What’s got you talking this week?

Williamson Park Cafe.
Williamson Park Cafe.
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This week’s hop topics: banned from public toilets, cycling on pavements, planning democrarct, crematorium music, road safety, Austrlain plea, bus services

Humiliated on park visit

Since when has the use of public toilets been conditional on having had a CRB check?

In the last week of the school term I visited the toilets in Williamson Park, and though dismayed to see a party of primary school children in-and-outing it was clear they were mainly out.

However, a large lady ‘teacher’ stood in the entrance, blocking my way and told me, albeit nicely, I could wait outside until the children had gone.

It was obvious there was now at least one cubicle free and just a couple of kids at the sinks, and as I stood there confused another ‘teacher’ pushed past me to use the toilets.

Outraged, I asked why I was held back but not the teacher and I was told, again very nicely, it was a matter of safeguarding and the teachers had CRB checks.

One of the women used the emotionally manipulative phrase of: “Well, you’d want your children to be protected wouldn’t you?”

Even more outraged I said I wasn’t a paedophile, that very few people are, and even if I were I had no chance of committing a crime with the teacher present in the doorway.

What a pity people privileged to work with impressionable young minds set such an over reactive, dramatic example to those in their care, probably simply to make themselves look important.

If I had children I would go with them into a public toilet (if they were under six) but certainly wouldn’t ask any strangers in there to leave.

A lot of primary schools visit the park and I’ve not been treated so humiliatingly, insultingly and patronisingly by any of those.

CM, Preston Full name and address supplied

Cycling danger: pedestrians don’t matter

Regarding Coun Sheila E Denwood’s recent letter (Put upon pedestrians, August 6), I’m afraid the problems of pedestrians and cyclists using the same paths cannot be resolved – pedestrians and cyclists just don’t mix.

A typical example: my wife and I walking along the footpath at the side of the main road suddenly heard this commotion behind us, we turned and four cyclists in their 30s tried to push their way through.

I suggested it would be far better if they cycled on the road. We were then subjected to a tirade of abuse, they said “are you ------- stupid, can’t you see that the road is busy”. They then pushed us aside and carried on.

The situation here is that cyclists have come to the conclusion they have the right to cycle on the paths, and to prove it I don’t believe anything is done to stop them.

Young people see this and assume it’s a right and the cycling lobby insidiously take one liberty after another.

Yes, cycling on the paths, cycling across zebra crossings, cycling on the path even where cycling paths are provided on the road, you see it all and there is not a thing you can do about it.

My advice to pedestrians is you need a head that swivels freely and ears that are tuned into cyclists travelling like a bat out of hell and have no bell or no intention to ring one.

Better still it may be prudent to walk on the road wherever possible to make life much safer for our cyclists, who will surely win the ‘War on our Paths’.

Phill, Lancaster (Full name and address supplied)

Homes go-ahead: Councillors took care

Having read the letter from Bob Bauld (Travesty of democracy, August 6), I felt I had no option but to respond. What Mr Bauld saw was not, as he claimed, a “travesty of democracy” but the exact opposite – democracy in action.

It’s natural for one side, when they do not get the result they feel they should, to cry foul, but the truth is very much different than that portrayed by Mr Bauld.

The planning application in question was for a housing development that, in the context of a national shortage of housing and an out-of-date Local Plan, has a great deal of national policy support for approval.

There was a healthy and informed debate with the outcome that half of the planning committee agreed with local residents about their concerns about the visual impact of the scheme and supported refusal, which is their democratic right.

The other half of the committee did not agree and could see how difficult it would be to defend such a decision at appeal.

After all, objectors complained that housing on a hill side would be over dominating, despite the fact a regular characteristic of this locality is housing on sloping land.

With a split vote, democratic procedures require the chairman of the committee to use his casting vote. This is the usual way of breaking a tie in our democracy and the same procedure is used up and down the country in branches of government both local and national.

Coun Sherlock decided this was not a case which could be defended at planning appeal and the need for more housing to meet the needs of those struggling to get on the housing ladder outweighed the objections raised by villagers. It is incorrect to portray this as undemocratic or voting stimulated by party politics.

All members of the planning committee must, by law, vote individually and do so without following party lines. If views appeared to be shared among groups that is just coincidence.

Councillors must take great care to ensure decisions they make can be defended at appeal.

Significant levels of costs were awarded against the council for refusing a housing scheme in Bolton-le-Sands because neither councillors or residents at the local inquiry into an appeal could demonstrate sound planning grounds to do so.

Coun Janice Hanson

Cabinet member with responsibility for planning, Lancaster City Council

Crematorium music: No-one has been asked

I am sure many of your readers are under the false impression Lancaster and Morecambe Crematorium is under the ownership of the council.

This is not the case – our crematorium is owned and run by the national organisation, Dignity – Caring Funeral Services. Dignity owns and runs many crematoria, cemeteries and funeral directors up and down the country.

They have recently made the decision to install a new music system in the chapel at Lancaster and Morecambe Crematorium which a number of their other crematoria already use.

It is known as the Wesley system, a computerised music centre which, the suppliers say, will provide a “highly specialised music service” and which Dignity believe is the way forward.

The Wesley system is not foolproof and reading various online reports it would appear specific pieces of music requested by families cannot always be sourced which has resulted in totally different pieces or “live” versions or “spoken” versions being played on the day. You only have one chance to get a funeral right.

David Tattersall is the current organist at the crematorium and has played at thousands of funerals over the past 19 years.

He has been told he is going to have to make way for this automated music system.

Traditional hymns as well as popular music will be downloaded and played from a digital music library with requests requiring up to 48 hours notice.

Unfortunately no-one from the management team at Dignity has had the courtesy to discuss the implications of the introduction of this new system.

David Tattersall hasn’t been given any more information than the rest of us and is, understandably, concerned about his future.

In this day and age surely the community deserve more choice rather than taking away a service that has been available for many years. It would be good to see the Wesley system as an addition to what is currently on offer and I’m sure this would be welcomed by all concerned.

The decision to introduce this system has been made by Dignity and Dignity alone.

There has been no consultation with the local funeral directors, the clergy or other celebrants who conduct funeral servicesmy loved ones.

Ann Roberts, Civil Celebrant, Crookleigh Place, Heysham

Traffic trouble: Switch off the lights

I have read with interest recent letters concerning the traffic in Lancaster.

It amazes me how these experts talk of redirecting traffic down this road and that road.

The answer to Lancaster’s traffic problem is quite simple. Take all the traffic lights down. Over the last few years when road works were being carried out and the lights were turned off traffic seemed to move a lot quicker, with no inconvenience to pedestrians.

At Stonewell it was very noticeable how quickly people crossed over without any accidents.

At the end of the day a pedestrian is only a pedestrian when they get out of their car.

Visitors to Lancaster are often heard to say what a crazy system our one-way system is.

A Mack, Bowerham, Lancaster

Australian plea: Trying to find

Paul Jennison of Australia is trying to find Ray and Doreen Brown, believed to be in the Morecambe area, late of Driffield, East Yorkshire.

Telephone John Hallett on 01377 256832, mob 07775 166556 with information please.

John Hallett, Deira Court, The Mount, Driffield, East Yorkshire

No Luneside buses: Just add route stops

Regarding a bus service to the Riverside Estate. It’s a lovely, well built site. The bus service is there already. Lancaster bus station buses go down Lune Road to the bus station and university.

All they have to do is, at the end of Lune Road turn left to the estate. So simple. A few minutes on the journey.

And I’m sure somebody on the estate will open a children’s nursery.

J Clarke, Alder Grove, Marsh Estate, Lancaster