Letters, February 17, 2011

The council has proposed an increase of 7.5 per cent in council rents to help fund no increase in council tax: wonderful, if you receive housing benefit. But, if you pay full rent and council tax, as I do, it will wipe out the OAP pension rise of 4.9 per cent due in April.

We are all in this together, is the word on the grapevine, so why is this increase not spread over rents and tax?

The latest estimate from St Leger Homes is that over £2,500,000 in rent is outstanding, mainly by ex-tenants, how many people are involved in collecting rents, because I think somebody should be responsible for this failure. Or will there be “performance related” pay given to these people, in the same way that the fat cats of the council received?

The council has reduced redundancy payments from 60 weeks to 30 maximum, therefore it has a duty to the council taxpayers to stop all bonus payments.

Mr W F Bensley, Travis Gardens. Hexthorpe

Could we do without mayor?

Do we really need a mayor? All I ever read about in the local papers is moans and groans about him, and most of the time I agree with the comments. Other towns and cities manage without a mayor, why can’t we, and make savings there.

Mr T Blower, Bentley

Backlog of traffic on York Road

As there are no road works on York Road, why is there such a back log of traffic from Sunnyfields into Doncaster? The traffic from Barnsley Road seems to move along a lot quicker than the traffic coming from York Road. The problem seems to lie with the traffic lights at The Sun Inn junction; they are out of sync, with not enough road space to keep the traffic moving.

Why hasn’t any of the highly paid employed of the Highways Department, go along an assess this ridiculous situation?

Mrs Weigmass, Highfields

Concerned over library closures

In response to the news that libraries are shutting all over Doncaster, I am writing to voice my concern.

For my generation, the baby boomers, libraries were where we first encountered the richness and variety of the written word: stories to enthrall us, non-fiction works to help us with our homework and widen our knowledge.

Then libraries changed and widened their appeal, by introducing music, film and computers. In this technological age access to computers is vital and there are still groups of people who don’t have this access at home.

It has been suggested that volunteers could take over running the libraries, but while volunteers are a vital part of the community, the job of librarian is a specialist one. Librarians study for four years at university to gain the skills that they need.

Libraries are at the heart of our communities, a place used by young and old, and their loss impoverishes us all.

Sue Knowles, Town Moor

Looking for my long-lost friends

I have been trying to locate two people that I knew in the late 1960s but so far I have had no luck at all, possibly because I do not know their married names.

I would love to hear from old friends Janet Lees and Kathy Fletcher, both worked at Pennells plant/flower shop around 1967, which was located on the High Street in Doncaster, just past the Nat West bank heading towards Clock Corner. Around this time I worked for the Sheffield Furnishing Co, in Market Place, Doncaster (Where Primark is now).

Janet lived at 3, Chestnut Avenue in Rossington at the time, we were very close friends. I am sure that her mum worked in the cafe in the Southern bus station. Kathy lived (I think) in Mansfield Crescent in Armthorpe, she also worked at Sheffield Furnishing before going to Pennells. I have not seen or heard from any of them, and it would be great to hear from them once again.

If anyone knows of their whereabouts I can be contacted on 07951 819098.

Wal Royle, Mayfield Crescent, Rossington

What are we paying for?

Last week you were kind enough to publish my letter 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. I pointed out that they had made no response on this subject and wondered what they would do last Thursday when it came to a decision on whether to allow prisoners to vote at elections, as the European court says we must.

Just before the debate it was stated that all parties would allow a free vote but that front bench and shadow front bench spokespersons would be told to abstain. The motion, to continue to deny prisoners the right to vote was carried overwhelmingly with less then 30 voting against it, although 394 MP’s abstained.

As our local MPs are all on Labour’s shadow front bench team none of them were allowed to reflect our, or their, wishes one way or the other. Who decided this? Presumably the party leader and the chief whip – step forward Mr Miliband and Miss Winterton respectively.

Why are we paying our MPs fat salaries and expenses to not have an opinion?

