YEP Letters: June 17

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Check out today’s YEP letters.

Why not use private sites?

Coun Tom Leadley, Morley

For many years the Leeds district was bedevilled by Leeds City Council’s unspoken policy of giving gipsies and travellers two choices: Cottingley Springs or, as it is always full, nuisance camping by the roadside or on football fields.

No other council land was provided, and applications for small private sites tended to be refused and resisted at appeal; there are only about a dozen in the whole of Leeds.

Following last year’s inquiry which blocked expansion at Cottingley Springs, the old policy has collapsed; even before the inquiry result was out, a small council site at Kidacre Street in Hunslet, which had been meant to be a one year stop-gap pending the expansion at Cottingley Springs, had its life extended to three years at the City Plans Panel.

At the inquiry, the council claimed to have looked at about225 sites in its ownership, of which none were suitable for gipsies and travellers except Cottingley Springs; this seemed highly improbable and wasn’t accepted by the inspector.

What is happening now is that the council is seeking to provide small sites, each for around five families, on a selection from a couple of dozen of its landholdings across Leeds.

If small non-green belt private sites were looked at as well, much of the outstanding need could be filled at no cost to the taxpayer.

Although final details won’t be known until after the Local Plan site allocations hearing next year, any future enlargement of Cottingley Springs seems most unlikely and it might be hoped that in the long run it will be made smaller.

We asked our readers for their comments on Coun Leadley’s letter. Here’s what some of them said:

On our website, Freeman, Leeds, said:

“I know a perfect site they could utilise...it’s beautifully tarmacced, has lighting, security cameras, is close to a police station who could keep a watching brief on them and is a rarely used site......the park and ride at Elland road!! Millions of pounds of council tax payers money barely being used....we could give me them half of it!!

Oh, and charge for it whilst we are at it!!Failing that....whenever the gipsys park up, the police should be attending en masse, checking their road tax has been paid, and their income tax payments are all up to date given they are all landscapers!!”

On our Facebook page Simon Le Bon Hall said:

“No other ethnic minority is as widely disregarded as travellers are. Councils have a legal obligation to provide fixed sites for travellers. Too many ignorant bigots regarding this topic. People need to get educated.”

On our Facebook page Katrina Burnell said:

Why are people so against travellers? Are they against us been allocated a house? Do they all gather outside and shout that we should have a home.... NO THEY AREN’T.

I have traveller friends and we don’t have a problem with each other get off ur high horses and have a bit of respect and you wonder why the travelling community stand up to people who are nasty to them they don’t do anything wrong leave them alone. Being anti-traveller is the same as anti-gay and racism. Do think before you speak and apologise. Have some respect, you won’t give permission for travelling sites but you will build new houses all over so the money is clearly there to use.

It’s the shirts and tie pen pushers that say no. Get down off your pedestals and stop pen pushing put your red tape away and start treating thetravelling communities better.”

Enough is enough

M Meeson, Leeds

I reply to the Rev Robin Paterson (Yorkshire Evening Post, June 15), if he can name one country in the European Union, other than the UK, that offers free housing, healthcare, and financial benefits to migrants I would be amazed, because this is the reason so many, both from the EU and from the African continent are so intent on reaching our shores.

Many of the boat people being rescued are paying thousands to reach a better standard of living, but alas the UK just cannot keep taking in both

EU migrants and migrants from the African continent, they don’t want to stay in Italy, Germany or France because they see Britain as the only place where it’s easy for them to get jobs, healthcare and benefits

Our NHS is already creaking at the seams, there are people out of work on benefits and food banks for the needy, so how on earth can we continue taking in more of the world’s less fortunate.

But the European Union states we must take new EU quotas to force Britain to accept 60,000 migrants a year.

The United Kingdom is a caring nation, we give aid when we can, but enough is enough.

Special thanks to charity

Coun Chris Townsley, Horsforth

It was interesting to read from your correspondent Tania Collins from Gipton regarding her daughter’s free ‘school’ trip to Silverdale.

I feel I must put the record straight. The trip has absolutely nothing to do with her daughter’s school or any other school for that matter. The Leeds Children’s Charity, originally founded in 1905, is run by volunteers and sends over 400 children from Leeds on a five day holiday to Silverdale near Morecambe each year are the shakes and movers.

When I was the Lord Mayor of Leeds in 2004/5 this charity was one of the two I chose to support during my term of office. So impressed were myself and my wife, who was Lady Mayoress and president of this charity during her term in office, that after our fruitful year we both joined this 
charity to help raise the hundreds of thousands pounds needed for this charity to continue.

Leeds City Council supports the charity through a grant each year but the remainder needed has to be raised through many forms of fundraising.

Many people give up their time each week free of charge (and in fact actually costs them as there are bus fares, petrol etc to pay for).

On Wednesday it is the AGM. of the charity and I shall be representing the Lord Mayor on this occasion as she already has a prior engagement.

Let me take this opportunity to thank all those volunteers, both in Leeds and in Silverdale for their hard work and dedication, because without them there is no charity and no children’s holidays.

YEP Letters: June 21