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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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Why stand for election if you cannot weather the storm..?

SIR – I read with dismay the letter from ‘A disgruntled Labour Councillor’ (The Whitehaven News, letters, May 3). particularly as the country was awaiting the results of local elections nationwide.

The catastrophic affect the Coalition Government has had on this country after two years in office has been rightly exposed by the ballot box results, where our individual vote is the only way of expressing our disillusionment.

Not so for a local councillor in office, where there must be adequate opportunities to express views during Labour group meetings should they feel inclined. I find it incomprehensible to read that political debate is stifled – surely a councillor should have sufficient confidence in himself to enable him to qualify and quantify his opinions in open debate without having to anonymously whine in public about decisions derived at through a democratic voting system?

Why stand for election if you cannot weather whatever the storm throws at you? You’re supposed to have backbone, not whinge and whimper behind closed doors giving the impression that you’re bound and gagged in chamber, whilst rallying other faceless wonders for support.

What support can a councillor give to a local constituent who might genuinely feel disgruntled and aggrieved about their own individual problems, when personally they are consumed with criticism and contempt?

Your anonymous letter was a disgraceful and cowardly act, born out of your own inability to express your views in an appropriate manner, at an appropriate time and in the appropriate place.

What you’ve done is lost your own credibility, while attempting to decry the integrity and performance of Copeland Council’s leader Elaine Woodburn in the process, whose dedication to her job is exemplary and whose resilience won’t be fazed by the faceless sham of you. You know where the door is, feel free to GO. Shame on you.

Ms Eileen WEIR
Queen Street, Whitehaven

SIR – “A disgruntled Labour councillor” (The Whitehaven News, letters, May 3) is evidently incapable of accepting the discipline of collective responsibility.

From past experience as a councillor for Egremont South, I know that any Labour member may make a case within the group as forcefully as he or she wishes. If unsuccessful in persuading colleagues, he or she may then decide whether to back the democratic decision of the group or resign the whip. Either decision is perfectly honourable.

It is treacherous and dishonourable to attempt to undermine the reputation of the group from within. It is always contemptible for anyone to shield his or her identity while making disgraceful allegations about others.

This councillor seeks to exercise, in Kipling’s memorable phrase, “power without responsibility”.

Peter WATSON
Greendykes, Egremont

STADIUM

SIR – Further to the Pow Beck Stadium failure, I cannot see any honourable way forward other than the resignation of Coun Woodburn and others for their part not only in not delivering a super league Stadium but also in my opinion for hijacking Haven RL club.

Our council got involved with Haven RL in order to access Pow Beck for its development plans, appointing two councillors – Tim Knowles and Cath Giel – onto the Haven RL board of directors under chairman Dick Raaz.

From appointing Knowles and Giel without any experience of managing a club, it soon went into decline and supporters stayed away, resulting in demotion into a lower league, then administration. Couns Knowles and Giel stood down from the council at last year’s elections.

Whilst the Miners Welfare are taking criticism for not accommodating Copeland BC, who in their right mind would undersell the land that releases a huge area for development to retailing, housing, leisure and connecting access roads? The Miners no doubt would have been following professional advice from their legal and accountancy consultants.

Haven RL in my opinion were hijacked by Copeland BC and it is they alone who should take ownership for the mayhem they have created

C. J. ROGAN
Address supplied

SIR – It is with dismay that I read in your newspaper the character assassination of the leader and officers of Copeland Borough Council. I have been working with Copeland for a number of years, and repeatedly bring my business back to Copeland, largely because of the positive, professional and intelligent way the council operates.

In my experience, Copeland Borough Council is a fine example of how to stimulate regeneration and support the economy through growth.

Copeland negotiated hard to get the best deal from my company to support the housing market renewal of the Woodhouse estate, and the area is transforming, houses are selling and the community is on board.

The enthusiasm and positive approach of the council has led to Story Homes developing exciting community benefits such as the televised apprentice scheme, provision of landscaping services on the Woodhouse estate and an ongoing commitment to be involved in the forward regeneration of the area.

I asked Elaine Woodburn personally to open the house built by the apprentices which was the subject of a recent TV documentary.

Elaine is one of the most passionate, hard-working and committed politicians I have worked with. I sit with her on the Local Enterprise Partnership board, where she is tenacious and forceful in ensuring that the interests of West Cumbria and Copeland are supported.

