A selection of readers’ letters from the Bury Free Press of Friday, October 30.
WATCH OUT FOR THIEVES
To all householders in the Bury St Edmunds area:
During the night of Thursday, October 15, our locked garage was broken into and several bicycles stolen. Be aware that when you are asleep in your beds at night, thieves are abroad in the area looking around for opportunities to rob you of your property which you have worked hard for. They will go on to your property at night silently and with intent and go about their business, making off with your belongings without a thought for you. I take consolation from the fact that most people are decent and law abiding, and we are all better than these thieves who come in the night. So make sure you all lock your doors and remember that there are some dishonest people around who think nothing of taking what is not theirs to take.
To the thieves:
You probably think you are so clever going around robbing houses at night, making off with bikes out of our garage. That’s if you gave it any thought at all, which you probably didn’t anyway because you see other people’s things as yours for the taking. We worked hard for those bikes and they had sentimental value. I have had serious health problems in the last year and my bike played a big part in getting me well and active again. Last year I rode it 15 miles to raise money for the local hospice. They were just bikes to you but to us they meant so much more.
If anyone reading this has knowledge of these people, I would ask you to examine your consciences and to think what it would be like to lie in bed at night in your own home while outside thieves were breaking in and stealing your property. It could happen to you one of these days because thieves don’t care about people, they only care about stealing. If you know anything please pass on the information to the Police, it could be you next time.
-- Valerie Seaman, via email
SUPPORT THE POPPY APPEAL
On behalf of the county council, and mayors and chairmen of theborough and district councils throughout Suffolk, I write to urge everyone in Suffolk to support the 2015 Poppy Appeal of the Royal British Legion.
This year, as we continue to mark the centenary of the First World War and the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, The Royal British Legion is asking everyone to support the Poppy Appeal for the memory of the fallen and the future of the living.
Additionally, we are ever mindful of the sacrifices made by our Armed Forces, in more recent conflicts. 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.
The RBL created the Poppy Appeal to help those returning from the First World War. Over a century on from the start of that conflict, they are still helping today’s Armed Forces families in much the same way, whether coping with bereavement, living with disability or finding employment.
The poppy is a powerful symbol – it is worn to commemorate the sacrifices of our Armed Forces and to show support to those still serving today, and their loved ones.
I ask everyone to show special generosity 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.
-- Jane Storey, Chairman, Suffolk County Council
USE MONEY TO REPAIR ROADS
So, Cllr Frank Warby has joined the rest of us residents and road-users in complaining about the state of our local roads (Bury Free Press, October 23).
When travelling to work each morning, I have had to slow down to walking pace to prevent damage to my car, when turning left at the bottom of Tut Hill in Fornham All Saints (in order to get to the A14). Why do I have to slow down or veer to the right before turning left into Tut Hill? Because of the massive trenches/potholes in the road.
There are numerous potholes road-users have to avoid in Bury, one is outside the old Railway Mission (now the Seventh Day Adventist church), in Fornham Road. It has been a troublesome pothole which has been patched up several times as it spread and got bigger and now once again, needs attention.
I wonder if Cllr Warby would agree with me in saying that the newly installed bollards underneath the A14 flyover in Fornham Road, to prevent sensible, responsible car parking (which I observed on numerous occasions when passing in previous times), was not essential work and that the money would have been far better spent on going towards maintaining our roads.
Will the local councillor(s) who spearheaded this bollard project be content with this achievement or are there designs for more bollards either side of the flyover, to prevent residents parking on the kerbside outside their houses in a sensible and responsible manner, as they currently do?
-- I Smith, Bury St Edmunds
A REAL LACK OF MAINTENANCE
Mr Warby is right to highlight the rotten state of the road surface in Raedwald Drive. It’s particularly bad where heavy vehicles have been accessing Sebert Wood School for construction of the extension and should be reinstated.
The Highways Department is aware of the condition and I expect to see significant works in the not too distant future. That expectation is tempered by the fact that calls for action on several issues over many years are met with the claim we haven’t any money.
This time of year tends to emphasise the general look of neglect around the town, in particular the lack of maintenance to roads, pavements and cycle tracks. We have many areas of pavement/cycle track that are simply worn out, there are broken surfaces where tree roots have expanded, there is overhanging vegetation impeding pedestrians and cyclists that is particularly hazardous when the street lights are tuned off. All these issues at the same time as councils tell us to leave our cars at home and walk and cycle more.
Road markings are haphazard with some bits visible but too many worn out. Lane markings and stop lines are essential, even more so in poor weather. Potholes remain an issue and the beige-coloured anti-slip surface at junctions and roundabouts, that we were told was essential a few years ago, now no longer seem to matter and is left to decay like the rest of it.
