READERS’ LETTERS: From the Bury Free Press of November 22

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A furthr selection of letetrs from the Bury Free Press of Friday, November 22.

THANK YOU MARK, FOR WINNING AN EXTRA HOUR

I think we all (car drivers) owe Mark Cordell and his team at ourburystedmunds a vote of thanks for his successful bid to allow free parking from 3pm on Thursdays as

well as Tuesdays from Thursday, November 21-Thursday, December 19, and in so doing has also managed to ‘eke out’ one extra hour this year. Wouldn’t it be nice if this concession could be extended indefinitely, which would benefit both shop keepers and shoppers alike. We wish Mark the best of luck in any further negotiations with the council.

-- Brian Davies, Bury St Edmunds

OUR LAWS ARE INADEQUATE

Once again we have reports about the activities of so-called travellers whose idea of travelling is to move from one site to which they have no right of legal access to another of the same category.Our laws are so feeble that it takes time and money to move them on and more money – ours – to clean up after them. Gates and fences are no deterrent to these people who have no compunction about parking their expensive cars and vans on playing fields and public land where their dogs can foul freely. Why can vehicles not be clamped or impounded if instant fines are not paid? Why are repeat offenders not fined very heavily with non-payment leading to prison sentences?Decent law-abiding local tax-payers deserve better. Laws need to be changed and enforced.

-- B Perrett, Bury St Edmunds

‘FREE’ SIGN WAS MISLEADING

On Thursday, November 14, I drove into Bury and saw the signs stating ‘free parking on Tuesday and Thursday after 3’. Having been recently on a Tuesday after 3pm and informed there was no charge, I took it that it was free on Thursday, November 14. It was not free, the scheme started the next week, so when I returned to my car I found a parking ticket telling me that had to pay £30. This I have done.

I feel that the sign saying ‘Free parking’ was misleading and should not have been displayed until the scheme was running. It would be interesting to know how many others were caught out.

-- A M Street, Gazeley

PLAN SEEMS TO BE FOR THE ‘CHEAPEST’

I recently attened a presentation by Ian Mitchell, of independent highways consultants Mayer Brown Ltd, acting on behalf of Countryside Properties who plan to build 900 new homes in Fornham. What we were presented with was shocking if not predictable.

The transport proposals include putting a new bus-only road through from Fornham to the Howard Estate, installing a new right turn lane from Newmarket Road into Oliver Road, ‘tweaking’ the traffic lights system from Western Way into Newmarket Road and to slightly re-model the Tollgate Lane/Mildenhall Road/Fornham Road junction. The shocking part of all this is that it is clear from the proposals that their only remit is to do the cheapest job possible to ‘reduce’ traffic congestion but not to ‘optimise’ it. Yes, it’s a step in the right direction, but there are so many better ways of achieving better traffic flows than this, but they are simply not even part of the remit from council officers.

Studies both here in the UK and in Europe have shown that the total removal of traffic lights not only increases traffic flows, but also reduces accidents.

In 2006, as Suffolk county councillor for Tower Division, I visited Drachten in Holland to see how a 20,000-vehicle per day plus cyclists and pedestrians traffic light crossing had been remodelled into a very aesthetically pleasing roundabout by the world-renowned traffic engineerHans Monderman. He took away all the traffic lights, lines and road markings and ,as a result, people’s perception of risk changed, encouraging them to use the junctions with more care. Traffic flow increased and accidents reduced from eight between 1998 and 2002 to zero.

As councillors, I believe it is our duty to be leaders and to provide the best possible outcomes for the people who elected us. I do not believe we should just sit there and let officers say: “We can’t do that because…”. Councillors are elected not officers. Officers are there to guide, not to make policy.

The residents and people from the Howard Estate and Mildenhall Road Estate who were at the meeting told Ian Mitchell what they wanted for their proposed new bus route through the estate. The councillors who were there gave them ample ideas on how to improve traffic flows when the development is built. All we ask is that you please listen to us. We only have one chance to get this right.

-- Paul Hopfensperger, Independent councillor for St Olaves Ward, St Edmundsbury Borough Council

PARENTS PARK ON YELLOW LINES

I note with interest the complaints about the scaffolding outside Greene King premises (Letters, November 15). It’s a pity no-one complains about the parents/guardians who at school times park their vehicles not only on double yellow lines but also on the pavement down one side of College Street.

-- Name and address supplied

VILLAGE IS NOT A ‘DUMPING GROUND’

Red Lodge Parish Council would like to publicly complain about Save Historic Newmarket Action Group (SHNAG) statement that they believe that there are ‘many more sustainable development opportunities across our district in Mildenhall, Brandon and Red Lodge where 400 homes could be built’.

SHNAG clearly are showing that they believe they have the right to determine where new development should go, happy to shift housing around the district and avoiding Newmarket, the most sustainable area in Forest Heath.

SHNAG completely dismiss the current sustainability issues in Red Lodge.

Red Lodge is a primary village at best, though SHNAG give the impression that it is ideal to be the dumping ground for further housing in the district.

After only one year the new school is full, the county council is having to increase the size of the school much before it expected to and this will only be able to meet present demand.

Red Lodge still has no village centre.

Raw sewage continues to leak into residents’ homes and gardens as the current infrastructure struggles to cope, with similar problems experienced in the neighbouring villages of Herringswell and Tuddenham.

Red Lodge needs to be left alone and the housing embargo till 2021 to stay intact in order for it to absorb the 1,600 homes currently being built thus ensuring that the infrastructure is adequate before commencing any further growth.

SHNAG may think they speak for Newmarket but they definitely do not speak for Red Lodge. Our message to SHNAG is simple – Keep out of Red Lodge and its business.

-- Red Lodge Parish Council