WEEKEND WEB: Free Press letters

Reader's picture by Nicola Wellband

Your views on new homes and academy plans, plus thanks for Poppy donations and fundraiser

A change in government policy required

John Elson's Free Press cartoon

I’m pleased to see that the Holbeach Peppermint Junction is now open at last and hope it will reduce heavy traffic through the town.

Part of the price for this work was the development of a huge new housing estate and industrial area nearby.

There is the possibility the commercial aspect of the site will attract new jobs and if we have to accept new homes, it’s not a bad place to put them but no single development can be taken in isolation.

Government policy is to “encourage”, which actually means force, the building of as many houses as possible. There seems to be little regard as to where they are actually needed and none whatsoever to the views of local residents.

Developers can be more or less sure that they will gain planning permission provided their application complies with technical rules and there is no objection from a statutory body ( which, like the highways departments are usually controlled by higher councils and in this county thus by the party of government).

I do have some sympathy for district planning committees. If they reject an application an appeal is more or less guaranteed and councils usually lose, which can cost ratepayers money.

A change in government policy is required. One size fits all does not work. Residents and local parish councils, who are close to and understand the problems best, are ignored. So are older town plans.

The number of houses recently built or proposed in Holbeach is approaching 3,000 and I doubt we have finished yet. This is enough to double our population and it should be clear to any reasonable person that this will have a huge impact on local services and infrastructure.

I have no idea where so many people will find work, certainly not all at the Peppermint Junction complex.

We have as much a population problem as a housing one and it’s high time Government acknowledged that. It’s one of the reasons why we voted to leave the EU. We do need more dwellings, especially social housing and improved provision for the low paid and homeless but not so many market price homes.

Residents affected by these developments need to lobby their representatives to ensure that building is actually required in their area, that all 106 funds from developers are spent locally, not just somewhere vaguely nearby or to subsidise district and county budgets and that plans are prepared to cope with increased numbers of residents. This is essential.

We need to call for a full and accurate accounting of all 106 monies and where they are spent and I will be doing just that.

Paul Foyster

District councillor
Holbeach Town Ward

Care for the children and the community

With reference to Springwell’s consultation meeting at the High School in Spalding, we feel the Academy would have gained invaluable insight had they openly engaged the local community at the very beginning, not the end, of the consultation process and it would have been helpful if the county council had sent a representative.

We thank Phil Willott for taking the time, after the meeting, to discuss with us specific issues we raised regarding pupil safety at the site; we now raise our additional concerns.

While the building itself may be highly desired by Springwell, the location in Matmore Gate is disastrous traffic-wise and being in very close proximity to a large 
waterway and easy access across to the dangerous A16 road.

Springwell stressed the need for a highly secure environment for the safety of the children with virtually one-to-one staffing (plus ancillary staff) to aid this. Also advising of individual taxi’ for the 65 pupils and direct handover to staff members, yet the proposal is to cut parking spaces to just 30.

So, given the very high ratio of staff to students anticipated to be on site daily (plus taxis morning and afternoon) that will leave a large number of vehicles without parking 
facility. Are they to park on road along Matmore Gate thus extensively raising the dangers to Springwell’s pupils and the local community?

The children and young people are highly vulnerable, by nature of the issues which brings them to Springwell’s Academy, and as such are 
unable to cope in mainstream school or society. Their problems are likely to be accompanied by states of high anxiety and possibly result in angry or psychotic-type episodes so making securing their safety and wellbeing an absolute priority.

Yet before the school day even begins it is proposed to raise anxiety levels by negotiating a slalom of vehicles, busy with noise and other local pupils, to simply arrive at the school gate, despite timing.

It is also possible a student could slip past the cordon of care after which they are at risk of an unsuitable local environment of extensive car parking, housing estates, rivers, busy roads and open fields.

Safety may possibly be 
effected by erecting high fences and gates and a boundary security alarm system, similar to a prison, which we trust is against the principles of the Academy. A child taught in such an environment would never cope in open society and such measures would be totally inappropriate to the local community, making our environment ugly and homes unsalable.

The proposal of housing such an Academy at the Post-16 college site lacks 
informed risk assessment by all involved, for the safety of the Academy, local primary and High School pupils and the local community at large. This lack is indefensible.

We extend our invitation made to Mr Willott for him, and colleagues, to meet us to visit the area between 3pm-3.30pm on a school day, bearing in mind the parking and traffic issues will increase throughout the academic year as yet more High School pupils become of age to drive and thoughtlessly park their cars.

During this visit we offer our own driveway for parking of your vehicles so as not to increase the dangers in Matmore Gate. We believe we speak for Springwell’s children and young people when we say ‘Care for us’ …… CARE FOR US, and the community as a whole and choose a more appropriate site for your much-needed school.

Ken and Ruth Bicknell

via email

The £25,804 raised was so humbling

I never cease to be humbled by the attitude, reaction, care and compassion exhibited by the people of Spalding and district during the annual remembrance tide. Not just the donation of money, which is obviously welcome, but time, skill, enthusiasm and dedication are all invaluable commodities given freely and in abundance in the support of the Poppy Appeal.

My thanks go out to the following people and organisations without whose help we would not have had such a successful campaign. Bakkavor’s distribution, collection and sales teams ably led by Steve Scholes. Nigel Wallis and the Baytree’s staff for distribution, collection and superb hosting skills.

Sainsbury’s for their usual welcome to all our collectors and not forgetting the wonderful, and welcome, beverages they supplied. Springfield’s management for permission to collect at such a prestigious venue.

Once again my wholehearted thanks go to the Rotary Club of South Holland for their use of the previously noted Springfield’s for collecting. Individual thanks go to Lynn Maddison and Bonny White for their hand crocheted poppies. A word of advice here ladies, if you start now for next year’s campaign I may have enough to last more than three days. hey were superb and extremely popular thank you.

There are many, many more people who deserve a mention and I hope they will forgive me their omission but you are known to me and 
always will be – thank you.

The result of all this effort by the district is £25,804 collected with a few oddments outstanding. I think you can all remain proud of yourselves – at least until Remembrance Tide 2018!

Peter Lyon

Poppy Appeal Organiser

Spalding

Refreshing to see so many support event

My family and I attended a quiz at the Castle Sports Centre Spalding in aid of the Lincolnshire Parent Carer Forum.

Funds raised were to help with all the brilliant work this organisation does for the parents and carers of children and young adults with disabilities and special needs.

We particularly would like to thank Josh for organising and hosting it.

As the grandparent of a young adult with special needs, it was refreshing to see so many making a contribution towards such a worthwhile cause.

Carol Wilson

via email

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