Your Letters

All I see are services disappearing

 Letter of the Week: Wendy Senior, Hanging Heaton

Dear Sir,

Dewsbury Hospital Coronary Care Unit moved to Pinderfields Hospital on August 6.

I asked Dr Kelly, chairman of the Clinical Commissioning Group at their meeting last week in Cleckheaton, which specialist services would be left at Dewsbury Hospital, he told me the hospital would be thriving after the reconfiguration.

As I see it, it will be a day care centre with a few clinics there. Intensive care and high dependency are to follow shortly.

Dr Kelly did not give me an answer to how many specialist services are available at Dewsbury Hospital perhaps because there aren’t any.

If only we could save the A&E department from the downgrading the trust and CCG boards have planned, as I cannot see Dewsbury Hospital being viable without its A&E unit.

Steve Brennan, the chief financial officer for Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, told people at the CCG meeting it was going to be a difficult year.

There are many services at risk. There is also a risk that services in the new Care Closer To Home contract, given to Locala to start in October 2015, may not be in place.

Why was Locala given this contract if they have problems delivering services on time? It is so worrying how quickly the trust and CCG groups are making decisions for changes to the Coronary Care Unit, and also on disabled people with blue badges having to pay for parking.

Everything looks a mess at our hospitals, and the people running them are out of order asking for expensive advice.

This money should be spent on patients, not on Ernst & Young.

The trust and CCG board members should be able to make decisions themselves – if they cannot they should step down.

All I can see is services being taken away from Dewsbury Hospital, nothing replaced.


Supposed to save money?

From: A disgusted Kirklees ratepayer

Dear Sir,

So this penny-pinching Labour-run Kirklees Council (who by the way couldn’t run a sweet shop) have in their latest round of service cuts a change to bin collections, among which includes proposals not to empty overflowing or what they consider too heavy bins.

So this is supposed to save money? I don’t think so. To me it’s just another exercise to lay blame on this Conservative government’s policy of cuts to services.

Firstly, it will only encourage fly tipping of the kind I’ve personally experienced, where people with excess rubbish go round dumping it in other people’s bins, leaving them overweight or overflowing, which the council would then leave unemptied.

Imagine families with kids, with no means of transport to get to a council dump, what are they to do? Leave it to attract rats and vermin?

You lot who couldn’t organise a pee-up in a brewery take the biscuit.

I just hope they dump it on the council building’s doorstep. Leeds, Wakefield, Harrogate and Calderdale have had to make cuts, but Kirklees is the worst council.

For a start, do your job properly and try reducing your expenses.


Will they admit they’re wrong?

From: Darren Whitley, Cleckheaton

Dear Sir,

What an interesting story in the local news this weekend.

Our local Labour Party in Dewsbury appear to have been summonsed by Labour-run Kirklees Council.

Quite rightly so, after all we all know that we should pay our rates.

However, this does raise more important issues, especially following recent and not-so-recent events.

Between 1997 and 2010, Labour were in charge of the country. They left power with the country almost bankrupt, and with mountains of debt.

But, it wasn’t the fault of Labour, on that occasion, bankers got the blame.

More recently, Michael Hutchinson, the Labour Party candidate for Mirfield Town Council, failed to follow the requirements in law, and hence was refused his seat on the council due to him failing to make the necessary declarations.

But, on this occasion it was not his fault, but that of the Conservative majority on the council.

Now we hear that the Dewsbury branch of Labour are in arrears with business rates on the local party office.

Guess what though, it is not their fault, but that of the local borough council following their asking for the bill to be sent elsewhere but their own offices.

I wonder when Labour will find a moral backbone, and actually admit that they can be in the wrong themselves?


Homes plan is a debacle

From: Derek Cartwright, Soothill

Dear Sir,

“I cannot believe it!”

A letter arrived in my letter box the other day on behalf of Coun Amanda Stubley ... Redidential Development in Soothill – meeting, Batley Town Hall, Wednesday August 19, 2pm...

I cannot believe it, as it states that “we hope that we can have the development stopped”.

I must live in a parallel universe from councillors, but there is no reason why readers should know as much about this development as a councillor should.

We are not writing here of the next ‘Local Plan’ that involves 1,900 homes around Upper Soothill to the Babes, as here the previous UDP is involved and this is for an additional 400 homes.

The UDP was adopted only 16 years ago, on March 1 1999, and in 2007 the Secretary of State issued a directive where parts could be carried forward.

Over 20 years ago I first went to a meeting a Batley Town Hall where residents opposed the Grange Road development. Roughly there were three parts to that plan: 1) Grange Road and an industrial estate; 2) First phase of a housing development; 3) Second phase of a housing development.

Many objectors then focused on the road and the industrial estate – then the industrial estate did not get passed. (Funny the sheds got built!)

