Letters January 27, 2011

I HAVE been following the saga of the tree felling on the racecourse and have just read the latest article in the Free Press.

Since the start of this story several people, myself included, have written to the mayor and had letters published in your paper questioning the mayor’s reasoning for having the trees removed. He states that the race-going public, who pay a lot of money, cannot follow the racing because of the trees and therefore heaps ridicule upon Doncaster as a top class venue. I cannot disagree with that statement if it was wholly true. As people have pointed out during the prestigious St Leger meeting people who pay upwards of £100 per day cannot see the racing as the marquee they erect has no windows to the rear, also the view is blocked fro the stands by the same marquee. Does this then make Doncaster a laughing stock or the mayor’s statement?

It would appear that the media , yourselves included, are frightened to pose this question to the mayor and seem to hang on his every word as though it’s gospel. Why not pose the question to him that the race meeting that draws the biggest paying audience cannot watch the racing because of the marquee and wouldn’t it better for a top class venue to have a clear view? After all you wouldn’t put a marquee on a football/cricket pitch or a tennis court, to quote the mayor’s analogy would you?

Come on Free Press do your job and ask questions not be a mayoral spokesman.

David G Grain, Wroxham Way, Scawsby

Treated us like common criminals

AS one of the protesters at Doncaster Common I would like to comment on Mr Davies remarks.

Does DMBC usually commence a large scheme of work without it having been costed and knowing where that money is coming from to pay for it? It is a cause for great concern if they do. The mayor has stated he is seeking the funds from outside sources, if not the taxpayers of Doncaster will foot the bill. It is a very large amount of money at a time when a great many council workers’ jobs are going.

DMBC informed us that they had been ‘in consultation with the police and there would be a police presence at the common’. Were we supposed to be intimidated? No Mr Davies, it was your over-reaction, not ours, that prevented criminals being caught and wasted police time and money.

For Doncaster’s economy to improve we need a good education and skill base and a council capable of selling Doncaster to industry and businesses. The racecourse is an asset but like many other (without trees) is running at a loss. I cannot see how 30 afternoon/evening race meetings a year in these circumstances will improve the town’s economy. The general racing public have changed, many watch at home, at the bookies and to go to the races is expensive.

Kath Lightfoot, Axholme Road. Wheatley

Mayor has got his way at last

WELL, after a year of objection, the Mayor of Doncaster, Peter Davies, has got his way. Pensioner protesters were threatened with arrest and the cells. Those of you that go to the races will know that even if all the trees, with the exception of oaks, were cut down, your view will still remain hindered by the trees remaining, the undulations of the land and other obstructions. Next time you are there, down at the parade ring, the old grandstand, up against the rails or somewhere in that area, look out over the course and see what you can see. Look straight ahead and you will see the mound that the corporate tents go on. Look to your left and you will see white railings. Look up at the huge screens and you will see the race. Look to your left again as the roar mounts and you will see the horses over the last three furlongs or so only.

At least the work to be carried out will be over a number of years, and at a cost there will be re planting of trees. Good idea that isn’t it. Cut a perfectly good tree down, one that DMBC planted 15 years ago, and plant another almost in the same place.

John Anderson, Sandbeck Road, Bennetthorpe

Mayor should get facts straight

I READ with dismay the mayor Peter Davies’ response to being pulled up for speeding on Shaftesbury Avenue by the police helping children in the Intake Neighbourhood Alliance Project targeting speeding motorists( DFP January 20, 2011). When he states that he admits doing 33mph in a 30 limit but cannot agree to children being outside doing this kind of work, they should be in the classroom learning English and maths.

Well Mr Davies, maybe you should go back to the classroom and learn to read, then you would have read that Shaftesbury Avenue is a 20MPH zone, as is all of Intake. Why did the police not prosecute Mr Davis for doing 13 miles per hour over the limit?

Derek W Brook, Bessacarr.

Mayor is in the wrong here

I WAS appalled by the comment given by our mayor Peter Davies to newspapers after he was caught speeding in Intake. He not only complained about children developing their practical and social skills by saying he objected to children being outside the classroom in school hours; he also added his usual boast about fulfilling his role as mayor on half the salary available to him.

It really is time that he was brought to earth on this issue. Does Peter Davies get the full Teachers Pension Scheme pension, after retiring from teaching? If so this is several thousand pounds a year. Of course we wonder about his decision to chop down trees on Doncaster Common, which will benefit racegoers for a few minutes a year, while spoiling Doncaster’s environment for the foreseeable future.

He should apologise to the parents and children of Doncaster for his driving. He should come clean about his financial position. He should be defeated as mayor in the next election with the victor fully replanting Doncaster Common for the delight of those who live here.

John Westmoreland, Hollin Bridge Road, Hatfield Woodhouse

Who sealed phone deal?

WITH the news in the DFP about the shocking phone bills run up by council members, it was interesting to note that Coun Wood said the bills were due to outdated contracts that did not included free minutes. In this case could Coun Wood please inform us that whoever was in charge of phone bills and contracts at the council is on the list for job cuts at the council? After all, when the budget has to be cut and local services closing, then someone who can not even sort out a good phone deal is a prime candidate for cutting.

