Letters, August 7, 2014

Conisbrough Castle
Conisbrough Castle

Free Press readers have their say

Historic castle is a real gem and everyone should be promoting it.

One evening I interrupted my rail journey from Doncaster’s Yorkshire Wildlife Park back to Sheffield to stop off at Conisbrough. This was a place about which, to my shame, I knew absolutely nothing except that is, of the castle I’d tantalizingly glimpsed from afar through train windows on previous trips.

The castle was closed but, three weeks ago, I made a return visit. Impressive or what? And all less than a 25 minute train journey from Sheffield. 
The view from the top of the tower is something else and the whole place is a photographer’s dream. And there‘s more than a good dollop of social history. Arranged marriages, divorces and kidnappings, not to mention the occasional murder or two. This is Emmerdale but hundreds of years ago. If these castle walls could only talk, then again, it’s probably best they can’t.

When I mentioned to an English Heritage guy at the new visitor centre that I was embarrassed that I knew nothing at all about the castle he said it was Yorkshire’s best kept secret, and that’s such a shame. 
Everybody in South Yorkshire needs to shout about it. I also believe that every single South Yorkshire primary school and beyond should include at least one term visit to Conisbrough Castle in its curriculum. 
This is a time travelling experience they’ll never get in Doctor Who, so let them reach out and embrace the past, there’s more than 1,000 years of Yorkshire history here.

During the course of the last three weeks I’ve made four further thoroughly enjoyable visits to not only the castle, but also the town of Conisbrough. But the town precedes the castle by several thousand years and even in the tranquil calm of beautiful St Peter’s Church (750AD) it’s so easy to reach out and touch the past. It truly is a piece of living history and it’s only by understanding our past that we can ever appreciate the future.

I believe it’s essential to English Heritage, Doncaster Council, The castle and Conisbrough town itself that an interesting and tangible circular heritage trail is quickly established. With a starting point at the castle and accessible by foot, car or minibus it should highlight various locations of interest to out of town visitors.

The castle is undoubtedly a spendid addition to the already impressive English Heritage property portfolio and, excited though I am, I can’t help but feel that there is so much more that the scheme can contribute to the town.

Harry Dakin, Chase Road, Sheffield

Spend cash on St James’

After many, many years the Civic Theatre and Council House have finally been demolished. 
Ross Jones is talking about the later space being regernated to fit in the Civic and Cukltrual Quarter.
How can the council talk about that when they are wanting to upset residents of seven care homes.
The library has had its own facelift and St James’ Baths are now a listed bu8ilding. I suggest some of that money be spent on the baths and let it fit in with the cultural square.
Please don’t let it become an eyesore.

Marianne Downing, Sandall Park Drive, Wheatley Hills

Tell us what matters

A few months ago after being told that, once elected, UKIP councillors don’t have a party line to follow, and must always act in the best interests of their constituents, Liz Roberts from BBC Radio Sheffield asked a very interesting question. What happens if you have two or more councillors, and their constituents tell them they want different things?

Because Fred Gee and our new councillor Paul Bissettt are both working for Edenthorpe, Kirk Sandall and Barnby Dun this isn’t something we need to worry about yet, but to represent you in the way that you deserve, we need to know what you think about pretty much everything to do with your local community – right across the borough.

Doncaster is your town. Have your say on how it should be run. Please email donukip@hotmail.co.uk or ring 07530 526 654 to us to let us know what is going on where you live.

Mrs B Aston, Chairman UKIP Doncaster,Thorne Road, Doncaster

It’s time to listen to us

When are the Labour councillors of Mexborough, Conisbrough and Denaby going to react positively to fight the scandulous proposals that have been announced recently within their wards?

On June 25 the mayor and her cabinet unanimously voted to close the Conisbrough Social Education Centre and Rowena Care Home. There has not been one dissenting voice from the above who are just towing the party line and keeping their heads below the parapet.

How much more are they prepared to accept before they realise that all this is happening under their watch? They are supposed to look after the people who voted them into their current positions.

There will be according to the council figures, 85 service users displaced at Conisbrough SEC. These individuals are aged mainly between 51 and 65. They are described by the council as ‘suffering predominately with learning disability but many have complex care needs and some are severely disabled’.
As a regular visitor to Conisbrough I can also add that they can be noisy and hyperactive. It is the council’s intention to integrate many of the above with the current attendees at Mexborough Day Centre.
The council inform us that the people who attend Mexborough are mostly elderly aged between 80 and 101. They go on to say that some suffer from physical disabilities and many also suffer from some degree of dementia.
The two groups are totally incompatible as you can imagine. The result of this proposal would in my view put off the older people from attending. Perhaps this is the council’s intention.

Surely the above ill-thought out madcap idea will stir at least the Mexborough councillors into becoming more proactive, but don’t bet on it.

Gordon Swann, Wood View, Conisbrough

Thanks for support

I’m writing to thank DFP readers and our other influential friends for supporting us in our efforts to have a planning appeal rejected for a lapdancing club opposite the Changing Lives Women’s Centre in Cleveland Street.

A women’s centre has operated successfully on the same site for over 100 years and has always been a place of safety for vulnerable women, girls and their families. We currently help thousands of women each year, from those who need a little extra support with their confidence or skills, to those have suffered domestic violence, abuse, or exploitation.

