A selection of readers’ letters from the Bury Free Press of Friday, June 24.
SURELY IT’S TIME TO MOVE ON
The second round of consultation about the future of waste management in West Suffolk has concluded that the Hollow Road Farm site is the most appropriate for location of this major facility that would be shared with Forest Heath District Council and Suffolk County Council. A joint meeting of the cabinets of St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath has strongly endorsed this conclusion and the matter is to be referred to the full St Edmundsbury Council on June 28.
Not surprisingly, opposition from residents of Fornham and Great Barton continues, but the fact is that the location is well beyond the separation distance from neighbouring properties that is recommended in national guidance. The consultation has explored the options for other sites in meticulous detail and has come to a firm, evidence-based conclusion on the suitability and deliverability of the Hollow Road Farm site.
To date, over £500,000 of public money has been expended over the three-year period since the initial proposal in mid-2013 to site a Waste Transfer Station on Rougham Hill.
It is surely now time to move on and get this facility established as soon as feasible, for the benefit of West Suffolk residents and to minimise the transport costs of the Energy from Waste facility at Great Blakenham.
It is greatly to be hoped that SE BC councillors will give their firm support to the proposal when it comes forward for consideration later this month.
-- John Corrie, Rushbrooke Lane, Bury St Edmunds; Adrian Williams, Byfield Way, Bury St Edmunds; Michael Schultz, Home Farm Lane, Bury St Edmunds
CRIMINAL TO PUT WASTE ‘ON THE ROAD’
I think that this is a prime example of the council deciding that this is what they want and nothing is going to deviate them from their decision.
Personally, of the submitted sites I think this is the right decision. I also think that it is a classic example of the council’s inability to think out of the box. With a rail link from Bury directly to the incinerator at Claydon, it is criminal to put all those HGVs on local roads and the overworked A14.
Surely, when all the environmental elements are taken into account over the life of this scheme, it must be criminal to proceed down this this vehicular route.
-- Barrie Jones, via email
PROPOSAL WILL PUT MORE CARS ON ROAD
We were sorry to read your story (Bury Free Press, June 10)about the death of Hunter Davis on the B1112 at Eriswell.
We live only a few hundred yards away from the scene of this collision and are sadly all too aware of the large number of accidents on this road, 99 per cent of which go unreported.
For example, another accident happened on the evening of June 11 on the same stretch of road, a little further up from the spot where Sgt Hunter died. We, too, have experienced damage to our own property as result of the increased traffic and poor driving on what is essentially a country road.
But this is all part of a bigger story. The local landowner, Elveden Estates, has applied for planning permission for a huge housing estate of 500+ houses and a school on the field directly adjacent to the scene of the fatal collision and this is being considered by the authorities.
Such a large development (which is also under the flight path at Lakenheath) will result in a massive increase in the number of cars on this road and, despite pleas the from the locals to provide new roads linking the Lords Walk roundabout to the nearby C602 and the B1112 to the A1065, thus bypassing the bottlenecks and notorious accident black spots at Sparks Farm Corner and Eriswell church, Elveden Estates has decided that this would cost too much and would eat in to their massive profits, so refuse to entertain any such measures to improve road safety. They are under the mistaken impression that a set of traffic lights will solve all their problems, but as those of us who live locally can tell you, such a measure will make the situation far worse.
We are left to wonder how many others will be killed or hurt on the roads in this area before something is done. We also wonder how those in Lakenheath will cope with their access to the A1065 being further restricted and the delays which will result. Having lived in London, we never expected to see traffic jams as a feature of daily life in rural Suffolk.
-- Jane Foster, via email
WE’VE HAD 12 YEARS OF CONSULTATION
When I read Adam Howlett’s article ‘Speculative Development Threat’ (Bury Free Press, June 17), I was outraged at the audacity of the comments of ‘a spokesman for Mid Suffolk’ who reassures us that all will be well for future housing stocks and the preservation of our countryside ‘through the development of our new Joint Local Plan’.
Has this spokesman not read the recent decisions from the Planning Inspectorate? Appeals are being upheld because Mid Suffolk has no plan in place. We do not need a new plan, just the completion of the various planning consultations that have already taken place.
