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Why destroy what little is left of town?

I have been reading about various issues concerning Sudbury in the Free Press for the last few weeks with a sense of increasing despair and frustration.

Sudbury used to be a lovely, thriving market town with a variety of independent shops, two hospitals and even a fully manned 24-hour police and fire station.

Write a letter and give us your view (44594889)
Write a letter and give us your view (44594889)

Now Babergh District Council seems determined to destroy what little is left. I have not spoken to anyone who agrees with the decision to implement car park charges, even if the first hour is free.

How many shops could anyone visit within that time? It’s certainly not enough time to browse and buy anything and perhaps meet a friend for a coffee, let alone for a nice lunch in a local cafe, restaurant or pub. That’s going to really help our local businesses, isn’t it?

Moving the full-time advice centre out of the town hall and into the library as a part-time venture, with absolutely no consultation with the town council or the public, is quite despicable.

They couldn’t even be bothered to ask the good people who actually work there about their workload and whether they agree that it gives them an “opportunity” to work in Stowmarket.

I seem to remember that, when the council offices closed in Hadleigh, we were told not to worry as there would be a local hub set up in Sudbury for people unable to get to Ipswich.

I also seem to clearly remember that people from Babergh voted not to merge with Mid Suffolk, yet this has happened by stealth, hasn’t it?

John Ward and his fellow councillors no doubt have easy access to a computer and have experience in online transactions and form-filling, which is no mean task for people on low incomes.

I totally agree with the letter from Mr J Smith (‘Spare us the spin – it just doesn’t stack up’, Free Press, February 4), when he takes exception to Babergh’s “investment” of around £80 million in a company called Cifco, which then buys property, such as shopping centres.

The income generated of £4.5 million since 2017 is small fry compared to the £80 million spent and, as retail shopping centres are becoming emptier by the day, l would hazard a guess that any income is going to be considerably less over the coming years.

I thought, in my naivety, that councils existed to serve their community. Would it not be more beneficial to invest that money in social housing, as well as so-called affordable housing here in Babergh?

Our young people would then be able to pay rent and shop within their communities and bring up their families.

Has Cllr Ward and our MP any idea how impossible it is to save the deposit required for the average starter home, especially as we have a very low wage economy in Suffolk.

Another issue is the lack of disabled and short-stay parking in North Street and on Market Hill – this is not helping anyone, least of all the hard-pressed shop owners who are really struggling with custom in these hard times.

Please could the barriers be removed now? The pavements are plenty wide enough to pass each other safely, except for the ones in Gainsborough Street. We really must protect the few shops and businesses we have left.

Finally, l would like far more transparency in the voting through of these measures so that we, the public, have a true choice when the local elections come round in May.

I hope that people will take the trouble to vote for true democracy – the town needs you.

Marilyn Sore

Layzell Croft

Great Cornard

We have been lied to time and time again

Am I the only one who remembers the district council saying that bringing in parking machines would not mean that charges for parking would come in the future?

It did not take long before the council introduced parking charges; now it wants to take away the very reasonable three hours free parking.

Were we deceived? No, we ordinary citizens already new that the council does not listen to the public. We knew full well that parking charges would come in time.

Right now, I can’t think of a more polite way of saying that we knew the council was lying.

Personally, it will affect me as I use the Kingfisher (when it’s open) several times a week to use the gym. I am usually there for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, occasionally a bit longer. Maybe I will cancel my membership at the Kingfisher and use one of the other gyms that have free parking on the industrial estate.

Maybe several other gym users will do the same – have they accounted for the loss of revenue at the Kingfisher?

Is it fair to traders in the town? It will have a huge effect on them. The blocking off of Market Hill and North Street has already had an effect; for us it’s made going to the bank more difficult and take more time.

We no longer just pop in to town to get something; I now have to plan ahead for those odd items when we used to just think ‘I’ll get that on the way to work or after the gym’. Most of the time, I simply don’t bother.

My wife and myself have a business to run and we work a minimum of six days a week. Our business has moved to mostly online or phone orders, so we have worked right through the pandemic.

The extra 10 to 15 minutes needed to go to the bank eats up valuable time for us. Adding parking charges will just add to the problems of the town.

We have lost several good shops in recent years and more will go, yet the council seems not to be aware of this or the problems that are surely still to come.

Cliff Batley

Newmans Road

Sudbury

We need a fairer funding model

I write in reference to the issue of school funding in Suffolk and thought it might be helpful if the complete picture is published.

State schools are now funded entirely by central Government.

