What our readers are saying this week . . .
Politics, planning, the environment and thank-yous are among this week's topics for readers' letters.
INVEST SOME OF THIS MONEY IN THE TOWN
The town councillors should be ashamed of their extraordinary response to Andrew Speed’s comments (Letters, December 4).
They represented pure politics, demonstrated by a defence of Jeremy Corbyn – a has-been and never-was! This is not the time to be so pedantic. I’d like to know how the town council can carry forward £450,000 of its £500,000 budget in a year of pandemic when people need support? It shows a total lack of vision and purpose to not help the very residents of this town that have suffered unemployment, reduced income or loss of business.
Investment is required, even in this fortunate town. Sort out and improve access for elderly and disabled people (shelters, zones, decent parking, shop access, pavements and kerbs), provide green initiatives such as charging points for mobility scooters and cars or accessible recycling points, instal living walls, put cycle facilities in like secure bike-racks (but don’t dump them in lay-bys!) and support new business projects like a start-up showcase facility in an empty shop (there’s enough of them), fund educational access to the town (pay local coach companies fees, provide guides), donate to the food bank, help tourism, invest in local sport, collaborate with West Suffolk College, fund artists in the Abbey Gardens, support the market, provide quality buskers with an appearance fee, use actors and musicians to brighten things up ‘al fresco’, put a show on at The Apex or Theatre Royal for the hospital staff, promote this wonderful place via all media for goodness sake! Many of these suggestions can be self-financing in the long run with engagement of individuals or businesses.
This town once voted to abolish the town council but were frustrated by legal loopholes. Don’t blame the leader of the other party, be the leaders yourselves. And talk and listen to the local people. Take a risk or two and deliver more than words to win our support.
Mike Garling, The LP
BARRIER NEEDED TO PROTECT PEDESTRIANs
Following a potentially horrific incident on the pedestrian area of Brentgovel Street, Bury St Edmunds, which I witnessed recently, involving an elderly lady and a reversing van, I’m writing to again flag up the increasing dangers of illegal traffic in this area.
Despite the efforts of the civil enforcement officers booking the cars, vans and taxis who use this as a cut through or as a park for McDonald’s, there can be as many as six cars queuing, who then take off, often at speed towards Short Brackland.
Pedestrians have been harangued for getting in their way and often have to move quickly to avoid collision.
This is a pedestrian area, no motor vehicles allowed. It is a gateway into our town and has a large footfall from residents and people coming from Ram Meadow and Looms Lane parking, and is a magnet for children congregating near McDonald’s.
It could be a lovely area with the cafe tables and Moyse’s Hall, and even better once Cornhill Walk has been sensitively developed.
We need some kind of barrier that will protect the pedestrians and yet allow emergency vehicles etc access if needed – maybe something like at the top of Abbeygate Street would do the job.
I know the councillors Trevor Beckwith and Cliff Waterman are both looking at this problem. I hope we get a speedy solution before there is a severe accident.
Pauline Judge, via email
OUR VERY OWN ‘CARBUNCLE’
I recall many years ago that the Prince of Wales described proposed additions to the National Gallery in London as a ‘monstrous carbuncle’.
I was therefore surprised to see, immediately abutting the A14 at Stowmarket and under construction, a building on the Central Suffolk Office Park. In the Bury St Edmunds direction it looms large and menacing,and has an almost ethereal quality with the solar panels on the roof.
Just what were the planners thinking, in a prominent location, to approve such a dreadful building? No doubt the aim is to make Stowmarket business parks appeal the same as the most soul destroying commercial buildings in an outer London Borough, on an arterial road.
Design these days is appalling – new schools are designed to look like LEGO blocks. I have seen better designs in the former communist countries of eastern Europe.
I would add this to the other great carbuncle near Ipswich, the so-called Landmark House, which looms like a monster over the A14 and the village of Bramford. It can be seen for miles, and reminds one of the headquarters of The Stasi secret police.
Graham Day, Stowmarket
MP SHOULD HELP TO GET BUSES REINSTATED
I am writing concerning your article regarding MP Jo Churchill stating that she wished to encourage more people to shop in the town.
She needs to get proper bus services reinstated within Suffolk for this to happen.
The majority of people out in the villages who do not drive now shop online.
I and others discussed this matter with her when she came to Wattisfield and she was totally dismissive of our concerns.
Hopefully, she may realise that no decent bus service equals a lot less shoppers in the town!
It is hardly rocket science to work out is it?
Marilyn Elflain, Wattisfield
LOSING TRUST IN THE PLANNING SYSTEM
Your article concerning the lodges at Fornham All Saints golf course was, for most of us in the Fornhams, our first official notification of this application Bury Free Press, November 27).
The council has not notified local residents of this application (apparently this is not required by law), although on previous occasions all local residents received letters. Information from the planning department has not been forthcoming and at best has been haphazard, unclear and contradictory.
The article did not make clear that the Government planning inspector refused this application in September this year. The current application, apart from reducing numbers and some cosmetic changes, does not even begin to address the many reasons the inspector gave for refusal.
Your article headline says the developer ‘has listened’ – he has certainly not listened to the planning inspector. Why has the planning inspector’s reasons for refusal been taken down from the council’s web page?
A local resident was quoted as saying ‘this is a welcome addition to our town’. The local resident appears unaware that Fornham All Saints is a village – not part of the town – and it is preservation of the village character which the planning inspector supported.
