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WEEKEND WEB: Free Press letters

READERS' PICTURES: Guardian columnist John Ward, of Moulton Seas End, sent us this picture and says: " I grabbed through our kitchen window of a barn owl sitting on a fence post across the way. We normally get loads of different birds here but this is the first time we have seen an owl."
READERS' PICTURES: Guardian columnist John Ward, of Moulton Seas End, sent us this picture and says: " I grabbed through our kitchen window of a barn owl sitting on a fence post across the way. We normally get loads of different birds here but this is the first time we have seen an owl."

Your views on academy plans, WWII trips and Brexit

Vital decisions made 45 miles down the road

John Elson's Free Press cartoon.
John Elson's Free Press cartoon.

So the plan to open a new school in Matmore Gate, Spalding, where children who are vulnerable and display challenging behaviour are to be taught, appears to be a ‘done deal’ (see Spalding Guardian report of March 29).

Executive member Coun Patricia Bradwell has given her support for this project and your report quotes her as saying ‘we are aware of WAT ( Wellspring Academy Trust ) application and we support the proposals as they will address the need for alternative provision for children and young people in the area’.

I note that she is not specific in which area? I notice from the Lincs County Council website that Coun Bradwell represents the East Lindsay constituency and has numerous other posts in the and around the north of the county.

Spalding is 45 miles away from Lincoln where county council decisions such as this are made. Are the decision makers based in Lincoln wholly familiar with the potential implications, ie traffic issues at a site in the extreme south of the county.

My first question is:

1 – Has Coun Bradwell visited the site and observed the local impact and risk to safety of existing traffic in the area?

If she has not, can she tell us who has visited the site on her behalf to assess and evaluate the impact of this proposal. Also, when those visits took place, ie date and time of day.

2 – Has she discussed this with police, school heads of the High School adjacent to the property, district councillors and residents to assure herself that the approval for the new school has taken account of the risks and safety from additional traffic.

These representatives including MP John Hayes have all been involved in addressing public concerns for the traffic in this area. I am highly dubious that any joint working has taken place.

Each organisation I have spoken to has blamed the other for not being able to find a satisfactory solution.

It would seem that local knowledge and deep concern has been ignored by people who do not live anywhere near the area, including WAT (Wellspring Academy Trust), who I believe held their first consultation in Sleaford! They only consulted in Spalding after pressure from Spalding people.

I can quite understand the need for this type of educational provision. I have worked in a special school and know the huge benefits of a bespoke model of educaion and care for these children and the good outcomes that can be achieved . I am not a NIMBY.

I live close by and although this is only a term time problem and at certain times of the day, there is nevertheless a hazardous situation right now, without the increase movement of traffic that would be caused by the new school.

3 – Will she define the area from which the children come (ie she describes them as local)?

4 – I would like to know who is the current owner of the Post 16 buildings and the land on which it was built? I would hope for assurance that the building and land remains in the ownership of Lincolnshire County Council as it sits at the heart of adjacent secondary schools which are already hard pressed for space and might utilize the site in future educational plans .

I was told earlier this year that the 40 plus empty car spaces (standing empty in all this traffic chaos) at the post 16 centre could not be used to take High School cars off the roads because it was owned by a differed organization. The world seems top have gone mad.

We have seen the demise of the Post 16 Centre which many predicted would not be a success and have been proved correct.

The adjacent high school has acknowledged to local residents that it is very short of parking spaces for staff and sixth form students . We are a rural area and many sixth form pupils travel to school by car due to time of study periods and expensive and poor provision of local school transport which, though improved, also causes its own traffic chaos.

The lack of meaningful local consultation and feedback, gathering of local intelligence and knowledge appear to be irrelevant in the decision making process of Lincolnshire County Council.

I am compelled to write this letter having recently been in dialogue with local residents, police, high school leader, councillors, the Lincs Free Press editor and our MP. I have photographed the unbelievable chaos and dangerous traffic situation.

