READERS’ LETTERS: From the Bury Free Press of Friday, August 12

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A selection of readers’ letters from the BUry Free Press of Friday, August 12.

HAVEBURY’S PLANS FOR VILLAGE

Tonie Armstrong makes a very valid point (Bury Free Press, August 5) regarding Havebury Housing riding roughshod over a wildlife survey at the Erskine Lodge site, but, good heavens, can anybody be surprised?

Since their decision to cram as many dwellings as possible into the site, despite the strongest possible objections from the Great Whelnetham villagers, nobody should think that the presence of wildlife, hedges and trees is going to stop them from transforming the village into a slum extension of Bury.

‘Havebury housing have been asked to comment’ – but did they? No. Together with their cosy bedfellows, the planning department of St Edmundsbury Borough Council who, for reasons best known to themselves, agree with everything they say, they are seemingly a law unto themselves.

And will Havebury’s plans stop there? Not a bit of it.

Planning permission has been sought (and I have not the slightest doubt, will be granted) for development purposes, north of Fenton’s Farm and abutting Hambrook Close, which has 15 dwellings. This strip of land is one-third the size of Hambrook Close, yet Havebury intend to pack 12 more dwellings in there.

Unsurprisingly, there has been a great deal of opposition to this development as well, but it appears to me – plus quite a few other concerned people – that Havebury will not be content until Great Whelnetham is wiped off the map and the area will simply be referred to as being ‘south of Bury St Edmunds’.

-- Dick Kirby, Great Whelnetham

OUTSTANDING SCHOOL CLOSED

The doors have now closed at St Louis Catholic Middle School, bringing its end after 45 years.

Standards in some schools give rise for concern, failing schools require special measures, inferior teaching needs addressing. The mantra of Ofsted, Government and local authorities is that the future of education has to be better. So realignment and reorganisation is the outcome.

While I am sure that the benefits of such change have been argued by those who feel better qualified than me and that the future streamlined education system is designed to bring improvement, I just question what St Louis as a school meant.

It had been graded ‘outstanding’ in its Ofsted report, reflecting the excellence of professional staff and sound leadership; its pupils were among the brightest in local education; it was supported by its governors, PTA and the community. Perhaps most notably it had the distinction of having pupils that exuded respect, talent and pride and in turn they commanded the respect of those who interacted with the school.

Many alumni still relate the significance of their time at St Louis.

Its head, Mrs Heap, and staff have endured an extremely stressful time whilst the future of the school was uncertain but throughout they have maintained its status and shown determination to focus on the needs of the pupils.

So what conclusions come from this situation? Does ‘outstanding’ count for anything; does a building that was fit for purpose need to be closed down; does the experience of excellent teaching and support staff need to be cast aside in the name of progress; how does one inspire future fund-raising activities when past efforts of volunteers and donors are simply wiped out?

I know that the pupils affected by this change will survive and hopefully they will receive benefits from the new system. But perhaps we need to be clear that their achievements will be the product of their own hard work and the standard of their teachers rather than the political decisions that have seemingly disregarded the word outstanding and the work that underpinned the award of that grading.

In closing, may I add my thanks to those that have been expressed by so many and wish everyone future success. As a footnote, it is my intention in due course to write the history of the school and I would welcome material, information or contact details by e-mail at jes767894@btinternet.com

-- John Saunders, Bury St Edmunds

COME AND JOIN OUR CELEBRATIONS

The 6th Bury St Edmunds (St Mary’s) Scout Group will be celebrating our 70th anniversary this year. We will be holding a Service of Rededication at St Mary’s Church on September 25 at 3.30 pm, followed by refreshments at The Athenaeum.

We would like to invite all members of the Group, past and present, to join us in celebrating this occasion and hopefully catch up with old Scouting friends. Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, leaders, helpers and parents are all welcome.

You can get in touch by joining our facebook group “70 years of 6th Bury Scouts”, via email to 70yearsof6thburyscouts@gmail.com, or by post to our headquarters. We are looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible at this milestone in our history.

-- David McNeill, Group Scout Leader , 6th Bury St Edmunds (St Mary’s) Scout Group

STREET COLLECTION GENEROSITY

A huge thank you to all the members of the Bury St Edmunds public who contributed to the charity collection held on market day, Wednesday, July 20, on behalf of The Fishermen’s Mission. The total amount raised was £302. Thank you and well done to the very generous people of Bury St Edmunds.

As a charity we receive no Government or National Lottery money to help us in our vital work with the families of UK fishermen who have lost their lives to the sea. Public collections such as this one are crucial to us at The Fishermen’s Mission. Many people are unaware of the cost paid by the men who catch our fish, and collections such as this one allow us to continue our support of those who risk their lives to feed our nation. Thank you very much.

-- Andy Malcolm, Fundraising Manager East of England, The Fishermen’s Mission

HOSPITAL GARDENS NEED SOME TLC

Having visited West Suffolk Hospital on a daily basis for some time in this hot weather, the small gardens – all very different but beautifully arranged – have been a haven for patients and visitors alike. Well, they would be, if they were not so neglected, which is a shame.

Surely some environmental organisation, garden club or garden centre would be well rewarded if they could take an interest in these beautiful havens of peace and recovery. I would do it myself but my gardening days are over.

Is anyone prepared to have a go? I am sure it would do so much for every visitor and patient. Even a coat of varnish to some of the memorial seats would be greatly appreciated – and badly needed.

-- Frank Holmes, via email