Reader’s letters - Thursday October 02, 2014

Actress Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black in the ITV drama Cilla (see letter)

Actress Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black in the ITV drama Cilla (see letter)

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Perfect apart from coffee

Having lived in the US for close to 50 years and raised in Preston during the 1940s my recent visit to Preston was like a visit to another planet.

The changes around the city I found to be enormous and, without a GPS, I could not have found my way around the place any more. In ten days I never found the need to go outside the city as I found much to do and visit there. Add good weather and the visit was near perfect.

But, there is always a ‘but’ isn’t there. My pet beef was the miniscule cup of costly coffee, with absolutely no re-fills, served by the restaurants. Want a second cup, you buy a second cup!

As the minimum price is about £2.20 pounds, two cups would set me back £4.40, ie, $7.13 US dollars. This is astounding! The mark up must be in the hundreds of percent.

Any of the local restaurants I regularly visit here in Wisconsin will serve me a goodly sized cup of regular coffee for an average $1.50, ie about 93p.

The waitress will then re-fill the cup as often as necessary until the customer says nay. I usually go to three cups myself.

As in Britain, coffee is not grown in the US so there are taxes and import duties on coffee as in the UK, so that can’t be the reason for the excessive price. I have to think that if one restaurant would begin to give at least one re-fill to the coffee cup they would run the competition into the River Ribble in short order.

Jim Greenwood, Wisconsin

Planners need to protect area

I now see the ostentatious monstrosity of a development on Langley Lane, Goosnargh is likely to be given the green light by Preston planning department.

This is despite a plethora of very valid objections from every quarter, including the local MP Ben Wallace. Over the last couple of years or so there have been a number of applications given approval which have caused people to raise their eyebrows in disbelief.

As we are now in the midst of a frenzied land grab by developers, we should feel confident that Preston planning committee are protecting the interests of local residents and helping to retain the character of the area, at the same time allowing some development which is ‘in keeping’ and on an acceptable level.

This appears to be far from the reality of situation. Perhaps Preston planning department could explain who gives credence to applications such as this and why the objections are totally disregarded.

Jack Giddins, Woodplumpton

Labour wants to repeat past

I watched the Labour Party Conference and speaker after speaker was extolling the virtues of the tired and failed policies of the 13 years of Labour rule which brought this country to the brink of being bankrupt.

A rise in the minimum wage to £8 will close many small businesses overnight. Where are they supposed to get the extra money from? Price increases means loss of trade. Or do they cut their staff and send them on to the dole ?

Ed Miliband is asking for 10 years at Number 10. Not satisfied with the damage he and his party caused last time this would be the same as giving the car keys to a driver of a vehicle arrested for being over the alcohol limit and saying ‘Here have another go!’

The Labour Party, bereft of any new ideas, proved at their conference that socialism is not dead just brain dead and have not learned the harsh reality – you cannot pay more than you earn.

They should remember the wise words of the man who said ‘One man’s pay increase is another man’s price increase. ‘Who said this? Their late leader and former Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson, January 1970.

Philip Hardman, Kirkham

Days when Cilla ruled airwaves

Watching and enjoying the programme ‘Cilla’ took me back to the year ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart’ was released.

I was working on the record counter at Blackpool BHS selling and playing records all day, and I ­loved it.

I was called in the manager’s office one day and he said I had played ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart’ six times in the last hour and it wasn’t even that good of a record.

I said, ‘with all due respect sir they are flying off the shelves and it could even go to the number one spot by the end of this week’.

He said, ‘OK I’ll give you a week and if you are right you stay where you are and if not you are back on handbags’.

Of course I was right and kept my dream job.

Over 20 years later I was at a party which Cilla and Bobby attended. I chatted with both of them and you could tell they were a happy and devoted couple.

Bobby was still her ‘minder’, rescuing her from some over-enthusiastic autograph hunters.

He said, ‘I’ll have to go and rescue Cilla or she’ll be there all night. She can’t say no to anyone’.

If anyone has a big heart, it’s Cilla Black.

Mrs Jean Searle, Blackpool

Opponents are stopping jobs

The responsible onshore development of natural gas from shale is essential for guaranteeing the UK’s future energy security and economic prosperity. We understand Fylde Council is not the

determining body for applications. However, we are disappointed by their decision to object to a recent application to develop natural gas from shale in our local area.

As local residents, we feel reassured by the wealth of

independent and highly credible evidence – including by the Royal Society, the Scottish Government and a recent local study by internationally respected consultants Arup – which says adverse social impacts are minimal, and can be mitigated effectively.

It is, therefore, a shame local planning officers failed to consider these insights in their objections. In important cases like these – where jobs, growth and energy security are at stake – local stakeholders must think responsibly about the wider national interest.

North West Energy Task Force