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Bury Free Press readers' letters




Road safety, Covid, local politics and planning are among this week's topics.

TACKLE FLOODING BEFORE WE HAVE AN ACCIDENT

Regarding the new 40mph speed limit between Horringer and Bury St Edmunds on the A143. This new speed limit was initiated when planning permission was granted for a new residential entrance on to this road.

Flooding on the A143 is a danger to road users
Flooding on the A143 is a danger to road users

Described as a much-needed highway improvement measure, the speed limit was installed at the end of January.

Admirable as this may be, had the workers installing the new speed limit travelled to the other end of Horringer they would have encountered a much more serious andimmediate threat to road safety, namely serious flooding on a bend just before exiting the village. This flooding which has been there since the start of the year is completely blocking one side of the road. Vehicles attempting to avoid the deep water are forced on to the wrong side of the road.

As an essential worker I travel this road regularly and have seen several near misses. This was before the severe snow and ice which will only make things worse.

It is only a matter of time before a serious accident occurs. I have reported the flooding three times to the council, nothing has been done apart from two flood warning signs put up.

Why has the council given greater priority to the placing of a speed limit on a road which has never had one on that section before than to attending to this dangerous flooding?

Jonathan Van Jennians, via email

THIS VOTE WAS A DERELICTION OF DUTY

Parliament has just voted to tie its own hands on future trade deals. In the recent vote on the Trade Bill, the House of Commons voted to drop a House of Lords amendment that would have guaranteed our MPs a vote on trade deals.

It is disgraceful, but should come as no surprise, that our MPs, Matt Hancock and Jo Churchill, were among those who voted to drop this democratic procedure.

The dangers of high risk trade deals, such as one with the US or the Trans-Pacific Partnership, are real. They could undermine food and animal welfare standards, raise prices of medicine for the NHS, affect the way public services are run, and impact workers’ rights. And, while we are facing a climate emergency, they could also block climate action.

Usually in domestic law Parliament would get a vote on issues like these. But trade deals, as international treaties, can effectively override Parliamentary votes, which is why it was so important that our representatives in Parliament should be able to vote on the trade deals themselves.

This vote against the amendment was a dereliction of duty by most Conservative and DUP MPs and a power-grab by the government.

Perry Morley, The Green, Depden

THREE OFFICERS OR AN INEFFECTIVE PCC?

The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Tim Passmore, wrote in the Bury Free Press on January 22, making his annual request for the people of Suffolk to help fund police work.

He says Suffolk is the fourth lowest funded force per head of the population in the country. Well, that’s his fault for not convincing the Home Secretary of his need for more funds for the Suffolk police force. He fails in that respect year after year and then asks hard-up local people, many who are jobless and pensioners, to bail-out his shortcomings.

County Lines drug activity is a very serious matter, but it is a national problem and therefore the PCC should negotiate his adequate share of government funds to enable his police to fight it effectively.

Covid-19 and buying online has made many local people jobless. More is to come.

Pensioners get a very small annual increase each year which soon disappears with all of the various Council Tax increases. Add them all together and it adds up to each of us becoming poorer year on year.

Also, are we getting value for all of these council taxes we do pay? My answer is that we are paying more and more for less and less by way of council services.

Tim Passmore gets a very healthy salary. Back in 2013 the BBC established that UK PCC’s were getting an annual salary of between £70,000 and £85,000 per year. So what is it now, perhaps around £100,000? That’s enough for maybe three extra police officers. I would rather have the latter in Suffolk than have a Police and Crime Commissioner
who appears to be somewhat ineffective.

Elections for county councillors and PCCs should be taking place in May. We should all make every effort to vote, whether in person, or by postal vote and we should all think very carefully who we vote for.

Alan Pitt, Bury St Edmunds

ELECTIONS OFFER THE CHANCE FOR CHANGE

With the constant listing of Suffolk County Council failures to provide essential services and maintain infrastructure for the residents of the county, it has to be asked what are the reasons for this? Is the majority party, following the national leadership as a role model with a misplaced loyalty, tryingto emulate it, or is it complacency of having controlled the administration for so long that it is blind to its own incompetence?

Outwardly, there seems to be no responsibility acknowledged for these failures; instead, platitudes and excuses are doled out as a matter of course by councillors and officers alike; any inadequacies neither admitted nor learnt from. In fact, the very structure of checks and balances, vital to good administration, seem to be clogged up by partisan inertia which is not healthy in a democracy.

