Letters: 21/11/13

Traffic lights.
Traffic lights.
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Have your say

This week’s letters.

If it works why fix it?

I couldn’t agree more with the letter from Michael Pidd (Doubt cast over new road junction, October 17) of Hest Bank about the new traffic lights arrangement at the junction of the A6 and Morecambe Road.

I use this section every day and can safely say it’s an absolute disaster – even on a Sunday.

Can anyone on the council tell us why? It worked perfectly well the way it was. The outcome: more ratepayers’ money wasted and more pollution due to traffic tailbacks.

It seems the council works on the premise that if it works, fix it until it doesn’t – eg: Lancaster Market, Yorkshire Street and Regent Road, Morecambe, etc – what a bunch.

Going to Carnforth.

Name and address supplied

Not good for Lancaster

Last year First Group ‘won’ the bid for the West Coast Mainline. Their plans included cutting Lancaster from the timetable of the West Coast Mainline, which would have had a massive impact on local businesses and our two universities, as a result of a loss of connections and much longer journey times. Businesses, mine included, would have seriously needed to consider the possibility of relocating to cities with better connections to service our customers.

Thankfully incompetence came to the rescue and Virgin and the excellent timetable has stayed in place.

However if you thought the threat had gone away a new one is now taking its place.

The Government commissioned one of the UK’s top accountancy firms KPMG to produce a report into HS2. It highlighted its supposed economic benefits – evidence from across the world shows that fast rail networks benefit capital cities more than the regions and London doesn’t really need it.

After a freedom of information request from the BBC figures released now also show those worst affected.

Top of the list of most affected was Lancaster with a 1.9 per cent cut in GDP and the loss of £42.1 million to our local economy if HS2 was built. A staggering impact on our economy.

While I fully support investment in our rail infrastructure, in part to get more cars off the road, there are a lot more rail schemes out there of more value to our economy including better connections to Manchester, much of which at peak hours are heavily overcrowded. There’s also not a lot wrong with the existing network.

I’m going for a meeting in Kent. I’ll leave at 7.30am, work on the train there and back, spend over three hours with the client, and be home again for 7pm.

I don’t see much wrong if it helps people and businesses achieve that.

And for £42 billion, and growing, it is an expensive way to actually see a negative impact for our district.

Michael Gibson

Regent Street

Lancaster

NHS CARE

Can’t thank staff enough

I would like to add my name to the growing list of local people giving voice to their praise for front-line medical staff of our own over-stretched NHS hospital.

Earlier this year, my father attended the RLI for a routine knee replacement operation. Despite having been declared fit to go ahead, and having come round from successful surgery, unfortunately his body subsequently went into shut-down, with heart and renal failure.

He was cared for in the Intensive Care Unit for a number of days by staff that was ever-present, many working a horrendous schedule of shifts, but with patient care always of paramount priority.

Luckily, they brought my father round, but he went on to spend six weeks on the busy orthopaedic ward, where many staff often worked without breaks, on relentlessly-long shifts, and yet somehow maintaining impressive levels of care, humour and consideration of the varied needs of their wide-ranging patients.

We are similarly impressed by the amazing care my mother has been receiving from dedicated staff in haematology/oncology and the Day Hospital, where she attends weekly for platelet transfusions.

The Consultant, Dr Htwe, is an extraordinary member of the medical profession and we should also not omit mention of the wonderful nurses at the Day Hospital.

And here, I suppose, I come to the crux of it all: the vast majority of our NHS staff are incredibly hard-working under difficult conditions in terms of cutbacks and waste.

It is decidedly frustrating to know that throughout our NHS there are still top-level executives being handed out mind-blowing salaries and pay-offs whilst many are still avoiding reprimand for mis-management, wasting public money and bare-faced cover-ups.

Since when has our NHS been theirs to treat in such a cavalier way? The vast majority of hard-working, tax-paying citizens have paid for the NHS – it is undoubtedly ours.

