Such happy memories...
Letter of the Week: D Hirst, Dewsbury
In the late 40s and early 50s, Dewsbury was a vibrant town.
We had our own infirmary, maternity home, sanitorium, fever hospital, children’s clinic, open-air school, library and swimming baths.
As a borough we had a mayor and councillors who had chambers in the town hall.
We had our own court, police force, fire service, ambulance service, motor taxation dept, probation and weights & measures.
The town hall catered for weekly dances, and had its own display of silverware.
Dewsbury boasted five cinemas, the Empire Theatre and three dance venues, not forgetting two billiard halls. Shops of every description lined the town, which included large stores such as Marks & Spencer, Woolworths, Co-op, Bickers, J & B’s and Hodgsons, to name a few.
There were three public toilets (staffed), beautiful flower beds and a bustling market.
Coachloads were the norm. Throw in 15 pubs and five working men’s clubs to the town centre, and yes we had a vibrant town. Happy memories.
Even more traffic on Oxford Road
From: Jack Brierley, Dewsbury
It’s about time Kirklees Council became proud of its heritage and insisted that existing conservation areas were retained as such.
The site of a new proposed mosque is within the Northfields Conservation Area, and the proposals would be detrimental to the street scene in that area.
As a resident of this area for 70 years, I am well aware of the huge increase in traffic in and around the Oxford Road area.
Over the years it worsened when the old hospital was demolished and a large housing estate was built in its place .
It was then made much worse by the closure of Birkdale High School, and the inclusion of their pupils into Westborough High.
The applicants state they have 500 names in support of the application – they fail to say that at a meeting in 2016 there were very many objectors to the project, mainly local residents who do not want the nature of the conservation area spoiling by something totally out of character with existing buildings.
There is already a large mosque on Hope Street, only 500 yards away; another on Mallinson Street, about a quarter of a mile away; a further mosque on Swindon Road, another a quarter of a mile away, and another on Boothroyd Lane, approximately half a mile away.
There are now proposals to turn the old Birkdale School , another quarter of a mile away, into a school for several hundred pupils.
In effect, if this application is granted there will be a mosque or/and madrassah every quarter of a mile within, roughly, half-a-mile radius of Oxford Road.
There are restrictive covenants on the land in question, which include the fact it should not be used for religious or educational purposes in the first place – facts which already appear to be being openly ignored.
The highways and education departments have acknowledged, in writing, that there is a huge problem with traffic and parking on Oxford Road.
The selfish and indiscriminate parking during term time is bad enough already, but there is an area of land (the old tennis courts), which is up for sale for housing at present.
The full extent of the restrictive covenants are included in the sales literature that will eventually mean that if housing is built there, there will be even more traffic on Oxford Road.
Plans for mosque just don’t fit the area
From: Patrick Dennehy, Dewsbury
Planning Application 2017/91139 (West Park Street/Oxford Road) is the latest attempt to desecrate and degenerate the Northfields Conservation Area in Dewsbury West; something that has gone unchecked by Kirklees Council for decades.
The plan proposes the creation of a large new ‘mosque, scholl (sic) and education centre’. The proposals feature an incongruous tall tower and minaret which the applicants say fits with the profile of the Grade II-Listed, gothic revival church tower of Saint Marks further down the road. They also believe it fits the profile of neighbouring Victorian residential roof towers (it fits with neither).
The applicants also claim they have 500 supporters for the project, despite allocating parking spaces for less than 10 per cent of these numbers – in an area already blighted by parking and traffic problems!
Anybody who wants to comment on this application, which will dramatically and irreparably alter the historical design, appearance and ambience of the local area only has until May 9 to do so. The plans can be seen on the Kirklees website until that date.
MP should be allowed to prove herself
From: Maureen Prest, Batley
Unlike the politically weary (it seems the majority of the population), I find elections exciting.
I struggle to stay awake as the results initially start to creep in until it becomes a deluge of what turns into the measure of public opinion, sending whatever colour into government.
My feelings for the forthcoming election – we in this constituency have been rocked by the tragic loss of our representative less than a year ago; we have a brave lady in Tracy Brabin, who despite making a good start has had no opportunity to prove her worth as a good constituency MP.
As we are supposed to consider global issues as well as local issues as this out-of-the-blue election is thrust upon us, I am about to buck the trend!
We have a lady who has had less than six months to prove herself. She has made a good start, I have a good feeling, call it good old feminine intuition, I think Tracy Brabin has much to offer and she should be allowed to prove herself.
Paying their respects - maybe for the last time
From: Nichola Rowlands, Remembrance Travel, Royal British Legion
I would like to thank your newspaper for publishing my letter about Remembrance Travel’s search for all surviving D-Day veterans.