Readers should note that central Government has increased funding to schools but, at the same time, has charged schools increased costs, which includes National Insurance and superannuation payments.

There has also been increases in other costs over the last five years.

Norfolk and especially Suffolk schools receive funding well below the national average.

This difference is hard to bridge, but what is amazing is how well Suffolk schools perform.

Our thanks must go to the leadership in our local schools, the hard work of the staff and pupils and the support of parents and guardians.

There must be fairer funding models for our schools to ensure that our young people are given the best possible chances.

Guy McGregor

Suffolk county councillor

Idea of paying for parking is ludicrous

I find that I must reply to the ludicrous idea of having to pay to park in Sudbury.

I have shopped in the town for many years, as I live in Glemsford and can’t always get everything I need.

The councillors in Sudbury have always looked for the residents of the town, but John Ward is trying to turn Sudbury into a ghost town.

Shops are closing, there are too many over-priced coffee shops and now North Street and Market Hill have been effectively closed off, giving people with disabilities nowhere to park. At least we have some lovely black death boxes on Market Hill, otherwise the space would be completely empty.

Our local councillors are a disgrace.

Tibby Maxim

Kings Road

Glemsford

Dirty power plant will not meet needs

Babergh Green Party objects to the application for a gas-fired electricity reserve facility near Chilton Church in Church Field Road.

Generation of electricity through the burning of gas – a fossil fuel – will not lead to a reduction in Britain’s carbon footprint and will not lead to a position of zero carbon emissions by 2030, which Babergh has committed to.

The district council needs to consider what its obligations are, having acknowledged a climate emergency.

If this application were to be approved, it would show the residents of Babergh that the council is only paying lip-service to the idea of the environmental crisis, and that it is not really concerned about the wellbeing of the voting, council-tax-paying public.

Instead of relying on outdated 20th century sources of energy, the local authority should be looking ahead for new, sustainable ways to provide power to its residents.

If the district council is serious about its declaration of climate and ecological emergency, it will not grant permission for this noisy, dirty power plant in Chilton.

Jane Gould, Robert Lindsay, Jessie Carter, Laura Smith, Theresa Munson, John H Smith, Ralph Carpenter, Emily Long, Andrew Sterling, Simon Harley, Callum Coomber, Sara Knight, Vasandhara Thoroughgood and Frances Bee

Babergh Green Party

Extending lifeline is the right thing to do

Staff and volunteers at Citizens Advice in Sudbury hear stories every day of families whose lives have been turned upside down by this pandemic.

Some had never needed support from the benefits system before, while others were already struggling to get by before Covid-19 struck.

In total, we’ve given 521 people one-to-one advice on Universal Credit since the first lockdown in March. Of these, 78 per cent of people seeking our support on benefits used our services for the very first time.

We know that the Government’s £20 a week boost to Universal Credit at the start of the pandemic often made the difference between empty cupboards and food on the table.

But that lifeline is currently set to end in just a few short months. It’s a cut that is likely to push people into missed bills, mounting debts and a daily struggle to make ends meet.

It is a cut that will also drain spending power from our fragile economy.

With an ongoing pandemic and a bleak outlook in the jobs market, we’re urging the Government to keep that lifeline.

It’s the right thing to do to support people who’ve lost livelihoods through no fault of their own.

Colleen Sweeney

Chief officer of Citizens Advice Sudbury & District

If you ache for good book, help is here

Andrew Phillips kindly mentioned the efforts of local historians to revive interest in the lives of ordinary folk (‘I long for the world of my upbringing’, Free Press, February 18) but, sadly, there are few ways of accessing their books at this current time.

The Sudbury Heritage Centre at the town hall is unable to open because of government restrictions and so too is the library, and we have lost Kestrel bookshop, which specialised in local history.

Well done to the Free Press, which does us proud by giving space to town history and there’s an age of local history online at sudburyheritagecentre.co.uk.

However, if you ache for a book, Peter Thorogood’s latest A Pub Crawl Through Time, is available from him by emailing mandpthorogood@gmail.com.

I have access to a stock of the latest £5 edition of What’s in Name, a history of Sudbury street names written by the late Tony Wheeler.

If any readers would be interested in purchasing a copy, please email me at valerieherbert2@gmail.com.

Val Herbert

Sudbury Museum Trust

Behold, the answer to Belle Vue’s future

In regard to the future of the Belle Vue site, I was wondering if anyone had considered a children’s park and an open-air swimming pool?

(Places tongue in cheek.)

Bob Darvell

Orchard Place

Sudbury

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