Readers' letters - December 13
Shedding light on golden mile
Now Preston has its own version of the Golden Mile, much shorter but infinitely more profitable than Blackpool’s. In fact it should be paved with gold it’s raking in so much.
What we now need is a version of the Illuminations to warn motorists about it. A flashing warning sign across Fishergate at Mount Street would be a start. The anti-motorists portray the offenders as selfish individuals, flouting the law, who must be blind if they can’t see the signs. This is not so. Many law abiding, decent people are being caught in this trap.
I normally come into Preston by bus, but last week I had to collect a visitor, who had stayed overnight at the Premier Inn, Fox Street. The only way out of Fox Street is on to Fishergate, turning right. Once I had threaded a way past the security van parked alongside Lloyds Bank and other heavy traffic at that junction, it is less than 20m to the information sign at Mount Street, which is the point of no return. In the confusion of Fishergate, with many pedestrians to watch out for, it isn’t possible for an unfamiliar driver to assimilate all the information on this sign in time. If you’re behind a bus you won’t even see the sign. So keep on going is the obvious thing to do. Once past Mount Street you are in the £60 penalty charge zone and there is no escape from the cameras. The signs are designed as information signs, which are normally positioned to give advance warning, a good distance before you reach a hazard, not when you’re right on top of it. The blue circle giving positive instruction occupies a minor role on the signs, above the text. Those lucky drivers who manage to escape the trap, and turn left into Mount Street, heading they know not where, have to cross the heavy mainstream flow of pedestrian traffic along Fishergate, creating new aggravation and hazards. Many of the innocent victims have come to Preston to spend money in the shops. I normally do before Christmas. Not this year!
Roads misery at new homes
Once again Cottam is ravaged by road closures and numerous temporary traffic lights. Residents of Hoyles Lane are again suffering with the road works and lights, not to mention the filthy state of the road.
HGVs going to the numerous building sites with disregard for residents even backing up their drives. There appears to be no real forward planning and no joined up thinking. Each site operating individually without co-operation with each other.
The residents are rightly annoyed and totally fed up with this ongoing disruption. Added to this the new roundabout on Tabley Lane has begun work, vehicles are queuing up to and beyond the roundabout at The Guild Merchant.
Preston City Planners need to come and look at this situation personally, drive round in their cars and experience what residents have to endure every day. We cannot keep granting planning permission for hundreds of houses without the infrastructure in place, it is madness.
Coun Christine Abram (Conservative)
Lea Ward, Preston
Why pay for royal neglect
In the unlikely event that a landlord, in this case the British tax payer, had paid their tenants substantial sums of money over the years, to include the maintenance of their property, the tenants failure to do so, should be treated as wilful neglect.
That the Windsors (current tenants) then had the effrontery to expect the landlord to stump up the money for these repairs smacks of brass neck nerve.
No doubt the expenditure will be sanctioned by a complacent estate agent (Parliament) anxious for similar treatment to their place of residence, now rusted through from years of expended hot air.
Grit paths as well as roads
Lancaster has recently had several days when the temperature dipped below zero, resulting in frosty and icy patches on busy shared-use paths which has made cycling and walking hazardous.
These slippery conditions were made worse in places by frozen leaves that have piled up over the autumn.
Some cyclists have been deterred from using their bikes altogether, and others have slid off. A notoriously treacherous stretch is that around the approaches to the Millennium Bridge, which generally freezes first.
One experienced, local cyclist shattered his femur and hip bone by the bridge and required a replacement hip joint. This - personal suffering aside - cost the NHS some £12,500 to treat. For some shovelfuls of grit, such accidents could be prevented.
Not proactively gritting shared-use paths, particularly busy commuter routes, is quite frankly economics of the madhouse.
Each winter Lancashire County and Lancaster City Councils proactively grit roads to prevent dangerous driving conditions for motorists, yet do not treat pedestrians and cyclists with equal care.
Each cold winter the NHS picks up the tab to repair injured pedestrians and cyclists.
Dynamo (Lancaster and District Cycle campaign group) is urging the councils to adopt a proactive approach to gritting shared-use paths and pavements.
Indeed we have written to the county council on this matter but have not received a reply. Formerly there was a dedicated cycling officer at the county council who could supply such information but his post has gone, as have regular meetings with the council.
Local cyclists, as well as being left out in the cold, are now in the dark too.
Raw deal for pensioners
One of the glaring omissions from the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement was the future funding of social care.
In the weeks leading up to the statement, various health organisations, charities, think tanks and campaign groups had been calling on the government to close the funding gap. Since 2010, social care budgets have been cut by more than £5bn and experts say that next year there will be a £1.9bn shortfall which will increase to £2.3bn by 2019/20.
It is well documented that the system suffers from a postcode lottery of charges, limited access to services, badly paid and poorly trained staff, a lack of proper regulation, low standards, inadequate “flying” 15-minute visits and a lack of dignity for both staff and residents.
As a result of the cuts to funding, well over 1m older people no longer get the help and support they need in their own home.
Everyone knows there is a real crisis in social care, but the Chancellor didn’t even mention it. Yet the general public know that more of the same just won’t work.
We need a new approach to social care that makes it part of the NHS and funds it through taxation.
Lancashire West Pensioners/North West Regional Pensioners Association