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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Bryson calls for new planning system to protect countryside

SIR – I would like to alert your readers to the continuing threat to the local countryside from the proposed reforms to our planning system, currently being finalised by the Government.

It is astounding that, in such a densely populated country, most people are still within easy reach of glorious and productive countryside. I believe one of the principal causes of that happy fact has been that the planning system has enabled necessary economic growth while protecting and enhancing the countryside – perhaps your greatest national treasure.

But if the new planning rules go unamended, they will mark a significant relaxation of protection for the so-called “ordinary” countryside, the countryside next door which might have no special designation, like a National Park, but is so important to so many people.

CPRE wants the countryside to support thriving communities, provide a haven for wildlife, and produce healthy local food – with the help of genuinely sustainable planning. This depends upon the quality of life the countryside gives us all – through its beauty, tranquillity, local distinctiveness and open space – which should be valued as much as material goods and economic growth.

On behalf of CPRE, I would like to urge readers to join us in standing up for the countryside by writing to their MPs to let them know that they want the planning system to protect their local countryside, not just specially designated areas.

Bill BRYSON

President, Campaign to Protect Rural England

SIR – I have some answers for “Fed-up Resident” who asked in your December 22 Talkback column how much has the abandoned transport interchange project cost.

The expenditure from March 31, 2008 (initial account) until February 2 2011 by Cumbria County Council totals £294,920 (with £261,533.51 going to Capita Symonds Ltd.) according to Freedom of Information request 2011-122.

This sum does not include monies since then up until this month’s cancellation, which will not be available until my further FOI request is received in January.

Nor does it include any monies incurred by Copeland Borough Council who evidently bought and sold Tesco some land in 2010 for, as yet, undisclosed sums (The Whitehaven News quoted circa £100,000 for land sold but nothing for land bought. This also awaits a FOI response from Copeland).

Of the total funding of £294,919.66, only £14,960 was provided by West Lakes Renaissance (in 2008-9) with the rest coming from Cumbria County Council.

However the REAL question to ask now is what is going to happen to the taxpayers’ “nuclear” £1.3million that Britain’s Energy Coast had earmarked for this project – does it go to Pow Beck or Albion Square or what?

Arthur MILLIE

Longcroft, Egremont

SIR – In answer to your correspondent who wrote about fireworks (The Whitehaven News, December 15), most countries celebrate with fireworks on special occasions, not only on firework night, November 5.

Being an OAP myself, I remember throughout my life how exciting it used to be watching and listening to firework displays.

I still enjoy such times and am sure the children of today, as well as grown-ups, look forward to this country’s celebrations.

If people with their pets do not like other people enjoying themselves on such occasions, I suggest they lock themselves away at such times.

In my eyes children come first. As it is, everyone has to put up with animals pooing on our beaches and being a danger to children. Other countries do not allow animals on their beaches and for sure not in Spain, so why do we have to put up with them on ours? Let them loose on their own properties.

Any answer to Alex Fairfull’s complaint should be answered with Dickens’ line: “Bah humbug.” Maybe he should read A Christmas Carol, and is he so hard and sharp as flint through which no iron has ever struck generous fire.

Mrs E E GRAY

The Fairways, Seascale

SIR – Elaine Woodburn’s assurance (in a recent Whitehaven News) that no community will have the radioactive waste dump forced upon them suggested a rather facile reading of the consultation documents.

In fact, the word “community”, as Humpty Dumpty might have said, means what the Government has decided it shall mean: and that is not “the people of the parish or neighbourhood which is chosen to get the dump”.

The “community” which may be able to withdraw from the search for the dump site is Copeland or Allerdale Council; hence, councillors representing people living 20 or more miles from a proposed site, who will be unaffected by the dump, will decide whether to withdraw from the search process or not.

It is only commonsense to accept that the two or three really local councillors, who may be expected to oppose the dump because of its damage to their community, will be out-voted by the rest. That majority will consider jobs and benefits for the area as a whole or the chance of a gong for services to the nuclear industry, when they vote.

