Today topics up for discussion include whether the taxpayer should be footing the bill for the repairs to Buckingham Palace, the Hepworth Gallery, the cost of funeral charges and the continuing saga of Cookridge’s ‘Soggy Bottom’. Join the debate or start your own - email firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the moon at repairs bill?
Mavis Harrison, Leeds 9
I am sure that the taxpayers of this country are over the moon knowing that their taxes will contribute towards the refurbishment of Buckingham Palace. Especially those on the minimum wage, and as well those in one or more jobs trying to make ends meet. If they asked for donations into a collection tin I don’t think they would get any.
Model railway on track to be a work of art?
John Roberts, Wakefield
AS a citizen of Wakefield, I feel immensely proud of the Hepworth Gallery; a real cultural landmark in the UK. The recent show of works by Stanley Spencer was breathtaking.
The paintings were hung with real flair and creativity. His landscapes, for example, hung on a blue/grey wall, were astonishing. My hat goes off to those who conceived this show. Never have I seen Spencer’s work so well presented, even in the capital!
Last week I visited the gallery to see a new sculpture show, including the first ever winner of the £30,000 Hepworth prize. Well, nice work if you can get it.
I do not dismiss contemporary art/sculpture as always the emperor’s new clothes, appealing to a cultural elite. It can be thought-provoking.
However, I should like to make a serious suggestion. I also paid a visit to the Wakefield annual model railway show. Without batting an eyelid, I would consider some of what I saw there as works of art. Why? They have all the elements we associate with an artistic work – creativity, craftsmanship, yet also historical and technological accuracy and fascinating aesthetic interest.
Next year I suggest that the curator and other staff at the Hepworth Gallery actually pay a visit to the 2017 Wakefield model rail show.
The railway layouts at Thornes Park can be considered works of art. Discuss, without cultural prejudice.
Why waste cash on funerals
Max Nottingham, Lincoln
FUNERAL charges are said to be increasing in an out of control way. Some critics use the word rip-off.
Do funeral directors get away with it because relatives of the deceased are too upset to complain?
My wife has insisted that, if she dies first, I should not waste thousands of pounds on her funeral.
For my part, I agree with her sentiments, and would sooner donate the money to deserving charities.
Charity shops do pose dilemma
Mrs Carol A Gannon, Barwick in Elmet
DAVID Speight (YEP Letters, November 21) does make an interesting point regarding charity shops selling new goods.
Some years ago I worked in a local charity shop and yes, we did sell a small number of new goods but these were normally such items as cards, pens and calendars carrying the name/details of the charity. The majority of staff were volunteers and those salaried were only the manager and assistant manager.
From what I understand charity shops do fair better when it comes to business rates etc, so they are already at a big advantage, having far fewer overheads than the average retailer.
It was only recently, when a large unit was taken over at our local shopping centre by one of the charities that I realised some of the items, such as furniture, looked new and were priced accordingly.
From what I understand, it is now common practice. However, if they are undercutting a neighbouring retailer selling similar items, who has larger overheads then no, it doesn’t seem fair, especially if peoples’ livelihoods are put at risk.
It does seem a bit of a retail dilemma with no easy answer.
Dispute may bog council down
Coun Tom Leadley, Morley Borough Independent, LCC
COOKRIDGE’S sorry saga of Soggy Bottom, continued in a recent flow of coverage in editions of the YEP, is indeed a strange one, mired as it is in controversy.
Permission to build houses there was given by a narrow majority of councillors at one of the Leeds Plans Panels after a long and hard-fought debate. Earlier we had looked at the site and seen that it was overgrown with rushes and sedges, which was enough to dampen the enthusiasm of the more perceptive members.
Although I was a member of that Plans Panel, my conscience is clear in that I argued against and voted against granting permission, though perhaps it was one of those cases where one wonders whether the argument against should have been put even more forcefully. It did seem that members of one political group may have been leant on to support the project, and it is understood that one who “voted the wrong way” was taken to task afterwards.
Reasons for voting against were largely to do with drainage, including an apparent expectation that new householders would be responsible for maintaining a fairly elaborate system of land-drains.
Those who market the houses may find that buyers have ranges of choice, and may choose to buy elsewhere, although it is probable that eventually enough punters will be found to buy them all. That might not be the end of it; buyers, vendors and the city council may be bogged down in drainage disputes for many years to come.
Better ways to clean up our air
DS Boyes, Leeds 9
THE latest bee in the bonnet of Leeds City Council and several other local authorities is declining air quality, blamed mainly on diesel engined vehicles.
Although no-one ever mentions the biggest polluters of all, aeroplanes, taking off and landing at Leeds/Bradford Airport, as there is no other machine that burns fossil fuel in such quantities in so crude a manner.
Aviation is not taxed as road fuel is, nor do jet engines have to meet anything like the same standard of low exhaust emissions as road going vehicles of every type must do.
It is rumoured that draconian taxes may be imposed on those drivers wishing to enter a city centre as they do in London. But where will this start and finish? Also, doesn’t allowing people to continue polluting as long as they provide revenues to Leeds City Council defeat the object?
In reality the only way to clean up Leeds centre’s atmosphere would be to ban all but the most essential vehicles movements, eg deliveries at strict times such as early in the morning or late in the day, public transport and emergency vehicles.
Spending millions on installing cameras to monitor who goes in or out, plus on the enforcement regime needed to collect fines will be counter productive, as air quality may not even improve as a result.
Not only that, but some of the Hackney carriage taxis, or certainly many of the private hire cars, may not meet the low emissions standards needed to comply, making them either unviable or fares having to be substantially increased to cover the cost of the new cars needed.
Most of the buses I see emit clouds of fumes as by definition they have a very long service life but will they be penalised or banned as well?
We’re here to support carers
Stephanie Stone, Revitalise
This month we mark Carers Rights Day.
At Revitalise Jubilee Lodge we understand that to enjoy a break to the full, carers must feel secure in the knowledge that their loved one will receive all the care and support they need. That’s why we offer carers the opportunity to enjoy a break with their loved one, where they are able to relinquish their caring duties and enjoy spending time with one another.
If you would like to find out about Revitalise, our breaks, ways we can help you, or ways you can help us please call 0303 303 0147 or visit www.revitalise.org.uk. Thank you.