Your letters - January 29

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"Nanny State"

WE hear so many complaints about the "Nanny State" yet some people want to cherrypick what is done and not done.

I am old enough to remember when a gritted road was a bonus and a gritted pavement a double bonus. If I was losing money as a result of frozen pavements I'd get out and clear it myself - salt, broom, shovel and effort and it is sorted. If there is a lot of you then so much the better. We called it "self sufficiency".

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I also remember when we drove a car according to the road conditions at the time and if we suspected potholes, as was common after frost, we simply drove more slowly and even drove round the pothole.

I'd rather take responsibility for situations myself than rely on someone else, I then know the job has been done properly. We all know that relying on local services is not a sure course, especially as most of them have a high "BMW index" (a high chief to indian ratio).


Lychgates Close


Do it yourself?

WHY didn't the local shopkeepers who moaned about icy pavements and lack of business help themselves?

Surely if they had so much time on their hands they could just as easily have cleared the paths and allowed a greater influx of shoppers to get around with a possible increase in profits.

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Is it beyond them to keep a shovel, a broom and some bags of rock salt all of which cost very little?

Apart from assisting the public and increasing their takings, it could also help them to keep fit.

With the type of weather over the last few weeks I feel the council did a good job in keeping most main roads open and not knowing if or when the next salt delivery was coming had to use what they had sensibly.


Hornbeam Avenue


I can't understand

I CANNOT understand the attitude of traders in the town; or maybe I should in today's climate of "blame everybody but me".

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Those same traders who no doubt whinge about supermarkets for "unfair competition" had a heaven-sent opportunity to gain some customer respect. All they had to do was to wield a shovel for 10 or 15 minutes to clear the snow from their frontages. What do they do? Sit on their backsides and whinge about someone else.

As I picked my way down past the shops in Ninfield Road during the period of snow, I reflected on times past when all traders would have cleared snow from their shop fronts. In Sidley, the only frontages that I noticed had been cleared were the two Carrolls outlets and Earl's Bakery. Well done to those businesses; it has been noted.


Church Vale Road


Deeply patronising

WITH reference to your article Debate Focuses on the Seafront Shelters Issue, appearing on January 22, I found Cllr Starnes's statement that 'the council values public opinion' deeply patronising.

I do not know of one person who is in flavour of the new shelters.

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Why weren't local residents, the people who have to live with them, given a say at the outset (before any criteria were drawn up for a competition) regarding how they would like to see the CABE grant money spent?

Furthermore, who cares if the design of these shelters are 'unique' or architects 'award-winning' if that design is ultimately unsympathetic to its surroundings and unpopular.

Yes, the old shelters are not Edwardian, but at least their design is sympathetic to the character of the town and its existing architecture.

Finally I would like our councillors to explain why it is so important that we have shelters that are 'unique'.

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As unlikely as it seems, are they expecting them promote them some sort of tourist attraction?


Kingswood Avenue


Disastrous designs

OH dear the shelter proposals are an absolute disaster. It would be much better to tidy up the existing shelters.

On your debate on Next Wave I fully support Ron Storkey.

The shelter design fails to provide adequate protection in all weathers, and the materials are not as suitable as the existing traditional shelters, which I prefer.

The existing shelters are greatly used by residents and visitors of all ages throughout the year and they can sit on all four sides according to the direction of wind and sun.

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This "way out" design would never be accepted by the public favourably.


Elsted Road


Leprosy awareness

I WONDER if I could draw the attention of your readers to an event in support of The Leprosy Mission?

Anyone who has been to Africa or Asia will know that many people still suffer form leprosy, but they may not know that it is curable if caught early enough, and corrective surgery is also very effective.

Beulah Baptist Church is holding a coffee morning and table sale at the Church Hall in Clifford Road tomorrow (Saturday), 10am to 1pm, at which light lunches are also available, to raise funds to support this needy work.


