday, ‘you couldn’t pay me enough to be a police officer’, and there must be many of us of the same opinion.

Brian Davies, Bury St Edmunds


In January the government published its 10 point Environmental Plan to include improving energy efficiency, not permitting new fossil fuel boilers so as to reduce CO2 and improve the natural environment. Within a day we saw gas boilers being temporarily reinstated and now we see other decisions which go directly against the Government’s expressed targets.

Recent correspondence in the BFP has referred to the importance of the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill before the House of Commons. It is a Private Members Bill supported by MPs across seven parties. Its origins come from the work of the government’s own Committee on Climate Change and the work of the ‘Citizens’ Assembly’ which the committee, along with five other select committees, sponsored.

The Bill calls for:

- The UK to make and enact a serious plan. This means dealing with our real fair share of emissions so that we don’t go over critical global rises in temperature

- Our entire carbon footprint be taken into account (in the UK and overseas)

- The protection and conservation of nature here and overseas along supply chains, recognising the damage we cause through the goods we consume

- Those in power not to depend on technology to save the day, which is used as an excuse to carry on polluting as usual

- Ordinary people to have a real say on the way forward in a citizens’ assembly with bite.

The Bill’s importance cannot be overestimated, the usual processes on which the government says we can rely are not working. In the past few weeks we can see that government’s actions do not comply with law already passed by Parliament.

The recent CPRE report shows that in the past seven years alone, the number of new houses to be built on the Green Belt has increased by nearly five times. Of this quarter of a million homes, only 25,000 are ‘affordable’. This is all done in the mistaken belief that the cost of housing will reduce if more are built. This was explicitly stated in the government’s recent White Paper on Planning. As we all know developers will only build if they can sell at a ‘generous’ profit, their aim is not to bring prices down, it is understandably not in their direct interest to do so.

This green space being concreted over is the same green space on which so many of us depended during the Covid crisis and still and will do.

The second event which convinces many that the government does not have a plan, merely a wish list, is its confusion over the Cumbrian coal mine. Cumbria County Council gave permission and the Minister refused to intervene saying it was a local matter, regardless of the government national commitments on global warming. Then Cumbria withdrew its consent and then the minister changed his mind and called in the application for an independent enquiry by an Inspector. We can but hope

Another example is the Budget. No inflation increases on petrol or diesel taxes so they effectively get cheaper for the 10th year in a row, while low polluting trains saw fare increases above the level of inflation. And then proposals to reduce the air transport levy, which is designed to reduce polluting air travel on which the airlines, unlike railways, pay no fuel tax.

The 110-member Citizens’ Assembly referred to earlier was drawn from 30,000 people, randomly selected, and among their many conclusions after many weekends of work, broadly agreed actions which have now been put into the CEE Bill.

It is crucially important that this Bill be passed and as a Private members Bill there is no reason for ministers not to support it – it is not a confidence matter but a matter of conscience.

We know the government is divided over the environment but the expressed policy from January and the requirement for the UK to be Carbon Neutral in 29 years’ time means that to support the Bill will be to support current Government policy. So we invite the citizens of West Suffolk to demand that our two MPs, Matt Hancock and Jo Churchill, give their public support, vote for the Bill and support their own Government’s policy.

The UN Climate Change Conference is to be held in Glasgow in the autumn. It is both a great privilege and honour for the UK to chair this conference but also a fearsome responsibility as the future of our planet may depend on its success. The CEE Bill will go some way to show that the UK is not just asking others to act but leading the way.

Roger Spiller, Chair of Green Ixworth

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