Newmarket Journal readers' letters to the editor
Car parking charges continue to attract comments from readers . . . among other things.
USE NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN TO SORT OUT THE HIGH STREET
In response to Cllr Jefferys’ and Cllr Hood’s objections to the McDonald’s planning application with the reason being that it goes against the Neighbourhood Plan stating that the entrance to the town should be ‘attractive’, I wonder if they would maybe prefer to have a Primark store there or would that not be attractive enough, or possibly a more upmarket store like Harrods would be more attractive to their plan?
Race traffic to the town is directed down Willie Snaith Road through the industrial estate to the racecourse so what is the objection really about? Is it pure snobbery on behalf of the racing industry?
With the closure of many high street stores maybe they would be better off looking at using the Neighbourhood Plan to sort out the High Street instead.
Name and address supplied
CAR PARK USERS SEE LITTLE RETURN
What Cllr Drummond fails to mention (Letters March 11) is that parking charges were introduced a year before he says he initially opposed them.
In 2007 there were plenty of spaces in council- owned car parks, and Forest Heath District Council acknowledged that the introduction of parking charges had a severe knock-on effect on residential parking near the town centre.
No real action was taken on this until 2020 when residents got involved to force the councils into starting the process of implementing residential parking zones.
I find it hard to believe that parking charges have been delayed indefinitely when the West Suffolk Council budget for 2021 shows the revenue forecast from car parks to be £1.6 million more than in 2019. That increase in revenue has to start sooner rather than later, perhaps just after the local elections in May?
The resurfacing of both Grosvenor Yard and Market Square car parks were promised in 2020 but did not take place, and it was previously stated by West Suffolk Council that the EV charging points in All Saints’ car park were funded by developer contributions.
The increase in charges means Newmarket car park users will be contributing an extra £400,000 a year to West Suffolk and seeing little, if anything, in return.
I suppose the question is why East Cambridheshire council is able to balance the books and provide free parking across the district when our ‘professionally qualified, experienced and business-like councillors’ from West Suffolk feel the need to keep increasing the financial burden on residents, workers and visitors, while in the process helping to speed up the decline of the High Street.
Douglas Hall, Newmarket
WELCOME ABSENCE OF ‘POO’ IN DAN’S STORY
When I read Dan Barker’s article in the Journal last week, ‘Campaign to stop fouling nuisance in public areas’, I was pleasantly surprised. Not one sentence contained the word poo.
Hurrah! A reporter who doesn’t treat his readers like children. Excrement! – sorry, I mean excellent!
Brenda Neal, Bill Rickaby Drive, Newmarket
VACCINATION WAS A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE
We hear a lot of negative things and scaremongering these days. I received my first dose of the Astra Zeneca vaccine a couple of days ago in Mildenhall. The whole experience was nothing but positive.
A huge thank you to all the volunteers that met me at the car park, checked me in and ushered the process along. You were polite and cheerful. The RAF doctor who conducted my screening was reassuring and thorough. The two RAF NCOs who gave me the vaccine were competent and the banter was uplifting. I literally felt no pain at all.
The NHS has done and is doing a fantastic world-leading job. Our forces are still the best in the world. We still have a lot of positive things to be thankful for.
Ian Watson, via email
CAR PARK INCOME FALLS OUTSIDE OF ACT
In response to Craig Warren’s letter ‘Limited uses for parking fee cash’ (Journal, March 18).
The case referred to in the article (Attfield v Barnet Council) was a resident challenging an increase in Resident Permit Changes for parking on the highway – not an increase in off-street tariffs.
Only income and expenditure of local authorities in connection with their on-street charging and on and off-street enforcement activities are governed by Section 55 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. Any surplus income should fund improvements to the parking provision, the highway or environmental improvements.
As West Suffolk’s car parks are not on the highway, they fall outside this section of the RTRA 1984.
However, West Suffolk publishes (under their transparency agenda) any surplus derived from off-street parking and how they use this money to offset the cost of other vital town centre services. To find our more please visit www.westsuffolk.gov.uk and type ‘car park income and expenditure’ in the search bar.
While you will only find historical information, you will discover that a significant sum was spent on street cleaning, land drainage and CCTV. How would these services have been provided if the car parks ran at a deficit?
Cllr Andy Drummond, Newmarket
MAKE YOUR VOTE COUNT IN ELECTION
As the county council elections roar closer, the merits of all candidates will be presented to the public all over the country.
Some will have the backing of national parties and attempt to gain local votes on the back of national achievement. A candidate pictured with Matt Hancock might persuade a positive response because of the vaccination rollout. It might also get a negative response from Government failings over the duration of the pandemic.
None of these issues will help with a selection of someone to represent us at a local county level. Some candidates will jump on to everything happening in their area to gain an edge. We will see the self- promotion at an extreme and at times that will be cringeworthy.
Would that be the right person to represent our towns and villages with issues at a county level?
Our vote will decide that.
How many times in the past has a career-seeking politician been elected on a bunch of promises that are never delivered. Our vote has been used purely as a stepping stone to their political ambition. It can be so easy to select the wrong person for the job.
Sometimes the better person is the one that lives within our town or village and understands the local needs. Someone who is outside political influence and just fights for the improvement to their community.
Some people might think why bother to vote, but it is so important that everyone does.
Make a vote for the person that cares for your town or village the most because they will represent you and focus on what is needed to improve the things under county control.
Andy Neal, via email
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