Windor Road


Hung out to dry

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EAST Sussex County Council trots out the usual excuses to cover its failure to provide adequate support during the cold spell ("Traders slam county over icy pavements" January 15).

Just how much of Bexhill didn't receive a single grain of salt or grit for pavement or road? We were hung out to dry.

Of course, behind all this lies the council's "savings" strategy, whereby services are pared to the bone - and beyond - in order to look good in keeping down council tax.

And what of Bexhill's quartet of county councillors: Messrs Kenward, Gadd and Ensor, and Ms Hughes? Not a sound.

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As I wrote in a previous letter, there is no respect for residents.


Second Avenue


Motoring festival idea

I'VE been thinking of possible events that could be staged to create awareness and bring visitors to our town and believe that a good starting off point would be to exploit our motoring heritage. I know that we do have excellent exhibitions from the Bexhill 100. How about exploring ways in which to expand on this?

Why not create a two to three day event which could be built upon year on year covering the car and motorcycle over the past 100+ years. Were we to promote the event through national vintage and classic car club publications etc I believe we could draw quite a large audience.

As an ex-chairman of an international car club with, at the time, 1,200 members, I have personal experience of arranging numerous events both nationally and overseas and can assure you that, if marketed correctly, such an event would be hugely popular to car enthusiasts who will travel far and wide to attend.

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For example, in Zeeland, Holland, they organise an annual parade through their area taking in restaurant and caf stops along with other places of interest, we could do the same.

We could for example open up the prom from Galley Hill to South Cliff for cars to be shown and encourage the clubs to attend in period costume relating to the vehicles in question be it Edwardian through to the 20s, pre/post war, Teddy Boys through to Mods and Rocker.

We have some superb countryside where drives could be organised through Herbrand, Pevensey, Herstmonceaux through to Battle, Bodiam and Rye or take in Beachy Head.

Local companies could sell their produce along the prom together with food stalls such as hog roasts and other specialised food suppliers and local crafts including auto jumble.

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Marquee's could be erected in the Polegrove to host live entertainment possibly tribute bands to represent the various eras, Glen Miller, 60's through to the 80s.

This is just a brief overview of an event that I believe could go some way to putting Bexhill on the map. It would take a huge amount of organisation but, with strong support behind it, it could turn into a huge success. After all, Hastings has a Beer Festival, Eastbourne has Airbourne and Goodwood the Festival of Speed, perhaps Bexhill could have it's own Festival of Motoring.

I for one, would be quite prepared to lend my assistance to such an event and would be happy to hear from anyone with their views.

Contact details supplied to the Bexhill Observer.


West Parade


My sincerest thanks

THROUGH your letters page please would you express my sincerest thanks to everyone who very kindly helped me when I slipped on an 'uncovered' pavement drainage gully, outside Sadie's Cafe in St. Leonard's Road, in the early evening a couple of Thursdays ago, where broke my wrist

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Five really nice people came quickly to my aid, two cars were driving past and stopped and the occupants came over to help me and two ladies were walking nearby.

I don't know their names except one gentleman and lady were from the Italian Way Restaurant on Bexhill seafront. I was so grateful for their help and for the quick response from the ambulance service and from the A&E department at the Conquest Hospital who were extremely busy dealing with everyone. Hopefully the kind people who helped me up will recognise me in the town and come over and say 'hello'.

Thank you all once again for your kindness which I will always appreciate.


Job Centre farce

WE think you may be interested to note a current bureaucratic farce.

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We are aware of a person registered with the Job Centre. We had a job to offer, we phoned the Job Centre as we do not have the person's address or phone number, to ask them to contact them with the job opportunity.

We were told quite firmly that under the Data Protection Act they could not assist. We were not requesting information but trying to offer a job vacancy.

What a travesty - they would rather deny an unemployed employment, or could it be their staff need training?


