YEP Letters: October 24

Red House Museum
Red House Museum
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Check out today’s YEP letters

Take more care of our heritage

John Appleyard, Liversedge

It’s almost two years since the Red House Museum closed in Gomersal.

This is an historic building which was home to the Taylor family, Charlotte Bronte was a visitor, as too was John Wesley the Methodist Minister.

It had an international reputation with people visiting from Japan, New Zealand and Europe.

It was revealed earlier this year by a Freedom of Information report that it costs slightly more to keep the museum closed than it does open.

This is ludicrous and it’s time we took more care about the wonderful heritage that we have in Kirklees.

Council on course to reduce target

Coun Richard Lewis, Executive Board member for Planning, Regeneration & Transport, Leeds City Council

Coun Andrew Carter’s letter (YEP, October 17) was a shameless attempt to give a completely misleading picture of the planning debate in Leeds.

Firstly, let’s talk about the housing target for Leeds. Coun Carter and the Conservative Group can never bring themselves to acknowledge that I instigated a review of the 70,000 housing target and that the council is on course to reduce its target to 52,000.

Ironically, a high housing target was the product of the Tory-led Coalition’s own planning policy, the National Planning Policy Framework. This instructed local authorities to use an approved methodology to identify housing need and a housing target.

This then had to go through a process of examination in front of a government inspector. Andrew Carter and his colleagues like to rewrite history and claim that this figure was too high.

What they ignore is that all the data around household growth at that time pointed to a high figure and that a lower figure would have meant the city having its proposals rejected.

Given that the inspector at that inquiry made it clear from the outset that Leeds should be ambitious, go for growth and ignore the recession, no one can seriously think that a much a much lower figure would have been judged to be ‘sound’.

Indeed, there were opposing camps at the inquiry arguing for 50,000 and 90,000 homes; as I recall, the Tories simply argued for a lower figure than the one the council put forward.

Now let’s look at another piece of Councillor Carter’s spin: his claim that an inspector recently ‘reject(ed) outright their (the council’s) plans to build on 33 Green Belt sites’.

No, these were sites that the Labour administration had identified as not being necessary to build on if the housing target was reduced to 52,000.

The inspector actually did what we wanted and said the sites could stay in Green Belt. So not a step forward for Andrew Carter, but for common sense.

Finally, we get Andrew’s statement that ‘the next step in our campaign is to finally get rid of the 70,000 housing target…one that Coun. Lewis has stuck to throughout this process’.

Far from sticking to the target, I’ve dismantled it. Rather than support my efforts, all the Conservatives have done is try and undermine them. Perhaps they could explain why to the people of Leeds.

Nor do they miss an opportunity to mention my name in connection with the higher figure, even though they know full well I was not in charge of planning when that figure was adopted.

I wonder why!

Long wait for improvements

Edna Levi, by email

Living near a main road I am a good witness of all the chaos being caused by the so called improvements for cars and buses.

The idea is a good one but why couldnot the “planners” arrange for this to be done in stages?

Instead, especially during morning and evening rush hours, the traffic stretches miles down the road with irate drivers banging on horns, knowing one lane traffic is inevitable and people are arriving late for work or appointments; even pedestrians are having problems trying to cross between cars.

Is it really going to be over a year before these improvements are complete?

Shame to pull down building

Judith Harris, Leeds 17

With regards to building the new children’s and adult facility hospitals at Leeds General Infirmary, wouldn’t it be cheaper to use the “nurses home” as opposed to demolishing 
it? Couldn’t it be adapted inside instead?

Such a shame to be pulling down a building that has architecture, and I’m sure colleagues have memories of their time as residents there too.

Responsible felling of our urban trees

Sir William Worsley, North Yorkshire landowner and the Government’s Tree Champion.

WHEN you think of urban trees you likely think of local parks or green spaces – designated areas of trees dotted across the towns and cities that make up urban England.

However, in reality, urban trees are so much more. Yes they’re shading our parks and playgrounds, but they’re also growing in our gardens, framing the streets we walk down and greening the places we work. They are vital and much loved, but the pivotal role they play in providing for our wellbeing is often not fully recognised. My role as the country’s tree champion is to advocate for trees everywhere, from the rural upland forests to those in and around our towns and cities.

Trees will stand the test of time, for this generation and those still to come, so we need to act now to protect our urban forests, by planting the right trees in the right places.

That is why we’ve released a new ‘urban tree manual’ – a toolkit to guide decision-making and prevent the unnecessary felling of trees in our towns and cities.

It’s aimed at anyone involved in planting and managing trees in urban spaces, from local authorities to charities and community groups. It brings together current thinking and expertise – with signposting to more detailed guidance as needed.

It’s clear to me just how passionately people feel about trees. And perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in Sheffield, where the strength of feeling from local residents about their cherished green spaces has been unprecedented in scale.

This has led to an investigation by the Forestry Commission, which is ongoing. I will be letting that run its course and considering the findings.

Of course there will always be times when trees need to be felled, whether they are dangerous, dead or impedin

However, as Tree Champion, my role is to work alongside local authorities to make sure best practice is followed when felling street trees, and to minimise the need to fell at all by making informed and educated planting decisions.

We also want to make sure the views of local residents are placed at the heart of decision-making, and they feel properly consulted on about the way trees are managed in their communities.

That is the goal of this manual – and what we hope it will help local authorities and all others invested in planting and maintaining urban trees accomplish.

The world has gone mad

Chris Sharp, Leeds 25

Has the world gone completely mad?

Kleenex are changing the name of their mansize tissues, Waitrose have promised to change the name of Gentleman’s Smoked Chicken Caesar Roll. Have none of the big companies or indeed city councillors and government ministers got the wherewithal to tell the zealots looking for an excuse to be offended to go away?