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Wednesday, 01 July 2015

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Paying the Asda price for building new hospital in the town centre

SIR – I note from last week’s News there is a possibility that the so-called new hospital may be built on the once-proposed Asda site here in town, which, on the face of it, is convenient for many.

Is this however a fire sale on that piece of land because Copeland did not manage to sell off their builders-yard asset to Asda?

I found the reasons given by Asda – that the cost of buying the terraced houses at Bentinck Row had stopped the multi-million pound development from going ahead – rang hollow, as the advanced stage they had reached with blueprints for the site must already have cost them millions in architects’s fees.

Over the years we have become accustomed to Hensingham hospital being sited where it is, but I recall it was only constructed on top of a steep hill because a lot of land came cheap with Holmewood.

Are we going to repeat this location error yet again? The same one we made when we built The Beacon in the wrong place in order to secure derelict land grants?

If we can’t build a new supermarket who says we can build another hospital – and do we really need one?

Michael Moon SRN (Retired),

Roper Street, Whitehaven

Clarity over my comments

SIR – I would like to thank E Brown for supporting the main points of what I said. But I was saddened to see the personal comment about me in the letter and the implication of that prompts this response. I assume he/she has drawn that conclusion from what they think I wrote.

I am aware of all the points made in the letter through my regular visits to the area. I would point out that I did not comment about the gardens of the houses so he/she has no dispute with me over that.

However I must remind E Brown that I did not say that Tommy planted shrubs but I did say that he planted rockery plants, particularly a plant we called white rock. I agree with the comment about the hens, sheep and goats but by the time they were introduced to the area the rockery plants were well established having been planted in the 1950s before they arrived. E Brown’s comment about the fence reinforces the point I was making about the area becoming dilapidated.

The quarry had become a magnet for people who wanted rid of rubbish, including old cars, and couldn’t be bothered to take them to an official tip.

The Rev David HASSON


Welcome blast from the past

SIR – May I reply to part of Bob Gibson’s letter, printed in last week’s News, and assure him that Mamie Gaffney is alive and well and can be traced to Tesco store (Mondays and Wednesdays) or Morrisons (Fridays!), but not surprisingly clad in a green gymslip.

I’d like you to know Bob, that I certainly remember you from those happy school days, only my flashbacks are of how shamefacedly, but successfully, I begged to borrow your maths homework, in the knowledge that it would certainly be far more accurate than mine.

Yours was a surprising and lovely blast from the past!

Mamie ADAIR (nee Gaffney)

Tivoli Cottages, Moresby

Playing God with people’s lives

SIR – With reference to the article in last week’s Whitehaven News on Mr Michael Kennett.

That the NHS should reject Mr Kennett for further cancer treatment, using the drug Avastin – which could possibly extend his life – is an abhorrent and heartless act. Who are these faceless bureaucrats and bean-counters to play God with someone’s life?

Quite seriously, I think we are approaching a situation where the aged in our society will live longer and more fuller lives whilst the younger section of the population diminishes in terms of percentage of the population.

Will we eventually reach a situation where the minority working employed will not be able to pay for the pensions of the majority of those retired? What would a Frankenstein Government do then? Introduce a programme of compulsory euthanasia for those over a certain age?



Time to end this pointless war

SIR – “Pourquoi les fleurs?” I asked a passing local. He seemed surprised at the question. “It’s the local schoolchildren – they keep their memory alive. After all, they died for our freedom...”

To set the scene, we were driving the quieter roads of rural France and looking for a lay-by to enjoy our croissants and pâté. We stopped at a cemetery with a bit of parking space and after lunch one of the graves catches my eye. It is in immaculate condition and covered with flowers and a cloud comes over the sunshine as I read the inscription.

It is the crew of one of our Lancasters, at 26 years of age the oldest was the navigator. Next door, a single stone with the brief, sad inscription “Known unto God”. So here rested some of the 55,000 young men of my generation, all volunteers, who died fighting a war necessary for our freedom.

So let’s skip a generation and once again British blood is staining a foreign field. So what the hell are we fighting for in Afghanistan? Surely this is the North West Frontier where the rule used to be “keep the last bullet for yourself in case of capture” Otherwise you were staked out in the sun to let the women look for souvenirs with their little knives.

