Your Letters Extra

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Such is your reaction to our stories we can’t fit all your letters in the newspaper every Thursday.

So for those of you unlucky enough to have missed the cut, we will be putting all the other letters received online.

Parking restrictions now in place

I would like to warn all of your readers there is now a parking restriction at Glen Square, Wolverton (where the new Asda is). It has been operating for about five weeks, you are only allowed to park there for one hour 30 minutes.

If you go there to do your shopping, which I do regularly, or you shop monthly you need to be aware of the time restriction. They have put signs up, two when you drive in, but how you are supposed to see them when you are concentrating on getting into the car park from the main road is beyond me.

There are three other signs, but if like me you have parked there for years you won’t necessarily be aware of them. There are no notices in Asda or the other shops to warn of the time restriction. This parking company is called parking eye and you don’t get a ticket on your car it comes through the post.

Then they give you about a week to pay a reduced fee (£40). If you go over this date you then have to pay £70. plus £30 admin charge, which seems a bit excessive to me.

There is no phone number so if you have a query or you want to appeal you need to do it in writing. I have spoken to lots of people about this and no one seems to know about it, so if this stops someone else getting a ticket it’s a good thing.

Liz Celia, Bradville

Join war widows for a coffee and chat

Six war widows meet on the first Monday of the month for coffee, a chat and if required lunch. The “Chairwoman of the War Widows of Great Britain” leads the group and would be pleased to have more members here in Milton Keynes. Her area covers Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

Contact number via the Citizen to be put in touch.

Mrs E Barry, Bradville

HS2 approval is short-sighted

I am astonished, but not surprised, that the Government has taken the misguided step of approving the HS2 rail scheme. This is a short-sighted and costly scheme that will take 15 years to complete.

The unproved economic and social benefits which the scheme claims to bring do not merit the irreparable environmental damage which will be caused through higher energy consumption, noise, CO2 emissions and biodiversity loss. Creating deep cuttings and tunnels through EU protected wildlife sites is not a price to pay for what is likely to be a rich man’s railway which will only serve four stations.

There is a strong case for enhancing the capacity and performance of Britain’s inter-city rail network, but the HS2 proposals are costly, flawed and a wasted opportunity. It would be far better, and more cost-effective, to spend some of that money on upgrading and improving the existing rail infrastructure. The money saved could be put into investment in jobs and regeneration in the north. HS2 will be a slightly faster, yet very expensive rail service, which will create a two tier rail network in this country.

Last July I was one of 54,909 people to submit a response to the government consultation on HS2 setting out why I am opposed to this scheme. You can read this on my website. In a time of constrained finances, spending over £32 billion of public money on a scheme that won’t improve rail transport for the vast majority of travellers shows me that the government is entirely on the wrong track.

Keith Taylor, Green MEP for South East England

Loughton car parking scheme a waste of money

In November 2011, residents in the affected areas of Loughton received a letter advising that the Loughton Controlled Parking Zone was to be extended with effect from December 16, 2011. Enclosed with this letter were a permit application form and guidance notes. I completed and submitted my form and waited for my requested resident permit, visitor permit and supply of 50 free scratch cards, as offered, to arrive.

On December 15, having had no sight of these documents, I telephoned MKBC Traffic Management expressing my concern at their non appearance. A jovial young man explained that I had no need to worry because the date of the proposed extension had been changed to January 9, 2012. Nonetheless, my documents duly arrived on December 16.

On January 6, 2012, existing controlled parking signs were removed and notices indicating the newly restricted areas were mounted on various lamp-posts therein. On January 10, these new notices had acquired a covering of black plastic and sticky tape. I once again telephoned MKBC Traffic Management to find out whether or not I should be dishing out my newly acquired scratch cards to any visitors. I was told that the plan to extend the controlled parking zone in Loughton was ‘on hold’ for the foreseeable future and that letters would be sent to residents in the affected areas to explain. No letter of explanation is forthcoming.

So - our money has yet again been wasted - this time on letters and postage advising of the proposed change, the permit cards and scratch cards that have been printed and distributed to those hundreds of residents affected, the removal and replacement of signage and the letters and postage of the letters of explanation when they finally appear.

There is no money for street lighting in places where it is clearly essential, yet there are apparently sufficient funds to cover the errors of those who should have followed through the correct procedures required in order to implement this very necessary parking restriction. And don’t get me started on the Secklow Gate bridge debacle...

Sandra Reed, Higgs Court. Loughton

Big Society needs local contact

I realise that I am growing more like Victor Meldrew by the day, but I really do have something to complain about and say ‘I don’t believe it!’ and the issue should be of central concern to the proponents of the Big Society.

When I moved here 34 years ago, my bank had an address and a telephone number. Now they have neither, at least not readily accessible to their customers. Trying to contact them sends you to a call center. Is it that they don’t want to see me in person but would much prefer just to deal via the Internet?

It is exactly the same story with my building society. When I moved here, taxation was dealt with locally in Bletchley. One could ring and stand a very good chance of speaking to exactly the same person each time. Now you get shunted between Liverpool, Edinburgh and heaven only knows where, never speaking to the same person.

Back then, if you wanted to know about trains from Bletchley you rang Bletchley station. I recall once when the man answering actually looked out of the window to give me updated information. I think that enquiries are now dealt with in Bangalore, which obviously creates something of a distance. There was once a travel centre at MK Central, now closed.

Surely, the Big Society requires that local personal contact is at centre-stage and yet so much is moving in precisely the opposite direction.

Frederick Toates, by email

What is going on at Virgin Media?

I’ve had a very fruitless call with Virgin Media regarding my TV service being off for a week. At least three people I spoke to in various departments informed me that Virgin Media have switched off the their cable service to Milton Keynes, which is the first I’ve heard of it.

In fact the only correspondence I’ve received from them is an e-mail confirming they have taken my January payment by direct debit.

Do you know if this is true, if so it must be affecting several thousand people in MK.

Nicholas Wilde, by email

Church Farm expansion is not ‘sustainable’

The Church Farm area at Wavendon has been identified by the city council as being suitable for housing development because they consider it “suitable for sustainable growth...”.

I do not understand how they can arrive at the view that the development in question will be ‘sustainable’.

Via their associated questionnaire, amazingly the council, in asking local residents if schools and other local facilities will be necessary for the proposed development. In effect they are suggesting that such facilities are optional as opposed to being essential – what sort of madness is this?

I would have thought that expanding significantly (by about 300 dwellings) a residential area without supporting facilities would be very bad for existing and future residents and an excellent example of unsustainable development and ‘town-cramming’.

Additionally, ‘tacking-on’ more housing to what exists and adding to the problem of Milton Keynes’ excessive car-dependancy is another example of being unsustainable: we are supposed to be reducing our car-dependancy not adding to it.

In the council’s questionnaire there is no mention whatsoever of the role of public transport in serving the proposed development.

The proposed Church Farm development, with only seemingly an option to include local facilities, a trend to raise co2 pollution levels and no mention of public transport, can in no way be described as sustainable.

If our city council thinks differently then presumably building any set of sheds anywhere with a modicum of roof and wall insulation can be construed as sustainable and thus justified.

I do not in principle object to MK’s expansion but the council’s current argument that the proposed Church Farm development is sustainable has not been demonstrated.

Some other and better justification for it’s building needs to be discovered otherwise the proposal needs to be abandoned on the grounds of a lack of environmental justification.

Mike O’Sullivan (Former Environment Cabinet Member MKC), Latimer, Stony Stratford.

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