Readers’ letters - February 24

I JUST have to say what a privilege it was to travel to Manchester with the Crawley fans in one of the 25 coaches that travelled in convey to Manchester on Saturday. I had a wonderful day and would not have missed the live match for anything. I went with my husband Bob who is an avid Crawley Town Supporter .

Everyone was friendly and in high spirits and I just have to feed back to everyone the comment from the police at the Service Station where we stopped. They had never known so many well behaved fans, so well done everyone - the fans did the town proud , as did the players. To hold Manchester United to a 1-0 score was fantastic especially when the Manchester team had the likes of Rooney playing for the whole of the second half. CONGRATULATIONS on a brilliant performance.

Now I am not a football expert - I could not begin to explain the off side rule - but I do know when I enjoy a team game and I did really enjoy this one. It appears to me that our team dominated the second half. It was not for the sake of trying that they did not get a goal, even Alex Ferguson said the we deserved a draw; so well done everyone involved.

As the team did the town proud, so the fans, I felt, did the team proud. We did not stop cheering, chanting or singing throughout the whole game. Even when Crawley Town was one goal down - in fact the cheering and chanting increased. To be amongst that atmosphere and ‘noise’ was incredible and exhilarating

Thank you and well done the police, Crawley Luxury Coaches, the organisers, the fans and the team and a special well done to the youngsters who accompanied the team onto the pitch. This must have been a daunting exercise for them as the pitch seemed huge!

I have always said what a great town Crawley is and that, I believe, is down to the people who live here; so well done Crawley and well done ‘the Red Devils’ for lifting our spirits and being so inspirational - may you go from strength to strength.

Brenda Burgess, Crawley

Society is Big

I am sure that your readers will be well aware of the national coverage that the Big Society has received during recent weeks.

One report claimed that local councils do not understand the concept of the Big Society and I want to reassure our residents that is certainly not true as far as West Sussex County Council is concerned.

We know and understand it extremely well and I want to set out how we plan to support our local communities and their efforts.

But first, there is nothing mysterious or new about the ‘Big Society’ – it may not have been given that title before, but it is alive and well and has been flourishing right across West Sussex for very many years.

It could be the villagers that joined together to keep their local shop open, or the communities that have joined forces to help establish ‘No cold calling zones’ to deter unsolicited callers.

Or perhaps the village where residents joined forces to form a consortium to drive down the costs of the oil needed to heat their homes or the parent run primary school.

There are many, many, other examples of communities coming together to help themselves.

West Sussex County Council plans to move the Big Society agenda forward at a much greater pace over the coming months.

This is because we know there is a real appetite out there from people and organisations wanting to rise to the challenge of deciding what their local community needs and play a leading role in delivering it at the times they feel it is needed.

In the near future we will have much more information about the advice, and support that will be available so that the County Council can help act as an enabler.

There could be some money to kick-start a project. The County Council budget meeting on February 11 agreed a £240,000 Big Society fund and we will be publishing the criteria for use of this in the near future.

We are looking to make it easier, where the circumstances are right, to transfer one of our buildings into a community run asset thanks to a newly adopted policy.

I am convinced that in West Sussex there are many areas where by working together we can turn what may appear to be a negative situation into something positive.

Cllr Louise Goldsmith, leader West Sussex County Council

News can be local

In reply to Mr Geraint Thomas who wrote to say about there being no local BBC News. I have Virgin TV and they have channel 858 which covers South East News, so when “the news where you are” is mentioned, I turn to that.

Or, weekdays at 7pm there is on ITV +1 there is local Meridian News, which covers our area too.

Both these are much better for local weather forecasts too.

Hope this helps.

G J Williams, Crawley

Robbing Peter

Your front page headline in this week’s Crawley Observer (Give And Take Over Schools’ Funding, February 16) is a disgracefully watered-down distortion of political reality - even a ‘Robbing Peter To Pay Paul’ headline would be grossly inaccurate.

The savage cuts made by the Tory-controlled West Sussex Council - to whom we pay over 80 per cent of our council tax in Crawley - are simply morally unacceptable in any civilised society, which is judged by the way it treats the most vulnerable and least advantaged within its boundaries.

