Your Letters - July 25

We welcome your letters - email them to observer@trbeckett.co.uk Please include your name and address if your letter is for publication.

Maternity units

THE Hands Off the Conquest Campaign Group was disturbed to read the article "Trust boss hopeful in maternity unit battle" in the Observer and cannot understand why we were not asked to comment

This article is completely misleading the public and is either a direct ploy by the East Sussex Hospital Trust or a misunderstanding by the reporter.

Having consulted with our medical team, we totally refute the comments of the Chief Executive.

The Special Care Baby Unit would, of course, become larger since it would have to cope with those mothers from the Eastbourne district that choose to, or have to, come to the Conquest.

However the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, and many local clinicians agree that to single site consultant led maternity at either Hastings or Eastbourne will make absolutely no difference to the quality of care offered.

At present both the Conquest and Eastbourne DGH offer level one care and have the highest safety record. This means that they are able to deal with short term complications only. Even with a single site more serious problems will have to be dealt with at either Brighton or London as at present. There will be no change. At present Brighton is closed more often than either Hastings or Eastbourne and is not therefore a reliable back up. We need our two units to ensure a reliable service.

Regarding paediatrics, whatever the Primary Care Trust say, unless there is a large increase in paediatric staff, which is unlikely, it will be impossible to keep two in patient paediatric departments if the Special Care Baby Unit is single sited. The two go hand in hand, thereby causing the domino effect in which even Accident and Emergency is threatened. Indeed in their own Consultation Document the PCT states that they are continuing to look at future models for delivery of safe care for children. So what or who are the general public to believe?

The Friends of the Conquest have and will always support the hospital

However under the Hands Off the Conquest banner we totally oppose single siting. Unfortunately whatever the Chairman, Mrs Irene Dibben, believes, there is still a very raw nerve with regard to how our volunteer in the shop was treated by the Chief Executive when our petition was on the counter.

We have always believed in FREE SPEECH and DEMOCRACY.

With regard to the morale of the staff it is obvious that neither the Chief Executive nor the Chairman have had honest talks with the staff on the ground in either Maternity Unit and especially SCBU.

They are horrified that they may be starring into a future when mothers and babies are put at risk.

Margaret Williams

Hands off the Conquest

Free parking

I HAVE been visiting Eastbourne frequently over the last few months. Why? What has Hastings not got? Free parking.

This is a great idea for small and large businesses, visitors and local residents. One problem I have experienced in Hastings is that many people, even permit holders, do not move their vehicles so much as they are worried about getting another parking place within the vicinity of their homes. Therefore there is a standstill of cars for many hours/days on end.

If there was free parking for all then cars would move around more.

I have never had any difficulty parking in Eastbourne since there has been no charges and maybe this is the solution.

I also find it absolutely disgraceful that there is pay parking on a Sunday. This was without doubt a financial gain for the council - all the tickets and meter charges which are exorbitant.

Onto another parking matter, paying to park in a hospital car park is immoral. Whilst a member of my family was dying, I had family members worried about receiving parking tickets. On another occasion I had to appeal against a ticket and I succeeded but what a hassle (just before Christmas) because my young daughter was rushed in by ambulance and I had no change on me at the time of receiving the telephone call from her school.

CATHERINE GUEST (MRS)

St Marys Road

Editor's note: Please note parking charges are to be introduced in Eastbourne from October.

New rail link

HASTINGS to Brighton in 35 minutes? Yes - just reinstate a mile or two of railway between Pevensey and Polegate, cut out Eastbourne and you save 30 odd minutes on the current best time of an hour.

This is the kind of local bread and butter rail enhancements SEEDA should be looking at instead of high speed links to France which, in any case, became even less likely when Eurostar decided to slash their services via Ashford Semi International which has now assumed white elephant status after all those millions were spent building the place not so many years ago. Let alone the single track railway that hinders progress between Hastings and Ashford.

SEEDA is one of the chocolate teapot agencies that came out with all that talk of the "String of Pearls" metro system linking Hastings and Bexhill. Several years have passed, nothing has been done and now we have this grandiose nonsense about a French rail link.

This is duplicated on a national scale - talk of new High Speed lines costing billions while far less funding is denied to vital local projects, reopenings and electrification schemes.

