Readers' letters - July 13
HS2 vanity project cannot be justified
Re: The HS2. How can spending money like water on such a vanity project be right?
The NHS, education, the penal system –just for starters – are all falling apart at the seams, the Government has the audacity to stick to a one per cent annual pay cap for public sector workers, yet we can still travel from London to Manchester in two hours?
Yes, jobs will be created in engineering and construction industries, paid for by every taxpayer, but the country is not selling exports which are really what is needed. The problem is that the majority of the population, who will not be affected by HS2 or travel on it, could not care less.
From what I see, the majority of MPs follow the party line like sheep in a bid to keep their jobs. Only a huge financial crash, which will affect everybody, is likely to stop HS2, perhaps instilling basic common sense and forcing our leaders to act more responsibly.
Your Say has had a crop of letters in recent days about “the few and the many”, increasing tax and promoting equality by governmental policy.
As I read each of these, I am reminded of a conversation with an American which must have been 60 years ago now.
But I have never forgotten his words, which went like this:
“You Brits are so different from us Americans.
“A shimmering Rolls Royce comes round the corner of a poor housing area in England where two lowly-paid men are talking at their garden gates.
“One says to the other: ‘We must find a way of getting that off him.’
“A shimmering Cadillac comes round the corner of a poor housing area in the States where two lowly-paid men are talking at their garden gates.
“One says to the other: ‘I am going to have one like that one day.’”
There’s no room for more traffic
As well as believing brown belt land, derelict and empty buildings should be a planning priority, I think applications should only be allowed on green belt if a nature reserve forms part of the plan.
At least then nature gets a home as well as we arrogant humans who seem intent on destroying every green space we can get our hands on.
The irony is that, by allowing what seems to be thousands and thousands of houses along Eastway, a planning application that offered something as well as houses – a large parkland and a PNE facility plan – has had to be rejected.
Alas, there are now too many proposed houses along Eastway, not enough infrastructure and too many cars, so no one with any sense would give any more planning applications near this area the go-ahead.
Fewer houses, along with the PNE facility and the park – which in the right hands could also include a peaceful wildlife habitat in its grounds – may still work though, creating a barrier against urban sprawl.
It would certainly be a better plan than what most short-sighted developers (houses, houses and more houses) would propose.
However, going ahead with 450 houses and the increase in traffic will just result in even more gridlock.
Choice to smoke and spend cash
Since the introduction of no smoking in bars and clubs 10 years ago, how many public places have been forced to close or are no longer profitable?
How many outdoor events will still be here in 10 years if smoking is banned from then?
Social life now is like a secret club on the backyard, away from people, and the chance to meet new people is getting slimmer.
So could you please explain why, as a family, should I go to events with my family?
You are not just penalising me, but my family as well.
Yes, it’s my choice to smoke and it is also my choice not to spend money where I can’t, and I’m probably not the only one who thinks like that.
A smoker of 35 years
How does your garden grow?
Channel 4’s Dispatches programme (Monday, July 10) on companies’ failure to deliver affordable housing also revealed the luck of some politicians.
In 2008, the current Chancellor Phillip Hammond was fortunate enough to purchase three acres of land to increase the curtilage of his property.
A benevolent builder, land bank owner, sold him this piece of land for £100,000.
Current farm land prices are £10-20,000 per acre.
Did he pay over the odds?
Possibly, however, should planning laws change, he could be millions of pounds to the good.
Not bad if your front garden produced such a harvest.
No need even for a magic money tree.
By the way, there is no allegation that he has done anything wrong.
Soft justice does not work
When I read that a man, who committed not one but two house burglaries, was sentenced to two years of jail and will be out in one year, it makes me feel justice has been lost.
Imagine the stress the householders have suffered.
Jail is a soft option these days with all the facilities available.
In 1957 I arrested a burglar who had previous convictions. Because he was over 30, he got 10 years preventative detention with no parole. That was what I consider real justice.
Look at the amount of murders there are today since we stopped the death penalty. Soft justice does not work.