Letters, August 21, 2014

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Free Oress readers have their say

New licensing rules are a stealth tax which will only make matters worse

Who do Doncaster Council think it is kidding with the selective licensing scheme? It is nothing more then a badly thought out stealth tax that will increase homelessness numbers, increase people using emergency short term accommodation, push up the costs of renting to the most vulnerable, limit housing stock and choice for DSS tenants and increase the “Hexthorpe Problem”.
But all that doesn’t matter as it’s nothing more then a cash grab for the council.

The justification for the fee, is just the latest misleading propaganda from the council. Presumable the biggest administration cost will be manpower/HR. I’m nervous to ask the question but is the council planning to pay these officers five years wages upfront?
If not why doesn’t it do the same as it does for pub/clubs/shops and charge a annual fee?

It is a tax on property that the council is trying to disguise and dress up as something it’s not, the police and the council already have the powers to tackle the scheme’s targets, for example it’s law to have a yearly gas certificate, while enviromental health has powers to seize noise making equipment.

It’s even more ridiculous that the proposed scheme only targets private landlords. So you don’t get anti-social behaviour in counncil houses and some of them aren’t sub-let?
Councils up and down the country have struggled with sub-letting for decades, maybe the council should get its own house in order before starting on private landlords.

Not including St Leger Homes in the proposed scheme and subjecting it to the same fees and legislation and penalties as private landlords will be, just shows it’s not about raising standards. If the scheme has such great benefits, why wouldn’t you roll it out across the borough?

The council are preying on problems in Hexethorpe to try and justify this tax. How does it work in a fair and democratic society that landlords will get fined for something they don’t know is happening, whilst the tennant who is doing the sub-letting gets off scott free?

The problems in Hexethorpe stem from a large influx of immigrants clustering in the cheapest rental areas, a lack of social housing, and large cluster of DSS tenants who have limited housing options.

Threating landlords with fines, for something they haven’t done or have a incline is happening, will only put more private landlords off renting to immigrants and DSS tenants, will push rental price up, making the problems worse and tempting hard up tennants to sub-let to afford a roof over their head.

Apart from factoring in the licence fee, landlords will start to use management companies who charge 10-12 per cent to ensure that they are not held responsible for sub-letting and get fined. This will out price hard up tenants for everywhere apart from the lowest rental areas.

Ryan Morling, Danesway, Scawthorpe

Payoff is just spineless

DMBC after almost 10 years cough up £2.8 million to their buddies in Sheffield over the trading standards fiasco, if this isn’t spineless of the ruling Labour group then what is? 
Another hard decision that they have had to make, they seem to use the same old rhetoric on every decision they make, makes me wonder if they can all lay straight in bed.

At least the other elected mayors, Winter and Davies had the bottle to say “you made the mistakes you have to stand the consequences,” not this lot. They would sell their souls for the golden nugget.

L Gravell, Nutwell Lane, Armthorpe

Support the campaign

Last Saturday hundreds of people walked with the ‘Darlington Mums’ on the first stage of the Jarrow to London march. 
All the towns they are walking through can be found on Facebook and Twitter under 999 Call for the NHS. 
Please support and/or join them on the legs in Yorkshire; starting in Leeds, then Wakefield on August 24, followed by Barnsley and Sheffield before going to Chesterfield.

Doug Wright, Chantry Close, Doncaster

The system is in chaos

The benefits sanctions system is said to be in chaos. With appeals taking weeks or months leaving people without money and extremely distressed.

Is the problem under staffing? If so, Iain Duncan Smith should own up, cough, as the police would say.

Failing that, new minister Esther McEvey, could be asked to sort out the sanctions chaos.

The passport chaos is another problem. is that down to under staffing? The Tory led government needs to be more candid with people and press.

Max Nottingham, St Faith’s Street, Lincoln

Don’t clog up A&E

You may have heard the term ‘unplanned care’ used by NHS staff and wondered what it meant. Quite simply, it refers to services available if you need health care at short notice and includes for example, the 8am to 8pm health centre, minor injuries units and A&E.

One of our key roles as a clinical commissioning group is to arrange local services and we’re currently reviewing the borough’s unplanned care services to see what changes need to be made to bring about improvements for patients.

This is happening because A&E services are under massive pressure. They are designed to deal with serious and life-threatening conditions and the specialist skills of the staff working there reflect that.

Every year over 110,000 Doncaster patients visit A&E – more than 2,000 a week. The vast majority genuinely need hospital care, but unfortunately some think A&E stands for ‘anything and everything’. They arrive with conditions that could easily be treated by their GP, or by buying over-the-counter medicines from a pharmacist. It leads to long delays which affect the patients who are really ill.

Examples of inappropriate use of A&E:

• Coughs and colds – just stay at home or see your pharmacist

• Old injuries or joint problems – are best seen by your GP, at least initially

• Medication questions – best dealt with by your GP

• Toothache – you need to see a dentist or the emergency dental service. Ring 101 for details

Examples of appropriate use of A&E:

• Cuts which won’t stop bleeding or may need stitches to heal properly

• Burns which are large, or deep, and need dressings

• Limb injuries which are painful or swollen and could be cause by a broken bone

• Serious medical problems such as chest pain, collapse or heavy blood loss

I’ve been looking at data on when and why Doncaster people attend A&E. People living in Doncaster town centre are the biggest users, followed by Mexborough, Denaby Main, Lower Wheatley, Wheatley, Hyde Park, Intake and Edlington residents.