Noise, spoil, dust and danger, with two million cubic metres of waste arriving at the dump over 120 years and staying for tens of thousand years more won’t really affect them.

By making “community” mean what it wants it to mean, the Government has gone a good step to ensuring it gets its dump. A real community will have it forced on them; and that is what it calls “democracy”. As Alice said: “Curiouser and curiouser.”

Richard FROST

Catherine Street, Whitehaven

SIR – On Sunday, December 18, Whitehaven Amateur Football Club Junior Section took part in a fundraising bag pack at Tesco in Whitehaven.

Firstly we would like to thank Tesco for providing us with this opportunity to raise much needed funds for our Junior Section. We currently have over 200 children who train and play competitive football every week and fund raising is vital if we are to continue providing this level of football. Secondly, a big thank you to the staff who were great and made the children very welcome and finally a very big thank you to the customers, whose generosity was amazing.

West Cumbria might not have the weather or the facilities of some parts of the country, but there is nowhere that can beat us on warmth, hospitality and generosity.

So on behalf of the children, their parents and the junior committee, thank you to all who contributed.

WAFC Junior Division Committee

SIR – At this time of year, World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) is offering your readers the chance to remember loved ones lost to cancer with a Candle of Hope pin badge.

The gold brooch symbolically lights the way to a future free from cancer as money raised from its sale funds essential scientific and education cancer prevention programmes.

The candle emblem provides a reminder of a loved one as well as hope for the future by helping us raise awareness of cancer prevention. Scientists estimate that by making changes to the food we eat, increasing our amount of physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight about a third of the most common cancers could be prevented.

To support our Candle of Hope appeal and receive your badge, please make a donation at www.wcrf-uk.org/candle or call our team on Freephone 0800 970 1461.

Teresa NIGHTINGALE

General Manager, WCRF

SIR – With all the controversy over dog fouling in the Whitehaven districts it doesn’t only stop here, this is a serious problem all over.

Some might say to me: “Come on clever clogs what’s your answer?” As a matter of fact I really have a positive answer to this problem. This is that the government bring in the dog licence again.

I know Mrs Thatcher scrapped the dog licence but this was a big mistake. To give you the proper recent statistics, at least 2000 postmen have been bitten by dangerous dogs and members of the general public have been attacked by dangerous dogs.

I think our local MPs should present a Bill in the House of Commons to bring back the dog licence. For administration purposes the licence should be at least £100 a year.

No doubt the farmer’s sheepdog does a wonderful job as a working dog, but other dangerous dogs are not essential.

I think most people will know that if a child gets dog muck in their eyes it could cause blindness.

I don’t posses to be a “clever clogs” but I am speaking for most intelligent people that this dog problem is out of control and must be addressed for everyone’s sake now.

James TAYLOR

Midtown Close, Distington

SIR – I would very much like to know what your readers think of this. I am a 68-year-old pensioner, and at 4.15am the other Monday the radiator in my bedroom started smoking. If it was not for the smoke alarm I would have been dead.

Firemen came and took the radiator from the wall. The police got in touch with the council, but I am still waiting for them to come.

A lady friend of mine went five years with no heating or hot water.

Last Christmas from December 23-29, I was flooded. I cooked my Christmas dinner in 2ft of water.

Pensioners don’t count. Something needs to be done about it.

H D SAYLE

Roper Street, Whitehaven

SIR – Following the publication of a letter about ME in The Whitehaven News (December 8, 2011), we have received a very kind offer of help, from a reader, Joyce, to visit or shop for an ME sufferer in the locality.

Since Joyce is herself an MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity) sufferer, who remains well as long as she does not come into contact with synthetic fragrances and especially VOCs (volatile organic compounds) emitted from clothes treated by perfumed laundry products, she can only be of assistance if the ME sufferer lives in a chemically-free home.

Contact drjohngreensmith@-mecommunitytrust.org and I shall be happy to introduce you.

We hope this good example may be followed to help reduce the social isolation faced by so many people with this dreadfully disabling illness.

Dr John H GREENSMITH

ME Community Trust.org

Downend, Bristol

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