YEP Letters: July 23

Have your say

Check out today’s YEP letters.

Giving taxpayer something to cheer about

Lindon Dove, Tingley

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has made it clear that devolvement of more powers to local councils is dependent on them accepting the new role of an elected mayor.

At a stroke, he will add yet another layer of highly paid public servants to a top heavy, expensive bureaucracy.

Critics of bureaucratic organisations identify three major weaknesses. They are grossly inefficient. They are very costly and largely ineffective. The taxpayer has good cause to shudder.

However, with a more innovative approach, the Chancellor’s proposal could become a better way of delivering services at zero cost.

Decisions which are already made by a relatively few councillors should move up the organisational chain. It follows that savings can be made in those areas of local government. Leeds City Council could easily reduce the number of councillors from the current 99 to 33. Other participating councils could make similar reductions. Common sense dictates the abolition of the existing roles of Lord Mayor which are in any case purely symbolic.

Deleting the posts of the entourage of officers supporting these functions would provide more than sufficient funds for the administrative support to the new elected mayor’s office.

Finally, the job specification for the new post of elected mayor should exclude politicians and public servants.

The essential prerequisite for applicants should be proven and extensive success in private industry. This should be the golden opportunity to change the face of local government.

Let’s give the long suffering taxpayer something to cheer about.

Prioritisation of brownfield sites

Carol Lee, Cookridge

New policy announced by the government will see automatic planning permission granted on brownfield sites.

This is good news but will this make any difference to Leeds planners I wonder?

I have only to look around my area to see concrete where green fields recently were. As a Cookridge resident I attended all the planning hearings regarding Moseley (Soggy ) Bottom. At the first two hearings the plans panel were unanimous in their concern about the flooding and drainage issues on the site.

Assurances were given that “these would be sorted”. At the final hearing I was gobsmacked when (by a tiny majority) outline permission was granted even though the drainage issues had in fact not been sorted!

An extremely well-qualified drainage expert’s (not from the council) concerns were totally dismissed.

If any site is unsuitable for development then this one is. If full planning permission is passed at the Reserved Matters stage then it just proves that Leeds is hell bent on building on every green space available no matter what problems it brings!

Where are the back door lions?

Bob Metcalfe, Armley

Nice to read in Monday’s YEP of the efforts of the lads sneaking out of bed and walking into Leeds to see if the Town Hall lions actually patrolled around the building at midnight.

However if anyone ever did patrol the exterior building in the 1940s, could they possibly reveal whatever happened to the lions that occupied the plinths each side of the rear doors of the Town Hall?

As a small child I had occasion to attend the LGI on at least two mornings a week for several months. Those trips brought me in very close and friendly proximity to the two lions guarding the back doors of the Town Hall.

Once my treatment at the LGI had finished it was some years later and on leaving school at 15 before I travelled Great George Street again, this time to attend the Youth Employment Bureau .

It was then that I noticed, alas, the rear door lions had vanished.

I had heard nothing prior to or since the event so presumed a bit of restoration was ongoing, however they were never to return and the plinths remain empty to this day.

Now in my late 70s and on looking weekly at the extent of the ‘erosion’ of the front door lions, I wonder if a similar fate awaits these big boys.

Surely in these days of resin based compounds and the likes, a reasonably priced restoration could be carried out on site, thus letting us keep a wary eye on them.

I live in hopes that my friends the back door lions are at the back of an almost derelict council warehouse somewhere, possibly covered in old tarpaulins and other debris, with the staff not even knowing where they originated from, though far better that than making up the hardcore for the many city centre road developments since their time.

Queries over speed warning

Graham Braithwaite, Guiseley

Whilst I am quite wary of the dangers of inviting the fierce wrath of the motoring community, I couldn’t help but write to question the rights and wrongs of 
printing details of the whereabouts of various
speed cameras around
the city in your paper.

Irrespective of the allegations that these are merely ‘cash cows’ installed for purposes other than mere road safety, is it not the case that the driving (sorry!) initiative behind such 
devices is to actually try to slow people down a bit 
and thereby prevent further road traffic accidents?

And if at least part of the motive behind such cameras is to ‘encourage’ drivers to take their foot off the gas for even a few moments, isn’t that a useful contribution 
towards saving a few more lives and preventing 
further serious injuries on our roads?

If people are exceeding the speed limit, and thereby breaking the law, then the correct and proper thing that should happen is that they should face prosecution, and I don’t think it’s right that by warning drivers about where to kill their speed, you partly collude with them in avoiding them being held to book for their dangerous road habits.

If you really must persist in printing the details of the whereabouts of these devices, could you not also print a covering request that drivers also consider other people besides themselves, and that they ensure that it’s not just around these locations that they drive responsibly?