I read, with disbelief, your article about the suspension of Councillor John Illingworth because of his objection to an officer’s report on the application to build homes and a supermarket on the sports facilities of the former Leeds Girls’ High School in Victoria Road (YEP, May 30).
Councillor Illingworth has worked hard to promote the health of the people of Leeds as chair of the Health Scrutiny Board. He was instrumental in helping to save children’s heart surgery in Leeds.
I can’t imagine why his party would want to suspend such a valuable councillor. I’m sure none of his constituents want to lose him.
His criticism of the planning officer’s report was probably because he could see how damaging to the health of local people, especially children, the result would be.
Here was the perfect opportunity to acquire a modern sports hall and field for people living in an area with lower than average sports amenities and a higher than average mortality rate.
It would have enabled local schools to use a proper sports field instead of portions of hard-surfaced playgrounds as at present.
Children need to have access to proper, outdoor sports facilities to avoid obesity and enable them to grow up fit and healthy.
The report to the plans panel said that the recently demolished Royal Park School site could be used as public open space for local people.
But it didn’t point out that the local schools would not be able to use this public open space because they are required to have secure (fenced-off) sports fields for health and safety reasons – these schools have no sports fields.
I can understand why Councillor Illingworth might have objected to this report.
S Sleeman, Headingley
Trams aren’t the way to go
I WAS interested to hear on Radio 4 that the Edinburgh tram is at last running for the public. It is three years overdue and £300m over budget.
Businesses have been lost and there are unsightly overhead wires that aren’t shown on their website. It was described as a folly.
We should be thankful that Alistair Darling said no to the Leeds Supertram.
I hope that the government inspector will now rule against the trolleybus, which would be another disaster.
I wonder how much money has been wasted on promoting it when over 70 per cent of us don’t want it?
Trams only work where the route is a disused railway track running into a railway station, such as on the Wimbledon to West Croydon line in London or where everybody in the city has access to it, for example in European cities and Christchurch, New Zealand.
Leeds would have met the criteria if they had kept the trams and updated and extended the routes, but they missed the boat.
I hope that the offer from First Bus of 200 modern state- of-the-art, environmentally friendly Routemaster buses will be accepted.
This would help everybody and would at last see us moving into the 21st century.
Pauline Johnson, Beeston
NHS Direct was a great help
IT IS unfortunate that Dennis Barron and his family had such a bad experience with NHS Direct (YEP, June 2).
My husband and I arrived home from Scotland late the other Friday night and he was suffering with a bad chest complaint which got much worse by the Sunday
I phoned the 111 number at 9.10am and was told a doctor would ring back within the hour, which they did.
They made an appointment for us at a walk-in doctor’s surgery at Eccleshill Hospital where we saw an excellent doctor and antibiotics were prescribed.
We were home again by 11.15am.
Many thanks go to all concerned.
Please don’t let your bad experience put you off calling NHS Direct.
H Summer, Bramley
Play more sport in school day
The rise in obesity in the UK is concerning as our NHS is already overloaded with patients suffering its consequences.
Would introducing more sport in schools be of benefit, rather than enrolling adults in slimming classes?
I would suggest a break in the school day after lunch for two hours of sport.
The children could then return to the classroom to continue their education.
Young unemployed people interested in coaching could be employed in this way.
It would also mean that after school care costs for parents would be avoided.
The overworked teachers could have an afternoon nap or do their paperwork.
Would the militant teachers union agree?
I doubt it.
Hilary Andrews, Alwoodley
Old education system worked
As a proponent of grammar schools, which Nigel Farage has pledged to bring back, (YEP, June 1) I must point out that they were only one component of a tri-partite system.
They did not work properly without the other two parts, namely technical colleges and good secondary modern schools.
Sadly, some authorities never built the technical colleges, condemning a large proportion of pupils to an unsuitable education.
Where the system was properly set up it was most successful and achieved much social mobility.
I myself failed the 11-plus, but succeeded in the 13-plus (opponents of grammars conveniently forget about this second chance, and also about the opportunity to transfer to sixth form later still), but also passed the Technical College exam, as did many of my contemporaries.
I do agree that the entrance exam, whether at eleven or 13, was too narrowly targeted on maths and English and in future would have to be designed much more flexibly and sensitively.
Eric Houlder, Pontefract
My aunt met Ronald Colman
THE PHOTO of the actor Ronald Colman and his wife Benita Hume visiting his sister Mrs Vining in Leeds in 1948 brought back happy memories (YEP, May 28).
My aunt was private secretary to Dr Vining and on that visit she was invited to dinner to meet Ronald Colman. Dr Vining called to pick her up in his Rolls Royce.
My aunt returned home on cloud nine and I don’t think she washed her hands for weeks.
Malcolm Myers, Selby
Euro election result welcome
THE EUROPEAN elections of 2014 have turned out to be the most important political event in modern European history since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
The wholly liberating and welcome results have left the moribund established political parties in complete disarray.
To paraphrase a previous British Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, “the wind of change is blowing across this benighted continent”.
Even amidst their own humiliating defeat, our three major parties choose to act as lackeys of a remote alien regime and not as the loyal servants of the sovereign British electorate.
One thing remains certain, as Harold Macmillan noted of those resisting inevitable reform in Africa, for them it would never be a glad, confident morning ever again.
Schadenfreude was never this good.
Louis Kasatkin, Wakefield