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We should be proud of care homes and not be intent on closing them

I have been following the correspondence in your excellent paper over the last few months with interest.
Over 27,000 people have signed a petition for the council to reverse its decision to close the remaining seven council-run care homes and some SEC centres.
This figure outweighs the number who voted for the Labour councillors in this year’s local elections. Are Mayor Jones and her Labour cronies not listening, or are they just interested in their own politics and self-interest? .
Why is the council hell-bent on punishing our old and vulnerable people by evicting them from their homes?
Back in February of this year councillors were advised that the council run care homes “were not fit for purpose” and consequently in the budget they agreed the proposal to closure them.
Let’s look at our Doncaster (Labour) council:
2002: the worst local government corruption case with hefty jail terms for a senior Labour councillor and 21 other councillors convicted of fraud. Millions of pounds stolen from local taxpayer.
2004: an independent report reveals a bullying culture in the council.
2006: the Mayor and his chief executive, Susan Law, fall out after investigations by police over corruption allegations. No charges are brought. 
2007: an auditor’s report criticises relations between the mayor and councillors.
2007: crisis in Doncaster’s Children’s Services department, and the end for Martin Winter. 
2010: report finds that the people of Doncaster were not well served by the council. 
2014: Council decided to close the remaining seven council-run care homes despite massive opposition from taxpayers.
I think we can safely say that Doncaster has been in the national news for all the wrong reasons.  Now is an ideal opportunity to show the rest of the country that we are a caring community who look after our old and vulnerable people despite austerity measures.

John Howard, Bessacarr

Thanks for support

I would like to say a big thank you to all the Doncaster people who signed our petition to stop the closure of the council run care homes and S.E.C. Centres.
Alas, it was not listened to by our Labour run council, who all voted to close them and put cost in front of care.
Please remember this when they come knocking on your door to get your vote so they can stay in there overpaid positions on the council. Shame on you all.
The 27,000-plus Doncaster people signed our petition and they should not be ignored.

Mr O Young, CareGate Member, Doncaster

Should be ashamed

Our council run care homes are something we can be proud of: the quality of care is second to none.

I am very disappointed and concerned in the decision to close the council care homes - to be rubber stamped three months prior to discussion with some charity organisations who may be interested in taking them over.
Do you realise the immense response we, the CareGate action group, got from the people of Doncaster - over 27,000 signatures, which incidentally is more than the Labour party got during this past election.
I have no confidence in the Labour party and its lack of concern and respect for the CareGate action group.
The debate in the council chambers was a sham. It was fairly obvious the councillors had no ownership to statements and questions - they were puppets on a string.
The whole consultation has seen CareGate as the enemy. We are not a political group but a concerned group needing to understand the mentality of the proposal.
Doncaster is throwing away the chance to shine in their care for the most vulnerable; they will have the legacy of disregard for the elderly. 
The staff in the homes have been gagged and the councillors have not been into homes, council or private, to get a first-hand experience in order to make an informed choice. 
Please don’t respond with blaming the Government cuts, I’m sick and tired of hearing that excuse. Cuts should be made elsewhere; start with reducing the number of councillors.
I would like you and all the Labour councillors to remember June 25, 2014 when a decision was taken that will have a terrible impact on the most vulnerable people of Doncaster. 
A very disheartened member of CareGate.

June Brown, Howden Close, Bessacarr

The town’s lowest point

Doncaster Council has voted to close its seven care homes after employing a company whose sole purpose is to give councils a format to follow which will tick all the right boxes to enable such closures.

This has happened around the country long before the present crisis the country is going through. The format tells them to speak of ‘modernisation’ and of having to do this because of government cuts, all to a pre-programmed dialogue to fool the electorate.

Doncaster has faced many difficult situations but the destruction of its council care homes is it’s lowest point. It is a decision taken wholly by the Labour majority councillors who deem it appropriate to make this decision, in spite of the biggest petition Doncaster has ever had.

Care of the elderly is something which Doncaster has an amazing opportunity to build on and to set the standard of what care should be, small units at the heart of the community, not 75 bed institutions.

We have at DRI the amazing Gresley Unit which is solely for those who are admitted to hospital and have dementia. It is something which Doncaster can and should be proud of, it is certainly the best of its kind in the country with dedicated, caring and very special staff.

As DRI has proved, Doncaster is capable of understanding its priorities for dealing with an ageing population, which makes the decision to close its care homes look very hollow. The fact that they have offered to seek a charity willing to take them over is too little too late.

Doncaster deserves better than an arrogant Labour dominated Council which abuses it’s power.

Pauline Collins, Rectory Mews, Sprotbrough

Why so expensive?

It would be interesting to hear from Steve Gill, the airport manager, as to why the fares from Doncaster are so high.
When the airport was proposed, local people gave their support, thinking that the long journeys to other airports would be over.
There must be some reason for the high fares.
Does the airport have to pay the carriers higher fees to attract them to Doncaster?