We read frequently of local brown and green field sites available for a range of uses. Adjacent to established road networks. This would alleviate in town traffic problems.

I seriously hope that in the coming months there will not be any injury or fatality because of the current traffic situation

I hope that Coun Bradwell will answer the points above.

I am writing to you in frustration following unsatisfactory joined up response from the organizations referred to above.

Wendy Chew

via email

A chance to revisit the battlefields

It’s The Royal British Legion’s belief that every World War Two veteran should have the chance to revisit the battlefield on which they served.

Thanks to new Treasury funding we are now able to offer a fully funded trip to anyone who served in our Armed Forces during World War Two.

However, as there is no unified record of World War Two veterans that are alive today, I am reaching out to you and your readers in the hope that you can help us spread the word.

The trips will take place between Spring and Autumn this year and a family member and a carer will also be able to go along and share this pilgrimage of Remembrance with them.

The trip will give the World War Two veterans – now mostly in their 90s – a chance to meet up with fellow ex-servicemen and women, and pay their respects to their fallen comrades.

Veterans who may be interested in this opportunity need to apply through our tour operator Arena Travel on 01473 660800, or visit: www.arenatravel.com/journeysofremembrance

Charles Byrne

Royal British Legion director general

Not Project Fear but Project Fact

Craig Jackson (Letters, March 20) is misleading readers yet again. This time he claims that “leading academics and economists from Cambridge, Ulster and Oxford University and the London School of Economics (LSE) ... have published a “report” which he claims concludes “Britain was more prosperous when it was not in the EU, conclusion, it will be again.” This is absolutely not what this document says.

Let’s start by looking at what Craig’s much-trumpeted “report” really is. It’s a Working Paper produced by two academics at Cambridge and one academic in Ulster, with no input whatsoever from Oxford University or the LSE.

World-leading trade economists, like Professor Richard Baldwin and Professor Alan Winter, have already debunked this paper. Indeed, Professor Baldwin went so far as to accuse the authors of “using evidence the way a drunk uses a lamp post – for support, not illumination”.

I’m guessing Craig has probably not read this paper himself and, hence, is quoting from reports in the Mail, Express or Times. Otherwise, he’d have noticed this paper usefully includes a comprehensive table of 16, high-profile, long-term Brexit economic forecasts, all of which predict significantly lower GDP for the UK after Brexit. The one exception comes from Patrick Minford of Economists for Brexit – need I say more?

But the real gem, hidden in this paper, is the authors’ own Brexit economic forecast of a loss of two per cent of GDP. So, even these much-trumpeted academics agree the UK will be worse off after Brexit, not “more prosperous”, as Craig asserts.

I suspect Craig is adopting a common strategy of demagogues and propagandists, namely stating something untrue in the expectation that, if this untruth is repeated sufficiently often and with sufficient charisma, people will eventually come to believe it to be true.

So, let’s all be clear here – on the best evidence available – everyone in the UK will be worse off, to a greater or lesser degree, if Brexit proceeds.

However, as I don’t wish to be seen as a Cassandra, constantly predicting doom and gloom, let’s turn this question around and ask what would happen to the UK economy if we didn’t leave the EU?

Short answer, “Happy days.” For instance, we can get back to being the fastest-growing G7 economy; benefit from a massive increase in Foreign Direct Investment (exceeding losses we’ve already experienced since the Referendum); start implementing the 16 levers already in place that will allow us to control inward migration from the EU (previously not implemented); save a boatload of money on the avoidable costs of leaving the EU (nearly £50billion and rising); get back to having a government focused on fixing the pressing issues that really affect the lives of people in the UK; leading progressive reform within the EU, etc.

No one will suffer and everyone will benefit if we remain in the EU. Indeed, I now wonder if there are still any Leave voters locally still committed to being worse off after Brexit for no net benefits? I doubt this.

Alan Meekings



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