Now where's that wall to bang my head against......

SIMON STODDART

The Ridge

Grim future

THE Local Development Framework (LDF) consultation which has just ended sets out the council's vision for 2026. However, although the LDF does contain some positive aims such as eco-standards for all the new building and more cycle paths, the vision for 2026 paints far too a rosy picture of the future and completely fails to address the potential impact of climate change and rising oil prices.

In 2026 Hastings seafront and associated low lying areas of land may be inundated due to coastal flooding and the pier and other landmark buildings on the seafront destroyed or damaged by the weather.

In 2026 many of the shops in the town centre will be left empty and major building projects stalled due to the continuing economic downturn.

In 2026 many people will struggle to feed themselves on a healthy diet as food prices continue to rise.

A lack of proper planning to deal with the effects of climate change now will result in a long term recession for Hastings and subsequent social and financial disruption.

However, it does not have to be all doom and gloom - Hastings is in the relatively fortunate position of being a 180 degree town and so flooding will only affect certain areas, and disruption limited.

If a major urban design, planning and community plan is implemented now to both reduce CO2 emissions and prepare for medium to long term change caused by climate change then some problems could be avoided.

This could include building any new developments away from the seafront and on high land and the potential to re-plan Hastings as an energy efficient town.

All new buildings could be carbon neutral and old buildings should be retrofitted with suitable energy efficient measures - with loft insulation and solar hot water systems available for free or greatly subsidised rates to all residents - and local people being trained up to carry out the necessary work.

Rather than building new roads the council could encourage the development of inland and south coast rail links and there should be major improvements to bus routes and cheap flat fares across the town to encourage and enable more people to use public transport. Areas of Hastings which are impractical for construction, as well as space within all new developments, should be used for urban food growing to allow residents to grow their own fruit and vegetables at an affordable price and supply local needs, and again suitable training and support should be included. Hastings and other seaside towns can also take advantage of wave and off-shore wind power to generate renewable energy for the region. Finally local businesses and entrepreneurs could be encouraged by providing reduced rates for those utilising greener technologies or making used of recycled materials.

MARESA BOSSANO

Chair, Hastings Environment Network

Welcome

I HAVE encountered two very similar events in the last week that I found really shocking. The first happened in a photographic shop in the town centre where a member of staff was imitating the accents of two Asian men.

This was followed by me witnessing two men in high visibility jackets in Hastings station cafe talking to a woman about a group Arabic men. They were commenting on how loud the group was: 'I don't know why they need to shout', and then one of them tapped his fingers on the table and started on about jungle drums.

When I told him this was racist, he apologised but obviously didn't mean it. Aside from the fact that English men are hardly quiet and demure when they travel abroad in groups, the group of men at the station weren't being aggressive or intimidating. They were in a new environment and were having a nice time.

What is worrying about both of these instances is the fact that people in this town still don't realise that we live in a multi-cultural society and that their attitude to people from other countries and cultures is inappropriate.

Wake up Hastings! Instead of whinging, make a good impression, welcome new people - smile more.

S. SCOTT

Priory Road

Asda benefits

TO those people in opposition to Asda in Silverhill - you do not have to shop there!

You will be able to go and support all the other shops you are so worried about, on your side of Silverhill.

Even the Co-op Manager, who was at the meeting in Newgate Road, said the Co-op survived Somerfields next door to them. However, some of us very much look forward to progress and the supermarket.

The new medical centre, I believe, has to 'go in' with another planning project and the doctors at Silver Springs will be delighted with their move, as they have problems down near the park and the climb up from the surgery is not good for many patients.

This will be wonderful for Silverhill but maybe the 'moaners' will not appreciate this either.

Asda now owns this site and I, and many more people, hope they will get planning permission. They have worked tirelessly to attempt to please the highways people and keep everyone happy.

Many people shop in the Eastbourne Asda and some get their shopping on-line from the shop because it is so much cheaper.

It is said that 73% of people never visit Silverhilll. They would if they had free parking for everyone! Visitors could then also visit our small shops, which I would hope would also do well out of the increased trade.

I do not think the increase in any 'pollution' will affect Silverlands Road.

