Check out today’s YEP letters
Always those who’ll flout speed limit
Helen Osborn, by email
I WAS pleased when a 20 mph speed limit was introduced in my area - Old Farm Drive, Moor Grange/West Park - but sadly very few people take notice of this.
In particular, there are some cars which seem to take pleasure from racing around this area as if it was a speed track, motor bikes and scooters are the same and the latter are particularly noisy too.
There are a number of slightly older people living round here as well as young children and animals. It’s quite frightening to hear these vehicles shriek round the roads and sometimes I am just waiting for the bang. It just seems that to me that whatever speed limit you introduce, there are always those who will flout it.
What next on school places in Roundhay area?
Lucy Clement, by email
So an influential group of education advisors have unanimously voted against Leeds City Council’s proposal to expand Moor Allerton Hall Primary School in Moortown and recognised it is a terribly planned and flawed attempt to try and address the shortage of primary school places in the Roundhay and Wigton Moor area of north Leeds.
This is something that local parents have been telling our elected councillors for the last 10 months. Yet even the existence of the proposal, which was announced at drastically short notice last October, led to the demise of the Roundhay Park Primary School Free School bid in January, which the local community had supported and wanted as the answer to this very real problem.
So what are Leeds City Council going to do now? In only three months’ time, officers will be sending out application forms to families with children starting school in September 2019. These parents know that there are not enough local places for their children to access. What exactly are they expected to do with their five so-called preferences of primary schools?
Their ‘choice’ is to either travel several miles to the village suburbs in search of a good secular education, or to settle for schools slightly closer to home (but still not walking distance) that more local families (who have the luxury of a real choice) are refusing to attend due to concerns over their education standards or because they are faith schools.
Data produced by the Department of Education states that 1740 primary school places are needed in Leeds by 2019. Despite Manchester being the only area in the country with a greater need than Leeds for primary schools, earlier this month Coun Judith Blake wrote to parents in North Leeds and acknowledged that “no area of Leeds is considered to be a priority” by the DfE for the next wave of free schools. So what is she going to do about this then?
The DfE themselves admit that the criteria being used to establish these “targeted local authority districts” are based on “experimental innovative analysis which we will be looking to refine” and are inviting comments and suggestions to improve their methodology.
How can a specific area of Leeds, which had over 60 children this year (yes, a whole primary school reception intake) being auto-allocated a non-local primary school (and many to schools deemed by Ofsted to be “requiring improvement”) not be considered an area of desperate need?
And now even the council’s own idea of a solution is falling apart at the (very badly sewn) seams. Based on early analysis of data gathered by local parents via Freedom of Information requests, Roundhay and Alwoodley are looking to be national outliers with at least twice as many primary school auto-allocations than any other major city ward area in England, including those so far analysed from London boroughs.
Leeds City Council you need to be shouting very loudly for help; otherwise you are going to fail our children.
Local Roundhay councillors and Coun Jonathan Pryor, please meet with us urgently to discuss a way forward.
A ‘dead right’ roads attitude can be fatal
Michael Anderson, Harrogate
I WRITE from a lifetime (thankfully) of experience as a pedestrian, a cyclist, motor cyclist, car and HGV driver.
Working for the local highways authority helping to clean up at the scene of a fatal or serious injury road traffic accident (RTA) was not something I relished, it was a dreadful experience. I still ask myself “Why did this happen to these people?” How could it have been prevented? My own survival resulted from a police constable talking to me as member of a class of nine-year-olds. He told us we would all be involved in an RTA, and he was absolutely correct. But being a stubborn person, even at that young age, I was determined to prove him wrong.
After the talk, my friends left a few seconds earlier than me. About to dash across the road to catch them up his words flashed into my head, I stopped and looked, it saved my life. I resolved never to become a statistic through my own hand.
Wishing to better my driving, I took a course with the Institute of Advanced Motorists and undertook a two-hour test with a class one police driver.
The class one officer had to pass the police driving test with a 97 per cent score or above to pass. I was successful in my own test and thank all who trained me and the class one police driver who passed me and his words of praise.
I worked very hard to reach the level required, the IAM group who trained me to achieve my success, the group also ran a highly successful course for motorcyclists.
I highly recommend any motorist or motorbike rider to seek out the police driving manual Roadcraft for cars and/or motorcyclists, a copy of the Highway Code, and enrol with the IAM or Bikesafe. Never be “dead right” you won’t cheat death or injury with that attitude and you may kill or seriously injure someone else. It’s your call, be stubborn and help yourself.
Walked marred by dog mess
Tracey Guest, Wakefield
Last week, on a lovely day, I took my two dogs for a walk around the lake at Newmillerdam.
It was marred because of the large amount of dog mess along the footpath
This had been left inconsiderately by other dog walkers, where children could quite easily have slipped on it or fallen into it with all the health risks that that would entail.
Matters were not helped by the obvious the path.
The only bin I came across was the wheelie bin near the war memorial entrance and that was overflowing.
Can we not shame the council into doing something about this?
Honouring the Armistice
Jim Kirk, Middleton
I COULD not agree more with John Barstow’s comments about closing shops for the Armistice centenary (YEP Letters August 14).
As a member of Usdaw Executive Council, an organisation of 433,000 shop, factory and warehouse workers (presumably Labour supporters), Mr Barstow stresses that working people and their families take the opportunity to partake in the remembrance events in their communities.
MPs and peers would win huge public support by putting Brexit arguments aside and come together to show their respects on Armistice day.
Will Jeremy Corbyn, who has previously openly questioned what there is to commemorate about the First World War, be present and show the same respect on Armistice Day that he has shown for others?
He was noticeably absent when Armed Forces Day was being celebrated, not forgetting the 100th anniversary of the RAF.
So I can only hope that Mr Barstow has invited the leader of a party created to fight for the wage earners to stand with those wage earners and pay proper respect.
Too many universities
Graham Branston, Rawdon.
THE rise in unconditional offers by some universities is shameful and grossly unfair on those students who work incredibly hard to achieve high grades for their preferred course. It also suggests that revenue is more important than entry standards. We have too many universities, some offering courses of limited value/use to both students and the economy. Places need to be filled, so the solution is an unconditional offer.
Bypass is not right choice
David Lane, Sandal.
As a motorist, I have used our new bypass a number of times, and it has struck me as a really disappointing missed opportunity.
What Wakefield needed, in my opinion, was the continuation of the dual carriageway from the M1 past the north of Wakefield and Pinderfields, to join with the Doncaster road, which also merits dualling.
What we have is a twisty little road, which already creates hold-ups, especially at busy times, even without all the traffic which will created by the planned developments.
Squeezing cash from taxpayers
Judy Goodwin, Altofts
The government is thinking about a new tax raid on pensions to pay for social care.
Governments of all colours can think of ways to squeeze more money out of the long suffering tax payer, but will never look into saving money. Unelected quangos cost over £95 billion a year, NHS England invented four years ago and costing over £4 billion a year, overseas aid over £14 billion a year, they could get the money from savings but are too lazy.