Surprised at expert views on obesity

National government policies are as much to blame for the rise in obesity as personal choice, says Stephen Black

National government policies are as much to blame for the rise in obesity as personal choice, says Stephen Black

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I was surprised to read that Dr Peter Barker regards obesity and other illnesses associated with poverty as “a combination of gluttony and sloth”.

This conclusion is both crass and simplistic.

The World Health Organisation states that “the toxic combination of poor social policies and programmes, unfair economics, and bad politics is responsible for much of health inequality” and that “social injustice is killing people on a grand scale”.

It is the deeper social structures and processes that generate, and then perpetuate the inequalities in the conditions required to lead healthy lives.

It is not a coincidence that four of the most unequal societies in the world have the highest incidents of mental health issues.

It is ridiculous to ignore the social determinants of health when developing policy.

The Government by transferring responsibility for public health to local authorities is once again avoiding its responsibilities.

There is a case for an increase in personal responsibility but that is at the micro-level.

The macro-policies of welfare, business ethics and unequal power can only be addressed at the national level.

If Dr Barker is an example of those developing policy, nothing will change and his intemperate language is not only stupid but academically illiterate.

STEPHEN BLACK

Via email

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Financial issues need tackling

The accounts for 2012-13 for Wellingborough’s Castle Theatre are now on the Charity Commission’s website for all to see, and they do not make happy reading.

I should make it clear that I want the theatre to survive and thrive, but this is not what the accounts indicate.

Over that year, the council gave over £700,000 to the Castle Theatre.

This figure does not show in the accounts as the council has been paying directly most of the theatre’s renewal and maintenance costs.

The basic yearly grant of £295,000 is included in that figure, and is a reduction of £52,000 from 2011-12.

They have still made a loss of £36,000. They are also paying back a loan from their pension fund of £340,000, but it is not clear what with.

The council were due to further cut their grant by £44,000 for 2013-14.

The council has had many meetings with the Castle Theatre management, but for the employees’ salary costs to have gone up in the year must be a kick in the teeth.

At £451,993 for 28 staff, this is their biggest expense and surely must be cut.

Yet they are proud to claim a “full complement of staff” and have appointed a “dedicated fundraiser”.

Even their auditors have endorsed the accounts referring to “the existence of a material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt over the charity’s ability to continue as a going concern”.

With the recent decision to close Glamis Hall, it is clear that Wellingborough Council’s funding is in meltdown.

I hope that whoever runs the Castle Theatre will stop behaving like lemmings and make economies to enable us and future generations to enjoy the Castle Theatre – before their options run out.

ROBERT WHARTON

Wilby

Councillors need to think carefully

It is very sad that Glamis Hall in Wellingborough has been marked for closure at the end of the year.

Glamis Hall has for many years provided a valuable meeting place for elderly people and others and Wellingborough will yet again lose another amenity for its residents.

There are not many facilities for the elderly in this town and this is another one to be lost.

It has been stated that the building “is not fit for purpose” although not too long ago a large amount of money was spend on the premises – rather like Wellingborough Prison really.

The building could be made “fit for purpose” if there was enough goodwill considered and a little thought used by our beloved councillors.

Next year is borough election year and I suggest the councillors who wish to remain on the council really think about what they are doing here.

If they do not, they will more than likely lose their seats.

PAUL CHATWYN

Via email

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English drivers are also speeding

I am writing in response to Ray Lilley’s letter in the Telegraph on July 24.

In May 2010 the then transport secretary Philip Hammond said that Labour’s 13 year war on the motorist is over.

Since speed cameras have been switched off at Barford Bridge on the Kettering to Corby road there has been a dramatic increase in speeding drivers.

It is mainly English lorries and cars which I have seen regularly exceeding the limit and the police no longer have the resources to regularly patrol this area.

Perhaps as part of David Cameron’s Big Society, Mr Lilley could stand on the road at Barford Bridge with a mobile camera and catch these offenders before their is serious carnage there.

He would also see that it is not only foreign drivers that are putting lives at risk but English drivers as well.

SCOTT SPEIRS

Via email

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Together we can defeat this plan

For the thousands of us who have come out in opposition to the controversial Brookfield Resource Recovery Park, D-Day is soon to arrive.

Corby Council has set August 19 as the critical day when the planning committee will meet to decide whether to sanction the bulldozing of Corby’s largest area of woodland to make way for this industrial monstrosity.

The D-Day meeting will no doubt see objectors turn out in their droves to oppose the planning application, and it is likely that there will be passionate debate from both the developers’ and the objectors’ camps.

Amid the controversy, Corby councillors have an extremely important job to do on August 19.

The future of Corby, its surrounding villages, its people and its environment will be in their hands.

Those of us who oppose the planning application have spent the past two years preparing and campaigning to save the Brookfield Plantation and to save local people from the noise, pollution, traffic and odours that the Resource Recovery Park would generate. One thing is for sure; we are organised and ready to take the bull by the horns. Together we can defeat the corporate developers to preserve our home as the green and pleasant place that it should be.

CLLR ROB McKELLAR

Weldon and Gretton ward

Corby Council

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Council ignoring planning issues

When planning consent is given to developer it comes with many preconditions. Some are so obscure they beggar belief.

However, when it comes to making sure that the impact to the local residents is kept to a minimum you will find that you as a resident will struggle to find anything in writing that protects your interests.

So far I have had my back garden filled with raw sewage after the previous developer on the corner of Lower Street and Railway View diverted my sewer pipe to make way for footings, and in doing so managed to block the sewer pipe at the same time!

The erection of site amenities that can infringe on your privacy.

Piling activity that can be recorded on the Richter Scale.

None of these issues will cause Kettering Council to intervene on your behalf.

However, one of the planning conditions imposed on the development next door to me is that a “wheel washing” facility be installed and operational before any lorries start to use the site.

This is to avoid any dirt being deposited on the highway! No wheel washing facility is up and running, yet regular deliveries continue to be made. What are KBC doing about the breach in planning consent?

IVAN HUMPHREY

Railway View, Kettering

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Village is under siege from plans

Cranford is a village under siege. Kettering Council seems to be throwing everything at us as it swoons to the seductive overtures of numerous developers.

Giant new wind turbines have gathered by the A14, towering over the village like an army of alien invaders from the War of the Worlds.

Where are you, Tom Cruise?

New proposals are on the table to create an energy park beneath the menacing mega-turbines. A vast expanse of solar panels could be followed by an anaerobic digester and a biomass production unit – in addition to the existing methane gas collection and power generation unit on the SITA landfill site.

Thousands of new homes are soon to go up outside Cranford in the mammoth Kettering East development.

Now Kettering Council wants to stretch agreed limits by increasing the numbers of houses the developer can complete before a new A14 junction is necessary to handle the extra traffic.

And for good measure, no doubt to tick more council boxes, the council suddenly wants to add six gipsy pitches to the proposed development. Six today – how many tomorrow?

If only councillors were as eager to deliver funds promised for Cranford projects.

There must be other communities and sites – possibly closer to Kettering councillors’ own homes – that can share these environmental and housing burdens.

Let’s drop it all on Cranford, seems to be the message.

All we need now is a nuclear waste dump and a fracking site.

BOB STONEBRIDGE

Cranford