Readers' leaders - May 4

Pioneer or laughing stock?
A reader is concerned that this junction on Lightfoot Lane is an accident waiting to happen.                                                 Picture: Matt HodgesA reader is concerned that this junction on Lightfoot Lane is an accident waiting to happen.                                                 Picture: Matt Hodges
A reader is concerned that this junction on Lightfoot Lane is an accident waiting to happen. Picture: Matt Hodges

I was very pleased to see Nora Ward’s letter regarding the Guild Wheel (LEP April 20). It is very sad to see so many threats to Preston’s Guild Wheel but good that you are helping to draw attention to the danger.

I am a touring cyclist living in Scorton and, since retiring, I have ridden in every county and region in Britain.

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The Guild Wheel isn’t really my scene but I am still very unhappy about the developments on the Lightfoot Lane section of the Guild Wheel and also the potential developments on D’Urton Lane.

Why am I bothered about this 21-mile circuit when there are over 200,000 miles of highways and byways for me to ride in Britain?

Well, I am passionate about passing on the gift of cycling to the next generation and to my own grandchildren.

I have rode round the Guild Wheel a couple of times and used parts of it on several occasions when passing through Preston and I have been impressed by the number and variety of cyclists and pedestrians using the Wheel.

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It is a superb facility for introducing children to cycling as a means of travel rather than bikes just being toys. It is also a great way for adults returning to cycling to regain confidence.

What better way to get the exercise we need to keep us fit and healthy than to cycle, but so many people lack the confidence and bike control to venture onto our busy urban roads.

The Guild Wheel is an excellent place to ride while they build their skills and gain confidence.

It is for these reasons that I was so appalled when I saw the badly designed junction disgorging trucks onto the formerly quiet Lightfoot Lane.

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No one with any concern for safety and knowledge of vehicle dynamics would have designed a junction like that, even with an ordinary road.

Vehicles swing right, cutting the corner on a collision course with anyone coming up to the new give way line.

This is bad design in any situation but with a lane which is designated as a safe route to school and is also a busy cycling and walking route, it is gross incompetence.

The plans show there is to be an East West Link Road to serve this development and access to developments should be via this dedicated distributor road.

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So why is this development disgorging trucks onto the Guild Wheel and why are several more junctions to be built?

Why on earth hasn’t the development of these housing sites in North West Preston been made dependent on the construction of at least part of the proposed East West Link Road so that the construction traffic can be sent that way instead of endangering the lives of vulnerable road users on Lightfoot Lane and Sandyforth Lane?

The re-development of the Whittingham Hospital site has been held back for many years pending the construction of the Broughton Bypass because of traffic problems on the A6.

These North West Preston developments should have been made dependent on the opening of the East West Link Road.

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Does the council consider the lives of children and cyclists less important than a traffic jam on the A6 or are they just pandering to the builders’ demands?

The Guild Wheel has been hailed as a jewel in Preston’s crown and has been widely admired with other places wanting to copy it.

I am sure the people of Preston would not want this vandalism of the Guild Wheel to be a case study for cycle proofing workshops of how not to treat cycling facilities.

It will make Preston a laughing stock instead of a pioneer at a time when the need to encourage and promote cycling for local travel and healthy exercise is being widely recognised.

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Press your councillors to halt these other junctions and insist this one is redesigned urgently.

Matt Hodges, Scorton

EU Army plans marching ahead

Plans for a European Army are relentlessly marching ahead – just as we have long predicted and despite denials by politicians.

Former EU Commission President Romano Prodi has already admitted it is in the pipeline and now we learn that Germany is pushing for such an army to encompass all 28 member states with a joint headquarters and shared military planning.

Apparently Germany had wanted to keep the proposals secret until after the EU referendum, well they would wouldn’t they? Germany is desperate to keep the UK in the EU as they know if we leave, other member states may follow our example and their project will collapse.

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Those in this country in the Remain camp deny losing our sovereignty but giving up the right to defend ourselves is just a further erosion of that.

The writing for the future of the UK as an independent nation is not just on the wall, it is writ in ominous blue and yellow. Anyone who truly cares for this country must vote for Brexit next month.

Paul Nuttall, North West UKIP MEP and deputy party leader

Politics is fragmenting

Personally, I believe politics in general is fragmenting at an accelerating rate.

Not only does the public not believe what a politician says these days but many politicians don’t either. The Liberal party is on the ropes, Labour is furiously working to join ‘em, whilst the remain camp Tories and Desperate Dave are... well, let’s not go there.

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I don’t know what it is but something is coming home to roost and not just in the UK. I have never seen so scary a bunch of ne’er-do-wells in all my life.

