Your Letters – Friday August 18, 2017

Sign up for a Dewsbury council

Letter of the Week: Aleks Lukic, Staincliffe

Mirfield and Morley have their own town councils looking after them, so why not Dewsbury? 

Many local residents lament the decline of the town. 

Giving Dewsbury its own council again, working alongside Kirklees, can help to improve things and restore civic pride.

There is support for more town councils across the political spectrum, from the Conservatives to the Greens. 

It’s not about party politics, it’s about local decision-making.

I am writing to local councillors and political group leaders to ask for their support. 

But this is really in the hands of the people of Dewsbury who just want to see better for the town.

As someone with no political affiliation I decided to set up a petition, which has gained 250 signatures so far. 

This can be found online by visiting or searching ‘Give Dewsbury Its Own Council Again’ on Facebook.

I urge everyone to sign and share this link with their family and friends. 

If there is enough support then Dewsbury will have its own council again.

What about our views?

From: Brianna Mitchell, Cleckheaton, age 16

Why is a building that has been at the heart of local education for over a century going to be knocked down without a care in the world about how the younger generations feel? 

As a student of Whitcliffe Mount, currently in the process of transitioning from Year 11 to sixth form, it seems that the voice of youth has become redundant.

Despite the fact that the fate of the building has been condemned ever since December 17, 2013 – when the council made the resolute decision of its demolition – there has been no consultation with the students of the school. 

Given that the school serves local youth, it is appalling that they have not been approached nor kept informed of the situation.

Various reasons of why the foundation building has to be knocked down have been given since the decision to demolish was confirmed: it is no longer fit for its purpose as an educational building, it currently contains asbestos, etc. 

Even when all of these reasons are added together they do not build a picture of hopelessness for the building.

Although the Foundation Building’s intended purpose was to serve the local community as a school, after over a century of fulfilling that purpose it could be said that it is time to re-evaluate.

This building is cherished within the local area. 

The community values the memories that it has given the many generations over the years. 

The most under-valued generation of all is the youngest generation. 

Students who are at the school, or yet to attend, admire the building and are distraught that it is going to be knocked down. 

When it is gone it will leave a strange void: it is a building in which people have grown up, discovered new friendships, and most importantly learnt lessons – lessons that do not only encompass education but also values within life. 

For the generation even younger than mine it will leave a greater hole within their lives.

The Foundation Building is undeniably a rare building that differentiates Cleckheaton from any other town. 

Children will grow up in a town that has forgotten to treasure what makes it unique – a town with no respect for its own historical nor cultural values. 

If plans don’t change no more children will be able to experience the wonder of that building, in any shape or form.

With only a short while – until August 25 – to go before the old school building is handed over to Laing O’Rourke and there is no option of the building’s survival, I urge the council to reconsider: accept the land with the building upon it. 

By building the new school the future of local children’s education has been saved. 

By destroying the original Foundation Building our cultural heritage will be destroyed, despite not being necessary. 

The council should explore other alternatives for the building. 

It will carelessly destroy the potential memories for future generations, however it cannot gain them back once they have gone.

I was priced out of the workplace

From: L Ellis, Heckmondwike

Re the debate over stay at home and working mums.

I am sick of people who assume we are rich and that I am lazy for being a stay-at-home mum.

If you really want to know why I became a stay-at-home mum, it was because I was priced out of the workplace; I didn’t earn enough to cover the cost of childcare, let alone to also contribute to the household bills.

We were financially worse off with me working after I had children.

Where are these amazing jobs that allow you to pay the full cost of childcare and contribute to the household bills, whilst also giving you a sense of contributing to society? Sign me up now please, I want one of those jobs.

Far from being a cozy life, we don’t go out socialising, we don’t drink, we don’t smoke, we don’t go on foreign holidays, and we rarely spend money on the house.

We haven’t decorated in years and, no, we don’t get any benefits from the state.

We live in a tiny house, and when I am at retirement age my pension will be peanuts.

So all you women who say you have to work to pay the bills, tell me where do you work and how much do you earn to enable you to live the luxury lifestyle of being a working mum, because believe you me, there are no luxuries in having to stay at home, whether you want to or not.

It wasn’t a choice to stay at home, it was a necessity for financial reasons.

