Letters & Opinions, Bury Free Press, March 8, 2019
MPS’ PAY HIKE: INAPPROPRIATE AND TACTLESS
I am angry and concerned that our MPs will be receiving a 2.5 per cent above-inflation pay award, which will be effective from April 1, 2019.
Their basic salaries will be boosted to £79,468 per annum. This extra £2,089 increase is above the current inflation rate of 1.8 per cent.
What do these MPs, nationally and locally, really do and achieve to help improve the lives of the population in this struggling United Kingdom? Are the MPs really that deserving to be rewarded with this inappropriate and tactless pay hike?
Politicians seem to be totally out of touch with the majority of the public. Politicians seem to conveniently forget that they are elected as public servants, who should be robustly, constructively and effectively helping and improving the lives of UK citizens.
Unfortunately, this present government is failing the people of the UK. Theresa May is a Prime Minister of constant un-delivered promises, U-turns and untenable decisions, laced with propaganda.
However, she and her party associates will no doubt accept and take this unfortunate pay award, seemingly for failure and incompetence, especially in relation to the UK’s chaotic and grossly mis-managed Brexit negotiations.
It would be enlightening and interesting to hear a reaction from our own local MP, the seemingly rather reticent and neutral Jo Churchill.
Will she be accepting and taking this pay rise? Perhaps she can explain to her constituents the justification of this badly-timed and misjudged pay increment given to her and other party members of her unstable government during this difficult and unprecedented time for the people of the UK.
Simon R Whitnall
Bury St Edmunds
AVOID USING PLASTIC GLOVES AT GARAGES
Often, walking past the BP Haberden garage, I get frustrated by the hundreds of unused plastic gloves on their way to the River Lark and the plastic waste in our oceans. [See picture, above]
The thought of those gloves being eaten by sea creatures is horrible.
Today I went to talk to the BP garage manager. I have to say, I was expecting opposition, but she said straight away: “Leave it with me”.
I was so impressed and am looking forward to seeing the improvements. It would be wonderful if Bury Free Press readers could be conscious of safely disposing of any plastic gloves from petrol stations (and preferably not using them at all).
MASTERPLAN COULD BE MISSED CHANCE
With reference to the Shepherds Grove Master Plan proposal (‘Views sought on masterppan for business park and homes, BFP,February 22) :
Can our borough council please everyone? There are proposals to develop the land between and around the current East and West industrial estates. These don’t seem to please everyone.
However, this is an opportunity for our parish and borough councils to be bold and innovative if they allow themselves to be, in a way that would be beneficial to our local area, our quality of life and the environment. As it stands, the current proposal:
1 - Is bad for the local environment. It encourages more than average use of vehicles because the housing isn’t within walking distance of any facilities (except possible employment);
2 - Causes negative impact upon nearby communities, putting extra strain on existing facilities such as surgeries, schools, etc;
3 - Is bad for our roads because the facilities required by the new residents need to be driven to, and not so good for a healthy lifestyle – it’s too far to walk;
4 - Will not create a community in its own right – the new housing isn’t in or very near a recognisable village, with no identity or facilities of its own. This isn’t ideal for the young or ageing population, groups that traditionally seek socialisation.
The owners’ representatives state that the current proposal contains housing because that would raise the funds to enable them to pay for the A143 road improvements, a stipulation made by the borough council. The amount of housing proposed is arguably not sufficient for the development to be a self-supporting village in its own right.
Suffolk already has many ‘dormitary’ villages. This could be a missed opportunity. If there was enough housing to make a new village, then the development could justify including its own primary school, surgery, community building, shop etc.
Smaller schools can produce happy kids, and community buildings enable socialisation within walking distance. Permitting more housing could facilitate the spending of additional money on local facilities.
There is enough space for there to be a self-contained village, which has village facilities and places of employment within walking or cycling distance.
Such a development, perhaps with the inclusion of businesses with high staff-to-area ratios (not warehouses which also require lots of lorry movements), would:
1 - Reduce the negative impact on Stanton and other villages;
2 - Create a community with a real local identity;
3 - Provide employment for new and existing local residents.
There is a further opportunity, however. A new village could be built using all the latest techniques and expertise as to how a new community successfully reduces its impact on the environment. It could include the following:
1 - Homes and businesses insulated to levels higher than the current standards. This will reduce home and business running costs, and increase the re-sell values. The council could stipulate that all suitable buildings have southerly-facing roofs with solar panels, and possibly ground source heating (the council already subsidises retro-fitting of solar panels);
2 - A wind turbine serving the new village, but sited a small distance away, could reduce energy costs further;
3 - Electric car charging facility at each home, using green energy.
4 - Cycle paths for the new village, and for linking other nearby villages;
5 - Road surfaces incorporating waste plastic (currently being trialled in several counties);
6 - Hi-tech businesses with higher quality jobs;
7 - Call centre-type businesses with flexible and part-time working hours, compatible with young families;
8 - Allotments for growing food;
9 - Superfast broadband.
It’s true that this development is in a countryside area, and it’s easy to understand why there might be objections.
However, it’s known that private gardens and shelter belts are more beneficial to wildlife than mono-culture agriculture. The current land is of very little benefit to wildlife.
Yes, it’s yet more housing in West Suffolk, but no more than is currently planned in this area. Yes, the main A143 will be busier, but this idea will reduce the need for cars to travel to and from Bury or the A14. The traffic should be more localised.
I have no qualifications in building or planning regulations, and I’m in no way connected to this proposal. I’m just a long-time Stanton resident who loves our local area.
Some of what I have said could well be naivety on my part. However, these are just a few ideas for what could be an eco village for Suffolk, which would be an example to others and help meet the objectives to create a greener county.
New developments don’t always have to have negative impacts, and the above ideas could end up pleasing local people and the environment.
But does it please the council?
The Draft Masterplan can be viewed at www.shepherdsgrove stanton-masterplan.co.uk .
I urge anyone with an opinion, whatever that is, to submit their views.
DROP TESCO’S FISHY IDEA, NOT THE CHIPPY
Supermarkets in general and Tesco’s in particular have to be the reason behind the closure of so many of our high street shops, butchers, bakers, fishmongers, greengrocers, confectioners, the list goes on and on, and now – would you believe – Tesco are telling us to “ditch the chippy” and buy their £3.50 Friday night takeaway fish and chips for four. This is almost a case of treason, as nothing epitomises England and the English more than the Union Jack, cricket, and fish and chips. If their takeaway is anything like the Indian and Chinese ready meals already on offer, they will fall far short of the real thing. Nothing, but nothing, compares with fish and chips from the chippy: traditional countrywide fare that has stood the test of time. Ditch Tesco instead!
Bury St Edmunds