Reader’s letters - Friday 07 February 2014

One reader thinks the roads around Preston have become like a scene from The Italian Job
One reader thinks the roads around Preston have become like a scene from The Italian Job
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Noisy students a menace

Has anyone else had or having the same problem I find myself with at the moment, I live in the residential area of Ashton, but the property next door is rented out and unfortunately since 
September 2013 a group of university students moved in.

I know that this, for students, is a time to let their hair down but if they wish to join in the university way of life maybe they should find accommodation more suited and nearer to the university environment.

Apart from the noise from drinking sessions indoors, there’s the 4am returns from nights out, the shouting in the street because of lost keys etc., constant banging of doors, especially from taxi drivers who can’t get a response when they arrive for pick-ups, and no one has told them how to use the system for disposing of their rubbish.

Talking to them to request they be quieter brings only bad responses along with the bad language, the landlord usually ends with the phrase “I’ll have a word” which by the way doesn’t work. I rang the university’s student welfare office but not much luck there either, they suggested I rang the police, as outside of university buildings etc, is not their responsibility.

I mentioned the fact they must be missing some of their lectures given the time they return home, but this didn’t seem to worry them at all, I do wonder where that responsibility starts and ends, as long as they are getting their quota of fees there appears to be no obligation towards either student welfare or to the local people of Preston. If anyone has any ideas or has had success dealing with the same problem I would love to read about it.

Carol Bradley, via e-mail

Rates driving away business

I work, among other jobs, as a volunteer for many small businesses and shops. Several of these businesses/shops asked me to help them find appropriate other premises, to relocate in various locations including South Ribble area.

On researching I was surprised at the large number of shops closing down, and the fact some had been unoccupied for years. It was obvious the properties had deteriorated in that time, and need considerable refurbishment and maintenance.

On further research I found the business rates were completely unaffordable, parking was non­existent, which is vital for any business. These charges, when gas and electric and insurance were included, along with new stock, were completely unaffordable. It was clear why so many, could not make a living and had moved to other sites where parking is available.

These small business/shops are the backbone of any community. Large pavement areas serve no purpose, and could be used for parking to improve the economy of the area and bring much needed business back. These business rates certainly need a complete rethink to give business a change. People refuse to pay for parking and looking at the general situation, many people had mobility problems.

Mrs Marguerite Ralphs, Leyland

City like scene from movies

Do any of your other readers feel, as I do, that The Italian Job has to be the favourite movie of the highway engineers responsible for Preston’s roads?

We certainly now have in place around the city centre most of the ingredients of the famous heist scene, including an endless succession of traffic lights on red, a variety of concurrent lane and road closures and – on Fishergate – pedestrian roulette.

It’s surely only a matter of time before we have retro mini cars racing through the shopping malls and police cars floating down the River Ribble!

I only hope these esteemed technocrats don’t ever have to dynamite any safe doors.

Mr C Croker, Penwortham

Ban fracking all over country

I moved to this area of outstanding natural beauty recently and am horrified by the prospect of it being industrialized by fracking being forced upon us.

Tony Bosworth, at Friends of the Earth, has calculated many tens of thousands of wells may be needed all over the UK countryside.

The latest move by the government to allow councils to retain 100 per cent of any business rates from shale gas developments is a cynical move on its part.

Such is David Cameron’s desperation to fast-track fracking that he favours individual households being compensated for the ‘inconvenience’ of a gas well in their local community. Inconvenience is one way of describing it – devastating is probably closer to the mark as, in addition to the environmental destruction and dangers, house prices will plummet.

This is not an exaggeration.

As part of my extensive research into the consequences of fracking, I sourced this direct quote from Richard Sexton of Esurv, the UK’s biggest provider of residential valuation services: “Fracking would affect house prices, blighting properties in the areas perceived to be affected.”

House prices in the Fylde are already falling. Fylde estate agent Justin Allit has confirmed this and said: “Out-of-town buyers are being put off properties by the threat of shale gas drilling – and that could see house prices fall... I’m worried it could have a negative impact on house prices and the desirability of Fylde.“

I have never campaigned or protested against anything in my life but, having researched in great detail the serious risks ‘high pressure’ fracking poses, not least in relation to long-term water and air contamination, I feel compelled to do whatever I can to prevent fracking in this area.

After all, fracking has been banned in France and Germany and numerous councils throughout the UK are vehemently opposed to it. This is not a case of NIMBY, I oppose fracking anywhere in the UK.

I would urge your readers to do their own research, to consider the impact of fracking would have on this beautiful part of the world and to join the rapidly-growing band of locals who are preparing to oppose anyone who seeks to impose this environmentally damaging process on us.

Concerned resident, Chipping