A selection of readers’ letters from the Bury Free Press of Friday, June 10.
MESSY, MUDDLED SITUATION
I always thought that teachers, politicians, councilors, education authority and even the government placed education very high. Trying to ensure that young people can reach their full potential and get the career they want and become an asset to the country. I always thought their focus was such that nothing would get in the way of this as the public placed this very high on their list of priorities.
I am not so sure now, certainly locally. For years there has been debate and discussion about two-tier versus three-tier. Then, at last, the decision was reached to go for two-tier. It would need a lot of planning, would mean a certain amount of upheaval but we all assumed that everyone involved would do their best and that the needs of the children affected would always be at the heart of it all. What we now have is some schools acting like the spoilt brat, stamping their feet and screaming as they did not want to change. Like the spoilt brat they can have their way and they can stick to three-tier. The decision was made but they didn’t like it. It’s a mess.
Then we have Sybil Andrews. The building was delayed by one or two officials, something about access, I think. No thought that by their actions the school might not open on time. That’s okay, as long as they got in their objections. What does it matter if the pupils cannot get in the school at the start of the term? The agenda should be that at the start of the new term in September all is ready, but by thinking about some small detail the effect is this will not now happen. Then we have been constantly told ‘It’s all okay, the school will open as planned’. I regularly go past the school and it never looked to me as though it was on schedule. As it stands the school will be about four months late so it was never going to open on time. This must have been known all along but I assume parents were not told because then they may have chosen to send their children elsewhere.
This change to tw- tier is not about the teachers, councilors, education authority or government. It’s not about agendas and personal opinions, it’s about children and their futures and I think the focus has been lost a little. We have a messy, muddled situation which I think should and could have been avoided. I am sure there will be some children directly affected by all of this whose exam success in a few years time could and would, be a lot better if this change had happened a lot smoother.
-- Ashley Page, Bury St Edmunds
IT’S A MATTER OF PHYSICS
RE ‘It’s drivers that kill, not speed’ (Letters, June 3).
In fact, it’s not drivers that kill, it’s the physics of speed.
The distance that a car takes to stop, in an emergency, is made up of two parts.
Firstly, thinking distance: the distance the car covers while you are thinking of applying the brakes.
Secondly, braking distance: the distance the car travels once the brakes are actually applied.
So, if you travel at 40mph you will cover 59ft every second. At 60mph that becomes 88ft per second – that’s 1.5 times further, or 29 ft more every second. If a hazard suddenly appears you would need to scrub off all that extra speed therefore making it more likely you will be unable to stop in time, no matter how good your driving skills or how good your car might be.
Plus, of course, if you do hit something (a child? a cyclist? an HGV?) they, and you, are more likely to survive the crash at the lower speed.
-- Karl Chubb, Rede
HOLLOW FARM SITE DEAD IN THE WATER
I noted in a recent issue of the Bury Free Press that an archaeological investigation was to be carried out at Hollow Road Farm, presumably in connection with the proposed waste hub. Before any more money is thrown away on this site, perhaps the local authority planners and councillors should study the report on the failed waste recycling plants in Lancashire which were part of a £2 billion private ﬁnance initiative signed up for nine years ago. Now both plants are to close with the loss of 250 jobs. Residents have been told that all the rubbish that they wasted their time sorting for recycling will now be transported by road to other sites or dumped in landﬁll sites. The Australian company behind the scheme had made extravagant promises about how the 300,000 tons of domestic waste would be sorted and recycled, with the garden waste being turned into high quality compost for land restoration and 2.5 million trees planted. However, as far back as 2012 there were reports that more than 70 per cent of the waste was being dumped in landﬁll and the county council was forced to cancel the PFI two years ago as it was losing so much money. A local Conservative councillor said the operation had damaged the environment by inﬂicting noise and foul smells on people living nearby and despite all the promises made at the planning stage there had been a large number of errors and even prosecutions by the Environmental Agency. Until four years ago this operation was costing tax payers £2 million a week but has since been dubbed a ‘failure of catastrophic proportions’. With a further 5,000 houses having just been given outline plarming permission in Thetford, plus all the smaller developments already approved in and around Bury St Edmunds, the Hollow Farm site must surely have become dead in the water. If not, questions certainly need to be asked about the planning department and the competence of some councillors.
-- Brian Coleman, Fornham St Martin
CONTEMPT FOR OUR VISITORS
Since the withdrawal of the council staff, Bury Bus Station has rapidly become a sad, depressing area. The front, glazed, area once full of waiting passengers, is now deserted, giving the whole place an air of neglect. The loudly hailed refreshments have been sporadic, Mrs Churchill’s burger bar having failed to open most of the time – they missed a trick on Saturday when Stephensons’ held a charity day and the area was full of potential customers for bacon butties and cans of drink.
The council promised real time bus information but all we have had so far is a machine which gives timetable times and the indicators at the individual bus stands have been turned off, so strangers are left totally confused. The burger bar staff, even when they are there, don’t seem to be able to give any reliable infonnation. And to obtain timetable leaflets you have to try tod find another Tourist lnformation Point (by which time your bus has probably leftl).
