YEP Letters: October 30

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Check out today’s YEP letters

City parking enforcement is fair and efficient

Coun Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Transport and Planning

I have been very interested to read your recent articles on parking services, but left feeling that some context was needed.

One report chose to highlight the total number of tickets cancelled in Leeds. The vast majority of these tickets were correctly issued but have been cancelled due to mitigation, where the motorist has broken the rules but we’ve accepted their explanation- for example they had a permit but had forgotten to display it.

A comparison with other cities also seemed to be missing, even though I believe this information was available. To clarify, Leeds is the second largest council area in the country and therefore it is not surprising that we issue a lot of parking tickets compared to others. We cancel seven per cent of those issued, which is better than similar cities, for example Manchester cancel eight per cent of tickets, Sheffield eight per cent, Bristol 10 per cent and Newcastle 13 per cent.

Similarly the article on written off debt did not establish the context. Due to unregistered vehicles, out of date DVLA records, people moving address etc, it is simply not possible to recover a significant number of parking penalties and therefore it is necessary to write off the debt. Again our performance is not out of step with other cities.

Parking enforcement is, of course, necessary for the functioning of the city and I believe that we can show we administer it in a fair and efficient way.


Not a growth industry...

Hon Alderman Don Townsley, Whitkirk

As a former Leeds City Councillor, a chartered engineer, a chartered manager and a practical professional with a lifetime’s proven international track record in manufacturing and consultancy on projects ranging from Docklands Light Railway through Heathrow Express, Channel Tunnel etc. to Technical Adviser to the Spanish Government on High Speed Trains I find Gary Scholes’ endorsement of the NGTs leader’s dismissal of opponents to the scheme as ‘stakeholders unable to make informed choices’ (YEP letters October 28) and his vilification of Christopher Todd both insulting and obscene.

Many letters have been published in this newspaper and others, mainly against the scheme and mainly the concerns of residents along the A660 route who see much of their way of life at risk for no convincingly put forward advantage. This is understandable and perfectly valid.

But the real issue is not about trees or individual personal lifestyle. For our £250million we would have, by 2021(?), twenty Right Hand Drive trolley buses, unique and unusable anywhere else in the world with no resale value, plus an unspecified amount of very expensive dedicated infrastructure.

In the year 2000 there were 40,665 trolleybuses in service throughout the world of which over 75 per cent operated in the former Soviet Bloc countries and a large number of these and others operated in countries where a cheap supply of hydroelectric power was available. There were roughly 2000 in Western Europe and a similar quantity in North America. By 2012 the world population had dropped 32 per cent to 27,814. Not the growth industry that NGT disingenuously claim.

At the Turkish trolleybus meeting, at which our NGT leader was a Vice Chairman, there was an admission that the overhead wires would soon be rendered obsolete.

Be careful what you wish for

R Bates, Leeds 17

While sympathising in some respects with DS Boyes wanting to see all UK police carrying guns on a regular basis (YEP Letters October 25) I really can’t support his view that restoring the death penalty would effectively deter potential murderers.

Indeed, I might agree in principle, but I’m very much afraid that no British jury today would have the moral backbone to send even proven murderers to the gallows - delivering instead a wholly gutless verdict of not guilty. And our modern judges, doubtless seeing released killers as little more than a lucrative source of future business for the legal profession, would clearly raise no judicial objection to any such grossly aberrant verdicts.

In short then, DS Boyes should be very careful what he wishes for.

Mediocre thinking

Keith N Baxter, Leeds 13

I must commend John Martin for his letter addressing the mediocre thinking of some of our elected members.

I think the problem is that our councillors don’t sit down and actually say to each other, why are we doing this?

Why did we spend millions on an art installation that keeps the Dark Arches dark with the added bonus of toilet flushing and gargling sound effects?

Why do we not have an integrated transport system or a transport interchange or, dare I say it, trams?

Why do we have snarling bottlenecks of traffic piled up at Swinegate and gridlock at the gyratory when minor incidents occur?

Why do we have to shut a major bridge to traffic when the wind is stronger than normal? Why have we chopped down over 50 mature trees in the Sovereign Street area and not replaced a single one?

As Mr Martin highlighted, it takes a real genius to relocate the Tourist Information Centre to a site nowhere near our railway station, leaving bewildered tourists roaming the streets looking for somewhere to stay.

Lords: right to reject bill

A Shipman, Swinnow

Prime Minister David Cameron appears to have overlooked the fact that he only has a small majority in Parliament, unlike Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, which hardly gives him a mandate to force through cuts in tax credits, a policy which is hardly likely to endear him in the ranks of low paid families.

The House of Lords, unelected as it may be, did right in rejecting the bill in its present form.