I don’t know the detail of the Pow Beck stadium, but I know that one of the hardest decisions to take in business is to walk away when you have invested time, energy and money into a project, but we’ve all done it – knowing when enough is enough comes with the territory.

I don’t recognise the council I read about under attack every week in The Whitehaven News, equally I only ever have really positive things to say about the people of Copeland.

Stories like this damage the whole area, in terms of those looking to invest, relocate and do business. Isn’t it time we used the local media to promote Copeland, not run ourselves down?

Fred STORY
Chief Executive, Story Homes
Burgh Road, Carlisle

SIR – I am looking forward to reading about the outcome off the access route into the ‘New Stadium’ it has the makings of a good ‘Whodunnit’ novel. Was it the council or was it the planning department’s boob? Who are the villains?

Also, please continue your interesting thriller on the Ye Old Whitehaven Bypass.

Steve H
Church Street, Whitehaven

SIR – It’s great to get away for a bit of sunshine, different food, relaxation – but it’s really nice to get back to Whitehaven – back to family and friends, beans on toast and a wander around Whitehaven harbour.

Having just returned from the southern hemisphere – all the more enjoyable for seeing our grandchildren – I got down to playing catch-up, reading back copies of The Whitehaven News to get updated on happenings. A brief summary of findings.

1. Whitehaven car parking chaos continues plus hundreds of parking tickets incorrectly issued.

2. Copeland B.C. losing of a great many thousands of pounds in bank guarantees for Whitehaven Rugby League Club.

3. Road traffic gridlock guarantee with Albion Square – now increased to 900 workers??

4. Copeland BC Leader taking another £6,000 in ‘allowances’. Not bad for a voluntary occupation and at a time of ‘financial restraint’

5. The Copeland Mayor farcical racism debacle, both in the cowardly anonymous complaint and the subsequent mishandling by CBC.

6. Cumbria County Councils £170 million PFI ‘mortgage’ for the Carlisle bypass that will cripple, financially, Cumbria’s future generations.

7. The nuclear waste debate – excellent consultation process but the follow-up looking increasing like a council stitch-up.

8. The Copeland BC £10,000 junket to pick up a local government ‘award’

9. More consultations for Whitehaven Town Centre, Harbour and CBC Services

And then 10. The loss of the World Cup Rugby matches to Whitehaven where I recall the CEO of Copeland BC taking centre stage in announcing on television the good news of the 2013 Rugby World Cup matches and a new stadium here in Whitehaven.

And then there’s that lot down in Westminster! It’s all too depressing. Beam me up Scotty – I need a holiday!

Rob ROMANO
Ash Grove, Whitehaven

GOOD SAMARITANS

SIR – Cumbria Starting Point is an organisation which prides itself in supporting people to manage their recovery from substance misuse.

On Monday April 16, an elderly gentleman fell and cracked his head in Lowther Street, Whitehaven, after being startled by an oncoming car. Four members of Cumbria Starting Point just happened to be in the right place at the right time to administer first aid to the elderly gentleman.

They impressively took control of the situation until the emergency services arrived. Looking on you would have thought these people had been administering first aid for years.

One person took control of the incident, administered first aid and ensured the other three played a vital role in the treatment of the elderly gentleman, relaying information to the emergency services, directing traffic around the incident, to making the gentleman feel as comfortable as possible.

Cumbria Starting Point had paid to put a number of its members through a first aid course the previous month, proving such courses pay huge dividends.

So Eddie, Bridget, Matt and one member who wishes to remain anonymous, it’s a great big thank you for not only giving your services to administer first aid so expediently at the scene, but also reassuring the many onlookers who had gathered to see what all the commotion was about.

Debs CLEMENTS
Manager, Cumbria Starting Point
www.cumbriastartingpoint.co.uk

ECONOMIC BLUEPRINT

SIR – In last week’s Whitehaven News you invited suggestions as to how and where the Energy Coast funding, originally set aside for the doomed Rugby League Stadium, should be spent.

With the re-development of the West Cumberland Hospital expected to re-commence soon, I would like to propose that the West Cumbria Health Park Project be given serious consideration. This project is currently on hold due to a lack of support from BEC and CBC. A great deal of work has already been done, and the original partners have expressed a preliminary support to look again at the proposals.

Unlike the stadium project, the health park project would benefit all the people of West Cumbria by adding value to the WCH re-development, creating jobs, inward investment and broader economic regeneration as well as secondary and tertiary education opportunities for our young people.

