Parish outraged by library gaffe

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SHADWELL Parish Council were horrified by the article entitled “You’ll find it under G...for gaffe” about Scholes Library (YEP, March 11).

Like Scholes, we have undertaken a huge amount of work with residents, ward councillors and libraries staff as we seek to keep this very valuable resource for Shadwell open.

We are not Nimbys. We recognise that if our library is to remain open in the longer term it must attract more users and more inportantly be used for many more things than just borrowing books and computer access, valuable though both those activities are.

We will be very disappointed, indeed angry, if it turns out that all of this work has been some sort of charade and in fact the decisions have already been made.

It is sad that some of our good relations with officers in the Library Service have been brought into question by Ms Blanshard’s comments. We are sure they were never meant for the public realm but they seem to indicate a total lack of respect for the role of parish councils. sadly we fear this is a view taken by other senior council officers.

We hope this unfortunate incident will be a wake-up call to those in charge at Leeds City Council to see parish councillors as partners who can help shape local services, rather than as irritating problems to be sidelined and ignored.

Debbie Potter, Chairman, Shadwell Parish Council

Lack of respect

MY letter is one of disgust at the email from Catherine Blanshard, which was copied in error to our Chairman of Scholes Parish Council and was brought to the attention of residents by the YEP.

The villagers attended a meeting in February and representatives of Leeds Libraries were asked questions about the possible closure of our library. They were treated with respect when questions were asked. It’s a great pity this respect could not have been extended to us by a chief officer.

Perhaps Ms Blanshard would not be as amused if she was handed her P45.

A M Wild, Scholes

Committed to the community

I WOULD like to respond to Mr Harwood’s letter headlined ‘Simply no need for rival supermarket’ (Letters, March 16).

We are developing proposals for Kirkstall that will include a supermarket as well as shops, community facilities, public space and a new home for the Postal Workers Club.

With the input of the local community, we plan to turn this important site in Kirkstall into a bright and thriving district centre.

We are also committed to being a positive part of the local community.

The store alone would create hundreds of jobs, many guaranteed for the long-term unemployed with recruitment targeted in the local area.

We would employ a ‘Community Champion’ who would spend at least 18 hours a week working with local groups and charities in Kirkstall.

Over the coming months we will be consulting with local residents and groups on what they would like to see within the plans.

We would ask Mr Harwood to reserve his judgment until he has seen exactly what we are proposing.

Deborah Hayeems, Tesco Corporate Affairs Manager

Lunacy of Uni’s proposed fees

I AM writing in regards to your article, ‘The £27,000 price tag of a degree at Leeds University’ (YEP, March 15). Being a student in Leeds, I find it lunacy that such fees are proposed.

I think people forget that students won’t only be subject to fees of £27,000, but also have housing and living costs to consider and these can amount to £20,000 over three years. Therefore students could expect to pay in the region of £40,000, and it is hard to see how this will not affect people’s decisions to come to university.

There are over 60,000 students studying a degree in Leeds and if this were to drop it will surely have an effect on the economy of the city.

Walking through Leeds late at night, the traffic is predominantly taxis transporting students to and from their housing. Transport and housing are two of the industries students contribute to in a big way, not to mention pubs, bars and clubs.

I just hope that such things have been considered by the University and council before they reach their final decision.

Alec Vickerson, Richmond Avenue, Leeds

Leeds needs green space

LET us be thankful that at least two local councillors, Martin Hamilton (LibDem) and Neil Taggart (Lab), have rejected the pig-headed and crass celebration by Coun Graham Latty (Con, Guiseley and Rawdon) that the Soverign Street/Queen’s Hall city centre site is a car park and his assertion that it should remain so.

“Cars have to go somewhere,” he booms. Not into the heart of central Leeds they don’t, Coun Latty.

This is a typically arrogant stance taken by a Tory politician, representing affluent suburban constituents, who disdain public transport, instead congesting and polluting routes into city centres with their gas guzzlers. Guiseley is actually linked to Leeds and Bradford centres by the unusually effective and swift electric Metro train network.

