READERS’ LETTERS: From the Bury Free Press of Friday, January 31

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A selection of readers’ letters from the Bury Free Press of Friday, January 31.

WHEN THE VICTIM PAYS THE FINE

Last Friday afternoon, my dog was stolen almost right in front of my eyes – I had a clear view of the car and driver and got most of the number plate as it drove away with my dog.

Suffolk Police were excellent and a squad car was at the scene within minutes of the incident and their inquiry into my dog’s theft is ongoing. Thankfully my dog was found ‘wandering in open countryside’ that same night by some kind soul, miles and miles away from his home, but his tag had been ripped off the leather collar and so he was taken to a Suffolk dog pound 27 miles from our house.

I’d already contacted Dog Lost.co.uk (which is this marvellous website which lists dogs lost, stolen or abandoned and also those found wandering to try to reunite them with their owners). The dog pound sent a photo of my dog to Dog Lost and on Sunday morning we got the magical phone call and went to collect him. Now he’s home and very very tired and sleeping most of the time which shows how much anguish the perpetrators caused him (and us).

Of course we’re very grateful to the pound and all concerned who were looking for him and especially to whoever found him. But we had to pay an £83 fine, £62 of which was to St Edmundsbury Borough Council. I have no problem with paying for his accommodation at the pound for two days, but think the council should waive its charges when it’s a police matter and criminal offence as in our case it was and was already known as such.

Funny country which fines the victim of a crime for the return of their property or loved ones.

-- Susan Smith, via email

AUTHORITIES MUST WORK TOGETHER

Suffolk County Council has decided its response to the problem of hospital parking in residential areas near the West Suffolk Hospital. The council will paint lines on some local roads. It is not clear to what extent the hospital has been involved in this decision.

The problem has arisen because of the parking arrangements at the hospital site. Some patients and staff do not use the hospital car park but leave their cars in nearby streets instead.

Local residents have spoken about how badly parked cars often block residents’ driveways. Large vehicles such as buses and fire engines are seriously restricted by cars parked in the narrow roads and near sharp corners. Some residents have even experienced intimidation and abuse from the drivers of parked cars. Cllr Sarah Stamp and, previously, Craig Dearden-Phillips, have worked hard to improve parking in some hotspots and they deserve credit for their efforts.

One limitation of the council’s wider plan is that people may park their cars in the streets which do not have yellow lines, or in streets further away which have not been affected so far.

Local people have proposed other ideas including the expansion of the park and ride scheme for staff run by the hospital from Bury Rugby Club and the building of a multi-storey car park on the hospital site. Whatever the idea, an effective solution will only be possible if the county and borough councils and the hospital management work and plan together.

-- Chris Lale, Bury St Edmunds

ATTACK ON GOVE WAS UNFAIR

Geoff Barton’s attack on Michael Gove (Bury Free Press, January 17) is unfair. There certainly is a left wing bias in many representations of the First World War, a recent example being a television series called The Village. In it, the wonderful teacher in the village school turns out to be utterly opposed to the war (might he even have been a conscientious objector?) while the horrible bully of a teacher was portrayed as a ludicrous jingoist. Worse still, the local well-to-do family, who I suppose were meant to be representative of the officer class, were depicted as unpatriotic, cowardly, skiving snobs who had no intention of becoming involved. Meanwhile, the good old villagers were marched off to the war like lambs to the abattoir.

Nobody denies that the Army had some very bad generals and Alan Clark, in The Donkeys, by focusing on 1915 and the battle of Loos, was quite right in identifying some of them. But it would be absurd to deny that there weren’t some intelligent and competent ones too and the officers at regimental level were, on the whole, very good indeed (borne out time and again in war dairies). In his article, Geoff Barton, when he writes of ‘an officer class seriously out of their depth’ is using a handful of bad generals to vilify an entire class. Remember that the most dangerous rank in the war was captain, followed by lieutenant, followed by second lieutenant. That is to say, by proportion more of these ranks were killed than privates and NCOs. Remember too, that in 1918 the British Army, presumably led by officers that the left still regard as unfeeling idiots, won arguably the greatest victory in our history when we destroyed the German Army and finished the war.

