Letters to the Editor published on January 11, 2019
PARKING: SWITCH CAR PARKS TO PAY-ON-EXIT
I was interested in, but not surprised by, your leading article (BFP, January 4). Why should drivers battle with Bury car parks (still no sign of pay-on-exit) when there is so much free parking in the town?
I have lived in the centre of Bury for seven years; when I first arrived parking on yellow lines was rare - now it is common.
During a short walk this afternoon I counted 17 cars parked on yellow lines in Risbygate Street, only two displaying blue badges, and 7 cars parked in loading bays in St John’s Street, the only van actually unloading had to park on the pavement.
And don’t get me started on the Grid when I am trying to find a residents’ parking space.
I also came across one of the town’s parking wardens who told me that he was powerless to book any of the illegal parking I had seen - that was for the police. Now we know that the police have got other things to do and there are moves afoot to move this aspect onto the wardens, but for the moment this problem of illegal and dangerous parking must be addressed. Yes, police have issued tickets in St John’s Street on a number of occasions but, unlike the wardens, not on a daily basis.
More action from PCSOs, together with the long-overdue introduction of pay-on-exit, should start to discourage this anti-social practice and encourage the use of car parks.
Bury St Edmunds
PARKING: WHERE DOES CAR PARK INCOME GO?
Have you asked the council how it manages to spend more than £8,500 per day to operate the car parks? It seems a very big sum. They also changed their position a couple of years ago, the income only paid for car parks but now it seems they finance other things.
ROBERT BOBY: WHERE TO SEE FACTORY’S WORK
It was good to read Mr Gould’s interesting article about the history of Robert Boby Ltd and the importance of that firm and its founder to Bury St Edmunds. He is certainly right to call for a blue plaque or some similar commemoration at the site of the former works in St Andrew’s Street.
He mentions the apparent sale or “management buy-out” of the firm in 1898 and the mystery surrounding the ownership of the “new company” at that date. However, it is more likely that there was no transfer of ownership but simply that it was legally constituted for the first time as a limited company under the legislation introduced earlier in the century, limiting the personal liability of the owners if the firm ever went bankrupt. In legal terms it was a newly-registered company, but in reality it remained in the same hands.
It was interesting to read about the paid apprenticeship scheme which gave genuine training and eventual employment to hundreds of young men in the town and surrounding area, something comparatively rare today.
The company and its works have long since disappeared, but one of its famous corn dressing machines still survives at Pakenham Water Mill. It was used to “dress” or clean the grain before milling. Although no longer in use, it is preserved in this historic mill for future generations to see when the mill is open. Details of opening times are on our website www.pakenhamwatermill.org.
GATEHOUSE: CHRISTMAS DAY LUNCH SUCCESS
A heartfelt thank-you to everyone who helped make the Christmas Day Lunch such a happy occasion for more than 140 guests at St Benedict’s School.
This lunch has been running for 30 years. It was originally organised by the parishioners of St Edmunds RC Church, and is still supported by them now, although we also have many other churches and organisations as well as individuals that support both practically and financially these days, it is organised by Gatehouse Caring in East Anglia.
Men and women across our community are invited to enjoy a festive lunch and good company rather than be alone on Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve volunteers turn out to prepare the meal and decorate the dining room. Then on Christmas Day another army works all day to ensure the guests are comfortable and well cared for by cooking, serving meals and drinks at St Benedict’s. All the guests are collected from their homes and taken home by yet more volunteers.
The donations in money and kind come from all over the area and are too many to mention individually. However, I would like to thanks Roffs catering for the turkey and equipment and Edmundos restaurant who have yet again provided the vegetables. Many churches and schools send us goodies for our hampers and in December more than 480 hampers were packed and delivered.
Thanks also go to the St Edmundsbury Mayor Margaret Marks for her attendance, and the High Sheriff of Suffolk, George Vestey, who spent much of the day serving meals and generally rolling up his sleeves to support the day where needed. The support we receive from the local community is overwhelming and grows each year, without this we would not be able to run our services.
Thank you all for all your care and support. Best wishes to all our supporters for a peaceful 2019.
CITIZENS ADVICE: PLEASE SIGN OUR ONLINE PETITION
Many of your readers will have heard that Suffolk County Council is planning to halve and then withdraw its funding to local Citizens Advice charities in Suffolk. This would lead to a significantly reduced service for people in Suffolk. The number of staff and volunteers available to give advice would have to be drastically reduced. The volunteer advisers provide quality assured advice on a wide range of issues such as debt, disability benefits, housing,employment and relationships.
