YEP Letters: August 15

Esther Rantzen.
Esther Rantzen.
Have your say

Check out today’s YEP letters.

Support Bag It, Beat It campaign

Dame Esther Rantzen

This September is ‘Women and Heart Disease Awareness Month’ at the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and I’m writing to ask readers to help fund vital research into heart disease by taking part our in ‘Bag It, Beat It’ campaign.

Around 28,000 women die from a heart attack each year in the UK – that’s three every hour. But surveys have shown that women are less likely than men to recognise the symptoms of a heart attack and seek help.

I’ve donated to my local shop and I’d encourage all your readers to get involved this September and do the same. Simply fill a bag with unwanted clothes, shoes, books, handbags, DVDs, CDs, bric-a-brac and children’s toys, to ‘Bag It, Beat It’. All donations will help the BHF to fund life-saving heart research. It is a sad reality that coronary heart disease is the single biggest killer in the UK, causing the deaths of over 6,670 people in Yorkshire and The Humber each year, over 2,690 of which are women, but with the continued support of the local community the BHF can fight harder to reduce this figure. For more information t www.bhf.org.uk/bagit or to book a free collection call 0808 250 0024. It’s a wonderful way to declutter and save lives!


Why is student development recommended?

Bill McKinnon, Leeds 3

Leeds City Council has numerous policy documents whose purpose is to ensure good town planning.

One of these is the Kirkstall Road Renaissance Area Planning Framework. It states there should be no more residential or student development in an area on the edge of Little Woodhouse because there’s already been so much (over 4,000 student flats built there since 2002). So why is the planning department recommending that a student block be built in this area at 46 Burley Street?

Second policy document “Neighbourhoods for Living” recommends that important long distance views should be preserved. The Kirkstall Road Renaissance Area Planning Framework states that one such view is from Belle Vue Road across the city to Elland Road. Since this view would be blocked by an eight storey student block at 46 Burley Street, why is the planning department recommending that the block be built?

Neighbourhoods for Living also contains a policy called “Stepping down the slope” which requires that planning permission be withheld where a development lower down a hill would tower over buildings higher up the hill. Since the 46 Burley Street development would tower over smaller buildings higher up the hill, why are planning officers recommending its approval?

A third policy document, the Site Allocations Plan, states that the 46 Burley Street site has the capacity for 46 units. But the proposed development is for 87 units. So again, why is the planning department supporting the application?

Instead of me asking all these questions, perhaps I should ask just two.

Why does Leeds City Council spend so much time and money producing policy documents when planning officers don’t take a blind bit of notice of them?

And which will the councillors who decide the 46 Burley Street planning application take heed of; the council’s planning policies or its planning officers?

Bus lane rules are simple

S Kavanagh, Leeds 27

Reading yesterday’s YEP letters and the response by Coun Richard Lewis to Janet Porter’s reference to bus lane use by drivers of other vehicles, I have to agree with Coun Lewis. Ms Porter is totally wrong about bus lane rules being complicated. How simple does she want it? The signs saying when lanes can be used by all vehicles, as opposed to PSVs, cannot be simpler.

As I see it there are two basic rules. 1: Bus lane as defined operating 24/7 i.e. not by any other vehicles. 2. Those bus lanes which allow use by all vehicles outside of peak periods, the times of which are very clearly displayed. It cannot be any clearer than that! Furthermore, anyone not understanding the signage should consider whether they are actually competent to drive on public roads.

Coun Lewis is absolutely correct in that all vehicles should be allowed to use bus lanes outside the restricted times to allow freer use of the road network, thereby avoiding unnecessary congestion. All too often cars back up behind the slower driver up front when that motorist might assist others by being in the near side bus lane when travelling at non peak periods.

Any driver using a bus lane, other than PSV drivers, during peak periods deserves to be dealt with in the appropriate manner and I suggest, with respect, the same should apply to those drivers who do not use bus lanes when allowed to so, as they drive “without consideration of other road users”, as defined in law.

Too much emotion

R Kimble, Hawksworth

At the Olympics 2012 the BBC elected to focus in its reporting on how “emotional” it all was for the athletes.

It got so annoying I had to watch some races with the sound off and turn over channels every time an athlete was interviewed.

This time they’ve elected to stay with the “emotional” aspect but also comment constantly on the “back story” of any athlete. Thus we got endless references to a swimmer’s alleged fear of water when he was little or how hard they work getting up at 5am every morning.

Millions of people get up at that time for work and don’t go on about it and it’s every day not just in the build up to a competition. We’ve also had constant references to, and interviews with, relatives going on about how tough it is for them. Am I the only one who finds this kind of manipulative presenting technique annoying and just a bit sly?

Importance of compassion

Terry Thomas, Leeds 6

Well said Barbara Taylor of Halifax (YEP Letters August 8) on the campaign started by a doctor called ‘Hello my name is...’

So sad the doctor in question had to have to have a terminal illness to get other doctors to show more compassion. It had just never crossed their minds before.

Talk to children about meningitis

Liz Brown, Chief Executive, Meningitis Now

In the UK every university could experience at least one case of meningitis amongst its students within the first term. Meningitis can kill within hours. For those who survive, many are left with life-changing after-effects.

Young people, and particularly first year university students are at an increased risk from meningococcal bacteria which can cause meningitis and septicaemia. Early signs can go undetected, and in young people can be put down to a bout of the flu, or even a hangover.

There are five main groups of meningococcal bacteria that commonly cause disease, Men A, B, C, W and Y. A report published last year showed a 430% increase in Men W cases from 2009 to 2014, leading to the nationwide introduction of a Meningococcal ACWY vaccine for teenagers and young people through the NHS.

Last year, 14 and 15-year-olds began to be vaccinated at school, and a top-up programme was introduced for 17 and 18-year-olds through their GP.

Although they were contacted by post about the vaccine, only 35% of this age group made an appointment, meaning that thousands are still at risk.

Taking exams, completing course work, passing your driving test and going to the pub; it’s no wonder that 17 and 18 year olds simply haven’t got round to visiting their GP for the vaccine. It’s simply not a time that you put your health first. Which is why we are calling on parents to talk to them about the vaccine now, before they head off to uni.

Michaela’s daughter Alisha had just started university in Liverpool when, unbeknown to her flatmates she contracted and died from meningitis overnight.

Michaela said: “Alisha had just turned 18 and had her whole life ahead of her but this was so tragically taken by such an awful illness.I urge people who know someone starting university to insist that they have the vaccination. It could help to save a life and prevent yet another family going through what we have had to endure.“

As the early signs of meningitis are so difficult to detect, getting vaccinated now, might just save their life. It is also important to remember that vaccine does not prevent all types of meningitis. Knowing the signs and symptoms to look out for and getting medical help quickly is vital. Talk to them about the Men ACWY vaccine, and make sure they get it before they go. For more visit www.meningitisnow.org.