A selection of readers’ letters from the Bury Free Press of Friday, July 8.
DON’T FRANCHISE OUR POST OFFICE
I write to express indignation about the planned transfer of the present ground floor counter services at the Cornhill building via franchise to WH Smith, where a chiefly upstairs service is proposed.
After attending the customer consultation forum, I wrote to Post Office Ltd a detailed letter on June 12 objecting to this move, and stating reasons. I received a less detailed reply.
There was complete silence about one major point which I had asked about at the forum and in my letter. I was told at the forum that the counter services at Cornhill were currently not operating at a loss, but that costs were rising. It is obvious that if the service is transferred to WH Smith no doubt a substantial payment, reflecting rent and other obligations, will be paid to that company. I was also told orally that the amount of this payment was a confidential matter and would not be disclosed, but the reply to my letter did not allude to this burden.
Clearly WH Smith would not undertake to run the service on behalf of Post Office Ltd unless an interesting profit is obtainable. It would be a payment of public money, taxpayers’ money, to a service to be operated for private profit. How long would it be before cost-cutting, and the worsening of services, begins?
If this move goes ahead, customers will not only be losing access to a fine historic building, but services will be privatised with consequent drainage away of tax-payer money. Post Office staff can look forward to cost-cutting too. All this, despite the bright and breezy assurances that have been given.
I ask the Post Office to think again, and I am sure I am not the only one to ask that. This is a very shoddy plan indeed, and the refusal to state how big a sweetener is to be paid speaks volumes.
-- John Ellison, North Close, Stanton
HIGH QUALITY CARE IS OUR PRIORITY
I read with interest Cllr Adam’s letter (Bury Free Press, July 1) and felt the need to respond to the comments she has made.
The Conservative administration at Suffolk County Council takes the care of our elderly and vulnerable residents very seriously and would not use the subject for political points scoring, we are committed to and indeed it is our priority to provide the very best care for the residents of Suffolk, it is what they deserve, which is why when we were offered the opportunity by central government to introduce a 2% adult social care precept we did, to ensure investment in this most essential of sectors and to help meet the challenges of an aging population with more complex care needs.
In 2012 we recognised that SCC care homes were no longer supporting staff to deliver the high quality care that residents needed and deserved. Therefore we took the decision to identify a partner from the private sector who would be able to bring the level of funding needed to deliver 10 purpose-built care homes and day clubs and this resulted in £60 million of investment into the care home sector, a sum of money which the council simply could not provide.
Retaining the SCC homes that were not suitable for people’s care needs and expectations now and into the future is certainly not what Suffolk’s residents deserve.
To suggest care home providers are in the business to purely make profit, I believe does the providers a dis-service. I have visited care homes run by providers both large and small and I have been hugely impressed by the commitment and passion of the staff and leaders to providing the essential quality care to the elderly and not because of the money involved or otherwise.
This council has invested in and developed its service quality monitoring team, to ensure that services provided in residential homes are proactively monitored to help identify concerns and issues. We do not only step in when providers are heading towards failure, but work in partnership with organisations to develop, improve and be resilient.
High quality care is also dependent on a sustainable care sector which is why this council has recently launched an independent major review of residential and nursing home services to explore steps to increase sustainability amongst providers and choice amongst customers and to implement a procedure where we can best purchase care at a price that is competitive and sustainable
Cllr Adams asks the question is Suffolk County Council prepared for the challenge, the simple answer is: absolutely, not only is it our statutory duty but it is our moral duty and is of the utmost priority for this administration.
-- Cllr Beccy Hopfensperger, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Care
COMMON SENSE HAS WON THE DAY
Decency, fairness and common sense have won the day. The Delaney family, travellers of Irish descent, have at last been granted permission for a permanent site on Rougham Hill (Bury Free Press, July 1).
It was sad to witness the stance taken by Adrian Williams and Co, supported by Cllrs Stamp and Chung who, no doubt, already have homes to enjoy and who claim to support Vision 2031. One of the main aspirations of Vision 2031 is to provide affordable homes for everyone – not just for those people they approve of and deem to be suitable.
The Delaneys should be applauded for accepting this site, with its constant noise from the A14. Many wouldn’t.
Let’s hope that if the present waste transfer and recycling station on Rougham Hill is moved, the site left will also be acceptable to other similar groups. The site has the big advantages of already having power, water and drainage connected.
-- Simon Harding, Bury St Edmunds
JUSTICE HAS PREVAILED
Finally, compassion and common sense have won the right for the good Delaney family to have their own home with their children. Thank you St Edmundsbury Borough Council, Michael Hargreaves, Frances Mahoney, Cllr Sara Mildmay-White, Canon Mark Hackeson and all who supported this dignified, long-suffering family with their prayers and good wishes. Justice has prevailed.
