Town’s answer is with small retailers
Letter of the Week: Angela Ellam, ‘Dewsbury Constituent’
There is much speculation that the proposed expansion of the White Rose Centre will kill Dewsbury town centre.
The large number of empty retail units is a visible sign that it has already suffered from the growth of out-of-town and online shopping.
So will this further development be the final nail in the coffin for Dewsbury? Speaking to a local retailer, absolutely not. His cafe opened about 12 months ago and is now a thriving little business. He is providing excellent service, first-rate food, sensible prices and good conversation. Something you don’t get in the White Rose Centre or on the internet. This is the key to the future survival of Dewsbury town centre – offering something different from the large city centres and retail outlets. Dewsbury needs more independent and speciality shops that will attract people into town.
So Dewsbury could survive. But more needs to be done to encourage and support start-ups and young businesses.
As the local cafe owner explained, one of the biggest barriers to setting up a new enterprise is the business rates levied by government. These are largely based on peak property rents of 2008 and disproportionate to potential revenue.
If the government cut the business rates for retailers, Dewsbury might have a chance. So it is about time our local MP spoke out for a fairer deal for Dewsbury retailers and supported the regeneration of the town centre.
Thanks for all burglary help
From: Julie, Chris & Adrian Bruce, Lower Hopton News
Following the burglary on Friday May 3 at Lower Hopton News we would like to express our thanks to everyone for their tremendous support over the past few days.
We were devastated to discover the burglary at 5am on Friday morning and this was looking like the final straw in what has been a long battle with the economy and the opening of another shop just along the road.
However, we very quickly realised the true community spirit and friendship we have in Lower Hopton.
We thank our staff, family, friends and loyal customers for the many and varied forms of help and support; we have been truly overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity shown towards us.
This has given us the strength to overcome this latest blow and our aim has been strengthened to continue in business here amongst such wonderful people long into the future.
We would also like to tell people that a Neighbourhood Watch scheme is being set up and would ask people to join at www.ourwatch.org.uk or call in for more information.
Once again thank you very much and we look forward to seeing you soon.
Come see our great park!
From: The Friends of Crow Nest Park
Re: Letter of the week May 10 from Helena England, Batley Carr.
In reply we The Friends of Crow Nest Park are in complete disagreement with the comments regarding the park.
Over the last few years the work that has been done by the park staff has been way past their usual workload.
Money has been spent on replacing trees which have reached the end of their life and a lot of work has been put into trying to achieve some funding to clean up the lake.
The shelters were replaced a few years ago when they fell into disrepair. There are people every day walking round the park and commenting on how wonderful the park looks, particularly as it has achieved Green Flag status.
In conclusion we would like to invite the lady to meet us and to walk round the park and show us just why she is so disillusioned.
From: Pat Crisp, Batley
I went into Huddersfield on business this week. Guess what folks – they have got several public toilets open.
All our councillors are busy campaining for other things, but not our Health and Safety issue. Does it mean they want Batley to go down the pan?
Politicians in need of crime
From: Malcolm Fielding, Dewsbury
This country is attracting criminals from the world over.
A determined, fair dictator could cut crime by 60 per cent in six months.
Democracy ends the minute your vote is cast. After all, Lady Thatcher, Blair and Brown were little more than elected dictators.
The establishment and liberal elite are not that bothered about crime generally.
It is a sort of ‘industry’ that keeps a million people in jobs – the judiciary, barristers, solicitors, prison officers, the police, social workers, psychiatrists, probation officers, drug counsellors, claims firms, and insurance companies etc.
Tony Blair swept to power promising “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” – some promise!
A lawyer himself, he was surrounded by them, his wife, Jack Straw, Geoff Hoon, Lord Falconer, John Hutton, Alistair Darling etc.
Is it fair to ask this – would any of the above want their friends in high places to lose their vast incomes because of a lack of villains in low places?
Remember tough police chief Ray Mallon in Teeside?
His zero tolerance policy cut crime by 60 per cent, but establishment figures got rid of him, while the public voted him in as Mayor Middlesbrough.
This is pure discrimination
From: Marlene Lees, Thornhill
I was so sorry to read about Jason Church’s distress because the toilets in Batley town centre were closed, but even more angry at the council’s lack of understanding of his and other people’s urgent medical needs to spend a penny when visiting Batley town centre. The fact that he was denied entry to the Town Hall facilities is disgusting.