Thanks to the media’s support we’ve managed to find four times more veterans for this year’s tours to Normandy than we ever have before.
This year we shall running a further five trips, which have now started and will run until September.
In addition to the Normandy tours, we shall also be offering D-Day veterans, especially those who are no longer fit to travel to France, the chance to visit the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) in Staffordshire on the anniversary of D-Day in June.
All of these tours of remembrance have been enabled by the Treasury thanks to LIBOR fines, which pay for a veteran, carer and a member of the family to join a tour free of charge.
Once again, thanks so much for helping us spread the word about these vital tours.
Thanks to you Normandy veterans – now mostly in their 90s – will get the chance to pay respects to their fallen comrades, perhaps for the last time.
None of the above would get attention
From: R Spreadbury, Liversedge
Some more statistics to ponder over.
The kingmaker and Corbyn puppet master, Len McLusky just got re-elected leader of Unite, the largest (most powerful?) trade union, with 1.5m members. He achieved this by a 45.4 per cent vote on a turnout of 12 per cent.
Lesson to be learned?
Voter apathy plays into the hands of unrepresentative minorities.
For democracy to work effectively we all need to vote, even if as a last resort this means spoiling your ballot paper.
All votes have to be recorded but because spoiled ballot papers in General Elections currently count for only about one per cent of votes cast (approx 30 per cent don’t bother to vote) this statistic is not newsworthy.
If all abstainers voted “None” on their ballot papers then perhaps the political parties and guardians of our democracy would get the message that a significant proportion of the population are disenfranchised from the political process, and then maybe they would do something about it.
The right to have a say in our governance has been won and defended by great sacrifice over the years.
It is thus a betrayal of these countless lives cut short not to cast your vote.
Headstone scandal needs to be addressed
From: Name & address supplied
After seeing the photograph on the front page and reading the report about the desecration of gravestones at Liversedge Cemetery by council workers, it gave me the opinion that the person who ordered it and the men who carried out the work had no respect for the dead or their relatives, and if it had been done by a member of the public they would have been prosecuted for damage to private property.
I would think that the relatives have a good case for compensation from the department of cemeteries for not being notified.
Many years ago I had problems with Kirklees about my daughter’s plaque, which had been removed from her headstone at Dewsbury Crematorium without notification.
These plaques at that time were made of brass, and when I asked for its return it was refused. I reminded the person that I had paid for it and, therefore, it was my property. It was later returned to me.
Following my subsequent enquiries, I learned that all the plaques of the same material were sold for scrap.
Also, most of the relatives were never notified of their removal.
I would suggest to the relatives who have had their headstones vandalised by Kirklees workmen, and not been notified, to seek legal advice.
I am sure it would be worth the trouble, as I have already stated you have paid, it should be your property.
Finally, when can we have a referendum to get our towns and villages back from Kirklees?
If they go on selling off public buildings and land there will be nothing and we never hear what happens to the proceeds.
I wish those people who have had damage done to their family graves good luck in their efforts.
Come along and support a great cause
From: Tim Wood, RBL, Old Colonial, Mirfield
This Saturday, April 29, from 8pm onwards we shall be the proud hosts of the ‘Big Quiz’ on behalf of the Royal British Legion, the Mayor’s Charity Fund.
Jim and Carol Dodds, the Mayor and Mayoress of Kirklees, chose the RBL to be the charity of their term of office, which ends in May.
The quiz is general knowledge covering various subjects, along with a topical picture round.
The Mayor and Mayoress and the Mayor and Consort of Mirfield (all RBL members) will be attending and have formed their own team – named the ‘Knightmares’.
To enter the quiz it is £5 per person, which includes a hot supper of hash and crusty bread, or chicken rogan josh. A vegetarian and gluten-free option is available on request.
Over the last 20 years and more, we have conducted countless charity quiz nights for various organisations and have raised massive amounts of funds for various good causes.
On this occasion, the funds raised for the Royal British Legion by the Mayor’s Charity will be spent back directly on welfare projects within the Kirklees area.
So far, Jim and his team have raised over £55,000.
Please remember our local heroes and their dependents whom the RBL support year in, year out, please show your support.
The beer will be flowing and the quiz is set to put a smile on your faces. Please come along and support a great local cause.
Contact Tim on 01924 496920.
Dealing with despots
From: John Appleyard, Liversedge
The recent referendum result in Turkey which narrowly voted to take powers away from parliament to the president has been called a fraud by some people.
This follows a failed coup last summer after which 125,000 state workers were purged from their jobs, with a further 40,000 people arrested, with Amnesty International citing evidence of detainees being subjected to beatings and torture.
This of course did not prevent Theresa May visiting Turkey in January of this year to secure £100m worth of fighter jet sales to this despotic regime. By their friends shall ye know them!