Letters, October 7: Shaftebury Localism protest, controlling badger numbers and Greenpeace 'piracy'
Localism policy has left us high and dry
An open letter to Prime Minister David Cameron
Where we live, Persimmon is throwing up housing at a cracking pace, with 82 per cent social housing in the current phase with no play parks, schools bursting at the seams, no community facilities, no transport, no employment, a beleaguered medical centre, no shops and no walkway into town.
This is the largest development in North Dorset, divided by a busy bypass from Shaftesbury, and the district council has told us that because it has a £2 million black hole in its finances, it will not halt construction and enforce planning consent conditions to provide open space and community facilities as it can not afford the legal fees involved in an appeal by Persimmon.
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The vast cost of rolling out high-speed broadband to introduce Universal Credit for which North Dorset is a pilot authority has reduced the usually parlous state of finances at the district council to bankruptcy.
There is a very high ratio of children to adults here, and a busy road carrying heavy construction traffic and plagued by speeding cars bisects the development, there is no safe crossing, and the children play on a small green alongside this road and in car parking areas.
The play park has been railed and locked as a badger 'hotel' throughout the summer holidays, and Persimmon has erected three two-ton boulders inside it, pending the now cancelled dedication of a war memorial by the discredited town council which cannot account for the £30,000 it claims to have raised for this monumental folly.
The major contributors to this memorial are Persimmon and the largely unelected town council.
We have presented a petition, attended dozens of meetings, provided evidence to scrutiny committees and obtained the support of the local press in making clear the objectives of residents to have the basic facilities needed here to function as community.
All to absolutely no avail.
Our experience of localism in action is the reverse of your promises, Prime Minister, perhaps you can explain?
Chair, Maltings & East Shaftesbury Residents Association
Badger numbers need to be controlled
Philip Bowern's excellent article "Giving badgers greater protection makes no sense" (Daily Press, September 28) highlights the real issue regarding the massive increase in badger numbers due to its all-encompassing protection under the Badger Act. While important to try and eradicate TB in the countryside, if the public decide they would rather compensate farmers for the loss of their stock, even though this could run into hundreds of millions of pounds each year if farmers are properly compensated for all the associated losses rather than just for the value of the animals destroyed, then so be it. That, though, would not overcome the damage they are doing to our other wildlife.
Badgers are large, fierce and voracious predators that have no natural enemies. They will eat almost anything that they can outrun or dig out, from leverets, slow worms, snakes, ground nesting birds such as lapwings, bumble bees and, of particular concern, hedgehogs which, since the Badger Act was introduced, has seen its numbers decline from over 32 million to an estimated 1.5 million.
In Ireland, which had experienced a similar fall in hedgehog numbers, they have seen the numbers rise dramatically since they started culling badgers, which suggests a strong link between the two as predator and prey.
While badgers are not the only reason for the declines seen in so many species, clearly, with their numbers increasing to the levels we now see, they are going to impact massively on other forms of wildlife.
Like anything else in the wild there has to be a balance between predator and prey. At present things are greatly out of kilter and badger numbers need managing to allow these other species a chance to make a comeback.
Tickenham, North Somerset
High-speed link will prove a toxic legacy
If David Cameron goes ahead with HS2, it will be to this Government what 24-hour licensing was to the previous government – a toxic legacy.
Despite warnings from the police, magistrates, doctors and the majority of the public, the Blair government went ahead with 24-hour-licensing, with disastrous consequences. Likewise the present government is determined, against growing opposition from all sectors, to press ahead with HS2 – an act of government-sponsored cultural vandalism on a par with that perpetrated by the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Thousands of square miles of some of our most beautiful countryside, scores of ancient villages, communities and homes will be sacrificed on the altar of political expediency – and for what? To reduce the rail journey time between our two largest cities by a mere 25 minutes!
Putting England first – and not Britain
Stuart Eels' letter (Daily Press, October 1) invites me to tell his party's new members that Ukip is misguided. It is.
The 2011 census reveals that 62 per cent of Scots and 60 per cent of English people regard themselves as Scottish only and English only respectively. This means that a significant majority (the size of which British politicians can only dream about) of "British" people do not regard themselves as British at all. Yet Ukip offers itself as a British nationalist party.
Mr Farage's "welcome to Scotland" says all we need to know about how popular he is there. So his party's support lies in England alone as a temporary repository for protest voting. England needs a party that puts England (not Britain) first.
Weston-super-Mare English Democrats
Greenpeace falls foul of piracy definition
May I reply to Zachary Barker (Daily Press October 5) regarding my letter referring to the Greenpeace pirates. If he would care to look up the term "piracy", he will find that it is "typically an act of robbery or criminal violence at sea". As for taking a bit of sea air, as he has suggested – I have done so in serving 12 years on T-class submarines during the 1950s and 60s. What has his contribution to the nation been?