I’d have started work myself if I’d known
Letter of the Week: Pauline Hunter, Dewsbury Moor
I know the wheels of local government often move slowly, but I’ve just checked a few dates.
In early 2011 it was trumpeted that Kirklees Council had taken control of Pioneer House from the Stayton developer, and many people of the older persuasion jumped for joy.
Legal proceedings began in 2009 to compulsorily purchase the building in order to protect it from further decay, resulting in a public inquiry in November 2010. Kirklees won Government permission in March 2011.
The Pioneer building used to be a focal point of the entire town and dominated Dewsbury’s skyline from 1878, but fell into disrepair after Stayton Developments bought it in 2005.
Originally built for the Dewsbury Pioneers’ Industrial Society, over the years the bustling Pioneer House became to a wide variety of tenants, more recently including a theatre, cinema, library, French polishers, butchers, cobblers and a renowned Italian restaurant.
So, in 2011 many thought it wouldn’t be long before it would be restored to some semblance of its former glory.
And where are we now?
We’ve still got hoardings up around the entire site, and a vague date of some time in 2019 when Kirklees College will move in.
And last week Kirklees Council agreed to stump up another £2m to help finish the revamp.
Eight years. It will have taken eight years to get to a point where someone can move in and use the old place.
When countries such as China, India or Russia, with the right determination and no-nonsense leaders in charge, can build entire cities complete with infrastructure such as railways and airports in less time, it really does make me wonder.
I think if Kirklees had told people at the beginning of the process that it was going to take eight years, I would have picked up a hammer, stuck on a hard hat and hi-viz jacket and got stuck in myself.
Eight years. And apparently there’s still no official guarantee that it will open to students in 2019.
The mind boggles.
Spare a thought for those working
From: Rod Barnes, chief executive, Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust
Christmas and New Year is a time when most people are celebrating with family and friends, but many of our staff will be leaving their families and friends at home and coming into work to provide a vital service to people who fall ill or who are involved in a medical emergency.
Hundreds of staff, including paramedics, call handlers in NHS 111 and our Emergency Operations Centre, and volunteers will be on duty on Christmas Day and over the festive season.
This is an extremely busy period for us so it is a time when I feel the most proud of all our staff and volunteers who are missing time with their families to put others first, making a difference to thousands of lives across Yorkshire.
That is why it is so important that I say ‘thank you’ to our staff and let them know that their hard work and compassion are very much appreciated by everyone here at Yorkshire Ambulance Service, by our partners in the NHS and other agencies, but most importantly by the public we serve.
To the public, I would ask that you spare a thought for our dedicated staff and volunteers who will be working instead of celebrating over the festive period and only dial 999 in a genuine medical emergency to ensure that our ambulances are available for those who need them most.
Anyone with a minor illness or injury should use the appropriate services for their needs such as their local pharmacist or GP, attending a walk-in-centre or minor injuries unit or calling NHS 111.
While our staff work hard to keep you safe over the festive period, I would urge everyone to treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve.
Unfortunately, far too often, they find themselves at the receiving end of verbal and physical abuse, but this is wholly unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
This year saw a welcome new law introducing much tougher sentencing for anyone assaulting emergency service workers.
If you do need to use our services, rest assured that we are here to help you.
During the past 12 months we have invested in additional staff and are continuing the refresh of our fleet with over 130 new emergency ambulances being introduced in a phased roll-out.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all our staff, NHS colleagues and emergency service partners working during the festive season and your readers a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.
Lots of rush, but not much cheer
From: Jack Cosgrove, Norristhorpe
In all my 57 years I have never ever seen a festive season rush that started so early, and lasted so long in intensity.
We must be training a new breed of Formula One drivers, because some are performing as if they are in the Monaco Grand Prix – highly dangerous!
We went to York last week, hoping to see some good old cheer, to get into the Christmas spirit.
Not much around! Mainly stressed-out people hurrying about, with long faces.
Everywhere lately you find traffic congestion and nowhere to park at shopping times.
Thank you to Heath, Tony Blair (I thought we’d seen the last of him), Gordon Brown and Theresa May for doing nothing about our overcrowded little island becoming even more packed to capacity.
My new year’s wish – some strong, sensible conscientious leaders and no more ex-lawyers or career politicians playing about with our lives.
Derek’s got the patience of a saint
From: Janet Black, Pudsey
I was very impressed with the fantastic Christmas lights display this year at the Mirfield home of Derek Highe, all done towards raising funds for Kirkwood Hospice.
He must have the patience of a saint. I don’t know how he’s done that.
I spent last Sunday afternoon simply putting Christmas lights around my lounge mirror and was ready to kill someone by the time I’d finished!
I hope Baileys is next on the list
From: Ben Marshall, Liversedge
Walking through Dewsbury town centre today I was impressed with the upbeat hoardings around the iconic Black Bull pub.
I wonder if the building’s owners could fix the legendary Baileys at the same time, a much-missed icon of Dewsbury too.
Finally, I watched PMQs on my phone and Mr Corbyn quite clearly mouthed “stupid woman”, perhaps he didn’t “say” it but as a Labour supporter he has quite clearly dropped a clanger live on TV!