YEP letters: Saturday September 2, 2016

Have your say

Has the HS2 train left the station? Why we cannot stop people on benefits from keeping pets and why fines do not seem to be working for companies who make nuisance cold calls.

These are just some of your opinions on our letters page today.

You can read them here and you can send in your own responses or observations on these or any other topic to

Lifelines for the River Aire

Coun Elizabeth Nash, City and Hunslet ward

We have had a very tragic weekend with people drowning at different coastal resorts.

It is timely that it should be drawn to the attention of the public that the River Aire in the centre of Leeds in my ward of City and Hunslet, is extremely dangerous. Each year there are between 10 and 20 deaths by people falling into the river.

Most deaths are caused by people who have had too much to drink and are careless of the danger, but others are caused by suicide, high jinks and accidental tumbles.

It is not drowning which causes death but hypothermia. The River Aire, even in summer, is very cold indeed. Within a couple of minutes blood drains from the limbs to protect the vital organs making it impossible for victims to swim to shore. The City Council`s Riverside Working Group with the assistance of the Highways Department, is funding the erection of 12 throw lines for victims to grab. These lines will be contained in sealed boxes similar to defibrillator boxes with a telephone number to ring to open the box. The Fire and Rescue Service will automatically be alerted to respond. But it is far better that everyone should be made aware of this danger to prevent an accident happening.

There may not be anyone in the area who is able to throw a line.

Cycle lanes are not safe

Alex Gillies, Killingbeck

There was a time before the Banks hit skid row and the EU open doors policy went into meltdown, life was looking rosy! I could visit two of my favourite countries, Holland and Belgium. Where pedestrians and cyclist would meander for miles beside rivers, canals into towns and cities using the designated walk and cycle ways.

I would partake in my two favourite hobbies, mountain climbing and sitting outside a bistro supping the local sherbet.

The young ladies would cycle into town wearing lovely dresses, no helmets to spoil their hair and not to be sexist so did some men! Now I have a Super Cycle Highway passing my street and Councillor Lewis says that the planning departmetn “retro-fitted it into an existing imperfect road system”.

Would that be the same imperfect systems that they the planning department wasted many millions on to ease traffic congestion, with an obsolete tram/trolley bus system?

Reader if you are still unconvinced that Leeds planning department is not fit for purpose, read on.

Dame Victoria and Sir Bradley will squeeze into their Lycra, put on the shades, helmet and take the thousands of pounds racing bicycle from the spare room and hit the Tour de Suicide. Who designed a cycle / racing track between pedestrians and bus stops? OUCH!

Abusers are from all walks of life

Jennifer Bookbinder, Leeds

I DO not agree with Lennon (Your Feedback, Yorkshire Evening Post, August 30) and his statement that people on benefits should not be allowed to keep any pets.

What, not even a budgie? There would be a lot more dogs and cats put to sleep if this were to happen.

An awful lot of people waste money on all manner of things but you cant stop them,. But, at least, feeding your pet is a necessity.

Unfortunately, animal abuse will always exist, but the abusers come from all walks of life.

Calls unwanted, fines unpaid

R Kimble, Leeds

Several readers have written letters about nuisance calls. I get quite a few about accidents I’m supposed to have had, silent calls and their like.

According to Which ? Campaigns, 22 fines have been handed out to companies but only four have been paid since 2015. Which ? are mounting a further petition should readers wish to check it out and try more to make company bosses accountable and unable to start new companies under a new name

Has HS2 train left the station?

Terry Watson, Adel

Now we are leaving the collapsing EU , it is time to scrap the HS2 railway line?

Every conceivable argument-commercial,economical and environmental-seems to be against what has been called “the worst waste of public money for generations”.

The idea came of course from Jacques Delore in1993, in his quest for a more integrated Europe, in other words it was just political. His other disastrous idea was the single currency!

We cannot afford this ludicrously expensive white elephant, nor do we need it. Our present railway system is one of the worst in Europe and one of the most expensive.T he Dutch equivalent of HS2 has been a financial disaster with very few passengers using it. Our new Government must consider all these facts and cancel it. David Cameron would never have considered cancelling, he always put Europe before Britain. How he thought that getting from London to Birmingham 30 minutes quicker was worth what will end up costing close to a 100 billion pounds beggars belief.

Those that have, and have not

P Harrison, Leeds

In reply to K and D Ingle (Your Feedback, Yorkshire Evening Post, August 25), I have read your letters before and thought how fortunate you are to be in a position of not needing a bus pass or a heating allowance.

So many pensioners, myself included, are not lucky enough to be in your financial bracket, so we are grateful for any monetry help given by the Government to aid our travelling and heating.

Most of us have worked hard all our lives for small wages, and even though some of us paid into pension schemes, the reward when we retired was as minimal as our wages were, so maybe you should count your blessings and realise not everyone is as fortunate as you seem to be. In an ideal world we would all be able to donate our heating allowance to charity but as this is unlikely to happen in my lifetime or anytime in the near future, there is always going to be those that have and those that have not.

Town plan more than houses

Alec Denton, Guiseley

I WAS delighted to read some recent comments on the sustainable development of Leeds, and hope one writer’s ‘joyful’ vision of the creation of a new town is shared by those responsible for planning.

His views echo a number of those submitted in response to the Leeds Core Strategy, a document that appeared to be developer-led and largely centred on large estates sited in areas lacking the appropriate infrastructure. Our region does need a substantial numbers of houses to be built, but common sense requires that the bulk should be sited close to jobs and supported by a ‘fit-for-purpose’ infrastructure. A fully planned new town situated to the south of Leeds would be a once in a lifetime chance for a West Yorkshire solution to a problem that affects the whole of our region, and not just Leeds. It is a solution that will last into the next century and include potentially world class communications links. Is it too much to ask that our planners show the “vision, creativity and imagination” required to create “environmentally friendly, healthy places to live”, with access to an “intense business hub for work”.

Grammar system worked

Eric Houlder, Pontefract

As an eleven-plus failure, and thirteen-plus success, and later a teacher in secondary modern and grammar schools, I do believe that I can write with some authority on the subject of Grammar schools.

It must be remembered grammar schools were one component of a tripartite systems, comprising grammar, technical and secondary modern schools.

The selection for grammar schools was initially the eleven-plus exam, but what opponents (often deliberately) omit to mention is that secondary modern pupils who showed promise were entered for grammar school entry exams at several points during their school careers.

There was even direct entry to sixth form for promising students, without the need for examination.

The technical college entry examination was taken during the second year at secondary modern school, while candidates for other careers such as nursing were also examined there, but somewhat later in their careers. The system was not foolproof, as shown by the number of ex-secondary modern pupils obtaining Open University degrees, but it worked at least as well as the current one, and probably better where it was fully implemented.