A selection of readers’ letters from the Bury Free Press of Friday, February 7
VISION LOOKS LIKE A MIRAGE
I went along with a couple of other Westley villagers to The Apex to listen in to the formal hearings on the St Edmundsbury Borough Council (SEBC) Vision 2031 which is supposed to confirm the planning blueprint for the future of Bury. I wanted to go because Bellway Homes, which is one of the developers involved in the development to the West of Bury, (450 homes on green fields between Westley Estate and Westley Village), was arguing that another 100 houses should be built.
I thought we had a very lengthy consultation to decide on 450 – not 550 – and we were told that the planning permission for them would be dependent on the provision of a relief road along the edge of the development.
SEBC has always said that you can’t have one without the other so it seemed reasonable to think that this idea would be promptly chucked out.
Unfortunately, our planners seem hopelessly confused when faced with some slick national developers. First off, the inspector didn’t seem to know whether he was supposed to be looking at the soundness of the Vision 2031 document including its appendices, or not. That is a bit of a big question because the appendices include the developers’ ideas about what all the development round Bury should look like. As you can imagine, that means as much development as possible and as little financial contribution for them to cough up.
Then, it turned out that Vision 2031 has been followed up by a Concept Statement for most of the areas around town but not for this development. However, everyone pretended that there was one (but if there is they have kept very quiet about it). So, we had a sort of fantasy discussion about whether it would be okay to move the line of this relief road and to build a load more houses.
You would have expected SEBC to defend its vision and its consultation and to say no way. It didn’t. There was just a lot of waffle about how once the pretend Concept Statement was finished, there would be a Masterplan and it then appeared you could have as many houses on that as you liked and pop a relief road in if you could be bothered. By this time, Vision 2031 was looking more like a distant mirage.
The big question is why have we spent all this time and money on preparing Vision 2031 over the last five years if it isn’t worth the paper it’s written on in terms of setting out plans. When the inspector doesn’t appear to know what he’s inspecting, the planners seem hopelessly befuddled, and the developers seemingly run rings round them, what hope is there for this town’s future?
-- Jim Sweetman, Westley
PLEASE, SEND ME YOUR IDEAS
The claim by ‘name and address supplied’ that the wishes of local residents were ignored over the proposed pedestrian and cycle only bridge spanning the A14 is not supported by the evidence (Letters, January 31). There were six letters of objection to the planning application: Two from businesses in Fornham Road, concerned by the resultant loss of free parking in Malthouse Lane; two from residents of Thingoe Hill living close to the spot where the bridge will go and two from residents of Northgate Avenue, one of whom is the Green Party borough councillor. There are 12 residential properties on Thingoe Hill and 44 in Northgate Avenue.
Your correspondent goes on to say that huge amounts of money have been spent to prevent the ‘odd dismount’ by cyclists. At present, every cyclist must dismount at the foot of the steep path on the northern side of the A14 as Northgate Avenue is on much higher ground than Fornham Road. No-one would expect motorists to push their cars anywhere so why should cyclists be expected to dismount? My electors who are cyclists ask me why they cannot ride from A to B without having to constantly get off their bikes and walk. The gently sloping Malthouse Lane leading to the bridge will allow them to ride from the rail bridge in Out Northgate to Tollgate Lane without the need to dismount.
My views are described by ‘name and address supplied’ as ‘ludicrous’. The use of insulting words isn’t very pleasant and I don’t intend to respond in the same vein. Instead, I would like to work with any local resident who thinks that the proposed replacement planting plan needs further improving. The bridge is due to be fitted into place in late March and I suggest that anyone with an idea about additional fencing, shrubbery and tree planting contact me via email and I will arrange for officers and myself to attend a site visit once the bridge is in place. I cannot promise to muffle all sound from traffic on the A14 for those who chose to live close to this road. I’m some distance away in Cannon Street but can hear traffic noise in the early hours of the morning, especially if the surface is wet. It’s a consequence of the decision to bisect rather than bypass Bury and that was completed in 1972. Presumably cost was the main factor then.
-- David Nettleton, County Councillor, Tower Division
MP LIVED UP TO HIS PROMISE
I would like to send out my heartfelt thanks to Mr David Ruffley, Member of Parliament for Bury St Edmunds. I contacted Mr Ruffley’s office in November 2013 for assistance with an immigration matter that was causing huge distress for our family.
Mr Ruffley’s wonderful Senior Parliamentary Assistant, Antonia Merrick, got back to me immediately.
Within days Tim Cook, who assists Mr Ruffley with immigration issues, and Mr Ruffley himself had reviewed all the documentation. Mr Ruffley kindly agreed to assist us and take up the matter on our behalf.
Mr Ruffley’s office kept us informed every step of the way, with letters and a phone call. We were very fortunate that our case had a positive outcome. But, even if we had not succeeded, I can only commend and give thanks for the efforts of our MP.
Mr Ruffley lives up to the promise he makes on his web page that he will take on anybody in authority on behalf of his constituents. We know the true value of Mr Ruffley’s claim of “I will always give 100% effort”.
-- Dr Catherine Blanchard, Stowmarket
BLIND TO ‘N FOULING’ SIGN
Please may I through your newspaper bring to light the person who let their dog foul outside my house on the footpath, not just in one place but five different spots.
All I can say to this person is that he or she was kind enough to throw over the gargen fence a couple of dog bags in the hope that we would see them and clear up for them before stepping into the mess made by the dog.
It amazes me because the lamp post by my fence clearly says ‘No fouling, £1000 fine’, this implies that the person may need to visit the optician to update glasses if worn.
-- J Hanna, Winthrop Road. Bury St Edmunds
PROBLEM MUST BE ADDRESSED
The recent stormy weather has shown how important it is that we prioritise investment in infrastructure such as sea defence and flood protection.
As the Green Party lead candidate for the East in the May European elections, I am calling on the Government urgently to commission an independent, top level assessment on the resource implications of maintaining the region’s infrastructure and utilities during the next 25 years. We are talking here about very substantial sums of money and other resources that have to be earmarked and made available to maintain so many things that we have come to rely upon: Highways and other transportation infrastructure, water, electricity and gas supplies, sewerage, telephone and other cabling, quite apart from flood and sea defences.
Failure, by successive governments, to acknowledge the serious potential of climate change, and the competition for resources, must be addressed without further prevarication. More realistic forecasting and assessment is needed. Green Party thinking is rooted in awareness of these resource issues.
-- Rupert Read, Green Party MEP candidate in the East of England