READERS' VIEWS: Your letters to the Bury Free Press of Friday, August 10
An untouched hedgerow.
ILLEGAL HEDGING: NESTING BIRDS ARE BEING KILLED
I have been really shocked to see local farmers cutting hedges and ignoring the rules they have agreed to. UK farmers are currently paid to farm providing they comply with some simple rules. One rule is not to flail hedges between March 1 and September 1 whilst birds are breeding. If you are a farmer currently flailing your hedges, please either stop cutting until September 1 or hand taxpayers’ money back. (Roadside hedges are exempt if they are over hanging and causing a dangerous obstruction).
Farmland birds are declining scarily quickly. They need help, not mincing with a heavy-duty tractor-mounted flail. We should not stand for this. Let’s not allow decent farmers to be blamed for the behaviour of the bad ones. Please report those who don’t do what they are claiming for.
If I sound angry it’s because I can see no excuse for this arrogant behaviour.
I get the reasons for the rules, (a toddler would). I also receive farm grants myself to manage our land more sustainably. If I
didn’t, I wouldn’t take the money. But I accept that if some farmers can’t be trusted with the simplest of rules, why do we trust them with public money at all? In addition to farm wildlife declines, UK farming currently loses £1.2bn worth of our soils to erosion each year and causes 70 per cent of the diffuse pollution in our rivers.
We need to do better and see where our money is really going.
BOUNDARIES REVIEW - OUTCOME BASED ON POOR PROCESS
The Green Group of Mid Suffolk councillors is relieved that the protracted review of electoral boundaries has ended, while being troubled by the poor process which has led to an unsatisfactory outcome.
The review, conducted by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England, was based on projected data which took little or no account of the many subsequent planning approvals.
Despite the figures being subject to considerable uncertainty, the Commission conducted
the review with inflexible adherence to precise equality of numbers at the expense of the
community links and social geography, which are so important in our rural district.
In the Elmswell and Woolpit Ward, the proposals allow for an additional 66 electors in the next five years – therefore assuming approximately only 40 homes will be built in that ward in that time. Similarly in the new Haughley, Stowupland and Wetherden ward, the proposals suggest an additional 53 electors over the next five years – equivalent to only 30 homes being built. Any local resident noting the amount of planning permissions granted would think these are ludicrous assumptions.
On the detail, Green councillors note that closely linked communities will now have separated representation; and there are more two-member wards than necessary, and thus poorer accountability of councillors to voters. The claim that the Commission “identified anomalies with the electorate figures” (paragraph 22) omits that Mid-Suffolk Green Party pointed this out at an earlier stage, so that certainty could have been delivered much earlier in 2018.
The hard work in 2014 to achieve satisfactory wards for Stowmarket Town Council has been wasted, when this could have been saved by starting a review of County Council divisions for the town instead. The outcome of ward sizes ranging from one to five councillors is absurd. Overall there seems little point in local communities and their elected representatives engaging in the review process when the Commission places so much emphasis on numbers, estimated while excluding the hundreds of granted planning permissions, and so little on the communities the outcome should serve.
Cllr Rachel Eburne
Mid Suffolk Green Group
THANK YOU FOR SERVICE ABOVE AND BEYOND
I would like to say a huge thank you to the staff at the One Stop Shop in Cadogan Road in Bury St Edmunds who looked after me and kept my grandchildren amused when I felt sick and dizzy after walking to the shop on Wednesday morning until my partner could come and pick me up. Thank you so much again, for service above and beyond!
INSTITUTE AND NHS: MR HANCOCK’S VIEWS REQUIRED
West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock, now promoted from Culture Secretary to Health and Social Care Secretary, can be expected to be still in a learning curve about aspects of his new role; but he should be assumed to have been unambiguous about the NHS when he gave a speech at West Suffolk Hospital reported by the Bury Free Press on July 27. He then said: “My commitment to the health service and the fundamental principles that underpin it is not just professional, it is deeply personal.”
The simple principle underpinning the NHS from its creation in 1948 has been that it is a comprehensive system based not on the insurance principle, but on the free and universal entitlement to State-provided medical care. And that principle continues to apply.
So far, so good. But in that same BFP issue, a Stowmarket reader queried whether West Suffolk Hospital staff know of Mr Hancock’s close links to the Institute of Economic Affairs.
That letter followed the revelation that the Institute, “an educational charity”, is subject to investigation by the Charity Commission. The reason? Its chair had made political donations since 2010 amounting to £32,000 to – guess who? – Matthew Hancock.
While the privatisation-friendly Institute, of course, is not solely concerned with the NHS, an article in the Independent on July 12 pointed to the Institute’s expressed preference for an insurance-based health system, regarding the NHS as one of the most “overrated, inefficient systems in the world”.
