Readers' letters - April 18

City centre left a poor impression

I worked for many years in Preston but had not visited for sometime until last Saturday. I parked on the main car park at the bottom of Avenham Street at 9.45am and was immediately confronted by a beggar. As I walked the full length of Fishergate, I saw a total of five more beggars and three people sleeping rough in the doorway of the former BHS building. Down at heel was the over-riding impression gained within the first 10 minutes. I spent a total of 22 minutes in town and was then charged a parking fee of £2 for the privilege. Preston should be the town of choice for many in Lancashire but to be confronted by such a dismal showing is off-putting. The place needs not only to be functional but also attractive and welcoming. Sadly, I have to say it might just be the former but it is certainly not the latter. I think I will go to Clitheroe from now on.Greg Turnervia email

Chorley FCI walked offin disgustPlease let me state from the beginning that I totally agree with Chorley FC imposing a ban on Mr Livesey for his sexist comment (Broadcaster banned over ‘sexist’ remark, LP April 11).However, on the other side of the argument, the referee in question deserved the condemnation of the home supporters for her lack of control of the game.In my opinion, this was one of the worst performances I have seen from a referee in all my years following my club. She lost control of the game.Boston Utd came, basically, not to lose the game at any cost and were extremely physical against Chorley players. Most referees would make an early intervention and at least tell the players on the field to cut it out, or else they will be booked or sent off. As the game wore on, so did the fouls and physical approach. The referee looked out of her depth and did nothing to calm the situation on the pitch and so it continued.Football is a passionate sport and supporters get wound up and have every right to criticise the officials in the correct way. Mr Livesey, pictured, overstepped the mark by making it sexist.I was so disappointed by the referee’s performance, I walked off in disgust at the final whistle. Usually I applaud the players and officials off, but this was just too much.Alan House (Lifelong Chorley supporter) frackingSentences are derisoryA judge who has handled more fracking trials than anyone else said the cases were putting huge pressure on the courts system.Surely what is placing just as much pressure are the derisory sentences handed down to these law-breaking protesters – who do not show a shred of remorse for their actions as they make repeated court appearances.Many of these Preston New Road ‘campers’ laugh in the face of the police, the Criminal Prosecution Service, the Bench and indeed all of decent society. More importantly, it is the long-suffering Preston New Road commuters and community who are forced to bear the brunt of their actions while all Lancashire ratepayers pay for the policing and court costs.More often, protesters are given little more than a ‘conditional discharge’ – which allows them to return to the site to offend again – and they often do!In the case of one protester, surely Judge Brailsford and his esteemed colleagues have got to be tougher in their sentencing. Here is a man who received three convictions in a day for offences which included staging a 22-hour demonstration on top of an articulated lorry going to the site. All he received as punishment was a hefty fine and costs. You have got to question the absurdity of the situation – considering the significant disruption to local residents and businesses at such great cost – when such a serial offender is basically given what accounts to little more than a slap on the wrist.B COOPEBlackpoolconflictElement of surprise

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If all military action has to be authorised by Parliament, it leaves the Government, and Armed Forces, bereft of one significant advantage – the element of surprise. By acting as she did, Theresa May was making sure her successors will still have all options open to them.Andrew Mercervia email