YEP letters: October 12

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A planning battle over 262 student flats in Headlingley, rolling stock on the railways, socialism and the salaries of England managers are all under the spotlight in today’s letters.

Sickened by scenes in Aleppo

Edna Levi, Leeds

Along with most of the majority of human beings aound the world, I am sickened and horrified by the scenes we are witnessing in the town of Aleppo.

Where are the members of the so called United Nations while the daily slaughter of innocent victims [especially the chilren] continues?

Why don’t they clamp down on Russia, who should not be involved anyway, and order them to stop this relentless killing, as should other members of the UN

We shall fight to save these green fields

Sue Buckle, chair of South Headingley Community Association

During the magnificent ‘Welcome’ given to returning Olympic and Paralympic athletes on the streets of Leeds, Alastair Brownlee commented how he hoped young people would be inspired to take up sport.

Yet yesterday, Oct 11 at 10am, a Public Inquiry started in Leeds about a planning application to build flats for 262 students on the Chestnut Avenue playing field in Hyde Park.

This field, once known as “Dawson’s Field” was bought in 1912 by Leeds Girls’ High School who used it as a hockey pitch, with a sports hall and swimming pool built in the 1980s. However, generations of Hyde Park children (and adults) played football and cricket on the field, outside school hours, with the permission of the groundsman.

In 2005 LGHS moved from Hyde Park to Alwoodley to form the Grammar School at Leeds, and the field and buildings were locked to the public.

Local people, supported by South Headingley Community Association, petitioned, lobbied and took delegations to Leeds City Council urging them to buy the site for local schools and the community (The five local primary schools do not have a playing field among them, and for swimming, children have to be bussed to Kirkstall or Scott Hall.)

The money was not available.

In 2012 a planning application to build 24 houses went in.

The campaign group Hyde Park Olympic Legacy led the opposition to this, and produced a business-plan for a community sports-centre for which funding was availably if the site had been sold at playing pitch rate.

But despite support from local councillors and both local MPs, planning permission for the houses was won – slightly after the demolition of the sports hall and swimming pool.

Then last year, Maple Grove Developments sought permission to build seven three-storey blocks to house 262 students! This, in an area where the local community on many streets are heavily outnumbered by neighbours who change every ten months, and suffer from noise and litter, which, as many residents know, goes along with high concentrations of Houses of Multiple Occupation.

Leeds City Council rightly refused the application but Maple Grove have appealed, claiming that the student flats will attract students out of the surrounding HMOs, and that the local community will not suffer any nuisance from the development or its tenants.

The Hyde Park Neighbourhood Forum, supported by SHCA and HPOL is arguing on the side of the Council that this appeal must be refused!

Members of the public can attend the inquiry at Leeds Civic Hall.

Time to open up old stations

D S Boyes, Upper Rodley Lane, Leeds

The letter from Satvinder Singh highlighted both an ongoing problem of rolling stock shortages plus a possible solution some of our public transport problems maybe not yet considered.

Commuting by rail is obviously popular, if not currently over patronised. There is an existing rail network across several areas of Leeds, but the stations were demolished by Dr Beeching in the 1960s. Yet now, these are where many new houses and shops have been built, so why don’t the authorities capitalise on them?

The many millions of pounds thrown away on the supertram and trolleybus investigations could have provided more rolling stock and rebult some more stations. The Aire Valley line now has new stations at Kirkstall Forge and Apperley Bridge so why not at Kirkstall Bridge and Calverley and Rodley, where numerous new homes are under construction, plus the new, now fully occupied Kirkstall Bridge shopping park. I and many others travelled daily to work in Leeds centre from Kirkstall station in the 1960s.

She needs to be strong over EU

Terry Watson, by email

Theresa May is now acting like “Heir to Thatcher” saying “We won’t grovel to get a Brexit deal”.

We are the EU’s largest export market with Ireland, Greece and Malta being the only countries that don’t have a trading surplus with Britain, so they cannot afford not to give us anything less than a tariff-free deal and this is what we should demand. It is no good going cap in hand to Brussels asking for favours, they don’t respect wimps, as Cameron found out when trying to get a better deal that could have persuaded us to stay in the EU.

Margaret Thatcher, when seeking a rebate for our overpayment to the Common Agricultural Policy, said: “We want our money back” - and she got it. It looks as if we now have someone in charge with common sense and a backbone so lacking in our last three previous PMs.

We must fight austerity

Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party

I WOULD like to add my congratulations to those of Richard Burgon MP for the Labour councillors who have called in the decision of Leeds City Council’s Executive to close The Green care home in Seacroft (Political backlash over Leeds care home closure plans 5/10/16).

As a Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate I have stood in elections to raise the need for the Labour-led Leeds City Council to challenge the Government’s austerity measures rather than implement them (albeit with a ‘heavy heart’).

If the council doesn’t do so, then unfortunately we will have many more cases of essential services like The Green being forced to close as more and more funding is cut from local government.

I offer my support to those councillors in their decision to challenge this closure which stems not only from the severity of cuts like this, but also the anti-austerity mood which has developed since Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party.

I believe many other socialists, trade unionists and other will welcome their stand and seek to support it.

A meeting with those councillors, trade union activists and others would be a welcome next step in mobilising this opposition to the closure of vital services such as The Green.

Money can’t buy us quality

George Marsden, Colton

THE saying ‘Pay peanuts,get monkeys’ must rank as one of the silliest ever made. It’s invariably used by those on obscenely high salaries to justify their own pay.

If such huge salaries really are required to obtain the right people,there should be no need for huge ‘ golden handshakes’.The appointment of England’s most recent football manager highlights the absurdity of not paying peanuts.

Roy Hodgson,England’s football manager before Sam Allardyce, was on £3.5 million a year and the highest paid football manager in Europe,paying millions didn’t make the slightest difference.

The FA then rushed headlong into another disaster and Sam Allardyce was appointed England coach with a similar obscene salary, but he’s now gone,too.

Why do we always assume obscene sums of money guarantees that people of ability and talent will be attracted to the job, when exactly the opposite seems more likely to occur? ‘Pay obscene salaries,get monkeys’ seems to be more accurate.

YEP Letters: September 19