This week’s letters.
Walkway lets our town
I noticed a headline in an online newspaper:
‘Welcome to Morecambe Bay – fresh push in 2014 to attract visitors to ‘inspiring’ coastline’ and couldn’t help thinking that, sadly, it could be a waste of resources.
The reason I say this is because recently walking through the ‘tunnel’ to the outdoor Festival Market felt like walking through a poor area in a developing country or at least a perfect example of inner city neglect.
The tunnel is dismal and depressing, filthy with litter in piles, very poorly maintained and the most uninviting pathway for locals and visitors alike.
Considering this is the route through from the coast road car parks to one of Morecambe’s main attractions I often wonder what visitors think as they wander through.
Litter is an ugly problem round the car parks, too. Obviously, people should take more pride in their surroundings and bin their litter but that said, are we going to be beaten by the problem or clean up the place in order to make it more attractive to visitors.
Many commentators talk about bringing investment into the town and boosting Morecambe’s image but if the basics aren’t right any money spent on marketing is likely to be wasted.
Morecambe Bay is undeniably beautiful but we won’t attract visitors on the merits of this alone.
Helping less fortunate
The claim by Coun Mace that the Labour Group is introducing a politically motivated budget is incredible (Labour’s hit is political, December 24).
In fact a clear majority of the council accepted an officer recommendation to remove a quirk in the system; an anomaly that will affect less than half a percent of those in the district. Nationally, half the authorities in the country have already removed it and more are expected to do so next year.
Instead of this, the council agreed to help around 6,800 of working age, low income families who would have been adversely affected had we chosen to reduce council tax support across the board.
I am proud to say that we are the only council in Lancashire that managed to avoid cutting this benefit last year and will do so again this year.
We are maintaining our support for the very poorest and are targeting help to those most in need. In doing so we are avoiding taking residents to court for small sums of money and also saving the costs to the council in doing so. If this is politically motivated, two other parties supported it because they could see the sense in it.
The council has a responsibility to minimise the impact of reductions in government funding on local services as Coun Mace points out and that is just what the council has done in removing the anomaly.
Balancing a difficult budget when our funding is reduced will be quite a task, but we will always try to put fairness and the maintenance of services first.
Coun Eileen Blamire Leader Lancaster City Council
Where does money go?
It seems that quite a few people, like me, do not understand why the changes to the junction of the A6 and Morecambe Road were necessary.
Apparently, the work was done to make Skerton Bridge safer. I am at loss to see how the changes have made the bridge any safer for anyone. The new junction has certainly made the journey into Lancaster from the A6 much slower at peak times.
I contacted Lancashire County Council with a Freedom of Information request to find out how much the work had cost. Mr M Sayles, the access in information manager, emailed to tell me that the total cost, so far, has been over £290,000.
It’s hard to see that this was £290,000 well spent.
Hasty Brow Road
Thank you for defences
I watched the very high tide (Friday, January 3) and the waves break over the prom.
I am grateful to God for the brilliant flood defences that Morecambe has, and for the city council and the individuals who planned, organised and built them.
A huge thank you to all who helped to stop my house and hundreds of others from being flooded in these recent storms.
Church by the Bay
Plenty of parking
You recently published a letter headlined ‘Resort has to do better’ which made a number of points that require clarification.
Firstly your correspondent refers to high business rates. It is a common misapprehension that local authorities are wholly responsible for business rates. While the city council collects business rates the tax rate is actually set nationally by the Government.
Secondly, your correspondent refers to car parking and claims there is ‘no real parking’ in the West End of Morecambe.
Perhaps unusually for seaside towns there is free parking available along most of the length of the promenade.
There are also plentiful, well located public car parks. Indeed, the council recently constructed a 19 space free car park on Parliament Street specifically for local shoppers.
Thirdly, the West End of Morecambe has been the focus of significant regeneration activity.
A great deal of time, effort and money has been expended by the local councils and their partners in addressing the long term decline of the area which followed the demise of the traditional seasonal holiday market in Morecambe.
The West End Master Plan sets the framework for this action but it is true to say that implementation has been more challenging since the financial crash in 2008 and the reduction in public funding which followed the 2010 General Election.
Despite this, investment is planned in 2014 for two key sites – Chatsworth Gardens and Bold Street – together with complementary work such as tackling empty homes and the licensing of rented accommodation.
Lancaster City Council
Please back polio work
A new year always brings a sense of hope and as all of us adopt our various resolutions, I would urge your readers to resolve to make a difference this year and support The British Polio Fellowship in raising awareness of those living with polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) in the UK.
This year is The British Polio Fellowship’s 75th anniversaryt.
You can help by making it clear to your MP and MEPs them that the rights of the disabled matter, the better it is for us all and what a fine legacy for our 75th anniversary year it would be in 2014 is the year PPS is finally recognised by all governments as a medical reality.
Over 120,000 people in Britain are suffering with PPS – this devastating neurological condition can be missed or even mis-diagnosed
Ted Hill MBE
CEO, The British Polio Fellowship.