Letters: 04/03/14

Altham Meadows.
Altham Meadows.
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Letters from this week’s The Visitor.

Great care on our doorstep

My mother suffers from advanced dementia and has lived with us in our home for many years. Unfortunately due to worsening behavioural problems she has now entered permanent nursing care.

We would not have been able to care for her as long as we did without the support of two local day centres: Vale View and Altham Meadows.

The standard of care Mum received was second to none, and we would like to thank all the staff, including the transport service who ensured her trips to and from day centre were all part of the enjoyable and reliable experience. These services must be protected at all costs

Mum didn’t settle well when she entered care and it was suggested she be admitted to a NHS mental health assessment ward, but no beds were available locally. The thought of having to travel hundreds of miles to see her (Newcastle and Leeds were mentioned) filled us with dread.

Therefore we can say with some authority that it is imperative that local adult mental health beds are retained, for example the assessment unit associated with Altham Meadows.

Lynne and John Cox

Stankelt Road


No need to raise taxes

We have been subjected to a torrent of articles blaming everyone except ourselves for having to put up council tax, while still making cuts, the latest by Coun Andrew Kay of the Green Party about possible bus service cuts (Guardian, February 13, Hometruths for Tories).

In villages like Overton, the bus service is essential, and all parties agree on this, but Coun Kay specifically blames the national Government.

As an Independent, I would like to add a touch of non-partisan reality.

For two years the present Labour/Green administration has refused the Government’s offer to subsidise rates by one per cent, if councils kept to a zero-rate rise.

Our council claimed it could not survive without the extra one per cent.

Yet the same council wastes money by the million.

I recently attended a computer training session in the council-owned City Lab building.

I was in a huge office with only two other council employees, being trained by an outside, council-paid organisation.

Why do we need outside trainers, when we have a huge, very expensive IT department?

Even worse, I did a tour of the very extensive ground-floor of the building. Only one office was being used, but the lights and heating in every single office were on.

I would like to point out that, only a few yards away, the town hall also has many empty offices. The same applies to St Leonard’s House, which we own, but which is only part-occupied and which costs the taxpayers £80,000pa to maintain.

The cuts the council is making are tiny, compared to the massive waste of money.

The total money lost on the Labour-initiated Lancaster Market, which was opposed by almost all the market stall holders, who wanted a simple replacement for the old single-storey, successful one, adds up to £15 million.

Now we are giving away for 250 years all the land, which taxpayers bought to build an inner ring road, on the speculative Centros development.

In the land is the car park which the Grand Theatre rents from the council, but which will now be given to the developers, with no guarantees for the future.

What we need is not a lot more political grandstanding, but a bit of simple housekeeping common sense. There is no need to increase the council tax. We should get rid of all these prestige buildings and pet projects so beloved of some councillors, and get back to basics.

We should be there to do the unglamorous jobs like cleansing and maintenance.

Property ownership and subsidies for speculative private enterprise must be kept to an absolute 

Coun Keith Sowden (Free Independent, Overton Ward, Lancaster CC)

Chairman, Overton Parish Council

Stephens Grove



Sad day for our council

So disabled drivers are to be hustled out of Lancaster city centre to make things more comfortable for ‘pedestrians’.

Well, aren’t they the lucky ones.

So many people can no longer walk, and certainly couldn’t make the uphill drag from the underground car park to the library, museum and banks.

Not only is this a damning decision by the Labour controlled city council but is apparently acceptable by the local Labour party whose silence on the subject would indicate acceptance.

Perhaps the Party of the People could indicate how this decision aids the ‘have nots’ in our society?

Irene Sutcliffe

Elms Road



Students do us all proud

May I take the opportunity provided by the Student Volunteering Week (February 24 to March 2) to say a big thank you to all local students who get involved in the work of our charity – Meningitis Now.

Students support us as part of our Young Ambassadors team, helping to shape the charity’s future, supporting others who may be struggling and making sure everyone knows that Meningitis Now is here for anyone affected by meningitis.

We’re also grateful to the many university RAG societies who support our work. As a charity which receives no Government funding we rely on the fantastic fundraising efforts of our supporters to raise the £10,000 we need each day to provide our lifesaving and life-changing services.

Of course, getting involved with Meningitis Now is not just about fundraising – we have many roles available which can help expand students’ skills and increase their employability. Student Volunteering Week is a good opportunity to raise awareness of these. And volunteers can have a lot of fun and make friends along the way.

Our volunteers are at the heart of everything we do. Without them we simply wouldn’t be able to achieve a fraction of what we do – their commitment is simply amazing.

If you’d like to find out more please get in touch by emailing me at joannec@meningitisnow.org or visit our website at http://www.meningitisnow.org/support-us/volunteer/

Jo Campbell

Volunteer Manager

Meningitis Now

Fern House

Bath Road




Redford tells a great story

News that Robert Redford has directed a movie about a building named after polio vaccine developer Jonas Salk is a timely reminder that while polio touched the lives of millions, including stars like Redford, the sting in the tale is the late effects Polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS), developed by thousands of ordinary people in the UK who remain in need of support.

Redford had a brush with polio, aged 11, and he is not alone.

Fortunately, The British Polio Fellowship is here. For polio survivors facing PPS, to those in the Asian community living with Polio, or medical professionals seeking information we are a call or a click away. Visit www.britishpolio.org.uk or call us on 0800 018 0586.

Ted Hill MBE

CEO, The British Polio Fellowship.

Who’s doing the puffing?

I had to chuckle to myself the other day when reading about the proposed new law to fine parents who smoke whilst driving with children on board.

It’s probably the parents that have kicked the habit and it’s the kids who are puffing away in the back seat.

Ray Edmondson

Address supplied.