-- Bridget Langley, Bury St Edmunds
OAK WOOD WAS GIFT TO TOWNSFOLK
It was disappointing to read that St Edmundsbury Borough Council is now negotiating to lease the Oak Wood on Rougham Hill for a travellers’ site, even though it has twice been rejected.
In the same edition of the Bury Free Press, it was reported that the council is going ahead with the closure of Rougham Hill Recycling Centre.
These decisions are a clear indication that the council has little interest in the wishes of local residents, which I hope will be taken into account at the next council elections.
Last year, the Woodland Trust declared a programme to plant 64 million trees over the next 10 years. This is to drastically reduce soil run-off and improve the ecosystem. The Oak Wood was gifted to the people of Bury St Edmunds as a community and environment site which includes mature trees. Why destory these trees and concrete the area causing possible flooding further down Rougham Hill? This will be an increasing problem if the proposed 1,250 homes are built. The possible planting of a new woodland will be of no environmental use for at least 20-50 years. Why destroy established wood and then plant a new wood? The Oak Wood is used by local people and there are many volunteers willing to manage the site, which has been neglected by the council for many years.
What will happen to the recyling centre site when it is closed? Will this become derelict like the old A14 road? Why ask the public for planning ideas when the council has already decided on its action plan?
-- B Cartwright, Bury St Edmunds
SAD CONSEQUNCE OF VOTE RESULT
While we are all still coming to terms with the results of the referendum, one of the saddest and most disturbing of its consequences is the hate mail and abuse that has been showered upon Eastern Europeans living here. It is my hope that this outrageous behaviour will not be repeated in this part of Suffolk.
Most of these people are decent law abiding citizens who pay their taxes in full. The Polish people in particular, fought on our side in the Second World War, serving with distinction in the Battle of Britain, the 8th Army in Italy, in France and Germany. Many of these people are sincere Christians and share our common values.
At Christ Church Moreton Hall we are praying and working for for unity, reconciliation and justice for all.
I am confident that the good people of Suffolk will behave appropriately in these uncertain and difficult times.
-- Rev Canon Jonathan Ford, Minister of Christ Church, Moreton Hall
THE WORLD HASN’T ENDED
Okay, we saw more angry letters by disgruntled voters and want-to-be voters, expressing their contempt for democracy by complaining about the ‘wrong’ democratic result in the EU referendum (Letter, July 1).
Yes, many voted for ‘remain’ because they feared change. Right now they’re anxious, uncertain and scared. They will rant. They will lash out. I only hope that they will eventually calm down when they realise the world hasn’t ended.
Yes, initially, the markets plummeted when they got scared, they have since rallied. Yes, there have been idiots who have made appalling comments directed at immigrants, and as invited, I gladly and ‘loudly take a stand and condemn’ any acts of hatred.
We joined the so-called Common Market in 1973 when the following was said: “There are some in this country who fear that in going into Europe we shall in some way sacrifice independence and sovereignty. These fears, I need hardly say, are completely unjustified.”
Can I ask Katherine Wells and 15-year-old Lucy Cooper, do you know who said that, and was our membership of the EEC (now EU), founded upon a lie?
Please remember and uphold the principles of Magna Carta!
-- Ian Smith, Bury St Edmunds
WHERE WERE ALL THE COUNCILLORS?
An impressive service for the dedication of St Edmundsbury’s new mayor, Julia Wakelam, was held at the Roman Catholic Church of St Edmund King and Martyr last Sunday afternoon. In addition to the ecclesiastical processions there was a procession of flags representing people of many nationalities who worship in the church. An anthem was sung by the choir of St Edmund’s Catholic Primary School and by the combined singers from all local Catholic schools. There was some additional fine choral singing accompanied by the organ and a Brass Chamber Orchestra.
The parish priest welcomed the congregation of mayors, councillors and officers; those who represent the various faiths and other communities who are part of the rich tapestry of 21st century life in East Anglia. He addressed the mayor with the words ‘Your fellow councillors have shown their confidence in you by electing you as Mayor of St Edmundsbury’.
But where were the councillors and officers? There was a remarkable array of county dignitaries and mayors of neighbouring towns but only four councillors (and of these one was the deputy mayor and one who is also Mayor of Haverhill) and no council officers.
Surely our new mayor (who, incidentally, had personally planned readings and hymns) deserves the support and presence of all those who will work with her for the ensuing year?
-- Sue Tamlyn, Bury St Edmunds