JEAN SULLIVAN

Battle Road

IT Controversy

WITH reference to Hillcrest School's plans to request some of its pupils to abandon GCSE subjects in favour of an IT course, it may be appropriate to note that such courses have recently created a great deal of controversy, as the Times Educational Supplement has reported.

Because such course are entirely coursework-based, it is relatively simple for teachers to manipulate the outcomes to their advantage.

It is also the case that, to gain a grade equivalent to a GCSE pass, one has to achieve less than a typical 14-year-old and the value of such qualifications has, thus, been questioned.

The problem with employing private consultants is that their loyalties will always be divided between their own interests and that of the pupils they are working with. It may, therefore, be that in striving to meet targets, the appropriateness of a course to a student cohort's needs, will not always be the primary consideration.

Sir Dexter Hutt may well increase the headline pass rate at Hillcrest, but whether that will benefit the pupils or demonstrate a genuine improvement in standards could be another issue.

DEREK WICKHAM

Beaufort Crescent, St. Leonards

Enhance service

IN her column on July 8, Amber Rudd says that she supports the opening of the new health centre in the new station complex in Hastings, but not at the expense of vital, local GP services.

I can reassure your readers that the new Primary Care Centre in the Station Plaza site will enhance existing services,.

Its location in the centre of the town, next to both the station and the new Further Education College campus, will make it extremely accessible. It will enable five existing GP practices to move from the inadequate buildings they currently occupy, none of which are fully accessible to the disabled.

It will offer patients a range of services for which they currently have to travel away from the town centre - including diagnostic facilities, sexual health services and physiotherapy. And the town's first walk-in service will be sited in the Station Plaza Centre, offering GP care, seven days a week from 8am to 8pm, for patients whether or not they are registered with the practice.

People have told us that this is what they want. At the start of the project, nearly eight out of ten of those we consulted whose GP practice were planning to move to the Station Plaza Centre supported the move. We have set up a Patient and Public Involvement Group to help us develop the layout and design of the Centre. Members of this Group, which includes patients at GP practices intending to move into the new Centre, representatives of senior citizens, people with a disability and people affected by mental health issues, have for example been asked to contribute to the design of the reception and waiting areas.

In addition to the Station Plaza Centre, the Primary Care Trust will be building two other new Primary Care Centres, one in Upper St Leonards and one in Ore Valley. In developing these, we shall make sure that each of the new Centres reflect what its patients and GPs tell us is needed.

CHARLES EVERETT

Chair, Hastings and Rother PCT

Benefits system

MUCH has been made of the recent 60th birthday of the establishment of the NHS but I wonder if it is generally known that July 5, 2008 was also the 60th anniversary of another great British institution - the benefits system! It was on July 5, 1948 that Sir William Beveridge's plan to give the nation benefits cover 'from the cradle to the grave' came into being.

Opening up at the same time were National Assistance Board (now called Income Support) offices at 34 Wellington Square and 57 Marina (Crown House).

Let us wish a belated Happy Birthday to welfare benefits.

DAVID HOLLAMBY

St. Dominic Close, St. Leonards

Not porn

WITH respect, whereas the use of the word Porn or pornographic to describe my daughter Gemmaine Baughurst's pictures, is known for being part of an explicit sexual agenda, and has been since the beginning, people now fashion that with a specific idealism of explicit sexual practice, the same as what might be seen in a book of that nature.

It conjures up a specific image. Because you have used that label, the assumption has been that she has indulged in work of that nature, and despite your opinion that has not happened. I appreciate that you have stated that she is not interested in work of an adult nature, but no one is taking any notice of that, it seems the word porn is just to powerful.

Yes she has made an attempt on her life, and has been sacked from one of her jobs, neither of which I appreciate you intended, but the reality is that the orginal article was written to imply that what she did was for more gratuitous. and that is what seems so unfair.

Everything was negative...even saying things like "Two failed attempts to be queen" when, had I written it, I would have said "After two years as princess etc".. my point is that the whole thing was structured in a way that was geared towards her removal.

Would it really have not been better to do a one to one interview??