Susan Graves (and on behalf of Peter and Sylvia Ward)

Brook Street

Lancaster

On wrong tracks

Can it perhaps be agreed that we are not (yet) Americans, and that the complex alongside the Friends Meeting House between Westbourne Road and West Road is Lancaster Railway Station; and running through this complex (occasionally) are trains on railway lines.

To follow the vernacular of our American cousins one might imagine this complex is some sort of gymnasium.

Gordon Arkwright

Thorpe Avenue

Torrisholme

Morecambe

Cuts can not be avoided

Our city council is being forced to make some tough choices if it is to manage within its means next year. Council tax only funds part of the services local councils provide. Most funding comes from a Central Government grant.

It is expected that the grant for next year will be reduced by 15 per cent. If this happens it means that since the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition came to power in 2010 that funding for our council will have reduced by over 42 per cent.

No organisation can sustain that level of cuts without significant reductions in what it does (services). So far, Lancaster City Council has done well. Efficiencies have been found and new ways of working have saved money and protected many of the services it delivers so that residents have not been affected.

This latest round of cuts mean that the council will have to find an additional £3.5m of running cost savings each and every year.

This can only be done with a real reduction in things that the council currently does. According to the council’s own website this might mean looking at community swimming pools, how Salt Ayre Sports Centre is run, management of Williamson Park, Tourist Information Centres, etc.

All councillors take office to try to make life better for local residents. Certainly the council’s Labour Group do not want to cut services and I’m sure will strive to protect them where possible. In their deliberations I trust they will apply the principle of ‘People, services and jobs before buildings’.

Colin Hartley

Alderman Road

Lancaster

Come and join us

My name is Anna Parry and I am a current event management student at the University of Cumbria. I am also involved in helping the alumni relations team organise the following event.

Next year St Martin’s College (which is now part of the University of Cumbria) will celebrate its 50th anniversary since opening its doors as a college of education to 89 aspiring students.

We were approached by three of the original students, who asked us to organise a reunion weekend.

The reunion is open to the first three years: class of 1964 (67 graduates), 1965 (68 graduates) and 1966 (69 graduates) and will take place at the Lancaster Campus on Bowerham Road. We have pencilled in Thursday, September 11, and Friday, September 12, 2014, as possible dates.

I am currently trying to hunt down past pupils who would perhaps like to attend this event.

Anna Parry

Telephone 07538 478453

2nd Year Performance, Festival and Event Management

University of Cumbria

Unfair fight for council

The headline in The Lancaster Guardian referring to the campaign against the Heysham M6 Link as a “David versus Goliath” clash is laughable, especially as it seems to get the parties the wrong way round.

Transport Solutions (TSLM), who have consistently failed to present any solutions to the traffic problems local people face on a daily basis, are not some coalition of the powerless. Nor are they, as the paper made clear, residents with little financial clout or support.

It is not Lancashire County Council who have had their court fees limited to £10,000, it is them.

While the council, and consequently the people of Lancashire, has to foot the bill for further legal costs and delays it is TSLM and their big business backers who have a free hit in the court system.

TSLM are backed by a company with an annual turnover of £214m.

While TSLM take advantage of a rule setup to help the disadvantaged in the face of large planning applications, it is the people of Lancashire that have to pay for the delays not only in lost revenues, but lost opportunities for our area.

There is indeed, as the paper said, an uneven playing field, but it is TSLM, the powerful environmental lobby and LUSH who have all the advantages.

Darren Clifford

County Councillor

Morecambe South (route of the M6 Link)

Thanks for the support

On behalf of Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team, who had a street collection in Lancaster on October 5, can I thank the shoppers of Lancaster who helped us raise £439 on the day.

This shows the real generosity of people shopping in Lancaster, supporting us to raise funds to be able to maintain our Search and Mountain Rescue capabilities in Lancashire, and to enable us to help others who get into difficulties in our wilder and more remote areas.

Thank you, again.

Clive Shelley

Treasurer

BPMRT