The Russians read their history books and left, realising that in history an organised Army had never beaten a determined civilian population. So let’s leave them to grow their poppies in peace. If it bothers anybody, let’s buy it all up and burn it, surely much cheaper then sending in the troops.

Our young men and women have joined the Services to fight for Queen and Country should the need arise. They should not be wounded and killed in the hostile territory of the NW frontier for some vague politically inspired reason.

My generation paid a heavy price for a war that had to be won – remember Auschwitz and the Gas Chambers – but I see no need for the present sacrifice.


Meadowfield, Gosforth

Tory views on Energy Coast

SIR – On your letters page on September 4, Diane Higgins asked about the attitude of Conservatives in Copeland to the Energy Coast” masterplan.

Conservatives believe that Nuclear power should form part of a balanced energy policy. The Energy Coast masterplan has been agreed by both Copeland and Allerdale councils as well as the government, and on neither authority did the Conservative councillors take an anti-nuclear line. We consider that there are many good things in the document, although we are also concerned that to make it a reality rather than just a plan, and to actually deliver all the jobs and improvements the plan promises, a great deal more work has to be done,

For example. although there have been some broad hints that government money may be available we need to see much more details of when and how the expensive projects in the document will be paid for and a timetable for when they should be begun and completed. And whether the power generated in the document is produced by nuclear energy or any other system to become a net exporter of energy we will need to find an answer to the national grid issues. At the moment the transmission capacity to meet the aspirations in the masterplan is not in place and this urgently needs to be resolved.

Nuclear energy currently provides about 20 per cent of Britain’s electricity, which is the great majority of our low-carbon generation at the moment. If we do not replace that capacity you can kiss goodbye to any hopes of Britain meeting our targets to cut carbon emissions. Many Green activists who object to nuclear power have also objected to coal energy, pointing out that the Drax coal-fired power plant is the biggest single carbon emitter in the UK. But if we don’t support nuclear or coal, how are we to keep the lights on? Are we going to rely on buying gas from Vladimir Putin? I don’t think that’s a good idea.

Renewable energy, biomass, tide energy, and energy saving will almost certainly have a role to play in meeting Britain’s energy needs, but all need to satisfy local communities that host them, and all have their own problems - we are in danger of placing too much reliance on onshore windmills, for example, which only provide power when there is the right amount of wind.

Conservatives do believe that nuclear facilities must have the support of the local community, which is why we have suggested that there would have to be a referendum at some point before any decision to build a new nuclear repository.

Finally, we cannot ignore the fact that about a quarter of the working population in this area is employed by the nuclear industry. In the long run we need a more diversified economy, as even the nuclear industry recognises, but in the short term any attempt to turn our backs on that industry would mean economic catastrophe for West Cumbria. And Conservatives in Copeland are totally opposed to any such idea.


Conservative PPC for Copeland

Origin of those nostalgic signs

SIR – Re the two enamel signs on the front page of The Whitehaven News, I can shed some light on their history. Some 17 years ago, the same signs were on a shelf in my house!

In the late 1980s/early 90s I was given the job of clearing out the old Copeland Highways store in the now empty Ginns depot.

The Highways department had been disbanded some years previously and space was needed to store maintenance equipment for the playground people and the only space available was a room above the Parks department office.

I went up there and on a shelf, covered in dust, were stacked these five signs which, with permission, I “liberated” as everything was due to be skipped or burnt.

There was a badly damaged one for a Whitehaven confectioners, one for Donaldsons, one for Elliots, one for Brandaws Electricals, one for Border Caravans.

All were baked enamel and unusual in they were curved, not flat, for fitting to wooden telegraph poles of the period.

They date from the 1950s/60s period and at the time had remained untouched since being put in storage, probably in the 1970s.

All the signs remained in my collection until the mid 1990s, when some were sold to “Whitehaven” collectors, the rest being sold at the WCVC vintage rally at Hayescastle, Distington during the mid 1990s.

The last time I saw the Donaldsons sign was when it was being offered for sale in a Whitehaven antique shop in 2006, so they haven’t travelled very far!


The Crescent

Smithfield, Egremont


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