A selection of readers’ letters from the Bury Free Press of Friday, September 13.
A MISSED OPPORTUNITY
How wonderful to read (Bury Free Press, September 6) that the recent Food and Drink Festival doubled the numbers of visitors to the town. Fantastic news for Bury and local businesses – just what’s needed in this current time of austerity. However, my husband and I visited the festival on the Sunday afternoon and were shocked and saddened that although the festival was going on until 5pm, the Tourist Information Office had closed at 3pm. Surely, with all of these extra visitors in town and with a large part of the festival taking place on Angel Hill, somebody at St Edmundsbury Borough Council should have had the forward thinking to keep the office open to enable not only the extra tourists in town, but us locals as well, to use this opportunity to find out what else there is to do and see in our lovely area.
-- Marie Smith, via email
HOSPITAL CAUSED THIS SITUATION
The proposal to restrict parking in the streets around West Suffolk Hospital (Bury Free Press, September 6) is being presented as a compromise solution, but it is neither a compromise nor a solution. The exclusion zone covers an area roughly within a five minute walk of the hospital. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to the county council highways department that hospital staff may be prepared to park their cars in the streets not covered by the zone and walk for six or seven minutes to work. Instead of asking just those residents living in the streets immediately nearby, why not ask everyone within a line inside Sicklesmere Road, Cullum Road, Holywater Meadow to Stamford Bridge, Horringer Road to the town boundary, and back to Sicklesmere Road? Otherwise it would be a rigged ballot favouring a ‘Yes’ vote.
This situation was created by the hospital effectively banning staff from parking on site on one of their five working days. Little thought was given to the consequences of this action except for a limited shuttle bus scheme operating from the rugby union ground in Rougham Road. The inevitable result is staff parking in nearby streets. By coincidence, I had a pre-booked appointment at the Treatment Centre last Friday morning so afterwards I walked across Hardwick Heath to see for myself. There were a few cars in Home Farm Lane – I counted 14 at 11am – but not many anywhere else. Compare this to permit parking areas in the town centre and inner suburbs which I represent, where cars are parked nose-to-tail and residents have to pay. In the Medieval Grid, for example, it’s £76 a year, with no guarantee of a place. In the Hardwick area, residents will be able to park easily for 22 of the 24 hours completely free of charge.
What this highlights is the need for a proper travel plan, not just for the hospital, but for the whole of Bury, so that everyone can move in, out and around the town without the aggravation this proposed scheme is bound to create.
-- David Nettleton, Suffolk County Councillor, Tower Division
I live in a very traffic congested area and find it difficult to sympathise with residents living near the West Suffolk Hospital complaining when staff and visitors park on what they regard as their roads.
The job of a hospital surely is to make the maximum number of ill patients well? This means new equipment, new departments, new buildings, more staff, more visitors and more cars.
Complainants give their case little credibility with the phrases ‘when I moved here we only saw the odd car’, or ‘it’s an accident waiting to happen’ or ‘how would we feel if a child got knocked over?’.
Speed is the cause of most accidents – parked vehicles are a very efficient, free way to reduce speed. So let’s all be more tolerant, support our hospital and if you really, really find it unbearable you can always move.
-- Simon Harding, Bury St Edmunds
STORE PLANS SHOULD BE WITHDRAWN
I was most interested to read the article regarding the reasons for the Co-Op’s delayed opening in Out Risbygate, that being due to the incomplete planning application being submitted to St Edmundsbury (Bury Free Press, August 30). On reading this article, I was left with the opinion that there would appear to be a deep-rooted level of complacency within planning applications submitted for Co-Op Food Stores.
Many readers may well recall articles within the Bury Free Press over the last couple of months surrounding the strong reaction from Ixworth and surrounding villages to a planning application for a 3,000sqft ‘Food Store’ (dubbed a Food Store because a supermarket is classed as a supermarket from 3,014sqft) on the current Fordhams Garage site in Ixworth. In this application, a declaration was made that there was no known land contamination on the site. A simple Freedom of Information Act request to St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s land contamination officer confirmed that 17,000 litres of petroleum had contaminated land at the site in 1996 with no known remedial work being undertaken by the land owner. With this in mind, this fundamental failure to declare this within the application demonstrates the attitude adopted by the Co-Op with planning applications in my opinion. This alone should render this planning application false and withdrawn from being able to be determined by the planning authority.
Whilst on the subject of the controversial proposal for a Co-Op Foodstore in Ixworth, it was very disappointing to see that the Bury Free Press allowed one of the joint applicants (Fordhams) to issue an information notice to its customers regarding this proposal and the future of Fordhams in the form of an advertising feature (June 28). Generally, in my experience, a press-release would have sufficed, or better still, a personal letter to each individual customer without having to engage the local press to further antagonise the strong opposition to this proposal in the local community.
If this Co-Op Foodstore comes to Ixworth, it could threaten the future of existing independent retailers – something that the ‘advertising feature’ conveniently omits to acknowledge.
-- Ben Lord, Ixworth
RENEWED FAITH IN SOCIETY
I would like to express my sincere thanks to the person who found my building society savings book which I carelessly lost in the car park at Tesco recently.
It has renewed my faith in the honesty and integrity of members of our society.
-- David Corrie, Troston
£20 WAS MONEY WELL SPENT
On Sunday evening, my wife and I spent £10 each in the hope of being entertained at the Theatre Royal. All we got for our money was eight distinct performers who sang and played with extraordinary skill and did nothing else.
The whole affair was organised by Bury’s Milkmaid Folk Club, whose efforts kept us awake until Monday’s small hours, talking about the evening and re-living it as far as our croaky voices would allow. Of hands blistered owing to enthusiastic clapping, we shall say nothing.
Great evening. Great People.
--Trevor and Margaret Barrett, Bury St Edmunds
MEADOWS NOW BEING ABUSED
Having left Moreton Hall along with all their debris, we now are having to put up with the travellers on the unspoiled Holywater Meadows west of the town.
I experienced them arriving last Friday and reported their arrival to both the council and local police. There was no positive response from either regarding any action to be taken.
These meadows are used daily by dog walkers and I have heard from one source how intimidating it now is to use the meadows and walkway through to town.
As pointed out in the the Rev Canon Jonathan Alderton-Ford’s letter (Bury Free Press, August 30), surely it is high time that community leaders,the borough and the police need to meet urgently.
Why should we as Council Tax-payers have to contend with unauthorised areas of Bury being abused?
-- Jane Popham, Bury St Edmunds
WE MUST PLAN FOR INCREASED TRAFFIC
I attended a meeting of the scrutiny committee at Suffolk County Council’s headquarters last week.
The meeting was called as several county councillors from Bury St Edmunds challenged the county council cabinet decision to accept the Vision 2031 transport plan.
The challenge was made that not enough pertinent information had been provided for this decision to be made.
As a member of the public living in one of the estates adjacent to where a new estate of 900 homes will be built, it seemed to me a very genuine concern.
It does seem a perfectly reasonable request for this increase in homes and traffic be planned for now and not after estates have been built.
We know the planning division of St Edmundsbury council will look at each estate as it’s planned, however it’s the county council which can and will change the roads, the roads network, infrastructure and signage etc.
We ask for cohesive and integrated planning for the future, to make sure Bury does not become a lovely old town gridlocked.
-- Tom Murray, Bury St Edmunds
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