The decision to find in the centre’s favour and reject the appeal recognises that women would feel less safe and be less likely to attend a centre with a lapdancing club just 38 metres from its door.

Changing Lives worked successfully with other local agencies and businesses, the police and crime commissioner, and with the support of Rosie Winterton MP to provide the evidence needed to dismiss the appeal.

The community’s concern for their welfare means a great deal to our staff, volunteers and to the women.

Stephen Bell OBE, Chief Executive Changing Lives

Who’s idea was this?

May I ask “who’s idea was it to put traffic lights at the Capital Park Junction (Selby Road/Omega Boulevard?. 
Whoever it was it is a stupid idea. Traffic will undoubtedly back up onto the M18 causing very dangerous situations, what is it about Doncaster and the surrounding councils’ use of traffic lights which just add to air pollution, wasting fuel and peoples’ time and it must cost a fortune in electricity and maintenance, 
Roundabouts allow traffic to keep moving when there is a gap in the flow, but Doncaster Council even put traffic lights on roundabouts. Traffic lights cause traffic holdups even if the other roads are clear. Wheatley Hall Road being a prime example.
If some kind of traffic control was needed at all in Thorne, it is at the Bridge Street Junction. What can we expect next in the traffic light craze? Has the council realised there are loads of opportunities - Brook Street, Durham Avenue, Church Street, The Green etc. The list is endless and could add to the fortune the use of traffic lights in the area is obviously making someone.

Dave Croucher, Pinfold Gardens, Doncaster

Clean up grot spot

Taking the grandkids for an afternoon walk in the sunshine around Lakeside we managed to avoid the bikes zooming around, the keep fit brigade and dodge all the piles of dog mess. Has anyone actually seen a dog warden in Doncaster?

We entered the marina area to be met by an awful smell of assorted garbage comprising lots of weeds, food wrappers, pop bottles etc and a couple of dead fish swilling around in the water.

I know times are hard but it would surely not cost a lot to keep one of Doncaster’s supposed flagship areas a bit cleaner.

Mr G Shaw, Wentworth Road, Wheatley

Be proud of Robin Hood

Doncaster ought to be proud of Robin Hood Airport, building on a long tradition of flying in the borough with the early national air show at the racecourse in 1909, Doncaster Airport grassfields (now part of Lakeside) 1930 to 1950s, RAF Finningley 1930 to 1990s, Bawtry Hall Strike Command HQ 1940 to 1980s, RAF Lindholme and Sandtoft Flying Club.

It’s not just a holiday passengers that use the site, it also provides air freight services, an air maintenance facility, provides jet handling and air related training, plus a hotel on site and business parks. It’s long runway can accommodate the world’s largest aircraft.

In reality as a small airport, it’s survived the recession in a positive mode with an expanding Wizz Air network to Poland, Baltic states and Eastern Europe including flights to Bucharest and Riga and continuing as a hub for Thompson holiday flights. Thompson is a major upmarket airline compared to the very low cost carriers. Some of its flights from Robin Hood are cheap, others a little more expensive, depending on demand of load factors.

Don’t forget to count in Robin Hood positives - cheap parking adjacent to terminal, easy drop off with bus connections, quiet processing within terminal building, excellent customer care and rapid processing of luggage. Compare this with travel costs to Manchester, Leeds/Bradford, East Midland with parking problems and crowded check ins.

Tony Storey (head of Doncaster Freeman Group), The Paddocks, Lound, Retford

Cuts mean job losses

I am currently on an apprenticeship in Bawtry and I have a 19 month old child who goes to full time nursery. I am now in the position of having to get lifts to work from my parents as the 30/30A bus from Robin Hood Airport to Blyth has been withdrawn by the council because of ‘cuts’ and not replaced.

I currently live in Auckley and I use to catch the 30/30A bus through to Bawtry, I am very concerned as I can’t rely on my parents to get me to and from work everyday.

I suppose people could say get a taxi and I would do that if it wouldn’t take all the money I do earn off me. I also shouldn’t have to get a taxi as there should be public transport provided.

Once I finish my apprenticeship I will then have to go back on benefits, if I’m right I thought the Government were trying to get people off of benefits and into employment... They aren’t going to be able to do that if people can’t get to work because buses are being cancelled.

If they are going to encourage people to work they need to provide transport. Its very easy for people to say go back on benefits but unlike a lot of people I want to work and better myself for the sake of my child and I wont be able to do that for much longer as I wont be able to get to work.

I think its been a very poor decision the council have made getting rid of the bus I use not just because I cant get to work but also because how are people from Blyth and Bawtry going to get to the airport or even through to Auckley?

I have called the council and complained but as they say there is nothing they can do its because of Government.

I’m pretty sure somewhere down the line there is something someone can do, so whoever that is I need their attention.

Amber Garner, Chestnut Drive, Auckley

Was right to remember

On Monday, August 4, along with many others I attended a service of remembrance at the Doncaster War Memorial which was organised by Co-op Funeral Care.

We were told the council did not intend to mark the 100 year anniversary of the start of WW1 in which so many gave their lives.

The funeral care did a first class job as I’m sure all who attended will agree and deserve a note of thanks.

But what about the council showing a no care attitude? It does not bear thinking about.

Our thanks to those who remembered.

PC Corp Les Colton, Fellowship of Services, Ballam Avenue, Scawthorpe