Joseph G Dawson, Chorley

Jeremy Hunt has no mandate

Wasn’t it Jeremy Hunt who was sacked as Business Secretary in the last Government for wanting to give Murdoch more control over the media?

The question now is: Do you support Hunt or the junior doctors? Let’s have a referendum.

If the Government says no then Hunt must go as I believe he has no mandate for what he is doing, despite what the Tory party pretends.

Alan Falcous, Carnforth

Traffic situation is just ludicrous

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I am wondering if the Preston city planners have misplaced their brains, because they are certainly not in use when it comes to the various developments in the area.

The planners seem to turn a blind eye to what the developers are doing. Are they frightened to bring them to task?

Basically the existing residents are expected to put up and shut up regarding what is going on around them.

What amazes me is that the planners are able to target the small person who has put up a brick wall within the permitted height range, they are then told they have to apply for planning permission. This keeps happening.

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I would have thought the planners should be targeting the developers who are just doing as they please and appear not to be answerable to anyone but themselves.

Who in their right mind would let developers commence building on Hoyles Lane without the facility for HGVs to turn round on the site?

Apparently they are having to reverse out onto Hoyles Lane which is absolutely ludicrous.

We now have the wonderful traffic lights switched on at the crossroads of Tabley Lane, Hoyles Lane/Lightfoot Lane.

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This is fine but are we expected to battle with the traffic lights and also the toucan crossing? Surely the toucan crossing can now be disposed of? We are going to be presented with roundabouts, as well as traffic lights, all within close proximity of each other.

How on earth is the traffic going to keep moving? When the school bus stops on Tag Lane/Tabley Lane, all the traffic will come to a grinding halt because, even though the traffic lights are in place, the traffic will be unable to go anywhere because someone decided it was in the best interest of the toucan crossing to do away with the bus lane.

Seeing as how the council has allowed all this development and has ruined the Guild Wheel, would it possible to re-install the bus lane, or is this too much to ask?

Ellen Moon, address supplied

School tests are nothing new

Those parents who pulled their children out of school in protest at tests for six and seven year-olds behaved irresponsibly. The claim that the tests stop children from being kids is risible and manufactured.

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Equally dubious is the claim that the tests are putting pressure on teachers, despite the fact they don’t have to prepare the maths and English tests, only administer them.

Years ago, it was standard practice to test basic maths, tables punctuation and spellings daily. Now, we are told that to hold basic tests every four years puts children’s mental health at risk.

These tests are designed to judge progress. Of course, they also indicate how well a school is doing.

Maybe this is what is concerning headteachers, and why parents will not be fined as they should be according to the rules.

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A good school will administer these tests easily. Any stress caused to children will be caused not by the tests but by staff. The notion that one is a failure smacks of a certain political ideology. It doesn’t mean the tests should not be set or sat.

In an increasingly competitive world, it is vital that our children are able to compete internationally.

Currently, we are falling further and further behind.

Dr Barry Clayton via email

Deal with all hate speech

I am grateful to your correspondent Barry Freeman for raising the debate on Ken Livingston’s comments regarding Hitler recently (LEP, May 2).

If anyone is to be suspended from the Labour Party it should be John Mann, for his appalling rant in front of the cameras.

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Also for mentioning the Havaara agreement in his article, which is very pertinent to this debate.

This was the transfer agreement between Nazi Germany and Zionist German Jews involved with the Zionist Federation in Germany and the Anglo- Palestine Bank.

It was to facilitate the emigration of German Jews to Palestine.

It forced them initially to give up possessions before leaving Germany, but later to be transferred to Palestine as German exports.

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Hitler was in power and, of course, must have been aware of these negotiations.

The agreement was, however, controversial and criticised both by Zionists and Jewish leaders.

The whole debate over Ken Livingston’s comments has stalled any discussions on the rights of Palestinians, which is the other side of the ongoing attempt for human rights to be re-balanced in the West Bank.

To provide peace talks between Israel and Palestine is surely the first thing for Labour or the Conservatives to invest time in.

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Rooting out anti-Semitism should be a priority that is ongoing for all parties, but they should include dealing with any anti-Muslim rhetoric as well, which seems to be more prominent at this time.

If we are to say that all human needs are met, with tolerance and compassion for everyone, we need to know who the target of hate speech is in everyday life.

This is clearly something David Cameron needs to speak out about within his party.

Marjorie Nye, address supplied

Bend it like Beckham

I find it incredible that today’s young budding footballers hardly use their left foot.

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To make a good footballer you have to be good with both left and right foot even though you are right-footed.

So come on future soccer aces, learn to use both feet and that way you may succeed to the big time.

Bend it like Beckham, he knew the score.

EB Warris, address supplied