READER’S LETTER: Speculation and scare-mongering

Chesterfield Swimming Club
Chesterfield Swimming Club

I was alarmed to read the Times Talk article by Alan Maris in last week’s edition and perhaps even more so having seen his “Save Our Leisure Centre” leaflet and website. 
The aims of the campaign appear very worthy but there is so much speculation, scare-mongering and misinformation that I wonder whether Mr Maris ever uses the facilities himself or has even talked to those who do.

Chesterfield Swimming Club, of which I am Head Coach, are big users of Queen’s Park and we stand full-square behind the proposals to replace the existing facility with a new Sports Centre on the derelict Annexe site.

We have over 400 members who range from two year-olds to seventy-two year-olds.

We include those who are learning to swim, fitness swimmers and competitive swimmers performing at all levels through to National finalists. 
We deliver the elite performance programme for North Derbyshire and the county’s only programme for disabled swimmers wanting to access the competitive sport.

In short, we provide organised swimming opportunities for everyone in the community.

Our members use the pool seven days a week and, in the last 12 months, have swum 16,000 training sessions at Queen’s Park.

As part of their preparation to swim fast, many members are also regular users of the dry-side facilities including badminton courts, the small sports hall and both gyms. 
We contribute huge revenues to the Council but, unless the enlightened decision to replace the Centre is allowed to reach fruition, most of it will keep going to waste patching up a run-down, inefficient, tired old building.

Refurbishment is not a sensible option but an expensive short-term make-do-and-mend exercise. And what would happen to our 400 members and the Centre’s many other users and staff members during the long months it would take to renovate?

Queen’s Park is a Sports Centre and not a Leisure Centre.

Sporting men, women and children who use it will understand the need for a new, modern, environmentally-sustainable building. 
They will appreciate the important financial contribution being made by Chesterfield College and welcome the fact that this encourages its students to participate in sport.

Most users of the centre will also applaud the commitment of the Council to provide substantial investment in the future and a lasting legacy of the fantastic Olympic year during which the plan was conceived.

Simon Mounsey

Chesterfield Swimming Club

bus crash

Thanks for concern

I want to pass on thanks to our bus driver last Tuesday morning when a lorry collided with us on the B&Q roundabout. 
Luckily the damage wasn’t too bad, only a few windows on the side were smashed and I think the passengers there managed to jump out of the way of the glass. I think the driver was a bit shook up, but he managed to put a brave face on it. He was not in the wrong, he did very well to ensure it was not a worse situation. However the lorry driver that collided that with us insisted the bus was in the wrong lane. This was a complete ly wrong as I go down this road daily, both by car and bus and not everyone can be wrong. 
The bus driver kept apologising for the delay in getting us on our way and I think he was so sweet and polite that I just wanted to pass on my thanks to him again for his thoughts of us and our safety even though this must have been upsetting for him, especially when the lorry driver refused to take responsiblitity for his appalling actions.



legal aid fund cuts

Changes will limit justice

I read with interest Natascha Engel’s article ‘Justice for those who can afford to pay for it’, DT April 4.
 I was dismissed and successfully took the company that had employed me to an Employment Tribunal. No fault was found on my part and I was described as being a professional, methodical worker.
The case was listed for a one day hearing and should have been straight forward. However the directors represented themselves, did not make a concise structured argument to justify my dismissal and provided statements which did not reference the documents in the legal bundle. Much time was spent explaining procedure to them and this resulted in 4 days of hearing. My legal costs (which cannot be reclaimed from the losing party) ballooned to £20,000. Having lost, the company negotiated a settlement but then defaulted on payment. 
This led to a further 3 months of stress and uncertainty until payment was made, a total of 18 months from my dismissal. Fortunately I was able to claim legal costs against my household insurance but this could have been financially crippling for some.
Changes being implemented soon include up-front fees to the Employment Tribunal and also to limit compensation to one year’s salary. Anyone bringing a case could be out of pocket even if the case was successful. 
This will limit justice to those who can afford it and cause chaos at tribunals as parties are more likely to represent themselves. It will also be stressful for employees who need the support of someone to represent them and gives opportunity for unscrupulous employers to dismiss vulnerable people who could neither represent themselves nor afford to pay someone else to do it.

Pauline Beksa

Via email

High Speed 2

Saddened by devastation

Today, Winston Churchill’s words should read “Never was so much owed by so few to so many”. This is in respect of the proposed HS2 high speed rail madness. Without any vested interest and too old to even see anything get underway, I am however, saddened and angered to witness the distress being caused to communities up and down the country. The “many” are those being given the devastating news that their homes/businesses will be compulsory purchased and demolished to accommodate this pointless plan. There are all the towns and villages up and down the country, including here in Killamarsh/Renishaw, which will be blighted by loads of concrete viaducts and tracks with their 120 metre swathe. 
HS2, if it goes ahead, will bring about the total ruination of “England’s Green and Pleasant Land”. For what – to save 20 minutes of journey time from Leeds to London - for a “few”. HS2 will not benefit anyone living in Derbyshire – the trains will not stop in Derbyshire but already numerous organisations doing wonderful work in the area are being penalised.
Confusingly, there are 28 on-line petitions on the subject but the one that has got off-the-ground can be found on the STOP HS2 web site where there is a direct link and lots of useful information. Come on, the people of Derbyshire – in the words of Lord Kitchener, with a slight amendment - “YOUR COUNTY NEEDS YOU”. Please sign the petition and tell your friends.
 Margaret Drakett

Name and address supplied

bluebell wood

Please save our wood

Between the parishes of Wingerworth and Clay Cross is a small, but not insignificant wood known as Britton Wood or by its popular name Blluebell Wood.
For as long as I can recollect, the wood has been there and walked through.
A few years ago it became part of the popular South Chesterfield Way.
What a travesty then when myself and walking friends saw the felling of trees and gravel being laid for a car park.
Politely asking the person doing the cutting, we were told it was to engage in shooting in the wood and some camping.
I have contacted local councillors, but apparently there is very little that can be done. Trees in the wood have no tree preservation orders and shooting can be carried out for at least 28 days with no special permission.
I know little of planning laws but do know something is very wrong. How can people be deprived of woodland without some rights. What happened to all this conservation we hear so much about?
I suppose when somebody accidentally gets hit be shot issued will be raised or when the last tree is left, the council will want to protect it.
I urge anyone who knows Britton Wood and believes in conservation to support the local petition to fight for the wood to be kept as it is.
The next time the council talks about saving trees, I will point to the bare land that was once a precious wood enjoyed by local people.

Derek Vann

Holm gate, Clay Cross