YEP Letters January 10

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Check out today’s YEP letters

More detail needed on park and ride

Coun Tom Leadley, West Ardsley

As a member of Leeds City Plans Panel, I found the debate about the Stourton Park and Ride, reported in the YEP, January 4, to be an interesting one which turned on panel members refusing to be bounced into accepting something which they didn’t understand in full.

Inadequate information was poorly presented. It would have been hard to object outright to the very idea of having a park and ride there, because that is what the site is allocated for in the development plan. However, members showed that they wouldn’t accept just anything, regardless of merit, and by implication reserved the right to refuse any particular scheme which they believed to be unacceptable in its own terms.

A number of points remain to be clarified including landscaping, the relationship of the park and ride to Hunslet Cemetery, the Westburys and Parnaby Road, and traffic flows between the site and the A61.

We will see what happens when the scheme comes back to panel with clearer and fuller detail.

Campaigners should be taking the credit

Coun Andrew Carter CBE, Leader of the Conservative Group, Leeds City Council

I read with interest your recent coverage on the reduction in the Leeds housing target (‘Greenbelt sites dropped from housing plans’ – YEP January 4).

Firstly it is of course great news that the housing numbers in Leeds are finally coming down to a more sensible level.

However, it is the comments from the council administration that have given me cause to write. Quite how they can try to present themselves as saviours of the greenbelt when it is their plan that led us down this road is quite unbelievable.

Let us not forget that because of their ludicrously high target of 70,000 homes set in 2014, and wholeheartedly opposed by the Conservative Group, the council has been unable to deliver against a five-year housing supply target.

As a direct consequence of this a number of planning appeals have been lost leaving many residents in places such as Boston Spa, Adel, Morley, Wetherby and elsewhere deeply frustrated.

For six years we have been telling them that the 70,000 target was too high. Along the way they have rejected numerous opportunities to revise the target downwards, most notably upon adoption of the core strategy in 2014 when we called for the council to commit to ‘undertake an immediate review of overall housing numbers, in light of population projections and ministerial statements, to commence in tandem with the forthcoming consultation on site allocations and to be completed before specific site allocations take place.’

That was approaching five years ago – if only they had listened.

It is the campaigners who turned up at the public examinations who should be taking the credit for a much more sensible approach to new housing not the administration whose members hardly showed their faces at the examination – and I know because members of my group and I were ever present.

A bumpy year for the high street

Brian Johnston, Leeds

The British high street as we know it is dying - official.

Shopping habits change, thats the nature of the game and the high street responds; but this time round, the enemy at the gate is relentless. This last year alone, notable big hitters have disappeared, and already the first casualty in the new year looks like HMV. Shoppers have been holding back, uncertainty over Brexit perhaps, more likely online shopping. A mere ‘click of the mouse;’ and the goodies are at the door, no more trudging to town, stuck in gridlock and finding that parking space.

But the high street has not helped itself, with all year round sales never ending, Black Friday, once a sensational one day bonanza now drags on, merging with all the other end of the year sales.

As for discounting, some retail analysts now claim, that an online sale is more costly because of the huge return rate, and the same in store, reduced, may only have small margins, and the same online maybe neutral.

And what of government - fiddling while the high street burns?

What is urgent is a reduction in the business rate, and lower ground rents, but most of all, the giant online big beasts brought onto a level playing field.

2019 will be a bumpy year, and the only thing certain is uncertainty for many retailers.

‘Crazy loophole’ is exploited

Robert Holman, Farsley

I wonder if it would be an excellent idea to turn the civic halls into barbers shops to generate revenue from the many cuts!

On a more serious note, how many more years are the rich student residential companies being allowed to exploit the crazy loophole of being given exemptions from paying any council tax or even business rates causing shortages of funding and cuts in university towns whilst getting more services than council taxpayers? I live in hope after 10 or more years of paying nowt.

Parking bay problem?

Donald Vickers, Horsforth

I would like to bring this to the attention of car parks and especially supermarkets.

The bays are too small for the ‘Chelsea tractors’ or what ever you call them.

I drive a small Mini two seater coupe I often get jammed with one at each side of my car when I go to collect it after shopping, not to mention you can’t even get inside and have to go through the hatchback rear door.When they park they go well over the lines. At least can they park in a certain area out of my way for a start.

Vote on HS2 cash instead

Joe Ginty, Addingham.

I, too, would welcome a ‘people’s vote’, but not one to satisfy those still in denial. We are leaving the EU. End of.

I would instead suggest a ‘people’s vote’ to make decisions regarding the future which are significantly more important than our relationship with the EU – and might go some way to reuniting our fractured nation while we still have time.

The question I propose for such a vote is simple: Do we spend £78.5m per kilometre to build HS2?

Or do we instead spend £78.5m on each area health authority in the UK?

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