YEP letters: October 31

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Today’s letters include a plea from the hedgehog preservation society, one lady’s view of Victoria Gate and a few letters on improving transport in Leeds.

Reading Thursday’s edition of the YEP it was refreshing to see how the thinking behind both the transport needs of the region and the subject of devolution have been brought more to the forefront.

MP Greg Mulholland is looking at the transport needs without the blinkers that have so constricted the vision of past council decisions.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) and the local councils should have more conviction to their purpose and much more ambition as to what the area needs. There seems to be a fear factor in the present officials, whose function it is to take those decisions, which would at least put some schemes on the table.

Coun Richard Lewis (executive member for regeneration, transport and planning at the council) has said that the money from the failed Next Generation Transport (trolleybus scheme) has to be spent within five years and that is not enough time to implement a mass transit scheme.

How many other major schemes, (some harebrained) have been forecast to be completed in five years? He is right when he says it is about the future of the city and as he says they have had a consultation on transport. My question would be: “If the majority of correspondents to that consultation favour a mass transit system will that be published and acted upon?”

It may be that we need to follow the process outlined in your “Comment” about devolution and the aspects behind it. I agree we must all get behind a united vision but who we are united behind? Should we be united behind a mayor of Yorkshire, where Yorkshire is the county as we once knew it before the 1974 changes? Should we be united behind an independent Yorkshireman, one who is not aligned to any political party? A Yorkshireman who believes in the county and its history and who will strive to see that the county gains what it needs in the form of business, trade, transport and local industries. That would provide the backing for the Northern Powerhouse to be turned into reality if the area is ever to prosper as it should.

Let us be more optimistic and ambitious about the decisions needed to take the county and our region into a better future. If the present incumbents feel those decisions are too frightening for them then move over and let those with the vision take them, or at least put them to the public to decide.

We have got to start saying yes

Rev Robin Paterson, Manston Way, Leeds

The Yorkshire Evening Post headline greeting readers on Thursday October 27 was: “Mass transport bid vital” - Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland has appealed to the Government to resurrect the dream (please note that word) of a mass transit scheme for Leeds.

Greg has to be applauded for the effort, but that is where the applause stops; Leeds City Councillors have shown themselves unique in misunderstanding the transport needs of their own city. The last 30 years have shown that to be true. They have been influenced by those who shout “NO”. We are a city that says no, unless it is for some glamorous consumer-led scheme that councillors can take easy credit for, but really does little to touch the lives of ordinary people.

The latest “no” is from Councillor Richard Lewis who, true to Leeds form, says “there is not enough time”.

The paltry dross from the trolleybus plan of £174m has to be spent in the next five years, so, Mr Lewis get on with spending it on those achievable individual schemes, such as a rail station in Hunslet, or a proper park and ride of which Nottingham has nine and York six. Councillor Lewis says that traffic moves “relatively easily along Leeds at peak times”. Really? Where was he a few Mondays ago when just about every major route into the city was clogged for about a mile at least. Councillor Lewis` comments and rebuttal of Greg’s approach is an insult to the people of Leeds who depend on a failing bus system suffering a crisis of low morale, driver shortages, and cancelled departures that should be attracting penalties from the Traffic Commissioners.

We have transport experts in our city of huge experience who have already made their ideas known. These ideals and ideas have been put into practice in our neighbouring cities and show us up.

Third world progress with mass tramway systems with the latest innovations are built in the time it has taken us to plan and build a still unfinished cycle track. As the cities of the world overcome transport obstacles, Leeds still shouts, NO, it is not possible here!

Small measures for big impact

Peter Dixon, Pudsey

Greg Mulholland’s continued campaign for light rail ignores the reality that the whole of Leeds is struggling today with congestion on our transport network.

He wants to put Leeds back through another painful exercise, which will cost £40m and lock up the remainder of the money.

This will take years to reach a decision and then, if approved, years of highly disruptive construction work that will close major routes out of this city. We need to spend £173.5m now on smaller projects like better paths, park and rides and bus priority schemes to provide the capacity relief that we will need when we start constructing the major transport scheme that will transform Leeds. We need to use the current consultation to highlight the issues and small solutions that could transform Leeds today.

Relief, but not gratitude

Chris Sharp, by email

While l appreciate Nigel Bywater’s right to an opinion (Look again at the Lib Dems, YourSay October 26), please don’t ask me to be grateful for the Liberal Democrats!

Although l agree with his estimation of Greg Mulholland being a good MP my view of Nick Clegg and the party in general does not move me to be thankful. They are, and will remain in the background of British politics, trying to be liked and failing miserably.

The abject weakness of Corbyn’s Labour Party is making Britain, sadly, a one party state. The Lib Dems are a long way from challenging anybody when it comes down to the real election, that of election to government. Clegg got there by the back door and became something of a joke when he had to break his pre-election promises . No Mr Bywater it’s not gratitude l feel but thanks that they will never seize power.

A shopping centre too far

Liz Goodwill, by email

How can the Yorkshire Evening Post wrongly report that Cath Kidston has arrived in Leeds for the “first time”?

Where have I been buying said bags for the last several years? Oh methinks Lands Lane.

On a further point, not everyone in Leeds thinks the “Lewis centre” (Victoria Gate) is a brilliant addition. It is one of the ugliest buildings I’ve ever seen and one shopping centre too far. Furthermore, it has decimated the Leeds market, an icon. But then that’s probably what Leeds City Council wanted anyway, so please do not presume you “speak “ for all.

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YEP Letters: March 16