Readers’ letters - April 20

Will new housing developments put Prestons Guild Wheel at risk? See main letter
Will new housing developments put Prestons Guild Wheel at risk? See main letter
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Don’t ruin Preston’s jewel

Twelve years ago, Peter Ward had the idea of a cycle route around Preston in the shape of a wheel.

This was to enable cyclists, walkers, wheelchair users and children to cycle safely to school, without using dangerous main roads. The 21-mile route was planned and designed by Peter with the help of Mike Atkins, a retired chief cycling officer from Lancashire County Council.

During the 12 years he worked ceaselessly, ensuring the route was safe and would be built to a good standard.

The completed design was put before LCC and PCC for help to fund and permission to use the land. LCC put £1.5m towards the construction.

He then contacted various agencies and businesses, including NHS and local garden centres, who all gave donations in money or in kind.

A group of volunteers gave up their time and effort and still do to ensure the Wheel remains the jewel in the crown of Preston. This group of volunteers are called the Guild Wheel User Group GWUG. They are all cyclists and professional people.

When the Guild Wheel was opened in 2012, I felt that was it, only final bulb planting and ensuring good maintenance of 12 years of hard work and an inheritance for years to come.

Peter was awarded an MBE by the Queen; the people of Preston voted for him to become a Guild Burgess; he won Special Recognition for Services to Sport, sponsored by the NHS; 100,000 people from all walks of life used the Wheel last year – these figures were given by LCC.

But where are we now four years later?

The powers-that-be at County Hall have stopped communication with Peter and the GWUG, refusing to meet them to discuss what they are allowing planning officers to do by ruining the beautiful lanes and safe routes to schools.

Builders’ lorries are thundering down these lanes with no thought for residents or Wheel users.

For every 100 houses built on these developments, there will be an extra 300 cars on the roads and there are still seven or more planned developments near the Wheel.

I agree we need more houses, especially to get more young people on the housing ladder but, for many years, there has and still is land around the Cottam area already designated for building with the infrastructure already there. Why not use this before tearing up the countryside?

Councillors are elected to support the people who elect them, where are they now?

Have they asked the opinion of residents or the GWUG, have they actually been seen showing some interest? Not to my knowledge, or have they been told not to get involved? Perhaps these questions should be asked when they knock on your door asking for your vote.

Nora Ward, Past Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, Past Chairman Lancashire County Council

‘Don’t park at dangerous spot’

Since the Orbital bus ceased and the new service in Cottam began, I have emailed Preston Bus four times.

The buses from Cottam to the city centre and Royal Preston Hospital are parking up outside the Ancient Oak. This appears to have become a smoking station for the drivers or they sit and read. Passengers are sat on the bus at this time.

The bus now runs up Cottam Way to Lea Road and back.

There are lay-bys up there and therefore a more suitable parking area if they are stationary and making up their time.

Why should I have to keep reassuring angry residents when this can be solved so easily?

The Ancient Oak is a dangerous spot for buses to park as it blocks the line of sight for motorists. Please tell the drivers not to park up there.

Coun Christine Abram, 
Lea and Cottam

Bad decisions for city centre

From the days of the Old Town Hall through to the Public Hall and Saul Street Baths, Preston planners have a lot to answer for.

Church Street and Friargate should be made Conservation Areas.

The ugly, faceless, derelict buildings of the 1960s should be demolished and rebuilt to blend in with the street scenes.

Church Street, especially, with its once beautiful shops with different heights and characters could be made a pleasure to visit.

Unfortunately, the likes of Bambers Furnisher Shop, in Friargate, with its lovely old sweeping staircase, have now vanished, only to be replaced with yet more of the same boring student flats that will destroy the whole look of one of the oldest, historic streets in Preston.

Let’s hope when the Market Hall and car park are demolished, the concrete jungle view on Ringway will become more attractive.

Visitors travelling through Preston must view our city centre as some sort of grey, dismal, totally downtrodden mill town to pass through quickly.

Only Preston and Lancashire planners could allow a listed building to have a great carbuncle attached to the front half of it, totally obliterating the whole image.

Added to the fact that the side furthest away from the city centre is where the buses will transport the public of all ages, with the youth zone commanding the premium site.

The lunatics are running the asylum.


This bus route was vital for us

As a resident of an estate situated off Lea Road (Summertrees Avenue), I would like to protest very strongly against the closure of the Orbit bus route.

There are many elderly and disabled people here who are now having to walk a long way down to Savick to catch a bus to the city centre.

Or, if they are going the other way, they have to hike on a very dangerous road, all the way to the fountain roundabout at Cottam to catch a bus to Asda or Royal Preston Hospital.

We are all ratepayers and expect a LOCAL bus service for the taxes we have to pay.

This route was vital to people in this area and, as such, should not have been axed.

Utterly disgusted, Lea