Various councillor/officer reports have suggested more accommodation is needed in Bury and we now have a Premier Inn and Travelodge. There already exists an approval for a 42-room extension to the applicant’s hotel on this site (2018) which has not even begun. What is to be gained by stacking up planning approvals?
Public trust in the planning system is severely compromised when an application with an apparent number of flaws is accepted by the council which seems reluctant to inform the very people who will be affected by this development. Residents’ confidence in the neutrality of the planning process in this case has been severely dented.
Every single rate payer in West Suffolk should question the efficacy of use of their taxes for a project so wholeheartedly recently refused by the government’s planning inspector.
Marilyn Sayer, via email
STEVE OFFERS NO ALTERNATIVES
As usual, Steve Britt in his column raises important issues of concern to society at large but unfortunately, as usual, spoils his arguments by prejudices and blinkered perspectives (Bury Free Press, December 4).
Perhaps he is not aware of this; not many of us are immune from such flaws but from a ‘Libertarian’, more open-mindedness could be expected. Not desiring ‘to go for the man and not the ball’ but taking his point of view of the reconstitution of the second parliamentary chamber by the Tony Blair government, he fails to mention that this occurred after 1,000 years of embedded inequality (The Norman Yoke) that was well beyond its sell-by-date and went out with a whimper not a bang (although it still exists in the monarchal system). If, instead, he’d put it into context of the lobbying done by Charter 88 with its other proposals for constitutional reform prior to 1979, he may have achieved an objective but, instead, uses it for a pointed criticism of the ‘Left’ with which he might have more in common than he realises, if only he was more open-minded. He never mentions anarchism nor free-thinking but is anti-authoritarian, yet seems to support hierarchal structures but then, as he has admitted in the past, he has trouble conveying to readers the definition of what Libertarianism stands for. Be that as it may . . . when looking at systems of government throughout the world, in reality they are all failing human needs (our own specialises in increasing child poverty while increasing military spending) but he mentions no radical alternatives, which is surprising given the most recent proposals for Citizens’ Assemblies based on sortition.
He plays the part of ‘If I Ruled the World’ but, taking Harry Secombe as an example, would do well to remember that dear old Harry was also happy playing the ‘Goon’, having the ability for humour and being able not to take himself too seriously.
Malcolm Searle, Bury St Edmunds
OVERFLOWING BINS ARE AN EYESORE
The state of the Biffa bins at the rear of McDonald’s in Bury St Edmunds is shameful?
I attach a photograph of the bins, right, which are always like this.
What a disgusting mess and awful sight.
This is what tourists, visitors and residents of Bury St Edmunds see every week at the back of this business as they walk into town from Ram Meadow car park.
It is unacceptable, and I personally wouldn’t eat food from a business that thinks this appalling mess is okay.
One of the bins hasn’t had a lid on it for months, leaving the rubbish to blow out all over the street regularly. This area is a disgrace to our town and a filthy mess, which in these times of disease containment is unacceptable.
And yet, I have tried to get West Suffolk Council, McDonald’s and Biffa to remedy the situation and they all pass the buck. One of them has to take responsibility surely?
Paula Harber, Bury St Edmunds
PROFIT PUT BEFORE THE ENVIRONMENT
Your columnist Peter Gudde (Bury Free Press, November 27), expressed his concern that within 24 hours of the Prime Minister announcing that new gas boilers would no longer be installed in new houses from 2022, he abandoned the pledge.
The government had previously said that they thought the policy should apply from 2025. Why the withdrawal? Some property developers were opposed because of the extra cost to them of less than £10,000 per house for heat pump, in spite of reducing the costs of energy for the new owners. This action followed the abandonment in 2015 of the previous Labour Government’s new regulations to reduce cost of heating new houses house becoming law in 2016.
These actions resulted from lobbying by the big house builders, for the proposal could reduce the extortionate profits made from fulfilling the desperate housing crisis. The past years have been full of stories of the inadequacies and horrors of new-build houses by some developers leading to average profits per house by at least one developer of £50,000.
It is clear that whatever this government says about the environment it will do nothing which upsets its friends. It is still funding fossil fuel development across the globe. The November announcement by the Prime Minister of his programme for dealing with the Global Emergency only put forward £4 billion new money to ward off a definite threat that is with us now and worsening whilst simultaneously announcing a £14 billion increase in defence expenditure to resist unknown future threats. Both will increase jobs so necessary after the Covid crisis but why so little for dealing with the environment compared to defence. Could it be the yet again that the defence industry has more friends in Government than the Environment.
Governments must respond to the climate threat by investing in energy reduction in so many ways. Protecting the profits of fossil energy companies and property developers in the UK is creating a muddled and ineffective response to our current crisis.
If West Suffolk Council can do its bit towards ending the Climate Emergency, why can’t the Government?
Roger Spiller, Ixworth
Footnote: Roger’s letter was received before Boris Johnson’s latest announcement about cutting carbon emissions.
THANK YOU FOR RESCUING DEER
Could you put in your paper a big thank you to the fire brigade who rescued a baby muntjac on Saturday evening (December 5) in Westley Road, Bury St Edmunds
It had got its head and legs stuck in a gate and they had to cut the poor thing out – what a amazing job they did.
Paul Anderson, Bury St Edmunds
WELL DONE TO THE COVID TESTERS
Today I had a Covid test at the old Rougham Hill waste centre.
I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to the men and women who patiently, politely and with humour, administered the test while doing so in a snow fall with a temperature of only four degrees. I hope Father Christmas treats you all well.
Bernard Freeman, Great Barton