Letters - March 7, 2017

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Sad to lose it, but that is the reality

I read with sadness about the proposed demolition of Christ Church with All Saints on Palatine Road, but I was even more disgusted with the remarks of Joan Humble, the chairman of the Blackpool Civic Trust, when she said “the trust would look very carefully at this proposal because Christ Church is on the local list of historic buildings”.

How dare she? Is she going to waive a magic wand and pay the £700,000 to £850,000 cost of refurbishment? I don’t think so.

The Reverend Alan Byrom, church officials, and the whole congregation will have spent many hours in discussions before this sad decision was made. They want to carry out God’s work in the best way possible, and it is obvious that a large church building, with all the expense of repairing and maintaining it, is not the answer.

Most of these beautiful old churches were built over a hundred years ago, when the congregations were much larger than they are now. As numbers decrease, so does the money given in collections, to pay for maintenance and repairs.

At the end of the day, it is just a building. The needs of the parishioners, and the community as a whole will be met, if a new, smaller, and more modern church is built to cater for worship, and the numerous social groups church people are encouraged to introduce to our buildings.

Yes, it is very sad to lose a piece of history, but we have to move with the times. I hope the Vicar and congregation of Christ Church with All Saints are able to reach a satisfactory outcome, with the support of the Blackpool Civic Trust.

Geraldine Hayes

Winster Place



Protestors need your support

I am deeply concerned about the attempt by the energy firm Cuadrilla to begin fracking alongside Preston New Road on prime agricultural land with the attendant risks of water contamination etc.

I am so concerned, in fact, that I have started making the one-and-a-half-hour journey down from Ambleside in the Lake District to the site to see for myself the devastation that is going on there.

Whilst there, standing at the roadside I see and hear many many of you, as you drive by, giving the thumbs up (just occasionally a very different sign to be sure!), waving and honking encouragement. To know that you too realise the dangers inherent in this industry is really heartening – BUT amazing ordinary people have been there every day since January 5 – the Nanas, local councillors and people at every age and stage and from every walk of life. They need your support.

I am almost 73; I still work and I live a long way away. Almost all of you who are reading this live nearer. I urge you to go down to the site any weekday morning to swell the numbers there – or any Saturday morning for a solidarity meeting from 10am. I was born and brought up in the Fylde. I went to secondary school in Blackpool and later lived and taught there. I know what feisty and creative people are there and that if you will stand up and be counted this disaster can be averted.

Gillian Kelly




What is the real cost of Conservatives?

It seems clear that M Fletcher, in his letter headlined ‘Why we are happy with the country’ (Your Say, Gazette, March 3) has never been a victim of policies promoted by the Conservatives who have dominated the Government since 2010.

Lucky person. Never had an operation cancelled, been left on a trolley for hours, always gets to quickly see a GP.

Clearly, M Fletcher has never been exposed to the savaging of social care, especially of the elderly. Nor the punitive treatment by the DWP of the disabled and otherwise vulnerable in order to force them into work. Nor the deportation of people who have lived here, and contributed positively to our society for decades.

Daily we read of crises in policing, prisons, care home provision, NHS staffing levels, teacher shortages and so on. Foolish and crude austerity is undermining local authorities. Meanwhile taxpayer money is squandered on vanity projects; inoperable IT systems and much else.

Nobody knows what Brexit will cost us. It will be a lot. It was a tiny majority that “had had enough”. Think for a minute. If you want all the privileges of, say membership of a golf club, why should members who pay give you those privileges for nothing?

Mike Turner



Rates should be set by local authorities

There was an interesting debate on BBC Radio Lancashireon how The Venue in Cleveleys is facing a business rates rateable value increase from £90,000 to £112,500 from April 2017. The owner has stated that this increase is unrealistic and not sustainable to keep the business viable. Several similar-sized licensed premises in the Blackpool area have actually seen decreases in their rates. The disparity in the actual valuations of business rates payable between similar businesses is quite staggering. Is this fair?

I hope the owners of The Venue in Cleveleys are successful in achieving an appeal against what seems an unjustified hike.

Valuations are calculated and set by The Valuation Office of central government, so perhaps greater discretion should be allocated to local councils to set the rates in their own regions. An empty site is no good to anyone. This negative image has an impact on the area, plus the loss of much-needed local jobs.

Stephen Pierre

via email