Reader Letters: June 6

Traffic wardens were not at fault

I can fully understand the frustration shared by Nick Blundell (Chronicle & Echo, May 21) but as a former TOPPs, Northamptonshire County Council and NCP civil enforcement officer please allow me to clarify a few small issues.

The wardens are not from the council, they work for NSL, the same company which now run the non-emergency ambulances.

Just because the vast minority of people don’t read the signs or adhere to the regulations then they are at fault and if they get caught it is really their own fault.

If the audience who attended this event realised there would be a parking problem, then surely they should have considered public transport? Or parking on a single yellow line or in the many carparks in the area and walking the short distance.

Mr. Blundell refers to disabled children. These would have disabled badges allowing parking in the car park in designated bays for free.

Drivers who cannot read signs clearly ought to go to SPECSAVERS...other opticians are available.

As for the ring announcer telling of the impending problem is this not a case of incitement ?

The wardens are not there for the public to assault verbally or physically. Just because drivers of motor vehicles fail to adhere to the highway code and the terms and conditions when using a private car park.

Go and get a life.

Name and address 
supplied

PARKING FINES

Fined for not reading their mind

Just to serve as a warning to other fellow blue badge disabled motorists of a sneaky example of getting ripped off by our local parking stealth tax collectors. My wife is the blue badge holder and we had parked in Sheep Street many times before but recently we were shocked to find a parking ticket had been issued. Being angry and concerned we responded by letter the same day feeling very confident that we had a very genuine case to be taken into account.

Firstly, when we parked we had absolutely no earthly reason to look for a brand new sign that had just been changed because we had not read or heard about anything being different. No fault on our part, even so we were wrongly assumed guilty.

Secondly, we made it perfectly clear that, had we been aware, we would not have dreamed of parking there which obviously fell on deaf ears. Wrongly found guilty again. Our biggest mistake that we made was to automatically put a cheque in the letter thinking that if our case had been fairly looked into the cheque would either be returned or destroyed, how wrong we were.

It was to our misfortune that because of being a bank holiday the reply to our letter came back late stating because we had sent a cheque we were guilty.

Which put another way, means it enables them to argue that black is white and still be right. On reading this we wanted to stop the cheque but it was too late.

Finally, our claim to fame, we must be the first ones in Northampton to be fined 
£35 for not being a clairvoyant.

Mr J Marshall

Randall Road, Northampton

RUBBISH

State of our street is appalling

I wish to make readers aware of the appalling state of Dunster Street in Northampton. I have just returned from a visit to Colchester and the standard of street cleanliness puts Northampton to shame.

It seems as if more emphasis is put into traffic wardens patrolling the streets late at night and issuing penalties rather than cleaning up the street.

The issue is the alleyway that connects Dunster Street with St Michaels Road.

Apart from the obvious rubbish that is in the alley, there is a strong odour of urine, graffiti on the walls and a cable running between properties of which I’m sure poses a health and safety risk.

The state of the road is clearly not fit for purpose. The road is in obvious need of re-surfacing attention.

There are lots of broken paving which again is in desperate need of repair.

The parking bay lines are barely visible.

There is a tremendous amount of rubbish scattered right the way along the street.

Dunster Street needs a visit from the authorities to have a look and an improvement plan put into place, other than visits looking for votes in local elections etc.

Please can you assure me that Dunster Street will have the necessary improvements it so desperately requires?

Mark Manning

Northampton

PARISH COUNCIL

Residents forced to pay too much tax

On May 16 I had a fascinating experience. I went to the first ever West Hunsbury Parish Council meeting. This is the parish council that most people didn’t want – including the elected councillors.

One of the new councillors asked if the parish council tax (precept) already charged for 2013/2014 could be refunded. The answer was ‘No’!

The new councillors will try to ask everyone in West Hunsbury what they think about the parish council and what they want it to do. A pity Northampton Borough Council’s original consultation wasn’t so competent.

It was reported that at least £25,000 would be needed to run a parish council of this size. Why then, has the tax raised £75,000? How was the level of tax decided? Astonishingly, the Conservative councillor decided that this was what people should pay. That was it! No detailed consultation, no minute financial analysis. But it’s worse: the Tory borough council originally wanted to set a tax of £162,000. They wanted another £86,000 from West Hunsbury for their ‘own purposes’.

People were so angry that the borough council backed down, at least this year.

Parish Council 1

Borough Council 0

Councillor Jill Hope

Sixfields division (incorporating part of West Hunsbury)

BEER FESTIVAL

Leave events to private companies

Last month, the local branch of CAMRA announced that they couldn’t organise this year’s beer festival at Delapre. The borough council, as led by Councillor David Mackintosh, jumped in and took on the running of the event for the three days.

I recently found out that the “staff” are all members of council which has a history of running events organised through the borough in the last 30 years, ie Town Show, Balloon Festival and community festivals.

The borough council is also organising a “Festival on the Waterfront” due to take place along the River Nene between Becket’s Park to the Nene Whitewater Centre in early July. In my opinion, they will not be run as well as the private and voluntary sectors. Both groups know how to do a proper job to the right standards. No political interference from people who are regularly ignored by the locally-based career politicians who are really out of touch with the electorate. I’m just hoping that CAMRA can get their act together for next year’s event which is going to be part of a whole raft of celebrations. These are currently being planned by voluntary sector interest groups, ie FONC, FEDA and resident’s associations.