William Shaw (UKIP), Grange Farm, Old Denaby

Big spending councillors

MAY I once again congratulate our elected Mayor Mr Peter Davies, for exposing “councillor’s phone bills” to the public of Doncaster, I would also like thank the Free Press for publishing the names of the top 10 big spending councillors, (DFP January 20, 2011). How easy it is for these servants of the public, to spend money that they don’t have to earn. But we must ask the question, who in Doncaster Council authorised 61 councillors being given laptops, BlackBerries and mobile phones, at a cost to the tax payers of Doncaster? Who do these councillors think they are? They were elected by the public to serve the public and to look after the public’s interests, let them use their own phones and computers, that is what they are paid almost £13,000 a year expenses for. It appears from your article that all or most of our DMBC councillors have little in the way of moral conscience, I wonder had Doncaster had someone of the calibre of Mayor Davies in charge in the 60s and 70s would we have avoided the stigma of “Donnygate” which unfortunately is still hanging over our once great town?

Mick Glynn, Hatfield Town Councillor, Doncaster Road, Hatfield.

Spending makes no sense

FURTHER to my letter re the closure of Doncaster libraries, I now learn all libraries have been issued with new computers, new tills and all staff have been re-trained to use them.

Can anyone at the council justify this expenditure, preparatory to closing down said library.

Mrs G Wratten, Meadow Croft, Edenthorpe

Shame on bus passengers

WHAT sort of world do we live in today when passengers on a bus can be seated whilst a 92-year-old man with two full shopping bags and a walking stick is left standing all the way from Doncaster to Campsall? The old man, a friend of mine, was shattered when he got home. I’m appalled!

I’m 79 and I willingly offer my seat to anyone whose need is greater than mine.

I’m saddened to see how people are so uncaring today. Shame on those passengers on that bus.

S A Wattam, Park Road, Campsall

Why suffer jobs and library cuts?

A LOT of people talk about greedy bankers and do nothing about it except ensuring that other people suffer.

Doncaster Council could allow over 100 compulsory redundancies and also close 12 libraries. We should be grateful for living in a big society. This big society will rely on volunteers doing many of the jobs in place of redundant decent hard working people. Do people want this?

In the first library service review 2,726 people did not support replacing static libraries with a mobile service, nor using volunteers to run the service. Did the council support the 2,726 respondents views? Well page 38 said under the title of use of volunteers; initial outcomes of the public consultation reinforce that the use of volunteers is endorsed by the majority of our residents to assist in the delivery of the service, therefore it is proposed that this will be a major feature of the service moving forward. 1984 is back with double speak.

Nobody in the Con/Dem government will help the people in Doncaster. Fight all cuts and start by attending the Doncaster Central ‘read in’ on Saturday, January 29, at 1pm and sign the libraries petition.

Doug Wright, Chantry Close, Doncaster

Librarian is a real local hero

LIBRARIAN and local hero, Lauren Smith, is playing a leading part in a national campaign to save library services. I have been prompted to write after listening to her square up to culture minister, Ed Vaizey on the BBC Radio and You and Yours programme.

The people of Doncaster should be standing up to support Lauren. Do not let this government that is ideologically committed to cutting services, nor our listless council, fool you into thinking our libraries are just rooms full of books. Professionally run library services promote the sheer joy of reading. Literacy, in turn, leads to good health and better opportunities for every member of out community. Professional librarians work in partnership with early years workers, health visitors, schools and parents to improve the prospects of some of our most disadvantaged children. This can only be achieved by a fully resourced service. It’s ironic that at the same time as a government sponsored report emphasises the importance of early intervention in breaking the all too familiar cycle of deprivation and under-achieving among children and families, Doncaster Council is looking to turn off at source in 12 communities the free access to books and information that can help make the difference for these children.

Our grandparents - working people, miners, railway workers - had a proud tradition of self-improvement. They did not have the opportunity of university education but they valued the right to access free knowledge at their libraries.

Wake up and recognise what is being taken away from you before it is too late.

Julie Brabazon, Whiphill Top Lane, Branton

Working classes being forgotten

As I have not had a rant this year, I thought I might turn my attention to the current quagmire that is the politics of today. As usual in these days of continuous capitalist governments the working classes are being made to carry the burden of this country’s hardships. Libraries set to close, students forced into debt that will live with them for the majority of their lives , men and women forced to work for a further five years to get themselves a half decent pension, to name but three examples.

Whilst all this is going on the people who got the planet into this fine mess are being rewarded with vast bonuses just for doing their job, i.e. investing our pensions. The powers that be would have us believe that if these people are not rewarded for their labour then they will go elsewhere.

Still the politicians continue to defend these financial hooligans.

