READERS’ LETTERS: From the Bury Free Press of Friday, October 28

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A selection of readers’ letters from the Bury Free Press of Friday, October 28.

ROUGHAM HILL SITE TOO SMALL FOR WASTE HUB

I felt it was important to respond to Mr Harding’s letter that recently featured on the newspaper’s website as he specifically named me in it when raising his concerns about Hollow Road Farm and its potential suitability for the West Suffolk Operational Hub project.

Mr Harding is right, I do take pride in the way the county council manages its finances in a prudent and considered manner.

This is precisely why we are working so closely with our district authority partners at St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath to ensure we get the best value for money possible for council tax-payers as we look to meet the projected demand for waste management across West Suffolk in years to come.

We want to locate a new operational hub that is fit for purpose and accessible to flows of vehicles using it on a regular basis. I know Mr Harding and I am very aware of his sentiments with regard to this major project.

Mr Harding has made a number of points as part of the recent pre-planning consultation.

The process offered members of the community the opportunity to learn more about the criteria for assessing potential site options, including Rougham Hill.

The fact is that while the Rougham Hill site is suitable for a transfer station, it is far too small to site the range of services that are included in the hub.

As a West Suffolk resident who knows the area in question very well, I do not feel another site visit is necessary at this point. Senior officers have recorded Mr Harding’s questions as part of the consultation and have looked into the concerns he had raised.

There will be further opportunity for consultation at the point when a formal planning application is put forward in the near future and I look forward to engaging with Mr Harding as part of the process.

-- Colin Noble, Leader, Suffolk County Council

UNNECESSARY WASTE MILES

Colin Noble, Leader of SCC, has challenged my claim (Letters, October 7) that waste miles for a hub at Hollow Road Farm (HRF) would be at least 10 per cent higher than for a hub at Rougham Hill (RH). Waste miles are a major component of annual running costs.

The facts make rather dry reading, but here goes:

n Around 97 per cent of bin lorries from Forest Heath plus 100 per cent of those from north Bury and villages beyond, would arrive at A14 Junction 43 (Tesco’s) – confirmed by council under FOI.

n The distance from Junction 43 to either HRF or RH is the same, ie 1.25 miles, so these bin lorries would travel the same distance regardless of whether they went to HRF or to RH.

This is critical, because if the bin lorries went to HRF they would be taking their waste away from the incinerator at Great Blakenham – only to bring it back again. How daft is that?

n 70 per cent of the waste from Bury and surrounding villages comes from the south, south-east or west. These bin lorries either pass RH or arrive at A14 Junction 44, just 200 yards from RH. If they went on to HRF it would result in an extra round trip of five miles, resulting in at least 15 per cent extra waste miles.

n Waste transfer lorry miles to the incinerator would be 9.5 per cent less for RH. Waste transfer lorries hold approximately three bin lorry loads of waste. The overall savings in waste miles for bin lorries plus waste transfer lorries compared with HRF would be a minimum of 10 per cent.

n Bin lorries have up to five operatives, every dead mile they travel is a major unproductive expense.

n Unnecessary waste miles mean extra staff, diesel, vehicle maintenance and environmental costs.

Our council claims to support a clean air policy. HRF would require 10 per cent more diesel. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) from diesel vehicle exhausts is a major contributor to poor air quality causing 40,000 premature deaths in the UK. This blatant hypocrisy by our council would really ‘take the biscuit’ even over the loophole they found to justify the destruction of 15 acres of highly productive arable farmland at HRF, while professing to support food self-sufficiency and lower food miles – knowing that more than enough barren brownfield land, even allowing for expansion, is available on RH.

-- Simon Harding, Bury St Edmunds

BREXIT: WHAT’S DONE IS DONE

In the letters page of the Bury Free Press of October 21, I note that a reader, arguing for the ‘Leavers’, in response to a letter from a ‘Remainer’, attempted to pass off conjecture and error as fact, and a selective use of data as a smokescreen – as was the case throughout the entirety of Referendum campaign. I was going to write a detailed rebuttal of the points made; however, I feel this to be futile. What’s done is done, and (pace Boris Johnson) what will be will be.

The Future is an Unknown Country, and may or may not be one in which we care to live. The only thing I can say with any certainty (with all the wisdom of my 64 years) is that the Future will not be what we expect (or even want).

