YOUR VIEWS: on pensions, roads, Holbeach, internet safety and youth

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Have your say

This is a selection of the many letters and emails we receive at the Spalding Guardian each week. If you would like to write a letter to the editor, email jeremy.ransome@iliffepublishing.co.uk or post your letter to: Jeremy Ransome, editor, Spalding Guardian, Priory House, The Crescent, Spalding PE11 1AB.

PENSIONS

The new pension age is so unfair

So the pension age is rising to the age of 68 – this is ridiculous. It’s okay for those with office jobs, but for those with physical work to do like myself and working 12 hour shifts as millions do, it is a nightmare. The pension age should be much lower for people like myself who have grafted hard all of our working life, not higher.

I am finding it very tough now at the age of 57 – the wear and tear over the years is now taking its toll. I’m pretty sure I won’t make it, but it seems that this is what the government want. Another cut, this time with lives, to save money. Oh what a caring country we live in... I dont think so.

Neil Bingham

via email

ROADS

Congestion not problem

Thank you for drawing attention to the proposed improvements to the A17 (plans for a £2.5million overtaking lane between Gedney and Lutton Garnsgate).

The problem with congestion is at Fleet Hargate. On occasions there is standing traffic backed up to the Long Sutton roundabout; the proposal would do nothing to ease this.

Apart from the bottleneck near Lowgate, lorries attempting to turn right into businesses by the farm shop sometimes hold up traffic travelling west.

I have never seen congestion (unless perhaps westward travelling traffic is at times affected by the build up of traffic the other side of the roundabout).

The plan is truly “flawed”, as Coun Peter Coupland says in the article.

John Bland

via email

HOLBEACH

Call to all to help town move forward

I welcome the recent press statement by South Holland District Council regarding the Boston Road car park in Holbeach.

Dividing it with bollards to allow both entrances to open, something I called for many months ago, was always the best way forward.

I also accept that the market will have to remain in the car park. My own conversations with traders confirms that it has benefited them and they don’t want to move, though it has reduced trade in the High Street, something that the Parish Council and the recently formed Holbeach Action Group of district councillors, parish councillors and traders are trying to rectify.

The town already looks better thanks to the themed floral window displays recently provided by many shops and the work to improve the frontages of premises is off to a good start. New special events in the park and elsewhere are also being planned for next year.

One of the proposals to help improve footfall was to have monthly free specialist markets on the old Market Hill location and the first three were planned for July, August and September.

July was to be a craft market, though town traders who wished to promote their own businesses would also have been welcome. Unfortunately take up was insufficient and the event was postponed until August.

Considering the number of craftspeople who turn up at other events, in the Hub or at the Church for example, this surprised me.

Part of the problem seems to have been insurance and heath and safety regulations, something that may seem complicated or expensive for amateur market traders and craftspeople. The Parish Council can provide insurance cover for non professional and temporary market traders and will be as flexible as the law allows.

Please do apply for a stall – all applications will be carefully considered, there will now be simplified forms for those who are not regular market traders and the clerk will help complete them if required.

Since there is no charge you have little to lose. It may lead to new business opportunities or increased sales for established ones. The Parish Council is now looking at ways to make it easier for people to participate.

There has been much very understandable dismay in Holbeach about the market move but traders have to make a living and a new opportunity for residents and shops has come from the change. It’s now up to the people of our town to take advantage of it and help Holbeach move forward.

Paul Foyster

District councillor

Holbeach

INTERNET

Safe accounts must be offered to under-18s

The Government’s pledge to introduce a regulator and age verification measures to block children from accessing pornography websites is welcome news.

At the NSPCC we have long stressed the deeply damaging effect pornography has on young people’s behaviour. It warps their understanding of consent, distorts their views of body image and can be downright dangerous when it comes to learning about sexual health.

This move is a first step. Government must now grasp the nettle and take further action to protect our children from online dangers. Enforcing the proper regulation of social networks is a matter of urgency.

Some social networks have designed their platforms with child safety in mind, others have not. Some are good at taking action when harmful content is reported, others are not.

Each network has their own rules for handling inappropriate content or abusive behaviour on their platforms. This leads to inconsistencies in keeping children safe, and ultimately means social networks are marking their own homework. We’ve had enough and children have had enough. Social networks must be made to offer Safe Accounts to under 18s. These will have high privacy settings as default, location settings locked off, offer control over who follows you, and child-friendly reporting buttons that are easy to find and easy to read.

Groomer and bully alerts must also be built into these accounts and automatically flag behaviours to moderators when children are targeted.

Companies must hire more online safety moderators and be transparent about how they work. They should disclose the number of reports they receive and how moderation decisions are made to the regulator.

Proper regulation of social networks will make the internet a better place for young people by protecting and empowering them. Children must be as safe online as they are offline.

Sandra McNair

NSPCC Midlands Regional Head of Service

YOUTH PROJECTS

Funding available for youth projects

Following receipt of a kind donation from the outgoing High Sheriff of Lincolnshire, Jill Hughes, we are able to offer additional funding for youth projects that help reduce the fear of crime and anti social behaviour from the High Sheriffs’ Fund.

Community groups within the Lincolnshire County Council boundary can apply for up to £5,000, although the average award is likely to be around £1,000. The process is straightforward and advice and support can be given relating to form filling etc.

What will we fund? Diversionary activities for young people, intergenerational work that deals with the fear of crime by bringing communities together, community safety initiatives, youth activities etc.

Successful grants have been awarded to projects to cover the cost of youth activities, alternative curriculum provision, youth music, multicultural arts sessions, youth club provision etc. If you have an idea and want to speak before applying, please call 01529 305825.

Closing date for applications is September 1, with decisions notified at the beginning of October.

Sue Fortune

Lincolnshire Community Foundation