READERS’ LETTERS: Bury Free Press, January 3, 2014

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A selection of readers’ letters from the Bury Free Press of Friday, January 3, 2014.

BRIDGE LINKS WILL BE LANDSCAPED

Had ‘Name and address supplied’ indicated exactly where in Northgate Avenue they live, or contacted me via email, I could have allayed their fears about the plans for the new bridge crossing the A14 to link to Malthouse Lane (Letters, 20 December). Only those trees and hedges which allow the bridge to be connected to both the avenue and the lane need to be removed. Once construction is complete, there will be a replacement planting programme; it is a condition of the planning consent granted on 17 October 2013. Details of trees to be removed and the plans for replanting were included in the original consultation document. New fencing will also be provided and local residents will be kept informed about the landscaping works. This will happen when the bridge is in place.

At present, cyclists need to dismount and walk up the steep hill which connects Fornham Road to Northgate Avenue. Malthouse Lane is much gentler and cyclists will be able to ride up it quite easily. However, I think the main beneficiaries will be the many people who regularly walk from the Northgate Avenue/Raynham Road area into town (and back again). I suspect that those few people who are currently complaining will be to ones using the bridge the most.

As part of Suffolk County Council’s commitment to upgrading the infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians and seeking to offer an alternative to joining a queue of cars in Fornham Road, this new route will be along the tree-lined Northgate Avenue where air quality is much better than in Fornham Road, with its endless stream of cars. For seven years between 1994 and 2001 I walked my two youngest children along Northgate Avenue from my home in Cannon Street to Tollgate School. The rutted path linking Northgate Avenue to Tollgate Lane has also been upgraded. Further improvements will follow but we need the bridge in place first. Work on realigning utilities equipment to areas away from the path of the bridge is due to start early in the New Year.

-- Cllr David Nettleton, Tower Division, SCC

CENTRE WOULD HAVE LITTLE IMPACT

The issue of combining the waste transfer site with our excellent recycling and public delivered waste bulking site at Rougham Hill with helpful, professional, but sadly low paid staff, seems to be bedevilled by factless scaremongering.

Extra visual/smell/noise pollution would be nil. Already there is the valuable lorry park and welcoming café. The industrial estate opposite is expanding. The claimed effect on possible residential development in the area is just nonsense. Of course, any developer will curry favour by supporting the antis to help any planning application they may submit later.

Extra traffic would have little impact. The existing short four-lane dual-carriageway link to the A14 is ideal with no extra roadworks needed It is the road between Rougham Hill and Southgate Green roundabouts which is congested at peak times and this would not be affected.

The double moving of waste from Rougham Hill to some further away site for it then to be tipped and re-loaded on to larger skips for transit to Great Blakenham is ludicrous. What about the cost of this needless operation? Extra staff, lorries, skips, staff facilities, etc.

Which council budgets, all facing cuts, do the objectors believe the extra cash needed should be taken from: Education/Services for the Elderly/ Police, etc? Please let us know.

-- Simon Harding, Bury St Edmunds

RESOLVE TO GIVE BLOOD IN 2014

I’m sure that after all that turkey and trifle, your readers are thinking forward to their New Year’s resolutions for 2014.

Instead of giving something up, we’re asking them to give blood.

Donating blood saves lives. It’s an easy resolution to keep and is easy to get started.

During 2013, blood donors across England helped to save and transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients within the NHS and we are grateful to each and every one of them for taking the time to donate. We’re looking forward to welcoming them again into our donation sessions in 2014 as they continue to save lives.

But there will be lots of your readers who haven’t donated before, or haven’t done so for a while, and we’re asking them to come forward and register as a blood donor.

Becoming a blood donor is easy. All people need to do is visit www.blood.co.uk, register and book an appointment at a local session.

So go on, please encourage your readers to make an important resolution this year. To save lives as a blood donor.

-- Jon Latham, Assistant director of marketing, NHS Blood and Transplant

GP HAS SET A GREAT EXAMPLE

Dr Hodgson – a fine doctor – is retiring from Mount Farm Surgery on Thursday, January 30. Dr Hodgson has been looking after me very competently indeed for about 26 years now and has done all he can for me in consultations with him as I am sure he has for all the rest of his approximately 2,000 patients. The way he looks after his patients is an example – he always puts them first and nothing is too much troubl e for him. He tells me he is going to travel in the future. I am sure on behalf of all his patients we wish him a long and happy retirement as, in my opinion, he is one of the best doctors in this country.

-- Clifford Hammond, Bury St Edmunds

WRONG TO TARGET SMALL SCHOOLS

The only sure thing that will come about if Lisa Chambers and her colleagues start trying to close small primary schools is that they will stoke massive community resistance. As a local authority that is so focused on a small number of narrowly-defined target measures, Suffolk County Council is flummoxed by schools with small groups of children. Often a single child can have a 5 or 10 per cent effect on such a school’s attainment or progress measures. Far better for Lisa Chambers if all these children get bussed to bigger primary schools so the statistics are easier to understand (not that her record on understanding the data is much good – how can anyone be ‘thrilled’ by GCSE results that in 2013 are worse than in 2011?).

The wilful destruction of vibrant and supportive communities that has accompanied SOR is now being signalled for the communities around these small primary schools. If Suffolk County Council recognised educational success when it saw it, it would instead be promoting the creation of all-through systems like the one set up in Bury St Edmunds, to repeated national acclaim. If Suffolk County Council promoted joining primary schools to the secondary school in all-through academy trusts, the threat from the small primary schools would greatly ease and really effective all through working would start to drive up standards.An improved education system is only ‘a long journey’, as Lisa Chambers claims, if the group of councillors who leads us continue to see changing school buildings as the answer to under-performance. The answer actually lies in organisational reform – and that can be put in place quickly, cheaply and without closing village schools and enraging the good folk of Suffolk.

-- Paul Oldman, Bury St Edmunds

CHOOSE A PLUMBER WITH CARE

A recent survey of homeowners in East Anglia revealed 68 per cent of those questioned chose their plumber on cost alone, not worrying if they were registered with an approved contractors’ scheme, or if they have any professional credentials.

Nearly a quarter of those surveyed said they had fallen victim to a rogue plumber, and a further 20 per cent knew somebody who had.

The average cost to fix the work of a cowboy plumber comes in at £426 – a major financial outlay.

Helping to stop problems like this is why Anglian Water is backing the new national WaterSafe scheme and urges customers to always check a plumber’s credentials before any work begins. Find local approved plumbers at www.watersafe.org.uk

-- Iain Amis, Anglian Water