The climate and ecological breakdown is happening, the waters are rising, and yet SCC fails to deal with localised flooding or even the regular cleaning of drains. It has no ‘Plan’ either for the here and now, let alone future crises. (Maybe there is a ‘Plan’ but ‘it’s in discussion’ or ‘in next year’s budget’ like so many other vague promises). Because of the pandemic, which is part of the unfolding ecological breakdown, huge stresses are being exerted on our society; mental health breakdowns and domestic violence cases are increasing yet services, to deal with these issues, which were seriously underfunded prior to the pandemic, are now totally unfit for purpose.

SCC has evaded the consequences of its disastrous school transport plan because of lockdown but has followed up with an equal folly for the education sector of whether to open or to close facilities, in line of course with national guidelines of more of the same floundering, stop-go whimsicality.

There are many who are dismayed at this continuing foolishness and dysfunction and the forthcoming May elections offer the opportunity to show this. Change is necessary because, quite frankly, any administration anywhere on this planet, which left to its own
political devices, allows a proportion of the nation’s children to be living
in poverty and to go hungry, then that regime is morally bankrupt
and deserves to be removed from office by all decent-minded
people.

Malcolm Searle, Bury St Edmunds

EDUCATION NEEDED ON IMMUNISATION

One of the few benefits to the
present pandemic has been the revelation of the level of fear and ignorance, even among people
born in the UK , regarding immunisation.

A serious effort should now be possible to identify and educate those in the population who, in addition to their present reluctance to vaccinate, may not have been vaccinated as children. And who may still be denying this potentially life-saving treatment to their children. Other countries prevent tourists from entering their territories unless they can prove they have been inoculated against endemic diseases such as yellow fever.

A similar requirement for entrants to the UK ,with mandatory inoculation for diphtheria,TB, measles etc, as well as the latest version of Covid, would help reduce the risk of these potentially lethal diseases re-establishing themselves in the UK.

Simultaneouslyevery child in receipt of health education should have a basic knowledge of Pasteur, Salk et al and a thankfulness of the benefits of modern medical
science.

Robin Parkes, via email

WHO SHOULD WE ELECT FOR CHANGE, GUY?

I read Cllr Guy McGregor’s recent letter regarding education funding and join him in thanking the staff of our Suffolk schools for the amazing job they do especially in the current difficult circumstances.

I also agree with him that there must be “fairer funding models” for our schools in Suffolk to ensure that they stop receiving “well below the national average” funding.

Cllr McGregor has been a Conservative councillor for many years and Suffolk County Council has been controlled by the Conservatives for many years also. All Suffolk Members of Parliament are from the Conservative Party and the Conservative Party has been in Government for over 10 years. Who would he suggest we vote for in the local elections in May to effect the changes needed to ensure that Suffolk schools get a fair level of funding?

Tim Glenton, North Suffolk Liberal Democrats

WHY IS ADDITIONAL RETAIL SPACE NEEDED?

The letter from Tom Murray (Big changes on way for town centre, Bury Free Press, February 12) covering a wide range of his issues, somewhat misses the point over the planning appeal for the redundant Cornhill Walk shopping centre.

All of us who live near to the Cornhill Walk would agree that the building is indeed an eyesore and we all desperately want it replaced with something more appropriate.

The original development proposal was to revamp the original building, but this was subsequently changed to a demolition and construction of a new much larger building with an additional floor plus extending the building north towards the residential areas of Well Street and Short Brackland, thus enabling the London-based developer’s proposal for a total of 48 flats. This would result in the overlooking of existing houses - something which did not occur previously because the upper floors were storage areas for ground floor retail, they were never residential.

The need for additional retail space in this planning proposal (irrespective of a gym or not) is also not required when you consider the desperate plight of high street retail and the growing number of vacant shops in the town centre. The proximity of much smaller adjacent listed buildings, in particular Moyse’s Hall Museum, is also inappropriate when set against
the mass of the proposed new
build.

Mr Murray’s other references to the Tayfen Road development also miss the point in respect of the view from the existing housing and of overlooking, particularly for Peckham Street. I have no doubt that the residents would prefer the used car lot and gasometer, as opposed to the monstrous and inappropriate block of flats which are currently nearing completion.

Along with the Cornhill Walk redevelopment, both of these can be viewed as a massive planning failure by the council planners.

The question that should be asked is do we still need so many new residential flats in and around the centre of the town? Where will everyone park? Where will they work? What will they do?

Where I would agree with Mr Murray is in the need for affordable homes for young people and this should not simply be oversized blocks of flats completely out of context with the surrounding area.

Barry Smith, Bury St Edmunds