Letters, February 10, 2011

Is council sacrificing well-used libraries to save those which make biggest fuss?

I have just heard that, following the successful opposition from other libraries to their proposed closure, Balby has now been put on the list.

As Doncaster’s first branch library, Balby is an important partner to the Central Library, and has been meeting the needs of the wider Doncaster community for many years. It is scandalous that Balby should even be considered for closure, given its proven track record of success, and it can only be imagined that the council has given in to pressure elsewhere and is looking to sacrifice Balby Library in the hopes that the local population will keep quiet about it.

As a disabled 85-year-old pensioner, like many others, I use this library to the full, as I cannot go elsewhere. I am dismayed to think that the local library service could be withdrawn without any form of public consultation.

As a ratepayer, I ask Doncaster Council: why has this change in strategy not been made public and why has Balby now been included on the list, where other less successful branches have been reprieved?

Lilian Jones, Balby

They shut libraries, don’t they?

JUST one question. If the mayor liked books as much as horse racing would all these libraries be shutting?

We all know the answer to that question. The staff at Owston Park Primary School are fuming with this decision. Carcroft and Skellow is losing its library and its youth club. What else can they take off the young people? Andrew Carnegie, the rich American philanthropist, donated most of his money to open libraries for the poor people, but now Doncaster Council and the Government are taking these libraries off us.

Let’s get our priorities right, Mayor Davies: spend money on chopping trees down, but ignore the libraries? Perhaps one grandstand at the racecourse could pay for some libraries.

Simon Fox (deputy head), Sue Attenborough, Dawn Evand, Ann Christian,

Owston Park Primary School.

Thank you for coming to my aid

I WOULD like to thank most sincerely the lady and gentleman who came to my aid when I had a nasty fall near Town Fields on Monday morning, January 24, at about noon.

Unfortunately, in my dazed state I did not ask them for their names. They were both so kind and helpful to me and stayed with me until further help arrived.

I would also like to take this opportunity and say thank you to the two female Pcs that came along in different cars and were also so very helpful and kind. Furthermore the two ambulance attendees did their part too and were kindness itself. To the doctor at DRI who saw me, she too was really great and very thorough indeed. So to all of you, I would just like to say thank you so very very much for your kindness.

Mrs M Hirsch, Hartland Crescent, Edenthorpe

Bus company did nothing for me

I HAD my letter published about the first 91 bus service and got a week’s free bus travel. The letter was about the very big gap in the morning service from Finningley to Doncaster. First said they would look into the times. Did they do anything?

No. The gap is just the same: 7.53am or 8.48am bus from Finningley, this is when people are going to work. Oh and they have changed the bus leaving Doncaster from 5.20 to 5.30pm so now we have even longer to sit in the interchange waiting to get home.

Can they also tell us why Branton is not mentioned? On the timetable for this service anyone wanting to get a bus to Branton to visit our fantastic Yorkshire Wildlife Park has no idea the 91 service goes there.

When will they ever get their timetables correct and stop reprinting them and wasting money?

Susan Shaw, Ravenswood Drive, Auckley

Que? Who put these signs up?

IS there any wonder that the roadworks in Doncaster are un-coordinated when they are clearly being organised by a department of the council that doesn’t even have a comprehensive grasp of the English language. The unfortunate motorists stuck in roadworks on the A630 heading into town at the junction with Springwell Lane will have plenty of time to read the big yellow signs warning them of ‘queing’ traffic. Is this similar to what educated members of the public call ‘queuing’? Perhaps someone ought to teach DMBC highways department how to communicate effectively?

Andy Overton, Zetland Road, Town Moor

Roadworks: don’t forget Fishlake!

REPEATED repairs and closures of Jubilee Bridge Fishlake should be added to your list in the Free Press.

The latest closure of this very weak bridge began several months ago, following an earlier one of around nine months. After the first closure the bridge was strengthened, but foreseen and foreseeable inadequate measures were taken to prevent excess weight vehicles using it. What was needed and canvassed locally was a height restriction. What we got was a width restriction which slimily did not work, so the bridge has been closed again.

