Children should not be seen or heard on Britain’s streets

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From: Fiona Lemmon, Clifton Byres, Clifton, Maltby, Rotherham.

USUALLY I am in agreement with Jayne Dowle’s comments on social issues but I was astounded by her article “Let’s allow children to have freedom to play” (Yorkshire Post, August 12), especially as it follows on only two weeks after her feature, “I welcome new fight for decency and respect” wherein she states “respect for each other, especially in public places is important”.

Jayne takes exception to that neighbour of hers who ranks among the “intolerant neighbours” wanting to control their (Jayne’s children’s) noise and who guards his/her tomato plants/front lawn.

Good for him, I say. Like him, I’ve had to stand my ground to protect my property from damage and try to stop children playing ball and other games in the cul-de-sac I inhabit. I’ve worked hard to earn the money to purchase and maintain the property I own in a quiet residential backwater – a main reason for choosing it.

Once children start playing in the street, they attract others from other streets and neighbourhoods. This issue in my locality reached the point where, despite there being a children’s playground in our hamlet which the local community had done much fund raising to establish and maintain, this cul-de-sac had become the preferred play area of, at times, as many as a dozen children. The noise and intrusion were intolerable.

I received abuse from some of the children when asking them politely to go and play in the playground and was confronted by the mother and father of four of the children. I expected better of the parents and children as they appeared to be a decent family, all the children attending private school. Finally, after I’d referred the matter to the community police, I was heartily relieved that the family sold up and moved on elsewhere, eradicating the problem.

I take exception to, and am offended by, Jayne’s assumption that her neighbour who, quite rightly in my opinion, stood up for his rights and informed Jayne’s children and their friends that the street is not a play park “just can’t stand children”. How can she say that? Perhaps she’s right but it certainly does not apply to me and I include myself in the band of people who certainly do not champion children playing in the street, an activity I class as anti social behaviour.

I can only conclude that Jayne Dowle, like many parents of young children, is fed up with them being under her feet during the school holidays and wants to offload them and their energy elsewhere. For many parents it’s a case of “out of sight, out of mind”.

From: Sue S Cuthbert, Newton on Rawcliffe, North Yorkshire.

WITH reference to letter from Brian H Sheridan (Yorkshire Post, August 16), I agree with him regarding good manners shown by the majority of French people. It is so pleasant to always be greeted in shops by “bonjour Madame” and as you leave “bon journée” (good day).

During our holiday this June, we travelled through much of France, visiting our lovely French friends and seeing very interesting “clean” places. Unfortunately the French highways department has installed very high bumps on roads in most towns and villages.

I can understand the need to slow speeding vehicles, but for us this caused a problem. Part of our camper van’s exhaust pipe broke away.

So, one wet Friday afternoon, we were desperate to find a garage. No such luck.

We then had to find a campsite and decide what to do. We stopped in a town called Melle where the nice man in charge of the campsite put us onto a solid emplacement.

My French is not good enough to know how to explain a broken exhaust pipe, so I went over to two young French people who were sitting by their camper van. I asked if they spoke English and if they could write the French word for exhaust. The young man asked if he could help, so we showed him the broken pipe.

He then crawled under our van, then said: “I can mend it - I’m a welder.” We were amazed, he was working in the town nearby to make holiday money. He measured the pipe and made a diagram for a new part. He removed the flange in order to weld some new pipe on to it. By Monday afternoon he had fitted the new part.

He was very happy for us to pay him E70 euros. I gave them a jar of my jam too. When we went to pay for the campsite, the man at reception would only let us pay for our electricity.

Was it fate that we stopped when we did on that wet day? Perhaps, but we were so grateful to Luke for his kindness that weekend.

More good news – I have been told that the speed bumps are going to be lowered!