Citizens Advice is already a cost-effective service. Last year, the work done in Suffolk by our 425 volunteers was officially valued at more than £2.4 million. In 2017/18 they helped people write off £7.8 million in debt. National research shows that for every £1 invested in Citizens Advice in Suffolk we generated at least £3.52 in savings to Government and public services and £20.84 in wider economic and social benefits.
Citizens Advice’s mission is to provide free, independent, impartial and accurate advice for everyone and gives Suffolk a voice through national Citizens Advice campaigns.
I would urge any readers who want to keep Citizens Advice active in Suffolk to sign our online petition on 38degrees.org.uk or to visit any of our offices to sign paper copies.
Chair of Trustee Board
Citizens Advice Mid Suffolk
HEALTH CARE: PRAISE FOR GP AND STAFF AT SURGERY
Over the past two years my local doctors and nursing team have shown fantastic support and given great care to my uncle as his health deteriorated due to old age. We often hear or read negative stories, where people are quick to complain or criticise, but we have been in receipt of quite the opposite and would like to say thank you to all at Market Cross Surgery in Mildenhall. Everyone from reception, community nursing, GP Dr Bremner and others have all helped in his care. All have been exemplary and we feel very blessed to have had the best medical help and care that we could have asked for.
ROUGH SLEEPERS: PUTTING RECORD RIGHT ON SHELTERS
I write in reply to the letters about homelessness from Tony Mildinhall “We should care more for the needy” and A Pitt “Time to vote for new councillors” (BFP, December 28).
While I appreciate their concern for people who are sleeping out on our streets, I
think both residents misunderstood why we aren’t opening a winter night shelter
and why we suggested where people could donate items.
To explain, in 2017 we had a winter night shelter based in Bury St Edmunds that could accommodate up to 14 rough sleepers on a night but was never full. In 2018 we invested in more all-year-round accommodation – not just for the winter nights but accommodation available throughout the year and throughout the day. Not only that, we also secured support staff within this accommodation to help people who have been living on the streets with any issues that they face such as addiction or mental health issues. We now have sufficient accommodation and support in place. It is for this reason – and only for this reason – that we haven’t opened a winter shelter this year.
We are of course keeping this decision under constant review. We have also been successful in recent months in working to help rough sleepers off of the streets into accommodation and support but while the number of people sleeping outside has reduced we are ever mindful of the possibility that it could increase again, which is why we place so much weight on preventing homelessness from occurring in the first place. In reply to A Pitt’s letter, when we had the winter night shelter, the council was inundated, mainly via social media, by people wanting to help. We didn’t ask for it but we did tell people what items would be useful. We recognise that the majority of people wish to help people that are less fortunate than themselves. That is why, when announcing that a winter night shelter will not be needed due to our investment in all-year round accommodation, we put out information to the media about the various organisations people could still donate to and the items that would be helpful.
We are not “passing the buck” onto our residents, as A Pitt puts it, or “shedding our own responsibilities” which are enshrined in law, but recognising that the majority of people are kind-hearted and wish to help in some way.
It was with that in mind that we and partners including the Bury Free Press also backed Bury Drop In’s Looking For Change campaign. The campaign encourages
people not to give money directly to people on the streets as sometimes that
money is then spent on alcohol or drugs, which makes it harder for that person to obtain and sustain a place in accommodation.
Instead, the campaign encourages people to donate online or by text to the Drop In which does
wonderful work with partners, including the council, to help get people who have been rough sleeping accommodation, support, food, access to health services
and more, all with the aim of helping each individual turn their life around. I hope that answers the concerns raised and corrects any misunderstanding.
Cabinet member for housing
West Suffolk Councils
GHOST TOWN: NEVER SEEN BURY CENTRE SO QUIET
Hopefully it was because everyone had spent their pennies in the build-up to Christmas and on the sales which followed closely behind.
I say “hopefully”, as I have never seen Bury’s town centre so quiet as was the case on Monday afternoon, January 7.
No driving around looking for a parking space, and staff in some shops outnumbered customers.
Granted the weather was on the chilly side, but it’s January after all, and there were still some bargains to be had, particularly some very cheap items that could be put aside
for next Yuletide, for example, a cute little teddy bear with a knitted polo-necked jacket,
emblazoned with either a robin or a Christmas tree motif, for £2.99 (I had to buy one for myself!) and, of course, boxes of quality cards ridiculously cheap.
Bury St Edmunds