READERS’ LETTERS: From the Bury Free Press of Friday, November 11

West Suffolk Bricklaying Apprentices Brandon Blowers, Jonathan Mellelieu, Lewis Whiting and Aaron West with  Ernie Broom, chairman of HEART ANL-160911-110725001
West Suffolk Bricklaying Apprentices Brandon Blowers, Jonathan Mellelieu, Lewis Whiting and Aaron West with Ernie Broom, chairman of HEART ANL-160911-110725001
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A selection of readers’ letters from the Bury Free Press of November 11.

LUKE SOUTHGATE MEMORIAL IS IMPROVED

I am pleased to say that using my Bury Town Council locality budget, I have arranged to have the Luke Southgate Memorial Garden at St Olaves Precinct revitalised in his honour.

In conjunction with Ernie Broom, Bury in Bloom undertook new plantings and flower beds, St Edmundsbury cleared and tidied up the whole area and West Suffolk College is now building a new brick plinth to take a plaque and RAF roundels with space for a wreath.

The RAF volunteers have painted the seating area white and we hope, weather permitting, to have the railings painted in RAF blue.

St Edmundsbury has given planning consent for the plinth and the plan is that today (November 11), after the town centre parade, a short wreath-laying ceremony will take place at 1pm at the memorial garden St Olaves precinct on the Howard estate. Everyone is welcome. This is to honour a local lad who went to school in that area, has many friends there, and made the ulimate sacrifice for his country. The original garden was created at the request of Howard Estate residents and I hope this wreath- laying will be an annual event.

-- Cllr Tom Murray, Bury St Edmunds

IT TOOK LESS TIME TO BUILD THE QEII BRIDGE

Please forgive the muted applause to the news that the Westley Bridge (Newmarket Road) will reopen by Easter 2017. It is a long three years since its partial closure and by the time it’s reopened it will have taken longer to mend than it took to build the Queen Elizabeth II bridge.

This is against a background of an initial completion expectation of 18 months, which was then extended to July, 2016 and now April, 2017.

Not only have motorists suffered immeasurable delays, and local residents massively inconvenienced, we now learn that the Newmarket Road is going to be closed for six weeks next year with the resulting chaos for everyone concerned, motorists, lorries, residents, businesses, etc.

It just seems incredible to me (and many others I have spoken to) that it takes in excess of three years to mend a bridge. Given that access into Bury St Edmunds clearly doesn’t appear to have been a priority, we, as residents of Westley, would like to know what the details of the traffic management plan are to cope with this potential six weeks of chaos.

-- Chris Anderson, Chairman, Westley Parish Council

PLAN WILL SOLVE HGV PROBLEM

Outline planning application DC/16/1723/OUT is for a 100-space lorry park and transport café at A14 junction 41, Saxham.

This, if granted, at a stroke would rid the town of the 30 plus and ever-increasing numbers of HGVs which every day drive around the town to find a parking space, because the lorry park at Rougham Hill is full and the drivers are nearing completion of their permitted driving hours. HGVs and cars don’t mix.

For years, town and borough councillors have been trying to solve this problem. Now the opportunity is here, please support this application.

Contact your councillor or write with your views direct to www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/plan ning. Planning ref: DC/16/1723/OUT.

-- Simon Harding, Bury St Edmunds

CHRISTIANISED PAGAN FESTIVALS

Bob Jones has raised an interesting subject in his letter (Bury Free Press, October 28). Many may ask the question, should Christ be put back into Christmas? Or should He have been put into a Mass at a pagan festival at all?

I know that this is a real concern for a lot of Christians, but nowhere in the Bible does it command followers of Christ to commemorate his birth, death or resurrection; All Hallows’ Eve (Hallowe’en) or All Saints’ Day.

If one does a careful study of these festal days, one can only conclude that these were formerly pagan festivals which were ‘Christianised’, but a lot of the old symbols and customs were adopted and adapted.

It is interesting that the apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians: “You observe days and months and seasons and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have laboured for you in vain” (Gal 4 v 10-11). The Old Testament ‘holy days’ are now obsolete symbols since Christ has come: (See: Colossians 2 v 16 - 17).

A helpful booklet on this whole topic is: Festal Days and the Law of God by W H Molland.