Leeds is singlarly lacking in central green public space. The Sovereign Street site is, unlike other vacant spaces, council-owned, and the opportunity should be grasped upon to make it into a central park, with as many trees and seats as possible, where people may have some well-earned tranquillity and respite from work.

I disagree with D Birch’s sentiments (Letters, March 15) that the idea of reviving the ‘Kissing Towers’ should be pursued, for the reasons I have just outlined. Providing another tall, striking shape on the Leeds skyline does not justify depriving the city of an additional green public space in an alreadly tightly packed and claustrophobic central area.

Mr Birch is also wrong about dismissing the idea of a modern tramway system for the city in favour of an underground rail scheme. True, a subway system would be a boon to the city, but would take at least a decade to build and that is after lengthy planning and consutlation periods. Witness delayed schemes in Amsterdam and Thessalonika, Greece.

The city needs an effective and efficient mass transit system (not the trolleybus, I hasten to add) as soon as possible – to deal with the every worsening and economically destructive traffic congestion the city is enduring right now.

For that the answer is the sort of light rail/urban tramway system that Supertram would have provided, which, together with the tram-train operation over existing rial lines to places such as Horsforth, Leeds Bradford International Airport, Cross Gates, Swarcliffe, Castleford and the five towns, would provide swift, comfortable, accessible, attractive, non-polluting links between suburbs, outlying districts and city centre streets.

With political will and corporate investment, both sadly lacking in the realm of public transport in this nation, such a vision could be achieved in three to four years.

Dan Laythorpe, Kendal Bank, Leeds

Strength of faith

IN his recent letter questioning Christian faith, Mr Burgage-Atter asks for hard evidence to support this belief. If hard evidence were available, then faith would not be necessary.

What sort of evidence would he like? In the time of Jesus, very few people could read or write, there were no cameras, videos, newspapers, radios, internet etc. The main form of “media” was word-of-mouth.

The Bible itself was not collated until some 500 years later and wasn’t translated into English until 1611. It wasn’t until the last century that the majority of people became literate and were able to read the Bible for themselves.

The fact that there are still millions of followers of Christ worldwide after 2,000 years, even though word-of-mouth was the only way the ‘gospel’ (good news) was spread during most of that time, suggests to me that Jesus must have done something utterly remarkable.

If you consider that after only 65 years there is now a growing movement of people denying the Holocaust ever took place, this despite the masses of evidence, including survivors and eye witnesess.

The fact that the calendar we use revolves around Christ – we refer to dates as being BC (before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini) – reinforces the fact that he did wondrous things.

After 2,000 years I am unsure what sort of hard evidence would have survived, even had it been available. People like Mr Burgage-Atter would probably still refute the evidence, even if it was available. As Jesus said, “Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

Martin J Phillips, Tinshill Lane, Leeds

Truth on pensions

COUNCILLOR Martin Hamilton is the latest LibDem to crawl out of the woodwork spouting nonsense in order to defend the government.

According to him, the restoration of the link between pensions and earnings instead of prices will result in “much bigger pensions increases in the future” (YEP, March 17).

I don’t know where he’s been for the last few months but in the private sector most workers have gone without pay increases for a couple of years now and in the public sector this is the first year of two-year (at least) pay freeze.

At the same time, because of this government’s policies and other world events, the prices of food, fuel and other essential items are rocketing.

Inflation is on the rise and, as is usually the case with a Tory government, interest rates are soon to rise.

This will not result in the claimed rise in pensions.

Being a politician, Coun Hamilton will be totally out of touch with these events, so maybe he can be excused his lack of understanding of basic economics.

Maybe he should just turn the pages of the YEP and read your columnist Andrew Elson in his Money Matters column in order to keep up with the financial times.

The only way pensions will rise – and be worth anything in the current climate – is if they are linked to bankers’ pay (or possibly politicians’ expenses). Now that would be a pension worth having!

Kevin Wilson, Cottingley