No wonder Leeds keeps losing out

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HOW I agree with Richard Holland regarding the ambition of Leeds Council, MPs and, in some cases, citizens.

It is only 20 years since we were breathing down the neck of Manchester for regional capital status. We are far behind now and probably never in a position to challenge them again.

I’m sure if we asked south of Watford which was the biggest city – Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham or Leeds – we would come erroneously as the smallest.

Little wonder they think they can remove our medical services and send us to Liverpool or Newcastle.

Manchester, on the back of their tram system, have managed to spread prosperity into the suburbs, evidenced by the move of the BBC to Salford, which is expected to inject £5 billion into the local economy over five years – sums Leeds can only dream of.

It seems to be forgotten at the time of our tram bid, Manchester also had a £500m bid in for an extension; it was also turned down in favour of Edinburgh, Mr Darling’s constituency. However when all the hoo-ha had calmed down it was quietly flagged through, expanding prosperity and opportunity to new suburbs.

Where, I ask, are the purported savings that our less-than-ambitious citizens said would be forthcoming with cancellation of our tram scheme? Spent on Thames Link and the Olympics, I wager.

No wonder Manchester already has two of everything Leeds aspires to have one of, including European football clubs.

Then there is the old Gormley sculpture disaster. We had a muddy, weed-covered rail gateway to Leeds (Holbeck Triangle). We were offered a major colossal sculpture to cover it. Some of our less-than-ambitious citizens and councillors decided that was not their taste, and we could save some money, so it was turned down.

Moving on 20-odd years, Newcastle and Liverpool have major pieces by the same sculptor worth millions but, again, not to everyone’s taste.

They bring tourists and international recognition to smaller cities.

Leeds has a muddy, weed-covered rail gateway, Holbeck Triangle.

I am also very proud of and love Leeds, however I think I now know what they mean by ‘the 24-hour city’, is it ‘a day late and a dollar short’?

D Goodman, Morley

Cocktail of failure

COUNCILLOR Wakefield laments that Leeds is the only large European city without an integrated transport system (YEP, May 20). Does his wonderment extend to asking why?

Could it be connected with successive councils’ lack of foresight, boldness and initiative?

The same cocktail of failure that left us without an arena and the sundry facilities that other cities have.

Yet their political heirs continue the grand tradition, living in the same grand manner.

Regaled with choice meats and pampered with perks, they adopt a wagon train circle of defence against public penetration and media incursion.

In Readers Digest Yesterday’s Britain it records: “June 1911: Leeds introduces a trolley-bus service”.

Are we but one month away from our second centenary success?

P Kilroy, Spennithorne Avenue, Leeds

Disgust at fee for charity stall

HAVING been to the car boot sale at Yeadon on Sunday, May 23, I noticed the Help For Heroes stand so, as I went over and gave some money, I said to him that I had noticed that he went to the Otley cattle market car boot sale.

To my utter disgust, he said that Otley organisers charge him £6 for his stall to collect donations. Yeadon organisers don’t.

How can this be allowed to go on? This man is doing this in his own time and free for our own soldiers,

The only people who are making out of this are the organisers. How long does it take to make the £6 back from people?

It would be a nice if the organisers gave 20p out of the £1 entrance fee that they charge everyone.

David Younger, by email

Regional pressure

THE regeneration of the region surely leaves a lot to be desired. What do Margaret Eaton, Mark Harris and Robert Light think we pay our council taxes for?

True, George Osborne’s cuts and Eric Pickles capping of local authorities’ grants and budgets doesn’t help, but surely the corridors of power should manage their resources more effectively.

With NHS cuts, cuts on welfare benefits, surely we need to see more for our taxes rather than “bums on seats” and excuses that seem more like an edict of computer sorcery at Moortown Liberal Club than just rational management of public spending.

Pressure groups need to bring these things to the fore and to account so that our region can be prosperous and flourish.

Councillor J D Nottingham, Dep Mayor, Mirfield Town Council

Pension rights

I WAS very pleased to see that Mr Cameron was man enough to back down and do a U-turn on the requirements of service personnel. Not before time.

I wonder then if he can do the same, and lift the 1975 embargo on the pension rights of us older ones?

Most people have heard of the Second World War but not many know that 98 per cent of these who served in that period do not get a penny unless they were injured.

The human rights people that want to give child molesters, murderers and rapists the right to vote are the same group who turned down our earlier application

I know that money at the moment is tight, to say the least, but it could be raised by stopping all foreign aid, stopping all illegal immigrants and benefits fraudsters, plus the ludicrous increase in MPs’ pensions.

We here in England tend to poke our noses into other people’s business. Messrs Blair and Brown are no different to the likes of Bin Laden, Hussain, Gaddafi and Mugabe – they want to run a country into the ground.

One should pull our lads and lasses out of these places and perhaps add the money to our plight and also get our feet back on the ground and stable again.

I wonder when we will get a referendum on the Europe question?

P Moss, Leeds 8

Bowls players quitting parks

MR S Harrison’s letter on the subject of the unsatisfactory preparation of Leeds bowling greens (YEP, May 23) summed up the situation nicely. Bowls is meant to be played on smooth and well cut grass.

Furthermore the excuse often made that resources and manpower are short doesn’t work, even though it may be true to some extent. It takes no longer to cut grass short than it does to leave it long; and the cut lasts longer.

Another factor is that at holiday times greens are often left uncut, at times when bowlers are most likely to use greens, when important events are being staged. Conditions such as these are resulting in many players deserting parks bowling in favour of private clubs – at a time when an MP has read a Bill in the House about the loss of many bowling greens, for a variety of reasons, most of them financial, suggesting ways of preserving them, the possible loss of more would be deplorable, especially when a little more consideration by those in authority would stem the flow.

After all, bowls is a skilful and healthy outdoor exercise for people of all ages, and many youngsters are it taking up; as such it should be preserved as part of our heritage, just as much as football and cricket.

Most of our Leeds gardeners are a hard-working and capable bunch, as a look at the condition of our parks confirms; our only (general) complaint lies with the greens and the way it seems they are told to cut them, or not cut them, as the case may be.

Having survived for so long, it is a shame that the recent loss of players by many clubs and the closure of some greens is partly the result of a lack of TLC in preparation – something which could easily be remedied.

E A Lundy, Beeston

Musical youth

IT was with enormous pleasure that I was in the audience yesterday evening of the second concert in the Rawdon Friends Meeting House series in aid of Amnesty International.

The concert consisted of extracts from opera performed by opera students from the Leeds College of Music. Their performance was superb. They obviously loved what they were doing and had the voices and the necessary musical understanding to do it.

There is plenty of criticism of the young; it was wonderful to come across such a talented and hard-working group.

Carol Brown, The Laureates, Leeds

YEP Letters: May 23