Free Press readers have their say on the subjects that matter to them. Do you have something you want to get off your chest? Simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to us: Doncaster Free Press, Sunny Bar, Doncaster DN1 1NB.
Ok, there are some bad points but Doncaster is a great place to live
I was talking to two friends, one a Doncaster resident for 28 years and the other a former resident some 25 years ago, and we were talking about how Doncaster had changed dramatically over the years. I have only resided in Donny for 21 years and so my memory does not go back as far as theirs. I subsequently thought about events I had read about in your newspaper and the national press in the years I have lived here. Some have even been reported on national television. When I first moved to Doncaster there was a spate of local councillors being sent to prison after convictions for making fraudulent claims over their expenses. Other matters I remembers hitting the headlines are: The scandal regarding cases of child neglect and child abuse being exposed, so much so that our social services failed Government inspections and resulted in Government Inspectors being appointed to run this vital aspect of care; Abuse of the elderly in our care homes which resulted in criminal convictions of the persons responsible; Doncaster was reported as the “the obesity capital of the UK”; Doncaster has also been reported as having double the national percentage of reported cases of alcoholism in the UK and this really is a serious social problem; Local hospitals are having difficulty keeping up with the amount of sexually transmitted diseases needing treatment; Prostitution in certain parts of the borough; A retired police Chief Superintendent has recently been employed to assist in dealing with the amount of domestic violence occurring; The usage, cultivation and supplying of illegal drugs seems to be prevalent. All these matters have been reported, some of them repeatedly, in your excellent publication and they continue with your latest headline exposure “What a Rip-Off” where some local councillors seem to be taking advantage, I will put it no stronger that that, of their position by being paid generous expenses and giving very little attention to council duties (Doncaster Free Press, August 1). In the face of such negativity I can almost hear the reader saying “if that’s what he thinks of Doncaster, why doesn’t he b****r off back to where he came from.” Let me give some info about myself. I was born in Nottingham but my career took me to London where I married and with my wife we brought up our children and we lived there for many years. One of our reasons for moving was to improve our quality of life. I love living in Doncaster. I like and respect the people I have met. My wife and I are very happily settled here. Doncaster has much to be proud of. There are only three Mansion Houses in England and one is in Donny. We have the best market in England and our racecourse is one of the best in the land. Many towns would like to have a shopping precinct such as the Frenchgate Centre. There are building and business projects in hand. Are any of the things I have mentioned above twarting any ambition to become a city, attract more business investment or dissuading the award of government sponsored investment by ways of grants?
R Whalley, Address Supplied
Costly MPs have lost our vote
While other people struggle to make ends meet, these people think they are untouchable. Between the three of them, during 2012/13, our three local MPs claimed a total of, on average, £1,830.37 - this over 52 weeks. Taken over 36 weeks, as this is a normal year’s attendance, it increases to £2,643.85 per week. If you take into account that Dennis Skinner spends the most time in the House of Commons, his expenses over 36 weeks averages just £347 - multiply this by three and it is £1,041 - under 40 per cent less than the Donny three. It stinks. One certainty is that not one of them will receive a single vote from this house in future. We will be joining the millions of non-voters. Other people should take note when they come to your doors, asking for your cross.
John Lazenby, Aintree Avenue, Cantley
Keep Civic open and save cash?
We now learn, thanks to the Doncaster Free Press, of a ‘behind closed doors’ council report that states we council tax payers will be saddled with an addional £270,000 bill each year for the ‘less than predicted savings of relocating staff from the numerous council buildings into the new Civic Offices in Waterdale.’ Not content with that, the new mayor, Ros Jones, and her enlarged Labour panel has agreed to borrow a further £1.5 million ‘to speed up the demolition of their former Council House, Scarbrough House and Civic Theatre’. John Holmes, Chairman of Doncaster Civic Trust in ‘Letters’ has rightly expressed his concern at the existing closures and proposed demolition and also, that local amateur groups would love to use the Civic Theatre stage and auditorium. I suggest another two uses could be made of the remaining parts of the building. Firstly, it could be used by the elderly and disabled groups facing closure of their existing day centres, and secondly, as a much needed venue for a teenage youth club. A modest charge for the three groups, scheduled at different days/times would go towards the theatre maintenance and running costs. As for staffing, the good citizens of Doncaster already volunteer their time to support all manner of public services, as shown again recently in manning some of the local libraries scheduled for closure. I’m sure they would come forward to help keep the Civic Theatre open. This would partly offset the £1.5 million borrowed demolition costs elsewhere in Waterdale and lessen the bulldozing of yet more valued buildings and public services leaving Doncaster looking more like a ‘battle zone’ than it does already.
Don Wood, Gleneagles Drive, Bessacarr
Pre-book transport, it’s simple
In reply to the letter from Bryan Soulsby (Doncaster Free Press, 19/09), I also travelled back to Robin Hood Airport on September 15 from Tunisia, landing at 19:15hrs. I left the aircraft safely, passed through customs with no problems, collected my luggage, no problems, and left the terminal building, which was safe and well illuminated, all thanks to the ground staff. I then met with my pre-arranged transport and went home. I bet Mr Soulsby made sure he had his transfer to his hotel or whatever in Spain booked before he left England. As for him having to walk about Palma all day after leaving his hotel, why did he not pay to keep his room on like thousands of other people do? He moans that there were no buses or taxis waiting for him when he arrived at Robin Hood - why did he not arrange his transport home himself like thousands of other people do? I am sorry Mr Soulsby, but if you want a bus, you contact a bus company, if you want a taxi, you contact a taxi company, if you want aircraft, you contact airports - simples. Why not go even further and say that staff at Robin Hood should have gone to your house, fed the cat and put the big light on? I have some advice to Mr Soulsby -get a grip and get a life.
Peter Shearman, Newfield Avenue, Moorends
The Civic was for everyone
We have lived in Doncaster all our lives and The Civic Theatre has been a part of this. I was a pupil at the Nellie Stagles Dance School and performed at The Civic many times. Later we saw shows and groups - too many to mention - and many playing to packed houses. Yes it does need money spending on it but it would be a crying shame to pull it down. We have seen the opening of the new theatre and are saddened to see that it is not being run by Doncaster people and that there are no am-dram or dancing schools in its line up. Shame on Doncaster Council for allowing this to happen.
Barbara Harcombe, Thorpe in Balne, Doncaster