Regarding the article about accidents in Owen Road over recent weeks (Fatality fears at city’s accident blackspot, September 5), I have noticed, since the roadworks went in around the Skerton traffic lights, an increase in vehicles cutting across from one lane to the other (particularly vehicles coming from Morecambe and wanting to be in the nearside lane) without allowing ample time to check what traffic is approaching on the other side of the temporary barriers.
In my opinion, the problem is not one of speed but rather one of observation, particularly as the vision of drivers nearing the first possible crossover point is hampered by the height and density of the plastic markers. I personally have narrowly avoided being driven into by three cars changing from the offside lane, with little or no indication, when I am simply driving straight on in the nearside one and paying attention to what’s going on around me.
In order to minimise the risk to vehicles changing lanes here, surely it would be a simple matter for the contractors to erect a single line of lower level plastic bollards, of the type often used on motorway lane restrictions, to keep both lanes of traffic where they are for, say, a further 10 or 20 metres.
This would allow drivers – of cars in particular – a reasonable distance of unobstructed rear and side vision before changing lanes.
Yes, there would be some minor inconvenience to drivers wanting to change lanes as quickly as possible but the risk of accidents would be massively reduced.
We have enough confusion in Lancaster already, with the numerous reductions in speed limits and many drivers now seem to spend almost as much time checking what speed limit they should be driving at as they do watching the road ahead.
Please let’s not have yet another permanent speed restriction for what appears to be a temporary problem.
Warning signs for local health care
Your article recently about extended transfer times for emergency vascular patients to reach Preston Royal Infirmary for treatment has prompted me to write to alert local people to the changes which are ahead for our health provision in North Lancashire.
Our trust did not want to lose this service. Our GP commissioning group is currently contracted to use specialist centres in hospitals in Preston and Blackpool. Decisions about our local Lancaster Infirmary, Kendal and Furness hospitals are being taken.
A local campaigning group, firstname.lastname@example.org, of which I am a member, wish to support our hospital trust in their difficult task of re-forming health provision, given the massive cut to their budget. A trust consultation document shows a reduction of 100 beds overall.
The trust has said it can only do this if community care is expanded to allow for better use of the remaining beds.
Elderly and dementia patients cannot be discharged until provision is made for them. Drastic cuts to beds for patients suffering with dementia already mean these patients and their families will have to travel longer distances for in-patient care.
The recent scandal about BMI and other private hospitals, overcharging patients and paying our consultants/GPs for referrals, also highlights the fundamental problem of allowing commercial companies to provide services under the umbrella of the NHS.
Every patient who choses NHS treatment at the BMI locally, is lost income for our trust – leading to loss of beds and services.
National closures of hospitals are happening and there are now commercial companies making a profit running our NHS hospitals.
The national Guardian (July 5, 2013) reports huge amounts of money being spent by trusts to get legal advice about the new competition laws. This is money lost to local hospitals. I urge people to get involved in protecting services.
We are meeting at Lancaster Library, 7pm to 9pm, Tuesday, September 24.
The 38 Degrees North Lancashire NHS Group was set up in November 2012, following an open meeting in Lancaster, at which individuals expressed their concern at the threat to core NHS values by the proposed opening of NHS services, paid for with public money, to competition and private profit. Our group has established good relationships with the North Lancashire CCG and with the UHMB Trust.
Alternative as nursery shuts
We are very sad indeed to learn that the Westbourne Road day nursery is closing. It has an excellent reputation and is very much appreciated by those families using the facility.
Those families who now find themselves without high quality local day care provision might like to consider the Steiner School on Willow Lane. The school has vacancies for children aged three upwards, and vouchers are accepted.
We would urge anyone interested to get in touch with us to see whether we can meet their child care needs.
Take rubbish and mess home, please
Could the residents of South Lancaster, Galgate and all other members of the public that walk the Lancaster Canal between bridges 85 and 88 please, please take their dog faeces bags, beer bottles and litter home with them?
You don’t leave your dogs and children behind so why leave your dog faeces bags and litter?
