YEP Letters: August 19

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ARCO (the Associated Retirement Community Operators) notes with great interest that Leeds has been included in the World Health Organisation’s Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities (YEP, August 13).

However, we would like to question the appropriateness of this accolade given Leeds’s current approach to housing for older people, or its lack thereof.

It is widely accepted that there is a shortage of housing option for older people in the UK.

Getting housing right can mean older people living less lonely, more active and healthier lives, retaining their independence for as long as possible.

Leeds City Council’s Strategic Housing Market Assessment mentions the potential danger of the supply of specialist housing increasingly becoming out of line with growing demand.

We are aware of older people in Leeds actively encouraging retirement villages to be built.

Yet the current draft Local Plan does not seem to recognise the extreme shortage of housing options for older people as a serious priority.

If Leeds really is to become a ‘top’ city for older people, then it will need to consider more seriously the availability of housing options for its older population.

Only by ensuring that older people have access to a variety of different housing types (such as retirement housing or downsizer apartments, or more extensive retirement communities/villages) will Leeds be able to boast of being a truly age-friendly city.

Michael Voges, ARCO, London

Beggars in the suburbs

I was pleased to read that the begging problem in Leeds city centre is going to be addressed (YEP, August 11).

Walking through town the other Saturday at 7pm I was accosted no fewer than three times going for my bus to Kirkstall. The point I would like to make is where do they think these people will go? My hunch is they will simply move into the suburbs as they appear to be doing now anyway.

As I got off my bus in Kirkstall I was greeted by someone who asked me, ‘Can you spare 20p mate?’

Then a man who everybody seems to know and apparently lives in a bus shelter asked me for money outside the Cardigan Arms. Have they any plans to combat this pestering I wonder?

Phil Ferry, Hawksworth

Donna’s story disappoints

I’m sure many viewers who have experienced loved ones dying from mesothelioma (cancer caused by asbestos) will have been so disappointed with the storyline in Emmerdale that concluded the other night with Donna’s death.

When Donna returned to the village a few months ago, disclosing she was soon to die from this horrendous disease, hopes rose that this would raise awareness and highlight the dangers of asbestos.

However, this was not to be and her death following a fall makes you wonder why the scriptwriters took this course of action in the first place.

Pauline Brearley, 
Chapel Allerton

GB in the Middle East, yet again

I am now retired but I worked in the 1980s as a surveyor in Oman, Qatar and the Emirates.

During this period there was the Iraq-Iran War during which the Middle East was relatively stable from the UK point of view – or so my increasingly worried parents informed me.

My question is, why have the USA and Great Britain regularly been drawn into getting involved in the region?

Saudia Arabia, Qatar and the remaining Middle East countries – with financial bank balances far greater than our own – seem conspicuous by their absence.

Howard Mellor, Moortown

Seven-day wait to see a GP

HAVING RECENTLY been discharged from hospital after an operation I was advised to contact my GP at my local surgery if there were any problems.

A problem did occur so I rang the surgery as advised. The receptionist said: ‘We can see you next Thursday.’ This was in seven days’ time.

I replied: ‘Delightful, that means I will either be cured by then or dead.’

Her response was that there is nothing she could do, they were booked solid. I asked her what she could suggest and she told me to go to the Accident and Emergency department, which is what I had to do.

You couldn’t make it up.

Geoffrey Cantor, Alwoodley

Drivers in Tour backlash

IN RESPONSE to the damning report about cycling injuries and fatalities (YEP, August 8) I have noticed that during the week after the Tour de France in Yorkshire there was a massive increase in car drivers acting aggressively to me as a cyclist.

In my four years of cycling on roads I have not experienced such aggressiveness as there has been of late.

Was this the backlash from the Tour de France being staged in Yorkshire? Either way, I can’t wait for segregated cycle lanes or for petrol to run out.

James Moran, Seacroft

False allegation over trolleybus

I SHOULD like to reply to the Rev Paterson from Cross Gates (YEP, August 4) who, in a most unchristian manner, makes unsupported accusations against members of the trolleybus objectors group in suggesting that there is a ‘Headingley Mafia’ in control. A ‘Mafia’ is a group, usually under the leadership of a ‘Godfather’ which exerts pressure and control through means such as intimidation.

If there is any party who is attempting to impose ‘an offer we can’t refuse’ it has to be Leeds City Council.

I have been involved with the Stop The Trolleybus campaign since 2012 and have seen no evidence of any ‘self-interest group with access to the corridors of power’.

It is most inappropriate that a Christian minister who does not even live anywhere near the affected areas should poke his nose in and make these false allegations.

Claire Randall, Headingley

Well-paid MPs are out of touch

Tory Minister Mark Simmonds says that he quit his post as Foreign Office Minister because he couldn’t manage on the £118,000 a year including expenses that the position pays.

Then we have Iain Duncan Smith saying that if his party win the next general election he will be cutting benefits even further, to force people off benefits by making it appear to be more better off for working for subsistence wages.

Presumably £70 a week is too much for a peasant to have to live on without having to work, so he will make them work for the privilege of being half starved to death and be reliant on food banks.

I think that someone should tell this minister from hell that slavery was abolished 200 years ago.

He should also grasp that the principle of a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work should be applied to all – regardless of the type of work being done, in contrast to the grossly disproportionate fat salaries that he and his cronies award themselves.

The fact that they can’t manage on £118,000 just shows how out of touch these people are.

Derek Barker, Moortown

YEP Letters: August 18