YEP Letters: March 25

Phyllis Bentley with her novel Inheritance
Phyllis Bentley with her novel Inheritance
Have your say

Check out today’s YEP letters

Share your memories of author

Diana Parsons, Ilkley

As part of a research project I would be very interested to hear from anyone with connections to, or memories of, the writer Phyllis Bentley.

Born in Halifax in 1894 she spent most of her life in the town until her death there in 1977.

A prolific novelist she is perhaps best remembered as the author of Inheritance, published in 1932, which was a worldwide best seller.

In addition she was also very active, almost up to her death, in the cultural life of the town.

I can be contacted by email at or by letter at 37 Rupert Road, Ilkley, LS29 0AT.

Horsforth needs to keep its green spaces

Tracy Stones, by email

I am writing as a concerned citizen of Horsforth to ask for your help to raise public awareness of the proposals being made by councillors in Leeds.

I am writing to urge readers to oppose the proposed changes relating to the Horsforth HG2-41 site numbered 387, 389, 390, 392 on the following grounds:

1. The sites are all green belt and the council’s self-imposed housing targets do not constitute “exceptional circumstances” required by the law to destroy them.

2. There is ample brownfield land across the Leeds City Region that has not been reviewed or included in the Site Allocation Plans, which must be fully used first.

3. The allocated sites will result in mass urban sprawl, merging Horsforth with Calverley and Rodley.

4. The unique views from the surrounding Conservation Areas and our local enjoyment and access to countryside as well as the natural wildlife habitats will all be lost.

5. The new sites’ neighbour, the listed “Low Hall,” needs a ring-fenced protection zone of no less than 1K around it.

6. The access to the proposed sites are via three single lane bridges which are on the Ring Road, the seven lane Horsforth roundabout and the five lane Rodley roundabout which will not be able to cope with thousands of new houses and the volume of cars from the surrounding houses.

7. The housing proposed to be built on these areas of green belt are executive, larger styled homes, which does not meet the demand and need for affordable housing for first time buyers, young families and professionals.

All of the present sites and proposed changes need removing from the Site Allocation Plan.

I chose to live and work (I have worked as a teacher at West End Primary for 24 years and I know first hand through the eyes of my young pupils how much they and their families value the green spaces within Horsforth) in Horsforth due to its unique feel.

A close-knit town community with lovely open green spaces.

We are in fear of changing the genetic make-up of Horsforth forever if we do not plan to keep our green spaces for many more generations to come.

I would like to ask readers to send their personal objections in an email to: including your name and address.

Make your opinion count. The council will have to share your email letters with the Inspector, who will then make their judgements based on the volume of officially recorded community opposition.

You can read further information at &

The opportunity to make your objection count closes forever on 27th March.

Don’t overlook Mo Mowlam

John Appleyard, Liversedge

Following the death of Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness and the contribution made by a number of people in bringing peace to Northern Ireland, one person’s contribution is noticeably missing, that of Mo Mowlam the late Minister for Northern Ireland. Mowlam was part of the team that brought about the peace agreement on Good Friday 1998.

She was instrumental in making a Northern Ireland agreement possible by convincing Republicans and Nationalists that this was a different sort of British government and when loyalist paramilitaries began to express their doubts about the peace process, Mo bravely visited them in the Maze prison.

She managed to prevent them from pulling the plug on the process. Mo Mowlam also pushed for the inquiry into ‘bloody Sunday’ in which the British Army killed 13 people in Derry in 1972.

David Trimble, leader of the Ulster Unionists Party called for her dismissal and he got his way. At the 1998 Labour Party Conference when Prime Minister Tony Blair made his speech and mentioned Mo’s name she received a standing ovation. Mo revealed in her autobiography she believed that incident led to her dismissal, she was replaced by Blair’s mate Peter Mandelson as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

Mo Mowlam’s contribution to the peace movement in Northern Ireland should not be overlooked.

McGuinness sensed change

Judy Goodwin, Altofts

I do hope all the people paying tribute to Martin McGuinness including our local MPs will spare a thought for all of those killed by his hand when he was second in command of the IRA.

Let’s face it, he only changed from bomb to ballot box because he smelled the wind of change. The people of Belfast and the Dublin government who had always offered them shelter, were tired of the violence, and after the twin towers in the USA where most of their money came from, that avenue dried up, he sensed changes and like a chameleon he changed, but underneath the same man remained.

Computers get in the way

Hilary Andrews, Leeds

I READ with deep concern Dr Dacre’s statement at the College of GPs meeting in Manchester that GPs are concerned about the safety of their patients.

Could part of this be due to the computer records that now have to be made at every consultation? I was recently at my GP surgery and the doctor was telling me of the day all the computers in the practice broke down. At the end of the day, all the doctors felt less stressed, they had kept to their appointment times and had really enjoyed actually looking at their patients.

They also felt they had more satisfaction and confidence in their work. I wonder if, like me, your readers feel a bit neglected when the GP starts tapping on the computer keys the minute you try to tell him or her what’s wrong and, like my GP, would welcome a return to the old face-to-face consultation?

Bus and cycle lanes to blame

S Stevenson, Cross Gates

I WOULD like to comment on the farcical gridlocking which happens in Leeds, not just at peak time, but all day long. I put this down to bus and cycle lanes.

The bus lanes are almost always empty while cars and lorries are gridlocked in the middle of the road. I travel down York Road nearly every day and I haven’t seen anyone yet use the cycle lane (what a waste of money) but I have seen a cyclist using the road instead.

Why doesn’t Leeds Council see sense? Do like Liverpool and other cities and scrap them.

Tax rise will not give NHS cash

John Watson, former Conservative MP, Kirk Deighton

IN the first Budget after Margaret Thatcher’s election victory in 1979, the top rate of income tax was reduced from 83 to 60 per cent.

It has subsequently been reduced further and is now 45 per cent. Almost counter-intuitively, the actual “tax take” has remained completely static. Thirty years ago, for example, it accounted for 33.9 per cent of all income earned. Now it is 33.7 per cent. Of course it is understandable that people on the left should want to increase Government spending and should proclaim that the way to fund such an increase is by higher taxes on the rich. The trouble is that it doesn’t work.

As has been recognised by Labour MP Frank Field, the tax system is almost at breaking point. Any increase in direct taxation is likely to be met by a reduction in its yield.

Spending more money on the NHS is a noble aim, but expecting actual tax revenue to rise to pay for it is increasingly unrealistic.