Readers’ letters - January 26

A meerkat enclosure is a costly idea during these days of council cuts says a reader. See letter
A meerkat enclosure is a costly idea during these days of council cuts says a reader. See letter
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Reduce senior chiefs’ pay

I have read with increasing interest your articles on services being curtailed and cancelled by the county council.

One fact that has struck me is the absence of any details of the salary reduction of the council’s senior officers.

Several factors are used to determine the remuneration of these posts, two of the key determinant factors being the size of budget and manpower headcount.

Taking into account the reduction in directors’ posts and the salaries of the remaining senior staff, it should be a relatively simple task to provide the ratepayers of Lancashire with a simple factual statement as to the total amount of savings made by these reductions, compared directly to the salary bill for these grades in the years before financial savings and service reductions were required, and provide the ratepayers with a percentage figure and total savings made in this salary grade.

This information should be readily available for this grade of management from the county’s standard payroll systems.

Before any cuts are made to services, the salaries of the senior officers should be reduced in line with their decreasing responsibilities and staffing headcount in my opinion.

T.E. Riley, Walton-le-Dale

Cut back on LCC staff pensions

A message for Coun Jennifer Mein through your letters page. Jennifer bemoans the hard decisions on where to make cuts to local services (LEP January 22), however Jennifer makes no mention of the most obvious area for cut-backs. These, in my opinion, are the unsustainable gold-plated pension schemes for employees.

If Jennifer had the courage and willpower to challenge this area of expenditure, without doubt the council services would be more protected now and, more importantly, in the future.

Mr Terence Startin, Penwortham

Cuts, cuts, cuts and meerkats

Lancaster City Council is beyond belief (LEP January 22).

Let’s lose the lime trees in Market Square, only empty the bins on a three-week cycle, have a proposed charge of £1 per person to go to the splash park at Happy Mount Park and cut the majority of the bus routes in the district to minimum service. Then they shall put up a new meerkat enclosure up at Williamson Park (at a cost of £45,000) which will probably not have a bus going past its entrance as the council cut all the bus services.

To add insult to injury, the council is then raising the council tax for cutting all basic services and finding the resources to create a meerkat enclosure.

The Mr Blobby fiasco, closure of Lancaster Market Hall and several other ventures by our council spring to my mind.

Lancaster is certainly not the only council to be facing cuts and challenges but to put a new live attraction at Williamson Park when the city cannot afford basic budgeting and housekeeping is a selfish thing to do with £45k that could be utilised in a better way.

Margret Hollstein, Galgate

M6 alternative to road bypass?

So, at long last, work has started on Broughton Bypass (LEP January 12).

I feel sorry for the people who have had to leave their homes for this construction project.

Many readers have commented in the past that the sensible option would be for a new exit from the M6, avoiding the need for the current upheaval.

Did anyone ever do a comparison of the current work against creating an exit further north?

If so, was this published for the general public to see?

Interested, Ashton, Preston

Pilgrimage to battlefields

Each year the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry Battlefield tours organise pilgrimages to the battle areas of the First World War.

The tours are in August and September, covering France and Belgium. This year we plan to visit the Somme Battlefields, the Ypres Salient, Arras, Vimy Ridge and Loos Battlefield areas, if requested.

One hundred years ago on July 1, 1916, the Battle of the Somme began after the first day of fighting. The British Army casualties were in the vicinity of 57,000, the highest casualty figure the British Army ever suffered.

The trips specialise in visiting specific cemeteries or memorials on the above mentioned battlefields, as and when they are requested, and an experienced battlefield guide will accompany each trip, to commentate on the various battles and events that occurred in the areas that we visit. We can also assist people in the tracing of war graves from the First World War.

The K.O.Y.L.1. Battlefield pilgrimages was formed as a charitable hobby in 1990 by ex-servicemen who have many years of practical experience in conducting visits, and we support the Royal British Legion Poppy appeal and other institutions.

These trips are open to anyone who might be interested. Anyone who requires further information should write to John Battye, 32 Rhodes Street, Hightown, Castleford, West Yorkshire, WF10 5LL or phone 01977 734614. We ask for a medium sized S.A.E. for all postal replies.

John Battye, Castleford