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GP shortage, affordable housing, immigration system and cold plates among topics tackled in letters to the editor

Our readers from across the county give their weekly take on the biggest issues impacting Kent and beyond.

Some letters refer to past correspondence which can be found by clicking here. Join the debate by emailing letters@thekmgroup.co.uk

We need affordable housing, writes one correspondent. Picture: Stock
We need affordable housing, writes one correspondent. Picture: Stock

Small developments won’t solve housing problem

The letter calling for housing estates to be ‘kept small’ misses out certain key issues with regard to location of housing developments and the future of transport.

What is not mentioned is that having ‘small scale development sprinkled across the countryside’ would lead to the destruction of the rural environment.

Links that are vital to wildlife would no longer exist. Such developments would increase the need for people to move. This would necessitate the building of even more roads.

Either such developments would include shops, schools, doctor’s surgeries and other amenities, meaning that they would not be small as a certain level of population is needed for such amenities, or they would be small without such amenities in which case they would only be suitable for car owners. Those without cars would be further isolated.

It is a sad truth that many supermarkets are situated in places where cars are needed.

Local shops enable regular visits to be made. We should encourage and maintain the local shopping centres that still exist.

As for cars, they are a major source of pollution and increased hazards for pedestrians when parked on pavements. It will not be possible for all car owners to switch to electric cars because there are not enough of the chemicals needed for batteries. The mining of these chemicals causes environmental damage and serious health problems for those engaged in the mining for those chemicals.

It is time our planning system for urban development was geared to meet the needs of people and not to those of a mechanical contraption that pollutes and is inaccessible to those whose needs are the greatest.

Ralph A. Tebbutt

Don’t build any more mansions

I doubt that we need anything other than affordable housing – there are quite enough ‘mansions’ for the rich/well-paid.

All should have gardens. And there is no point in building schools and GP surgeries on the new estates as there is a shortage of teachers in some of the existing schools; and as we all know only too well, except for something very urgent, the waiting time even for a phone appointment with a GP can be four weeks!

Our hospitals aren’t coping either! And all new housing should have solar panels.

Marika Sherwood

GP appointment shortage is hitting the elderly

I really fear for my health and well-being as an elderly person.

It doesn’t help when it becomes a near impossibility to see your GP face to face and they have stopped the first come first served appointment basis and are insisting that you either accept alternative options such as a telephone conversation.

How they can physically examine you on the end of a line? Or seeing a triage who is nothing much more than a nurse – with the greatest respect to them, they are not doctors and are liable to miss vital signs. To me this is a very dangerous practice and someone sooner or later will pay for it with their lives.

Recently, a doctor rang a member of my family to talk about a blood test she had in November, would you believe, and was totally unaware of her serious medical problems. It would save a lot of GPs time if they read what was on the computer screens giving the patients medical records rather than the patient having to give chapter and verse before consultation.

All too often patients are being directed to other people such as chemists who are not only carrying a valuable job providing drugs, etc, to the public but are now becoming unpaid part-time doctors.

I appreciate that life has become difficult for doctors because of the lack of them but many only work part-time and don’t do nighttime or weekend call-outs like their predecessors, who realised a sense of ‘duty’ to the public. Unlike junior doctors today, who would rather go on strike for more money than do the job for which they are being paid.

The elderly, particularly, seem to be at the bottom of the pile.

Sid Anning

It’s become nigh-on impossible to see a GP face to face, says one reader. Picture: Stock image
It’s become nigh-on impossible to see a GP face to face, says one reader. Picture: Stock image

Importance of allotments is overlooked

Allotments are not only the refuge of flat-capped pensioners and pigeon fanciers. Nowadays, all sorts of people grow food, flowers and vines.

Others keep bees, grow soft fruit, or just create a mini garden to rest and relax in. As long as you cultivate your allotment and look after it, so it does not become a nuisance to other plot holders, you will not incur the displeasure of whoever is running the allotment site.

Rents are reasonable, though to hear some plot holders you would think they are being asked to part with their life savings every year. Many allotment sites now include half-sized plots or what I call city plots, of small manageable plots, that take much less time and effort to maintain. The productivity of new vegetable varieties means that even very small pieces of ground can produce quite a lot of food.

Most allotments are friendly places and a beginner will receive much help and advice from other plot holders if required.

Unfortunately, there are some less enlightened local authorities who have sold off allotment sites for building land.

Allotments have waxed and waned in popularity over the years. Currently they are on the up and long may they remain so, as long as the unenlightened don't get their sticky mitts on them.

Like everything else in Broken Britain, allotment law is way overdue for reform and allotment provision ought to be part of true Garden Towns and Cities, instead of the current cookie-cutter, identikit, substitutes, which are offered to the public as housing.

Growing your own food on a small piece of land might help the crisis in health outcomes, deprivation and afford some control and tranquillity for those of us who are not in the top 5% of wealth in this country.

Richard Styles

Process asylum claims in France

The government’s assertion that it is serious about both controlling legal immigration and stopping small boats crossing the channel is not credible.

