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Newmarket Journal readers' letters





The health of the high street, parking charges and the role of the PCC are among this week's subjects for letters.

GOVERNMENT SHOULD LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD

The Covid lockdown has seen a rise in online shopping for obvious reasons. Many high street leading chains have been forced into closure with a loss of a substantial number of jobs.

Letters to the Editor (44773256)
Letters to the Editor (44773256)

While I accept the internet has changed the way we live our lives, the high street retailers could get so much more support from the government.

The most simple, single thing that would support our failing high streets is introducing a tax on online shopping. This would make a more even playing field for retailers and save jobs and brands from extinction.

Online retail has the unfair advantage of lower overheads and that needs to be addressed.

Towns without a high street presence become ghost towns. The loss of any face to face interaction that a purchase provides only adds to the growing mental health issues lockdown has highlighted. Retail shopping is very much a social experience getting people out of the home, meeting up with friends for a coffee or lunch along the way. The opportunity to touch, feel, try on or sample the intended purchase is not available with online retail.

While I accept the need for both concepts of purchase the high streets could become more vibrant if a tax were imposed to online. Result we keep the high streets alive. Operating on an even playing field, jobs will be saved and government gains more revenue through the tax. This is something that needs communicating to various government departments for serious discussion. Pressure that can only be applied by the public, councillors at all levels, action groups wishing to save our high streets and MPs. Everyone needs to fight for our high streets before they are lost forever. This can be achieved so easily.

Andy Neal, Mildenhall

PARKING CHARGES HELP TO BALANCE BOOKS

In answer to Ian Young’s cordial, but critical letter last week about parking charge increases, surprisingly, he fails to mention that any increase in parking charges have been indefinitely delayed by West Suffolk Council.

What’s more, all parking charges in Newmarket have been suspended during lockdown and yet West Suffolk Council resurfaced the All Saints’ car park, together with the installation of electric vehicle charging points, and has guaranteed to resurface the Grosvenor Yard car park and the Turner Hall car park this year. This is all under a Conservative-led West Suffolk Council.

Back in 2007 when I was a town councillor, I initially opposed the introduction of parking charges but it became clear that no one could find a parking space in any of the town’s car parks for love nor money. However, if you were fortunate enough to find a space you could stay as long as you liked so people did. The spaces were full because there was no regulation full, first with shop keepers, residents, and lastly, if you were lucky, visitors that had come to town to spend.

The introduction of time restrictions and charging created the churn that means today you can find a space in any of the conveniently situated town car parks.

West Suffolk Council also needs the car park income to balance the books. There is no magic money tree.

During the pandemic West Suffolk Council has efficiently supported many of our local businesses with financial aid without questioning whether or when it will get this money back.

Cllr Andy Drummond, Newmarket

PCC ROLE SHOULD BE SCRAPPED

According to Tim Passmore, the current Suffolk police and crime commissioner (PCC), 70 per cent of us ‘support a tax hike’ (Journal February 25).

This is an extremely surprising statement.

He bases this on a countywide survey which resulted in 1,113 responses. This is a very low response indeed. This 70 per cent equates to 0.01per cent of the Suffolk population. To put that into a more local context, that per cent does not represent two adults in Newmarket agreeing to an increase in taxes.

By anyone’s judgement the claim made by Mr Passmore is stretching it.

The numbers are not representative and rather reek of desperation in the run up to the May elections. These have to be combined with local council elections otherwise nobody bothers voting for the PCC candidate.

The Home Secretary is currently conducting a review of the role of the PCC. The word is she asked her officials what the PCC does and could not get a precise answer. The answer is the role provides a job for well paid bureaucrats. The post should be scrapped and the money spent on more police officers.

I truly believe at least 70 per cent of us would vote for that.

John Scott, Old Station Road, Newmarket