Your letters - March 8

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A selection of your letters from the Bury Free Press of Friday, March 8.

A14 rubbish is an embarrassment

I regularly travel on the A14 from Bury and have noticed large amounts of rubbish which have accumulated on the grass verges over the last few months or so. It is simply an eyesore, an embarrassment and – in times of high unemployment – totally unacceptable.

I wonder if it was possible to either/or

1) Find volunteers to help clear this (I would be the first to put my name forward)

2) Get low-risk prisoners to help pay their keep and get them to clear up the rubbish

3) Divert tax-payers money from non-essential projects to fund the clean-up.

4) Those on welfare benefits to do something useful, which would certainly help to keep up their spirits as they would be proudly helping the community.

I know the A14 would have to be policed (ie traffic slowed down for everyone’s safety), but something MUST be done soon before a plastic bag or similar whipped up by the wind causes a driver to lose control of his/her vehicle.

--John Farr, Hopton

Protect this green corridor

How refreshing to see the article on a group of community interests voicing objections to development on the Leg of Mutton field (Bury Free Press, March 1).

This field, which forms part of a green corridor almost to the heart of Bury St Edmunds, is both a visual asset in itself and an important link with the town’s agricultural heritage.

In association with the adjacent No Man’s Meadow nature reserve, this open space brings wildlife close to the urban centre and a walk on the footpaths that traverse these spaces is usually and refreshingly accompanied by birdsong. Development has been refused by the borough council on several past occasions on the basis that the field is important to the historical setting of Bury, and nothing has changed to alter that fact except for the current Council’s obsession with a development agenda that would alter the town beyond recognition and seriously degrade the quality of life for present and future residents.

Readers are reminded that the proposals in the draft Vision 2031 document include building a hotel and leisure centre at the eastern edge of the field (collectively these are coyly termed ‘limited associated buildings’ in the council’s phrasing).

I strongly support the Bury Water Meadows Group in their campaign and hope this ill-judged proposal from the council will be reconsidered.

-- John Corrie, Rusbrooke Lane, Bury St Edmunds

Plan is a kick in the teeth

So, Mildenhall is to get a new care home, and day care facility (Bury Free Press, Mildenhall edition, March 1).

St Johns Day Centre has been providing day care services to the people in the Forest Heath area since 1987. At one point we were providing 65 meals over two days. We provide much-needed respite for carers, activities, support and information for families. Vulnerable people who are isolated and lonely can enjoy a day of good company, a hot meal and friendship. It is a lifeline for many people. Dedicated staff and volunteers have given freely of their time to ensure that all the people who attend the day centre are well cared for.

We are run by the Gatehouse charity, which strives so hard to keep this much-needed facility open. If it wasn’t for the on-going support of St John’s RC Church, and volunteers, we would have closed long ago.

It says in the report,that Care UK has spent two years talking with customers and providers. Well, they have never spoken to us or our customers. We had to find this out from a newspaper report.

I feel that is a kick in the teeth for us. For years, we were the only provider of day care in Mildenhall. We have filled in a huge gap in the local community. Then, suddenly, we are not even worthy of a mention, or consultation.

I do believe that new facilities are needed in Mildenhall, but they will only be doing what we have been doing for years. Good quality care is just that, where ever it is given.

I would like to thank all of those people who have donated, supported, and helped to keep the day centre running over the years. That is certainly not any local authorty.

We shall remain open.

-- Shirley Hunter, Co-ordinator, St John’s Day Centre, Mildenhall

Parking is a huge cost to low paid

Bravo for the column (Bury Free Press , February 8) about the cost of parking in town.

Our family could not agree more. It is a huge cost for those low paid workers in retail and hospitality. They work all hours, when the buses don’t run, so often have little option other than run a car (which is not cheap) and pay parking charges. I think our council members also forget that Bury has a very large rural catchment area and if you live several miles out of town, it’s not possible to come to work on a bike.

The other thing that they forget is those of us who come into Bury, come in to spend money, which keeps the town going. I am sure that sometimes they don’t want us to come to town, to use the market, the local shops and entertainment venues.

-- Sandra Brennan, via email

Price hikes are a big shock

Today I drove to my usual supermarket in Bury St Edmunds to do a weekly shop and to get some petrol. As I walked around the store I could not believe how much prices had risen in the space of a week. The products are no bigger than they were before but now cost more for the same amount. I found myself having to cut back on healthy foods yet again due to the high prices, especially for fresh fruit.

Another shock was the price of petrol – 137.7 per litre. I only have a small Ford Fiesta but if petrol/ road tax/insurance etc continues to rise then I (along with many others) will not be able to afford to run a car.

With increases also in electricity, gas and water, how much longer can prices continue to rise before more people are left struggling to eat, travel and live?

Something needs to be done soon.

-- Stacey Sterrow, via email

Parents must act now

I was at the public meeting about the schools reorganisation at The Apex last Monday evening. The attendance of so many councillors led me to believe they were coming to take on board the views of very concerned stakeholders. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The presentations from the contributors were more balanced than the ‘spin’ we got from Councillor Newman. It left me feeling that Suffolk schools have not been getting the support they deserve from the education department and there will be a generation of young people in Suffolk who have been failed by these people.

There was a passionate plea from a lady in the audience who had first-hand experience of the aftermath of the changes in Newmarket.

She cited parents taking their children to other counties, other towns and also moving house because standards there had slipped even further since the reorganisation. Is this what we want for Bury?

We learnt at the meeting that many of these so-called two-tier schools are on split sites anyway, so how are those different to what we have already?

The County Upper School All-through system and its outstanding results got a special mention, but Suffolk County Council members never acknowledged that perhaps there were other successful, more cost-effective ways to address the issue. The dramatic decline in GCSE 5plus A*-C results is a scandal. Suffolk was 30th in the country 10 years ago and now we are 142 out of 151. Sue Cook has a huge task on her hands if she is to deliver her promise of putting us in the top 25 per cent in the next five years. One thing’s for sure, shortly the only way will be up!

I learn with dismay that all is lost for Stowmarket, but if Bury parents, and especially governors, don’t wake up and forge partnerships with other schools they too will find themselves in the same situation when crunch time comes.

-- Denise Webb, Bury St Edmunds