Even the Office of National Statistics does not believe it. The ONS' most recent projections of population growth, up to 2036, require about a million immigrants arriving each year. Also, the government needs this high level of immigration to put a downward pressure on wages and to justify its housing target of 300,000 houses.

Any increase in the population is entirely due to immigration and without immigration, the population would be falling significantly, making its massive house-building programme unnecessary. The recent net immigration of 672,000, together with the UK home occupancy rate of 2.4, translates into some 280,000 homes being required just to house the newcomers.

With regard to ‘stopping the small boats’, the government’s Rwanda plan, like many government programmes, is both unworkable and expensive. Just to make things worse, it has no Plan B.

There is an obvious, simpler and cheaper, solution. Instead of paying millions of pounds to France and Rwanda, to no effect, the government should use some of that money to open an asylum processing centre in France, preferably away from the channel coast. Then, all asylum seekers travelling via the EU should be required to apply and be processed from there. The processing should determine if the applicant is at risk, both in their country of origin and in France, and if they have links to the UK justifying asylum here.

Any asylum seeker arriving in the UK from the EU without following the prescribed process should be ineligible for asylum and liable to immediate deportation without appeal.

This would obviate the need for asylum seekers to make the dangerous channel crossing in small boats and the need to house them in hotels or barges while their claims are processed and appealed.

Derek Wisdom

Liberal establishment won’t curb immigration

The British people are being taken for fools by an incompetent political class, which is supported by a bureaucracy committed to an agenda contrary to the wishes of the great majority.

Despite it being clear that stopping illegal immigration is desired by most voters, we see men with beards being allowed to claim that they are children, and now clearly false claims of conversion to Christianity being taken as a reason to gain admission.

Regardless of what they claim, the Conservative party and its business supporters are happy to tolerate large numbers arriving as they provide cheap labour and avoid the expense of training British workers. The left wing parties are ideologically committed to putting the interests of others before those of those they purport to represent. While the Reform party has some good ideas, it lacks the necessary outlook to defy and overcome the liberal establishment.

The only hope would be for a truly democratic, but radical, party to offer the people a real alternative, but this is probably not going to happen before the situation is beyond redemption.

Colin Bullen

Rwanda plan must be rejected

The Prime Minister wants to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda. He wants to use the Safety of Rwanda Bill to overturn the judgement from the UK Supreme Court.

He also wants to give ministers the power to ignore judgements from the European Court of Human Rights.

Just because the Prime Minister asserts that Rwanda is safe does not make it safe, when all the evidence points to it not being safe. We already have Rwandan refugees who have been granted asylum in the UK because of the fact that Rwanda is not safe. Passing the Safety of Rwanda Bill will not make Rwanda any safer tomorrow than it is today.

The Bill is currently in the House of Lords and is set to return to the commons by mid-March. Members of both chambers should oppose this Bill in order to protect Britain's reputation in the world as a law-abiding country. It is my hope that our Kent MPs will vote against this Bill.

David W. Chadwick (Em. Prof.)

The Prime Minister is right to celebrate the return of power-sharing in Northern Ireland, which collapsed due to Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.

But alongside its clear moral shortcomings, Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda plan will introduce new instability by allowing the UK government to disregard international law written into the Good Friday Agreement.

The Safety of Rwanda Bill is also based on legal fiction, which creates a precedent to undermine the rule of law by skewing the separation of powers.

Denis Buckley

Councils don’t need more regulation

If your correspondent Rosemary Sealy wants to improve the administration of local services, I fear that more "oversight and regulation" is not the answer… better direct that to the big spenders at Westminster.

Councils are struggling with rising demand and lack of central funding. The system of property taxation is now unfair and needs revision.

If we fail to support our local councils, the inevitable result will be increased direct rule from the centre… so who wants that?

Chris Gay

‘It's not rocket science - hot food goes onto hot plates and cold food is served on cold plates’
‘It's not rocket science - hot food goes onto hot plates and cold food is served on cold plates’

Dining out leaves me cold

My wife and I enjoy eating out regularly but are finding that more often than not the chosen venue, whilst serving excellent food and giving good service, brings out the meal on cold plates.

When this is challenged, or we dare to request our food is served onto a hot plate, we receive looks of utter disdain.

Surely catering colleges and courses in hospitality train their students in how to serve food to their clients. It's not rocket science is it, hot food goes onto hot plates and cold food, ie: salad, is served on cold plates.

Of course, not all establishments are guilty of this.

We should not have to ask when ordering our meal that it is served on a hot plate please, which often causes comments from the server. On one occasion they brought our plates out holding them with a cloth to imply the plates were hot, only for us to find they were cold, not even lukewarm.

Are we in the minority or are others finding this too?

Barry Bullock

Better late than never?

After reading about postcards being delivered 50 years late, my son might get the birthday card I sent last year for his birthday in March. And my cousin may get the condolence card, sent in January.

Gaynor Trevett

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