A selection of readers’ letters from the Bury Free Press of Friday, October 17.
APPEAL OVER NOWTON PARK CHARGES
Copy of a letter sent to John Griffiths, Leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council.
I have written to the chairman of St Edmundsbury BC twice regarding the imposition of parking charges at Nowton Park, once on the 5th August and once on 24th August. In each case I received a response from Ian Gallin. I find this rather strange as I requested that our elected representatives examine this issue, but have received the response from an employee of the council, which in my mind at least is a rather different thing.
My letters are on record and I am sure that you have access to them, along with the responses.
I have also visited West Suffolk House to discuss the matter with Neil Anthony and Damien Parker.
To clarify this issue I firmly believe that the implementation of parking charges in Nowton Park is wrong and has contributed to a significant drop in visitor numbers, which is a ridiculous situation after the council has spent £500,000 on a new visitor centre and facilities. Worse than this, the reduction in visits to the park will inevitably result in the people of Bury being a little less fit and a little more overweight than they might have been. There is no way that the potential revenue from the charges will cover the additional medical costs that will arise as a result of this policy.
Further to this, there is money being wasted on parking meters, yellow lines, removing yellow lines, parking attendants etc. The same effect could have been achieved by adding 50p to Council Tax, without any need for all the additional cost and hassle and without the loss on some 50,000–70,000 visits a year to the park.
This is a huge number – more than 160 per day. How can that demonstrate a cohesive policy to encourage visitors to the park – which I assume is the logic for spending £500,000 on a visitor centre? This is madness.
Through this letter I am formally requesting that the charges are dropped and that the matter is reviewed by the full council.
The only justification that I have heard for the charges is that the council needs to raise money. There does not at any point seem to be a question of spending less money on what are after all luxuries. We did not have to have a visitor centre. The money did not need to be spent, now having spent it, you claim that you have insufficient income and wish to charge the most over-taxed members of society, the motorist.
Nowton is a country park and should be kept as such, it does not need the council to continually spend money to make it a lovely place, just some basic maintenance to keep it safe.
It appears that parking charges are being used as soft taxation in country parks where there is limited population and a dispersed electorate.
I suggested that a good way for the council to raise revenue would be to put turnstiles on Abbey Gardens – you could earn a fortune, but of course there would be a public outcry and the council would never dare risk that. It is much easier to target a country area and hope no-one takes up the cause.
I find the attitude of the council in this matter totally unacceptable, as do many others, so please review and overturn this decision urgently.
If I do not receive confirmation of the date you intend to hold the review I will have no option but to seek the view of a Government Ombudsman in how best to achieve my goal.
-- Nigel Gossett, Hawstead
SINGLE YELLOW LINE WOULD SOLVE PROBLEM
I read with interest the article re problems in Holywell Close (Bury Free Press, October 10). Over the last few months the areas around Ickworth Drive, Euston Close and Nightingale Close have become a major problem. The location includes an NHS facility which appears to hold training events. The onsite parking is not sufficient for their numbers so they park in the road. Patients also attend this facility and are normally seen trawling for a parking space when none is available they, too, park on the road, narrowing access from Hospital Road. Understandably, they do this to avoid missing their appointment time. Since the introduction of the residents’ parking schemes nearby, people who work in the town and wish to avoid parking charges also park on the road, together with staff from the nearby ambulance station who do not have enough parking provision. When the roadway is full up, cars are then parked on the pavement, forcing pedestrians to use the roadway to pass. In my opinion all that is needed is a single yellow line on one side of the road which would facilitate safer parking and safe pedestrian routes.
-- Name and address supplied
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT
On behalf of the Royal British Legion, may I thank the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds for allowing us to collect at the end of Private Peaceful last week.
The play was excellent and the generous patrons donated £728.34 towards the Poppy Appeal.
-- Catherine Buchanan, Bury St Edmunds
WE NEED A DEBATE OVER VIOLENCE
I was extremely sad to read the letter from Ms Hill (Bury Free Press, October 10). It is very disheartening in this day and age to see that the misconception that a violent relationship is easy to walk away from when there are no children is still rife. Is it any wonder that those trapped in such a situation feel too ashamed and guilty to ask for help? Sadly, in many cases, it is not until the situation is so desperate and they are in fear of their lives that victims ask for help from the police.
It is obvious that a major debate and publicity campaign needs to be started, involving the police and all the relevant agencies, to dispel the myths and misconceived opinions around this subject. What goes on behind closed doors is not always a private issue and speaking out should be applauded, not denigrated.
-- Jill O’Kelly, via email
TRADE DEAL WILL HIT US ALL
Our European MEPs are about to do a deal with the USA which will impact on the very fabric of our country. This is called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. This Government is trying to keep it quiet from the public as it supports this dangerous deal.
As it stands, this is how our MEPs are voting against corporations suing our Government, against letting the NHS and other public services get carved up and against Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Transatlantic as a whole:
- UKIP (three of them) have not gone one way or the other on all three issues they are sitting on the fence. Funny that as they have been banging on about how they are going to save our country from the EU. They have not voted against or in favour.
- Conservatives (three of them) all of them are happy to vote in favour of seeing this deal going through as a whole.
- Labour (one of them) The only one voting against corporations suing our Government, against selling off our services like the NHS or other services and sitting on the fence on the deal as a whole.
The people need to be aware on this issue and make it very clear to the MEPs that we do not want this deal or at least some parts of it, like the NHS being privatised and run by big USA corporations. Last weekend there were protests across Europe and in Bury St Edmunds, by people who are against this dangerous deal becoming law.
-- Neil Moffat, Bury St Edmunds
HOUSING POLICY TO BLAME
Regarding a recent complaint voiced on BBC Look East regarding the cost of child minding, it occurs to me that the use of the term ‘child minding’ is to some people no more than baby sitting.
True child minding all day is equivalent to a professional nanny and if done properly is a very responsible and onerous task, and I see no reason why a mother should expect to pay less for the care of her children than she earns by not caring for them.
I do have sympathy for mothers who feel they must go out to work to pay the mortgage, but I feel that their predicament should not be blamed on the cost of child minding, but rather on Government policy which allowed the ridiculous inflation in house prices by not building more houses much earlier. Children under school age need mothers at home.
-- John Robinson, via email
A ‘BONKERS’ DECISION
Yet another bonkers idea from our council – close the bus station help desk.Along with the closure of the tourist office, the expensive Apex, the arc, which is a much watered down version of the planned shopping centre and has led to the St Andrew’s Street ‘back alley’ look, the worrying Vision 2031 and the huge expansion plans for the town.
Can anyone think of one good thing John Griffiths and his council have brought to the people of Bury.
-- R M Shepherd, via email
GREEN PARTY’S CALL IS BAFFLING
As I understand it, David Ruffley MP has not ‘ jumped ship’ but remains aboard until the next General Election which is less than six months away. Also, as far as I can see, he must have been doing something right to have represented this area for 17 years and, judging from the number of letters in his support, I would hardly be surprised – unlikely as it may seem – if he were not persuaded to fight for his seat again. Why on earth The Green Party should call for him to stand down with immediate effect baffles me, as I see them having little chance of winning an election in Bury – the words ‘snowballs and hell’ come to mind.
-- Brian Davies, Bury St Edmunds