Letters and emails on March 23, 2011

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The Guardian’s letters pages online

Chorley Council’s ‘spin’ on plots is not good news!

Dear Editor,

Having read your article on the proposals to raise allotment rents (Guardian, March 16) I can only conclude that Chorley Council has employed a very effective spin doctor on this story.

The council maintain it is good news when it is exactly the opposite.

The council has not delayed the introduction of rent rises – they are a new proposal that will be in force from 2012.

The council propose to steeply increase the effective rent on most plots by charging extra for water which has previously been included in the rent charge.

The proposal (still being considered) to stop concessionary rents for retired plotholders is petty in the extreme considering the amount of money involved for the council compared to extra costs for the individuals.

For a retired plotholder on a site with water supply this will result in be a significant extra cost and could force some of them off their plots. The council must state clearly that they will not impose this ‘double whammy’.

Most unfair of all, the council has declined to accept Chorley Allotment Society’s proposal to review the rent structure and make it relative to the size of plot. Currently, some of the plots are as small as 60 square metres. Plotholders on those plots pay the same as those with much bigger plots.

A proportionate system could easily be put in place to generate the same income for the council but with differing rents decided by plot size or bands.

The suggestion that other councils charge much more is disingenuous – plots from other councils are up to 250 square metres and the service and contributions to running costs made by councils in these cases is often much more than is provided in Chorley.

Chorley Allotment Society has tried to engage positively with the council, and we will continue to do so.

We absolutely appreciate the financial problems facing them, and are not asking for special treatment.

But in the long-term it is in their interest to encourage residents to have healthier lifestyles and to provide more allotments to help this, at charges that people can sustain.

Compared to many other areas of council spend, this is a very low cost area.

There is a huge waiting list in Chorley and has been for many years, whilst the number of plots per head of population continues to be amongst the lowest in the country.

The one small site that was due to be added last year has been delayed for more than another year, and feedback to the Society on progress and management could improve a lot, so we can work together to ensure best use of scarce resources.

Bill Taylor, Chairman, Chorley Allotment Society

£80 fine for perv no justice

Dear Editor,

I was utterly amazed to read the article in the Guardian (March 2)of the £80 fine penalty notice for the man guilty of taking photographs of the naked woman in a sunbed shop.

An £80 penalty notice? Has our police/legal system taken leave of its senses?

Is this a decision taken by the police or is it one taken by the Crown Prosecution Service?

Whoever has taken this decision seems have totally abandoned their sense of duty to the public in any case.

Are the public of Chorley not entitled to see justice carried out and him appear in court to face the magistrates?

Should he not have been placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register to enable the authorities to monitor him?

Does this inadequate penalty notice guarantee him anonymity also?

Whilst not having the full details of circumstances of this case, the problems of this man are highlighted by his actions.

I would have thought that the public would have been better served by the relevant authorities ensuring their protection rather than his.

The media have always been full of horror stories that happen because of problem individuals like these not being dealt with as soon as they are identified.

Name and address supplied

Let’s invest in police force

Dear Editor,

I’ve just read the latest edition of ‘The Coppull Newsletter’ number 21 Spring 2011.

Through your letters page I would like to ascertain why a small village like Coppull with a population of around 8000 needs 15 parish councillors (including three borough councillors), and yet with 232 incidents of crime reported to the police during December 2010 and January 2011 the village only has four police offices in the neighbourhood team.

It would appear that this village and its council taxpayers is supporting a force of councillors rather than a police force.

Name and address supplied

Confusion over services row

Dear Editor,

I was a little confused when I read the article headlined ‘Angry residents win battle’ (Guardian, March 2).

If the Charnock Richard Service Station access to the M6 is closed, I would have thought that the traffic now using it would then have to go on to the junction at Wrightington.

So they will still be passing all the properties in Charnock Richard and Heskin they previously passed to the service station.

In addition, they will also be passing a primary school, and adding to the congestion at the busy Wrightington M6 junction.

Am I missing something?

Kath Almond, Grape Lane, Croston

Big thanks to a very kind lot

Dear Editor,

I would like to extend my thanks to everyone who attended the South Ribble Volunteering Roadshow event in Bamber Bridge on March 19.

A total of 14 organisations were involved on the day and over 30 new volunteers were attracted, confirming our belief that the people of Bamber Bridge are passionate about helping others.

Our Asset Based Community Development Team are now looking to run a workshop to look at how the skills of residents can be utilised for the benefit of the whole community.

If you would like to find out more call me on 01257 263254.

Gael Finch, Volunteer Centre Chorley & South Ribble

Drivers verging on ridiculous

Dear Editor,

I have been reporting to the council over the last few months the inconsiderate action of service vehicles from some well known national companies along with inconsiderate drivers who have been parking on sections of the grass verges which run through Astley Village.

I would like to express my delight and thanks to the Chorley Borough Council Street Scene team who spent March 15 filling in the deep ruts left on the grass verges along Westway at the junction with Chancery Road and along Chancery Road itself in Astley Village.

They have done an excellent job and are a credit to the council.

Coun Mark Perks, Astley & Buckshaw Ward

Show can get on its bike

Dear Editor,

I see that the show ‘Christ on a Bike’ was scheduled to come to Chorley Little Theatre.

In saying that this is deeply offensive I hope that I speak for all people of faith in Chorley. Mocking God is not a very wise thing to do.

Alex Barclay, Astley Village

Mistake to close crossing

Dear Editor,

It comes as no surprise that there has been angry condemnation of Network Rail’s decision to close without notice, Rylands Crossing near to the junction of Brock Road and Railway Road.

As must be the case with other similar railway crossings in the country, incidents (which have not been recorded as accidents) have occurred resulting in loss of life.

On such occasions, Chorley townsfolk have had great sympathy with those involved and the families bereaved.

Even after these tragedies, the crossing was never closed, but now because it is reported that some young people have been going across the lines in front of approaching trains, Network Rail has taken the absurd step of closing the crossing to everyone.

Under no circumstances should the majority of citizens who conform to accepted codes of coduct, be penalised because of a few who do not.

Network Rail you’ve made a major blunder - now admit it.

James Lancaster, Russell Square, Chorley

Hedgerow ruling wrong

Dear Editor,

I write regarding the report headlined ‘Landmark A6 hedgerow will be allowed to remain’ in the Guardian (March 6).

How the hedgerow removal (in Preston Road) does not require permission is remarkable when one examines the Hedgerow Regulations 1997.

The removed hedge also acted as a car headlamp diffuser preventing them shining directly into the living room and bedroom windows of the facing properties.

P.A.Roby, Address supplied

Happy under the Tories

Dear Editor,

Having read the letter from Chorley Council Labour leader Coun Alistair Bradley (Guardian, March 9) regarding council tax I have a few points that I would like to make:

Coun Bradley claims to introduce an opposition budget for 2011-2012 which matches the Conservative’s 0 per cent council tax increase, yet he claims that Labour can still commit funding to invest a further £550k into communities and town centre.

Considering that Labour were unable to achieve this in their 20+ years in control of Chorley Council, I wonder how Coun Bradley believes that Labour can suddenly manage it now?

During their time in control, I believe that Labour increased council tax by as much as 19 per cent per annum, with their lowest increase being 4.5 per cent per annum.

In fact, as a Chorley Council resident since 1997, I have seen the Chorley Council portion of my council tax increase by an average of 8.66 per cent over 10 years under Labour control.

Thankfully, these extortionate increases have been brought to a stop by the current Conservative administration.

Name and address supplied

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