Health and safety overkill

Local guide Alan Sledmore at Morecambe Bay
Local guide Alan Sledmore at Morecambe Bay

I am dismayed and disgusted by the two anonymous killjoys who have potentially taken away the pleasure of thousands of people who undertake the cross bay walk every year. Morecambe needs to attract visitors not drive them away.

Quite frankly two of three of the objections are pathetic. The walks are advertised widely months in advance and our coastguards are far too efficient not to know exactly when these walks take place.

The hi-vis jackets could be easily solved although having been on three of these walks they are well organised, informative and you are left in no doubt of who is stewarding the walk. I have also been on one of Cedric’s walk, which was also perfectly safe but it was no clearer in letting people know who was assisting the leader.

With regard to the quad bikes, their main function is for safety. It is not illegal I believe to carry kids on them so this comes down to parental choice. Health and safety has gone far too far. We must not live in an antiseptic world.

These walks must continue and I would ask Mr Sledmore to reconsider and for the council to use some common sense.

Colin Barton

Address supplied

Thanks due to Alan

We read with sadness that Alan Sledmore feels it necessary to stop his guided walks across the Bay (October 1).

We ran the Hest Bank Hotel from 1997 to 2007. During that time we sought to raise monies for St John’s Hospice.

Most years this included a sponsored walk across the bay with Alan’s unpaid support and guidance.

We would like to express our thanks to Alan for all his help on these occasions.

Sue and John Hughes

Hest Bank

Decision is regrettable

We were very sad to hear of Alan Sledmore’s decision to give up leading walks across the sands of Morecambe Bay.

Alan has been leading fundraising walks for CancerCare for over 15 years now.

Since CancerCare began holding its annual Cross Bay Challenge running race in 2006, Alan has led over 4,000 of our supporters safely across the bay. In all this time we have never received a complaint about the safety of Alan as a guide.

Since 2009, the Cross Bay Challenge has raised over £144,000 for the local cancer support services offered by CancerCare. As the only race in the world to be run across the tidal bay, it brings people from all over the world to our area – with runners from as far afield as India, Canada and Norway.

The safety of our runners and walkers is paramount and we would never put them in the care of a guide that we did not trust.

CancerCare is a local charity offering support for people throughout the North Lancashire and South Lakes area whose lives are affected by cancer. The support of the community – and of people like Alan – is invaluable to us, as 95 per cent of our income comes from donations and fundraising events like the Cross Bay Challenge.

Though our Cross Bay Challenge will still go ahead with a different guide – next year’s race and accompanying walk is on Sunday, July 6, 2014 – we will miss Alan’s involvement with this event.

Alan has been a valuable supporter of CancerCare and we are very sorry that he has come to his decision.

Jane Staniford

Fundraising Team Leader


Route will add to mess

The destruction of many parts of this historic city by the planners in the 1960s is now finally to be surpassed by the construction, in its surrounding areas, of the most ineffective, inefficient, costly and downright destructive three-and-a-half miles of tarmac ever to be laid in this country.

The alternative Lancaster Bypass Link road (LBL), for which I was one of the proponents, considered and rejected by the inspector at the recent public enquiry, was the only hope for the future of this city. Commencing with a new junction at Ovangle Road and finishing immediately south of the University, a new bridge some two thirds of a mile further upstream from the original, environmentally flawed, western route bridge, would have taken commuters between Morecambe and Lancaster directly on to the quay with immediate access to the city centre.

In addition, it would have provided easy access to the M6 from the university and diverted lorries from Heysham port and the peninsula away from all built-up areas on to the M6 with greater efficiency.

The inspector agreed with Natural England, without any challenge whatsoever to their unsubstantiated statements, that our route would have had the same impact as the original western route on the estuary.

That conclusion was utterly impossible to justify, and, given that the inspector demanded that Lancaster and Morecambe College had better hurry up and reach agreement with Lancashire County Council at one of the public hearings, long before all the presentations had been heard, is conclusive evidence that the public enquiry was a complete waste of time and public money and was indeed a ‘done deal’ of outrageous proportions from the outset.

Lancashire County Council have created a transport mess over the last 30 years as they have erected some 22 sets of traffic lights around our city centre. The northern route will simply add to this ‘mess’, 
solving absolutely nothing in the city centre as Lancaster City Council’s 17 proposed development sites, including all of the quay area, come on stream during the next 15 years with nowhere for the additional traffic generated to go, other than through the city centre to the north, or Galgate to the south. Gridlock will continue in and around the city centre.

Morecambe Town Council, representing more than 50,000 people, voted consistently and by substantial majorities to reject the northern route and support the LBL. Their voice, along with individual voices heard by the inspector at the public hearings, fell on deaf ears.

There will be no winners in the building of the northern route, simply misery for all concerned including Lancashire County Council, who will continue to be haunted by this route into the foreseeable future as costs continue to escalate.

The electorate of this area is now in for a very rough ride indeed as building gets under way.

M Dickinson


Searching for roadie

Every year for the past four years the Bootlacers, a band from the 1960s, do a reunion gig at the Vale of Lune Rugby Club and this year it’s 
on Saturday, October 19.

A good number of people come with memories of seeing the band play at the 
Floral Hall, Central Pier 
and elsewhere over 40 years ago.

However one person who I know would want to be there is our ex-‘roadie’ Tony Ratcliffe, of the family at Bare, who in the 60s owned the toffee factory there.

We are all getting old so I guess it’s possible that Tony is no longer with us but nobody seems to know.

I thought that if you were kind enough to put a small request in your paper there may still be members of the Ratcliffe family or relations who know the whereabouts or fate of Tony Ratcliffe.

My mobile number is 07814 677924.

Brian Holmes

Address supplied