For well over a century Royal Park School has stood at the heart of the Hyde Park. Several generations of local people went there and many still remember it fondly for the sense of self and community it gave as well as an academic education.
When Education Leeds decided to close the school in 2005 we told them that birth-rates were predicted to rise - and they have.
We were told the building would be “kept for community use” which was our only consolation for losing our jewel of a school. Since then, there have been so many “ifs”: RPCC, Sure Start, Rushbond…
In November 2009 a group of local people decided to do the council’s job and repair the building, so the Occupation took place. Thousands of pounds worth of clean-up and repairs were done before the council evicted the occupiers. The judge praised the occupiers but had to enforce the law.
Thanks to the great support generated by the publicity (especially the YEP) the RPCC got the chance to raise £750,000 to take on the lease and refurbish the building. The Community Buildings Fund praised our business plan and offered £830,000 but only if we raised £1.8m first. This was obviously impossible through benefit gigs and collections.
In July we heard that demolition was imminent but Councillor Lewis gave us a three-month “window” to find an alternative plan. Miraculously, we thought this had happened when a local businessman, Manni Hussain, of Cubic Acquisitions, offered to take on a 99 year lease, and renovate the building for a mixture of community and local commercial use. Sadly, Asset Management failed to come to an agreement with Cubic Acquisitions and demolition is due to start.
This is a bitter blow for all who have given so much time and money to the campaign to save the Royal Park building. We can only hope for another miracle, for a last minute reprieve to get talks started again so that Royal Park can be saved for future generations.
Sue Buckle, Royal Park Community Consortium
Unfair share of trolleybus costs
FOLLOWING AE Hague’s complaint about the money spent on the planning of the trolleybus (YEP, January 1,), readers will remember that when it was first proposed in 2007, it was intended that the scheme, including a branch to St James’s Hospital, should to be funded mainly out of the Department for Transport’s Regional Funding Allocations, ‘with a 10 per cent local contribution’. Instead of which we are left with one single route in which local taxpayers are expected to provide a share of over 30 per cent of the costs, with no guarantee against inflation.
It is difficult to escape the feeling that our local council was ready to accept anything, however unsuitable or insufficient, simply to justify the money already wasted over the Supertram project in which the current route was the only part that was already contentious.
It is also interesting to see how in 2011 Nottingham was promised central government funding of up to £371m towards the total maximum cost of £570m for the two-line extension to the tram system there, even though the latter has been losing passengers over the last five years. Then there is the Edinburgh tram costing £776m, and which, we are told, will take eight minutes longer than the express bus to reach the airport.
Christopher Todd, by email
Why cars beat public transport
I THOUGHT of Nick Keer’s recent letter querying why people “don’t do public transport” as yet again my half-hourly bus service failed to appear. It’s plain and simple Nick – convenience and reliability. As a non-driver, I would much prefer to sit in a warm car in a traffic queue than 30, 40 minutes or longer in the cold and wet at some bus stop. When my husband, a car driver, decided to use the local bus service the week before Christmas, he was also left waiting for 40 minutes. Yes, the bus did appear, but because it was behind schedule, drove straight past the stop, showing ‘not in service’ leaving fare paying passengers waiting a further 30 minutes.
Many of us do not have a local railway station or six or seven buses an hour. For those who have a car, why would they want to use public transport even for short journeys?
Carol A Gannon, Flats Lane, Barwick in Elmet
John Lydon’s views on Savile
Apropos victims wanting a single enquiry into Savile: in 1978 John Lydon was interviewed about the new Public Image Ltd album.
In that interview he was talking about the BBC and he stated that the organisation was corrupt and that everybody knew what Savile was up to, even people in bands who appeared on radio shows and were not actually employed by them. He said everybody knew Savile was a sleaze and that everybody knew there was a network of paedophiles. Parts of the interview were recently reproduced in a leading music magazine on the re-release of the album. Says it all.
Tough start to life has benefits
I FULLY agree with the letter from T Watson about our feeble education in maths etc where mobiles are being used to answer questions instead (December 13).
Also it is wrong to tell children that there is no such thing as failure just because it may hurt their ego. Being brought up rough and tough (as many of us were) enables you to cope with whatever problems that arise in later life, instead of having to run for help every time.
A E Hague, Bellbrooke Grove, Leeds
In a political no-man’s land
IN RESPONSE to the letter from Malcolm Nicholson (December 24) I believe the majority of the population of this country are NOT lemmings and will remember the actions of the present government when the next general election is called, thus there is no chance of them being elected.
I am fortunate that to date their actions have not affected me but I am concerned for the majority of us who have seen little or frozen pay for several years whilst costs keep rising. I believe that the majority of us are worse off. This is typical of Conservative policy. Since 1945 a Conservative government never passed any legislation to benefit the majority of the population and they never will.
The problem for us, is there a political party which will look after our interests. The Labour party should do so but cannot whilst in the hands of the unions. It is a pity that Ed Miliband’s brother is not the leader of the Labour party, due no doubt to the voting system for the party leader.
Thus we are in no man’s land. There is no easy answer. We need a new political party.
MG Burbage-Atter, Rothwell, Leeds
THIS YEAR’S Christmas treat on TV was the foul mouthed “comedy” Mrs Brown’s Boys. Family show? Effing this and effing that.
Bernard Manning was funnier, despite all the expletives. John Bishop on the Christmas Show didn’t go unscathed with obscenities either. Comedy is disappearing in this country and I can’t even think of two quality comedy shows (other than old repeats) without a single swear word.
J Shedlow, Moortown
Crime in store
Regarding your report on the top ten Leeds crime hotspots: presumably it is entirely coincidental that many of the places on the list are supermarkets and that they are located in relatively economically deprived areas of the city?
M McGlashan, Granby View, Leeds LS6