Letters April 14, 2011

YOUR new Diary columnist – whoever he or she may be – demonstrates a woeful ignorance in his (or her) musings on the Grand theatre. “Falling into disrepair” it is palpably not, and “a ruined mess” is so far from the truth that the statement is laughable.

The Grand is very much a viable building, and I and many thousands like me are loyally behind the campaign to re-open Doncaster’s very own “Sleeping Beauty”.

What would your diarist put in its place, were it – perish the thought – to be flattened into rubble?

Another car park, just like the erstwhile Gaumont site? That The Grand has to stand adjacent to the architectural eyesore that is the rear of the Frenchgate Centre, and alongside the inspirational (not) brick wall that is the back of Sainsbury’s is not the fault of the theatre, but the fault of unimaginatively dull town planning.

We have lost far too many fine older buildings already, and in their place today there are now boring, bland and cheerless constructs.

As for The Civic, The Little Theatre and the Dome, the diarist clearly doesn’t have a clue what they are talking about.

The Little Theatre does sterling work – but is very limited in space - the Civic is little more than an echoing, shabby, converted Nissan hut with rudimentary facilities, and The Dome is a multi-purpose hall which means in essence that it is fit for no particular purpose at all.

And I think I share the view of many when I observe that I shall believe the existence of a new performance venue when I sit in the stalls on the first night. No, The Grand is a little gem, and could easily be re-opened at no vast cost to delight the theatre-lovers of Doncaster of the 21st century. Keep, restore and re-open The Grand. That’s commonsense. Something that your diarist would do well to nurture.

Phil Penfold, Lawn Road, Doncaster

Sign the petition on police cuts

THE Free Press has always endeavoured to advise the residents of Doncaster about issues relating to crime and policing.

I counted over a dozen stories in last week’s edition from naming and shaming criminals, warning citizens about incidents of violence and assault, urging witnesses to come forward to help solve crimes, and advising us of the course of justice in the court round-up.

Local residents are seriously concerned about the cuts to the South Yorkshire Police budget.

With cuts of over £30 million in the next two years, we may be reding more and more news stories about crime and antisocial behaviour in the borough. The Labour Party has been asking residents to sign a petition against the police cuts.

I hope that every fair-minded person in Doncaster who wants to prevent a rise in crime will sign it.

Rachel Hodson, Secretary, Don Valley Constituency Labour Party

Editor’s note: Rachel Hodson is the Labour candidate for Thorne in the upcoming council elections. Also standing are Tony Brookes, Community Group, John Brown, Conservative, and Richard Walker, Independent.

New road bad news for village?

IT was with sad heart that I read that the FARRS link road has been funded and approved. This means that the expansion of the airport will go ahead with the loss of all the land between Bawtry Road and the airport.

To the west of Rossington we will see the loss of 1.5 sq miles of farm land to the Chinese cheap import railport .

This means that all the new houses will have to be built on the old pit site to house the 1700 employees that will be brought in to run the railport from the owners’ current sites .

The present farm land south of Rossington will be covered by the pit tip due to the reclamation of rock and stone to build the link road and raise the rail port above the current flood plain levels .

This means that 30 to 40 HGVs a day will be travelling out of the village down West End lane, that has been narrowed since the pit closed.

The once greenbelt land will become brown sites open to development by the very people that DMBC have been consulting with as independents to draw up these plans of doom and gloom for Rossington. Developers who have been given an almost god-like status by DMBC with no strings attached. It’s time that the people of Rossington stood up to say NO.

Christopher Judd, Grange Lane, Rossington

Lets have a vote on fewer wages

SO our local Labour councillors have finally got there way to waste our money and have a referendum over the elected mayor (I’m sure they would be a lot quieter if it was a Labour mayor).

Well, while they are spending our money why not add two more things to the referendum - vote to see if councillors should pay their own phone bills and what about reducing the number of councillors by half? Now that would be a referendum I wouldn’t mind paying for.

Martin Simpson, Campsall

Music centre must be saved

MAYOR Peter Davies, a tree cutter, a library cutter, now a music cutter.

William Appleby Music Centre has been open now for just under 80 years now and its under threat of budget cuts.

I must make it clear that its not all the mayor’s fault, it’s the Government’s, but why isn’t Davies protecting the music centre from closure?