In particular, the spin-off of nuclear technology to health and other new business opportunities has the double benefit of exploiting West Cumbria’s position as a world leader in nuclear technology and at the same time reducing the area’s dependance on one major employer.

Les HANLEY
Beach Road, St Bees

SIR – Why is the major new idea for the future to be another bypass for Whitehaven; isn’t that what the Loop Road’s supposed to do?

Copeland have been giving away things to Workington for over 30 years – starting with the tertiary college; the police headquarters and the court (at least ours doesn’t flood) and Asda. At the same time they have managed to turn the shopping area of Whitehaven into a dead zone.

Folk don’t come to town because they can’t park or get what they want if they get a parking place.

Copeland’s only job is to get people into town to spend their money and stop making people look stupid with the great grandstand fiasco. Trying to blame the Miners’ Welfare for the failure of the £5.5million sports stadium is absurd. Any fool, except Copeland, would make sure of their access before all else.

If this stadium had come to fruition, what good is somewhere which will only hold 6,000 for “world” games.

Will we ever get people with common sense on the council who do what they are elected for – looking after all of Copeland? Why don’t they put their energies into fighting for a motorway, then we might get some jobs.

Mavis GASKELL
Bank Lane, Egremont

TURBINES

SIR – I write about all the proposed wind turbines under planning at the moment. I fear that the whole of Cumbria will be like some forest of turbines, spoiling the view of walkers, tourists and others who have loved and enjoyed the views of the lakes and beyond for years and years.

It is sad that due to the current changes in the planning system to seem to allow these wind turbines by default, that many, many applications are at the moment in progress or held up until the law is clarified – with all this going on, many locals have missed new applications and cannot keep up with all these farmers and others looking for a quick buck.

Many a poor farmer has looked upon wind turbines as a way out of their many years of financial difficulties, but this does not make up for traditional farming by just renting out land and replacing cattle or sheep with these metal monstrosities.

It is hoped that some common sense will prevail and only sensible, sensitive and select use of these turbines to provide part of our energy solutions for the future. I for one do not wish “this green and pleasant land” to be blighted by these turbines any more than it currently is.

The Rev Archie BROOKES
Address withheld

SUNDAY SERVICE

SIR – On Sunday March 11, after a beautiful walk at Ennerdale reservoir, at approximately 2.30pm we entered the Fox and Hound pub in the local village to ask if they were still serving meals, knowing full well that the vast majority of restaurants stop serving at 2pm at the weekend.

We were very surprised that they said “yes – our chief says he will stop cooking when people stop eating”.

We found the staff are volunteers as it is a community-run pub. I am pleased to say that their attitude of delivering a service like they would like to be served worked very well.

From a small village the principle of serving food when the customer needs it is far better than ‘you must eat before 2pm’ rule governing other restaurants – let’s face it, after a long week of working who says when you can or can’t eat?

So if you are after a new time to eat visit the Fox and Hound the staff are very pleasant – and the food’s nice.

Steven REYNOLDS

THE LIB-DEMS AND EUROPE

SIR – I refer to last week’s letter from Chris Davies, Lib Dem MEP, wherein he severely criticised Paul Nuttall, the UKIP MEP for the North West of England.

In the light of the Lib Dems’ tenuous and, hopefully, temporary existence in the Coalition Government – where all they seem to do is to try to disrupt the few decent policies the Tories attempt to introduce – it is surprising that he has the temerity to make public criticism of anyone. Rather, it would be better to apologise for his party’s feather-brained attempts to influence voters to support the Lib-Dems.

Of course, his party will influence the electorate, adversely though, by inducing them NOT to vote for the Liberal Democrats.

At least Mr Nuttall has the courage of his convictions by attempting to promote sensible policies, especially in his criticism of Euro-mania by the unelected mandarins in Brussels.

I suppose though that, as an all-expenses-paid passenger on the bloated Euro Gravy Train, Mr Davies feels comfortable in his well-paid (but precarious and temporary) existence amongst the other unnecessary pseudo-politicians with whom he consorts and who share his mistaken beliefs.

As his party’s leader, Nick Clegg, said on the day the Lib-Dems suffered so grievously in the recent local council elections: “The task of the Liberal Democrats is ‘rescuing, repairing and restoring Britain’s fortunes”. This country’s voters will wait in vain for them to do this.

Brian PARNABY
Ullock

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