-- Martin Webb, Bury St Edmunds

A FABULOUS ARRAY OF GREAT SHOPS

Coincidentally, I have been up and down St John’s Street, in Bury, more than usual over the last few weeks and I am amazed at the fabulous array of great little shops, all of different shapes and configurations, with a huge variety of goods that truly made me look in every window.

Yet this street seems to lack large visitor numbers. It seems to be a very under-utilised location. Perhaps a hidden gem that needs to be brought into daylight.

I know when the arc was first planned, it was the one street that everyone thought could suffer, now it sees me to be one of the finest streets and parade of shops in Bury – bright, colourful, and surely a shopper’s dream, with a variety of places to eat and drink.

I realise it has parking problems: many of our streets do, in part due to the narrow nature of St John’s Street, and I wondered what could be done to draw more visitors into this great enclave – perhaps better or larger signs, a huge banner at the top of the street; less parking on the narrow pavements; a publicity campaign?

It’s such a great little street, if you haven’t been down there for a while, take a stroll, it’s really fabulous.

-- Tom Murray, Bury St Edmunds

TIME FOR MP TO ACT OVER POST OFFICE MOVE

I am sure many will wish to join me in congratulating our MP, Jo Churchill, on her appointment as Armed Forces minister.

In her column entitled ‘Forces covenant will be a priority’ (Bury Free Press, October 7), she demonstrates a good understanding of the covenant, which is supported by her government.

This has close links to the decision to move the town’s main post office to the first floor of the adjoining WHSmith – a decision which, in my opinion, will be greatly to the disadvantage of both elderly civilian and ex-military personnel.

I am aware that she has visited the site and the many difficulties have been explained to her.

Since her visit, the decision has been made to proceed with this ill-conceived scheme.

As someone who has, since retirement, served as a case worker for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, I wholeheartedly support the aims of the military covenant.

I suggest the time for talking is over and call on our MP to act now, even at this late stage, to order that the post office scheme should be abandoned.

She must not miss this opportunity to do the right thing, and receive the appreciation of so many in our community.

-- Donald Hill, Townlane Road, Bury St Edmunds

COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS

I too share the concern of Joy Blake (Letters, October21) about the greatly reduced number of cards available locally depicting the true Christmas story.

This is borne out by a 2011 survey by the Daily Mail of 6,576 cards in major supermarkets in seven locations in England and Wales, which found only 36 featured scenes such as Jesus in a manger or angels.

Traditional Nativity scenes appear on less than 0.5 per cent of all cards available.

Knowledge of the Christmas story is fading. When a group of five-to-seven-year-olds was surveyed recently it was found that 36 per cent didn’t know whose birthday was celebrated at Christmas and 72 per cent didn’t know Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Among adults, it was found that fewer than 12 per cent know the full Nativity story and 51 per cent said that the birth of Jesus was irrelevant to their Christmas.

Unless Christians actively share the Christmas story, Christ will continue to be written out of Christmas.

Advent is the season leading up to Christmas Day. It starts four Sundays before Christmas. It’s an exciting time for children as they wait for the big day when they will celebrate Christmas and open their presents. For Christians it is a time of preparation and waiting, too – recalling the events of the first Christmas 2,000 years ago. Advent calendars were popular in Germany in the early 1800s and soon spread across Europe. The idea is simple – there is a window to open for each day of advent. It means that one day at a time you can share the journey to Christmas Day.

Advent calendars are popular with children and parents because they help to explain the meaning of waiting in a fun way. Even adults find them a fun way of connecting with the Christmas story. I looked on the John Lewis website – they have 46 Advent calendars on sale – from Star Wars to LEGO, but not one depicting the Nativity story.

If Christ is being written out of Christmas – let’s put him back by sharing the Christmas story so it’s heard and loved. At Southgate Church in Bury we are doing one small thing to promote this by selling The Real Advent Calendar and giving it as a gift to all of the children who are in any way part of our church community. The company making it, founded in 2010, has donated more than £250,000 to development schemes, educational projects and charities. They are on sale in some Tesco stores and at the Fair Trade shop in St John’s Street. If you can’t get hold of one, then contact us on southgate.church@tesco.net and we can let you have one at the normal retail price. We won’t be making any money out of them but we will be delighted to let more children know about the real Christmas story. And by the way, the chocolates are delicious, too.

-- Bob Jones, Bury St Edmunds