YEP Letters: October 2

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In the article “Standing firm over girls’ school field battle”, (YEP, September 28) Stuart Narkus, representing the Morley House Trust, is quoted as saying that local people had made “significant efforts to restrict development” but had “various failed attempts”.

The facts seem to speak otherwise. The Trust’s application to develop both the main school site and the sports field was first submitted in February 2007. It stimulated a great deal of local opposition. The application for the sports field was withdrawn. The application to provide 124 dwellings on the main site was rejected by the council. The Trust appealed but the Government’s Planning Inspector rejected the appeal on all its main points. Ultimately, a much revised application for 97 dwellings was agreed last year. So the community has succeeded in restricting development on the main site.

This site was put on the market in November 2012, and is still up for sale. I cannot help think that if the Morley House Trust had been willing to engage with the local community, an acceptable planning application for the main site could have been agreed more quickly, saving the Morley House Trust a good deal of time and money.

A second application for the sports site was put forward in the summer of 2012. Very many objections were submitted and the application was withdrawn before it came to the Planning Committee. The most recent application has not yet gone to the Planning Committee.

You also quote Mr Narkus as saying that many of the reasons put forward by local people were “emotive”. If caring about the physical well-being of local people, and especially young people, counts as being “emotive”, I am happy to accept this description.

Alan Slomson, Leeds 6

Scourge of the pay day loans

GOOD TO see Leeds aims to be a city free of pay day loans. Wonga is clearly making money: their adverts have changed from pipe cleaner figures to “Pixar” type characters. The APRs of some of these companies/sellers are unbelievable. Their willingness to prey on the vulnerable just as highly unpalatable. I suppose some readers will see it as entrepreneurial and the fault of the people buying into them if they end up in trouble. Maybe so. Television plays a huge part particularly as Christmas looms. Did you know shops in some cities already had decorations and offers up before October?

Playground pressure stokes it up further. I’m the last one to support benefit scroungers but the behaviour of a minority is partly to blame for the recent “rationalising” of benefits with the result that many genuine claimants have suffered.

This aside, there’s enormous pressure on people who don’t have the money to satisfy the demands of children who don’t seem to know what the word “No” means – hence the proliferation of these parasites. And I’ve not even mentioned that in my day we were happy with a tangerine and The M & W Xmas Special . . . . . after licking the snow off the garden path, of course.

R Kimble, email

Inspired by school visit

ON BEHALF of the Youth Sport Trust and Sky Sports Living for Sport I would like to extend my thanks to the inspirational pupils and teachers who welcomed me so warmly at The Morley Academy in Leeds last week. The vision and commitment of the teachers was plain to see and it was wonderful to witness the energy and enthusiasm of all the pupils I met. They were keen to share their experiences and insights from their Sky Sports Living for Sport project - it was fantastic to see the power of sport in improving young lives in action!

In my role as an Athlete Mentor for Sky Sports Living for Sport, which is delivered in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust, I strive to inspire young people to be the best that they can be across all areas of their lives. I use a variety of sporting activities to get the students involved and active. I also shared my own journey as a professional sports person with the pupils at The Morley Academy and told them about the challenges I faced and overcame to excel in my sport. I encouraged them to draw on the British Athletes Commission’s ‘Six Keys to Success’ which include mental toughness, hunger to achieve and planning for success. I asked the pupils to think about the many skills and lessons you learn through participating in sport and how these can be applied to help them achieve all their life goals.

The young people I met on this visit were a credit to The Morley Academy and, as is so often the case in this job, I came away from the school feeling incredibly inspired myself.

Different sports inspire different people but one thing is certain, there’s a sport for everyone and finding it can be life changing. I hope that I have encouraged the pupils at The Morley Academy find their sport, walk tall, aim high and stay focused on reaching all their goals in life.

Paul Broadbent, Former Great Britain rugby league star

Socialist farce with Mr Ed

AT THE Labour Party conference in Brighton Ed Miliband took us on a fantasy ride which may have impressed the teenagers arrayed behind him, but merited a hoarse laugh from any British adult past believing in Santa Claus.

“Red Ed” wandered about with a loopy grin on his face as if he was taking part in some sort of reality TV show, while at the same time spouting socialist claptrap. All one needs to know about Mr Ed’s speech is that serial loser Neil Kinnock gave it a standing ovation. As for the other delegates, the majority wanted to go on strike and seemed to think they were living in Greece, or fairyland, where pensions are free.

People vote Labour because they always have and always will. They take in socialism with their mother’s milk and it stays with them forever.

Karl Marx observed that history always repeats itself, “first as tragedy second as farce”. If Britain falls for Miliband’s socialist farce, it really will be a tragedy.

Malcolm Nicholson, Barwick-in-Elmet

Viaduct walk beats NGT

THE RECENT article regarding Holbeck Viaduct and converting it into a “Skywalk” seems a commendable idea. It would preserve a unique part of our industrial heritage and also the second longest viaduct in England, at 1,230 yds long. The idea would provide a peaceful and healthier alternative to the fumed pavements that pedestrians are faced with.

It would also give access to extensive views that would otherwise be lost to time.

This would be worth 50 NGT proposals and something money would be better spent on. I am sure the majority of Leeds’s population would rather see ideas like this.

D Angood, by email.

Vital to be able to shop locally

IT MAKES no sense at all to create more out-of-town shopping developments as proposed at Thorpe Park. That is a commercial estate with no public transport from the east and will increase vehicular traffic on the A63.

Younger people with cars will patronise those new shops to the detriment of the High Streets in Crossgates and Garforth in particular.

There must be many like my wife and self who, due to age and health problems are not able to drive and are dependent on the excellent service given by retailers in their nearby main street – retailers who are already struggling against exorbitant Leeds business rates.

What do we do if they go out of business?

R Sudderdean, Garforth

Exterior of Wakefield One.'w315a253

YEP Letters: June 15