If you cannot be bothered to take the faeces home in a bag take a small trowel or very big shovel, depending on the size of your dog, and be really eco-friendly by recycling the dog faeces into the hedge bottom where it provides fertiliser for the hedges and decomposes fast, unlike faeces bags.
Some people would argue that the Canal and River Trust or the parish council should put a bin along there but this would not be a necessity if everyone thought about being a little bit less anti-social and dispose of their own rubbish in their own gardens and bins.
MP rushes too fast to war
In Thursday’s (August 29) debate upon taking military action against the sovereign nation of Syria, Mr Ollerenshaw, on behalf of his constituents, the people of Lancaster, Northern Wyre and Fleetwood, voted yes to undertaking military action (http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-08-29&number=70&display=allpossible&sort=vote).
I have lived in the Wyre and Lancaster regions for nearly 20 years now and I do not consider us to be a race of people intent on bombing other nations who pose no threat to us, yet our chosen governmental representative has voted to do just that on our behalf.
Syria has never and currently does not pose any threat to the United Kingdom in any form, yet Mr Ollerenshaw wants to bomb that country.
Polls show that overwhelmingly the British public are against such actions; Yougov has the support as low as nine per cent, even the Telegraph only claims 11 per cent support.
In spite of this and despite being a public representative, Mr Ollerenshaw wants to bomb Syria without any so far existing just cause whatsoever.
If Mr Ollerenshaw honestly thinks that the Syrian Arab Army would commit the crime of using chemical weapons against their own civilians, in Damascus, in the very week that the Syrian government Ambassador to the UN, Bashar Jaafari had welcomed the UN inspectors to investigate no less than three potential chemical weapons attacks by the rebel forces in their capital city; then surely a further examination of the facts, once they had been established by the UN Chemical Weapons Inspections team would have been necessary.
Mr Ollerenshaw doesn’t think so.
In fact, he thinks we should bomb Syria before allowing the situation to become understood clearly.
It would appear that the facts do not matter to people like Mr Ollerenshaw and the disturbingly eager for war William Hague; clearly they are hell-bent on bombing a country whose potential allies boast the world’s largest standing army and the world’s largest nuclear arsenal.
One can only assume that Mr Ollerenshaw and his colleagues are so eager to start yet another unnecessary war that they will be queuing up at the recruitment office in the Fishergate on Monday to help spearhead the attack.
I worry however that rather than this issue be taken seriously, it will be business as usual and Mr Ollerenshaw will be back to writing about such serious topics as visiting a sheep judging competition (published in the Lancaster Guardian the day after the parliamentary vote), as opposed to the question being asked as to why he wants to drag us all into an illegal war; at our expense, despite the fact that it is something we clearly do not want nor need.
Recent history offers us a stark warning as to the consequences of launching illegal and unprovoked attacks on foreign nations and yet Mr Ollerenshaw, a former history teacher, wants to repeat these very same gross errors within the very same decade.
Given the issues faced by the region, which have been exacerbated by the Conservative parties’ austere politics and policy decisions, which are proven to be failures.
Mr Ollerenshaw has just voted to spend vast sums of government money on destroying overseas infrastructure, rather than strengthening our own. Our armed forces personnel deserve better than to be purposefully plunged into yet another war before the facts are established and we as constituents deserve better than a man too blinded.
Cyclists on the sunny side
Being an avid walker of this area, I often use the cycle track as it is relatively a peaceful and pleasant walk.
A few years ago our glorious comrades in the council decided to tarmaccadem it over and draw a line down the middle.
I wouldn’t have been too bothered except the more peaceful, beautiful half, and the half that is also shaded from the blistering sun, was given to cyclists.
If those cyclists took the time to appreciate the beauty it wouldn’t be so bad, but the majority of them judging by their speed don’t care for the beauty.
Therefore, I call on all walkers to petition our ‘representatives’ in the council to either swap the lanes over or, better still, widen the road from Lancaster to Morecambe by about four foot, add a cycle lane and dedicate the cycle track to the walkers.
This will not only create jobs, which are desperately needed if my visits to the job centre are anything to go by, but will make the cycle track safer for walkers of all ages.
Name and address supplied