The other thing that is very confusing, and this has been a very general opinion, is that the whole glamour routine of carnival queen surely goes hand in hand with the glamour industry? They are both the same are they not, the white dresses the photographs, the whole shebang, but you seem to separate that? and I just don't see it. What she was looking at was more like that, maybe catalogues, or wedding dress brochures etc. Are people in Ann Summers classed as porn stars?

The use of the word Porn is very destructive, and cerainly not her. If you had only spoken to her you might be surprised and found out that she is not that portrait?

It's just that where the paper is concerned, there is this unbalance, as there is with the dailies. I have tried to get help from the Observer to promote charity events, and someone once who was trying to get just a small mention for gathering a girls football team, and no-one was interested. Yet these are far more positive.

The reason that people have said about character assassination is because they know her charactor, you don't, and neither you or Richard will, because you have not tried to get to know her; in short she does not do porn, and neither would she.

Please think harder if this ever occurs again. It's hard to watch someone change and fall apart.

KIM SHEA

Address supplied

Offensive

I AM writing with respect to your recent report about my cousin, Gemmaine.

I find it highly offensive in the way she has been portrayed as a 'wannabe glamour model'.

Anyone who knows, or has had the pleasure to meet her, will know she is probably the most down to earth girl you could ever meet and is in no way, shape or form a 'wannabe' anything. The role she has played in Hastings over the past three years shows her commitment to wanting to make Hastings a place we can be proud of and also making money for worthwhile causes in the local area.

A model's portfolio is their CV to getting work within the industry, which everyone has to agree is highly competitive, and the internet is the way the majority of them get work. Many models, including some of the more diva-like ones, have done topless or artistic photographs to enhance their profile. All Gemmaine has done is advertise that she is available to work as a model to any company or agency that wishes to employ her services.

If Hastings Carnival Committee decide that she is not fit to represent the town any further, then they would be highly hypocritical as the main point of the competition in the selection of the Carnival Queen is the looks of the girls who enter. Hastings has been lucky as they had a model for the past three years for free, when Gemmaine could quite as easily have gone full time and been paid for it.

In the 21st century when people go on holiday and have topless photos taken they tend to either put them in an album or put them on Facebook, the only difference between them and a model's e-portfolio is one is an exhibition of oneself, the other is an advertisement for work.

CHRIS BAUGHURST

Asten Fields

Battle

Traffic chaos

A TIN of paint and a green bulb would solve the problem of traffic chaos to Hastings at peak times.

Yet again recently 100 yards of road is closed in St Leonards causing a tailback ALL DAY back to King Offa Way up to 8pm.

This time it was due to the closure of Harley Shute Road, north-bound, for gas works.

The section of road which normally causes the worst congestion is the nearside lane from the Murco petrol station to the bottom of Harley Shute Road. Therefore, under normal conditions, if the nearside lane was extended back towards Bexhill for at least as far as Bulverhythe Road, or better still to Bridge Way just ten parking spaces would be lost but this would feed two lanes of traffic to the above junction. When the lights turn to green, two lanes would then move, being fed by further traffic from Bexhill. To make things even quicker, fit a green filter light for left turns up Harley Shute Road. As most drivers know, there is no problem at the Filsham Road traffic lights.

Please will the Highways Department at least try an experiment with temporary traffic cones from Bridge Way to the Murco petrol station.

B.H. MEWETT

Chantry Avenue

Schools' future

CLOSED! Was this front page headline meant to express outrage or admit defeat? I would hope it would be the former and, for that reason, I expected a barrage of letters and protests about the devastating proposal facing the three so-called 'failing' schools in Hastings.

Who can measure the psychological damage done to parents and pupils of these schools by such a potentially damning headline? What a blow to their confidence and self-esteem! Is is to be hoped that the lure of fantastic buildings and top-class facilities will inspire and enthuse pupils so that they suddenly join the ranks of the so-called 'high achievers? I doubt it.

To begin with, I do not believe that the Academies are all they are hyped-up to be. I believe that at least 20 of the 600 failing schools listed by the Government are Academies! Is it better and even right to allow the education of our children to be governed by a remote body and a business group whose benchmark of success is probably profit and prestige? Is it guaranteed that their principles and values are shared by the professional and experienced educators of the young? I understand and sympathise with the doubts and anxieties expressed by Clls Kathryn Field and Jeremy Birch at the E. Sussex C.C. Cabinet Meeting last Monday.

