YEP Letters: August 15

Check out today's YEP letters

Rise in homeless due to benefit changes

Martin J Phillips, Leeds 16

The Government has announced plans to spend £100m to end the misery of homeless people forced to live on the street.

Somewhat ironically, this is a similar figure the Government said they hoped to save when they made draconian changes to the benefits system in 2012.

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Those changes are directly responsible for the massive rise in homelessness as the new system meant that many disabled people, even though they are still deemed unfit to work, have had their benefits stopped.

Residents’ fears for new traffic junction plan

Residents in Lawnswood are up in arms over proposals to remove a ‘landmark’ roundabout on a busy road and replace it with a multi-lane traffic light junction. Leeds City Council has been consulting on plans to create new traffic light-controlled six-lane crossroads - along with cycle lanes and footpaths - at the junction of the Outer Ring Road with Otley Road in Lawnswood instead of the current roundabout. The proposals are part of the council’s Connecting Leeds initiative - to improve travel around the city - and bosses it would improve “one of the busiest” junctions in north Leeds with over 60k vehicles passing through each day and help reduce bus delays. But residents living on the ring road say the new junction is unnecessary and fear it will cause more traffic problems as well as add to noise and pollution in the area. They also argue losing the grass verges on the ring road could lead to danger to pedestrians and cyclists from residents backing out of their drives. We asked YEP readers for their views and here’s what some of them said on social media..

Richard Lodge

Terrible for cyclists and pedestrians at the moment – have seen it all from the north Leeds NIMBYs now – “Save a massive dangerous roundabout.” I just get very tired of the north Leeds NIMBY Tory massive objecting to any progressive development including dealing with an over-sized dangerous roundabout. The council isn’t going to make it less safe with this development –that’s what the consultation period is for, to ensure relevant concerns are dealt with – but for the NIMBYs standing there with a sign saying “save Lawnswood roundabout” is beyond ridiculous.

Laura Holmes

Everyone is entitled to an opinion and if their opinion is that the roundabout is the better then let it be! I don’t see them calling names or labelling anyone just voicing an opinion. Really it’s about traffic flow and safety of all road users, pedestrians and residents.

Kathryn Revans

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You might have a different opinion if it was on your doorstep. Living in Lawnswood, I use the roundabout every day in rush hour and various other times and have never had a problem with it.

There is a problem for pedestrians but taking away the roundabout means that right turning traffic will have to travel out of their way to do a u turn at allocated places, specifically at Spen Road and Otley Old Road causing more congestion or rat runs, absolutely ridiculous. Peak time traffic lights on the existing roundabout might be better and will not waste as much money.

Shirley Clubb

Great idea, will stop the congestion on the roundabout people queue round it when going down towards Headingley and hold other drivers up going other directions. Should have been done years ago, plus less accidents will occur.

John Furness

Best thing that can be done. I have felt for a long time that the roundabout, at least, should be traffic light controlled. Needless to say however, there are those that will still go through a red light to try to get that bit further and thence block up other roads. Perhaps those lights can also have the benefit of cameras fitted to stop any light jumping.

Anna Chavez

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It’s dangerous to cross all the junctions on foot with cars coming at 40 mph and I wouldn’t cycle over it. It would be good to use some of the grass verge for a cycle lane but not lose too much grass and I’d hope residents could still get in and out their houses safely.

Jinesh Mistry

If it improves traffic flow then I’m for it. Stationary traffic at peak times pumping out engine emissions can’t be good for people living close to it. It’s a pretty dangerous junction so is the Moor Allerton round about.

Helen Burns

Only drivers who aren’t as confident about negotiating roundabouts would suggest lights. Just keep frequenting roundabouts to gain more confidence. It will come. 
Don’t subject the confident drivers to MORE traffic lights please. Fix the potholes instead.

Susan Milestone

It’s not just the roundabout, they’re wanting to make a whole load of changes – taking out the trees and making a permanent cycle and bus lane, no right turn at Shaw Lane towards Becketts Park, taking out the newly installed pedestrian refuges below The New Inn etc.

Anne Nash

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I saw the sign on it yesterday saying ‘Save our Roundabout’ and I couldn’t believe it! It’s a terrible roundabout and so dangerous. Haven’t people got anything better to do?

Lesley Lavery

Horrible roundabout. Someone ran into me on there a few years ago. If it makes it safer I’m all for it but the last thing we need is more queues!

Chris Procter

People will moan about anything, won’t they? Save our roundabout? What next? Save our petrol station, it’s aesthetically pleasing, or save our industrial unit? People just don’t like any change.

Janet Webster

That roundabout is a nightmare, surprised there has not been more accidents there. Some drivers don’t even indicate, you just have to take your chance.

Death of retail on high streets

Dr David Hill, CEO, World Innovation Foundation

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We hear of more shops every year sequentially closing on the UK’s high streets.

M&S is just one example of the ongoing saga that is happening to the high streets in the UK. Many others have gone before them, like British Home Stores, and many are only just surviving. But this is inevitable with destructive forces including:

1. Out of town shopping centres

2. An outdated planning system that is not responsive to business needs and takes years for town centre developments to get the green light.

3. Uncompromising and non-innovative councils who instead of reducing rates do the opposite and put the council’s costs up on those that are remaining, making it even harder for those left standing to survive on the high street.

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4. Property owners who put up their rents and cause business to close due to shareholders’ demands for ever more dividends.

5. Councils that deter people visiting the high street by putting in place obstacles such as penalty fine bus lanes together with higher than should be parking fees in town centres.

6. Online retain giants like Amazon who took £11.4bn of the sale of goods out of the UK economy last year and where equivalent growth rates are 
not seen in other sectors annually, draining ever more the retail sales from the high streets.

Eventually the high street’s days will definitely be over for retail. It is only a matter of a couple of decades, in my opinion, before town centres become purely leisure centres and high street retail sales are a thing of the past. Without innovative council and business thinking, possibly ghost towns will emerge.

New laws for cyclists

Ernest Lundy, by email

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There are certain things in life which leave one completely puzzled. We all know that the law says cyclists should not ride on pavements, ignore traffic lights and do other silly things (Highway Code Law 29) which not only put themselves in danger but others as well.

It has been reported that the Government intends to introduce additional laws to punish cyclists who kill and injure people by ignoring those that already exist.

It is also suggested that pedestrians who jay walk on the roads with complete disregard for themselves or others while listening to music or using phones etc should also be prosecuted for causing accidents.

Why has it taken them so long? In addition, do mobile scooters need to be insured? Either when riding on pavements or anywhere else. If not why not? Pedestrians are equally vulnerable to these.

Get behind One Yorkshire plan

Henry Cobden, Ilkley.

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WHO is taking charge of Yorkshire’s Brexit preparations? We can’t leave it to the Government. They hate us. All the more reason that we get behind the One Yorkshire plan with a very clear remit on economic growth and prosperity.