Tony Heaton, Ellers Lane, Auckley

More flights please

My son Simon and daughter-in-law Melissa live in New Hampshire, USA, and they visit me or I go there several times a year.

When Robin Hood opened, we where excited about the opportunity of using an airport on our doorstep, but it has never happened.

You can’t get international flights and as we have now found out, London don’t fly to Doncaster. It’s crazy.

For my next trip I have to travel to London when I live 20 minutes from Robin Hood.

They have one of the largest runways and can take the large planes; it would be so nice to have one plane from here to there.

I’m sure I’m not the only person disgruntled about this.

Pam Smith, Woodfield Plantation

EU-US deal is worrying

Following the food scandals of recent years, people are becoming more aware of what goes into our food.

The last thing we need is lower legal standards but a deal being negotiated between the EU and the US could result in exactly that.
The EU-US deal aims to ‘harmonise’ European and American rules, which in practice may mean slashing European standards to match the lower US levels.
So, products like hormone-treated beef and chicken washed in chlorine currently banned could appear in the UK. The deal threatens our ability to run our society the we choose, and it must be stopped.

Bryan Wainwright, St Michaels Drive, Doncaster

Bikes are for the roads

If only the Grand Depart had been through Doncaster……and for two reasons. The first is that the thousands of treacherously deep potholes throughout the town would have been filled in, and the surfaces for traffic would have been as smooth as silk.

The second is that all the idiots who believe that they have a God-given right to ride their bikes on the pavements might (possibly) have realised that their machines belong on the roads, and not among the pedestrians.

Phil Penfold, Lawn Road, Doncaster

Why all the changes?

What on earth is happening to our council?

I found out that a team of dustbin workers have been given the daily job of removing rubbish in Hexthorpe. Also, man power has been removed from Lakeside to go to Hexthorpe.

If I had an old mattress, the council would charge for the removal.

How can they justify what they are doing in Hexthorpe?

I realise a big problem is caused by certain individuals in Hexthorpe and if this problem is not dealt with, things will only get worse.

Sheila Newton, Kentmere Drive, Lakeside

Council has failed

The failure by Doncaster Council and its partners to promote community cohesion is evidenced by the tension in Hexthorpe.

At the so-called public meeting, out of 120 people there was not one Roma person.

The sad reality is that decent people are becoming anti “the other” and being drawn towards UKIP.

It is worth recalling that Doncaster’s MPs are Milliband, Winterton and Flint. All are leading figures in the Labour Party, whilst we have a Labour Mayor.

Tim Brown, Doncaster

Dry courts are needed

Adwick Badmington Club is to become the latest victim of Doncaster Culture Leisure Trust, with its proposed re-development to all but do away with its dry sports areas, which contrary to Mr Hart’s comments from DCLT, are very much used for a number of activities like martial arts, rugby and football, but especially by the Adwick Badmington club.

It is going to be replaced by a soft play area that will undoubtedly serve a healthy variety of deep fried snacks, that, by the way will hurt local business.

Before Brian Keefe spoke out, this issue was being swept under the carpet, Like DCLT did when changing the long standing agreement the council had with Adwick Swimming Club. It has stopped ASA from taking on new young members, instead DCCLT does these classes.

These volunteers are getting kids active and fit, and are doing what the leisure centres were created for.

Adwick Leisure Centre does not need a soft play area with a cafe/bar to replace the dry sports area. There is a soft play area two minutes down the road.

I urge Ros Jones and co, to withdraw the loan DCLT needs for this development until a compromise is reached.

Ryan Morling, Scawthorpe

Need for change

The letter that Mrs Housley wrote regarding private landlords was something that would receive support by everyone who lives next door to the homes that these landlords let without any thoughts of keeping them in decent condition.

She was right in stating that the council has, in the last few years, lost many of the officers who kept a grip on the known rogue landlords, so they know they can get away with behaving like Rachman did in the 60s.

We certainly see it in this area and the surprise is that the deputy mayor resides in this area.

He must walk around with his eyes closed or he doesn’t walk around at all. Is it because he may get accosted by residents who are sick and tired of the trouble-makers and the others who cause problems for the law-abiding?

It is about time the council carried out the public services that we pay for through our council taxes.

P Dawson, Lister Avenue, Balby

Chaos on the roads

Forstead Lane, between Barnby Dun and Arksey, was closed recently so all traffic went through town.

At 9.15 the traffic was queuing up to The Sun Inn and at Morrisons. It went into single file as it was coned off on St George’s Bridge. It looked as if men were jet washing the central reservation (though it was hard to see when driving).

Northbound traffic was also single file with a four lane queue from The Hub roundabout to Holmes Market at 9.30pm.

Couldn’t this work have waited until Forstead was open?

J Elvidge, Woodford Road, Barnby Dun

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