Readers' letters - March 2

A vital community service

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 2nd March 2016, 2:46 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd March 2016, 3:51 pm
Bus protest placards outside Preston County Hall from the Save Our Bus Campaigners. See letter about the Orbital bus route
Bus protest placards outside Preston County Hall from the Save Our Bus Campaigners. See letter about the Orbital bus route

What goes around, comes around... unless you’re the Preston Orbital bus route.

Rotala, the owner of former employee-owned Preston Bus, claims that the route is impractical and unprofitable.

It has announced a series of changes to its routes that partially replaces the Orbital route, but leaves some passengers stranded and others facing multiple journeys to get to the same place.

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If a private company is making a loss on a service, it seems inevitable that the service will change or be stopped.

Rotala has no obligation to provide anything that doesn’t increase the bottom line of the balance sheet, but we are talking about vital community transport and economic infrastructure here – and that means people will struggle to get to work, to school and college or to hospital, to visit the doctor and the sick.

It’s not a decision that should be debated at a shareholders’ meeting. It’s a debate about need, about sustainability and about the knock-on effect on the local economy.

But that debate has not taken place. It has not taken place because the bus company simply doesn’t have to. When buses were deregulated by Margaret Thatcher, councils lost almost all power to influence local public transport for those that use it and pay for it, i.e. the public.

And now, the only influence that local government retained over buses, the ability to subsidise unprofitable routes, is being taken away by a Government that makes Thatcher look middle of the road. Not that the Orbital bus was subsidised, but it could have been, or it could have been discussed, if council funding had not been ransacked by Westminster.

Companies like this need to realise that they are not selling vacuum cleaners. They are providing a vital public service and they need to treat it as such.

The public deserve better, if only for the fact that over £1m of public money was spent creating the route in 2003. If the route doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, but that debate has not been had, at least not to the satisfaction of the service users, the ones that matter.

It feels like Rotala has made a very cynical decision, knowing that councils are likely to get the blame for this amid hundreds of other cutbacks, when nothing could be further from the truth.

You can be sure that councillors will meet with officials and that petitions will be presented.

However, any leftover good- will, following the transfer from Preston Bus, will quickly diminish if the Orbital bus stops at the terminus for the final time.

Politicians know all too well that people don’t forget when they’ve been short-changed, and Rotala will discover that what goes around, comes around.

Coun Mark Yates, Larches Ward (Labour)

Danger of floods and fracking

With regard to the article about farmers objecting to fracking due to the risk of pollution onto their fields (LEP February 26).

What would happen in the event of another serious flood?

Cuadrilla initially said it was going to use a mixture of water and sand for fracking, as claimed in a promotional leaflet.

However, the company was forced to withdraw it because it wasn’t clear about the chemicals it intends to use for fracking.

The other chemicals used will be hydrochloric acid and biocide, which is used to kill plant life but also used to kill anything living in its different applications. These are added to make up the fracking fluid injected into the ground.

If an exploration fracking site, where these chemicals will be used, became seriously flooded and any of the 200-litre drums of these chemicals were punctured or spilled into the flood water, it would have a devastating effect on the plants, soil, fish and birds.

It could potentially affect large areas, poisoning the ground and water sources and damaging human health.

Name and address supplied

Could you help with nostalgia?

I am trying to get hold of any information and photographs from the early 1970s.

I played in a band, back in the ‘70s, called the Hiltones.

We were quite popular at the time and played most of the clubs in and around Preston.

We were also one of the first bands to play at the Guild hall when it opened in 1973.

We knew the manager at the time, a chap by the name of Vin Sumner, and he used to book us for various functions at the Guild Hall.

We played for a Welcome to Bobby Charlton dance when he was appointed PNE manager, and played a few New Year’s Eve dances with a big band called Jack Campbell’s big band.

I remember one New Year’s Eve dance, which was an all- nighter through to around 6am.

We also played at the Top Rank Suite for the Mayor’s command performance, along with various other artists, and the top of the bill was a guy called Lance Percival who was, at the time, a very big name.

Our lead guitarist was a young lad called Clayton Moss. He was only 13 years old and has since gone on to play with Roger Taylor from Queen in a band Roger formed called The Cross.

As I said, I am trying to get hold of any old photographs or information relating to any of the things I have mentioned and would appreciate any help you could give me.

If could help in any way you can email me at georgeand

[email protected] or phone 07771 746808. Many thanks for your help.

George Parkinson via email

Prices already high in the UK

How would Brexit affect prices?

How about the cost of everyday items?

Prime Minister David Cameron believes prices may rise.

“We’ve got to think about the issue of the prices in our shops,” he told workers at BAE Systems on a recent visit.

“Being part of a single market keeps our prices down.

“I think there’s a real risk that, if we leave, we would see fewer jobs, less investment and higher prices.”

What a numpty. He surely knows that the UK is the rip-off area of Europe.

All other EU countries can buy services and goods cheaper than the Brits.

Keith Hallam via email