This week’s letters: 07/11/13

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Thanks Guardian: We would like to thank the Lancaster Guardian and Northern Rail for the £10 day ranger offer featured in the paper recently.

We travelled from Wennington to Hellifield, then the Settle-Carlisle, returning via Whitehaven, down the West Coast by Barrow, Arnside, Lancaster to return to Wennington.

All this for £10 each was really excellent value.

Bob and Rita Smith

Wray

High cost of A6 junction

In the 20+ years that I have resided in the Slyne with Hest area, one thing that has always impressed me about the ever increasing congested roads that link Lancaster and Morecambe, is how smoothly and courteously drivers filter in at peak traffic times.

This has always been especially evident at the busy intersection of the A6 and Morecambe Road where drivers were happy to utilise a simple filter system and the traffic was kept moving.

I was therefore most surprised to witness the changes that the county council has introduced to this section of roadway.

These include a new set of traffic lights operating on the A6 entry which brings the traffic to a complete halt and resulting in a line of standing vehicles snaking back along the A6.

I can only surmise that somebody at the county council has been short of something to do of late as they have indeed created an unsatisfactory solution for a problem that did not exist.

I have to say I agree absolutely 100 per cent with Michael Pidd’s comments which were published in The Lancaster Guardian on October 17.

Not only should taxpayers question the cost of the work carried out, but the ludicrous amount of time it has added to the journey for drivers wishing to enter into Lancaster from the north using the A6.

Barrie Wells

Slyne with Hest

Lancaster

Goliath of road protest

Who is “David” and who is “Goliath”?

I think “David” is Lancashire County Council and the people of this district and “Goliath” is the legal system of this country which allows a Nimby like David Gate to play the system and delay at immense cost to the people of Lancashire and Morecambe and Heysham, in particular, the Heysham M6 Link, vital infrastructure which is needed both for the economic and environmental good of this district.

Mr Gate’s real motive was demonstrated on the BBC North West interview as he waved his arms expressing his concern about the affect of the road on the view from his back garden, not in my back yard.

I hope Lush has not been taken in by the untruths on TSLM’s website, no support from local businesses and closure of Broadoak. Come on Mr Gate, you know otherwise.

A question for Lush, will you be opening a shop in Morecambe or does the local economy not justify one?

David W B Taylor

Barley Cop Lane

Lancaster

Single tax discounts

At a recent meeting to discuss matters relating to ‘single person discounts’, I was amazed to hear the new head of the Shared Benefits and Revenues Section state that a regulation I wanted the council to comply with was ‘wrong’.

That, I was told, was not the way it works.

Another officer present stated that they did not want to tell people about this regulation. But it is council policy to provide accurate information about council tax matters, not to conceal legal information which officers do not want people to know about.

What makes this all the more astonishing is that I had previously been told that the council’s legal officer was assured that the council did comply with this regulation. Clearly they both cannot be right. Either the council is obeying the law in question, or it regards the law as wrong and is therefore not applying it.

When I said that most people would expect the council to obey the law in question, I was told somewhat emphatically that this was not the view of the ‘silent majority’.

What chance do people have of pursuing a valid complaint if officers of the council respond by saying that the law is ‘wrong’ and not them? Would your readers agree that the view of the silent majority is that councils cannot be expected to obey the regulations telling them how to administer their financial affairs, and if so, is this view perhaps unique to Lancaster residents?

And given that the council intends soon to run a similar exercise to the one which, in 2006, resulted in a flood of complaints, a number of admissions of making false statements about the law, and a public apology by council officers which is still on the council’s web site, should we start worrying now?

Name and address supplied

Right praise for festival

Nick Lakin rightly praised The Lancaster Music Festival which has become one of the foremost pub-based musical events in the country, and said that: “The city should be proud of its music scene”.

The musical events of the following week emphasise the variety of other music available in the city, much of it provided by amateur musicians in a variety of venues.