Sackville Road


Lottery ticket human error does happen

RE last week's story Woman's Lotto Ticket Warning:

As the owner of Newsmart, the biggest National Lottery outlet in the town, I would like to say that not all sales assistants are poorly trained in the use of the National Lottery terminals.

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As an independent trader we ensure that all of our staff are fully trained and kept up to date with new games etc from the National Lottery.

The error made by the said cashier is not uncommon in some stores, machine failure and lack of training causes various problems.

Machine failures are noted on the terminal screen but human error is not.

In my experience this incident is certainly not isolated, we recently had a customer with a confirmed Euromillions win of over 3,600 who was told by a supermarket cashier that it was not a winner. So yes it does pay to double check your tickets, after all they are your responsibility, but please do not tar all National Lottery outlets with the same brush.



Western Road


Polegrove questions

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THANK you for your front page article in last week's Observer: "Anger over the level of noise levels as parks licence is granted".

We were also at the planning meeting at the Town Hall on January 15 at 1.30pm. As you said, the council granted their own application. We have just received a letter from the senior democratic services officer at Rother District Council, with copies of the minutes and decisions made.

We would like to know why tests around Egerton Park are to be 65 decibels when there is an event on, and yet the Polegrove Sports Ground is to be 75 decibels.

Also, the council said that events at Egerton Park are to finish at 10pm, and yet the Polegrove is to finish at 10.30pm?

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A councillor at the meeting admitted the clearing up could take up to one hour after the event, which could take the time up to 11.30pm. Both the Polegrove and Egerton Park have flats and houses around the grounds.

All previous events at the Polegrove have finished at 10pm, Bexhill carnival being the only exception, but that is only one day a year. The fair itself, when it finishes each evening, stops dead on 10pm, you can set your watch by them. They are very good.

Perhaps someone can explain why the differences between Egerton Park and the Polegrove? It would be nicer still if the application for this licence hadn't gone ahead. Most of us retire at 10pm or before, we certainly don't want to shut our doors and windows in the summer months.


Brockley Road


Saddened by death

I WAS saddened to see the notice of Anthony (Tony) Cowlard's death in Australia in the January 8 Family Announcements.

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He and my late father Andy Thornton worked together as electricians in Bexhill and were good friends.

Tony later ran a popular pet shop in the Old Town with his father 'and with a great deal of help from our wives' as Tony said in more recent years.

I remember often popping in there to see him with my parents and also visiting him and his late wife Audrey in their prefab in Preston Road, Sidley.

They emigrated initially to New Zealand in 1958.

Five years ago I came across Tony in a website discussion about the old Sidley smugglers and contacted him '“ he was researching Audrey's local Stubberfield ancestors as well as his own.

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One of the stories he told me was how, in the 1950s when few people had television sets, he built his own and he said there was a piece in the Bexhill Observer about this, although he had lost the cutting.

I tried in vain to find it for him in the newspaper archives.

We looked forward to meeting up on his next visit to England in 2006, but due to a family emergency he had to head back to Australia soon after arriving.

It was lovely to find one of my father's old pals. If there is anyone else who remembers Andy Thornton I would love to hear from them '“ February 20 will be the 50th anniversary of his fatal accident in Little Common Road, aged only 44.

My mother, Kathy Thornton nee Arscott, lived to be 88.


Pankhurst Close


There's no shelter

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THERE are some things written in the official reports of the shelter design competition which you, the public, should know.

Ron Storkey reported last week that the conclusion reached by the council's own judges was that "this was not the right scheme for the specific location" (ie the Bexhill seafront). And Ron was right. This was the result of the judging process. This was not "taken out of context" as Cllr Starnes claimed. The fact that some of the judges liked the shelters doesn not detract from the final conclusion that they were not suitable here.

If you were to read the rest of the reports you would be flabbergasted at the pretentious jargon and ridiculous claptrap used by the architects themselves.