When objectors turned their attention to the housing aspects, we were told that unless our original objections included the housing, you could not make a further objection

The Soothill UDP included phases, though only the first housing phase went ahead.

The third stage, the second housing phase was to involve not just houses but shops and a GP surgery.

Sixteen years on the second phase is only now being spoken of for immediate build.

These plans are essentially the Labour Party’s plans, so if you voted Labour you voted for the plans.

If you live in Soothill and joined the Chidswell group’s protest you agreed that development should be on the Soothill side of Leeds Road, because that’s what they advocated in their objection to the council.

“I cannot believe it!”, the sheer gall of Labour councilors at this late stage wanting to stop their own plans which involves 30,000 homes for Kirklees.

If the strategy is to go ahead then many of those homes have to be round here, as any jobs are likely to be in Leeds.

Where were these councillors were on the afternoon of the September 18 2013? A few were there at the start of the meeting at 10am but in the interesting afternoon, they were almost to man absent.

That was when Roland Punshon, the examining inspector, kicked the Local Plan into touch.

He stated that Labour’s plan was not evidence-based and did not meet the local needs they had identified.

They had further not consulted enough with neighbouring councils.

This is all at first a strategic argument and from Kirklees’ own figures I can argue that employment in Kirklees is not sufficient to make a case for local low-cost housing association properties being sustainable.

What I cannot argue about is the future population figures for Kirklees and they are in their document ‘The Kirklees Demographic Analysis and Forecast Report (Sept 2014)’ – not that I am convinced by them.

“I cannot believe it!” for 20 years I have argued against Labour’s plans and been heckled by Labour councillors in Huddersfield’s chamber for my trouble and for repeating to them their fact sheets’ employment figures!

Because if employment has not been going up, under their government’s rules the houses were not sustainable for the Local Plan.

You have probably not attended many of these meetings but separate groups for different Kirklees areas all made the case that in their area the natural environment would be damaged, and there were insufficient roads, schools, and general public services.

There is no mention now of getting the Local Plan approved by an independent inspector.

Why then have a public meeting at such a late stage chaired by someone responsible for the very plan under discussion?

They need to gather support from their own ranks, not from the public who they have in reality ignored.

They have a public consultation and then ignore the feedback. To me they have to visit and prove that the population figures will justify this housing need.


Help protect grass verges

From: Danny Webb, Batley

Dear Sir,

It’s not often that I get a bee in my bonnet but I would urge readers to think twice before parking on grass verges and to appreciate the environmental dangers.

The grass verge provides a massive range of environmental and social benefits but they are becoming increasingly under threat in some neighbourhoods that are being used for car parking, caravans, and skips.

Many of these grassed lawns are an icon of our communities and we neglect them at our own peril.

We have hundreds of grass verges outside many properties throughout West Yorkshire, the majority of which are in local housing locations.

Scores of these are taken care of and cut painstakingly by local residents, who take a pride in preserving and maintaining these to a high standard.

Local council teams used to help in working towards maintaining their upkeep, but it is ultimately local residents that take responsibility for these.

I want to stress the importance of grass verges to all residents across the area.

Many people are not aware that grass verges help to prevent flash flooding, cool temperatures, absorb carbon dioxide which is converted into oxygen and provide a natural environment for birds, animal and insects.

They help to prevent certain allergic reactions by trapping pollen and other triggers into the lawn surface.

Not maintaining our grass verges is detrimental to our environment and I hope this simple message has planted the seeds in your mind in helping to maintain all these areas for the benefit of the community in general.

Ed was wrong and must apologise

From: Elyas Patel, Savile Town

Dear Sir,

Ding ding – Round 2! Re. Ed Lines Friday August 7.

Thank you for kindly printing my letter ‘setting the record straight’ in last week’s forum.

I am compelled to write to you once more because true to for’ Danny just could not resist taking cheap pot shots at my day job in his column in reply.

It seems alas that lazy and inept journalism is rapidly becoming Danny’s thing.

Had he exercised even the slightest care in doing his homework and had properly researched my web-based profile he would have discovered that I was in fact part of the successful prosecution team and not the defence as he claimed in both the cases he referred to.

For Danny to then seek to sully my reputation by sniping at my professional integrity in these terms: “... But as he says himself, that’s his job – defending Muslims, with whatever explanation he can dream up, like being possessed by spirits.”

It really is a bridge too far and quiet frankly unforgivable.

Such views have more than the potential for damaging my professional integrity and reputation which I have worked very hard over very many years to cultivate.

To seek to tarnish that reputation based upon half-cocked Googling is the show of a desperate and despicable man.

I’m sorry but I am not going to mince my words. They are quiet deliberate and intended to convey the deep sense of hurt and outrage I have been caused.

