READERS’ LETTERS: From the Bury Free Press of Friday, January 15

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A selection of readers’ letters from the Bury Free Press of Friday, January 15.

HORRIFIED BY PROPOSAL

I am dismayed at the proposed nursing home development at Nowton Park and the lack of consultation with local residents. Nothing posted up at the gate to the park or through my door – I live in Nowton Road and will be much affected by the increased traffic flow on Nowton Road which is already a dangerous ‘rat-run’. I have just found out about it through Bury Free Press – thank you BFP. As a regular walker in Nowton Park I am horrified at the proposed erection in public green space of this huge monstrosity and the destruction of many mature trees and the fine classic view up the famous and much used ‘daffodil avenue’. I hope our councillors and planners will see sense this time; we already have to put up with the massive blue warehouse – apparently only benefiting a private school (you try and book a badminton court there and see what happens) erected on the publicly-owned sports ground adjacent to the park.

-- Hilary Wallis, Nowton Road, Bury St Edmunds

DEVELOPMENT WOULD RUIN VISTAS

I live very near to Nowton Park. Indeed, it is one of the main reasons we decided to locate to Nowton Road as it affords a very welcome extensive space in which to walk, as we regularly do.

The existing buildings at Nowton Park form part of its charm. The buildings at each entrance, the gardener’s cottage and the ‘Big House’ all form a whole which allows one to imagine life as it was when the whole development was privately owned.

The vistas were, in my opinion, carefully designed. In particular, the avenue of lime trees affords a stunning view to and from the existing house. The plans you publish suggest that extensive new buildings will be built at the southern end of this avenue, altering the whole perspective as conceived by the original architect.

To build a 62-bed nursing home in this location would be a great mistake. Not only will the authentic feel of the park be irrevocably altered, but the traffic flow up and down Nowton Road will prove to be too great for such a narrow lane. We often feel vulnerable cycling along this lane now, given the existing high level of traffic using this route to bypass the roundabout on the Sudbury Road.

We hope that wise counsel will prevail and that enough other people will see the importance of preserving Nowton Park as the premier site for peaceful and relaxing pursuits in the town. We object most strongly to this proposal.

-- Ian Wallis, Nowton Road, Bury St Edmunds

Come back with a smaller design

It was good to read that developers of a proposed new three-storey, 62-bedded nursing home are no longer hoping to use the main Nowton Park to get JCBs and construction materials onto the Nowton Court site.

This is, without doubt, the result of concerted pressure from a range of local sources, including @ParklifeNowton.

Now attention needs to switch to the proposed scale and design of this nursing home.

If built, it will take up the whole garden behind the east side Nowton Court, next to the Circular Path.

The developers say it will be screened by new trees. This is to miss the point. Nowton Court is as much part of the experience of the park as the main park itself. Screening is a deprivation.

Therefore any building that goes in has to fit in to the overall feel of the park. It must not resemble, as Ann Williams put it last week, not inaccurately, a Premier Inn.

With their hope to take their bulldozers and building spoil through our park and their high-density architecture, it is clear to us that these developers do not understand the place Nowton Park holds in the hearts and lives of people in Bury St Edmunds.

Gifted to the town in 1985, the park has become a huge success with 360,000 visits recorded last year. It is a prize asset, the only major public park in a town whose population will hit 50,000 within a few years.

Planning applications made in ignorance of this are going to fare badly. Misjudgements have been made of the public mood. The developers should be asked to come back with a new, smaller design which respects the very special environment of Nowton Park.

We at @ParklifeNowton are not anti-development. Bury needs care beds, especially affordable ones, so a home can go there but it has to be the right size and design. Until that is agreed we will carry on our campaign.

-- @ParklifeNowton, via email

lorry park could easily be extended

The lorry park has been on Rougham Hill for years – why? Because it has been and still is by far the best location: 400 yards by twin lane dual carriageway to the A14 Junction 44 [near Sainsbury’s] passing no homes en route. Modern trucks are as quiet as many private cars and vans. The vast majority arrive at the park in the early evening and are gone by 6-7am the next morning, having no material impact on traffic congestion.

The problem (especially Monday-Thursday), is that the park is usually full and spilling over by 7pm. HGVs then trawl round our roads, especially on Moreton Hall, trying to find a parking spot, unsound environmentally, economically and safety-wise – the numbers increasing all the time.

The solution: Council owns the present lorry park leased to the Highways Agency. Council also owns the attached scrubland which has no public amenity or agricultural value.

There is a very strong case to expand the lorry park, just as there is to implement the existing planning permission to expand the present waste transfer site and recycling station. Even the developers for the Abbots Vale, 1,200 homes along Rushbrooke Lane refer to this area as industrial – as does Vision 2031.

