A selection of readers’ letters from the Bury Free Press of Friday, January 24.
ELECTORNIC SIGNS WERE NOT WORKING
Copy of a letter sent to ‘Person in charge of the electronic car parking signs into Bury St Edmunds’. I visited Bury on Saturday, January 18, arriving at around 2.15pm, and yet again the electronic signs into Bury were not working. When I arrived at the Parkway multi-storey car park, there was no way of telling if there were any spaces remaining. I decided to go in and have a look, along with a lot of other drivers who were also trying to find out if there were any spaces. Fortunately for me, when I got to level 10 someone was just getting into their car, so I managed to take their space. It is becoming very frustrating that these electronic signs are not working more than they are working, having to drive around the car park just in case there might be a space or not.
Please tell me why St Edmundsbury Borough Council can keep putting car parking charges up but do not bother to get the electronic signs fixed permanently.
-- J Leggatt, Moulton
TREES ARE BEING REPLACED
Last September, Green Party borough councillor Julia Wakelam objected to a planning application to install a cycle and pedestrian bridge over the A14 linking Malthouse Lane and Thingoe Hill with Northgate Avenue, where Julia lives. She asked for a deferment so that the proposed removal of a sycamore tree on the Northgate Avenue side could be reconsidered.
I supported the replacement planting plan – a copy of which I have also deposited with you – which shows that seven trees are to be planted on the Thingoe Hill side to replace the trees removed, and a replacement tree on the Northgate Avenue side closer to Raynham Road to compensate for the sycamore removed. This is an evolving plan and after the bridge is in place there will be further discussions to see if more planting is desirable. The key for me isn’t the loss of a sycamore tree but the retention of three Corsican pines towering above the bridge. These form an elegant row and must stay.
The reason I have sent copies of the county council’s tree planting plan is that in her letter (Bury Free Press, January 17), Julia accuses me of misleading your readers in my letter of January 3. The plan shows that this charge is false. I have no power to order anything to be done but I’m doing my best to see that the plan is implemented. True, a few smaller trees and hedgerows have been removed but only to allow cyclists a clear path as they enter or leave the bridge. These trees were not dismissed as ‘unimportant’ as Julia claims. Nor have the wishes of Bury residents been ignored. The bridge will be widely used by many cyclists and pedestrians.
Julia questions whether this scheme represents a good use of public money. The estimated cost is £2 million. Of this, £1.5 million is coming from central government with the county council contributing £0.5 million. I’m not in favour of rejecting this ring-fenced specific project investment in the infrastructure of Bury. I wish the Government would allocate this sort of money to improving infrastructure in Bury more often.
-- David Nettleton, Cadney Lane, Bury St Edmunds
A PERFECT COMBINATION
Last Saturday evening we heard a wonderful programme of music by Bach and Handel: the Churchgate Sinfonia played to a full house at the Unitarian Meeting House on Churchgate Street.
What an inspired and perfect combination of music and venue – two of Bury’s best kept secrets!
-- Isobel Ashton, Bury St Edmunds
MEMORIES MUST BE RETOLD
As we approach the centenary of the First World War, memories of the stories from those who served must be retold.
I was born on December 1926 at Bury St Edmunds and also received my education along with my brother, Derek. Having learnt and played with boys and girls whose parents served in the 1914-18 war, how many of us are alive today?
My mother, Gladys Whitney, worked in a local war production unit and had her photograph published in the Bury Free Press, on May 18, 1918.
Mother’s brother, Cyril Whitney, also of 57 Abbygate Street, served in France and suffered from the result of gas attacks.
Today we owe and enjoy our freedom to all those who served their country at the First and Second World Wars. Make certain you support and protect this freedom.
-- Ian Pettit, Bedford
ALTERNATIVE TO THE COALITION?
Although not a party member it was refreshing to read Cllr Ereira-Guyer’s letter regarding the Green Party and what it stands for (Bury Free Press, January 10). How different their policies seem from the bankrupt ones being pursued by the Coalition. Mr Osborne’s ongoing programme of cuts is destroying the fabric of our society and widening the gap between rich and poor. The Labour party offers little that is different. The Coalition claims there is no alternative and yet we know there is. When will they turn their attention away from blaming the poorest in society for our ills towards the richest who dodge the taxes they should be paying? Research suggests that up to £25 billion is lost each year through legal tax avoidance by wealthy individuals and multi-national companies. A further £70 billion is lost through illegal tax evasion and £25 billion through taxes which are never paid. That adds up to a staggering £120 billion, about the same amount we borrow each year. Yet successive governments have done little to close tax loopholes or pursue those who evade taxation altogether. Indeed, the Coalition has further cut the staff at HMRC who should be making sure that taxes are paid. Not only do we in the UK suffer as a result of tax dodging, but so do many people in developing countries who are kept in abject poverty as a result of it. A lot of what Cllr Ereira-Guyer said in his letter made a great deal of sense. The neo-liberal economic system caused the mess we are in and yet is still being propped up by this Coalition government. If tax justice was to be added to the Green party manifesto at the next election they may well get my vote and I hope a great many more from people disillusioned by the lack of choice offered by the three old fashioned parties.
-- Richard Stainer, Bradfield St George
THANKS FOR THE GREAT CARE
Through your paper, the family of Emily Howe would like to express how well she was cared for and looked after on ward G9 at West Suffolk Hospital. These people do above and beyond but always with a smile on their faces. Emily reached 100 on Saturday, January 11 of this year , and we really did not expect that. She is back home and would like to send her thanks to you all. The most amazing tream of people.
-- Mrs Howe’s family, via email
A FEELING OF INSECURITY
With reference to a news piece entitled ‘Thieves hit five insecure cars’ (Bury Free Press, January 17), maybe the five cars were ‘insecure’, because they were left ‘unsecured’, ie not locked?
-- Penny Alborough, Syleham
WE’RE GRATEFUL FOR YOUR GENEROSITY
Members of the Bury St Edmunds Action Group for Cancer Research UK would like to say a massive thank you to the people of the town who gave so generously to a house-to-house collection which took place during August and September, all in aid of Cancer Research UK. A total of £582.89 was collected during this period. The charity does not receive any government funding and so donations and support like this are crucial.
-- Nichola Whymark, Cancer Research UK
MORE DEPENDING ON FOOD BANKS
David Ruffley, reflecting on 2013 states that the ‘last 12 months for me have been a story of me taking Suffolk issues to Government Ministers and the floor of the House of Commons’ (Bury Free Press, January 3).
I would suggest that a critical Suffolk issue relates to figures released by the Money Advice Service that reveal that in St Edmundsbury 13.5% of people have been three months late paying bills or consider their debt a heavy burden. The Gatehouse charity which does such an excellent job running the Bury food bank also recently released first year figures that not only demonstrated an ever increasing demand, but also that one third of the food parcels distributed went to families with young children, many of these working families.
On December 18, a Labour motion calling on the Government to ‘bring forward measures to reduce dependency on food banks’ was defeated in the House of Commons by 294 votes to 251.
It may, or may not surprise you to know, that Mr Ruffley voted against the motion in line with Tory policy. I would suggest that either Mr Ruffley does not believe this to be an issue that is affecting his constituents, or he is not as in tune with Suffolk issues as he believes he is.
-- Richard Soer, Great Barton