Letters to the Mercury - 12 August 2011

Have your say

Concerns over ‘temporary’ closure of Van Geest ward

The news about the temporary closure of the John Van Geest ward at Stamford Hospital fills me with dread.

Yes it is important to deal with an outbreak of C-difficle which has been an ongoing problem for sometime. However, is the real reason for this action been the ‘day early’ visit from infection inspectors last week?

What concerns me in the statement from the NHS Foundation Trust by Rowena Barnes is that she states: “We will need to temporarily close the ward.”

The people of Stamford were told in the past that the Hurst Ward was to close temporarily, only to find that it became a permanent solution.

Of course what does temporary mean?

I understand a six month closure period has been mentioned. Normally such a lengthy period seems to say rebuild rather than refurbishment.

Surely however necessary this work is it will cost money and yet we hear that the Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals Trust is already overspending its budget for 2011-2012.

So how much will it cost and for that matter how much will be saved by the temporary closure?

The Van Geest ward is presently the only part of the hospital that is staffed 24 hours a day seven days a week. What a saving it would be if the ward was converted into a day centre.

Putting all that to one side, the hospital is a huge site, is under utilised, costly to operate, the building is difficult to maintain and of course very valuable for building land.

Get real Stamford. This is yet another wake up call and yet another nail in the coffin. We all need reassurance on this issue that this really is a temporary matter, is for the benefit of patients and not a budgetary saving.

Richard Newcomb


Protecting our countryside

If, like me, you love the sight of our beautiful local countryside, you may be shocked to learn that the Government has published a new set of planning rules which could give an automatic green light to any new development in the countryside outside the most protected sites such as National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

For more than 50 years the planning system has balanced the need for new buildings and houses with those of the environment and local people.

But the new national planning policy framework contain a ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’ which, as ministers are reluctant to tell anyone what ‘sustainable’ might mean, looks like a default ‘yes’ to development.

Local people will find it increasingly difficult to campaign against unsustainable development, nor will we get any appeal; green field sites will be concreted over.

These are hardly the actions of a government aspiring to be ‘the greenest government ever’.

I am supporting the Campaign to Protect Rural England in fighting these changes, and it has helped me send a letter to my MP asking Ministers to reconsider.

I urge anyone else who wants England to remain a green and pleasant land to do the same by visiting www.cpre.org.uk.

Margaret BRETT

Mountpleasant Cottages, Morcott

A copy of this letter was also sent in by Michael Bruton, of High Street, Morcott

Heroes’ gratitude

A BIG thank you to all who bought merchandise or donated to the Help for Heroes stall at Deeping Raft Race last Sunday. A total of £407 was raised. Thanks also to the organising committee. All monies have been sent to Tidworth.


Emmanuel Road, Stamford

Get behind museum trust

What fantastic news that a local business has been so generous in its support of keeping a proper museum open in our town.

The pledge of £10,000 a year from Crestwood Fittings shows that it is possible for a trust to raise enough money to retain a real centre for our town’s heritage.

It is a relief too that Lincolnshire County Council has agreed to look again at its decision to close the museum.

What is now needed is for a few more people to get behind this proposal – most importantly our county councillors.

This is their opportunity to show that they really are Stamford’s representatives in county hall – not Lincolnshire’s representatives in our town.

It would be good to hear our MP making his voice heard on this issue too.

With their support, there is no reason why Stamford should not have a proper home for our history, just like those other Lincolnshire towns that the county council has enabled to set up museum trusts.

Andy Members

Little Casterton Road, Stamford