YEP Letters: April 26

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Check out today’s YEP letters

Mixed reviews on cyle superhighway

N Bywater, Morley

Jim Kirk, (YEP Letters April 21), blames Leeds City Council for a “less than popular” £19 million cycle path. I assume he is referring to the multi-million pound cycle superhighway between Leeds and Bradford, which cost £29 million.

But it was a government project, not a council one, the government funded it and should suffer any Jim’s wrath. There seem to be mixed reviews about the cycle superhighway from cyclists, some good stretches of segregated cycle path, but other stretches that end abruptly; who has priority brings confusion and concerns over its safety.

The confusion about priority of a concern for both motorists and cyclists, is the cycle superhighway one way, or does it allow cycling both ways? And is this signposted? Arrows painted on the tarmac would seem like a good idea.

Council values relationship with city schools

Coun Lisa Mulherin, Executive Member for Children and Families, Leeds City Council

I read with great interest Coun Cohen’s recent letter in your paper concerning free schools and his ideas on what the council’s position is (‘Part of solution to city’s school places crisis’ YEP Letters April 21).

I think it is very clear that Coun Cohen is new to his position as Opposition Spokesperson for Children and Families and it is unfortunate that he has been so quick to issue a letter without first checking the facts.

His predecessor in that role had long been involved in discussions around school places and solutions, involving not just bulge cohorts but free schools as well and would be well placed to explain to Coun Cohen that Leeds City Council works alongside all school providers in our drive to secure sufficient school places for all children in Leeds.

It is worth underlining, yet again, that changes introduced by the Conservative government mean that local authorities are no longer allowed to build or open new schools themselves. If we could, we would. Instead we have to work across an increasingly fragmented education system to try to secure new school provision through working with a range of partners, government agencies and free school applicants.

We have worked with numerous free school providers and we already have a number of free schools open within the city, but it is worth noting given Coun Cohen’s comments about meeting demand that all of the primary free schools in the city currently have spaces available because they were not oversubscribed, because not enough families preferenced them. Coun Cohen was quite dismissive of bulge cohorts in his letter but I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the schools in the city who have worked so hard alongside the council to try to ensure we do have enough school places for our children and young people. The relationship we have with our schools is very much valued by the Labour administration and I hope that Coun Cohen choses his words more carefully next time rather than risk undermining that relationship.

Modern transit system no closer

Alan Haigh, Morley.

The announcement of a £173.5 million Government funding for Leeds transport does not bring a modern transit system for Leeds any closer.

How can we trust Leeds City Council to spend the money wisely?

The city council has consistently got things wrong over the past 50 years from the Leeds Approach to Metro-line, Elevated LAT, supertram and the trolleybus. Millions of pounds of money have been wasted on these failed schemes while other cities have got their transport right. An obvious start would be a direct rail link to the airport. Instead LCC is proposing an airport parkway station in the middle of nowhere which is totally impractical. This is for a new station just south of Bramhope tunnel on the Harrogate line. The locality is completely rural and would have nil foot passengers. It would rely on patronage from a bus link to the airport plus park and ride, passenger use for the airport would be very low, due to the need for numerous changes and the connecting bus service would not be expected to last long before being withdrawn. To service the station a major new road and a massive car park of something like 1,000 spaces would need to be built in this rural area.

New railway stations for Leeds are a good idea but how about stations at Armley, Ardsley and Methley in place of this expensive white elephant?

System not fit for purpose

D Angood, by email

Monday April 24th’s edition of the YEP saw many responses regarding the proposals to spend the millions of pounds from the trolley folly.

The majority of them were critical of the inspirations of the council towards what are termed “improvements”. It would appear that not many of the populace are in favour of the proposals as they lack “vision and/or ambition”.

We only have the council’s word that these are the best options on how to invest/spend this money. Are we certain that these options will be improvements or just another sticking plaster over an ever increasing crack?

The opportunity to look at the future was there at the transport consutations but the vision of the council was yet again blinkered by what they term as “constraints”, so nothing ambitious was, we can believe, ever considered.

Is there an option to find out just what ideas were submitted during the consultations, have them published and let the populace vet them? Is the council afraid that the people may consider other options more beneficial to the ones they have chosen?

Answers to the question “why?” generally include the reason that the lay person does not understand what is involved in decision making.

The trouble is that the lay person sees a body in control of money but not agreeing with how it is used/spent. The only way to change that is at the ballot boxes but the lay person is also more than likely to be a habitual voter and will vote accordingly instead of considering what the city region needs and who is the most capable of delivering it.

The case for a regional mayor is becoming increasingly significant as the area grows and the transport system remains unfit for purpose.

Do more to end dog fouling

Jaimes Lewis Moran, Member of Leeds Green Party

It seems that despite all the efforts from our council and various community groups that the issue of dog fouling is not improving, if anything this situation is getting worse.

Maybe things like spray-painting dog mess to make people more aware would help, and in doing so would help in their clearance?

For instance, there’s various councils across the UK that already do this using pink, orange and blue biodegradable spray paint colours. More needs to be done, because I’m red with anger when our streets and parks are full of dog mess.

Chance to pay respects

Nichola Rowlands, Head of Travel, Remembrance Travel, Royal British Legion

I would like to thank the YEP for publishing my letter about Remembrance Travel’s search for all surviving D Day veterans.

Thanks to the media’s support we’ve managed to find four more times more veterans for this year’s tours to Normandy than we ever have before. This year we shall running a further five trips, which have now started and will run until September.

In addition to the Normandy tours, we shall also be offering D Day veterans, especially those who are no longer fit to travel to France, the chance to visit the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) in Staffordshire on the anniversary of D Day in June.

All of these tours of remembrance have been enabled by the Treasury thanks to LIBOR fines, which pay for a veteran, carer and a member of the family to join a tour free of charge.

Thanks to you Normandy veterans - now mostly in their 90s - will get the chance to pay respects to their fallen comrades, perhaps for the last time.