On the Tuesday, Lancaster and District Male Voice Choir – one of the city’s longest established music groups – sang to an invited audience at Leighton Hall with a programme which included new arrangements by their musical director Derek Walters.

On the Thursday, Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra from Manchester played in the Lancaster University Grand Hall as part of the University’s Music and Arts Programme.

Over the weekend there was a series of piano master classes by Peter Crosier at the grand piano in St Martin’s Chapel of the University of Cumbria.

Then on the Saturday there was a choice of two very contrasting choirs.

At Lancaster Methodist Church, the Alveston Choir from Northallerton, North Riding’s leading ladies choir, gave a programme of classical items including Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater.

At Lancaster Priory there was a very different programme from Gregson Institute based Millenium Choir.

Conductor Andy Whitfield had composed an unaccompanied musical backing to the notorious silent film Frankenstein and a series of musical do-it-yourself instructions for a variety of situations like carrying out a tracheotomy or rescuing your dog from Morecambe Bay. Ian Pattison also demonstrated the virtuosity of the new Priory organ.

Meanwhile over the river in Morecambe the Moonlight Serenade Orchestra celebrated Frank Sinatra at The Platform.

A recent report identified Lancaster as one of Britain’s cultural “hotspots”. Its musical activities of all types helps to justify this.

Geoffrey Boulton

Address supplied

Lancaster is not so hot

I can only assume that the trainee job creation officer at Experian, responsible for the latest authoritative survey, lacks the research budget to visit Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Liverpool, Newcastle, Norwich or Sheffield in the search for a vibrant place to live and, more importantly, to work.

Do any of those living in Lancaster really believe our drab, little town outshines Liverpool and these other cities as a vibrant location to live?

Lancaster has a disproportionate number of students per capita, the largest in the UK, who consume but contribute very little to the culture or economy of Lancaster. They have few jobs, little connection and pay no council tax.

Lancaster is really a cultural backwater, a small town near Kendal, whose thriving Brewery Arts Centre, the world renowned Abbott Hall Art Gallery, the daring, innovative Mintfest plus a plethora of Artisan shops, cafes and, even a department store, put Lancaster to shame.

The council love to claim the bragging rights for anything positive that happens here, but, actually it is, invariably, the dedication of unpaid creative, chancers and daring entrepreneurs who facilitate the amazing music, art, culture and coffee that give Lancaster and Morecambe a sense of pride.

Our city is full of empty retail units, destined for more (who is our planning officer?) student homes plus the growing number of charity shops ... But nothing, apparently, for creative, middle-class tax payers. An empty market hall that costs us all a fortune, when Bolton and Bury markets thrive?

Why do we tolerate overpaid council offices and inept elected representatives (the Green Party and Woody excepted) that have no vision, passion or integrity? These grey, past caring, bland custodians are destroying the future of our city.

It would be no surprise if the youths responsible for this puerile pile of research gained a full-time position with Lancaster City Council as head of economic bull. At least they have a sense of humour, 2020 international arts city, very amusing.

Paul Kondras

Manor Road

Slyne-with-Hest

Lancaster

Hats off to the RSPCA

Despite being a nation of animal lovers, every year the RSPCA rescues thousands of animals from abusive situations across England and Wales – and many of these animals have been subject to horrific injuries from the use of weapons such as metal bars and crossbows.

I take my hat off to these RSPCA inspectors, I wouldn’t want go into the situations they do and deal with people who have inflicted such barbaric cruelty on defenceless animals – that takes real courage and professionalism.

Sadly dealing with the most stomach-churning suffering is every day work to these men and women. I dread to think what would happen if they weren’t there to help.

That’s why I am supporting the RSPCA’s new Everyday Heroes campaign to highlight the unimaginable dangers facing many animals and help support the brave charity workers who try to protect them.

The charity can only help thanks to donations from the public, so give what you can.

Chris Packham

TV presenter and 
wildlife expert

c/o RSPCA

Wilberforce Way

Southwater