YEP Letters February 19

Leeds/Bradford International Airport.
Leeds/Bradford International Airport.
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Check out today’s YEP letters

Third rate planning on airport access

D Angood, by email

Looking at the proposed plans for increasing access to Leeds Bradford Airport one wonders just how many people will use the rail link.

The airport is supposed to serve the region yet the connection will only give access to those who wish to travel into Leeds in the first place to catch a train. Granted York and Harrogate residents will find it appropriate but for most it would be an inconvenience.

The whole venture should be postponed until the rail link is able to attract the whole of West Yorkshire. The only viable but expensive way to do that is by connecting other lines. The first one would be connecting the two stations in Bradford then connecting the Wharfedale and Harrogate lines with a station at the airport. This would give rail access to virtually the whole of West Yorkshire with little need for exasperating changes mid route.

The proposed road links would be more useful to passengers but would increase the pressure on the surrounding network. So much for the clean air programme. Third rate planning again from our local politicians.

Authorities could still work together

Geoffrey North, Guiseley

I AM disappointed, but not surprised, by the Government’s decision not to proceed with creating a ‘One Yorkshire’ authority.

I remember that, back in the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher abolished metropolitan counties because they appeared to constitute a power bloc against her government.

It was a little surprising that a successor Tory government should entertain the idea of creating mayors governing city-regions like Manchester. They are certainly a good idea for improving infrastructure, communications and economic development across industrial conurbations.

However they do present problems for surrounding rural areas and small towns which could be turned into power vacuums losing out on the big deals.

That is why the (almost) unified approach by local authorities in Yorkshire to create a body, which would benefit both industrial as well as rural areas, is both a unique and refreshing 
solution. It is a bottom-up approach which shows that small local authorities can come together for the common good.

I remember this working well many decades ago when the Yorkshire and Humberside Development Association promoted Yorkshire worldwide, later to be replaced by Yorkshire Forward, and which was itself later abolished in a supposedly cost-cutting exercise by David Cameron’s government. Fortunately Yorkshire ’s standing internationally is still strong.

Ironically living up to his name, the Communities Secretary James Brokenshire has declared that ‘One Yorkshire’ does not meet the Government’s devolution criteria. Perhaps he could spell out what these are.

But what is stopping the local authorities in Yorkshire coming together informally, as they already have done, in planning – and hopefully – implementing projects on a co-ordinated basis?

The Government could ring-fence funds which would be used on approved projects.

Financial sustainability is top priority

Coun Richard Watts (Lab), Chair, Local Government Association’s Resources Board.

BETWEEN 2010 and 2020, councils will have lost almost 60p out of every £1 the Government had provided for services. Faced with a Government funding settlement that assumes maximum council tax rises and these funding pressures, many councils feel they have little choice but to ask residents to pay more council tax again this year to help them try to protect their local services.

With councils facing a funding gap of more than £3bn this year, council tax rises will not prevent the need for continued cutbacks to local services.

The Spending Review will be make or break for vital local services and securing the financial sustainability of councils must be the top priority. If we truly value our local services then we have to be prepared to pay for them.

Fully funding councils is the only way they will be able to keep providing the services which matter to people’s lives.

Broken county’s ambition

Peter Horton, Ripon

IT was disappointing to read of the casual way in which James Brokenshire, the Communities Secretary, has rejected the widely-supported proposals for ‘One Yorkshire’ devolution.

A complete Yorkshire unit would be a bigger economy than Scotland and a wonderful counter-balance to Scottish ambitions. Is the Government afraid we would be too powerful? Mr Brokenshire is so well-named as he has broken the ambition for the shire of Yorkshire.

Investment is stumbling block

Philip Crowther, by email

Andy Clarke’s views on the future of Leeds / Bradford Airport and the Asda/ Sainsbury proposed merger were interesting.

His aims to assist the board of directors who represent the owners of LBA are admirable. But all the aims he mentions have been talked about ad nauseum i.e rail link, road connection, expansion of services. All the aims involve multi million pound investments, which is the stumbling block , especially when infrastructure not within the airport boundary is involved. So we await to see the plans.As for his views on the supermarkets merger, I think to be kind, his thought that the directors first aim will be to protect jobs, is naïve. I believe Walmart, Asda and Sainsbury will primarily think of the shareholders best interests and business costs first, as has been demonstrated many times before in like for like situations.

Tee up for Parkinson’s

Abbey Robinson,Parkinson’s UK Regional Fundraiser in the North East

If you love a game of golf then why not pitch in for a good cause this year?

Par for Parkinson’s is a fundraiser that gives you the opportunity to create your own golfing event to raise vital funds for charity Parkinson’s UK. Whether you want to organise a golf competition, take on a Three Course Challenge, or hold a golf quiz night, there’s something for all golf fans.Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition that affects 145,000 people in the UK, including an estimated 5,800 people in the North
East.

Parkinson’s UK is the leading charity driving better care, treatments and quality of life for those with the condition. Its mission is to find a cure and improve life for everyone affected by Parkinson’s through cutting edge research, information, support and campaigning.

To find out how you can take part in Par for Parkinson’s and make a difference then please visit: www.parkinsons.org.uk/golf