YEP Letters February 26

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Check out today’s YEP letters

Saddened at death of Monkee Peter

The Monkees. 1967. From left, Peter Tork, Michael Nesmith (back), Davy Jones (fore), and Mickey Dolenz. (Photo by NBC Television/Courtesy of Getty Images)

The Monkees. 1967. From left, Peter Tork, Michael Nesmith (back), Davy Jones (fore), and Mickey Dolenz. (Photo by NBC Television/Courtesy of Getty Images)

David Gibbs, Leeds 7

I was saddened to read of the passing of musician Peter Tork.

His name may not be readily known by many today but the group he was part of in the 1960s and intermittently thereafter was The Monkees.

They were extremely popular for a short while and were the only pop artists to outsell the the Beatles in 1967-68, a formidable feat in itself.

His death is another loss of my childhood memories as it will be to a lot of people of a certain age. RIP.

Opportunity knocks on our high streets

Brian Berry, Chief Executive, Federation of Master Builders.

I’M really encouraged with the visionary approach taken by Parliament’s Communities Committee – headed by Sheffield MP Clive Betts – as it looks at how we need to fundamentally reimagine the ways that we regenerate our high streets in order to adapt to the challenges of modern life.

Central to breathing new life into our high street is converting empty or underused spaces above shops into new homes.

These kind of homes would be ideal for young families and professionals, and would benefit the high street through increased footfall to the ‘activity-based community gathering places’ which the report wants us to aspire to.

The FMB report Homes on our high streets sets out a number of creative ways that we can overcome the challenges laid out by the Select Committee and which are associated with regeneration projects, including disparate ownership and preserving local characteristics.

In this regard, I was particularly pleased with the Committee’s conclusion that the Government must review the planning powers currently available to local authorities, with a view to strengthening them and empowering local authorities to deliver on town centre transformation and, at the same time, the Government’s ambitious housing targets.

With a survey of cross-party MPs showing that 90 per cent of respondents recognise the potential of our existing buildings to help solve the housing crisis, I would urge the Government to accept the recommendation to conduct a review of our high streets as quickly as possible.

In particular, the Government must deliver on its commitment to review the Compulsory Purchase Order process, which could help speed up regeneration of high streets.

However, contrary to the Committee’s conclusion that Permitted Development Rights risk undermining a local authority’s ability to plan for their housing delivery, streamlining the process for upwards development above certain premises would help them meet their targets while maintaining a more rigorous application process for other kinds of developments.

What we must avoid is perfectly good space lying empty and achieving nothing in terms of boosting the local economy or providing homes for individuals and families.

Scheme falls short of what passengers need

Shaun Kavanagh, by email

When will it be realised, especially by Leeds City Council (LCC), West Yorkshire’s Combined Authority and the Leeds Bradford Airport’s CEO that the airport will never truly be in the same league as other international airports such as Manchester and Heathrow, as many would wish it to be?

The airport with a so called rail link which stops short of the terminal building thereby requiring passengers to then catch a bus for the onward journey will be a Mickey Mouse approach to what is actually needed.

The development cost will likely far exceed the £173 million earmarked and actually came from LCC’s failed trolley bus scheme.

Many people, including experts, decried the rail link scheme but those able to listen apparently chose not to, judging by the latest announcement. Furthermore, Leeds Bradford does not appear to have the land for serious expansion unless of course LCC recategorise land or compulsory purchase green belt land in order to push through any future plans they may have.

The airport has a single runway and that’s it, so where would another go if the powers that be were to try and implement any form of expansion?

The whole idea of an astronomically high cost scheme which falls short of what is really required for travellers, probably ruining the lives of some local residents in the process, is farcical.

Fight One Yorkshire snub

Diana Wallis, Former Lib Dem MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber.

We should not accept the flawed decision by James Brokenshire, the Communities Secretary, to reject ‘One Yorkshire’ devolution.

Both the manner in which it was delivered and communicated show a contempt for our county, but beyond that it is highly questionable legally.

It is a non-decision, a statement in a simple letter, without proper reasoning, referring to criteria which do not exist; the Minister appears to constrain his own power to act when he is under no such obligation.

Yorkshire should not accept this rotten and dismissive manner of government decision-making. It needs to be legally challenged.

The 18 Yorkshire local authorities should make an application for a judicial review through the courts. If they don’t have the courage, why not a crowd-funded action by a diverse and interested group on behalf of people of Yorkshire? What do we think?

MPs should stand down

Robert Holman, by email

It beggars belief in our so called democracy that resigning MPs from a political party should not stand down as they no longer represent the people who voted for them.

Perhaps they should retire or be promoted to that luxurious haven of the House of Lords occupying a seat with their left wing brothers standing if up for ‘democracy’ to quote a well-heeled lord ‘to make a difference.’

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