YEP Letters: January 27

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Check out today’s YEP letters

Yorkshire’s new links to royalty

Jean Lorriman, by email

THE recent engagement of Princess Eugenie of York to Jack Brooksbank provides, along with the Duchess of Cambridge whose father’s family hail from Leeds, further Yorkshire connections.

Once lowly Dales sheep farmers, the Brooksbanks moved to London and, along with increased wealth they became upwardly mobile through marriage.

Brooksbank School in Elland was founded by Stamp Brooksbank as a gift to Elland, his birthplace. Then it was a grammar school, but when I did my teacher training from Leeds University it was a comprehensive.

The distaff side throws up even more Yorkshire suprises as Sigismund Schwann, from whom Jack’s relatives are descended, is buried at Holy Trinity Church.

Prince Andrew must, as Chancellor of Huddersfield University, be pleased with his future son-in-law’s ancestry. We could become Royal Yorkshire – but God’s Own County, or country as some folk prefer, is much the finer!

Still many questions over Fearnville site

Coun Catherine Dobson, East Leeds Independents

Further to your recent article regarding the council climbdown over proposals to build a 1200 place school on Fearnville Fields.

The campaigners were delighted by the 11th hour statement from the Executive Board member stating that, in the face of strong local opposition, these proposals would not be pursued and advising that alternative sites had been proposed by the local Labour councillors which were now being assessed.

Whilst we are pleased that the council eventually listened to local people and accepted their very valid reasons for opposing this proposal, this statement poses many questions.

Where exactly are the new sites? Were they put forward for consideration in the early stages and, if not, why not?

At the consultation events various alternative sites were indeed suggested by local residents but we were told that all other available sites had been considered and rejected and that the Fearnville site was the preferred location - concerns about loss of green space, flooding, additional traffic with associated congestion and air pollution were all ignored. What will happen if these new sites are deemed unsuitable?

Does that mean that the Fearnville site would once again be at risk?

I have posed all these questions to the Executive Board Member but am still awaiting a response.

In recent years the council has sold off brownfield land sites (including former school locations) in both Seacroft and Gipton for redevelopment.

Why wasn’t land earmarked for the school that would obviously be required given the number of family houses being built?

Was this just an omission? It is clearly not acceptable for the council to try to redress this by effectively grabbing our green space.

The campaign group have been fantastic and I’m proud to have supported them from the beginning.

We hope that this climbdown by the council is sincere and that they won’t come back - maybe after the May elections - saying that they are sorry but they can’t find another site after all.

We are prepared to carry on the fight if that happens.

I have asked for a clear assurance that the Fearnville site is permanently off the table. So far that assurance has not been forthcoming.

Council cannot abdicate responsibility

J D Adams, Leeds

I was amazed by the stance Leeds city council took in your recent article about the Carillion collapse (YEP January 24).

According to the council’s own timeline they were aware of problems with Carillion last summer, and were so concerned that they started planning for the possibility of the company going bust. Months later, with the emergency plans still presumably ready in a drawer, they were all set to award a new multi-million pound contract to the same company.

That decision beggars belief, but I think the council’s explanation about having “no choice” is even stranger - and it needs challenging.

Even accepting what the council says at face value - that Carillion came top in the tendering process and the rules mean a contract has to be awarded to the winning bidder - does it really follow that the council was reduced to something out of The Walking Dead, sleep walking into a contract with a company they knew had every chance of going into liquidation?

After all, the council controlled the procurement process. The council set the terms by which companies bid for the contract. The council evaluated those bids. And the council decided who won. That seems like a fair amount of choice to me.

Public bodies do have the flexibility, still more the duty, to consider relevant information about a company’s finances before handing over millions of pounds of public money. Of course they do; to suggest otherwise is absurd and insulting to the intelligence of Leeds residents. So please, let’s have no more of this “no choice” nonsense. The council’s attempt to abdicate any responsibility won’t fly.

Parking without phone app

Emerich Schiff, by email

I am a pensioner living in Mirfield who occasionally drives into Leeds in the evening to visit the theatre etc.

Until recently there have been no problems and have parked with ease in Park Square and paid for my stay via a machine.

On two occasions recently I have parked in Park Square but have been unable to pay as the machines have had the money slots covered up and a note on the machine saying that I could pay via an app. I do not possess a smart phone and could therefore not comply. I am bringing this to your attention as I am sure that I am not the only person particularly of my generation who do not have smart phones and they need to be aware of the situation.

Charities should keep money

Edna Levi, by email

The recent goings-on at the London Presidents Club were disgusting but two questions: firstly surely the women who arttended were old enough to realise what might occur and secondly why did they not make a fuss and report “incidents” immediately to whoever was in charge?

Lastly I cannot understand why charities who have received donations from events held by this Club feel obliged to return over half a million pounds (especially Great Ormond Street) when some of this money was raised at respectable luncheons. Keep the money and carry on your wonderful work!

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