A selection of readers’ letters from the Bury Free Press of Friday, March 28.
CHARGES WILL BE A DETERRENT
If parking in Bury town centre were not already ridiculous, I would spend much more time and money in it than I currently do. As it is, I will go to Newmarket to shop because parking is easy, plentiful and reasonable. Increasing prices for parking in Bury is short-sighted and ill-advised and can only have an adverse affect on businesses that have already been hit hard by the state of the economy.
The parking charges are already a deterrent to shoppers. Well, at least to this one anyway!
-- Hannah Thomas, via email
CHARGES WILL INCREASE ILLEGAL PARKING
I strongly disagree with increases to car parking. It will only increase the illegal parking in the town eg Risbygate Street and other streets in the town without parking charges and also increase the parking in residential streets who do not have residents’ parking, ie York and Queen’s Roads making it almost impossible for the residents to return to park near their house.
Police and wardens cannot be everywhere in the town giving tickets to illegally parked cars.
-- Patricia Buisseret, via email
INCREASES ARE EXCESSIVE
Copy of a letter sent to Cllr G Newman, cabinet member for roads and transport, Suffolk County Council:
I am appalled at your comments reported in today’s Bury Free Press (March 21)about the excessive increases in parking charges in Bury St Edmunds, that these can be justified by aiming to reduce the amount of traffic in Bury.
This is tantamount to saying we want business and trade to be reduced. How dare you.
Just when Bury is being congratulated on its character and effectiveness on increasing trade you try to destroy it.
It will, because customers will go to out of town supermarkets and centres to avoid these charges.
You suggest that the increased money raised could fund projects in Bury – precisely what projects?
I don’t understand why Suffolk County Council should exercise any control over
parking charges at all, it should belong to the borough council, especially when
Cllr David Nettleton states the charges are not compatible with the borough’s.
It seems that no prior notification was given to the borough, with discussions last December not being concluded over the increases proposed.
That sounds very dictatorial, which is unacceptable.
I therefore request that you reduce these unneccessary and unjustified charges due
to the damage to trade that they will cause.
-- David Yates, Fornham St Martin
WHERE WILL SCHOOL PLACES COMES FROM?
We are now just a few weeks away from the council taking a final decision on SOR and I am still not at all clear how the council proposes to find secondary school places for all of our children in September 2016.
The council says it needs 750 places for children in Year 7 in 2016. St Benedict’s will provide 150, the new school in Moreton Hall will have an annual intake of 120, King Edwards will have its numbers cut from 350 to 220 and County Upper will have 260. This gives a total of 750. The council is therefore depending on the Bury St Edmunds Academy Trust to provide more than a third of the required school places at Year 7, but quite how children will access those places is not at all clear.
The first problem is that the Academy Trust only provides 233 places at Year 7 (in the 2 middle schools) not 260, leaving Bury St Edmunds a certain 27 places short at Year 7.
The second is that entry to the Academy Trust middle schools is in Year 5. So the council is either assuming that 233 children will leave their local primary schools at the end of Year 4 in order to
guarantee access to County Upper (they have not commented on what effect this would have on the local primary schools); or, if parents choose to leave their children at the local primary school to
complete Key Stage 2 SATs in Year 6, the council is assuming that the academy will hold places open for these children until Year 7. If the academy decides, quite reasonably, to fill these places at Year 5, then they will be lost to the Bury area and the 27 shortfall will be even bigger.
My conclusion is that, unless the council retains an additional middle or four-13 school able to feed directly into County Upper at Year 9, there will be at least 27 (and more likely 50+) children without a secondary school place in 2016.
What does the council propose to do about this? Concerned parents deserve an answer.
-- Helen Stacy, via email
COUNCIL HAS GOT IT WRONG
I write to express my concerns over the farcical state of affairs that the council is putting our schools through and the devastating effect it is having on our communities.
The council told us at the very beginning of the SOR consultations that they would listen to the parents but I’m afraid democracy went out of the window when Phil Whiffing and Joy Stoddard refused the head of our County Upper School permission to speak at the packed Howard Middle School meeting on October 17 even though almost everyone at that meeting wanted and expected to hear her. The impression given that night was that it was a ‘done deal’ and it will go through whatever you the parents do or say, hence the low turnout at the Howard Primary School meeting. Every person that I have spoken to on the Howard and Mildenhall Estates want their children to be able to attend an all-through system with access to our exceptional County Upper School, a school that is within easy walking distance of their homes. Phil Whiffing and Joy Stoddard know from the meeting on October 17 that this is what the parents really want so why are they still not listening? County Upper is our school, Mr Whiffing, and we want to keep it.
Parents and the community are really pleased that Tollgate along with the Howard Middle School has applied to join the academy. I thought that perhaps the parents of children from the Howard Primary felt differently as they had not applied to join. So, with a placard around my neck, I stood outside the Howard Primary school and petitioned the parents. The result was amazing ,all the parents signed in support of the all-through system and at one time they were queuing up to sign. Surveys were carried out at the local shopping precinct and the result there was the same.
I have served as a governor at both the Howard Middle and the Howard Primary schools and I have built up a very good relationship with all three schools including County Upper over the past 45 years. With Tollgate and Howard Primary feeding into Howard Middle then into County Upper meant that the goodwill and cooperation between them was second-to-none with all schools working together for the sake of the children.
The fact of the matter is that Bury will have a two-tier and a three-tier school system and the ‘powers that be’ must find a way to sort it out and accommodate our children’s needs. The trouble is that the ‘powers that be’ have themselves just received an Ofsted’s report that condemns them for ‘damaging’ the life-chances of our children. Suffolk MP Ben Gummer said: “The simple truth is that Suffolk has been left behind by much of the rest of the country”. Surely the only way to improve this broken relationship is for the authority to start working with the parents and listening to what they want for their children. That way we move forward safe in the knowledge that all parties have had an input into an agreed way forward and not one forced through along party lines.
When this estate was built in the 1960s people moved from many parts of the country but mostly from London with their young families to start a new and exciting life here in Bury. We soon got to know each other with our schools at the heart of everything. The schools, in fact, shaped the way our community developed. We learnt to be nice to each other, to work together for the benefit of all which has resulted in us becoming one of the friendliest estates in Suffolk. Bury is a lovely place to live and my estate reflects all that is good in our town. We have some good councillors that do us proud but in this case I fear they have got it wrong. So I beg our councillors to please,
please listen to the people from the Howard and Mildenhall estates and do not destroy this happy community of ours with your divisive rulings.
-- Ernie Broom, Chairman, Heart