The good reputation and success of a school depends on the Head Teacher, staff and support of parents. These, together, are best placed to develop the discipline which will allow an ethos of endeavour, self-worth and respect for all to grow and flourish. Success also depends on what progress each pupil makes from the time of entry to the school, taking into account the school and pupils' social context. In the light of this, many of the named 'failures' would be doing extremely well.

Give the schools a chance to show their worth. Let new Government initiatives be given an appropriate time to work and to be honestly appraised. These three schools must not be written off as 'Failing'.

YVONNE PEPPER

Middle Road

Dog run down

REGARDING the escaped dog in Ashburnham Road, I'm afraid to say that the little black dog got run over, suffered brain damage and had to be put down. My partner Michael and his brother Steve, his partner Emma and I, along with some builders who were working nearby, and another lady, tried our best to save the dog. Luckily the builders had a truck and were able to take the dog to the vet. The lady went up to see if the vet could come down and save the dog but he wouldn't. I thought their job was about saving animals - obviously not.

The car in front of us ran over this dog and just drove off. We chased the man and got him to come back to the accident; his reply was, "It's only a dog" and he drove off. Luckily, we got his number plate, and I hope he has been dealt with!

I would like to say thank you to the people who tried to save this dog. It was very distressing for us. I hope the owners of the dog have been notified, as the dog had no tag or microchip. My advice to other owners is to make sure their dogs have tags and microchips. I hope that man feels guilty!

MISS I HALL

Queens Road

Robsack Meadow

REFERRING to the furore concerning the proposed development on Robsack Meadow, it beggars belief that this important meadow was ever included in Hastings Borough Council's Development Plan.

It is clear to see that it is totally inappropriate to suggest that blocks of flats should be erected within the protected ancient woodland. I can only surmise that no comprehensive ecological survey was ever carried out before the decision was made to include this meadow within the Council's Development Plan.

The Council has every reason to abandon this ill-conceived plan due to material considerations now coming to light. A previous plan was withdrawn in 98/99 due entirely to the ecological restraints outlined in a lengthy report by the Borough Ecologist and it was understood by everyone that that was the end of the matter and that the meadow would remain to thrive and provide the vital role of a corridor between the two woodlands.

Is it too much to hope that Hastings Council could be brave enough to put their hands up and say, "Okay - this meadow is not an appropriate site to erect these flats?" After all, the loss of 32 'dwellings' is not much of a dent in their building plans.

I would remind the Council that in their 'Nature Conservation Strategy Park NC2: Protecting the Green Network' it states: "the Borough Council will seek to conserve, protect and enhance an integrated green network of wildlife habitats, wildlife corridors and informal nature areas and will not normally permit development which may adversely affect, sever or in general, act to the overall detriment of this green network."

Surely, this pledge applies equally to Hastings Council's own development plans? How do they justify moving the goalposts when it suits their own schemes?

MRS. PATRICIA STEPHENSON

Whittlewood Close

Good homes wanted for Moya and Taz

HASTINGS and District Branch of Cats Protection (the UK's leading feline welfare charity) is looking for owners to adopt Moya and Taz, two handsome chaps we have rescued recently.

Moya (black) and Taz (black & white) are micro-chipped, neutered and fully vaccinated. They are both shy, especially Taz, and they will both need a quiet, adult home with a garden.

If you can offer Moya and Taz or any of our cats a permanent home then please call Cats Protection Hastings Branch on 01424 754328.

Good news

I'M no golfer but I was struck by the feature on last week's back page that said some William Parker boys had won the ENGLISH (yes the whole of England) schools title in golf, apparently beating all other shool teams in the country who had entered.

I think you could have served the boys, the school and frankly Hastings better by posting this news on the front page in place of the daft, non-story about the carnival queen's topless photos. Let's get some priorities right here.

