BIG PIC­TURE

Macclesfield Express - - YOUR VIEWS -

SEEK­ING DAVID SPOONER

HELLO lovely peo­ple of Mac­cles­field, I need your help please.

I am look­ing for an old friend of my brother Peter New­ton. He was very close to his friend, David Spooner, but they have lost touch over the year.

My brother is un­for­tu­nately in a care home and I know it would be an ab­so­lute thrill if David was to get in touch or could man­age a visit.

If you’re out there David, or you are able to help me find David, please con­tact me on 07748 696331, or email new­ton­reeve@hot­mail. com. Julie New­ton Reeve via email

INDEPENDENTS HAVE NO CLOUT

FIRST of all my con­grat­u­la­tions to James Ni­cholas for his vic­tory in the Bolling­ton by-election.

Alas I think he is in for a dis­ap­point­ment if he thinks an in­de­pen­dent coun­cil­lor is more likely to be lis­tened to by CE Coun­cil than his Con­ser­va­tive pre­de­ces­sor.

A vote against a rul­ing party is of­ten wasted as only those from a rul­ing party carry any real clout.

That is why I was suc­cess­ful a few years ago in stop­ping the de­ci­sion then to dis­con­tinue the school buses to Tyther­ing­ton when I was a Con­ser­va­tive coun­cil­lor for Bolling­ton.

Af­ter sev­eral protest walks down Mid­dle­wood Way, meetings ga­lore and many words writ­ten and spo­ken all I had to do was tele­phone the then leader of CE and tell him I would re­sign and thereby cause a by-election if he did not re­verse this dread­ful de­ci­sion.

He was on Bolling­ton Ra­dio the next morn­ing to give us all the good news and I sol­diered on for another two years un­til Jon We­ston re­placed me.

When the same is­sue reared its ugly head again,on his watch, he pulled the same trig­ger, in­deed he went fur­ther and ac­tu­ally re­signed, BUT things have changed and the mix round the cab­i­net ta­ble is not the same as in my day so his ges­ture was un­suc­cess­ful.

If a sit­ting rul­ing party coun­cil­lor can­not get a de­ci­sion changed by re­sign­ing, a coun­cil­lor from no party at all – that is an In­de­pen­dent who has no clout what­ever – has no chance.

This is not to say the bat­tle for the chil­dren at risk from Mid­dle­wood Way is lost. I am no longer a coun­cil­lor for Bolling­ton or any­where else but I feel as strongly on the is­sue as ever and I am do­ing what I can (be­hind the scenes as it were) with oth­ers to get the buses re­in­stated – or a bet­ter so­lu­tion than send chil­dren to school on such a po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous route.

If we are suc­cess­ful it will not be down to me or to James Ni­cholas but a vic­tory for com­mon sense for all of us who be­lieve the way for­ward is not la­belled Mid­dle­wood! Peter Hayes via email

ASHAMED BY OUR RUB­BISH

I HAVE al­ways en­joyed liv­ing in Mac­cles­field but re­cently I have been ap­palled and ashamed of the amount of rub­bish float­ing round the town.

The Silk Road, which is our gate­way into Mac­cles­field, is ap­palling. Rub­bish is spread all over the em­bank­ments, plas­tic bags are hang­ing from trees.

When our vis­i­tors, both lo­cal and over­seas, laugh and say we love the way you dec­o­rate your trees with plas­tic bags in Mac­cles­field, it’s time we did some­thing.

Peo­ple in our lo­cal au­thor­i­ties must drive down the Silk Road and see this dis­gust­ing mess. A Hurds­field res­i­dent via email

HOP­ING TO FIND 1960S PEN PAL

MY name is Evan Har­ris and I live in Christchurch, New Zealand. I am now 64 years old.

In the 1960s when I was at pri­mary school, I had a pen friend about my age in Mac­cles­field. We cor­re­sponded for a few years then the letters got less and less fre­quent.

If re­motely pos­si­ble, I would like to re­con­nect with the gen­tle­man.

Here is the is­sue, I can­not re­mem­ber his name and am un­sure if he still lives in the area that your pa­per is dis­trib­uted, but I won­der if there is even a faint chance that if a let­ter to the ed­i­tor was pub­lished by you, that the gen­tle­man in ques­tion might see and read it, or per­haps a rel­a­tive – even another ex-pupil from the same school be­cause I seem to re­call that the pen friend con­nec­tions were ar­ranged through two schools.

The school I was at is called St Martins School in Christchurch NZ. Evan Har­ris evan@hhf.co.nz FOR the first time since I have been writ­ing a col­umn for pub­li­ca­tion I will fo­cus on a sin­gle is­sue, al­beit an is­sue that in some ways af­fects many fam­i­lies.

The is­sue is that of hous­ing, or rather homes that are af­ford­able, safe and se­cure – surely some­thing that we ALL agree should be a ba­sic re­quire­ment of our so­ci­ety in the 21st cen­tury?

Even the gov­ern­ment min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble for hous­ing, Sa­jid Javid, has ad­mit­ted that ‘Our hous­ing mar­ket is bro­ken’ when he pub­lished a white pa­per out­lin­ing the gov­ern­ment’s strat­egy to tackle the cri­sis last month. I, as some­one who worked in hous­ing for over 30 years, am pleased that the gov­ern­ment has at last ac­knowl­edged Eng­land’s hous­ing cri­sis.

The white pa­per be­lat­edly ac­cepts the Tories’ ob­ses­sion with home own­er­ship, started by the in­tro­duc­tion of Right to Buy in 1980, has seen mil­lions of high qual­ity af­ford­able rented homes sold off and not re­placed, and that owner oc­cu­pa­tion has failed many mil­lions of our cit­i­zens.

For many, owner oc­cu­pa­tion is nei­ther a re­al­is­tic nor the most suit­able op­tion.

In­deed, in re­cent years, hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tions (not for profit) such as Peaks and Plains have been forced to cut rents year-on-year to help mas­sage the gov­ern­ment’s un­capped multi-bil­lion pound Hous­ing Ben­e­fit bill which is be­ing driven ever up­wards by the growth in the un­con­trolled and largely un­reg­u­lated pri­vate (for profit) rented sector.

I am deeply dis­ap­pointed there is lit­tle in the white pa­per to help our home­less and those trapped liv­ing in un­suit­able hous­ing. In­deed, the doc­u­ment is lit­tle more than a stick­ing plas­ter cov­ered with a dol­lop of white­wash. What we ur­gently need is to di­vert land hun­gry spec­u­la­tive de­vel­op­ers away from their siege of our green­belt, and to in­stead en­cour­age them to build the homes our com­mu­ni­ties re­ally need, on brown­field sites and in places close to trans­port and ser­vices. Is it too much to ask?

This week’s Big Pic­ture of Three Shire Heads was taken by Robert Bar­low. Email your images to mac­cles­field­ex­press@ men­media.co.uk or add them to our Flickr page at flickr.com/groups/mac­cpics. We’ll print the best ones

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