Reader’s letters - Wednesday 05 February 2014

A correspondent appeals for police and councils to support processions like the one pictured
A correspondent appeals for police and councils to support processions like the one pictured
Have your say

Clean energy is solution

A Cuadrilla-backed industry group and self-styled ‘Task Force’ is imploring people to get behind shale (LEP February 3). As residents’ groups from across the North West, we would like to offer a more positive vision for industry and employment for our region. Far from being a solution to the North West’s energy and employment needs, shale gas is a distraction from the huge potential to develop clean energy, which would create thousands of long-term jobs in the region.

Already the £1.2bn renewables industry in the North West employs nearly 10,000 people across 611 companies. With our engineering skills and vast renewable energy resources, our region should be at the forefront of the growing clean energy sector. Experience from the US has shown that over twice as many jobs are created in wind energy than gas, for the same amount of investment. Public opinion is firmly in support of clean energy, with wind farms six times more popular than shale gas wells.

We are also concerned about the impact shale gas exploitation would have on our farming and tourism sectors. The European Commission says fracking poses high risk of water contamination and air pollution and we would remind residents that two of four wells have failed in the Fylde due to technical challenges.

Tourism brings in over £200m to the Fylde economy alone – but who would want to visit an area industrialised with gas production infrastructure? And who would want to consume food produced from land punctured with thousands of fracking wells?

Instead of promoting more shale gas hype, the business sector should protect our existing industries threatened by fracking, and embrace the clean energy solutions that will really boost the North West’s economy.

Residents Action on Fylde Fracking, Defend Lytham, Ribble Estuary Against Fracking, Longridge Against Fracking, Central Lancashire Friends of the Earth, Frack Free Greater Manchester

Money should stay in the area

Re: Councils sitting on millions (LEP January 31), the article states that millions of pounds, given by developers to councils to pay for community projects, have not yet been spent. This money should be earmarked for projects in the area which generated it.

The article quotes deputy leader of South Ribble, Coun Peter Mullineaux, as saying: “South Ribble Council has received £1.06m of 106 cash for 28 projects since 2008/09,but it has only spent £58,123 for four schemes.”

£86,000 of this 106 agreement money, although it was mostly generated by developments in Bamber Bridge, has gone to Higher Walton and Gregson Lane Schemes. Higher Walton received £36,000. Coun Mullineaux could have said he is the councillor for this ward, but he didn’t. He could have stated £46,000 has gone to his neighbouring ward of Gregson Lane – alas no!

He might have mentioned that, at a full council meeting last year, Labour councillor Dave Watts asked that the £1m accrued from the 42 houses at The Hospital Inn site, which must be used for affordable housing, be used on the Wesley Street Mill Development in Bamber Bridge – but he did not. He might even have considered telling the residents of Bamber Bridge that of the 28 projects he mentioned, 16 were originally allocated for that area.

Coun Dave Watts, Bamber Bridge

Kindness may be behind veil

In response to the letter from a Concerned reader (LEP February 3), I too have mixed feelings about the wearing of the burka.

However, a couple of incidents have made me stop and consider. As I boarded a crowded bus, heavily laden with shopping, a young woman with a burka, sprang to her feet and said ‘Sit yourself down love, you look tired’. I was grateful for her thoughtfulness. A few days later I shared a brief moment of hilarity whilst in a supermarket, again with a lady wearing a burka. We all wear masks of some sort and perhaps we would do better to seek out the kindness that sometimes lies behind the veil.

Josephine Walker, Preston

Support our processions

Our country has a long history of parades, where the people are able to demonstrate their Christian witness to the people (LEP January 27). In Banks last year, for the first time, the three churches united to march together as a witness to our beliefs. This was recognised by the whole village as a resounding success and helped to further unite, not just the churches, but the village.

The police were involved in planning and marshalling and were most helpful. The efficient and good humoured way in which officers conducted themselves was probably the best PR exercise the police could have done. At a time when negative publicity is being directed at police, a visible police presence in a positive way can only be a good thing.

I would urge all those in authority to support not just our parade, but those throughout the country, and take the view that the money spent on them is not a waste of public resources, but a positive step in building good relationships with communities.

We have been in touch with Ormskirk police to ask for their help policing our joint annual Procession of Witness. In November they said there would be no help available, when we asked again in January, they said we would have to apply and they would let us know.

We have also been in touch with West Lancashire Borough Council regarding an order under section 21 Town and Police Clauses Act 1847, regarding the control and movement of vehicles. They have also said to apply and they will be in touch when they have sorted something out.

Thomas W Cropper, pp; Banks St Stephen’s Church. St Stephen’s Church; The Methodist Church Banks; The Church at the Centre in Banks

Concerns are being ignored

Eric Pickles wrote in the Daily Telegraph: “Decentralisation is about devolving power downwards – not just to town halls, but to parishes and neighbourhoods below them.”

Recent planning applications in Garstang have raised many objections. When these applications come before the Borough Planning Committee, local concerns seem to be overlooked and plans voted through, usually with the support of out of town councillors who have neither local knowledge or attachment. Builders’ desires seem to be paramount while residents’ concerns are ignored even after assurances that “residents’ concerns are important”. Is this the way Garstang should develop? Who is to protect its much admired character?

Concerned Local Resident, Garstang