When the architects were questioned about the lack of actual shelter in their designs "the team explained they wanted to be honest with the environment, they weren't seeking enclosed shelter but were embracing the weather".

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Embracing the weather! You can hardly believe it, can you? That explains why the proposed shelters have more holes in them than a Swiss cheese. Pity the poor holiday maker who just wants to get in out of the rain.

There is so much other verbal rubbish released by these reports and I wish I could fit it all in here.

All of it though proves that the last thing to be considered is the comfort of the shelter user.

Cllr Starnes tells us that these shelters will be " the world". I am not surprised - on-one else with any sense would want them.

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Let us hope that sanity returns to council before this terrible mistake is made.

Jackie Bialeska


Vox Pop

Job search praise

IT is very difficult getting work and every job I apply for it seems the rest of the world has applied as well.

What is most frustrating is when you apply and there is no response from the employer. So I must praise Barraclough and Stiles in Bexhill when I applied for a job. I sadly did not get an interview but I received a personal letter from the managing director together with a voucher to use in their store.

I later heard that more than 210 applied! Well done for their excellent communication. Its good to see our long standing local businesses hold such values close to their heart.

Name and address supplied

Wanting to have a go

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I travelled by train recently from Bexhill to Eastbourne with my mother, who is in her 80's.

I was very surprised that there are no concessions for OAPs on the train.

On our return to Bexhill, around 5pm, there were a couple of young lads, about 15-16 years of age on the train.

One of them had the dirtiest trainers I have ever seen on his feet.

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He put one foot up on the opposite seat and one on the seat beside him, rubbing them well in, but removed them pretty sharpish when the ticket inspector came through!

It was all I could do not to go and say something to him... I wonder if his mum would be so pleased if they had been cleaned this way on her furniture.

Had I been on my own, I would have confronted him but bearing in mind my mother's age and the fact that they live here and I don't, plus the fact that the couple sitting opposite them also didn't say a word, I think it is a sad reflection on society that no-one had the guts to comment for fear of reprisals. I so wanted to "have a go"...



A little more thought

I KNOW it is politically incorrect to say I am English (although that is what I am), but I can say I'm British.

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What I am not, is Irish. Tell me, when did Bexhill become Irish? It must be so because the calendar you very kindly sent to everyone in Bexhill shows St Parick's Day. Not a mention of St George, St David or St Andrew.

I think a little more thought should have gone into this gift.


Terminus Avenue


Worth weight in gold

I WOULD just like to say "thank you" to the paramedics who swiftly arrived to attend to my 12-year-old son last Friday evening.

He was having trouble breathing and being asthmatic it was very frightening for him.

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It was literally a few minutes from me making the call to 999 to them arriving on our doorstep. They were very efficient and even managed to make my son smile with their friendly manner.

Thank goodness for dedicated people like them in the NHS Service, so thank you Steve and Chris-you are worth your weight in gold!

Name and address supplied

Beware of dogs

I WOULD like to warn other dog owners to be aware of two Staffs, light brown and white in colour.

One Saturday, myself and my husband had walked to town with our two Yorkies one of which is the size of a small puppy

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On the way back we crossed the Downs behind the King Offa school, we saw the staffs, which were off their leads in the distance and I instinctively picked my small dog up,

By the time I turned to my husband to tell him to watch our other dog these dogs were on her she had no chance. The only time the owners came to help was after we started kicking the Staffs to get them off our dog.

My husband had to throw himself on to our dog to help her, at the time we didn't think she had been hurt. Apart from being terrified but when we got home she was bleeding from her back flank and had a puncture wound.

As we walked past these owners I got abuse from them because we had kicked their dog,

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When I pointed out what were we supposed to do, let their dog tear her apart I was threatened. If the weather hadn't been so bad we would have called the police.

I believe the only way our dog wasn't hurt further was because she had a thick coat on

It scares me to think what would have happened if my husband hadn,t been there, or if it was an elderly person or a child.


Edmonton Rd