The issues that matter to you - Guardian Letters June 18th

Beaumont College, Lancaster.
Beaumont College, Lancaster.

The week’s hot topics: college job cuts, fracking, dangerous cyclists, speed cameras, the Queen’s visit, secret trade deal, charity challenge and parking charges,

JOBS: Jobs cuts too far for college

I’d like to comment on your ‘Jobs to go at Beaumont College’ piece:

Seventy two jobs are to go which is approximately 1/3 of the work force - the college is expecting 13 students less in September 2015 than this academic year; 72 redundancies seems a lot for 13 less students - how can it be said that ‘the proposed changes will not affect the education, care and therapy support the students receive?

The remaining 236 employees are expected to take a 13% pay cut - these are highly trained people who work exceedingly hard and enable the College to get continued Ofsted ratings of outstanding.

This year is the first year that student numbers are down - next years are back to normal - SCOPE just refuses to bridge this gap with its executive director of services stating that perhaps the college should just work towards a good rating rather than an outstanding one - surely not the attitude that a member of the executive leadership team should want for its vulnerable clients. Please help save this college and make a real difference for young adults with complex physical needs and learning disabilities.

A disgruntled employee of Beaumont College (Name and address supplied)

FRACKING: Rural quiet is at stake

Next week, from June 23-26, Lancashire County Council’s Development Control committee will be considering applications from the shale gas industry to begin fracking in earnest on the Fylde. The meetings will take place at county hall in Preston.

I was rather surprised to receive an email from the Democratic Services Department warning County Councillors of the following: ‘it is understood that some of the protesters may aim to disrupt the business of the county council during this time, and may seek to bring some disruption to the local area and transport links.’

May I take this opportunity to warn residents that there is indeed a huge risk of disruption coming to Lancashire, however the disruption comes not from protestors, but from the shale gas industry, who, if granted their applications, will disrupt the quiet lanes of rural Lancashire for years on end, threaten our clean source of water, risk polluting our air and ride rough-shod over our local communities.

All for a quick buck that that will add to carbon emissions and will not solve our long term need for sustainable energy.

County Councillor Gina Dowding (Green Party)

Aldcliffe Road. Lancaster, LA15BE

CYCLING: Dangers on the towpath

Your publications have carried letters from two different people having either been themselves injured by cyclists or been with someone else who was injured (They can’t be heard; Madness on cyclepath).

After seeing the dreadful footage on TV from Blackpool of the toddler injured by a pavement cyclist, as well as a jogger in East Lothian who was killed by a cyclist, I have been in touch with Gareth Cooper the project manager of Sustainable Transport for Lancashire County Council.

Mr Cooper’s information confirmed that Home Office guidelines on this so-called illegal practice are so ambiguous that it could be called “half legal”, but I would urge anyone else who feels worried and at risk when they are using footpaths and pavements to contact Mr Cooper as his reply to me was concise, sympathetic and covered my enquiry fully.

In his reply he also left the door open for further discussion.

Obviously I don’t feel any safer walking along the promenade or canal towpath but Mr Cooper seems to be a man who will look at both sides of the question.

Name and address supplied

SPEED CAMERAS: Not so safe after all

I’m amazed that the story, 1 in 3 cameras out of order, was actually classed as a ‘news’ item. Local camera statistics have been worse than that for at least 15 years.

I can say that with utmost confidence, as for that long I have had radar detection equipment installed in my car.

For obvious reasons I wish to withhold my identity, but a quick check this evening proved the figures for Morecambe to be worse than those reported for Lancashire as a whole with 83.3 per cent cameras inactive.

I drove past six cameras on Friday evening – Stanhope Court, Westgate, Regent Road, Heysham Road, Euston Road and Broadway.

Of those only one was active (Westgate) and that doesn’t conclusively mean it would capture an image (the film could have run out).

I’m saying that it was emitting radar. Of course, this could change by the day.

I do not advocate speeding. Then again I am not in favour of speed cameras, or ‘Accident Black Spot Cameras’ as the police like to call them.

I offer Broadway’s camera by way of illustration.

The camera is situated at a crossroads which is busy most of the time, but especially so at the beginning and end of the school day.

Which is better: someone who is concentrating 100 per cent on the road ahead and might go a few mph above the speed limit, or someone so conscious of the camera that they hardly take their eyes of the speedometer?

I’ll call anyone a liar to their face if they claim never to have taken their eyes off the road to monitor their speed to ensure they aren’t ‘flashed’ – at an accident black spot.

Paul, Morecambe (Full name and address supplied)

QUEEN’S VISIT: Braving the rain

Like quite a few others we braved the heavy rain to go see Her Majesty visit Lancaster Castle.

We got there early and claimed a good spot near the castle gates. We did wonder what the blue roofed, unfinished, raw wood ‘shed’ was for to one side of the gates.

There was a crest on it, so it did not appear to be the outside smoking area for the castle’s staff.

There was some hammering going on, and we realised it had to have something to do with the Queen’s visit, and last minute efforts were being made to get it finished.

When the Queen entered this ‘thing’ to receive the keys to castle, we are sure she would have been impressed, if they had managed to get some matching blue fabric draped over the ceiling, and the bare support posts painted.

Her Lady-in-Waiting may even have slipped a £20 note somewhere, to help towards the million or so the event cost.

Lovers of Old Heysham, Name and address supplied

TRADE DEAL: Profit before democracy

TTIP is a trade deal being negotiated in secret between the EU and the US.

There is a huge petition of 2 million people who want it scrapped.

Whilst it is being discussed in secret, we do know that it presently contains clauses which would allow big global businesses to sue democratically elected governments for banning products which they believe are harmful to us, putting big profit before democracy and health and safety.

It would also allow big businesses to buy up e.g the National Health Service and other public sector services.

Our MEPs were due to vote on this on June 10, but the vote has been pulled, seemingly due to the big opposition to it.

I should like people to know about it so that they can object if they are unhappy about this.

Nicola Snell, LA1 5ND

CHALLENGE: Have a go at Pen-y-ghent

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) is calling on people to take part in their first ever Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge on Saturday 11 July and join the fight against heart disease.

Places for the event are going fast and the BHF are urging people to register now to avoid missing out on a place.

Join 650 people and help raise much needed funds for essential research which could create a better future for so many - from babies born with heart defects, to the millions of adults affected by heart disease.

Starting from Horton in Ribblesdale sports pavilion located at the foot of Pen-y-ghent, soak up the amazing views from all three peaks, while making every step count for the nation’s heart charity.

Helen Wright, regional event organiser for the BHF said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to be organising the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge for the sixth year. Hundreds of people have already signed up, so we’d like to urge people to get involved quickly if they don’t want to miss out on a place.

“Heart disease devastates too many lives, so it’s vital that we get behind the fight.”

The Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge takes in 24 miles of the glorious Yorkshire Dales and around 3000ft of climbing up Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough in 12 hours to raise urgently needed funds for the nation’s heart charity.

Call the events team to register on 0845 120 8663 or visit Alternatively, you can also email the events team on

British Heart Foundation

PARKING CHARGES: Technology costs us 20p

I read with some pleasure that the council is at last updating its parking charges system to accept fees paid by mobile phone.

However, the small print says that there will be a 20p additional charge.

Why is this, when the council do not have to collect the cash from the machine or process the same through their bank?

Surely they should be encouraging the use of this technology and if necessary absorbing any set up or ongoing costs.

Mike Jones, Hall Park, Lancaster