I used to be under the impression that visitors to Bury were regarded as adding to the commercial vitality of the town, whether there to study, to work or simply to spend money. The treatment shown by the council is little short of contempt.
-- R A Flower, Thurston
WE’D LIKE TO KNOW WHO’S RESPONSIBLE In reply to Jacqueline Street’s comments on the bus station (Letters, May 27), yes, how miserable. Wednesday, June 1, 11am, no cafe open, seats all full, people arriving with luggage asking ‘where can we ask for information’ – who on earth reconstructed our old bus station I, and many more, would like to know?
-- Jill Headley, Bury St Edmunds
I’LL NOT BE VOTING IN REFERENDUM
The EU Referendum disenfranchises those who wish to see greater co-operation with our European neighbours.
The ‘Leave’ campaign has a superficially attractive vision of and a passion for the sovereignty of the ‘nation state’, and it is a campaign which is honest. It is just out-dated by at least a century. The world post-1945 is dominated by hundreds of international treaties and a series of international and regional groupings as nations have increasingly agreed to act together, because they can achieve more together than on their own, thus voluntarily curbing their room for acting independently. ‘Sovereignty’ is just a myth now. Walking away from our ‘regional group’ and thinking we can do better on our own is anachronistic, narrow-minded, arrogant and xenophobic – foreigners have nice places for holidays, but are not really suitable as political equals.
The ‘Remain’ campaign is much the same, but rather selfish and dishonest. There is no vision, and no enthusiasm, for creating a better Europe, just carping criticism, reluctance and a lot of economic facts and figures designed to ‘prove’ we need to stay ‘in’ for our own material good. After decades of challenging almost every development in the way the EU functions and then using our position to secure ‘opt outs’, the Government has secured for us a second class status, yet alleges we will still have first class influence. That is either nonsense, because you can never have both, or it is a delusion, and either way it is dishonest. The minimal support from Conservative MPs and ministers tells us everything: their support is out of loyalty, not conviction, as shown by the recent backing from an anti-EU MEP, for whom Brexit would mean loss of a lucrative position.
Thus voting IN or OUT will have essentially the same result.
Having worked with projects run by the Council of Europe and the EU, with every conference conducted in English, I find there is little understanding of why we should want to leave the EU, and sadness that we are so reluctant a member. Churchill left us a vision and a means for our future full involvement with developing the institutions for a rebuilt Europe, and bought our right to be at the centre of them with the lives of British servicemen killed and injured from June 1944 onwards. This our politicians have squandered and discarded.
There is, therefore, a ‘third way’, inspired by a vision, enthusiasm and full effort for building European institutions that provide for all our citizens fairly and safely, that protects biodiversity and the natural environment effectively against powerful businesses and weak authorities and gives a strong political voice on the international stage that is not shackled to Cold War attitudes towards the US or Russia. But this is not being offered to us, and is not on the ballot paper.
Accordingly, I shall not be voting in this referendum. Am I alone?
-- Nicholas Crampton, Mundford
EU lLAWS PROTECT OUR WORKERS
In these remaining EU referendum campaign days, West Suffolk Green Party activists – with those from all political parties and none – will be campaigning to make sure Suffolk voters know exactly how positive an influence the European Union is having on workers’ rights including employment rights.
We’ve heard the benefits of free movement of people across the continent, including our ability to work or holiday in Spain, Portugal, France, Germany and all over mainland Europe with ease and without the need for visas. Perhaps we’ve not heard enough about how the right to actually take a paid holiday is protected by the EU? Additionally, it is EU legislation agreed with our European partners that gives us maternity and paternity rights at work. It’s also laws we created alongside other European countries that gives us our robust health and safety rules which go a long way in reducing injuries and deaths.
As the fight for gender equality continues, I certainly want the EU in my corner and underpin our equalities agenda at Suffolk County Council. EU laws go much further than the UK’s original Equal Pay Act and enshrines the right to equal pay for equal work between men and women. Similarly, it’s European legislation that prohibits discrimination on grounds of age, sexual orientation or religion from the workplace. Worth voting for!
I feel safer knowing that there is EU legislation that protects our rights, no matter who is in power in the UK. That’s why we’re making the case for a vote to remain in the EU. We are also organizing a gathering to support remaining in the EU on Thursday, June 16, at St Edmundsbury Cathedral – speakers include Labour’s Jane Basham, Bishop Tim Stevens, Jo Churchill MP (Conservative) and Green Party leader, Nathalie Bennett. Do come and listen to other positive reasons for remaining in the EU.
-- Cllr Mark Ereira-Guyer, Leader, Green and Independent Group, Suffolk County Council
GIVE DRIVERS A BREAK ON SUNDAY
We have parked for a number of Sundays opposite the One Bull where the buses park during the week. Today, there was a sign up by ‘Our Bury St Edmunds’, stating there was no parking there seven days a week as it was for buses and you could receive a parking ticket.
There are no buses using this area on a Sunday, I understand they use Ram Meadow.
It seems a bit draconian to enforce this seven days a week. Wouldn’t it encourage more tourists to use the Abbey Gardens and other local facilities if this was a free area on a Sunday?
Parking is a problem all the time in the town and quite expensive.
Come on Our Bury St Edmunds – play fair.
-- Andrew Donovan, via email