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Bury Free Press readers' letters

A bumper mail bag this week with letter subjects ranging from idling cars to the Afghan refugee crisis.


A local resident was recently talking with a PCSO in the town centre and was informed that a car parked with its engine running (with the ‘driver’ present), ie idling, is not an offence.

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

The Highway Code, 2020 edition, refers to the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 which is very clear on this matter:

Stopping of engine when stationary

98.— (1) Save as provided in paragraph (2), the driver of a vehicle shall, when the vehicle is stationary, stop the action of any machinery attached to or forming part of the vehicle so far as may be necessary for the prevention of noise.

(2) The provisions of paragraph (1) do not apply—

(a) when the vehicle is stationary owing to the necessities of traffic;

(b) so as to prevent the examination or working of the machinery where the examination is necessitated by any failure or derangement of the machinery or where the machinery is required to be worked for a purpose other than driving the vehicle; or

(c) in respect of a vehicle propelled by gas produced in plant carried on the vehicle, to such plant.

Perhaps this confusion about whether idling is an offence or not explains why little effective action is taken. It has been noted in Tunbridge Wells that: “It is widely recognised that emissions from vehicles play a large part in poor air quality which can exacerbate health problems such as heart and lung disease. As well as emitting NO2 and particulates, vehicle fumes also contain CO2 which contributes towards climate change. Idling vehicles can emit more pollution than a vehicle moving at 30mph.”

West Suffolk Council noted: “Long term exposure can cause asthma in children and stunt their lung growth, which can impact on their health for the rest of their lives. Nationally idling is linked to air pollution which Public Health England estimates is a contributory factor in some 40,000 early deaths every year.”

Perhaps drivers who indulge in idling need to be aware that they are both breaking the law and putting the health of others at risk.

Name and address supplied


I was silly attempting to walk from town to the Newbury centre last Tuesday – I’m only eight weeks into my recovery after triple bypass surgery. Suffice to say I made it, thanks to the young lady on the Howard who asked if I was okay when she found me sitting on the fence.

On my way to the meeting, I was disappointed and disgusted by all the pigeon’s mess under the A14 and rail bridge in Beetons Way. Schoolchildren, adults, the elderly and cyclist all have to go through this toxic mess to and from schools and the shops. It’s a health hazard and very slippery when it gets wet.

Further on, the footpaths on the Howard estate are in a terrible weedy, overgrown and disgusting state – the weeds grow out of the paving slabs, gutters are choked. The cycle path on Beetons Way was the same. I know as a country certain pesticides are no longer in use, however this is a dangerous health and trip hazard, with accidents waiting to happen, I’ve had numerous complaints from residents.

The meeting when I arrived was very well attended, slides showed why the old committee has to be disbanded and a new charity set up to run the huge new centre. On the whole everything was well received. Some computer slides wowed the audience as to what the final centre will look like.

Two items were strongly voiced:

No. 1 – Disappointment that no social club has been included in the new design so far.

No. 2 – Concerns were expressed that the bar and kitchen might not be large enough to cope with several large events, considering the at the new venue had a much higher capacity.

This will be a fabulous asset to the whole town, including St Olaves and Marham Park, including Tollgate. The children’s centre is adjoining with separate security.

It’s a work in progress with no fixed date for the opening yet and no prices for room hire, but the committee welcomes all comments and further meetings will take place. A well-deserved round of applause finished the meeting.

Cllr Tom Murray, St Olaves and Marham Park


Bravo to everyone involved in all the events this summer in Bury St Edmunds.

The weather may have been more autumn-like than summer-warm, but all the activities have been life affirming as we continue to reel from the pandemic.

From Twelfth Night, to the children’s shows, to the cinema, the Beer and Cider Festival (with fabulous music), The Great Gatsby, the Food and Drink Festival, the upcoming Literary Festival, the Moments Exhibition and more, the town has done us all proud in having something for everyone.

It’s been great to see how well-used the Abbey Gardens have been this year and special mention has to go to head gardener Martina and her fabulous team for their meticulous care and attention.

We are fortunate and privileged to live in the heart of the Abbey Precinct and we have loved hearing some of the action from our home, as well as being at some of the events themselves. Couple that with so much going on in town and it truly has been a joyful celebration of all Bury St Edmunds has to offer

We look forward to more such delights!

Jo Ellen and Fred Grzyb, Bury St Edmunds


I have never written to ‘The Editor’ before, but I am so incensed regarding the events I shall relate, I have decided to put fingers to the keyboard for the first time in this respect!

I walk my ancient Jack Russell on the Gainsborough Field most days and, as such, I am familiar with the uses to which this excellent amenity land is subjected by the inhabitants of our fine town.

On Sunday, August 29, I was walking my dog as usual, and in observing two football teams preparing for their game noted that all players, plus the referee were changing in their cars and in the car park, which in itself was unusual, given the excellent changing facilities which have been provided at this place. I was amazed to see a number of players relieving themselves against the hedges and fences of the properties along the Westley Road, before taking to the pitch.