Michael Gove made a good point and Geoff Barton, perhaps unwittingly, may have proved it.

-- Hugo Smith, Little Saxham

RESIDENTS’ WISHES IGNORED

We live on Northgate Avenue in the closest domestic property to the proposed bridge.

We are in agreement with B Rolfe, of Maltings Way (Letters, January 10), as we also did not oppose the new bridge but would certainly have done so had we been fully aware of the destruction of beautiful trees and bushes. We were most certainly not informed of this action. We also found Cllr Nettleton’s reasoning for the bridge to be somewhat ludicrous. Why is such a huge amount of money being spent to cover the odd dismount and to enjoy the ‘clean air’ of Northgate Avenue to then cross the ‘fumes’ of the A14?

We concur with Cllr Wakelam in that the wishes of the residents have been ignored and that no consideration has been given to installing sound barriers or preserving the trees and bushes which not only added beauty to the Avenue but also served to lessen the noise. One has to wonder if the money could not have been put to better use?

-- Name and address supplied

CONGRATULATIONS TO AMBULANCE SERVICE

We all hear a great deal about the time taken for ambulances to attend and the criticism levelled at The East Anglian Ambulance Service. Let me provide a little balance to the story .

A South African guest who had been staying with us for the last two weeks while he attended a course of instruction, went for a short walk around the town on Sunday morning and arrived back at the hotel suffering severe chest pains. His colleagues were clearly concerned for him and I dialled 999 asking for an ambulance at 12.34. The ambulance arrived at 12.39 with the paramedics attending to him at 12.40. They gave him an ECG, immediately diagnosed a heart attack, gave him treatment, placed him in the ambulance and took him straight to Papworth Hospital.

His two South African colleagues were astonished with the speed and care given. They had to fly back that evening and are in touch monitoring his progress which seems to be going well .

Congratulations to the Ambulance Service and Paramedics on a quite brilliant bit of work. I know it cannot always work like that but let us give due praise when it does .

-- Simon Pott, Bury St Edmunds

NEW SITE WOULD BE COSTLY

RE Adrian Williams’ letter (Bury Free Press, January 24).

The largest single category of waste by volume over 12 months delivered by the public to the Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) is for landfill – now destined for incineration at Great Blakenham. I have never stated that dry recyclables would be going to Great Blakenham.

Why move landfill waste twice at a great yearly expense for St Edmundsbury Borough Council (SEBC) – another cost on our Council Tax?

Next to the well screened HWRC is the rapidly expanding and very visible Oaklands industrial/business park. There have been suggestions to move the lorry/coach park and transport café for years. It is still there because it is in the right place, so the area is already industrial/business.

The few extra lorries between Rougham Hill and Southgate Green roundabouts can be scheduled to avoid arriving at peak times but this is unlikely to be necessary.

Why are those against using the HWRC ducking the question of the very real extra costs of developing a new site? Who do the protesters want to fund their demands – SEBC and Suffolk County Council are already having to make swingeing cuts on all other budgets.

-- Simon Harding, Bury St Edmunds

USE ROOFTOPS FOR SOLAR FARMS

Following recent objections to large solar farms on good agricultural land, a more acceptable solution might be found by using rooftops in industrial estates.

The infrastructure is already there and no-one can claim that an industrial estate would suffer because it is a thing of beauty or an environmental treasure. It’s a no-brainer.

-- Rosemary Jones, via email

THANKS FOR HELP DURING STORM

On Saturday, at about 4.45pm, there was a horrendous storm of thunder and lightning. My wife was on Hardwick Heath when this occurred with our two dogs. They immediately panicked and ran off in different directions.

I rushed to her aid and ,fortunately, some very kind soul happened to meet me walking down the heath with our collie dog on a borrowed lead. It was pouring with rain and he could of so easily ignored it but didn’t. The second dog made it to A&E where another kindly soul rang the number on the dog’s collar and my son, who was luckily at home, went and collected the dog from them.

We owe them both a great debt of gratitude and though we didn’t find out their names wish to thank them so very much for the help and their kindly intervention in this matter.

We have made a donation to the RSPCA on their behalf.

-- Mr & Mrs L Jones, via email