It would cost millions to build two new sites elsewhere. Central government is slashing funding for councils. If the council goes ahead with new sites, millions will need to be taken from the budgets for the vulnerable, the police, fire service, road maintenance, higher education, etc. Is this really what the folk of west Suffolk including our councillors support? What does our MP think?

-- Simon Harding, Bury St Edmunds

Less inclined to shop in Bury

On December 30 at 15.32 I received an ECN (Excess Charge Notice) for my car, which was parked in Hatter Street. The ticket is correct, I had paid for two hours parking and I was parked for longer than two hours. I have just paid the relevant £30 fine.

I am, however, rather outraged. I parked at around 1pm, took my family to lunch at Bill’s (£159), had my son measured for his Christmas gift, a morning suit from Dapper Fox (in excess of £1,000) and purchased my husband some shoes from Smart Step (£440). So I feel I am supporting local traders rather well. I did, in this instance forget the time, for which there is little excuse and luckily I can afford the £30 fine, however I felt insulted at being fined for such a small transgression after spending so much locally. Others in my situation may feel less inclined to shop in Bury on future occasions.

The following day I was in central London, where I found the congestion charge was waived over the Christmas and New Year period. A suitable incentive to visit the capital and support its traders, in the season of goodwill. Bury St Edmunds would do well to find the same spirit, to support traders, residents and visitors.

-- Sheona Fraser, Rattlesden

-- Response from John Griffiths, Leader, St Edmundsbury Borough Council:

Dear Ms Fraser,

Thank you for your email regarding the ECN you received on 30 December 2015 (which you have subsequently paid).

Having spent so much during your visit to the town I can appreciate your frustration. However, we do extend free parking periods in the run-up to Christmas on Thursdays from 4pm (in addition to existing offers that we have, such as free after 3pm on Tuesdays – year round) to encourage shoppers to our towns.

Demand in our car parks over the Christmas period is also extremely high and it is therefore important that there is a good turnover of vehicles in short stay off-street car parks as well as on-street so the maximum number of spaces is available to those that need them.

I do hope that on reflection you will continue to visit our successful and vibrant town.

Threat to deposit of £50,000

Having just read about the latest consultation on the proposed hub, it said the two West Suffolk councils stand to lose a £50,000 deposit on Hollow Road Farm if they go elsewhere.

How dare these councils spend £50,000 of taxpayers’ money on a site that has not even had the consultation completed on it yet.

This is a very important issue that will affect many people, especially as the majority don’t even want this site.

The farmer must be laughing all the way to the bank. Even now he is making a profit by cultivating this piece of prime arable land.

I do hope these councils had a clause somewhere which said if the site wasn’t used he should give some of the money back.

-- Name and address supplied

Total now stands at more than £16k

I am delighted to tell you that as at January 6, the figure that has been banked by the Mildenhall and District Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal 2015/16 amounts to £16,255.50 – what a wonderful collection.

First of all, I have to say an enormous thank you to Sainsbury’s for allowing us to collect in their store for the complete campaign, and my sincere thanks go to Helen Gower and all her staff who gave us such wonderful support throughout that period. A magnificent total of £10,712 was raised at Sainsbury’s as a result.

I would also like to thank all of our helpers who valiantly manned the rota at Sainsbury’s throughout the campaign – you were all brilliant and we could not have done it without you.

A very big thank you goes to the staff of Mildenhall Town Council who, despite enormous reorganisation disruption within their office premises, handled the sale of poppy wreaths and collected payment for them.

Lastly, and most importantly, thank you so much to all the wonderful members of the public in Mildenhall, Worlington, Red Lodge, Freckenham, West Row, Tuddenham, Herringswell and Icklingham who donated so generously throughout the campaign – we could not have raised such an amazing amount of money without all of you in Mildenhall and the surrounding district.

As you will know, the Poppy Appeal 2015/16 year does not end until 30th September 2016, and we continue to collect through our annual tins distributed throughout the district, but I thought that you would all like to know how it was progressing at this stage.

In conclusion, once again a very big thank you on behalf of the Poppy Appeal.

-- Lindsay Rowlands, Mildenhall and District Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal Co-Ordinator

I’m alright everywhere

With Christmas shopping over, I feel that an annoying retail saying seems to be used in nearly very shop: “Are you alright there?”

My reply is: I’m alright everywhere.”

I think what they should be saying is: Can I help you?”

That can be answered with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’.

The other thing is the way the assistants pack and fold goods, for example, trousers should be folded with the creases, not as jeans. This happens in well-known stores.

-- I C Richardson, Stowmarket