I think you will find that women in low-earning jobs who have partners all have to give up work to make ends meet after having children, and the only way out is if you have family who are willing to give up their lives to look after your children for free until they are mature enough to be home alone.

No need for costly consultants

From: Mr M E Roberts, Mirfield

Re the article ‘Turning Point For Market’ and the comments made by a Kirklees Council spokesman and Coun Peter McBride.

Kirklees planners responsible for several revamps of Dewsbury Market, at considerable cost and for no noticeable improvements, cannot be unaware that the destruction of Dewsbury town centre has been directly related to heavy rates levied on businesses in Dewsbury by Kirklees.

The huge waste of money and mistakes at Pioneer House were bad enough.

The proposed use of expensive consultants to provide a regeneration project is not what is needed.

Dewsbury town centre was fine the way it was, ask any residents and shoppers from in and around Dewsbury.

What is needed is fewer money-making schemes by and for Kirklees, and simpler, less costly, involvement with the shoppers and traders in Dewsbury town centre, designed to bring back the town’s original and much-loved character.

The town’s going to the dogs

From: Mr L Galert, Batley Carr

Dewsbury – just like Dodge City! I’ve lived in Dewsbury all my life, just when you think it can’t get worse, guess what? It does.

I went into Asda, picked up a sandwich and went into the cafe for a coffee, to be told: “Sorry, you can’t eat that here.”

“Why?’ I enquired, and was told Asda doesn’t run this cafe. What?

Then went through the bus station and complained to the security man as there were no lights on and it was depressing and dangerous as people might trip up, only to be told: “This is Dewsbury mate!”

And he was being serious. I said I know, I’ve lived here 62 years, longer than you, and I’m not your mate!

Then the window of Greggs, in the Princess of Wales Precinct, had been completely smashed; someone had broken into their premises.

I then looked for a litter bin to place my wrapper in, there were none. I was told the people who own the precinct won’t pay to have the bins emptied, so they had them removed.

This is utter madness, people now just throw their litter on the floor, brilliant!

Looking for a town centre toilet; the one on Longcauseway was closed. I had to make a mad dash to the market toilets.

It’s dreadful, no police in sight, no officials to complain to, beggars asking for spare change.

This town is terrible, and the council doesn’t give a hoot.

Councillors where are you?

Drivers are a genuine menace

From: D Hirst, Dewsbury

The stretch of Bradford Road from Hick Lane, Batley, to the Ring Road, Dewsbury should be renamed Brands Hatch.

Why? Because young people driving powerful cars are using the road as a racecourse.

Driving at speeds well in excess of the speed limit, they drive along the wrong side of the road for long distances, swerving to the correct side of the road when confronted by any oncoming traffic.

Traffic lights at red are being ignored.

There are a great number of side roads, garages and business premises, not forgetting a busy fire station, where vehicles come on to Bradford Road, so the danger is increased.

I know people who drive from Batley to Dewsbury and back on a daily basis who fear a head-on collision resulting in serious injuries, or even a fatality.

If only that magic lamp could be rubbed, the genie dispensed with, and a police car produced, an offender  might be caught.

The penalties should be harsh and could act as a warning to others.

This is Britain they live in, a place of law and order.

Increases show need for rail action

From: John Appleyard, Liversedge

Commuters in Britain spend six times as much on rail fares as passengers in the rest of Europe, and now we hear from the Government nearly half of rail fares are to rise by nearly four per cent

Meanwhile the private train operating companies paid out £228m to their shareholders and the same companies received a public handout of £3.2bn in the same year.

These same companies in conjunction with the government are putting our security at risk by plotting to get rid of guards on our trains, which would of course help boost their profits, and is one good reason for taking the railways back into public ownership.

What will be the next NHS cut?

From: David Honeybell, Heckmondwike

Our NHS is systematically being set up and made ready to be privatised.

Unfortunately, the North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group, (NKCCG), consistently deny this, but their actions speak louder than words.

The number of contracts being placed with private health companies, rather than with our NHS, goes some way to prove the point.

The same thing is happening at all the 211 CCGs around the country.

To save money, in the last year our GPs have stopped prescribing paracetamol and ibuprofen, then that was extended to not prescribing over-the-counter cough and cold remedies.

Emollients or moisturisers are only available to patients with severe skin conditions, and obese patients and smokers have been pushed further down the waiting list until they lose weight or stop smoking.