We are in this situation because central government grants to local authorities have been decimated and regrettably, it’s essential maintenance that suffers. Maybe the government see money being spent on crackpot ideas, such as metal dandelions in St Andrew’s Street, and assume we have plenty to go round; who knows?
Hopefully, Mr Warby will join us in calling for action to achieve an acceptable level of maintenance; after all, it’s his political allies, nationally and locally, who are calling the shots.
-- Trevor Beckwith, Independent councillor, Bury St Edmunds
TRAVEL BY TRAIN, JOHN
The most surprising aspect of John Bottle’s 700-word letter about the difficulties he faces when visiting Bury from his home in Thurston is the failure to mention the option of travelling by train (Letters, October 23). There is an hourly service from Thurston to Bury and sitting comfortably on a train seems preferable to joining a traffic jam in the roads leading into and out of the town centre. Yes, the return train fare is £3.40 – over £1 more than the all-day tariff in Ram Meadow car park – but there is one-third off for pensioners through the Senior Railcard scheme, and a car park at Thurston station for those residents living some distance from the railhead. There is also a regular bus service from Station Hill to the bus station in Bury, which avoids the ‘hill’ leading from the train station to the main retail area.
John tells us that he isn’t disabled ‘but can’t walk very far’ and that the short walk from Ram Meadow to the shops is uphill. That’s only true if walking via Pickwick Crescent to Pump Lane, Garland Street, etc. Instead, John should head south past The Fox PH, through the delightful Abbey Gardens and he would soon be in Abbeygate Street, where there are a range of shops and cafes and in roads off like Hatter Street and Whiting Street. There is more to Bury than the arc shopping centre!
If Thurston residents used the train more often, this would free up car parking spaces from those who live in the rural areas where there is no train station and a patchy at best bus service. The roads would be less congested and the journey less fraught. Let the train take the strain. Why not give it a try?
-- David Nettleton, Cannon Street, Bury St Edmunds
WORKING FAMILIES WOULD BE HIT
Tax Credit changes would hammer families in the Bury St Edmunds parliamentary constituency – 4,600 families would have lost under Conservative plans to cut tax credits.
Figures produced by the House of Commons Library show over three million low income working families nationwide currently in receipt of tax credits would have lost out if they saw their entitlement reduced as part of the Government proposals. The change would have meant a total loss of £3.33 million to families in the constituency, with the average working family losing £750 per year. Despite claims from the Conservatives that working families will benefit from plans to increase the living wage, the independent Institute of Fiscal Studies has said Tory figures don’t stack up.
The Institute of Fiscal studies shows a £750 average loss will only be offset by £200 as a result of the minimum wage.
Liberal Democrats have opposed the move and said it would undermine the work of the coalition government to make sure it was always pays more to work than be on benefits.
Study after study has shown that the Tories’ claim to be supporting low income working families through a minimum wage increase nowhere near makes up for the cuts proposed. It’s time to come clean and be honest with those doing the right thing and going out to work.
I am pleased that the LibDems opposed this measure. We worked in coalition to ensure that work would always pay more than choosing to remain on benefits it is a disgrace that the Conservatives are now undermining good work. As a Conservative MP said: “To pull ourselves out of debt we should not be forcing other people into it.”
--Wendy Marchant, Liberal Democrat councillor
COUNCIL PASSING THE BUCK
Thank you for bringing to the attention of your readers, what is happening to car parking facilities in the Medieval Grid (Letters, October 23).
Once again the borough council have placed a huge spin on its response.
Regarding former ownership of the Swan Lane car park, the borough council has simply ‘passed the buck’ to the county council.
Do the borough and county councils not talk to each other? Do they not consult each other on issues as vitally important to the town and its residents as disposing of vital assets such as the former Shire Hall and its huge car park and the Swan Lane car park, which, if developed would have provided enough spaces to accommodate at least 100 - 150 cars.
The council spokesman’s comments regarding ‘the 40 spaces lost at Swan Lane’ is totally misleading and relates to space left after the site had been sold and the Deptartment of Archaeology had dug up great swathes of it in connection with the planning application submitted by the new owner.
The borough council can claim the responsibility for negotiating the 40 spaces in the Shire Hall car park, they can also claim responsibility for informing the Southgate Residents Association, via the locally elected councillor, that those spaces would be made available for use by local residents and visitors.
More importantly, the borough council can also claim responsibility for then leasing those very same 40 spaces to Greene King ‘as part of its core commitment to economic growth’.
Greene King is now in the process of disposing of some of its own parking spaces, for development.
Is it any wonder that local residents are growing ever more frustrated by the actions of both the borough and county councils as they dispose of more and more potential parking spaces?
We understand that the borough council is in the process of appointing a ‘consultant’ to address the problem of parking in the Medieval Grid –the words horse, stable and bolted immediately spring to mind.
-- Southgate Area residents Association