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Newmarket Journal readers' letters to the editor





Further consequences of the merger between Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury councils are raised in this week's letters.

MERGER CREATED DISPARITY IN PAYING FOR LIGHTS

Did you know you pay Twice for Streetlighting?

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

Now we are being asked to pay the same Council Tax for Mildenhall as they do in Bury St Edmunds, I have asked why we are not receiving the same equal services.

This situation dates back to the merger of the two councils – Forest Heath District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

The cost of street lighting is a major cause of disparity.

Before the merger, St Edmundsbury paid for a street lighting arrangement with Suffolk County Council (SCC) and Forest Heath at the time chose not to, thus creating where we are now. Now we are one single authority I feel there can be no divide. They need to find a way that we are all treated equal.

I doubt West Suffolk District Council (WSDC) will increase payment to SCC that will include the old Forest Heath towns and parishes.

Decisions made by the past two councils will only answer the questions of why this situation exists.

The ‘Why’ needs to become a ‘How’. How can we create an even playing field for all towns and villages in West Suffolk?

If we are going to look at the history then St Edmundsbury did not invest in a solar farm in Lakenheath but West Suffolk District Council now enjoys the fruits of revenue from that enterprise.

I believe the way the disparity for street lighting costs can be solved, incurring as little disruption as possible, could be an easy task.

Keep the Council Tax payments remaining equal across the district but with WSDC reimbursing (from the proceeds of the solar farm) the street lighting costs to the ex-Forest Heath towns and villages.

For the whole of the old Forest Heath district I estimate this to be close to £100,000 per year.

Looking into why only gives an understanding of the past situation, it’s the how going forward that will solve the problem.

I will not accept anything less than fairness and equality for our residents. WSDC must deliver the same treatment across all its the town and parish councils, including the ex-Forest Heath ones

All councillors have been elected to represent the residents and must always act in their best interests, that is our obligation when elected. Let’s hope WSDC feels the same obligation and think in terms of the residents’ finances and not the councils

When the two councils merged they had seven years to legally achieve harmonisation but decided to do this in four.

Again revenue-influenced as in year four they would gain maximum return from the ex-Forest Heath contributions.

If they had stuck with the seven year timescale then they would have given themselves time to address all these issues of disparity and we would currently not be paying the same rate values.

In effect, the people of Mildenhall and surrounding villages are paying for their streetlighting twice through Council Tax.

Andy Neal, via email

IMPLICATIONS OF SHUTTING ROAD

Regarding the siting of the market (Journal, March 17). The market moved from the High Street, where it should be, for a second time recently for safety reasons.

To shut Palace Street twice a week would mean seven houses and 10 work places would have no or limited fire and ambulance cover.

Did the councillors walk down Palace Street and take a proper look at the implications ?

If they had they would never have come up with this idea.

Michael Wigg, AS Wigg and Son, Newmarket High Street

FIND THE MONEY TO PROTECT CHILDREN

I have just read John Bone’s column in the Journal. There are two things prompting me to write this letter.

Women have always been harassed, hurt or murdered. It is not right, and must be addressed –but has it actually increased?

Contrast this with the number of young men and boys who are injured or killed on our streets.

If you take our legal definition of a child, many of them are children. Where is the outcry about this?

I have to presume that it is mainly linked to the County Lines drug trade we hear about, with vulnerable youngsters drawn in.

What is society doing to help these children? Their parents are rarely mentioned. It would be wrong to blame schools, police or social services but surely these children must be identified at an early age and protected. The money, and will, must be found to help them.

Mrs J Merryweather, Stirling Gardens, Newmarket

-- Email your letters to news@newmarketjournal.co.uk