Watch out for Prom racers

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The particular pleasure of living in Lancaster for my wife and me was always Morecambe.

We love its astounding views and its wonderful promenade walk. We developed an affection for and loyalty to Morecambe that has kept us returning when we can (albeit not often) since moving to Yorkshire eight years ago.

That loyalty has survived various tests – an icily frigid reception at the Midland Hotel and even the closing down of the sea-front toilets (but that’s another issue).

Our latest visit earlier this month may, however, be our last. Even the peaceful, miles-long walk now seems to be finished. You seem to have a new problem there – the behind-the-back approach of the super-cyclists. I’m not talking about the people who’ve cycled amiably along the prom for years, ringing their bells to avoid frightening the life out of you as they approach, but I do point the finger at those helmeted Lycra wearers who tank along clearly working on building up speed and performance.

It’s not in human nature to walk in a straight line at every moment and I wonder that no-one has been slammed into so far merely because they happened to step out of their line at the wrong moment.

We saw numerous speed-cyclists shoot past pedestrians without sounding any bell, and even noticed their impatience at times when pedestrians (good heavens, whatever next) were in their way.

At least to the west of the town centre itself, the prom really isn’t wide enough for this. Surely high-performance cyclists can risk choosing something more ambitious that a pedestrian walk-way to charge along at full speed (the road comes to mind...)?

Of course I’m just a visitor now, and maybe Morecambe has woken up to this already. Are councillors up to tackling it? I certainly hope so, if I’m ever to risk a visit again.

Peter Millen

Bank End Lane

Huddersfield

Short list did limit choice

In reply to the person who thinks that local talent was overlooked in the election for the Labour Morecambe and Lunesdale candidate (Local talent overlooked, August 6), the choice was limited because it was decided by Labour bureaucrats that this seat should be an all female shortlist of candidates, therefore reducing the possibilities.

Applicants should have:

1 Knowledge of the local people and their situations and needs.

2 Knowledge and experience of matters at county level as well as locally.

3 Knowledge of national and international affairs in relation to the EU and the rest of the world, as well as Britain, so that our MP can contribute in Parliament, being informed and up-to-date in international matters.

Our MP must have a grasp of all of these things, and cannot be solely parochial in her knowledge and experience. She must be able to make an informed contribution in possible debates and discussions on party policy.

All of the four candidates were supported in some way by a variety of trade unions.

I’m sure the voters (paid up members of the Labour Party) considered all these qualities in relation to the suitability of the candidates to be our possible MP before voting, making their choice, after listening to each one give a five minute speech followed by 25 minutes of questions.

Of course ideally a local person with all the necessary credentials would be the best, but the voters, rightly in my opinion, chose Amina Lone from Manchester.

She knows this area well, having met many constituents whilst helping to campaign for the recent county council elections, and is a caring, intelligent, informed, knowledgeable and experienced young woman in matters social and political.

She will be more than capable of making her mark and pursuing Morecambe and Lunesdale’s interests in Parliament, should she be elected in two years time.

Valerie Rogerson

Morecambe

Address supplied

Just ask for advice

The second phase of the national benefit cap roll-out has now begun, covering those areas which have the highest number of affected households.

We know that many families will be anxiously awaiting the start of this change and are understandably worried about the impact it will have on their lives. Recent statistics from the benefit cap pilot show that a staggering 97 per cent of households affected have dependent children, and 74 per cent are lone parents. With the Government estimating that the cap will impact 40,000 households in total, it is the most vulnerable who could be hardest hit.

It is more important than ever that anyone affected can access financial support and advice now. We urge anyone who is worried about their situation to carry out a free and easy benefit check on our website – www.turn2us.org.uk.

This will help them find out if they will be affected by the cap and whether they or someone in their household may be entitled to any benefits which could exempt them from the cap.

The website also features full, up-to-date information about the cap, and for people that need additional support, there is a tool to help them find an adviser in their local area.

With many people struggling to make ends meet, it is more important than ever that everyone accesses the support they may be entitled to.

Karen Holmes

Welfare Benefits Specialist

Turn2us

200 Shepherds Bush Road

London W6 7NL.

Hard time for owners

Regarding the report on caravanners in The Visitor on August 6.

I am not surprised at the way we are being railroaded into updating our caravans due to greed on the part of the directors of holiday parks, who are not happy any more with the ground rent they charge and the profits off everything from sale of gas to repair costs on sites any more, and who buy vans at very low prices then fleece the general public as we are being done at present.

We had, up to two years ago, two caravans on a site in Wales. The terms were, as long as they were kept in excellent condition, no timescale, but if you sold it on then the site owners charged a commission which was 10 per cent and is now 16 per cent on the transfer of ownership.

Then all of a sudden the site owners have changed the goalposts to now putting a time limit on age of van, in our case 12 years, and if you do want to sell, you can only sell it to your family and not a third party or else sell it back to the site owners for a derisory sum for it.

How we know this is because we bought an updated van in Wales, scrapping the first one due to getting past its sell by date for condition. We spent over £20,000 for the one we have now, which is beautiful and well kept, and were told by the site salesman there was no restriction on age as we bought it off them in 2007, only to be told that even, though we have been offered £10,000 for it a fortnight ago, we cannot sell it on, even though we were expecting to pay £1,600 commission.

But as the van was just 12 years old the rules were changed in late 2007 that there was no time limit on your own family using the van.

However, we are now unable to sell it on and could either be removed or the alternative being that the caravan sales team would buy it back for £2,500 which isn’t even an offer but an absolute insult, especially when our platform round the van cost £3,000.

Greed is rife within the holiday parks, and we the public have no alternative but to grin and bear it.

Name and address supplied