We should be giving better access to disabled people as stated in the Disability Discrimination Act, not creating obstacles to normal living and adding to people’s distress and discomfort.
Situations such as this turn people into virtual recluses, too afraid to go out for fear of an accident!
I was in a similar situation a few weeks ago when visiting Batley Park with my granddaughter and found the toilets there were closed.
When I got to Batley town centre I couldn’t believe that even the disabled toilet was padlocked. The radar key couldn’t be actioned in either place.
Our town centres are struggling to keep customers and entice new traders. If the local market traders cannot action toilet facilities they won’t stand the local market much longer.
No-one asked local people if they wanted them closing. I expect the councillors who made the decision to close the facilities are able-bodied, without children, and have no idea of the problems this causes for the elderly, young mothers and disabled people.
Many of us could not walk the distance to the local supermarket. We shall all have to squat over a grate or, like Jason, look for a council wall to relieve ourselves against.
Fight the cuts
From: Wendy Senior, Dewsbury
The last consultation on the downgrading of Dewsbury Hospital Services is at Dewsbury Town Hall on Tuesday May 21 at 8pm, and I urge everyone to please attend and show your support.
A few more things I was told last week; someone was asked to assist a doctor as there was no nurse available to help; another couple arriving at Pinderfields Hospital received a phone call to cancel the appointment; someone else ringing approx 30 times enquiring about a relative’s condition at Pinderfields, before they could get through, and a GP surgery closed at Dewsbury walk-in centre!
Green to think service is free
From: R Smith, Dewsbury
Taxpayers – beware! With the arrival of the Bank Holiday, I decided to go into our ‘public’ parks for a game of bowls, the weather being for once inviting.
Upon arrival at Batley Park the offices were locked and the green was, sadly, in need of a haircut.
No notices re. available times were posted outside the offices.
Being determined to enjoy my recreation, I made my way to Crow Nest Park in Dewsbury; here the same situation existed, except there was a surrounding metal fence (locked), which surrounded the bowling green. No notices advising open times.
When I contacted Kirklees they admitted the bowling greens are only available to ‘clubs’ (ie the council tax payers are excluded but pay for the upkeep), but I could contact the secretary of one of the clubs, should I wish to play and, presumably, pay again – ie pay twice!
This is the same council who have closed the public toilets in Batley whilst voting to keep their annual fees and expenses claims.
Mid Yorks will cost lives
From: Dr Thimmegowda, GP
The Mid Yorkshire Health Authority’s spin, supported by Consultant Gynaecologist Miss Fishwick for changes in women’s and children’s services, is yet again astonishing to say the least.
Like many of your readers, I have yet to digest the ‘magic minutes of 15’ from the sick bed in Dewsbury Hospital to the ambulance and transporting and transferring to another sick bed in Pinderfields Hospital.
A damning report in the Mail on Sunday seriously criticises those in favour of changes to the A&E departments. This report highlights the catastrophic changes of the closing or downgrading of A&E departments. There was a rise of 37% more deaths since closure of A&E in Newark, Nottingham.
This report reinforces the research carried out by the distinguished scientist scholar John Nicholls of Sheffield University.
His research data in the Emergency Medicine Journal suggests that a straight-line ambulance journey distance with a median of 5km caused 6.2% more deaths. Therefore the distance of travel is directly related to the number of deaths.
This report, supported by many others, raises serious questions and major concerns to the notion that re-configuration of emergency care to concentrate services in a limited number of specialist centres could save lives.
The Newark study, Professor Nicholls’ research and other studies are testimonial, and leading politicians and the Royal College of General Practitioners have voiced their grave concerns.
Therefore closures and the downgrading of A&E departments must be halted until a national evidence based study is undertaken.
The Mid Yorkshire Health Authorities’ consultation process is flawed and there are signs already introducing changes by the back door.
North Kirklees Clinical Commission Group has full responsibility for saving lives locally and I appeal to them to stop these atrocious changes of downgrading A&E departments and changes to women and children’s services.
They have the ultimate responsibility to answer questions when lives are lost in North Kirklees.