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Petrol shortages, the town's planned Santa's grotto and a visit to a modern art exhibition are among this week's topics.


I felt I must put ‘pen-to-paper’ just to say ‘Well done!’ to those of you ‘buffoons’ reading this column who were selfish, inconsiderate and responsible for the queues at the various petrol stations last Friday when, after being told that there was not a petrol shortage and therefore no need to panic, you did exactly that, and as a consequence created fuel shortages for other road users.

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

Just a thought; perhaps if the media had not announced the small minor problem with fuel deliveries in the first instance, then the Friday queuing which also continued over into Saturday, might not have happened in the first place.

Question: What percentage of the ‘petrol-panicking’ readership were also responsible for the loo-roll shortage last year when the Covid lockdown episode first began? Hands up!

Well done for being part of the selfish ‘Me, me; I’m alright Jack’ society.

Wear your badge with pride.

Ian Smith, Bury St Edmunds


On September 22, Bury St Edmunds Town Council agreed funding of £25,000 as a contribution to a Santa’s Grotto in an unoccupied store which is in the privately managed arc shopping centre.

We the undersigned feel that at a total cost of £83,000 this doesn’t represent value for money. The grotto will only be open for 15 days in total. Additionally, the charge will be £10 per child with a maximum of two adults per child. Projected ticket sales are circa just £23,000.

The undernoted councillors wish to record their opposition to the funding at a time when residents are facing huge fuel cost rises, Universal Credit cuts, and in a few months increases to National Insurance.

We do want to support our local businesses and help our town centre to thrive, but do not feel that this is right option and would have preferred a smaller traditional Santa experience which could be enjoyed by more people at a lower price.

Cllr Diane Hind; Cllr Kevin Hind; Cllr Donna Higgins; Cllr Nicola Ianelli-Popham; Cllr Katie Parker; Cllr Darren Turner; Cllr Cliff Waterman; Cllr Cyrille Bouche


In November 2020 I tried reporting some of the street lighting that was not working in Beetons Way, Bury St Edmunds, as some had been out of action since the start of the building work for the new school. Some of the lamps did not have plates on with the numbers to identify them (and still don’t), so this was a bit of a struggle.

I made the original phone call in November 2020 followed by an email in December when the lights were still not working.

The reference number for this call, which is logged with Suffolk County Council Highways department is 307430.

I have had various reasons as to why they are not working and all give me a response assuring me that they will be working shortly.

When I complained that the lights were still not working after emailing regularly for many weeks, the responses I then received were that my comments had been added on to the call log and I could follow the complaints procedure if I was unhappy with the response.

We are now nearly a year on since I first logged this and I notice that half the lights in Western Way, as well as the original ones in Beetons Way, are out as they yet again dig up the road.

It is amazing just how many times there have been traffic lights there because of road works in the past two years.

By writing in to your page I am hoping that someone within Suffolk County Council might recognise and respond to the very real issues concerning personal safety that are obviously present here.

A positive response would be good to see.

Gloria Meen, Bury St Edmunds


£83,000 for a grotto! Are they importing the snow from Lapland?

These councillors need to remember it isn’t their money, it is the Council Tax-payers’

The £25,000 pledged from the council should be used for desperate needs, such as children with special needs or the homeless. Do they seriously believe that people are going to head to Bury just because there is a grotto – at a cost of £10 per child – for a cheap plastic toy?

At that price I would like to know how much an hour the elves are on – I might even apply.

David Baldry, Rougham


On a sunny September Saturday, the Moments art exhibition at Moyse’s Hall Museum in the centre of Bury St Edmunds provide the perfect reason to visit West Suffolk’s exquisite and enchanting town. A visit not made since well before the first pandemic lockdown.

Parking at The Apex, the only sign of the retail disaster which has overtaken the country was the empty Debenhams store. Shops, restaurants and coffee shops were busy. Emerging into the Market Place, the sight of a vibrant colourful market with a fine variety of traders was most welcome. All around, new small retail shops have sprung up; there was a happy and bustling atmosphere. A sharp contrast to the county town, Ipswich, which in the words of the two-tone band The Specials, is very much a ghost town.

The exhibition in Moyse’s Hall was well organised and curated. Graffiti/street art had originated in 1970s New York amongst the Black American and Latino communities. Young people spray- painted walls and subway trains. I once tutored a student near Chelmsford whose main pastime was spray-painting art and his mum encouraged him by taking him to a location in Chelmsford where spray-painting of walls was encouraged.

A variety of different artists was on show at the exhibition, including pieces by Banksy, Damien Hurst and Tracey Emin.

Upon entering the museum, one was immediately confronted with two of the most recognisable Banksy works – Hula Hoop Girl and Seasons Greetings. Also, there was a small piece of concrete upon which had been drawn a stick figure and a supermarket trolley. Entitled Peckham Rock, it had been hung in the British Museum by Banksy, and had not been spotted by the museum staff for several days. In other rooms there was the Happy Choppers, the monkeys displaying the slogan ‘Laugh now, but one day we will be in charge’, and many many others.

There was also Damien Hurst’s Metal Stool artwork for reggae star Bob Marley and, very tellingly, a picture of a weeping Statue of Liberty, produced at the time of Donald Trump’s election as US President.

Stealing the show in one room was a piece, by an artist known as Cyclops, entitled Bad Hair Day, and when one saw the Afro-haired painting, it lived up to its name. Absolutely stunning.

In another room was the permanent collection of clocks and timepieces, which, when I first saw them, had been housed in a house in the corner of Angel Hill, next to the council offices. Standing sentry straight against the wall was a fine display of longcase clocks, what we would have called grandfather clocks in my younger days. Other display cases included German clocks, and also a fine display of pocket watches, which I remember my grandfather wearing.

Emerging into the sunlight there was time for some shopping on the market, followed by coffee and teacakes in a splendid Edwardian tea shop near the former Corn Exchange.

All in all an excellent trip. The museum is to be congratulated in bringing together such a fine exhibition of modern art which leaves a lasting impression. It would have been terrible to have missed it. Whatever the next art exhibition is, it will have to go some way to match the incredible standard set here.

On the way home, a resolution to return more frequently to shop in Bury St Edmunds.

Graham Day, Stowmarket

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