BOB TIPLER

Priory Avenue

Naive act

IT seems that the Hastings Carnival Queen and her supporters are very naive if they really believe that there is anything respectable about offering yourself for erotic and nude photos for money. Just who do they imagine 'glamour' photos are gawped at by? It's not artists and photographers, but principally by the dirty mac brigade, sex-deprived men and boys, and males who have a low opinion of women, that's who. They have no interest in the woman, only in leering at her naked body (and perhaps in imagining why the model, as in this case, had 'her hand down the front of her knickers'). Which is why most women don't do it. Getting your kit off for public display whether it's in the redtops, in pornographic magazines and films, or on the internet isn't about 'art' - it's about greed and vanity.

PAULA CLARKE

Gensing Road

Not interested

HASTINGS Observer, what are you trying to do by putting in that story about the Hastings Carnival Queen and her appearance on certain websites? No doubt you thought that it was going to be scandalous and shocking. I thought it was unfeeling in the extreme to put it on the same page as the horrific story of the little girl killed on her bicycle.

I, for one, could not care less if the Carnival Queen has done this. I would not care even if she rode on a horse, alla Lady Godiva, through George Street, naked with all her dangly bits on display. I want her to represent the town as best she can, so let us all forget about her past and see what she can do now and in the future.

KRIS MORRIS

Mount Pleasant Road

Pelham crossing

I REALLY must respond to Cllr Armstrong's misleading letter about the campaign to keep the Pelham crossing (Letters, July 18).

Cllr Daniel raised this issue first, back in December 2007, and I have worked with him, first as a candidate and then as a councillor, to maintain the crossing where it is. We have also issued two leaflets to residents and written to all residents personally. Copies available!

For him to say that the matter was resolved back in December is arrant nonsense. Following that meeting a consultation exercise was carried out - in March 2008 - in which the crossing had been downgraded from a pedestrian controlled crossing to a simple 'island' halfway across the road. We protested about this and encouraged residents to let the county council know what they thought about this backtracking. Cllr Daniel then attended the Lead Member's meeting in June when the issue was finalised.

The difference between us and the Lib Dems is that we didn't just pipe up once at a council meeting - we followed through the issue, spoke to local people, kept residents and the Church there informed, and didn't give up until we succeeded. Where was Cllr Armstrong through all this?

CLLR PAUL BARLOW

Labour, Castle Ward

Stade lorry park

I WAS very surprised to read Paul and Sandy Roberts' letter in last Friday's Observer, and their complaint that they felt that the Council had treated them with little regard for their feelings, as we have tried very hard to keep everyone fully briefed on plans for the Stade coach and lorry park - especially Paul and Sandy.

I can obviously understand their disappointment that their business may not have a long term future on that site, and am the first to recognise the excellent service they've provided during the summer months for the last 21 years - I've been a regular customer myself throughout that time.

However, they have known for some years that there was the possibility of the site being redeveloped, and their agreement with us has reflected that.

And I must absolutely refute any suggestion that we have not tried to communicate with them. Paul and Sandy have attended a number of meetings with both myself and the Director for Regeneration & Planning. Indeed I even arranged a special meeting to brief them before any announcement was made about the Jerwood Foundation's ideas, so that they were the first to hear of the plans, because they are obviously directly affected. And there have been more meetings between us since then too, both as part of the 'Advisory Group' and individually; I have also been to see them in their business.

I am particularly disappointed that Paul and Sandy feel we have treated them with contempt, as all of our meetings have been very civil.

The Jerwood Foundation's plans for the Stade, and our associated plans to improve the open space there, are really exciting for Hastings and the whole area. The all year round attraction of a superb collection of 20th Century art, plus visiting exhibitions, and the programme of events we want to see on the fantastic open space we hope to create, will provide a huge boost to our visitor economy.

I genuinely hope and believe that the plans for the Stade will have a massive positive impact on the whole area, and local businesses will benefit from the extra visitors, and the money they will bring to the town.

KEVIN BOORMAN

Head of Destination Management & Marketing Hastings Borough Council

Polish thanks

ON behalf of the Polish Association in Hastings and Surrounding Areas I would like to thank the visitors to our information stand at St Leonards Festival for their interest in our new organisation. We have had a very positive response from all of them.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Mr John Knowles for his valuable help. Without your flexible approach and understanding we would not have been able to perform on the main stage on this occasion. We do appreciate it.