So, will Matthew Hancock publicly condemn the position of the Institute in relation to the NHS? And even return the £32,000 donation? Or will he declare that he cannot spot any inconsistency between the position of the Institute about the NHS and his own? Or what?
Clarification, not just professional, but deeply personal, is awaited from Mr Hancock.
West Suffolk Trades Council
ST OLAVES: POST OFFICE NEEDED, NOT A TAKEAWAY
I was first made aware of the prospect of a takeaway moving into Unit 9, St Olaves Precinct when a resident raised it with me in June, and I have been keeping an eye on it since then.
There are 13 retail units on St Olaves Precinct. There are currently five hot food takeaways. If, as proposed, a takeaway goes into Unit 9, we will have six takeaways on the Howard Estate. We’ve heard that a pizza delivery firm has applied for the building. We already have a pizza place, and it’s right next door!
The residents’ association, HEART, were not consulted on the proposed change of use, nor were the shopkeepers. If they were, they’d have said, just as the majority of residents would say, that we want our Post Office. We do not want another takeaway. We already have bins that are overflowing.
What would another takeaway say to the residents of the Howard Estate? A sixth takeaway is a demonstrable degradation of the community I represent. A sixth takeaway would add nothing to the estate.
The St Olaves ward review from 2015 details how much St Olaves struggles with obesity, long-term illness, unemployment, GCSE attainment, etc., when compared with the rest of St Edmundsbury. And now we’re to get a sixth takeaway. Again, what are we telling the families of the Howard Estate?
I have a vision for the Howard Estate. In it, my neighbours bridge the inequality gap between us and the rest of the town. I believe it can be done, but we need help to do it. We need a council that believes in its residents, and invests in their futures. This new takeaway will set us back years.
Labour councillor for
St Olaves Ward
St Edmundsbury Borough Council
BREXIT: WORLD TRADE IS COMING OUR WAY
I observed three letters (Bury Free Press, July 27) pertaining to Brexit. Since my name is mentioned in two of them, I think I should respond.
The letter from Judith Sargent says that “leaving the EU over uncontrolled immigration is unnecessary”. This is only one of the reasons to do so. Britain is full! There are many other things about which we need to “take back control. Does Ms Sargent wish to be ruled by the EU? Have our laws overruled by them and have to obey every dictate they make? Our Government ministers may not be perfect, but at least we can question their proposals.
John Wilkin refers to my suggestion that we were tricked into joining the EU. We thought we were joining a trade agreement, not surrendering our freedom to a superstate.
As for the Irish border, if Ireland, which is a republic, wishes to remain in the EU, while Northern Ireland, which is a part of the UK, leaves, then of course there will need to be border controls! As he says, otherwise there will be an open access to and from the EU.
The third letter, from Ian Speed, advocates a People’s Vote Campaign. Does he realise that Britain pays vast sums to the EU – that could be better spent at home – only to see it wasted on bailing out other countries which cannot manage their economy? “The People” voted to leave!
Nothing has changed in the meantime, apart from the bickering among our own ministers and the apparent “stonewalling” of the EU to Theresa May’s efforts to obtain a satisfactory agreement.
The EU, in addition to what we already pay, wants to charge an unacceptable “ransom” to actually leave and not be ruled by them any more. The EU currently restricts our trade with other countries and once this no longer applies, we will be able to trade with the wider world.
EGG AND FLOUR ATTACK: LET’S HOPE THEY MAKE AMENDS
We can all understand the public reaction and revulsion over the attack of the vulnerable “park-bench-lady” and should not condone reprisal attacks against the insensitive, cruel, thuggish youths.
Equally, I am sure that there will not be too much sympathy for one of the youths whose stepmother is reported as claiming that the news coverage about this incident would, or has, ruined her stepson’s 16th birthday party. Had the public known about the birthday party, I am sure that there are those who would have invited themselves, and brought many gifts of ingredients to make several birthday cakes for him.
Let’s hope that these teenagers will learn from their mistakes, apologise and make amends.
Bury St Edmunds
EGG AND FLOUR ATTACK: SURELY THIS WAS NO ‘MISTAKE’
Words fail me to describe both the culprits and the offence committed against a vulnerable middle-aged lady by a gang of youths whose actions have put Bury St Edmunds on the world map (viral) for all the wrong reasons. One prominent local figure has stated that “people make mistakes, and what they’ve done was very silly”. I beg to differ, and make no mistake, these boys did not – in the accepted sense of the word – make a mistake; they knew exactly what they were doing, otherwise why would they be marauding around the estate armed with eggs and bags of flour ?
Unless they had it in mind to “knock up” a couple of pancakes for whatever reason. It is to be hoped each one will not be given a slap on the wrist and told not to be a naughty boy again, but punished as severely as the law will allow, which might go some way to dissuade others from similar activities.
I do hope this lady gets all the support she needs to recover (if ever) from this dreadful experience.
Name and address supplied
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