Readers' letters - January 3
Park and ride won't work
Like many who supported the Bay Gateway project, I am pleased to see the improvement in traffic flows which have reduced journey times for all destinations in our area. In particular Caton Road has benefitted from HGVs rerouting to White Lund and Heysham port.
The new park and ride, although a good idea on paper, already appears to be a white elephant. A 30-minute bus service seems not acceptable to motorists who, finding less traffic on Caton Road, are able to use pay and display car parks close to Lancaster city centre without the added uncertainty of missing the return bus to the M6 link. People are not stupid and appear to have quickly worked this out judging by the empty park and ride.
This was probably too ambitious for our area. For comparison Preston has two park and rides offering a 12-minute service, while Southport has a 15-minute service, although Southport closed the Hesketh park and ride a couple of years ago, apparently surplus, which should tell us something, in favour of the Floral Gardens park and ride which has a large building for waiting and toilet facilities.
Lancaster Council’s intention to hive off the park and ride bus service to a private operator in 18 months looks unrealistic, the demand is clearly not there.
The Lancaster area does not have the drawing power of Preston, which can rely on a population catchment of over 500,000 within 20 minutes drive of the city. What’s to be done then? Extending the bus route to Lancaster Royal Infirmary and adding a new anti-clockwise route to Morecambe promenade via the Bay Gateway and Broadway may be of some benefit at the margin and in the summer season. If it were my business decision I’d admit the mistake, bite the bullet. Cancel bus service at once and open park and ride from April to August for car boot sales. It’s a first class location.
Ian R White
The news that a pilot scheme to reduce voter fraud is understandable given the extent of improper practices, particularly in connection with postal voting.
The scale of the numbers issued has gone far beyond the original concept of the postal voting system which was to provide, by post, a ballot paper for those voters in a ward or constituency who would be working away on the day of the election or who, because of long-term illness or severe disablement, could not get to their allotted polling station.
After all, over the past 20 years or more, the widespread ownership and use of private motor vehicles has ensured that those voters who could do so, could reach the polling station and then be given assistance from the vehicle to the inside of the polling station.
I am concerned that staff inside the polling stations, usually the presiding officer and poll clerk, could well be intimidated both inside and immediately outside the station when the voter is asked to produce a form of identity in order to cast a vote or to apply for a postal vote.
Also there is a strong case for putting an end in law to the practice of party supporters outside stations asking electors for their electoral roll number.
The very integrity of British national and local elections is at stake if we truly wish to eliminate fraud from the democratic process.
These charges need to be amendments to the Representation of the People Act which governs all elections.
Restrict postal votes
Identity checks will not prevent election fraud.
The case for returning postal votes only to those who are on holiday, working or physically disabled is overwhelming.
Rents are too expensive
With rapidly rising numbers of homelessness, Britain faces a catastrophic housing crisis.
This Government is currently responsible for a ridiculously low level of new houses with almost all being built for purchase.
What is needed is houses built by local councils for rent.
Without action in this direction, the nation will face housing exploitation that will make the horrors of the 1950s and 60s Rachmanism pale into insignificance.
Due to people being unable to buy a house, many are compelled to rent in the private sector where most rents are extortionate.
Furthermore, tenancy agreements are harsh and the condition of many rented properties leaves much to be desired.
There is an obvious need to redress these imbalances in the private rented sector by the introduction of fair rent tenancy agreements.
However, I would be surprised if a Tory government would introduce such legislation.
Instead of wasting billions of pounds on projects like HS2, this Government should divert the money to pay for a massive social house building programme.
A roof over a person’s head is a basic human need. Also in the fifth richest economy, few should be homeless.
In conclusion, when we finally leave the European Union, there will be less pressure to house migrants from eastern Europe.
Indeed, the policy of any decent government should always be to house indigenous homeless Britons before any EU migrants.
Dr Glyn Powell
Drama’s a class act
What a superb programme Call The Midwife is.
It puts the other so-called medical/nursing dramas in the shade.
Casualty started off well but gave in to the ratings games: ever more ludicrous stories about staff relationships, power games and big bus/train/car crashes.
Holby City was
rubbish from the start: hospital life is just not like that, all relationship shenanigans, back stabbing and anything for academic glory.
Midwife was always realistic, focused on everyday lives and problems, the characters believable because of class acting.
I trained in a mental hospital in the 1970s and there were patients who still called the place the “workhouse” and told all sorts of horror stories.
One ward was full of older women certified for having a child out of wedlock.
“Moral depravity” was their diagnosis on admission, changed to “schizophrenia” by the 1970s.
So the scenarios were real in Midwife, not concocted round a table.
As I said: class.