Jubilee Bridge is a vital link between the villages of East Doncaster - Moss, Fishlake, Sykehouse, Braithwaite and Kirk Bramwith - to the motorway system and Goole, Beverley, Scunthorpe and Hull, necessary for work and leisure.

However, the bridge remains closed and all the repair work done and expense has failed to re-open the link, pushing more traffic onto already crowded roads through Stainforth, Thorne and Askern and adding to the length of people’s journeys.

Some “bridge-works” here would be appreciated and any disruption is forced to be less than having the bridge closed. Will the council tell us when it will be re-opened, and with effective measures to prevent excess weight vehicle use?

John Dobbin, Pinfold Lane, Moss

Charter date was wide of the mark

IF you are writing about our Doncaster market get it correct. The first charter was given by Richard the first in 1193, not 1248 as you stated.

Stephen Shaw, Ravenswood Drive, Auckley

What are our MPs doing?

TWO weeks ago I had a letter published on the subject of holding the town’s elected MPs to account for how they vote, or decide not to vote, in parliament on vital issues. No reply. Is this because none of them read the local paper (say it isn’t so), or perhaps they are too busy?

It will be interesting to see whether they vote today, and if so how, on the subject of allowing imprisoned criminals to vote in elections. Existing British law says they can’t, but the European Court says parliament must change this to protect criminals’ human rights with huge financial penalties if we do not comply. The Tories are being allowed a free vote on who rules the UK, but what will Mr Miliband, Miss Winterton and Ms Flint do?

Mick Andrews, Thorne Road

The cowardice of the chamber

HAVING attended Friday’s meeting I can only describe the behaviour I witnessed as pure cowardice. One by one the members of Mayor Davies’ cabinet made their heart-warming speeches about how much they respected the library service, often mentioning how important it had been to their own families in the past, before sheepishly condemning it to a slow death. Then each and every one of them promptly tried to distance themselves from their own decision. Apparently they were not ‘closing’ these branches, they were simply passing them over to the voluntary or private sector (then if they did happen to close it would be somebody else’s fault!).

Many, including the mayor, cited ‘central government’ as the guilty party in much the same way central government (whether Tory, Labour or Coalition) always blames ‘the previous government’ in a desperate attempt to wash their hands of any wrong-doing.

This, of course, is a major part of the problem, there is a distinct lack of accountability – or even the willingness to stand up and be counted – in both local and national government. It is estimated a mere 5% of public expenditure is in the hands of directly elected, publicly accountable bodies, and even then, as Doncaster’s library fiasco clearly demonstrates, the public are rarely even considered, let alone consulted.

The cabinet supposedly represents the people of Doncaster and the Library Service Review Executive Summary document claims that ‘almost’ 3,000 members of the public were actually consulted as part of the process. But when over 14,000 people, nearly five times the amount ‘consulted’ by the cabinet, signed a petition to try and force further debate on the issue they were promptly ignored (with Mayor Davies making very good use of the red-tape and bureaucracy he claims to be against).

Thankfully, the following day I witnessed the perfect antidote to Friday’s cowardice as I watched children from Castle Hills Primary School in Scawthorpe demonstrate against the closure of their local branch.

They brought along banners that they and their friends had made themselves and they spent an hour marching and chanting (the only time they stopped marching was to renew their library books!)

As passers by signed the petition and car drivers honked their horns in solidarity. Unfortunately, these kids might have to do a lot more protesting in the years to come. The libraries are just the beginning.

Warren Draper, Scawthorpe

Seeking air force musicians

WERE you ever a musician in the Royal Air Force? The RAF Music Services Association is looking for new members. We wish to contact any retired and former musicians who served in any of the RAF established bands or orchestras, including the WRAF band and the RAF voluntary bands.

The association was formed in 1987 as a way for members to renew their friendships with former colleagues. Membership includes a magazine twice a year full of news and reminiscences of the RAF Music Services past and present. Members also have the opportunity to attend the annual reunion each summer.

For full details of membership please contact John Dablin on (01296) 433763 or by email at jdablin@ntlworld.com.

John Dablin, Aylesbury