Why do the citizens of Leeds feel so often that they have not been listened to properly?
On the subject of the West Park Centre, for instance, MP Greg Mulholland said: “There is a widespread perception that the council has not been open and transparent about the centre.”
Despite widespread protests, Coun Richard Lewis said that the centre had to be demolished, while stressing that council bosses had met centre users and locals, and that their views had “been a hugely important part of developing these proposals”. (YEP, June 13).
He introduced Metro’s two open-air information sessions with similar soft-soap, saying how “very productive” the public consultation sessions had been, and that “feedback from the public is vital in helping us to shape the plans the best we can in order to provide Leeds with a modern rapid transport system”(YEP, July 14).
For the words ‘public consultation’ to mean anything, everything must be on the table, even the possibility of abandoning a project or looking for something more appropriate, after listening properly to the public. This strikes us as not having been the case with regards to the trolleybus scheme.
Coun Martin Hamilton undoubtedly echoed the majority view of councillors when he said in reaction to public protests: “We can perhaps tweak and change minor details but at the end of the day this is a government scheme.” (YEP, June 25). In other words, the basic features of the scheme seem to have been fixed in iron before consultation began.
Christopher Todd, email