Your Views - here are the letters published in the Harborough Mail on March 6, 2014.
There are lots of opinions on a host of subjects in this week’s Mail. See the contact details at the bottom of the story to have your say.
BUSES: Cuts to services is devastating to all
In the village in Leicestershire where I live, the bus service to Leicester has been cut from half-hourly to hourly.
The buses only run until just before 7pm on weekdays and there are no buses at all on Sundays.
For young people travelling into Leicester for education, to socialise or work, these cuts have been devastating.
Older people use the bus to go shopping and access medical services at the doctors and hospitals, or to meet up with friends and relatives.
The news that Leicestershire County Council is to cut passes for older people will have dreadful, far-reaching consequences.
People who currently use the bus regularly will not be able to do so and I cannot see the bus routes surviving with less passengers.
The effect on older people will be to isolate them even more and on young people to restrict access to higher education, employment and leisure activities.
The cuts will also affect volunteers and the organisations for which they work.
The cuts are caused by a £261m reduction from central Government to the funding of bus passes since the coalition Government came to power. Like the Beeching rail cuts in the 1960s, rural communities will never recover from such destruction to their infrastructure.
The cuts should be opposed by everyone with values beyond short-term balancing of the UK deficit which unfortunately has been used as a smokescreen for actions which strike at the heart of a fair society. Are only the well-off to enjoy freedom of travel in the future and in a car?
A society that does not value the vulnerable is a very poor society indeed.
Pat Nimmo, Fleckney
FLOODING: So much is being done to help
Mrs L Morgan is entirely right to draw attention (Mail letters, February 20, ‘Show the victims the money now’) to the terrible consequences of the flooding which luckily have not affected Harborough in quite the same way as it has affected Somerset and other areas of the south-west.
The Government has, however, been active in dealing with the problem.
For those home-owners and businesses that have been affected by flooding, the Government will provide repair grants of up to £5,000 per house and business to help people build-in better flood protection as they repair their homes and businesses.
Those businesses which have been affected by floods will get 100 per cent business rate relief for three months and will get an extra three months to pay the business taxes they owe.
Farmers who are suffering from water-logged fields will be able to benefit from a £10m fund to help restore farmland as quickly as possible.
A total commitment of £750m from the major banks has also been secured to provide financial support to business and individual customers affected by the floods. The military has been deployed and additional support for local emergency services has been provided.
The cabinet committee on floods agreed a series of reviews to inform the long-term flood recovery plan to make our country more resilient for the future, including a review of the Bellwin scheme which provides financial assistance to local authorities during exceptional circumstances , a targeted review of the resilience of the transport network, a review of investment decision guidelines on flood defences, an annual resilience review to consider the local, regional and national response to extreme weather situations and make recommendations for the Government’s long and short-term resilience strategy.
Everything that needs to be done will be done and the money required for this relief effort will be made available. Of course, no amount of money can ever be enough to repair the emotional and psychological harm caused to so many people by the floods but no-one in need of help should feel that they have been ignored or left hopeless.
It is heartening to learn that the local hunts and farmers in my constituency and from other parts of Leicestershire have been helping to supply fodder and other assistance to struggling stock farmers in the south-west and I thank them on all our behalves for their generosity.
Sir Edward Garnier, Harborough MP
COUNCIL: Was this really value for money?
I read with interest your article regarding Anna Graves jumping ship to further her career; not so much for her action, but because I see the council meeting was held at The Three Swans Hotel in Harborough.
See the Mail’s archive story here: Council may share a chief executive.
In the same edition we have Cllr Dr Paul Bremner telling us that: “Every decision we make aims to get the best value for taxpayers.” (Mail letters, February 27).
I may be wrong, but somehow I can’t see The Three Swans being philanthropic enough to offer its facilities for nothing, and I can’t help wondering how many other council meetings have been held there at the taxpayers’ expense during the redevelopment of the council’s Symington Building HQ.
I was under the impression that the move back into this building had commenced, so why not have the meeting there or at any one of the number of community halls in the area where, surely, the costs would have been lower and the proceeds would have gone to the community and not a commercial organisation.
CG Baron, Market Harborough
SIGNS: Proliferation of signs will go on
With reference to Mr David Hankey’s letter in the Harborough Mail dated Thursday, February 20. Perhaps he needn’t be too concerned about the cost of the new “Welcome to Harborough District” signs as these could be funded by recent property developers.
An over-proliferation of these signs, and likely to multiply, have littered the posts in Market Harborough for some time.
The gleaming new sign in Caldecott Road, Great Easton, could soon become an advertising hoarding with a potential income for our hard-pressed councils – subject to planning permission of course!
Alex Tilley, by email
THE SQUARE: Sorry that plant fair was cancelled
I run the Shires Plant Fairs that take place on The Square in Market Harborough.
The 2014 dates were agreed by the council on March 4, 2013.
At the last fair in September 2013 we handed out flyers giving the dates of the first two fairs for 2014.
These dates have also been advertised in the National Gardens Scheme yellow booklet for Leicestershire and Rutland, on the Shires Plant Fair website and on flyers.
So I was amazed to be notified yesterday (February 25) by the district council that the event would have to be cancelled as there were 25 to 30 timber chalets on The Square that would not be removed until early April.
While the stallholders can be notified that the event is cancelled, it will not be possible to contact all of the regular customers who come to the fairs.
Some will travel from as far as Leicester and Northampton. At least those who see our amended advert in the Mail will see that the event has been cancelled.
Kelvin Snowden, Lambley, Nottingham
THANK YOU: Shop staff among so many helpers
I would like to pass on my thanks and those of my husband to the two men who came to the assistance of my husband when he collapsed in the Mercury News Shop; also to the two lady members of staff; and not forgetting the paramedic and the ambulance crew.
Fortunately he has recovered well.
Mrs B Wisher, by email
CENTURY: Bowled over by our Mail report
Thank you for covering our mother’s centenary celebration in last week’s Harborough Mail.
You mentioned that she “played cricket all round the world and stopped playing eight years ago”.
She actually played lawn bowls until the age of 92, a big difference, but It caused a chuckle to imagine a 92-year-old lady running in and bowling at a cricket match.
Colin and Glynis Sullivan, by email
COUNCIL: Tax should be cut or at least frozen
If the council can afford to spend £5.75million redeveloping the council offices as well as spending £480,000 to revamp the Market Hall, then Council Tax should definitely be frozen, if not reduced.
Peter Paris, Market Harborough
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