Readers' letters - May 22

There needs to be more than just cafes in town centres says a correspondent
There needs to be more than just cafes in town centres says a correspondent

Can our towns and cities live on coffee alone?

The time is rapidly approaching when we, the public, will have to decide how we want to see our town and city centres develop.
Are we prepared to see them become little more that ‘ghost’ areas with very few shops, or no shops at all? There must surely be a limit to the number of ‘upmarket’ coffee bars they can support, and if they’re the only attraction, would we bother visiting the centres at all?
There must also be a limit to the number of pound and charity shops they can support, so that leaves what we are seeing already... graffiti-covered rusting shutters.
We thought that Woolworths and BHS would last forever.
They didn’t.
Mothercare and Debenhams are struggling, and how long will we continue to see M&S on our high streets?
One thing is certain to me. If all our in-store shopping is done at the large out-of-town shopping areas, the first thing to go will be free parking.
And if we are eventually forced to do most of our shopping online because there are few conventional shops left, as sure as night follows day, prices will rise, and free postage will end on both deliveries and ‘returns’.
At the moment, the online customer is treated as someone ‘special’. Don’t think for one moment that this will last. It won’t.
One answer would be to convert the empty premises into flats and encourage people to take up residence in our town and city centres, but would we really want to see this done on a large scale?
David Craggs
Address supplied

Come and volunteer with the Red Cross

The British Red Cross responds to an emergency every four hours in the UK – from fires and flooding to acts of terror.
However, it’s not just emergency services and the government that can help in these response efforts.
In partnership with Aviva, we are calling on people to sign up to a new scheme called community reserve volunteers, to help create a national network of 10,000 people ready to help in a local emergency.
Last year, we faced an unprecedented number of major emergencies, including in London and Manchester.
These incidents brought tragedy to so many people, but we also saw remarkable acts of kindness, as people and businesses rallied to help in any way they could.
We saw that people want to help those in crisis.
Everyone has a role to play when disaster strikes, even the smallest act of kindness can make a huge difference.
It’s quick and easy to sign up online, you don’t need specialist skills and we need your help now more than ever. So please sign up today – redcross.org.uk/reserves
Simon Lewis
Head of Crisis Response
British Red Cross

Houses wrecked my memories

Re: Mixed feelings as Wigan link road gets blessing (WP May 18). We used to play around there when I was little. We could spend all day there watching steam trains going under the bridge.
Where the Poacher is, there used to be a wonderful pond. We found lizards, saw all kinds of birds and appreciated nature. You could walk through the woods to the two other ponds. I once saw a family of stoats. There were dragonflies, owls and frogs and toads – now there are houses.
I have no sympathy because they are just as guilty for wrecking my memories.
Lynne Waddington
via Wigan Post Facebook

Just what is the
point of MOTs?

I don’t know about the MOT for vehicles becoming more stringent, a look into the driving test wouldn’t go amiss.
The standards of driving today leave a lot to be desired, with some drivers who haven’t a clue with parking, changing gear, reversing, and the speed limit. They can make the vehicle go faster but stopping it is another matter.
As regards maintenance, some don’t even know where to put oil and water.
What is the point in an MOT, when the person behind the wheel is incompetent, to say the least?
EB Warris
via email

It was a privilege

The other day, my wife and I observed, over a period of almost three minutes, an adult male blackbird feeding two young mistle thrushes in our yard. We understand this behaviour is not unheard of but is quite unusual and to witness it was a privilege!
Trevor Stones
Address supplied