I agree with the Yorkshire Evening Post’s view; seven years is a long time for Leeds to wait for the construction of the NGT trolleybus’s first line and the benefits it will bring to commuters and the economy. In my opinion it is too long.
I am sure that the local companies and organisations backing the scheme, which include Hammerson, Jones Lang LaSalle, Yorkshire Design Developments, Leeds Rugby Ltd, Allied London, Leeds Civic Trust, Bruntwood and Leeds Arena operators SMG would agree as would the significant number of people who expressed their support for NGT at our recent city centre events.
Yet, due to the rigorous planning process in this country, along with the insistence there has been that decisions on transport projects that will benefit local people are made 200 miles away in Whitehall, this is the timescale for major transport schemes such as NGT. By contrast if Lyon, another city that is successfully benefiting from modern transport, decided to extend its route today, the design and consultation would take one year and then work would start as soon as possible after this.
When construction work on NGT does begin, it will of course be much quicker and less disruptive than building a tram system, which is seemingly a preferred option by a significant number of the scheme’s opponents.
As is currently being seen in Edinburgh, building a tram line requires the excavation and re-routing of electricity, gas, telephone and cable utilities along the route before installation of the rails can even begin.
This takes significantly longer than the construction of a trolleybus route.
I can assure your correspondent Mr Dammone that the construction phase for NGT will be carried out in full consultation with local residents and businesses to minimise disturbance and inconvenience. In the meantime I would encourage him and anyone else who wishes to comment on the scheme to visit www.ngtmetro.com to find out how they can do so through the current Transport and Works Act Order process.
James Lewis, Chairman, Metro
How will NGT plans affect us?
WHAT an intelligent letter from John Dammone: in stark contrast to the information put out by NGT, he focuses on the very real effects upon the vibrant shopping and cafe scene which is Headingley today – I would also include West Park and Far Headingley. It is patently not the local people who have destroyed planning notices – we want everyone to know what’s happening.
Big business may support this scheme but we know only too well that big business is not what drives economies at local level.
Before being accused of self interest and nimbyism could I remind Leeds ring road users that they will be stopped at the Lawnswood roundabout to let the trolleybus through – and the projected number of vehicles is 10 per hour.
Margaret Thompson, Drummond Road, Leeds
Labour’s lost generation
WHENEVER THERE is a serious attempt to reform Labour’s 13 year profligate ‘something for nothing’ welfare culture, its the usual howls form the left ‘stigmatising all claimants’, especially the unemployed.
The unemployment debate is polarised between those who will not criticise any claimant no matter, and those who paint all claimants as ‘scroungers’. Many do deserve the latter, but most are not idle by choice.
Osborne’s scheme for compulsory community work for the long-term unemployed, and now certain 18-25 groups, again angers the Left who sneer at ‘forced labour’.
For too long dole has been dished out with minimal conditions attached, yet most advanced countries have benefits conditional on work or training to some extent.
Look around your neighbourhood and there’s public neglect and work to be done. Councils bewail lack of funds. No excuse when community tasks – and is it not valuable work experience for very many. What is wrong with only three days a week for ones benefit?
Labour allowed a generation to languish on benefits, inviting immigrants to ‘do the jobs ours refuse’. Public opinion now approves welfare reform, even some sort of workfare. No wonder Labour has changed its tune, knowing resisting would be a vote loser - but importantly not wanting to be the Party of the idle and the so-called ‘welfare scrounger’.
Brian Johnston, Burmantofts.
ON THE evening of Monday 14 October I had the misfortune to catch the 17.43 Leeds to Sheffield train which went via Huddersfield and called at all stations inbetween.
To describe the three coaches which Northern Rail had provided as being overcrowded is an understatement, at least 30 people were standing in my coach alone. If this sort of thing is the norm then it is high time something was done about it.
To plead to the powers that be for more rolling stock on our busy commuter lines is too much to hope for when billions are being spent trying to get people from London to Birmingham 20 minutes quicker, come on Mr Cameron get your priorities right.
Jonathan Hall, Morley, Leeds
A blooming good first effort
I AM writing regarding the brilliant news from the recent Britain in Bloom awards, held this year in Cleethorpes. In their first ever appearance at the awards Garforth achieved a magnificent result, securing a Silver Gilt in the ‘Town’ category.
The judges praised the Garforth team’s enthusiasm in tackling the challenge of regenerating the town at a time of recession and noted their strong working relationship with Leeds City Council.
The community gardens that have been established in areas such as Chapel Close, Gaping Goose and in the Diamond Jubilee Garden were heavily praised in the judges’ report for the high quality of the work that has been undertaken and the wonderful outcomes achieved.
As well as the horticultural achievements, Garforth was commended for its focus on environmental responsibility. Particular attention was given to the developments at the Library which have seen solar panels, sun pipes and a sedum roof installed. It is brilliant to see the local Bloom team take up these initiatives focusing on making the town more sustainable.
Cllr Murray, McKenna and I would like to pay tribute to all those who have put in so much hard work in order to achieve this result.
The appearance of the town has made huge strides forward over recent times and that is in huge part down to the magnificent work that is ongoing. I look forward to even more success in the future!
Councillor Mark Dobson, Labour Councillor for Garforth and Swillington
On your bike? Please be visible
AS I travel to work every morning along the A65 towards Leeds city centre, at approximately 7.45am at the junction of Kirkstall Hill traffic lights, I’ve spotted several cyclists wearing no high visibility enhancing clothing.
On darker mornings cyclists are basically invisible to motorists especially when they wear dark cycling helmets, jackets and rucksacks. So please all cyclists approaching Kirkstall sports centre on the A65, help me as a motorist to see you before I meet you on my bonnet.
Name and address supplied
Politics needs two little words
IF ONE wishes to enter the world of politics does one have to take an oath never to use the words yes or no to any direct question put to them. Watching many political discussions, those two small words are taboo. In terms of committal, the term “honesty is the best policy”, doesn’t exist in this closed world.
J Shedlow, Moortown