Your letters, February 8

Have your say

A selection of your views from the Bury Free Press of February 8.

Signage is past its sell-by day

I know times are hard and council coffers are strained, but we are really not giving visitors a good impression of the town with the current ‘welcome to BSE’ signage on the main entrance roads into Bury. The ones we have are outdated, illegible, dirty or, in the case of all traffic coming from the A14 west, simply missing altogether.

Every other town seems to be proud to welcome folks , but here we have signage well past its sell-by date. Perhaps new signs could be sponsored by local firms as we already do with some of the roundabouts?

Also, what’s happened to the car park directional signage? It hasn’t been working for ages.

Stephen Moody


Parents should set an example

RE to Ann Byford’s letter (Bury Free Press, January 25)in which she pleads with the Police and council to return Bury to its former clean and tidy state, I feel she is barking up the wrong tree.

The dropping of litter is but part of the general lowering of standards which has been going on for much longer than the last few years. Courtesy, good manners and consideration for others have long since been missing, particularly – I hate to say – among the young who, of course, take their lead from their parents.

Unfortunately you have to go back several generations ( generally speaking) before you encounter the high standards of yesteryear.

Speaking for myself, it is an automatic reaction to wipe my feet ( or even take my shoes off ) when entering someone else’s house, to stand up when anyone enters the room, open a door for a lady and, in the case of a motorcar, close it as well. We were also taught that if there was not a rubbish bin to be seen, we were to take it home.

So parents, let’s not leave it to the Police (who have better things to do) set the young a good example.

Brian Davies

St Olaves Road

Bury St Edmunds

Councils cannot meet the need

With reference to Cllr Martin’s letter (Bury Free Press, January 25), I think it is widely accepted that it will not be possible for local councils to meet the increasing need for more affordable houses, through just simply trying to build more homes. This is particularly true for councils like St Edmundsbury who, unlike Ipswich, have transferred their former housing stock to local housing associations, such as Havebury Housing. However, we do recognise the need to do everything possible to address the issue and that it is why one of the council’s top priorities is working to ‘increase the availability of low cost homes’. In these very difficult financial times, when there is limited public funding available to build new homes, we need to look at all of the options available to us. This includes working with housing associations, private developers, local communities and private landlords to do all we can to increase the availability of low cost homes.

Cllr Anne Gower

St Edmundsbury Borough Council cabinet member for housing

Give lower cost period a trial

I’m grateful to Mark Cordell, the Bid4Bury chief executive, for his support of the car parking review recommendations put forward by the borough council scrutiny committee for consideration as part of the budget-setting process (Bury Free Press, February 1). The main conclusion of the review is that presumed annual rises in charges should no longer apply. Instead, selective increases (or decreases) only are to be approved if backed by evidence that a particular car park is either overflowing with cars or half empty. The best ‘sample’ time is noon on Saturdays when capacity is often stretched to the limit.

Mark suggests that offering free parking from 3pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays would help local businesses cope with the current economic downturn nationally. I think he has a germ of an idea here but it needs further work. My first question is how would we monitor the success or otherwise of such a concession? If customers are buying a ticket on entry to a car park, the council can easily count the number of cars at each site at any given time on each day of the week. This allows car park officials to make recommendations to councillors based on evidence rather than guesswork.

As a £1 charge (down from £1.10) after 6pm is already in the pipeline for April, I suggest that this start time is amended to read 3pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays for an experimental period of 12 months to test its impact on town centre retail trade. I’m not quite so confident as Mark is that it would make a difference but we will only know for sure if we give it a try. I also think that it should be site specific rather than diluted over several car parks. My initial thought here is that St Andrew’s 1 – the car park behind the bus station – may be the most suitable for this trial. It’s the first car park people come to if entering Bury from the central interchange or northern villages in Suffolk and can be accessed opposite the fire station on Parkway. It is also the nearest car park to St John’s Street and Risbygate Street where many local independent traders have their premises.

I need to point out here that I am only one of 45 councillors so the possibility exists that a majority of my colleagues don’t agree with me on how to respond to Mr Cordell’s proposal. As Mark will testify, my committee is keen to work with Bid4Bury to promote the retail offer in Bury St Edmunds for the benefit of everyone.

David Nettleton

Chairman, overview & scrutiny committee, 
St Edmundsbury Borough Council

Report damage to county council

RE damaged countryside paths (Letters, January 18).

Shooting parties will be welcome by landowners as they will be paying substantial sums for the shooting rights. The damage caused will be tolerated, and will probably not even be noticed if you are moving around in an SUV or tractor.

The shooting parties have no interest in limiting damage just so you can walk on rights of way. So what can do?

It is an offence under the Rights of Way Acts, now incorporated into the Highways Acts, to damage the surface of footpaths, bridleways and other rights of way. If an approach to the landowner has not been successful or is not possible, you should approach Suffolk County Council Highways Department, and ask them to take action. They can request that the path be restored to its original state and take enforcement action if unsuccessful.

Mike Goodson


Advice on venue was ignored

It is a bit rich for Cllr Sara Miildmay-White to suggest it is more difficult for the Theatre Royal board to ‘look at the big picture’ than it is for councillors.

The councillors were made well aware by independent consultants that a venue with a capacity of 500 would run at a loss, yet they ignored all advice and ploughed on knowing it was not financially viable.

Instead of blaming others for their poor decisions and being unable to see the ‘big picture’ it’s about time they admitted their own failings and accept that, however well managed and promoted, The Apex will be a burden on the ratepayers and move on.

David Bedford

Bury St Edmunds

Thank you

Recently, I was an inpatient at the West Suffolk Hospital and I would like to express my sincere thanks to the staff in theatre, recovery and on Ward F5.

Although extremely busy, they find the time to care that little extra, as they did for me.

Colin Butcher

Eriswell Road