Your headline is ‘just another brick in the wall’ in our understanding of what we, humanity, need to do to right this wrong - and fast.

Richard W Symonds, Ifield

Looking for Twinn

Are you a Sussex Twinn or any other derivative of the Twinn surname?

Genealogists in Cambridge, the origin of the Twinn family, have traced the family name through church and parish records back to 1273 and have a definitive line of descent from Robert Twynne in 1480 to the present day.

Researcher Graham Twinn has produced a book detailing the history of the family with information of births, marriages and deaths and also many details of the employment and careers, successes and failures of the Twinn family through the generations. It charts the migration from Cambridgeshire, which is still a stronghold of the family name, to all points in the UK and overseas.

At a recent two-day gathering in Cambridge over 100 members of the Twinn “family”, including several from Canada, the USA and Australia who came especially for the event, met to exchange information to fill gaps in the family tree.

Graham would like to add a chapter on the “Sussex Twinn’s” in the next printing of his book.

Anyone with information about the name is requested to contact Mike Twinn on 01444 235250.

Recycling problem

I HAVE been pleased with the progress that has been made with ‘waste’ recycling in Crawley in recent years. As far as I am concerned, the ‘red top’ bin recycling scheme has been working well. However, recently I have encountered a problem after a careful reading of the leaflet entitled ‘Refuse and Recycling Collections: Your essential guide’ which was mailed to Crawley residents over the Christmas/New Year period. Until I read this leaflet, I was assuming that items which displayed a recycling symbol could be put in the red top bin.

There are a variety of commonly-used items which have a clear ‘recycling’ symbol on them which the borough council’s leaflet says or implies must not go in the red top recycling bin. Examples include shampoo bottles, margarine cartons, yoghurt pots, deodorant containers, food trays and paint and ice cream containers.

Obviously, my wife and I are now putting these items into our bin for general ‘waste’ – but this means that the total amount of ‘waste’ that will need to be collected and disposed of from our house has almost doubled. Under the present scheme, material with a recycling symbol on it cannot be used again in any way and will have to be transported to a local (rapidly-filling) landfill site where it will take hundreds of years – or more – to degrade.

When I have asked borough and county council officials and senior councillors about this, I have been told that there is no ‘market’ for this type of plastic – which surprised me – surely it could at least be shredded and used for, say, insulating material? I was also told that it was up to the manufacturers to remove the recycling symbol – which would, in effect, be encouraging local authorities to relax their recent pro-active recycling policies. Finally, I was told that if householders put such materials in their red top bins, it was likely to lead to a whole batch of ‘red top’ materials, including glass, paper etc, to be declared ‘contaminated’ and so consigned to landfill.

While my wife and I will be dutifully following the current regulations as laid out in the leaflet, I would be grateful for an assurance from the borough and/or county council that efforts are being made to ensure that such materials will be able to be recycled in the foreseeable future. I also wonder whether the leaflet could make it clearer exactly which plastic items can and cannot currently be recycled.

In the meantime, could I urge all Crawley residents to follow the well-known maxim in relation to the earth’s finite resources: ‘reduce, re-use and (at least as far as is currently possible!) recycle’ .

Geraint Thomas, Labour borough councillor for Northgate and shadow environment cabinet portfolio holder

Stand for council

HAVING read the letter from Mr Jerome (County Times February 17), as a former parish councillor of Billingshurst, I can only shake my head in utter disbelief.

His accusation that there is a veil of secrecy over the business of the parish council is both patently false and indeed self contradictory.

He states that the figures quoted by councillor Grant do not tally with information he received from a member of parish council staff.

If such a veil existed, he would not have been given said information.

I also wonder whether he received this information from a member of staff, or from a current parish councillor?

It is a fact that all business of the council (with the exception of private and confidential staff matters) is publicly available on the BPC website, along with agendas, draft minutes and the final approved minutes of all meetings.

Every parishioner has an opportunity to speak at all meetings, and if they are still not satisfied they can request all relevant information via a Freedom of Information request.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to remind all residents of Billingshurst and elsewhere that both parish and district elections are due in May.

If you feel you are unhappy with the actions and conduct of your elected representatives, why not consider standing for the councils?


Platts Meadow, Billingshurst