Having said all this, I, as a Christian, do make use of the period known as ‘Christ-mas’, despite my reservations, and usually send out cards which contain the gospel message or a scripture text and send my ‘Season’s Greetings’ to friends and family.

My fellow Christians may like to know that I obtain these online from either gospelcardsetc.com; answersingenesis.org or creation.com

-- Ian Smith, Bury St Edmunds

NO INTENTION TO IGNORE DISABLED

Further to Dr Urquhart’s letter (Bury Free Press, November 4), we did not intend to ignore the needs of disabled people or local businesses in our recent circular regarding “Traffic in the Medieval Grid”.

Indeed, we made it clear that the ‘broad ideas’ in our circular ‘would need refinements to ensure they could work effectively in practice’.

-- Vivien Gainsborough Foot, Chairman, Churchgate Area Association

CHRISTMAS FAYRE CAUSES TRAFFIC CHAOS

I like Christmas, but I don’t like having to get up early, but you have to in Bury St Edmunds when the Christmas Fayre comes to town.

Angel Hill is completely cut off and sensible use of the old Bury grid, such as Lower Baxter Street and Hatter Street, is not made. This causes people to find routes all over Bury and causes chaos everywhere, with people frantic not to be late and to drop off children. It is all due to closing Angel Hill.

For a market town, we don’t have chaos when the market runs, and I wonder how much damage the fayre does to local trade and shops (that still remain in business) who pay very high rates?

If you think about it and add up all the time added to people’s journeys, is it worth blocking Angel Hill without much better diversions? The last few years have been appalling and a lot of traffic is further created by people turning round and trying another route. It could be better. It is impossible if coming from Westgate to get to Northgate or Eastgate.

Perhaps there is nothing wrong having the Christmas market, but there is something wrong in Christmas chaos. So keep the roads open or properly diverted is all I ask. Makes sense really. Keep me happy this Christmas and give me that cosy half an hour I lose in bed.

-- Jeff Keighley, Brockley

WE WILL OPPOSE GRAMMAR SCHOOLS

The Prime Minister has outlined plans to lift Labour’s ban on selection in UK schooling and re-introduce some sort of eleven-plus exam alongside selective grammar schools.

The Government argues that selective education allows for greater social mobility. They claim that bright students whose parents cannot afford to pay for private education will be the main beneficiaries of a system that separates children out from each other.

But, in fact, all the evidence shows that rather than facilitating social mobility, grammar schools only foster inequality.

An analysis by the Financial Times in 2013, which looked into overall performance in local authorities that still retained grammar schools, noted that ‘as a way to raise standards or to close the gaps between rich and poor, it is hard to find evidence that they are effective’.

If selective grammar schools are set up, it is inevitable that the remaining secondary schools will revert to the second-class status that used to be accorded to secondary modern schools. Any child not passing the eleven-plus will receive a second-rate or third-rate education.

In counties which still use the grammar-school model, such as Kent, it is clear that the vast majority of children going to grammar schools are from middle-class families where they have already been 
given a head start in life, and where they are far more likely to go to university and get better-paid jobs as adults, whether they went to a grammar school or not. In addition to all their other natural advantages, middle-class children in grammar-school areas often receive private tutoring, and these pupils who have benefited from additional coaching are more likely to pass the exam, whether they are ‘brighter’ or not.

With certain areas of Suffolk recognised as some of the worst areas in the UK for social mobility, and with high levels of deprivation in both urban and rural areas, the issue of equality in education is an important one for the county.

Ultimately, a system that is rigged to advantage those who are already better off can’t possibly deliver greater social mobility.

Suffolk Labour believes that any plan by the Government to impose a new grammar school system in our county will enshrine inequality, not challenge it.

Our entire school system has too often failed those from a poorer background.

Labour councillors will do all that we can to ensure that our children receive a better education. We are committed to an equal and accountable schooling system that caters to all pupils, regardless of postcode or background, and we oppose any attempts to reintroduce selective grammar school education in Suffolk.

We must build a good comprehensive education system, with high performing schools, vocational qualifications and apprenticeships, within a universal and inclusive system, that is truly fit for 
the 21st century. Only then, with a comprehensive strategy that includes all stages of education, will we improve social mobility.

-- Labour Group, Suffolk County Council