Readers' letters - January 12

Make more use of train station buildings

Friday, 12th January 2018, 2:11 pm
Updated Friday, 12th January 2018, 3:15 pm
Preston Train Station

Re: Preston Railway Station and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) report, which, quite rightly, identifies important issues affecting the station and its future (LP January 5). I urge the LEP to accept this report and move forward to resolve issues. But the LEP must widen the scope to establish the railway station as the centre point of a new mixed use development in Preston’s city centre. Rail stations in the UK are generally remote from the community they serve – for various reasons – and we need to move toward their inclusion in order to achieve truly sustainable community developments. This is the chance to knit the station into Preston city centre.The role of railways will change in the future – they will become the major method of net zero carbon transportation. Cars and other road transportation will, of course, always be needed but more and more as local transportation. HS2 is part of this strategy. Preston needs to plan accordingly. We need to provide more opportunities for people to live and work within walking distance from a rail station and developing city-scale mixed use is the answer.I urge the LEP to follow the guidance in the BREAM Communities strategy scheme which will help identify the best and most cost-effective sustainable solutions. Incidentally, if you look at the land around Preston rail station, it is mostly wasted. Much of it is railway land used for storage of track materials etc. There is also a lot of open land car parking, whereas city centres should have multi-storey car parking, preferably with apartments above. Making as much use of our land as we can is a basic principle of sustainability.The station buildings are quite beautiful – but mainly wasted. I cannot see any upper floors used properly. Imagine being a small professional business with office space right in the station. Easy to find, easy to reach. I would urge the LEP to consider business space developments with a range of small units. Finally, what is happening to the large old BT office building at the south end of the station? This is in an excellent location, views over the park. It is wasted – and preventing anyone else developing there. The building appears suitable for re-use as a hotel or small business office space – maybe both and with apartments. Maybe an aparthotel?Francis A MillsChartered professional engineering specialist

transportPublic deserves better serviceThe recent 3.4 per cent increase in the cost of rail tickets exposes the lack of customer focus on the part of directors of the rail network. It is clear we have a rail system that is all about profit before the needs of the customers. The ongoing increase in the cost of travelling by rail will price a lot of rail users out of using the railway as a means of commuting. There is absolutely no justification to increase the cost of rail travel in the current financial climate. On a personal perspective, in reference to the Lancaster to Manchester Piccadilly Transpennine Express service, I have seen, on numerous occasions, trains dangerously overcrowded, caused by a lack of seating and the failure by the rail operators to place extra carriages onto the train. It is seriously high time for the rail operators to be made publicly accountable and rail users to be given a voice in regard to the management of the services and costs of travel. The solution is obvious and that is, of course, to bring the railways back into public ownership and putting rail operations back together by ending franchising. The Labour Party has promised to deliver a publicly owned railway that the public deserves.Coun David WhitakerLabour

societyIt’s good to be PCThe term ‘political correctness’ has now itself become a form of abuse and is used as such by ‘Disgusted citizen’ (LP Letters, January 8).This is unfortunate because no reasonable person should tolerate the use of language that insults or demeans another human being because of their skin colour, religion, gender, sexuality, disability, or any other irrational bigotry. When mindless prejudices are uttered without challenge then a few more steps are taken along the road to the excesses of the Third Reich. Like the women who dressed in black at the Golden Globe awards (pictured) to show their solidarity against sexism, no one should be afraid of being accused of ‘political correctness’.John PrancePenwortham

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wasteSupply free binsAs a resident of South Ribble, I am very willing to pay for the collection of my garden waste. However, my (original) brown bin is cracked due to regular fortnightly use (and not due to any “abuse”!)Not wishing to start the paid-for service with a decrepit bin, I contacted the council and requested a new bin with which to start the new service. I was told I most certainly may have a replacement bin – at a cost of £30, unless there is damage to the wheels or lid. Surely it is possible to offer those brown bins, which are still property of the council, and which are not required by those householders not opting into the collection service, as replacements?Only those bins purchased by householders since September 2017 are not the property of the council. Therefore surely bins originally supplied free, and therefore council property, should be collected and made available without charge to subscribers to the paid service, for the sake of the environment and in a spirit of fairness and common sense.South Ribble resident

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