The proposed investment to increase the size of car parks at a series of railway stations in Yorkshire is a welcome - and one we support wholeheartedly.
It’s not before time however, especially as local authorities and ministers have increasingly been focusing on encouraging more people off the region’s congested roads and onto trains.
There’s no doubt that on too many occasions in recent years efforts to tackle traffic jams have focused on making life as difficult as possible for motorists who have been punished repeatedly through higher parking charges and, in Leeds certainly, the closure of many city centre car parks. Other than the increasingly successful Elland Road park-and-ride scheme there been a singificant shortage of practical and affordable alternative.
However, offering drivers somewhere to park is only one part of the jigsaw. And this is where we might start to sound like a cracked record. Commuters want to know that when they reach the platform there is a good chance the train will be on time, the journey will be quick and that there will be seats available.
Given this, Ministers must urgently restart the ‘paused ‘programme of rail electrification and agree the new franchises for Northern and TransPennine services which hold the key to significant service improvements.
Nothing less will suffice.
Local shops: Lets use them or use them
the Association of Convenience Stores has provided a revealing insight into life on the High Street – and the extent to which family-run stores are fighting for their very existence. This neglected sector contributes more than £37bn a year to the national economy and the sacrifices made by these businesses should never be taken for granted. A quarter of shop owners work more than 70 hours a week on average and one-fifth take no holiday because their profit margins are so tight that they cannot afford the cost of hiring temporary staff. Surely it is up to all of us to support their local shopwherever possible. The mantra ‘use it or lose it’ has never been more applicable.