The politicians seem to forget socialism was born out of the suffering of the working class , and though they have offered a few crumbs to these people from the banqueting table, in the 80s and 90s, the people are once again crying out for a fairer way. We are now offered this by Ed Miliband, but he’s got previous. I really do hope that the age of New Labour is over, but I fear all we are to get is more of the same.

Frank Owen, Highfields

Parish council resignation

I would like to thank everyone who voted for and supported me over the last nine plus years. I have enjoyed trying to serve and help Rossington residents up to the last year or so, and recent events have caused my to resign. The debates over the Miners Wheel recently and general lack of commitment to attempt to do good for Rossington, has finally shaken my dedication. I do not want to be associated with such attitudes.

Diane Field, Littleworth Lane, Rossington

Bin service wheelie not good enough

Several weeks ago I wrote to Doncaster Council because our wheelie bin had not been emptied for six weeks and the rubbish continued to accumulate leaving me no option other than to get rid of the waste myself.

I made a formal complaint by telephone and several days later received an explanation and apology from the team leader of Armthorpe site which I assume is responsible for Barnby Dun.

The letter clearly states that there had been a failure in contractural obligations. Then a few days later I received another letter that bombarded with me so much information that I stopped reading it half way through, however it was clear that the intention of the letter was to gloss over the error that Armthorpe had already admitted..

This is a classic case of the left and right hand scenario but, more importantly, the outcomes differ and clearly resources have been duplicated at a time when the council should be spending every penny carefully.

John Howarth, Church Road, Barnby Dun

Something for Sir David Danum

I’m still laughing at something that I saw just before Christmas and during the really cold weather.

I saw a young man coming across Trafford Way wearing only a thin t-shirt on his upper body. His arms were blue with cold and the t-shirt was emblazoned with the word ‘Jackass’.

Malcolm Burgess, North Swaithe Close, Bentley.

No sports facilities in town centre

I am writing to state my displeasure at the lack of sporting spaces in and around Doncaster Centre. This area has a high number of young people who want to engage in some sort of sporting activity and the facilities are simply not there. I appreciate the lack of money about in the local authority at the minute but surely more effort should be made in this particular work stream and out reach workers should be out there on the streets engaging with these young people so they don’t get tempted to get up to any monkey business.

The ones that are about are run down and full of detritus and in a terrible state of disrepair. My grandson lives in Balby and there is a multi-use games area outside the youth centre but there are no lights. What use is that on these dark evenings? The country will soon be hosting the Olympics but where are the places in this area to inspire the next generation of sporting heroes? The 2012 event in London will bring much revenue to this country but I doubt any will reach this part of South Yorkshire.

Grant Prescott, Broxholme Lane, Doncaster

MPs won’t turn down pay rise

Will MPs turn down their one per cent pay rise? You must be joking. After all, how could you expect them to manage on their present £1,300 a week salary.

Dave Croucher, Pinfold Gardens, Fishlake

Who is holding our MPs to account?

How are local MPs held to account for how they act and vote in the Commons on behalf of local electors?

Obviously anyone who cares enough can look at their voting record and act accordingly at a General Election, but that opportunity doesn’t come up too often. No, if we want to know what our MPs are doing week-by-week we rely on them to tell us, or the local press to report on their activities.

A week or so ago there was a landmark vote in the House of Commons on a tabled amendment to the EU Bill. This amendment added a clause to the bill spelling out that UK law, as passed by our parliament, will always take precedent over laws and regulations passed by the EU. My understanding is that when this matter came to the vote all our local MPs abstained, along with the rest of the Labour Party and, despite 39 Tory rebels voting for this amendment, it was lost. Accordingly I wrote to this esteemed newspaper to publicly ask why - either our elected MPs don’t think that UK laws they themselves have passed should be paramount, or they don’t much care either way.

Mick Andrews, Thorne Road, Doncaster

Did you serve with RAF in Singapore?

One of the Royal Air Force’s most colourful and historic overseas bases, Seletar, closed in 1971, but it is remembered with affection by members of the RAF Seletar/Tengah Association. Formed in 1997, the intention is to reunite any personnel who served or were based at Seletar or Tengah in any capacity, service or civilian, including families of those who were based there. Our newsletter, the Selectar Searchlight, is used three times a year, and we have a database of over 1,000 members. Should any readers wish to join us, with a view to possibly renewing old friendships, please contact (01904) 612542 dt@deltango.net for details.

David Taylor, Chairman & Yorks Liaison Officer, Lower Darnborough Street, Clementhorpe, York.

Roadworks are making our lives hell

Well done Doncaster Council, once again you have brought doom and gloom to hundreds of us who have been caught up in the traffic chaos of road works. Why do all major road works have to be done at the same time?

Coming from Askern to Doncaster, crawling along Bentley Road, take an alternative route along York Road, another nightmare, try the A1, even worse with Balby Road in chaos, even the swing bridge at Barnby Dun is a no-go area.

It’s about time someone, who no doubt is on a very good salary, did something useful and sorted this mess out, and staggered the road works to avoid unnecessary misery.

Ms T Blower, Bentley