Monday is the busiest day in A&E and the peak time for patients to turn up is 11am to noon. The quietest period is between 2am and 6am.

Cuts and bruises are the main reason for people visiting, with around 12,000 such cases every year. This is followed by about 8,000 dislocations, fractures and joint injuries.

Dr Nick Tupper, Chairman Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group

Cinema day was great

Last Thursday afternoon I attended a brilliant free outdoor cinema experience that was right up our street, Hope Street in Mexborough to be exact.
There were over 200 people attending seated and many more family’s standing room only to watch movies throughout the afternoon. 
It really was an amazing event organised and led by a consortium of Doncaster Arts Organisations and supported using public funding by the National Lottery through the Arts Council England until 2016. 
It was truely amazing to see the happy smiling faces of both children and parents alike at an event that I would personally liken to the drive in movies experience in the USA but without the cars. 
Free Popcorn was handed out by the organising team as the first film, Disney’s Frozen began, shortly after many children and parents sang along almost word perfect to that majical memorable song Let It Go. This has also opend up a debate giving fuel to the argument for a cinema in our area as was promised at Manver’s or even here at Mexborough.

Stephen Hamilton, Adwick Road, Mexborough

Children are the future

Having been headteacher at The Hayfield School from 1971 to 2008, I took pride in our annual turn-out of 200 plus young people on career tracks via college, university or industry and commerce.

The oldest are now in their mid 50s. Many work in and around Doncaster but others are scattered nationally and globally. However, most retain a Donny connection and enjoy returning to their home town, keeping in touch with friends.

Hayfield has given rise to a bench of lawyers, a school of teachers, a ward of nurses, a surgery of doctors and consultants, a template of engineers, a board of business managers, a play bill of actors and dancers, a balance sheet of accountants, city financiers, a college of university lecturers, self-employed tradesfolk and every conceivable position in business, retail and public service.

Of course Hayfield’s pride in its students is replicated by that of other Doncaster secondary schools. Hence, as a Freeman of Doncaster, I’ve taken a role with other Freemen in organising an annual Young People’s Award Ceremony at the Mansion House where the Civic Mayor and Freemen present award certificates to some 35 to 40 young people from the borough.

Each of the borough’s 17 secondary schools and Doncaster College are asked to nominate two students from years 11, 12, 13 who have made a major contribution to school life, community life and as role models to others. Some have overcome disabilities, illness and difficult circumstances. They represent lots of young people who have added value.

This year the Mansion House ceremony is on the morning of September 11, followed by a buffet lunch. The event is sponsored by Pegler Yorkshire, Polypipe and Doncaster Refurnish. Parents and school staff are invited and tours of our fine Mansion House are organised by Coun Yvonne Woodcock.

The borough can take pride in the achievements of large numbers of our young people. They deserve an accolade and our good wishes for continuing career tracks in school and beyond, to apprenticeships, jobs, college and university.

Tony Storey, Chairman, Doncaster Freeman Group

Learn some new skills

Our communities benefit so much from the creative arts. And it is fantastic to see some of the projects that the Right Up Our Street Arts Supporters have been working on, along with their local community teams, come to life.

Right Up Our Street is funded by the Arts Council and is all about Doncaster people choosing, making, seeing and sharing great art.

Working together DARTS (Doncaster Community Arts), Cast, DVAN (Doncaster Voluntary Arts Network) and DCLT (Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust) are helping to deliver arts projects in our communities.

Some of the longer-term projects we’ve been working on are coming to fruition with the Mexborough film project lighting up the big screen this month, the Balby Field of Poppies taking shape and the Rossington Village Quilt getting ready for its hanging in October. These are things we can all be proud of. As communities so many people have worked to make these projects happen and there is still time for people to get involved.

We’ve got the Right Up Our Street production of Kes in association with Cast to look forward to in September, when Shameless star Sally Carman will take to the stage in Doncaster as Mrs Casper.

The rehearsal and production process is in full swing and 48 members of our community are ready to play their part.

We’ve also put out our latest Open Call for artists with a creative project idea to submit a proposal to contribute to the Right Up Our Street Project. People can find out more by visiting www.rightupourstreet.co.uk

We are looking for contemporary artistic project ideas from any art form that offer something new to Doncaster.

Artists do not have to be based in Doncaster to apply for funding but the project must take place in the town.

Planning has already started for the second DN weekend to be held in June next year when empty shop premises in Frenchgate Shopping Centre and Waterdale will be animated with arts activity. A first planning workshop with voluntary arts organisations will be held on September 18 at The Point.

The community in Rossington will be working together to transform the Market Cafe on Queen Mary’s Road into a place to celebrate with all types of music on Saturday, August 30, and there are arts and crafts workshops happening across the borough.

My message to Doncaster residents is – get involved. This is a great opportunity for you to learn a new skill, trying something different, get to know people in your local area, socialise and be a part of something that Doncaster can be really proud of.

Elaine Hirst, Right Up Our Street project