Thats three things now that will affect myself and other people. Doncaster Common, Doncaster libraries and the William Appleby Music Centre. I have to add to John Anderson’s, comment about the Lincoln last week.

My parents were there and the view was no different that it was two years ago. And thanks to Kath Lightfoot for supporting my case and an apology to John Norman.

Andrew Mee, Hardy Road, Wheatley

Thank you but you missed point

THANK you for publishing my letter in the Free Press. I know and understand why you reserve the right to edit letters for publication.

I do not however believe that you have the right to remove words and substitute others in their place, especially when the correspondent is quoting another person’s words. The alteration in that one word has altered the points I was making in my letter to you from published version. I can see no reason why there was this substitution unless the truth was deemed to be detrimental to the mayor.

Kath Lightfoot, Axholme Road, Wheatley

You don’t allow free speech

THIS paper calls itself the Free Press. What it does not always allow is free speech.

Once again a letter I put in the Freeviews page had been edited to death and virtually lost the impact and debatable points I wanted to create.

There will be more letters submitted to you by persons who object over the tree felling and spoiling of the common as there are two more periods of tree felling to go.

I would hope that you do not edit them into insignificance. Yes you are the editor, and yes you have the option to edit letters, but not to the extent one would hope, to silence persons with legitimate grievances.

John Anderson, Sandbeck Road

Editor’s note: We reserve the right to edit letters for reasons of length and in some cases to make them legally safe to publish. We have tried to reflect all points of view in the racecourse trees debate but we must be careful to be fair to everyone involved in the issue.

Knights fight needs support

HOPEFULLY everyone is aware that Doncaster Knights have battled hard to set up a wonderful season finale this Saturday against Cornish Pirates.

After a difficult series of games the Knights have put their destiny in their own hands with two fantastic away victories.

A win on Saturday will put them in line for an appearance in a prestigious semi-final with the eventual aim a place in the Premiership.

The town has one of the best rugby teams in the country!

We should be proud of what the team have achieved and of their aspirations for the future. Northampton is a similar-sized market town and they have one of the finest clubs in Europe with one of the biggest followings. There is no reason why with the town’s backing the Knights cannot achieve the same.

If anyone has not been down to a game for a while, or perhaps not at all, then this weekend’s game is one for you.

Castle Park is a fantastic venue and I think all involved with the Knights would love to see it full and for the people of Doncaster to come and support a team sport which engages all shapes and sizes.

It is impossible not to enjoy what is a family-friendly atmosphere whilst watching a highly competitive game.

R Burnett, Bessacarr

Thank you for getting me home

I WOULD like to express my thanks to the young man, a football coach who rendered excellent first aid to me when I fell on Goodison Boulevard on Saturday, April 2, (I am 81 years old). Also to the young girl who took me home and informed my neighbours as to my mishap. My family are very grateful for their assistance. God bless you both.

Name and address supplied

Parking ticket for 90-year-old

I RECEIVED a parking ticket on Saturday, April 11, while parking within a disabled parking bay outside the Nationwide Building Society in Priory Place.

Displayed on the dashboard in clear view was the ‘clock’ and the Blue Disabled Badge.

I agree that it was upside down - I allowed my passenger to place it and didn’t check that it had been displayed correctly - so I have already paid the fine.

I am aware that the mistake in placing the badge upside down would have made it impossible for the parking attendant to check it.

Nevertheless, I am deeply disappointed and dismayed that this person would not overlook an error made by a disabled person in her 90s.

The vehicle was parked for less than an hour and was vital transportation for the occupants, both of whom are in their 90s.

I had taken them to Bell Brothers Opticians for essential eye examinations; Bell Brothers is one of the town’s few remaining independent traders as so many shops are now closed and others continuing to close.

These continuing closures are not, in my view, simply due to the economic downturn but to the increasing inaccessibility of the town centre for drivers of private cars as the result of deliberate council policy.

Those young enough and mobile enough to drive elsewhere do so, where parking is much more convenient and cheaper thus leaving the town centre to the less able and less affluent.

It is a pity therefore that by following rules ‘to the letter’, the council should elect to turn even the disabled people away from the town centre.

You have your £35 but have lost my goodwill and the goodwill of my passengers.

All three of us have lived and shopped in Doncaster all of our lives but now years of future income will be lost to local traders - all for the sake of the rigid enforcement of rules.

Ms A R J Lakin, Cantley Lane, Doncaster