As Danny himself acknowledges I do indeed know the libel laws!

But luckily for him I am not so bitter or twisted as to deprive even his like of at least one reasonable opportunity to make amends.

I’m thus prepared to keep for now my know-how of libel laws up my Barrister’s gown. So don’t panic Danny, not just yet anyway!

But on any view Danny you’ve dropped another mammoth one, if I may respectfully say so, and for that you owe me an unequivocal and unreserved public apology.

If you are half the man you boast of being you’ll readily eat humble pie.

Anyway, when I wrote a letter to The Press I did so as a resident of Savile Town and not as the Islamic Institute’s lawyer. The fact that Danny resorted to hurling such cheap and baseless insults around my day job is yet another show of what be has sadly become.

Yes I’m a barrister and a proud one at that and yes I’ve spent my working days prosecuting and at times also defending the worst of them.

As a barrister at law it is my duty to do so. As for the two cases cited – it was precisely my ‘Muslim perspective’ that soon put paid to the incredulous nonsense that this particular defendant and later his family were seeking to peddle. It was they, whom the Jury rightly found, were the EVIL spirits!

Anyways, what has any of that got to do with me writing a letter in response to the original and incredibly ‘limp’ piece against the Markazi Mosque that Danny penned.

A good litmus test of human intellectual failing is the speed at which during any civilised discussion the inadequates amongst us resort to personal attack and innuendo.

It’s usually all the more so when they have no answer to give or none that would stand up to scrutiny. I’m not going to insult the intelligence of The Press readership. I’m sure they know all too well Danny’s drill by now.

Anyone who has followed that which flows from his paralysing pen will know that his default position is always ‘personal attack’ against anyone who dare stand up to his warped world view.

Is it a wonder no-one in these parts wants to engage with The Press when this is how he routinely behaves.

As for his invitation for me to write regularly for The Press, after this ‘stunt’ of his – in the words of Ricky Gervais, “Are you having a laugh?!” Thanks but no thanks I’ll stick to lawyering and leave journalism to the real pros.

Talking of pros, there is a good team now assembled at The Press. David Bentley, the editor, is one such person.

Why as editor is he not doing ‘Ed Lines’, I ask? I expect Danny is a constant thorn in his ‘wotsits’ and his interference in the paper is probably about as welcome as that of a maverick football club owner sticking his oar in the manager’s running of the team.

But when that interference becomes a constant and cringing embarrassment as Danny’s surely has, it’s time to step aside I think. Surely Mrs L can find things for him to do around the Lockwood Mansion.

Ah well enough said. Let’s not squabble (he said/I said) like playground kids in the columns of a local paper.

For once in your journalistic life Danny do the honourable thing. Without qualication and demur have the humility to apologise for a wholly unwarranted attack against my professional integrity which not only is and was completely without foundation but was gratuitously made simply because I had the temerity to stand up to the rubbish you churned out.

I’m sure from your previous and painful brushes with ‘libel law’ you of all people will not need lecturing on the importance of apologising for the purposes of mitigating against any potential libel losses.


DL writes: If I have misrepresented Mr Patel in any way, I am more than happy to apologise and retract the incorrect statement.

However, and while accepting Mr Patel’s jibes about the perils of Googling people, I would point out that the information I took was not from a random internet search, but from his own profile page, on his employers’ website. He writes that in “both” cases I referred to he acted for the prosecution.

My apologies if the Shezad Khan case was misinterpreted, Mr Patel. The following extract might explain why, however:



“Elyas was called to the bar in 1991 and specialises in criminal law. Practising exclusively in defence work, Elyas has particular interest and experience of dealing with cases bearing an Islamic perspective. Elyas is multilingual and speaks both Urdu and Gujarati. Elyas has a true understanding of today’s multicultural society and is often praised for the empathy and understanding he shows to his clients.

He is often instructed in serious criminal cases; and has experience of a multitude of offences including homicide, firearms offences, operational conspiracies, sexual offences, serious fraud and multi-handed public order offending. Elyas was the Sweet and Maxwell Law Prize winner and also the winner of the Gooderson Memorial Award (St Catherine’s College, University of Cambridge). Elyas was born in West Yorkshire and continues to live there.”


And regarding the Lee Massey case:

“R v Baghat Fayzulla and others (December 2004/January 2005) Junior representing an Iraqi Kurdish defendant who was charged with 13 others from the same ethnic community following serious street disorder and violence (knives/baseball bats deployed against one another and 1 victim deliberately run over causing life-long brain damage and serious physical disability) between the Kurdish and indigenous white communities in the Ravensthorpe area of Dewsbury. The entire case turned against the Defendant I represented on the correctness of one or more identifications of him. After a six week trial presided over by HH Judge McCallum a defence submission of no case to answer was upheld at the close of the prosecution case.”

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