Depending upon weather conditions and other “factors” I know that NBC has the history of “not organising parties at a brewery”. My advice to Councillor Mackintosh is to get a job in the private sector instead of being groomed as an MP.

A D Hiam

Rillwood Court, Lumbertubs, Northampton

POLITICS

Resign if you cross the political floor

Surely there is an easy answer to the issue of councillors (or MPs for that matter) who decide to cross the political floor?

Each newly-elected councillor has to sign a form handed to him/her at the count by the chief executive. Northampton could show the way by including with the said form a pledge stating, “if I cross the floor, I will resign and fight a by-election”. Then the Chronicle & Echo could publish whether or not said councillor signed or declined, when it publishes the results.

Ron Johnson

Bailey Brooks Lane, Roade

NOSTALGIA

Did you see the ‘tank in the park’?

Can you help to clear up a concern that my elderly neighbour has about the ‘tank in the park’? Because she is well known in the neighbourhood, she has lived in Abington Vale since it was first built (and she was born and bred in Northampton), she is often being asked about the tank that once stood on top of the hill in Abington Park near to the bandstand.

She remembers playing ‘jacks’ in the park as a child and she recalls that the military tank, believed to be a relic from the First World War, stood on top of the hill enclosed by railings. She tells me that she thinks that the railings were removed during the Second World War as there was a shortage of metal, and she thinks that the tank was removed at that time as well.

Other local people have told her that the tank was ‘buried’ in the hill and that it is still there. She doesn’t think that this is correct and so I am wondering if you can throw an authoritive light on the demise of the tank. Do you also have, in your wonderful collection of pictures from bygone days, any photographs of the said ‘tank’?

She would be very pleased if you can solve this mystery for her.

Geoff Bultitude

Northampton

RUBBISH

Does anyone care about our town?

Regarding the tidiness (or otherwise) of Northampton, one thing that concerns me in this debate is the attitude of the borough council and its contractors in dealing with the issues of litter, fly-tipping and so on.

There seems to be an attitude of total indifference here, which I feel is disappointing and very short-sighted. It seems that no one in any position of authority really cares about the state of the town, and there is precious little initiative or leadership in tackling the problems. There is no pride in the town to make you feel glad to be living here rather than anywhere else. Why is this, and is it just a Northampton issue?

For example, recently I drove past Abington Park on Park Avenue South, and the litter bins were still full to overflowing from the Bank Holiday weekend, with piles of rubbish all around some of them. What a wonderfual advertisement for the glories of Northampton! I have telephoned the council to point out the problem, to be told Enterprise would clear it up “within five working days”.

Why isn’t anyone at Enterprise or the council taking charge of this situation and being a little more proactive? Abington Park is supposed to be the showpiece of the town, not the local garbage dump. And there has been recent correspondence about the quality of work in Kingsley regarding the replacement of the streetlights. The lights are fine, but the quality (if you can call it that) of the installation work has left a lot to be desired! Mud left all over the pavements, cracked paving slabs where the lorries have parked, and concrete and piles of soil dumped in communal flowerbeds in the hope no one will see it among the plants. Discarded wiring has been dumped behind junction boxes and in alleyways, as well, showing a complete disdain for the residents of the area who do actually try and keep the area tidy. You do sometimes wonder why you bother.

The one thing I have noticed in my six years here in Northampton is an apparent lack of understanding and apathy on the part of the council regarding the issues people have to put up with on a daily basis. Northampton Borough Council does seem to be well out of touch with the citizens of Northampton, and (whether it be intentional or not), gives the impression of uncaring indifference to issues such as the “kerb appeal” and tidiness of the town in general.

It reminds me of the old joke, what is the difference between NBC / Enterprise and an owl? Answer – an owl gives a hoot!

N P Tweddle

Junction Road, Northampton

POLITICS

Mayor needs to improve his memory

I am writing to congratulate Les Marriot on becoming Northampton’s first citizen.

Isn’t it strange he cannot decide if he ‘got distracted’ and pushed the door into Councillor Ifty Choudary’s back?

Or was it someone leaning on the door?

What is the world coming to when the first citizen of the town can’t decide on an answer?

Duncan Johnston

Chatsworth Avenue, 
Goldenash, Northampton

RUGBY

Don’t attack Hartley for ref’s actions

At the weekend, Alan Quinlan in the Mail on Sunday who, like Dylan Hartley, was banned just before a British Lions tour to South Africa in 2009, said he fears for Dylan’s sanity and even life, because he was suicidal after his own ban.

I have read most of what’s been written about the incident and watched it on TV, and in all honesty how can anyone say his comments were aimed at the ref, Wayne Barnes, and not Tom Young’? It comes down to one man’s word against another and ex-hookers who know more about scrummaging than Barnes will ever know, have said the Tigers kept going early all match and fooled Barnes and this is what incensed Hartley resulting in him calling Young’s a cheat.

This evidence would not be sufficient in any court of law to find Dylan guilty, so he has been treated harshly, in my opinion.

I think on hearing Hartley say you cheat, he saw red and decided it was directed at him and didn’t consider it could be aimed at Young and the Tigers front row.

Once he waved red there was no going back and the RFU were never going to take Hartley’s word against the ref, because that would mean game had been won at half time by his harsh conclusion.

I hope Dylan does get the support he deserves from the rugby world. He plays with passion and desperately wanted to win the cup for club, players, fans and the Barwell family. I also hope ex Saints players like Matt Dawson, well known for his whingeing at referees gets off his case.

John Wright

Port Road Duston