YEP Letters: July 15

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Check out today’s YEP letters.

Towpath ‘happy harmony’ is under threat

Mike Harwood, Kirkstall

The Leeds-Liverpool Canal has been somewhat in the local news recently.

City Connect says (YEP July 9) that the present asphalt surface, recently added (I am not sure why) by the Canal and River Trust (the government-installed charity which has replaced the greatly respected British Waterways), is to be added to in busier stretches by ‘a tar spray and chip dressing suitable for all users all the year round’.

But what is at issue is the effect this asphalting (with or without chippings) will have on the speed and risk from cyclists on the towpath. In fact this ‘addition’ is a very thin layer of fine gravel embedded in the tar; providing, I think, no further limit on speeding.

In the same issue it is reported that this stretch of the canal has been named the best short cycle route in Yorkshire.

Living in Kirkstall, I frequently enjoy the canal between (and beyond) Newlay Bridge and Kirkstall. I enjoy it as a walker.

Historically, until quite recently, canal towpaths in general were open to the towing horses and to walkers; not, I stress not, to cyclists. .

The towpath provides a happy sanctuary, which can (or could) be enjoyed by all, free and safe from the threat of the internal combustion engine; the walker, the fisherman (very occasionally fisherwoman!) sitting peacefully on the bank; the courting couple and the ageing couple; the halt and lame and hard-of-hearing; above all by young children, who have so little safe outdoor freedom from traffic these days.

To me, walkers and cyclists share, or should share, the same view on these matters.

On the towpath a happy harmony could and should exist between the two groups. This harmony really is now under some threat.

I hope that the Canal and River Trust will have the intelligence and sensitivity to appreciate that they are not creating a race track for cyclists.

I hope that cyclists will appreciate that the towpath is not a race track; that this is not the place to be ‘inspired’ by the Tour de Yorkshire, that cycling can be enjoyed and exercised without aping Sir Bradley Wiggins. I hope that they will get decent bells and use them decently. Rules have been posted which should make this harmony possible; inter alia: ‘Considerate cycling is permitted... Ring with two tings... Pass people slowly....Give people space.’ etc. I hope that cyclists will start to honour these rules and the Trust will enforce them; and that the decent, considerate cyclists will help bring the mindless mavericks amongst their own into line.

Consumer ‘gets it in the neck’

Alan Thorpe, Whitkirk

Once again the government are threatening more taxes onto consumers, this time 20 per cent on food/drinks containing ‘too much sugar’.

Why is it always the consumer that gets it in the neck and has to pay? Surely this inept bunch of politicians should get a spine and confront the manufacturers instructing them to reduce levels of sugar in their products or suffer

punitive fines for failing to do so.

Closing centre would be tragic

A Hague, Leeds 9

I read (June 25) that a charity which helps elderly people could be under threat at Armley if Leeds City College closes three of its learning centres.

It is being done in a bid to make savings of more than £10m.

St Bartholomew’s on Strawberry Lane is one of those affected, which is a community centre and helps more than 200 elderly people a week and has seven paid staff and 22 people who are volunteers whose jobs are under threat.

Also the Leeds Council service Fulfilling Lives, which caters for adults with learning difficulties is also based at St Bartholomew’s, so it will be a tragedy if it has to close.

There has already been a 10 per cent reduction in charity core funding for 2015-16 so when reading of millions spent on student flats improvements it makes me wonder if this is why the elderly or infirm are getting less to cope.

A case of supply and demand

Paul Hill, Lancaster

Mel Smart’s letter (YEP July 13) paints a rather depressive picture regarding the sad decline of the railways in Yorkshire.

In the letter he states that the present fleet was built in the 80s/90s is insufficient and suggests that its decline is the result of a lack of forethought and creative thinking.

Yes it’s most probably true that those using the railway are only interested in getting from A to B on time.

As far as the companies running the railways are concerned I think it unlikely that they would agree with this depressive view.

I believe that it’s all a matter of supply and demand, if you can run the fleet as long as feasibly possible and reduce it to an absolute minimum along with filling it to an absolute maximum after you’ve increased the fares as high as possible then your buisness plan is job done.

I think Mel Smart can rest easy in his retirement, especially after the decision to renew the railway fleet in the South East and transfer their old stock to the North.

Memories of Kirkstall

D S Boyes, Leeds

Re: Times Past (YEP July 11) I enjoyed the story of Kirkstall Village, well researched by Mike Harwood, although one of two gaps which I will fill in.

Of the pubs on Commercial Road I remember all being open except the ‘Shades’ which had been converted into two shops. One pub not mentioned was the Station Hotel, which used to be at the corner of Wyther Lane and Broad Lane, and was closed in the 1930s so the licence could be transferred to the then new Sandford Arms Bramley (recently demolished and replaced with housing). The old Station Hotel used for storage by Kirkstall Brewery until it was demolished early 60s to make was for an industrial estate.

Apart from Mills and Kirkstall Forge, other major employers in Kirkstall were Kirkstall Brewery, printers Henry Jenkinson and Thomas Wade. My grandfather, an engineer, became an engine man at Kirkstall Brewery in 1931 living in a tied cottage at the side of the brewery until retirement about 1955. 1950s Kirkstall Village had the full range of shops.