YEP Letters: June 24

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Check out today’s YEP letters.

Council needs to earn respect from community

Allison Payne,Kippax Parish Councillor, Sandgate Residents action group.

In relation to your article published on Monday June 22 entitled “Leeds: “Be reasonable” plea over housing vision”, I feel a duty to comment on behalf of the numerous community and resident groups that have equally been “pleading” with the council to listen to their voices for nearly three years to no avail.

The fact that council officials are now “pleading” with local communities to be reasonable may at last show that they recognise that local communities do have a say and are not happy at all with a number of the proposals being put before them.

Your article mentions that the council has chosen to ignore pleas to revise the housing figures down from the 70,000 in line with the latest ONS figures and community requests and have decided not to. What you fail to say is that at the Development Plans Panel when this was discussed in May the council failed to provide any direct evidence or methodology that their conclusion was sound, just asked communities to take their word for it.

They state that the ONS report failed to take account of new jobs which are as yet only aspirational and on the basis that ALL new jobs will be filled by new people moving in to live in Leeds and yet in their own transport assessment appended to the development papers for June 26 they acknowledge that commuting has a major impact on jobs in Leeds.

The main point I wish to make however is that local communities have on numerous occasions requested meetings and the opportunity to engage with Leeds City Council officials and been ignored or denied.

Initially this was with Coun Neil Walshaw, chair of the development plans panel and Coun Peter Gruen and then following the council reshuffle after the election with Coun Richard Lewis and Chair of the Council Coun Judith Blake, to date we have had no reply.

If the council wants local communities and residents to “be fair and reasonable” and show respect to the plans put forward they need to behave accordingly. Respect is earned and not just given and Leeds City Council is a long way from earning the respect of communities who are very genuinely concerned to ensure that developments proposed are sustainable and suitable for the communities they represent.

Perhaps if they engaged in open and honest debate with local residents instead of falling back on statutory requirements to consult only when they have to they would have a positive and inclusive development proposal instead of one which residents feel is being imposed on them.

I was at a workshop with the Outer East Community Committee on Wednesday the 16th in which the council was trying to engage with local communities on litter and dog poo and yet decisions which are fundamentally going to change communities forever don’t receive the same focus. Why is that?

Not all in it together

Mel Smart, Farsley

I am in great difficulties trying to come to terms with the government policies.They insist that the economy is sound and yet in Leeds alone there have been 23,000 users of food banks.

Their policy on housing and the right to buy benefitted those, including myself, who did.

And yet none of the council houses sold were replaced meaning that there are 40,000 alone in Leeds who are on the housing waiting list.

That is the equivalent of the population of Halifax waiting for a house.

They say we are all in it together.

Who are these WE? It can only be the rich because David Cameron is from a rich background so he must be referring to his fellow rich.

Why are the Tories intent on the privatisation of the NHS? Is it because they want to adopt the American system where the mighty dollar rules and if you have no health insurance, you die.

What about the other 68 million of us who are not in it together. My heart bleeds.

Recycling fine for council?

Kevin Wilson, Leeds 11

Some time ago I believe fines were introduced for local authorities who failed to reach certain targets for recycling of waste.

Do you know if these fines are still in place and have Leeds City Council had to pay any?

I ask because, for the second time this year my green bin has not been emptied.

Not a good start to recycling week (June 22-28).

I know it’s recycling week because it says so on the council’s own web site!

If Leeds City Council are failing to meet their targets for recycling I hope its not the council tax payers who are paying the fines.

It should be taken directly from the responsible councillors’ allowances.

What do you think Coun Dobson?

Unusable cycle paths danger

Suzanne Rogerson, Leeds

I have commuted to work by bike for the last eight years 
and in that time experienced and witnessed several near misses with other vehicles, often due to motorist lack of awareness, occasionally due to poor cycling but also sometimes due to very poor cycle paths.

A cyclist was knocked off her bike at the junction of Rounday Road and Copgrove Road this morning (June 22) and she sustained a serious injury to her leg.

I believe that the cycle
lane layout, which goes off the road and behind a bus stop before that junction makes it difficult for motorists to see cyclists.

I believe that the cycle path layout is flawed at the following junction with the A58 and unusable in the opposite direction of Roundhay Road towards Roundhay park as the cycle lane is almost always blocked by parked cars during the evening rush hour.

I can see that Leeds City Council has spent time and money on more cycle paths in the wake of the Grand Depart and the Tour de Yorkshire but I don’t feel that the roads are any safer for it.

No support from Winston

Walt Emsley, Leeds 8

I doubt Sir Winston Churchill would be supportive of many of today’s rip off merchants, much less of the tax dodging multi nationals.

Katya Jones with her celebrity partner Joe McFadden

YEP Letters: December 9