YEP Letters December 21

Gary Lineker. Picture by Ian West/PA Wire
Gary Lineker. Picture by Ian West/PA Wire
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Check out today’s YEP letters

Leave politics to those in real world

Derrick Bond, Shadwell

IF pseudo-intellectual celebrities such as Gary Lineker love the EU so much they should move to Brussels. Perhaps they should become EU politicians?

The reasons why many people voted to leave the EU don’t directly affect mega-rich celebrities.

If they get fed up with Britain, they can escape to their other homes abroad. They also have interests outside Britain, which is the real reason why the wealthy are so worried by Brexit, not the socialist garbage they keep spouting about immigrants and refugees.

Celebrities should shut up and leave British politics to those who live in the real world, and who have to suffer the consequences of every government policy every day.

Council taking steps to tackle unhealthy eating

Coun Tom Leadley, West Ardsley

Much is made of ill-health due to obesity and its burden on the NHS.

Leeds City Council is about to take a small, though significant, step towards tackling unhealthy eating by adopting a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) which will let it control the opening of new hot food takeaways within 400 metres of the gates of high schools, and the opening of new takeaways in areas where there are too many already.

This is a spin-off from McDonald’s appeal against refusal of planning permission to build a drive through restaurant on the New White Bear site at Tingley, close to the back gate of Woodkirk Academy. At that inquiry I successfully presented Morley Town Council’s case as its planning witness and the appeal was dismissed, but, only on grounds that overspill parking outside houses would disturb neighbours.

It became clear that the inspector hadn’t accepted any of the carefully researched evidence about the dangers of having a large hot food takeaway so close to a high school. In the absence of a suitable Leeds Planning Policy he thought so little of the merits of such arguments that he didn’t mention them at all in his report published in May 2016.

This underlined a gap in policy which some councillors had pointed out as far back as 2012, so at the June 2016 meeting of Leeds City Council I promoted a White Paper motion which required officers fill the gap by preparing a hot food takeaway SPD. This had unanimous support, and set wheels rolling slowly through various processes, towards the current public consultation on the final draft which will end on January 7, 2019, after which the SPD should go forward to final adoption. Oddly enough, at an earlier public consultation, the only outright objectors were McDonald’s.

When the policy is in place, it will give Leeds useful levers when controlling the siting of new hot food takeaways, similarly to those which some councils already have. Leeds is close to national averages in its levels of obesity, but, they are growing and there is no room for complacency. Leeds Local Planning Authority has the second largest number of hot food takeaways in England, which isn’t surprising as its second in population only to Birmingham, but, what is of much more concern is that it is 15 out of 325 LPA’s in terms of density of hot food takeaways per 100,000 people.

Fitting tribute

Peter Haddington, Bradford

The new south stand at Headingley stadium looks a magnificent structure now that it’s complete.

The club has got the standing and seating ratio just right and when all the work is finished it will be a ground befitting one of the game’s glamour clubs.

The club is adding a lovely touch to this new south stand in planning to build a bronze statue in memory of one of the finest ever players to wear the blue and amber, the late great John Holmes. Leeds have had many wonderful players down the years and John compared favourably with the best.

You could see in his early years he was always going to be something special. He was a wonderful ball handler with creative skills, who could make tries, score tries, and stop tries he had superb footwork and evasive ability he had an excellent all round kicking game, could kick goals, was versatile and had a fine footballing brain.

When you add the fact that he played more games for Leeds than any other player you have a true legend of the club and a bronze statue is a fitting tribute to such a great player. Leeds fans will have their own favourite memories of John and one of mine was his all round display in the 1978 cup final against St Helens, specially when he dropped a goal whilst falling backwards. Leeds have always had a quality ball handler in their trophy winning teams and John had an outstanding game that day. Sadly John is no longer with us but anyone who saw him play the game will always remember him. It is good that the Leeds club are moving forward and are redeveloping their ground but it is always nice to remember the players from yesteryear who helped to put this famous club on the map.

John was among the upper echelon of these players and will live in Leeds fans’ minds forever.