Thanks to the Festival we made contact with Poles who have been living in the area for many decades now, them or their children. We would like to contact even more of them and see how we can work together for the benefit of the wider community. If interested, please contact me on a.nona@pinh.co.uk

ALEKSANDRA NONA

Secretary

Polish Association in Hastings and Surrounding Areas

Great school

AS the debate about the future of our local schools takes place, it would seem an opportune time for us to record our thanks to the staff of the Grove School for their part in helping our two children achieve recent success at two of the country's better universities.

RICHARD & ANNA WILSON

St Helens Road

Tesco site

I FEEL that I have to write to you in relation to the current situation regarding the new Tesco site on Churchwood Road.

The construction is now into its ninth month and a catalogue of disasters is becoming a huge issue for local residents. This week, parking on Sylvan Drive and Paxhill Close has been transformed from a residential area of private dwellings to a Tesco staff and contractors car park, with no respect or thought for the home owners and occupiers with regard to access to and from their properties. My car was backed into by a Tesco employee whilst parked outside my home; they even had the audacity to drive off ignoring my calls after them.

Despite all the reassurances we have had, I feel Tesco have a blatant disregard for the health and safety, general well-being and quality of life of the local residents and businesses. They just want their store built as and when they want it, regardless of the effects on the local community. Surely, with a project of this scale and the expertise of Tesco's building, refurbishing and project management, if there had been any regard for the local community, they would have made contact with the local council or would have sought adequate parking arrangements and a bus shuttle service to accommodate all their staff and contractors.

"Every little helps"

MRS. LYNN CURTIS

Paxhill Close

Local shops

ACCORDING to a recent government report we are currently wasting 41.1 million tonnes of edible food for landfill every year, amounting to roughly about 8 a week per household. Why is so much good food wasted by UK households? One of the likely causes is our supermarket style of shopping with various offers tempting us to over-spend on food, whilst at the same time we're buying less in smaller amounts at local food stores.

Not only is food waste on this scale immensely wasteful, but it also contributes significantly to our carbon footprint; as food waste creates one of the most environmentally damaging greenhouse gases that contributes to climate change.

At a time when households need to address this problem, Wal-Mart ASDA is proposing to set up shop in neighbourhood of Silverhill - a community that already is very well served by a range of local shops that we stand to lose if the American giant is allowed to have its way.

There has probably never been a more important time to support and promote the small local shop and say a very loud NO THANKS, to giants like Wal-Mart ASDA. Smaller shops are more environmentally friendly in a number of ways. For instance, local and UK products are more available, local fruit being just one example, and secondly they allow for smaller amounts to be bought, usually with far less packaging.

Add to the shopping list the inevitable increase in traffic congestion, noise and air pollution, the probable closure of all the local small retailers, Asda's arrival all adds to a price that we should, for the sake our the community, say we don't want to pay.

A. HUGHES

Beaufort Crescent

Attitude to death

I AM shocked at the attitude of the person interviewed for your article about the person who died in Morrisons last week. Someone had just died – and they were whingeing about it! Paramedics usually cover dead people with blankets and I can't see how they would have removed the man without going past someone. Perhaps the interviewee would have preferred the deceased to be wheeled out through the fruit and veg, or even stored in a freezer until everyone had gone home.

There seems to be an increasing tendency to see death as a major inconvenience to other people. Unfortunately, most of us don't get to choose when and where we die. I would imagine that the person who died in Morrisons would have preferred not to have done it quite so publicly or create so much of a 'nuisance' to other shoppers. I just hope that those taking such a censorious tone don't create any public inconveniences themselves.

L. DEAN

Chick Hill

Pett

Race for Life

I'M writing regarding Cancer Research Race for Life.

I would like to congratulate all those ladies who took part in this fantastic event. I am wondering though what has happened to all the men who when asked on the day stated they felt left out, as men are not able to enter the Race for Life.

My message therefore for those men and anyone else who missed out this time on doing their bit for awareness and raising funds into research for a cure is IT'S NOT TOO LATE... get a team of eight or more people together and join the 1st Hastings Relay for Life this August at William Parker.

