I was shocked by protestors’ attitude
Letter of the Week: Rob Barry, Cleckheaton
I had the misfortune of attending the meeting about Whitcliffe Mount Sports Centre in Cleckheaton on Thursday night.
I was quite shocked and a little appalled at the attitudes and behaviour displayed by some of the people campaigning for it to stay open where it is.
The aggression, perhaps fuelled by a clear absence of any kind of a coherent argument beyond naked self interest, was very disturbing.
When it was announced that the Leader of the Council couldn’t attend due to being in a road accident, half of those present laughed. This sort of unacceptable behaviour does their cause no favours.
I hope the sports centre is knocked down. Improving the facilities for Whitcliffe Mount School is far more important than the feelings of a handful of bowlers from Huddersfield or Halifax or Leeds.
The school serves far more people now, and will serve far more in the future, than the sports centre and it should be the council’s first priority.
I am surprised there isn’t more excitement about the council’s plans for a new sports centre at Rawfolds.
I am worried that this, and the redevelopment of the school, could be thrown into jeopardy if Kirklees allows itself to be put over a barrel by a tiny minority.
I hope it doesn’t come to pass.
Death of coal just doesn’t stack up
From: David Honeybell, Heckmondwike
It’s taken 30 years, but the destruction of the coal mining industry in the UK, instigated by Thatcher, reached its conclusion just a week before Christmas.
She couldn’t have planned it better herself, had she still been alive.
The reason being bandied around by the Tory propaganda machine is the cost.
They’re trying to convince us that it’s cheaper to import coal from South America than it is to mine it seven miles from the power station at Drax where it is burned, what nonsense.
The coal itself may be cheaper to mine in Columbia, but there are many other factors to consider.
What about the income tax the UK miners were paying, how much will the loss of that be to the treasury?
What about the loss of National Insurance contributions? Instead of paying into the pot, through no fault of their own, the ex-miners will be taking out of the pot.
The cost of unemployment benefit alone, not to mention any other benefits the men with families are entitled to claim for, must be counted.
It’s not only a matter of finance, the effect on the health of these hard-working men, being made to feel worthless and not needed nor wanted, could be devastating.
Then of course the local economy will suffer because there will be less money to spend.
The situation just escalates, and more people are drawn in. All these things must be taken into consideration when counting the cost.
Cameron has continued what Thatcher started, and he hasn’t finished yet.
The miners had to be wiped out, but they are only part of the Tory plan.
They will not stop until they destroy the rest of the trades union movement.
And at the same time they’re pushing ahead with their plans to privatise our NHS, and then with the TTIP agreement, waiting secretly in the wings to be signed, after which there will be no going back.
A very merry Christmas and a happy new year to one and all.
What a sorry mess this is
From: R Spreadbury, via email
I refer to the Kirklees cabinet meeting at Whitcliffe Mount Sports Centre.
This meeting was advertised as a forum where the cabinet would reconsider their decision of 2013 to demolish WMSC.
Once the meeting started and progressed a number of things became obvious:
1: The meeting was just a penance they had to endure as part of the slap on the wrist the council recently got from the ombudsman’s report into the legality of the way they took the original decision in secret without public consultation.
2: The four o’clock start was timed so it would attract only minimum attendees, ie retired people and non-workers. However the venue was still packed.
3: Their new report was published on the council website for all to read. Try to find it! Needless to say no-one had seen it.
4: They were never going to rescind their decision. That would make them look even more incompetent than they do already.
5: The initial decision was probably taken in haste due to the council running out of time for the submission to the Government for one-off free cash to rebuild Whitcliffe Mount School.
This secret decision avoided time-consuming public consultation. This was justified by the coverall of commercial sensitivity.
6: They have never even considered the impact on the various groups which use the centre. Basketball club, bowling club, five-a-side, cardiac rehab, badminton club, social clubs, etc. Some of these are renowned for their competitive success and training.
The cabinet just glibly assumed these users would just find somewhere else in West Yorkshire to continue with their pursuits, travel not being a problem.
Also other users will be able to use the new school facilities, the extent of which is currently under negotiation.
I assume for starters this will be outside school hours. So no morning sessions where you can train and have the rest of the day free. Everyone crammed into dark evening sessions.
7: The original plans included for building the school around the sports centre.
The building contractors apparently all told the council en masse this could not be done due to environmental concerns, ie encroaching on the green belt and motorway noise.
For all contractors to voice the same concerns smacks of collusion, but more likely it will save them money.
It is much easier and cheaper to level a site and build on a clear footprint.
Furthermore the council are proposing house building on green belt, and if noise is a problem for the delicate ears of our school kids then why not triple glaze windows on the motorway side.
Additional costs associated with keeping the sports centre included £500k for installing a new boiler since the current system is shared with the school. They have naively had the wool pulled over their eyes by the building contractors.
8: The council cannot get out of the current central government Yorkshire-wide seven-school reconstruction contract (preliminary works have already started in some areas) without paying substantial damages / penalties for loss of profit etc.
9: In general all their thinking/experience seems to be centred on Huddersfield.
The whole sorry mess is a complete shambles and the whole cabinet should do the decent thing and resign.
In addition the council should fundamentally rethink its relationship with the areas outside Huddersfield.
We all pay our council tax so should all have our fair share of the spending pie.
Not what we need in Batley
From: Adele Latham, Soothill, Batley
I have to raise the question, do we really need a ‘Bet Fred’ betting shop here on Commercial Street, Batley?
The town planners have rendered me almost speechless (and that takes some doing)!
Thanks to everyone
From: Tim Wood, Poppy Appeal organiser, The Old Colonial, Mirfield
I would like to thank everyone from Mirfield and Ravensthorpe who contributed and helped during the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal for 2015.
We took out to various different locations more than 700 items; collecting tins, poppy trays, wreaths, crosses and numerous other bits of kit.
Two weeks later we collected it all in again, counted the monies and stored it all away again for next year.
Thank you cards then go out with each individual amount on from each precise location: The afore mentioned is only the tip of the iceberg.
We have a stall in the foyer of the Yorkshire Co-op in Mirfield, where the staff always make us welcome; the cash donated there from the public does make a difference;
The public at large are always pleased to purchase a poppy and wear it.
Our local Army and Air Cadets and students from the Army Foundation College help out on the street collections, as do other individuals.
Some members of the town council help at our stall in the Co-op, and at the count up at the Old Colonial, our local MP turned up to give us a hand.
As a small branch, Mirfield’s ranks have been depleted by further losses this year; a lot of good people whom I have known and raised funds with over the last 20-plus years are no longer with us.
One of our more upbeat members remarked not long ago: “Your prospects under the circumstances don’t look too great.”
Yes, true, I replied, but I can reflect on my own mortality, firm in the knowledge that both our futures are firmly behind us, we have a gallows sense of humour.
Without the many volunteers who helped us out this year our local efforts would not have been as effective.
So on February 13 2016, we are holding a presentation and thank you party at the Old Colonial, the night before Valentine’s Day. We shall be replacing red roses for the poppy – our nation’s most proudly worn flower.
Thanks once again for this year, we wish you all the very best for 2016.
Our last-minute total for this year so far is £15,500. Cheers!