Letters to the Mercury - 13 January 2012

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Need to take a broader view

The long-running saga of the canopy and outdoor seating at Café Black in Stamford (Mercury last week) signals the need for some broader thinking. The processes we rely on to manage change in the the landscape – both urban and rural – are important. However, when those processes deliver outcomes that appear to go against the flow of common sense or public opinion then we may have a problem that needs to be fixed.

Café Blackʼs canopy issue could surely have been avoided. The café’s owners should not have taken the law into their own hands by erecting the canopy without the appropriate permissions to do so.  

That said, had they and the relevant authorities engaged effectively beforehand, surely a canopy design acceptable to all could have been agreed, especially given the high level of support from the café’s customers.

Our traffic-free High Street cries out for amenable outdoor dining facilities (in the summer at least!) similar to those many readers will have enjoyed in continental towns. The comments of the officials in rejecting the appeal (“clumsy and unduly prominent” and “visually intrusive”) seem bizarre in the context of the large spherical street lamp affixed to the wall just a few feet above the canopy to which these descriptions are equally applicable!

Similarly, boldly-coloured signage in unsympathetic materials on adjacent shops jars the eye far more than Café Black’s canopy.

Surely all parties should be working collaboratively to enhance central Stamford’s townscape through a strategic plan embracing shop frontages, street lighting and urban furniture rather than via piecemeal changes and decisions.

Bold architecture need not harm the character of listed buildings (another objection of the planning officials to the Café Black canopy). Would Stamford’s council and planners have objected to Norman Foster’s canopy on the Great Court at the British Museum?

Closer to home, many buildings in Stamford and Rutland combine traditional and contemporary elements with great success.

Let’s not be afraid of controlled common-sense change. We can embrace the evolution of our environment without compromising our architectural heritage.

Peter Seyderhelm

Danegeld Place, Stamford

Dangerous driving

This correspondence is aimed directly at the female senior citizen driver who attempted to ram me off the road last Friday at about midday.

The incident took place on the A6121 Ryhall Road heading out of Stamford as I was pulling out of the Belmesthorpe Road junction. I was turning right on to Ryhall Road at the mini roundabout and was actually on the roundabout when the silver-haired racer in question went straight across the roundabout at a speed in excess of 50mph from my left.

It would be a bold claim of mine to that say it was my quick reactions that managed to prevent the accident but it was more the ear-piercing scream of fear emitted by my wife combined with sheer luck that did prevent it.

By total coincidence I was heading in the same direction as the driver, I would say following but there is no way I was driving at the speeds she drove at in wet and muddy conditions.

I like to think I have more consideration for other road users (or potential victims using her terminology) to drive at such dangerous speeds well above the speed limits.

After all, drivers like this generally cause accidents but walk away unhurt while other careful and considerate drivers are left to pick up the pieces.

I have nothing against the older generation remaining on the road and understand the need for independence, but this particular driver needs to seriously consider her driving abilities and whether the cost of her independence is equal to the cost of a life.

I believe she was totally unaware of the junction/roundabout which on its own is worrying, but if she reads this and realises then at least some good has come of the matter, if not then I have no doubt the Mercury will be reporting a serious accident or even a fatality attributed to a silver Toyota Yaris driver on this road or in fact any road she frequents in the region.

This may seem extreme but my wife and I were left very shaken at how close we became to being seriously hurt, by someone who drives beyond her abilities and has so little road awareness.

P.Wilson

Westland Road,

Cottesmore

Crumbs to keep us happy

It is very encouraging to see that so many people are, at last, realising that the EU is distinctly bad news for the UK, with the latest poll showing more than 50 per cent saying membership has been negative for our country.

However, the poll also shows support for David Cameron’s rejection of the new EU treaty – this is sadly misplaced.

Not only did he not get any protection for UK interests, he has compromised any moves he might make in that direction by continually registering his support for our EU membership. Does he not realise that measures damaging to us will continue, which we will have to adopt?