For more information see www.cancerresearchuk.org/relay Come and join me for the party and camp the night too. You can run, walk or crawl as long as you are registered and in a team. I look forward to hearing from you

NICOLA EVANS

Relay for Life Committee member

Roundwood Road

Cruelty to dogs

WITHIN the last few days I have become aware of the tortuous and sickening treatment of cats, dogs and any other animals in Serbia. For a number of reasons these unwanted, starving, injured animals are not being treated humanely; depending on who rounds them up they are (i) packed into boxes or cages and buried alive or (ii) thrown in dungeons to attack each other before dying from their injuries or (iii) injected with poison suffering a very slow painful death. One Serbian lady, with occasional help, is doing the best she can with the ones that are rescued. Urgent funds are needed to purchase medical supplies especially euthanasia kits, disinfectants, food etc. I hope to go there and help; are there any readers who would travel with me; are there any working vets, retired or newly qualified willing to donate their time and expertise to travel there and carry out spaying and or neutering. I hope some of you can help; donations payable to P.A.I.N. posted to JOYMAR, 32 Martyns Way, Bexhill, E.Sussex TN40 2SE; the web site is SERBIAN ANIMAL VOICE. Many, many thanks.

MARCIA LINDEN

Martyns Way

Pride of Britain

IT is with great pleasure that I will be hosting the tenth annual Pride of Britain Awards on ITV1 in October.

As readers may know, it is an incredibly uplifting occasion where HRH Prince Charles and the Prime Minister join a star-studded audience to honour the nation's unsung heroes.

For me, it is the only awards show on TV that really matters, because the winners are real people who could not be more deserving. It is a chance for us to celebrate Britain at its best and I am not surprised it has become the biggest national event of its kind.

Over the past decade, like many millions of viewers, I have been stunned, moved and inspired by what our winners have done. Yet, I know there are many more heroes and heroines whose achievements go unrecognised. And that's why I am appealing to readers to tell us about them.

We are looking for the people who put the Great into Britain to honour at this year's very special tenth anniversary gala in London. It will be screened on Wednesday, October 1 at 8pm on ITV1.

We want to hear about those individuals who make the world a better place - from courageous children and adults, people who improve their neighbourhoods, tireless care-workers, teachers, campaigners, charity fundraisers, to members of the emergency services who put their lives at risk for others.

You can nominate by email: nominate@prideofbritain.com; online at www.prideofbritain.com or by writing to Pride of Britain Awards, PO Box 4014, London E14 5BF. Or, you can pick up a form, fill it in and post it in the Pride of Britain boxes at your local Co-operative food store or travel, bank or pharmacy branch. Nominations must be received by Friday August 1 to be considered by our panel of judges.

I know Pride of Britain 2008 will be another memorable night. But we need readers' help to make it so.

CAROL VORDERMAN

Pride of Britain Awards, London

Right of way

I FELT I had to endorse Frederick Steyn's letter in respect of the attempted usurping of a public right of way. Here is someone who is not only telling it how it is, but one with the skills and knowledge to get something done about this and other erosion of the quality of life for the residents of St Leonard's on Sea, by a group of councillors who seem determined to have their own way, following their own agenda regardless of the consequences to others. The point made by Mr Steyn, about the attempt to stop people walking on the sea side of the promenade was one of many which was raised in 2004 by the people who could see what would happen if left unchallenged and which sadly have come to pass. Those people, if they are still alive or residents should do their best to support Frederick Steyn and similarly minded individuals to the best of their means and ability. Carl C. Byers once said "Committees are a group of the unfit appointed by the unwilling to do the unnecessary". My experience would seem to indicate that he might have been right in this instance.

JIM PORTER

Marina

Danger cyclists

I HAVE read with interest over the last few weeks, letters in your column about cyclists. I, too, have had quite a few near misses when I am on my own and also with my three-year-old granddaughter, not only in the town centre, along the seafront and also walking up Old London Road after work.

They also ride the wrong way down one-way streets. (I have written to Michael Foster who has replied).

Do cyclists not read the Highway Code or do they believe that they are above the law? I believe there is a sign up in Mr. Bean's window and the Police Station in the town centre saying cyclists must not ride in pedestrian areas or on the pavements.

They must be stopped or a child or elderly person will be badly injured.

MRS. S. VIDLER

Ashburnham Road