A selection of readers’ letters from the Bury Free Press of Friday, November 1.
SUPPORT THE 2013 POPPY APPEAL
On behalf of the county council, and mayors and chairmen of the borough and district councils throughout Suffolk, I write to urge everyone in Suffolk to support the 2013 Poppy Appeal of the Royal British Legion. Again we remember with gratitude those who served in the two World Wars and more recent conflicts. They made the sacrifice so that we could enjoy our freedom. The debt we owe to the brave people who protect our country and its way of life is as real today as it ever was. Our thoughts are with those who continue to fight for our freedom throughout the world, and who are still prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice in the service of this country and to suffer terrible injuries in its cause. For 2013’s Poppy Appeal the Royal British Legion are again focusing on their support for the Afghan generation of the Armed Forces family. Since 2003 the Legion has helped more than 10,000 serving, ex-Service and family members who are part of the Afghan and Iraq generation. I ask everyone to show special generosity this year in supporting the work of the Royal British Legion whose services are so vital to the care and welfare of our dedicated service men and women and their families.
-- Guy McGregor Chairman,Suffolk County Council on behalf of Cllr Hamil Clarke, MBE, Mayor of Ipswich,Cllr Terry Buckle, Mayor of St Edmundsbury,Cllr Nick Ridley, OBE, JP, DL, Chairman of Babergh District Council, Cllr Chris Barker, Chairman of Forest Heath District Council,Cllr Mrs. Lesley Mayes, Chairman of Mid Suffolk District Council, Cllr Peter Bellfield, Chairman of Suffolk Coastal District Council, Cllr Peter Collecott, Chairman of Waveney District Council.
COMPLACENCY OVER TRANSPORT
I attended the Howard Estate Association of Resident and Tenants meeting, organised by Mark Erirea-Guyer, David Nettleton and Ernie Broom. The guests were Graham Newman, Cabinet Member for roads and transport for Suffolk County Council and engineer Dave Watson.
The meeting was packed, with some residents standing, many were surprised at the lack of any concerted plan for integrating all the new estates, it seemed to many of us, that too much emphasis was placed on residents of the new estate of 900 homes, planned between MIldenhall and Fornam, that they could travel by bus or walk.
The homes will be well in excess of £250,000; it’s obvious that most buyers will be two-adult working families, the section 106 residents will probably be the same, as they will pay 80 per cent of the local free market rent, so they also may well have to be two adults working.
To think all these new residents and tenants could be fortunate to work within cycling distance or walking distance of the town is complacent to say the least.
There seemed to be no consideration for the actual reality, the car may well be the their only means of transport, unless we can get early morning buses and late evening buses, which is doubtful, from the profit point of view. Can young mothers with pushchairs and toddlers walk to town? Current buses can only handle one or two push chairs at a time.
Many residents expressed concern that their estates – the Howard and Mildenhall – could end up as rat runs, especially during rush hour, many residents felt that this was a done deal and no amount of consultations would make any difference. The community really pulled together to make their feelings and concerns felt.
-- Tom Murray, Howard Estate, Bury St Edmunds
PLEASE LET GLORIA KEEP HER PET
Please, Havebury Housing, allow Gloria Perkins to keep her King Charles spaniel with her till he ends his days (Bury Free Press, October 25).
It would be so awful for this poor elderly and much- loved dog to be separated from his owner. In fact, I think you should review your policy regarding pets altogether along with other housing associations.
There are a lot of people who live alone as they get older who love and cherish their pets. Just because they have to choose to live somewhere to suit a new lifestyle and often for health reasons as much as anything else, should not mean that they have to lose pets that have given them essential loving and companionship in later years. If the owners are responsible and the animals are cared for and well behaved, what is the harm in allowing pets in your housing scheme?
-- Susan Richardson, via email
As a local charity, Our Special Friends is all about the importance of pets for people’s wellbeing. I am writing to express my strong views that Havebury should definitely reconsider its decision and also look very carefully at its pet policies across their housing schemes. Pets help us to cope and they offer vital companionship. There is a lot of evidence that pets can be very compatible with small close communities and have been shown to have many health and social benefits.
