Check out today’s YEP letters
Hospice deserves recognition
Mavis Harrison, Leeds
re Lindsay Pantry’s awards article (‘Amazing’ hospice in running for award’ YEP July 26), Martin House Hospice really deserves its nomination for the group award.
The care and reassurance there goes on 24/7 and deserves recognition. I know this from personal experience.
My great granddaughter lived her short life there - 11 days. Her parents lived there with her and her family could also stay in a room above them.
It is an “amazing” hospice.
Decisive action needed on city’s housing
Coun Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council
YEP Editor Nicola Furbisher hit the nail on the head with her incisive comments about the national and regional housing situation and John Davies’ contribution is also valid.
Let’s be honest. Successive governments have missed a number of opportunities to put housing top of the political agenda.
Over the years there’s been plenty of talk, some action in 2009/10 by then Minister John Healey which made significant progress with the Housing Revenue Account and then sadly a lack of focus on the key issues to stimulate and ramp up the supply of the right type of housing.
Some recent pronouncements have actually been unhelpful.
So here is my five-point plan for decisive action:
1: Stop blaming the local planning system for the lack of house building. In Leeds there are thousands of planning approvals just waiting to be implemented.
2: Abolish the ‘right to buy’ which only acts to destroy the best housing stock of Councils and allows such massive discounts that councils need to sell three homes just to build one new one.
3: Stop looking at public social housing as only a ‘safety net’ for those too poor to do anything else. Such unwarranted stigma makes tenants feel like second class citizens.
Just believe in public housing as a valid alternative to renting in the private sector.
4: Trust local authorities to form wide-ranging public/private partnerships and empower them to build new affordable family Council Housing in places where there is a clear demand.
This requires the lifting of the cap on borrowing, the recognition that massive investment in housing is now one of the top political and social requirements and letting localism flourish.
5: Recognise that the current house building model is broken.
The way forward is not for every house builder to relentlessly compete commercially on every site they have an option on.
Instead, with 60,000-plus homes to be built in Leeds in the next ten to fourteen years, to form strategic partnerships to plan how, when and where we will fulfil this ambition together - across all sectors and for the benefit of all those who are desperate for their own new home.
Reassurance over fracking
Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council Executive Member for Environment and Sustainability
Following concerns about fracking raised in the letter from Georgina Perry (‘Questions over fracking waste water disposal’ YEP August 10), I would like to reassure residents that Leeds City Council is doing everything they can to represent their concerns.
Fracking is something we are very anxious about in Leeds, not least because the exploration licences cover significant parts of the district. Indeed, we raised this at our meeting of full council in November 2015. The council wrote to Ministers asking them to not award exploration licences, reverse the planned changes to the planning system and focus on providing conditions for the renewable energy sector to thrive in this country.
We will continue to try and change central government’s minds on this issue and remain very concerned about their approach of removing planning powers from local authorities.
Whilst Ms Perry was writing to Yorkshire Water directly, I thought it would be helpful for residents to know that as Executive Member for Environment and Sustainability,
I am meeting with Yorkshire Water to raise our concerns with waste water and to ask them for information about any proposals or plans to treat waste water at the Knostrop facility in Leeds.
John R Wainwright, by email
There goes John Collins again peddling the same old nonsense about a second referendum (YEP letters August 11).
The June 23rd vote resulted in 7.86 per cent more votes for “Leave” than for “Remain” – I consider that a more than adequate winning margin.
Would Mr Collins and the other Remoaners be agitating for a second referendum if the result had been a win for “Remain” by the same or an even smaller margin – not a snowball’s chance in hades.
Mr Collins likes to criticise other people’s views on this subject, so here’s another word for him to be displeased with – “hypocrisy”.
Plenty of positives
Bob Elliston, Wakefield
Despite the disappointment of the Wakefield scoreline in Saturday’s defeat at Leigh, there were so many positives.
Considering where we were this time last season, and even after a few games this season, the team has done incredibly well to achieve a top eight place and reach a Challenge Cup semi-final.
The players, the coach and the directors deserve immense credit for this wonderful turnaround. The support of the fans in adversity on Saturday was inspirational. They sang, cheered and encouraged long after the team had any remote chance of winning the match, creating a moving bond between crowd and players at the end. It was a wonderful advert for the sport of Rugby League and the city of Wakefield, where so many of us are proud to have been born and live.
Finally, a thought. The match took place in a superb, purpose-built stadium, surrounded by many thriving retail outlets and excellent infrastructure, much of the funding provided by a visionary local council, in the accessible centre of the little town of Leigh.
Sport should be accessible to all
Sarah Wiley, Revitalise
Do you have a favourite sports team? Do you like to watch them play live? Imagine if your matchday experience were one of isolation, frustration - and even abuse.
Unfortunately this is the reality faced by many disabled football fans, who sometimes struggle just to secure a simple wheelchair accessible space, let alone a dignified matchday experience.
I work for the national disability charity Revitalise, which provides respite breaks for disabled people and carers at three accessible centres around the UK. To mark the start of the football season, we did some research into the number of wheelchair spaces at Championship football stadiums. We were shocked to find that most clubs weren’t meeting the UEFA’s accessibility guidelines, which they signed up to over a decade ago.
Blackburn Rovers, Derby County, Rotherham United and Brighton and Hove Albion all had more than the recommended number of wheelchair spaces for their stadiums. But the findings were not good news for disabled supporters in London, with Fulham, Queens Park Rangers and Brentford all in the relegation zone - each with fewer than 25 per cent of the wheelchair spaces required. This is simply not good enough.
It is shameful that some disabled fans are missing out on the chance to watch our national sport. Disabled supporters deserve the same enjoyable, socially inclusive experience as all fans, so we think it’s high time that Championship clubs installed better facilities for fans in wheelchairs. If you want to see how your favourite team performed, the full results are on our website www.revitalise.org.uk