The podiatry service is cutting the waiting time for treatment, not by becoming more efficient, but by only treating half the patients it used to, and sending the rest to private clinics.

I suppose some people will agree with some of the cuts in the service, some may agree with them all, and some will disagree with them all, but where will it all end?

What will be the next medication or service lost to the cost-cutting lancet?

Well done to all at the Beer Bash

From: Tim Wood, Old Colonial, Mirfield (proud sponsor, and occasional adviser)

The eighth Roberttown Beer Festival opened its gates at 12noon a couple of Saturdays back, when the staff and volunteers eagerly awaited the thronging masses of drinkers who soon arrived to fill the confines of the community centre with good cheer and cash.

It all started nine years ago when a group of friends got together from Roberttown Road Runners to raise cash to pay for much-needed work on the old Victorian school hall, now used as the village community centre.

I was approached by them to give whatever help and advice I could, as well as any necessary support.

Very soon a tadpole of an ad-hoc plan was hatched, and the first ‘Bobtown Beer Bash’ got underway.

From the first tadpole of a plan the Bobtown experience has grown into the biggest beer-guzzling monster of a ‘pot-bellied frog’ ever.

The whole show, eight years down the line, is a testament to the efforts and hard work from volunteers who, under the stewardship of Malcolm Firth, had put together an annual event of increasing excellence in the art of seeing double.

The ever-extending range of ales and ciders is picked, as always, by Big Bad Blond Bob, the Beer-buying Burgemeister of the Bobtown Beer Bash. The choice, as always, is highly specialised and his excellent choice goes down far too well.

The whole series of events have now provided cash to see the community centre refurbished and safe for another decade or so, and local charities and projects are also supported by cash generated on the festival day.

The whole of Roberttown receives a massive retail boost, almost a triple New Year’s Eve.

Most shops, clubs and pubs do well out of the hard work and dedication of a handful or more of good people, whose efforts and ingenuity never cease to amaze me.

Well done to those who organised and worked at the Beer Bash, and a big cheers to those who came from far and near to support the event.

We need to make informed decisions

From: R Spreadbury, Liversedge

With the birth of the internet and the digital revolution we have unprecedented access to information.

However more and more people seem to be making decisions based on prejudice, emotional judgements, or just following their favourite social media bloggers or campaigners.

Take for example the latest furore over the possible import of American chlorine-washed chicken.

The last I heard about UK raw chicken was that 75 per cent of supermarket chicken was contaminated with Campylobacter.

This causes 280,000 cases of food poisoning a  year, with 100 deaths.

We are told not to wash raw chicken because any splashes can contaminate adjacent food or surfaces, and to prepare it separately from other food for the same reason. Is this still the case?

On the other hand, chlorine is an effective sterilising agent.

It is used to sterilise our drinking water (that is unless you drink bottled water and add to the mountain of plastic rubbish in the environment).

Do Americans suffer from chicken contaminated with campylobacter?

Information science is based around the DIKW hierarchy pyramid: Data, Information, Knowledge and Wisdom.

We start with basic data and progress through the stages indicated until we eventually gain wisdom.

Wisdom comes with age and experience and thus we can’t all make wise decisions, but nowadays we seem to be more and more making decisions and judgements based on limited information.

So to apply this rationale to the above.

Where are some known facts about chlorine washed chicken so we at least have some knowledge?

Then at least we can make an informed judgement, and hope that whatever decision is made on the merits of importing this foodstuff or not, it is taken by someone who has wisdom.

Although from the experiences over the past few years, perhaps that is a big ask.

Let’s find more cash for drama groups

From: Peter Moreland, Heckmondwike

Congratulations to everyone involved in the Jo Cox Les Miserables show – a great achievement. 

But, hey! I’m sure any of our local drama groups could have done just as well with what BBC TV said was a six-figure budget.

For years these small organisations have struggled to make ends meet against all the odds and with very little in the way of grant aid to help them – just imagine what they could do with £100,000.

I’m sure somewhere within the Arts Council there is a pot of money available for grassroots drama, but I guess it is a bit like foreign aid to third world countries – hived off by those in charge or in the know, with the poor folk being no better off.

I challenge both of our local MPs Tracy and Paula to find six-figure sums to help find the next Patrick Stewart and Tracy Brabin in the Spen Valley and Heavy Woollen areas!

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