A selection of readers’ letters from the Bury Free Press of Friday, September 5.
SUFFOLK PAYS BUS COMPANIES THE MINIMUM
Unfortunately, one significant word seems to have been omitted from your report ‘Bus services get axed’ (Bury Free Press, August 29). I believe the amount reimbursed by Suffolk County Council under the concessionary pass bus scheme is the minimum suggested in the Government’s guidance document. Many counties pay substantially more – presumably due to the regard in which the councillors hold their residents.
-- R A Flower, Thurston
LOCAL TRAFFIC WILL BE DELAYED
I wonder just how much the Highways Agency have really thought through the impact the Fiveways roundabout at Barton Mills is going to have on local drivers once the new dual-carriageway is finally complete.
There appears to be no provisions being made for traffic lights on the roundabout. Perhaps the Highways Agency will tell us why not.
Anyone travelling from Bury St Edmunds to Mildenhall on the A1101 is going to have some horrendous hold-ups, leading to frustration and subsequent accidents.
I realise that the obvious safest answer, a flyover for the A11, was not financially possible, but surely traffic lights are the next best safest option.
-- John Stebbing, Mildenhall
WHAT RULES HAVE BEEN BROKEN?
Oh, the vexed problem of where to park the car when space is limited or taken away. I read the comments by Karen Kenny, concerning the staff from EMG who have been parking their cars under the bridge in Fornham Road (Bury Free Press, August 29).
Ms Kenny is correct in stating that there are no parking restrictions and I cannot see any reason why the staff cannot continue to park there so long as they park responsibly and do not cause an obstruction or difficulty to the disabled in wheelchairs or mothers with prams.
It is sad that one response was for the council to install bollards to prevent drivers using this area to park, rather than painting white guiding lines for drivers to park responsibly.
If I had parked responsibly and received a ‘ticket’ I would want to know what law or regulation I had flouted and whether or not it was legal and legitimate.
I would certainly look for advice from the various websites that help motorists found in such a predicament (with the view of refusing any fine or payment if justified).
Some might say it is understandable why the police and council have used this matter to get a bit more cash into the council coffers by issuing some drivers with tickets. But what is this ‘enforcement’ and these ‘tickets’ since there is no parking restriction? I am sure a response will clarify the issue.
-- Ian Smith, Bury St Edmunds
ENTRANCE FEE WAS A BARGAIN
I would like to extend my congratulations to everyone involved in the Classic and Sports Cars by the Lake event on Sunday. The quantity and quality of the exhibits left nothing to be desired, the weather was very kind, and the entrance fee had to be a bargain for such a good show. As is usual with such events, the exhibitors are only too pleased to talk about their particular piece of motoring history, which makes those of us who can’t afford to own one, feel part of the whole scenario.
In conclusion, perhaps next year a large container could be in a prominent place for whatever you want to give for the very informative ‘free’ catalogue.
-- Brian Davies, Bury St Edmunds
LONG-TERM AIM TO IMPROVE ESTATES
In his fortnightly lecture on how to be a better councillor (letters, August 29) Richard O’Driscoll writes: “David, there is far more to being a councillor than grass verges.” This is a reference to an article in the previous Friday’s Bury Free Press where I am photographed crouching next to a whitish/brown ‘grass’ verge near the corner of Acacia Avenue and Severn Road on the Mildenhall Road estate at the north-east corner of Bury St Edmunds. There is very little grass left due to cars being parked on these verges, but following requests from local residents, I plan to invest £15,000 of my highways budget to make these verges durable and more pleasing to the eye than the mud heaps we see every winter in the two roads mentioned above, plus Gloucester and Wordsworth roads. When Phase One is completed I want to improve the rest of this estate before moving across to the Howard and Westley estates, and tackling the same problems there, and in Flemying Road, before my four-year term of office expires in May 2017.
Richard also says that I am ‘moaning’ about the Apex. I’m one of 10 borough councillors who sit on the Performance and Audit Scrutiny Committee (PASC) which examines the council’s finances. At our meeting on July 31 we were presented with the Annual Performance Report for The Apex (F78). The subsidy for 2013/14 was £699,000 and the budget for the current year is £672,000 – a ‘saving’ of £27,000. At this rate the deficit would take 24 years to clear so I proposed rejecting the report and called for an urgent review of the annual subsidy. This motion was lost by one vote, but I wouldn’t be doing my job if I had nodded through a report riddled with over-optimistic predictions about the future of this troubled venue. The report can be read online.
Much of Richard’s letter is in praise of his time as a borough councillor (1991 – 2003). At its peak there were 23 Labour councillors; now there are only 3. What went wrong?
-- David Nettleton, Bury St Edmunds
THERE SHOULD BE FORGIVENESS
Having read all the letters, both for and against David Ruffley, I was puzzled by the fact that so many people, who have no idea what the facts of the case between David Ruffley and his partner are, can take such delight in a man losing his job. His partner forgave him but not, it seems, these pillars of the community, who I would love to meet – have these people never done a wrong thing in their entire lives, never lost their temper, never shouted at anyone, never had to say sorry?
The one person who should have been preaching forgivness was the Dean of St Edmundsbury, who must have lost her job description, because the last time I was in church the sermon was about the church being a place of sanctuary, a place to find forgiveness and peace, so it is hypocritical for the Dean to preach about god and all the church stands for. If anyone should resign, it should be her.
Whatever people’s political beliefs are, David Ruffley has served us well over the years he has been in office. I do not condone violence to any human being, but we all have our faults.
-- Margaret Brame, Bury St Edmunds
PEOPLE LEARN FROM CONSEQUENCES
I have been driven to writing this letter to let Brian Davies and others know that there are many more people who feel strongly about public matters than write letters to the editor. The Bury Free Press is not a thermometer for public opinion but a measure of a small group of people who have the ability and are willing to make their views public.
I concur with another reader that it is right for a person to be forgiven for a crime, however forgiveness does not mean an evasion of consequences. People learn from the consequences to their actions. Politicians are people and in addition our public representatives who also need to learn. I would like my representative to behave in a way that maintains respect in their relationships and for the infrastructure of our society. I would like all political parties to show that they condemn unacceptable behaviour, maybe that way we could open the doors for politicians with a fresh set of principles and behaviours.
For me, whether ‘ forgiven’ or not, domestic violence is completely unacceptable. To speculate about how, why, where and when information about Mr Ruffley’s unacceptable behaviour was released merely distracts from that principle. We should all be glad that it his behaviour was drawn to public attention.
The difference between the Dean’s letter and domestic violence is that one is illegal.
My regret is that Mr Ruffley did not do the honourable thing and step down straight away. It seems that instead he and his supporters put their heads down and hoped the consequences for him and the local Conservatives would go away. Instead, we continue to be represented by a perpetrator of domestic violence until the next election.
It has been suggested that there is a political motivation to delaying Mr Ruffley’s departure and that the postponement of his standing down might maintain votes for the next election. This action is surely counter productive for the local voters. Who wouldn’t prefer to give a new candidate the chance to show potential for the position rather than vote for someone with no local track record?
I applaud Frances Ward, Dean of St Edmundsbury, who has seen fit to stand by Christian principles of speaking out against wrongdoing and oppression and remind readers of the famous warning put by Pastor Niemöller who describes the consequences of not speaking out in favour of the marginalised and oppressed.
-- Deborah Martin, via email