We would welcome discussions with Havebury Housing to ensure that Mrs Perkins and Sammy are not separated and that there are appropriate, clear policies in place so that their residents can enjoy the special friendships if they want to.
I look forward to being contacted so that we might help in this instance.
-- Belinda Johnston, Our Special Friends
LET ALL THE ESTATE’S SCHOOLS JOIN TRUST
I attended the third SOR consultation meeting at Howard Middle School last Thursday evening. I think it fair to say that the vast majority of the parents I heard speak were completely mystified about how they were supposed to get their children at age 13 into the school they clearly consider their own, County Upper, if Howard Middle School closes and children have to stay on in their primary schools until age 11.
It is a mystery to me how closing the Howard Middle School (Ofsted-rating of Good) and expanding Howard Primary (Requires Improvement) and Tollgate Primary (in Special Measures) is supposed to raise standards. But the attitude of a member of the local authority’s Learning and Improvement Service, who was acting as a facilitator at the meeting, may hold the answer.
When asked by a parent how closing Howard Middle School to expand unsatisfactory primary schools would raise standards, the facilitator said that it was only pupil progress data that was relevant and only teaching and learning standards that mattered. When it was pointed out that Ofsted report on teaching and learning and use the data in forming its judgements, the facilitator said that Ofsted was subjective and therefore an inaccurate, less reliable, measure of a school’s performance – indeed Ofsted is virtually irrelevant.
Is it any wonder Suffolk has a higher proportion of children being taught in schools Ofsted judges to be unsatisfactory if this is the attitude within the local authority? Or, indeed, why the local authority seems to think it acceptable to put forward proposals in Bury St Edmunds that will see hundreds of children displaced from discarded outstanding and good middle schools into lower-rated alternatives.
That aside, what the Howard Estate needs, it seems to me, is for its three schools to be allowed to join the Academy Trust. Will the dogmatic politicians allow that I wonder?
-- John Park, Bury St Edmunds
WHY CAN’T ACADEMY TRUST BECOME TWO-TIER?
I have no issues with a two- tier education coming to Bury St Edmunds but surely it would be sensible for all the education to become the same, staying in line with each other. Therefore giving parents back their choice of upper school for their children. It is not a case of County Upper School being left in the cold, it is a case of parents of children in the two-tier system not having County Upper as a viable option. Is there any reason why the Academy cannot become two-tier?
-- Mrs Keymer, Bury St Edmunds
COUNTY REFUSING TO PAY FOR DAMAGE
Were you travelling on the A134 between Bury St Edmunds and Sicklesmere during the recent surface dressing?
As you may be aware, the road surface disintegrated towards the end of July and early August on the section just outside of the Bury 30mph limit.
My windscreen was damaged beyond repair and I was advised by the highways department to replace it and send them the bill.
This I duly did, but now they deny all responsibility. I would like to hear from you if you are having the same trouble being recompensed for your loss.
At a cost of £499, why should it be my responsibility to pay, after I was told to replace it? In fact, why should anybody have to pay for it after what was clearly and indisputably something well within the control of the county council?
I would really like to hear from you. If you were there, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you in advance.
-- Mitch Paris, Sudbury
A DIM VIEW OF ‘LIGHTER EVENINGS’
The Bury Free Press claims that ‘we try to avoid errors but sometimes mistakes slip through the net...’
Perhaps as the newspaper sets itself up as a conveyor of public information it has in this instance had ample time to check well-established facts before they are published. Since when has the effect of putting the clocks back one hour meant that ‘evenings will be lighter and mornings darker’ as suggested in your Page 3 article (Bury Free Press, October 25)?
-- David Chapman, Bury St Edmunds
Editor’s footnote: Indeed, this was a mistake that slipped through the net – our apologies.
GET BURY BLOOMING POPPIES
Driving around Bury and its surrounds, you can’t help but notice a number of cars and commercial vehicles ‘ wearing a Poppy’ so wouldn’t it be nice to see every vehicle sporting this symbol of sacrifice, and in so doing, show our support for The Royal British Legion, whose once a year appeal is their funding for all the good work they undertake, helping our armed forces personnel and their families, past and present. Another worthwhile way to show Bury in Bloom.
-- Brian Davies, Bury St Edmunds