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Bury Free Press readers' letters to the editor

Residents' parking, cycles lanes and MPs' expenses were among the topics in this week's mailbag.


Knowing how West Suffolk Council (WSC) is driven by revenue and a desire for glory projects (eg Service Hub white elephant), we should not be surprised that the thorny issue of permit parking in Bury St Edmunds has been placed within a Covid-compliant straight jacket, restricting its scope to a few short term and largely ineffective measures, while ignoring the real opportunities for long term strategic solutions.

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

We’re awash with excuses as to why residents have had so little involvement over the past eight months.

The initial questionnaire was very restrictive with no effective forum for new ideas to be put forward.

The planned consultations via Zoom/Teams were cancelled, apparently due to lack of interest, which was untrue. In fact, the leaflets publicising these events were sent out with junk mail and, given they looked as unexciting, were largely binned, if indeed received. That was over six months ago and since we have heard nothing.

So to the present. We are being presented with a shortlist of possibles, while being reassured that permit costs will not rise and an apology that due to a lack of ‘authority’ WSC is duty bound to continue the sale of permits where no spaces are available. Most of these ‘possibles’ are so blindingly obvious as to require no further consideration prior to execution. However, what is missing are any measures that will provide or facilitate a long-term solution or addressing the core issues:

- Car ownership will not reduce in the medium to long term until alternative transport options become actually available, not just an aspirational pipe dream in cabinet.

- A shift to electric will not reduce the need for parking, in fact it will make it worse as existing vehicles don’t require a power source as well as a space.

- All current proposals will have minimal impact on the number of spaces available and cannot address the significant over-subscription which already exists.

- Current planning practice, allowing large scale conversion of commercial property for residential use, with no or single car parking per dwelling serves only to exacerbate the over-subscription of parking.

- The only long term solution is to provide facilities that allow/incentivise residents to park outside the core, in designated spaces.

Any proposals must include a shift in planning policy to reduce any new burden from new housing development. Planning must therefore be involved in these discussions, along with Highways who, I presume, have not to date.

The scope of this study should be determined by residents, not WSC which has yet to demonstrate any true interest in resident welfare. It must consider the creation of park and ride style facilities, such as could feasibly be developed on the St Louis site and the site of the current PCR testing site by ASDA.

Any long term solution will require significant investment, but its priority should be reflective of residents’ needs and should take precedence over current WSC glory projects, dreamt up in cabinet for personal gratification (as was the current Cornhill development in 1986).

We cannot allow current restrictions to plague open discussion of this issue. We need a public meeting where a wide range of solutions can be aired, including those which could realistically start to heal the wounds caused by years of WSC complacency.

The £90-132 million earmarked for the service hub could pay for a lot of car parking spaces and as a resident for 25 years, I view this as a far better use of such resources.

Rowland Smith, Bury St Edmunds


Why is it that the moment the cold weather appears, with its attendant snow, ice, slush, rain, mud, grit and salt all over the roads, quietly corroding our vehicles, every automatic car wash for miles around shuts down for weeks on end?

“It’s the cold weather,” says the nice lady behind the garage till. Which immediately raises the question: How do they manage to keep their cars clean in the Scandinavian and other European countries, whose winters are far more severe than ours?

Peter Spencer, Bury St Edmunds


Any cycle lane is a benefit to us all (Bury Free Press, January 28); it keeps the danger, noise and toxicity of cars away from cyclists and pedestrians who are desperate for a safer, healthier and alternative lifestyle.

Can I suggest you help promote awareness and debate about the advantages and safe use of cycle lanes, especially to the younger generation, possibly through schools and youth groups, who need to know about what’s really behind the thinking of these pop up cycle lanes.

Because of the relentless government cutbacks in clean, reliable and regular public transport, car numbers are definitely up, the air we breathe is getting more toxic and road accidents and deaths are increasing.

So, yes more cycle lanes please!

Lizzy Gale, via email


I wish to say a big thank-you to the staff and first aider of Wilco, in Bury, who attended my friend after a fall in the car park last Wednesday. They were wonderful to her.

Terry Whiteway, Bury St Edmunds

Norman Gregory, from Cockfield, was interviewed for TV on his 100th birthday.
Norman Gregory, from Cockfield, was interviewed for TV on his 100th birthday.


I was so pleased to see the media coverage (Bury Free Press, January 28) given to Cockfield cycling legend Norman Gregory on the occasion his 100th birthday.

His prescription to achieving a long life by keeping mentally and physically active is a very good one and one that we should all follow if we can.

Often with his friend, the ‘young’ Norman Kelly cycling with him, the dynamic duo have raised thousand ponds for charitable causes. They are the pride of Cockfield.

Congratulations indeed.

Graham Day, Stowmarket


With the publication of our local MPs’ expenses and taking into account the fact there are 650 MPs, the total annual cost will be in the region of £16 million.

With MPs of all parties going on about the increase in the cost of living being exacerbated by the lifting of the energy price cap, is it not the time to introduce a price cap on MPs expenses?

A young family man in the North East has to find this extra cost out of his meagre annual income while one of our local MPs claims over £3,000 for utility costs.

Still, the electorate of Bury and the surrounding area will return these three local MPs in the next election to enable them to continue their life of luxury.

T Birkett, via email