Housing cash is just a Tory gimmick
Councillor Peter Gruen, Ward Councillor for Crossgates & Whinmoor Ward, Chair of the Adult Social Services, Public Health & NHS Scrutiny Board.
You highlight Mr Cameron’s promise to invest £120 million on, what he calls, sink estates. That is £120 million nationwide!
It reminds me of the PPFI scheme we embarked on in Swarcliffe in my ward. Former Elmet MP Colin Burgon was hugely influential in ensuring we were one of only six national housing pathfinder schemes and we all devoted an immense amount of time, involving lots of local residents and groups, in deciding the mix of measures within the project.
There was some carefully chosen demolition of multi storeys at the end of their life, we agreed areas of new build and the scope of refurbishing all the remaining homes - this included new roofs, external cladding, windows, new internal re wiring, kitchens, bathrooms and so on. In other words, we developed local solutions for local people.
Now ten years on, the estate is one of the most popular destinations in the city with around 200 bids for every vacant property. And here is the crux of the matter- the cost was in excess of what Mr Cameron offers nationally! Enough said; it’s just another Tory gimmick, instead of dealing properly with the housing crisis for young people especially.
Better tourist service needed
M Thornton, Leeds
I wish to complain about the lack of a proper Tourist Information Centre in the centre of Leeds.
I have visited many cities and towns in the UK and in many other countries in Europe and beyond but Leeds is the worst. When the Tourist Information Centre was at the City Station, it was great as the centre had information about Leeds and many other areas and welcomed everyone.
My husband and I recently went to the “Visit Leeds” Centre, which is now located under the Library. What a waste of time and space it is. There was very little information about Leeds and surrounding areas.
The worst thing was that I asked the assistant for a bus timetable only to be told: “We don’t keep them here, you will have to go to the Central Bus Station”. We could have been complete strangers to Leeds, so would not have known where the Central Bus Station was.
It would have been most helpful if they kept a few timetables of every route in Leeds there as the bus station is not convenient for everyone to get to.
Licence plea to help flood victims
Terry Meehan, by email
We are musicians and we are trying to get a street collection licence from Leeds City Council to busk in Leeds for Kirkstall flood victims.
We are aware that a lot of musicians’ equipment and recording studios along Kirkstall Road were wiped out by the floods. The only problem is that last year it took the council nine months to issue a licence for busking for the air ambulance. So we have asked them to fast track it. Their response is that this is not a registered charity, so no licence. Do they expect that the victims should have foreseen the floods and formed a registered charity before the rains came?
Will bridge be plant friendly?
N Bywater, Morley
The Chancellor George Osborne has promised to fund the estimated £3m annual running costs of a garden bridge over the Thames.
£3 million is an interesting amount. Because that is the estimated cost of the replacement bridge for Tadcaster. I wonder if Tadcaster’s new bridge will be pedestrian and plant friendly?
Shock at M&S store plan
Denise Rowlinson, Castleford
Re: Your article dated Saturday, January 16. The news that M&S are to open a new store on the Five Towns Park in Castleford and that consequently the store in the town centre is to close comes as a shock to the Castlefordians, who have not been consulted, are learning about it through the newspapers.
This is likely to have an adverse knock effect on trading in the town centre. The fact that some of our senior council leaders have been in post for 20, 30 or more years does not give them ‘carte blanche’ to make autocratic decisions, which is happening too often. As in our district, the number of people who vote during the local elections is only approximately 16 per cent, our councillors barely represent the views of the local people.
It is therefore time to change the way our towns and cities are run. If we still need councillors, they should not be in post for more than three terms to make sure that they make partial decisions.
Jack Banner, Meanwood
Just when we thought that the political aspirations of Donald Trump could become no more bizarre, we have the announcement of his coalition with Sarah Palin. Surely the American electorate will dismiss this? I suppose we should feel ourselves lucky that Donald Duck is dead!