Newmarket Journal readers' letters to the editor
Parking charges were on the radar of readers this week.
PARKING CHARGE RISES WILL HAVE CONSEQUENCES
All five Conservative Newmarket district councillors followed the party line and voted to accept the West Suffolk Council budget, thus subjecting Newmarket to huge hikes in parking charges.
Years ago Cllr Drummond, long before he was a councillor, called on Forest Heath District Council councillors who voted to implement parking charges to resign from the council. Leading to them being tagged by him as the ‘Un-magnificent Seven’ in the process.
Well Cllr Drummond, Hood, Lay, Nobbs and Soons, you lot are now the Infamous Five.
All of you failed to represent our town’s best interests yet again and you Cllr Drummond failed to follow your own advice and as such you should all also resign.
No doubt they will blame Brexit, Covid, or both as to the reasons for supporting increases but it does not justify their actions. They have all personally driven yet another nail into our town’s already struggling retail sector and it will have serious consequences to our town’s residents.
Like you stated all those years ago Cllr Drummond, perhaps you are hoping the electorate will have forgotten your actions come the next election.
Ian Young, Engelhard Road, Newmarket
RESIDENTS’ NEEDS SEEM SECONDARY
It is interesting that the West Suffolk Council (WSC) leader is quoted (Journal, February 25) as saying: “Our tariff structure actually supports the local economy by helping manage parking demand for workers and visitors alike.”
Admittedly he does mention residents’ parking zones (RPZ) separately but it might seem that Newmarket residents’ needs are secondary.
WSC commissioned a district wide parking review in 2019. Following a period of consultation the review group produced their report. It rather seems, however, that the review group did not understand the particular problems of Newmarket including the lack of residential parking in areas adjacent to the High Street, highlighted by the introduction of civil parking enforcement. Even if residents’ parking zones come in, it would appear imperative to allow permit holders to use car parks, due to insufficient street spaces.
If the charging period is increased from 9am-4pm to 8am-6pm residents who might use the car parks overnight will need to leave earlier and arrive back later, or pay parking charges unless they could find parking space or have RPZ permit covering car park use.
The increase in the afternoon might well dissuade many from shopping in town, to the detriment of the local economy. Whether WSC will be magnanimous enough to concede they might not have got this quite right remains to be seen
Cllr Andrew Appleby, Newmarket
COUNCILLOR’S WORDS A LESSON FOR STUDENTS
I was so pleased to read in last week’s Journal John Bone’s words of praise for mayor Michael Jefferys following a full-page article in the Sunday Times which examined Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum’s power and influence in Newmarket.
Mr Bone praised him for his actions during the embarrassing saga of a proposal put before the town council in October 2018 to bestow on the Sheikh the freedom of Newmarket because of his generosity to the town and particularly to Newmarket Academy, where Mr Jeffery had been a long-serving maths teacher and vice-principal. He remained a member of the academy’s board of governors after his retirement in 2012.
Although he had seen for himself the benefits of the Sheikh’s money and only wanted the best for the school, he spoke against the proposal which was not proceeded with.
What John Bone did not mention was that, following the council meeting, Cllr Jefferys was interviewed and spoke about what had been described in some quarters as a ‘snub’ to the Sheikh.
Sunday Times writer David Walsh’s excellent article concluded: “People at Newmarket Academy suggested it would be better if, in the future he [Mr Jefferys] avoided saying anything critical of Sheikh Mohammed. He said he could not give that undertaking. In that case, they said, he would have to resign as a school governor.”
Whatever good the Sheikh’s money has done for the school, could I suggest that Mr Jeffery’s principled and honourable decision to stand up for what he believed was right, and then to refuse to be gagged should he deem it appropriate to do the same thing in the future, was a much more valuable lesson for students than money could buy.
Anita Cork, Exning