In 2004 Mid Suffolk published the housing bids in their Draft: Mid Suffolk Revised Local Plan, any discussion of the bids was delayed until parishes had completed a ‘health check’ to determine whether they were sustainable communities. In the case of Needham Market this was completed in 2004.
Then the town had to await Mid Suffolk’s Core Strategy document of 2008, which included the housing target figures that still feature in the Planning Inspectorate decisions. More years passed awaiting the completion of the ‘Core Strategy review process’ 2011-12, before Needham Market Town Council obtained in September, 2013 the necessary ‘Designation of Neighbourhood Plan Designated Area’ approval from Mid Suffolk to complete its own plan.
Then various public ‘consultation’ events from March, 2014 onwards until the ‘Needham Market Neighbourhood Plan The Future of Our Town 2015 to 2030’ was published. Since then, nothing from Mid-Suffolk to aid the completion of a process that they instigated.
Now we have the new roadshow begun in Elmswell, but shortly to visit a community near you, hosted by the Assistant director – planning and growth, and the Portfolio holder for business growth and increased productivity, to make us ‘aware of the challenges we face’.
Thank you, but we are well aware of the challenges; we want solutions.
So, Dear Mid Suffolk, please stop duping the residents of Needham and other communities and admit the failure of 12 years of planning consultation.
If in preparing the so-called ‘new’ plan you cannot guarantee that local opinion will be listened to, do not bother asking. If you are not ready to back local communities in developing individual plans best suited for their needs, then please tell them not to bother and save them the waste of public money and frustration of their residents.
Mid Suffolk’s failings may be laid at the door of central government, but the elected councillors, especially those of the dominant party, should ask themselves, do they not share the responsibility for allowing this situation to develop?
-- Anthony M Breen, Needham Market
OUR VISIT WAS A DISAPPOINTMENT
What on earth has happened to Bury’s Abbey Gardens?
After being away for five years I decided to revisit my home town and spend an afternoon in the nationally-renowned gardens with my elderly parents. But what a disappointment it turned out to be. The grass was unkempt, the flower beds weren’t edged off properly, and many beds still had winter flowers in (which were well past their best). I have never seen the place looking so untidy.
But what made our visit even worse was trying to find somewhere to sit, many of the benches being covered in pigeon poo. (I actually walked the circuit and found that exactly half the benches – 17 out of 34 – were either partly or completely soiled). Is nobody here capable of spending a couple of hours a week with hot water and a stiff brush to clean them up?
No doubt the once beautiful gardens are becoming yet another victim of this government’s austerity policy. Indeed, with the latest news that the park ranger is about to lose his job it looks like we’ll have to get used to it. Might as well let all the benches get covered as there is nothing worth looking at anyway. I, perhaps like many coach-loads of others, won’t be returning in a hurry.
-- Gav Roberts, via email
FREE SCHOOLS ARE DIVISIVE
The Labour councillors on Suffolk County Council are 100 per cent in agreement with the Bury St Edmunds headteachers over the abandonment of the proposed Free School.
It clearly makes educational sense for the Secretary of State for Education to have pulled the plug on this project, and the only surprise is that it took her so long.
But this entire episode just lays bare the folly of the Tories’ ‘Free’ school programme, which epitomizes the fundamental divisiveness of the government’s educational policy.
The government and Suffolk County Council should both be focused on making sure that all children in Suffolk receive an excellent education at their local school. Instead of which they are wasting their time, energy and resources bickering about what form of school it should be and wasting money on building new schools where they are not needed rather than investing in news schools where they are most needed.
-- Cllr Sonia Barker, Labour spokesperson for education & skills, Suffolk County Council
UNKEPMT FACADE IS REVEALED
Having noticed the foliage on the ‘award-winning’ block of dwellings in Parkway had been cut right down to the ground, it had me believing something was going to be done to smarten this building up, but it seems I was mistaken, in which case it would have been far better to have let Mother Nature do her annual trick of coming alive and covering up man’s plain, unkempt facade with fresh greenery. Next year perhaps?
-- Name and address supplied