A selection of readers’ letters fro the Bury Free Press of Friday, October 3.
TOO FEW SPACES FOR PERMIT HOLDERS
I wish to raise the issue of a lack of residential parking in Bury St Edmunds for permit holders.
This morning I received my second parking ticket of the year making my annual permit very expensive. I had parked my car on yellow lines after driving around for half an hour looking for a free space, a practice I go through most evenings.
While I accept my car was parked illegally, I would like an answer from the council on why I pay for a permit each year yet they cannot provide enough permit zone spaces, leaving us with no choice but to park illegally.
As I park around the Bridewell Lane area of the town, life is especially difficult as the Angel Hill and Chequer Square area are closed for various military events, cycling events and fayres throughout the year. At these times permit holders are not given alternative parking, meaning spaces are even more limited.
Before traffic wardens dish out tickets to genuine permit holders who clearly cannot get a space and have had to park somewhere, perhaps they would like to address the road users using permit spaces and double parking giving the residential permit holders of Bury a chance to park properly. I am sure fellow permit holders would agree.
-- Anne Collins, Bury St Edmunds
COUNCILLOR SHOULD BE ASHAMED
Planning and regulation cabinet member Terry Clements says he is ‘proud’ of the Bury St Edmunds Vision 2031 document (Bury Free Press, September 26). In the same report, Julia Wakelam rightly complains that there is ‘no competent travel and transport plan’ to underpin the expansion of housing in Bury over the next 17 years. Julia blames Suffolk County Council alone, but it’s more complex than that. The Conservative Party holds a majority of seats – and therefore votes – on both the borough and county councils. They determine policies at both councils and members like myself and Julia can only speak for our electors who know they are looking at more congestion, longer queues of cars moving in, out, and around the town, as the 6,000 extra homes envisaged under Vision 2031 are built and occupied.
First-time buyers and their anxious parents fear that young people will be forced to move away from Bury unless the new homes are built. Coupled with the desire of people to relocate from elsewhere – I came to live here from Debenham in 1991 – the new housing is much needed. But, there is an inevitable increase in travel movements and this is what the Conservatives at both councils have failed to tackle. I know from experience the difficulty in explaining to people that one person sitting in a four or five-seat vehicle travelling the road network in Bury is an inefficient use of road space and we need to offer alternative ways of moving around the town if we are to avert a congestion crisis in future years.
We are already at breaking point now.
Cllr Clements should be ashamed, not proud, of what he has done and continues to do. Terry is in denial – as are relevant portfolio holders at both borough and county councils – but unless there is a complete rethink of transport strategy, the future is looking bleak for all road users.
It doesn’t affect me personally because I walk everywhere, but I represent over 15,000 electors, some of whom are less mobile and dependent on their car to get around.
-- David Nettleton, County councillor for Tower Division, St Edmundsbury borough councillor for Risbygate ward
NO NOTICE TAKEN OF PROTESTS
There is much jubilation and self-congratulation at St Edmundsbury Borough Council as they celebrate the adoption of their new Local Plan that purports to be a vision of Bury St Edmunds up to 2031.
They claim it was a joint effort with much community involvement. It’s true they consulted widely but they omit to say that they didn’t take any notice when large numbers of residents living at or near the five strategic sites for housing development protested about the current poor infrastructure and lack of proposals to prevent further deterioration. Despite every effort of three of the county councillors representing Bury, the county council has failed to produce a viable sustainable transport plan for the town.
Even when the community had a couple of relatively small but vitally important successes in convincing the planning inspector that the Leg of Mutton land should remain undeveloped and that a road from Compiegne Way to Ram Meadow was folly, the council continued to fight for its proposals with arguments that would be laughable if not so pathetic.
With a large political majority and unswerving loyalty to their Whips, the odds were stacked against any successful protest but winning doesn’t make it right. The box-tickers and their acolytes have won the day but it’s at the expense of those they claim to represent.
-- Cllr Trevor Beckwith, Moreton Hall
MP’s SERVICE WILL BE MISSED
Anyone who takes the Bury Free Press couldn’t help but notice the number of letters referring to the case of David Ruffley MP, and in all of the time frame I have not – as yet – read one letter supporting the use of domestic violence against anyone, least of all for Mr David Ruffley, who having been forgiven by his partner, and accepted a police caution, has had the good grace to remain serving his constituents until an election selects his replacement.
Support for Mr Ruffley as an MP has been manifest and, from all accounts, his service to this community will be greatly missed.
-- Margaret Mellor, Bury St Edmunds
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE NOT ACCEPTABLE
I am writing in response to Anne-Marie Hill’s letter of Friday, September 26.
A regretfully infrequent visitor to Bury St Edmunds, I saw Ms Hill’s letter and was saddened to think that that anyone, let alone a woman, could suggest it is appropriate for David Ruffley to continue as our MP after being cautioned for domestic violence.
Domestic violence is not acceptable at any level of society and should not be passed over. The willingness of people to ignore domestic violence is one of the reasons that it is still commonplace today.
Ms Hill regrets that we have been left virtually unrepresented until the next election. This would not have been the case had Mr Ruffley resigned immediately, as by now we would have had a by-election and a new MP to represent us.
I fully support the Dean in her actions and would like to add that I also fully support the role of female ministers in the church.
-- Stephen Dunne, via email
IT’S ABOUT SEEING THE BIGGER PICTURE
In reply to Mr Pamplin and Mr Smith (Letters, September 26), my letter the previous week was not ‘synthetic outrage’ and was not aimed at parking in any one street or area. Nor was it about the legality of parking on the pavement, I know I said I did not know the legality or otherwise. I believe I even said if it leaves enough pavement free for a double buggy then why not.
My point was that the pavements should be free for pedestrians to use, first and foremost. It’s not a question of the legal term ‘obstruction’ but the dictionary definition of obstruction.
Good for Mr Pamplin if he has received tickets and fought them and won. I would do the same, except I would not have got the ticket in the first place of course. I would be more worried about causing an inconvenience and placing an innocent person in potential danger.
I just think that it shows a real lack of concern for others. I see it almost every day outside our local shop where a car will park partially on the pavement blocking it, also partially blocking the cycle lane causing cyclists, mostly children, to go wide which places them head on with cars coming the other way. I also occasionally have to squeeze past cars in Southgate Street, why? It’s just “live and let live’, not ‘I’m alright Jack’. It’s just thinking about the bigger picture and not just one’s own small world.
-- Ashley Page, via email
CAMPAIGN OVER VILLAGE GEESE LED TO RESIGNATION
I wish to correct the implication that I resigned from Beyton Parish Council solely because of the filming of the council meeting (Bury Free Press, September 26).
Following a parish survey last year when 78 per cent of Beyton residents voted for the parish council to maintain the presence of geese on and around the village green there has been a very unpleasant campaign against the parish council and individual councillors. This has included complaints to animal welfare organisations, the police and Mid Suffolk District Council, none of which have yet been upheld.
All parish councillors are unpaid volunteers. No councillor, or village resident for that matter, should have to tolerate that which this parish council and village has tolerated– hence I resigned.
-- Colin Kennedy, Beyton