This is wholly unacceptable behaviour! First urinating in a public place is – I believe – illegal. Second, there were a number of ladies walking their dogs on the field at this time, and several children using the playground. Third, as previously stated, there are changing facilities and toilets, which were provided at great expense to the taxpayer, but for some reason best known to others had not been opened and available to the players on this occasion.

Are we to be obliged to tolerate such unacceptable behaviour by the users of the football pitches, and by the authorities for failing to make the facilities available to the players?

Richard Page via email


Given the speed and scale of the human rights crisis in Afghanistan, the UK’s offer to resettle up to 20,000 vulnerable Afghans in the ‘coming years’ risks being too little, too late.

Teachers, journalists, women human rights defenders and those who’ve worked with the UK are among the many thousands of people at immediate risk under the Taliban.

Amnesty recently reported on how Taliban fighters murdered nine ethnic Hazara men in grisly killings which saw several victims tortured to death.

Caught flat-footed, the UK now needs to act with urgency and real generosity. We strongly support the proposed resettlement scheme to come. However, the ongoing evacuation and relocation effort should be made eligible for at-risk Afghans trapped in the country, as well as their family members, not just current or former UK employed staff.

Afghans who arrive in the UK independently should receive protection, including those who are already here, and the Home Office should drop draconian plans to criminalise those who seek asylum in the UK. It should also look urgently to extend family reunion visas to enable the UK’s Afghan community to provide sanctuary to their loved ones who need to flee the country.

Readers can support our campaign on Afghanistan here: www.amnesty.org.uk/AfghanistanCrisis

Avril Dawson , Chair, Amnesty International Bury St Edmunds


The only way for the NHS to survive is to charge for its services.

I know that it was a free service when it was first introduced but times have changed, prescriptions are chargeable, why not the service?

Michael Johnson, via email


The Rev Robert Green, Minister for Garland Street Baptist Church in Bury St Edmunds, has left after 13 years of service there. His service has not only been within that church but across our whole town. He was one of the founders of the Bury Drop-In, and that church provided its first venue.

Robert has been a teacher and great encourager of many. He has had an interest in several inter-church projects, and has been a wonderful support and participant in Churches Together in united witness to Jesus Christ, and in Christian outreach.

We thank Robert very much, and send our love, gratitude, and prayers for him and his family as they leave Bury, though maintaining connections with the Bury Drop-In.

Also, the Rev Debbie Borda, Minister for Trinity Methodist, and Northumberland Avenue Methodist Churches, in Bury, has left after several years of service there. Her service has not only been within those churches, and the local Methodist circuit, but across our whole town. Trinity Church has also been the recent venue for the Bury Drop-In.

Debbie has been a great pastor and encourager of many. She has been a wonderful support and participant in Churches Together in united witness to Jesus Christ, and in Christian outreach. Debbie was the first to lead our united Songs of Praise, with infectious joy, at our first Abbey Gardens Summer Celebration in 2019.

We thank Debbie very much, and send our love, gratitude, and prayers for her as she leaves Bury.

Heather Corbell, Chair, Churches Together in Bury St Edmunds and District


Copy of a letter sent to Jo Churchill MP:

I am one of your constituents and a parent of two children aged 11 and 13. We have had lots of family discussions about migrants, refugees, displaced people (whatever you wish to call them) recently. My children have been moved by the situation in Afghanistan but have also learned that this is only one of a number of countries whose citizens have no alternative but to flee to avoid persecution or death.

Inevitably they have asked me what they can do to help. We have set up a monthly donation to Suffolk Refugee Support – a small local charity doing amazing work. We have sent items via the US air bases which were handed out on rescue flights, and we are now sorting out our own clothes and toys to hand on to new arrivals and existing families in Suffolk. My son keeps saying things like ‘this will do for a boy like me’. Children really do see straight through the politics of a situation to the human core, unblinded by insignificant factors like someone’s skin colour, origins or religion. They know that the families in need are just like theirs; the boys and girls who have had to leave every toy, book and game behind are just like them.

So I request that you, as my elected representative, start to think like an 11-year-old. Put aside any thoughts which might stand in your way, and ensure that as many people as possible who need a safe refuge are settled in Suffolk and the UK as a whole.

I am looking forward to being treated by Afghan dentists or doctors, eating food from an Afghan restaurant or my children learning with Afghan professors at university when they are older. My children are looking forward to learning alongside and getting to know new classmates.

This is not the time for talking about welcoming ‘up to’ a certain number or ‘aiming to resettle’ a quantity of people, nor is it acceptable to hide behind existing quotas.

These people are not statistics or crowd-pleasing sound bites. They are (and you’ll know this if you are still thinking like an 11-year-old) human beings, citizens of planet earth, and as deserving of a home here as you or me.

We have much; they have little. You have the power to change this imbalance.

Annie Page, Bury St Edmunds