YEP Letters: January 20

Check out today's YEP letters

Obesity is not all down to our diet

Aled Jones, by email

The latest hare-brained idea is the proposal to ban kids from eating chocolate bars in tough new rules to halt the so-called obesity crisis. It is ludicrous.

It took me 30 years to rise above 13 stone and I have been eating copious amounts of chocolate every day since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. Surely, obesity is the unfortunate result of our genes and has nothing at all to do with diet? It is just another example of further attempts by the government to intervene in how the nation’s families live their lives.

What next for families in Roundhay?

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Coun Dan Cohen, Shadow Executive Board Member,Children and Families

I am disheartened to read yet again of the shambles that has been the Roundhay Free School process (‘New Leeds Free School plan is scrapped’, YEP January 12) and the conclusion that has been reached.

I find it difficult to comprehend how the administration has acted throughout this whole process culminating in offering up a site on Roundhay Park Lane East, a Greenbelt site, that by its own viability process wasn’t viable! Does the left hand know what the right hand is doing?

The push-backs and delays on finally reaching this decision make me question the commitment of the council to our children in north Leeds. We told them time and time again to come up with proper solutions, viable solutions, that could be properly evaluated and carried forward.

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Surely one of the five sites that were taken to consultation could have been successful? And the council still stuck to an option that had significant challenges both in terms of the council’s own planning policy and clear highways issues with it being the wrong side of the ring road and not actually located in Roundhay.

When you also consider that the council brought forward alternative proposals to the free school option whilst the project was still under consideration, a picture of confusion and chaos begins to emerge. The Allerton Grange through school option only served to further muddy the waters and with both schools, Moor Allerton Hall Primary and Allerton Grange, assessed as requiring improvement (though Allerton Grange have appealed that verdict) one would probably have to question the wisdom of suggesting a new school that would have delivered further disruption and uncertainty to those existing schools and the pupils and parents involved.

Children and families in north Leeds have been badly let down by this drawn out process. Had the council got on with it two years ago the funding was in place and the school would be well on its way to being delivered now. Why were there so many delays and what next for families in Roundhay?

Working for holistic solution

Coun Richard Lewis,Executive Member for Regeneration, Transport and Planning

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In reply to Philip Marsden’s letter on the CityConnect scheme (‘Money should have been spent on park and rides’, YEP January 16), I’d like to thank him for his positive words about Elland Road and Temple Green.

I’m sure he’ll be impressed with the proposals coming forward for Stourton, which will be a step change in Park and Ride, improving bus priority on the A61 from the south into the city centre and speeding up all bus journeys in that part of the city, as well as providing a fast bus link from the Park and Ride itself. And more schemes will follow. However, we couldn’t have switched the cycleway spending to create additional Park and Ride schemes because most of the money (£20m) came from the Government’s Cycle City Ambition Grant.

Leeds, Bradford & WYCA had to compete against other councils for this funding, which was solely for cycling schemes – and nothing else. If the money hadn’t come to West Yorkshire, it would have been spent elsewhere on a cycling scheme.

But we didn’t just get the superhighway: it paid for upgrading the canal towpath for cyclists, for 20mph zones all along the route from Leeds to Bradford and a slew of cycle training initiatives.

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Councillors (and all politicians) get a lot of stick for only looking at the short term and not pushing projects that are bound to take some time to have a major impact, but there’s always a queue of critics who expect instant results.

When Elland Road Park and Ride opened and wasn’t full by 11am, plenty of people rushed to say it was in the wrong place and was the wrong answer.

Delivering a cycling scheme which will take a number of years to reach its full potential was always bound to be an easy target, but it was about councillors daring to think long-term.

The Cycle Superhighway caters for many different types of journeys, not just those to the city centre.

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Many of these are relatively short, meaning cycling is a perfectly suitable and healthy way of travelling for these trips. Cycling also brings many advantages of course – personal and public health benefits (such as reduced pollution), economic and social activity and social mobility opportunities as well.

Mr Marsden is sceptical about the usage figures for the Cycle Superhighway – hopefully I can provide some reassurance here.

Monitoring is done via automatic cycle counters cut into the track, covering five locations in Leeds and one in Bradford.

The number of cyclists crossing these since their installation adds up to 484,800, which is not an insignificant number. I’ve certainly noticed more cyclists in West Leeds, although of course the winter weather is bound to lead to a drop of a kind; however the long-term prognosis is very good, with an average of between 4,500 and 7,000 uses a month at each of the Leeds sites over the last year.

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As well as improvements to the pedestrian network, we are confident that the two modes of transport in question here – Park and Ride and cycling – can work together to provide a holistic solution to Leeds transport.

Red light zone isn’t managed

L Goodwill, Holbeck

With regards to the “managed zone”, it isn’t managed , simple as that.

The “girls” operate where and when they choose to, you call and complain, and though they “agree” with you, nothing is done. I’ve been threatened with a knife, propositioned several times (I’m nearly 60)and verbally abused on many an occasion. The councillorsand police who allowed this to happen and continue to allow it, should be made to live here and deal with it.