Reader’s letters - Friday February 27, 2015

Hundreds of homes are to be built on the former Whittingham Hospital site
Hundreds of homes are to be built on the former Whittingham Hospital site
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Use waste land for homes

In response to the question “Is the Government doing enough to encourage more house building?” (LEP February 24).

No! The Government should do more to unlock the potential of brownfield land. There is some 5,000 hectares of brownfield land in the county (that equates to 200,000 homes at an average build out rate of 40 houses per hectare).

This would unlock the potential of a wasted resource and to respond positively to housing needs of the county. The reuse of brownfield ought to be further enshrined in the National Planning Policy Framework.

Contrary to what the National Housing Federation claims, the Lancashire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England would say it is not the supply of land that is preventing new houses from being built in Lancashire.

Last year we undertook research into the supply of housing across Lancashire (www.cprelancashire.org.uk).

Most councils identified adequate sites in local plans with policies to encourage the reuse of previously developed land (brownfield) and allocated greenfield extensions where necessary. But more countryside is being lost as developers target ‘off-local plan’ sites, often at appeal, to maximise margins.

CPRE Lancashire argues that developers need to work more closely to policies set out in local plans to achieve more planning consents for housing. Large executive homes in the countryside do not necessarily respond to the affordable home requirement.

We highlight the report of the Rural Housing Policy Review and the twelve recommendations launched on Monday by at the House of Lords that seeks a Fair Deal for Rural Communities. See it here: www.hastoe.com/fairdeal .

Jackie Copley MRTPI MA BA(Hons) PgCert, planning manager, Lancashire Branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England

Time to draw a new role profile

I’m appalled by the recent revelations over two MPs being caught in the act of attempting to inflate their earnings by accepting inducements to advise a fictitious Chinese company on restricted information or methods of circumventing certain UK laws. Although it was a recorded scam operated by newspaper journalists, and both MPs have been suspended from their respected parties, it does highlight again to the public, the venality of two of our more trusted MPs, being caught red-handed attempting to confuse their duties to their electorate with that of a third party.

The unfortunate results of this will no doubt increase the scepticism of many more of our voters to again not bother to vote. Many were previously disillusioned by the revelations of MPs claiming their inflated expenses and they will use this event to justify their already existing prejudices.

This could, however, be an opportunity for the existing Coalition Government to introduce a similar mandatory Australian voting system, where everyone registered is required by law to register a vote.

This should after all be a duty upon every UK citizen to vote. It is a democratic freedom purchased at great sacrifice by many women in the early 20th century and should not be spurned.

Another inducement to the public would be for all future MPs to be required to have at least 10 years previous experience in work outside the Commons and the banning of existing professional Politicos who were previously advisors to Governmental Departments or Cabinet members and have had no real life experience outside the Westminster village.

These would go some way to bolster waning confidence by the electorate that their representatives were really voted in by a true majority and had sufficient experience to represent their views on what is really needed in our country.

E J Tilley, Chorley

Health service was brilliant

In February, I spent a week in Chorley Hospital, initially in the MAU, and then on Winstanley Ward

Contrary to the impression given by the media of a second rate NHS, I cannot speak highly enough of the care I received, starting with a very kind ambulance man, who realised we were struggling in the car park, and personally delivered us to the MAU, right through to all the staff on both wards, whether it was the trainee nurses, the sisters, the doctors or the consultant himself.

At no level did I receive less than exceptional care - every member of staff was kind, caring, reassuring and nothing was too much trouble for them.

Both my husband and I cannot overstate the exceptional care I received and would like everyone to know what an excellent job these people are doing, despite being constantly criticised.

Finally, one last mention to the specialist diabetic nurse at the Minerva Centre, who, like the staff at Choriey, went out of her way to help,

Mrs H Lee, Walton-Le-Dale

Cut red tape on energy prices

Considering the minefield of tariffs and regulations to do with energy suppliers which, unless one knew different, seem to have been designed to confuse customers, one wonders how the old laws of retail price maintenance would apply were they still in existence. In the past when customers bought petrol, it came in three grades: Regular, Premium and Super, charged at different prices.

Not so with gas and electric, therefore there is no need for so many different tariffs and prices; although for the sake of profit it is obvious why.

In spite of government intervention to make the industry a level playing field, their efforts are as ineffective as a lion without teeth. Therefore it is up to the suppliers to prove their good intentions, if such they are, by charging one price for all, rather than confuse those who have to pay them with even more red tape and gobbledygook.

There would then be no need to switch suppliers in pursuit of a better deal.

Name and address supplied