A year ago he went to Brussels intending to reduce the EU budget, or at least freeze it. He ended up agreeing to a 2.9 per cent raise! No surprise there, the budget had already been agreed by the votes in the European Parliament, where UKIP MEPs had voted against. Since the European Parliament is the only democratically established EU institution, just, he can hardly object. 

He now wants to protect the City of London against a financial transaction tax. Too late again!

The Polledo report, brought to the European Parliament on June 8, contained an amendment establishing the financial transaction tax, which was adopted by 397 to 246 votes.

Then the whole report was passed, to great applause from the left leaning groups.

While we are EU members we will be fighting an uphill, losing, battle.

The EU godfathers will throw us crumbs from the table to keep Cameron and the Tories happy, while pressing on towards the aim of a single European State in which the UK will be relegated to provincial status.

Derek Clark

UKIP MEP for the East Midlands, Northampton

So much for consultation!

I WOULD like to comment on the Mercury editor’s campaign to get Lincoln County Council to keep open the Ryhall Road Day Centre in Stamford. However many signatures may be obtained in support of the campaign I cannot help but feel that the county council will have their own way, in spite of the emphasis that was put on ‘consultation’.

The county council’s idea of consultation was to hold a public meeting in Stamford Arts Centre and then note but ignore any comments that were made. Sometime before Christmas. I wrote to the county council on behalf of quite a number of worried Stamford residents likely to be affected by the closure requesting an opportunity to discuss points that would affect them should the day centre be closed.

The council’s response was that it had been very busy in the time up to Christmas and would have no time in January. So much for ‘consultation’ in this so-called democracy.

JOHN BUTCHER

Edmonds Close

Stamford

Tell us of your concerns

Could I invite you to resolve this year (when we do have an extra day) to make a point of raising your concerns about our town with Stamford Town Council, ideally by attending town council meetings and speaking during the public sessions or, alternatively, by contacting your coun- cillors.

As your councillors, elected by you, one of our our main roles is to follow up your concerns – so please help us to do this by letting us know what they are.

Please bear in mind that although the town council does have control only over the allotments, the cemetery, the Meadows and the Rec, it also has some influence (admittedly not as much as we would like) with Lincolnshire County Council and South Kesteven District Council.

Max Sawyer

Town councillor,

Waverley Gardens,

Stamford

Constant supervision

I read with interest the article concerning the hospital care of an elderly confused patient. I noted with amazement that the new recommendation, following this tragic event, is that patients be checked every hour. Presumably, prior to this it was acceptable for an even longer period to elapse before checking on the patient? I have, for the greater part of my working life, been involved with the care of the elderly including those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and suggest that the only safe way for active patients, suffering from advanced forms of dementia, is to ensure constant supervision!

This I concede is not practical in a modern hospital setting as the patient accommodation is now arranged in such a way as to be invisible from the main nurse’s station. Therefore some special provision needs to be made to look after these frail, vulnerable people since their behaviour is unpredictable.

Mrs R Douglas-Beveridge

Southfields, Bourne

As I understand Cameron’s New Year message – if I am injured due to the scrapping of health and safety measures, I will be better cared for by a privately managed NHS, because Matron will tell the nurses to talk nicely to me.

Eric Goodyer

High Street,

Colsterworth

Council owns £50m of land

In the light of ever increasing council taxes, I wonder if your readers in the South Kesteven District Council area are aware that the council owns some £50m worth of land and building assets, other than council housing?

This amounts to 21 per cent of its net assets according to its balance sheet.

The plant, vehicles and equipment held has increased by £1m alone in the past year, which has supposed to have been one of austerity.

As the council is not a developer, though having tried and failed dismally to be so, particularly in Bourne, should not these assets be sold to reduce the burden on the taxpayer and probably open up the market to those more capable of exploiting it? In my view the district council and all councils are there to pay for the police, rubbish collection, schools etc, not for indulging in speculative property development with our money, which could be put to better use.

W Banks Witham-on-the-Hill

Vital link

THE Van Geest Unit is a vital link for patients who require after-care from hospital at home. It is therefore a case of we must use it or lose it.

E WRIGHT

Charles Road, Stamford