Mick Andrews, Thorne Road, Doncaster

Can’t avoid the roadworks

I live just off the A630, on what seems to be the wrong side if you want to get anywhere near a motorway. I travel to Thorne/Moorends, or try to.

No matter which way I try, it’s a shambles trying to reach the M18 - and when you get there it’s narrow lanes and 50MPH with average speed cameras.Coming home, I now have to allow up to an hour extra. The problems start as you approach junction 3 southbound, often a queue back to the Bawtry Road bridge, then slow moving until you can creep up the slip road and down the A6182 towards B&Q.

A choice now, take White Rose Way and then left onto Carr House Road. Of late the queue there has been back to the roundabout, with cars trying to get over from the Racecourse direction, through the traffic going into town. Woe betide anyone nipping round the corner from white Rose Way to jump the queue! Stop/start to the flyover, stop/start up Balby Road.

Biggest mistake of the roadworks was to allow cars to use Green Dyke Lane to queue jump and come out of the Kelham Street exit. They should block the road outside the plant hire place and make all cars go all the way down New Street, and then back up Kelham Street. Not so much of a short-cut then.

To avoid all that the logical route would be to come off the motorway and come through Carr Hill Ind Est, except the queue of traffic can be right back down Balby Carr Bank to Woodfield Way ! The reason, traffic leaving Doncaster on Balby Road blocking the exit of Carr Hill, which is traffic light-controlled of course, due to the roadworks and single-lane traffic.

To the planners, how about yellow box junctions? OK, so they usually get ignored, but I’m sure DMBC’s civil enforcement officers can stand at the junction and issue tickets to bring in much needed revenue ! They could even be given a chair to sit there scribbling away to make some easy cash for the council. Of course, motorists will complain they cannot see the yellow box due to the heavy traffic, but they should observe road signs leading up to the area.

It’s a joke trying to get to and from work. No matter which route I take I hit heavy queues of traffic. Not only has the cost of petrol gone up, I now spend ages sat with the engine running, getting nowhere, adding to the cost.

Even worse, these problems seem to start before 4pm and last until about 7. I’ve tried to vary the time I travel, it makes little difference unless I wait until about 4am!

I joke that it would be quicker to use the M25 - but maybe it is...?

Gordon Sharpe, Littlemoor Lane, Doncaster

Did you work at The Plant?

Did you work at ‘The Plant’ during the 1950s or up to the end of the steam era? Or perhaps you were a driver or a fireman around Doncaster prior to dieselisation. If so I would be very interersted in putting into print any unpublished stories you may have to share regarding life on the railways during that fascinating period.

I am a freelance writer attempting to portray a genuine and realistic impression of a lost era from the point of view of the men who actually managed those giants of our industrial past.

So, if you have a tale or two to tell, I would be delighted to hear from you. Please contact me at any time:

Phil Hammond, on 07967 264235, or e-mail PhilHammond@live.co.uk

Phil Hammond, Ferry Lane, Wakefield.

Unsatisfactory public meeting

I WAS at a public meeting held by the Lakeside Wildlife Action Group at Nether Hall. This meeting was attended by the public, some concerned with the desperate plight of the wildlife, particularly the aquatic birds distressed in -10 ° weather conditions during this winter. I had the distinct impression that this would have been a very well organised meeting.

I was shocked when I found the entrance doors to the hall locked. There was then a cumbersome signing-in procedure and limited seating.

Why was a meeting which focused on Lakeside held in a pokey and cramped room suh as this, just off the town centre, when the vast majority of those who attended were elderly and lived closer to the Lakeside area?

Also this meeting commenced at 5.30pm when the younger folk are finishing work, eating and caring for their families. A sensible time to start would have been 7.30pm.

There was also an elongated period of time discussing administration matters before the main business of the meeting.

At the meeting it was denied that the council were responsible for the wellbeing of these wild aquatic birds. This showed ignorance towards the ecological habitat.

This group is now to invite Peter Davies, the mayor of Doncaster, to attend one of its future meetings.

Tony McCready, Wicklow Road, Intake