YEP Letters: May 18

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Check out today’s YEP letters.

Her Majesty’s night was magic

Mavis Harrison, Leeds 9

Nodbody does it better!

The Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations on television on Sunday evening were done with pageantry, parades, scenes from history, mounted cavalry, heart stirring musicand memory-evoking scenes.All these things and more brought to us in our homes - magical.

The ‘top secret drum corps’ from Switzerland - well I couldn’t take my eyes off of them. Congratulations to everyone who took part and to those who worke behind the scenes.

Who do we need to get a fair transport deal?

A Shipman, LS13

So here we are, back to the drawing board with supertram rejected by Labour and the trolley bus scheme turned down by the Conservatives.

The so-called NorthernPowerhouse is a joke. Leeds, and indeed West Yorkshire, have some of the most congested roads anywhere. What’s needed is a scheme like the Tyneside/Wearside Metro - now, not decades into the future.

Who do we need to be in charge at Westminster before Leeds and the surrounding area gets a fair deal as regards public transport - the Monster Raving Looney Party?

Where was the back-up plan?

Coun Brian Cleasby, Horsforth ward

In the aftermath of the government’s trolleybus decision, I am reminded of a question I asked of the administration of Leeds City Council nearly eighteen months ago.

I stood up in Council and asked what fallback plan they were working on should NGT be refused by Government. This was their response:

“The Council is optimistic that the Secretary of State will approve…NGT later this year for the following reasons;

• There is general agreement that there is a need for improved public transport on the NGT corridors. Therefore doing nothing on these corridors is not an option.

• NGT will bring about improvements in public transport, in particular in its reliability and punctuality.

• NGT is consistent with local planning, economic and transport policies and is firmly established within those local policies.

• NGT is funded and deliverable.

• While some parties have put forward options for alternative solutions, there is no evidence that these have been developed in enough detail to present a realistic and robust alternative to the identified transport problems on the NGT corridors.

• To reject NGT in the hope that something better might come along would be wholly inconsistent with the policy framework and would deprive Leeds of a much needed rapid transit system.

Therefore it would not be prudent to develop at significant cost a fall-back position or alternative plans to NGT at this stage.

The Government has estimated £175m for NGT; should the TWAO not be approved, this funding would not be available for other transport schemes in West Yorkshire.

It would also mean Leeds falling further behind other core cities such as Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield and Nottingham in terms of high quality public transport systems which are undergoing regular extensions.

This step change in public transport provision in the city would be lost for a considerable number of years.”

This clearly shows the arrogance of the administration, and Coun Richard Lewis, the transport boss, who must now take full responsibility for their inaction.

Their answer, all those months ago, clearly showed their inability to comprehend the seriousness of the situation in refusing to entertain the idea of a Plan B.

The administration in Leeds needs to do a lot of soul searching, after spending £40m on this white elephant so far, as to why they refused to listen to their own residents when the Inspector clearly did.

Council must learn lessons

Coun Andrew Carter CBE, Calverley & Farsley Ward, Leeds City Council

I was very surprised to read Coun Blake’s initial response last week to the announcement that the NGT Transport Scheme was being rejected following a very critical independent Inspector’s report.

She is completely wrong to try and shift the blame away from the abysmal failure of her own administration for this decision.

Coun Blake has clearly yet to learn that Leadership is about taking responsibility when things go wrong not just taking the credit when things go right.

The simple truth is that the opponents of the NGT scheme were consistently underestimated by Leeds City Council (Metro and the Combined Authority).

They put forward well-argued and coherent reasons against the proposals and were not taken seriously enough.

I repeatedly warned, as a matter of public record, that the public bodies involved were not doing enough to address opponents’ concerns.

The result was a record number of objections to a scheme of this sort being lodged at the inquiry.

The government has pledged £173 million of public money, the council’s job was to get the scheme agreed by an independent Inspector at a public inquiry, and they have singularly failed to do so.

The reason for this debacle lies at the door of Leeds City Council and the Combined Authority.

We are fortunate that the government has reserved the £173 million for a comprehensive Leeds scheme, unlike the last Labour government which at the 11th hour withdrew support for Supertram and left no money on the table.

Leeds City Council as a whole now needs to make sure lessons are learned from the NGT project, and get on quickly with developing a comprehensive transport scheme for Leeds that is fit for purpose and can command public support.

Plans need to go underground

Jim Smith, Whitkirk

At last some sense from the government - who were the idiots who proposed trolley buses?

A rapid transport system through Leeds has to be underground.

No knocking down of buildings, no disruption to traffic.

No utility companies wanting millions to move manhole covers.

Start at Marsh Lane west to City Square West and out at Burley Road then overland.

North from City Square under Headingley, and out at Holt Park, then overland to the airport.

Overland east from Marsh Lane on rail tracks to Crossgates, Garforth and Seacroft.

South under the river from City Square.

Come out in Hunslet, then overland to Middleton and Wakefield. Put all the waste materials up on the north to south runway at the airport.

I am only dreaming though, no one in our council has the guts to propose this.

Spend £173m on improvements

Grahaeme Lauder, LS6

Local politicians have been quick to blame Whitehall for rejecting the Leeds Trolleybus. Criticism is certainly justified ­ but only over the length of time the government took to reach its decision.

This is surprising because the government couldn’t have reached any other decision. Why?

Because the Inspector of the public inquiry was damning in his criticism of the Trolleybus plan.

He questioned or rejected virtually all the claimed benefits of the scheme. Yet local politiciansrefuse to accept their responsibility in persisting with this fundamentally flawed plan.

They should count themselves lucky that the government has saved face for them and given them the £173m that was earmarked for the Trolleybus.

Let us hope our local leaders can spend that money to improve transport for all the people of Leeds.

YEP Letters: June 27