Your Letters – Friday June 15, 2018

Joined-up thinking is needed here

Letter of the Week: ‘Concerned Cleckheatoner’

The people of Cleckheaton and surrounding villages are being asset-stripped of heritage buildings and facilities whilst more and more houses are built on green belt. 

Gone – our sports centre and yet £35 million spent on Huddersfield Sports Centre.

Going now – Whitcliffe Mount Foundation Building, even though a buyer was found willing to pay £500,000 for the building and £100,000 for Kirklees costs.

Going soon – Red House, up for sale in August.  

Haworth make an international industry out of the Brontes – Kirklees Council couldn’t even run a museum in spite of massive Bronte heritage and the tireless work of staff and the Friends of Red House! 

Yet Kirklees now plan to spend £45 million on a ‘cultural quarter’ in, of course, Huddersfield. 

Under threat – our amazing library (Grade 2 listed) which also hosts approximately 20 community groups.

Going soon – green belt by the A58, called Whitechapel Fields. This ‘green lung’ next to the second most congested motorway in the country is to have warehouses built on it near our biggest schools, Whitechapel Primary and Whitcliffe Mount.

Remember three people die in the UK every day from asthma attacks – don’t let it be our children.

To object to these proposals you had to be registered in 2016. Did you have your democratic voice heard?

We have many excellent groups in the Cleckheaton area who work tirelessly to make this an excellent place to live: the chamber of commerce, U3A, ‘Friends of’ groups, councillors, the civic society, schools, churches etc. 

However, perhaps we need joined-up thinking and an ‘area association’ with representation from all these groups, plus dedicated local people.

Cleckheaton Area Association would fight for our area, would be alert for planning issues, would work with everyone to campaign, raise funds and take on assets.

If you think a local association for people who live, work and trade in the Cleckheaton area is a good idea and you are interested in being part of this, please email

Pillars of the community

From: Adele Latham, Withernsea

I write entirely in support of the Brooke family and the ordeal they have recently faced over one of their trusted employees stealing funeral donated charity money.

The Brooke family’s excellent reputation goes before them; dealing with bereaved families with the utmost professionalism, dignity and compassion.

Neil, Helen and Judith are, without doubt, pillars of the business community and their long-standing funeral directors is a cornerstone of the business community far beyond the boundaries of Dewsbury and Batley.

Here’s to the continued success they so rightly deserve.

Nothing is too much trouble

From: Peter Moreland, Heckmondwike

I’m just endorsing D Hirst’s  from last week – my family have dealt with George Brooke for well over 60 years and have always found them to be almost family in the way they attend to people’s needs at what is a very traumatic time.

Nothing is too much trouble and every care and consideration afforded.

Through my involvement at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Heckmondwike I have worked alongside Neil, Helen and Judith on numerous occasions and witnessed their personal care and professionalism.

Frustrating tactics

From: Aleks Lukic, Leader, Heavy Woollen Independents

Two years ago, Parliament asked us to vote on whether we wanted to stay a member of the European Union or whether we should leave.

There was no question over individual EU institutions. 

Both sides of the debate understood that we would either remain within or leave the EU as a whole, including the single market and the customs union.

After making our choice to leave, elements of the Westminster establishment have been trying every possible tactic to frustrate the Brexit process.

You would expect Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn to see off this challenge on behalf of the people. Instead we have been met with a series of failures.

Mr Corbyn’s Brexit policy has changed more times than I’ve lost elections.

This week’s policy is to stay in EU institutions and have ‘full access’ to the single market, but without the obligations that go with it.

This is obviously an impossible proposal that also fails to respect the referendum result.

Mrs May has already managed to throw open our borders for at least five more years following the referendum. 

Now she won’t answer straightforward questions in Parliament about our future trading relationship or when the Government will publish details of its proposals.

Closures still baffle me

From: Ben Marshall, Liversedge 

Well done to The Press by marking for posterity the Dewsbury Fire Station tower being sadly demolished.

I didn’t see at the time of the closure why a ‘super’ station on narrow, congested Bradford Road/Halifax Road in Batley Carr as opposed to wide roads (whatever the traffic with blues and twos on) made any sense.

Never mind eradicating the relatively modern Batley one for more houses on yet more roads (Carlinghow/White Lee) that can’t support the traffic and ironically make access by emergency vehicles even harder! Other than for money reasons.

I hope the proposed mill shop does well though, even if Huddersfield Road doesn’t need any more inept car drivers making a hash of entering/exiting the site – unless this means another major traffic light junction at Scout Hill/Ravens House Road, I wonder?

Club stories still live on

From: Michael Stott, Ossett

Approaching 40 years since the demise of the famed cabaret clubs that defined a generation and illustrated an era, the lust for stories relating to the major players seemingly knows no bounds. 

Maureen Prest’s book ‘King Of Clubs’ will only feed that fascination further, with colourful tales witnessed first-hand, but with one omission.

It also doesn’t supersede Bob Preedy’s ‘Live Like A Lord’ which ploughed a similar furrow in a more concise publication that was published in 2002.

Preedy has been a prolific broadcaster on radio and TV, has contributed to magazines I subscribe to and has published far more books than the number of fixtures the Rams will win this season.

Above all his enthusiasm is paramount in all he attempts. In his book he details much of James Corrigan’s early life to the extent of it reaching chapter four before he arrives at the opening of the club he’ll be forever associated with.

And he too is not afraid to disclose equally vivid tales, albeit more briefly, but where it really scores over this current essay of Batley Variety Club is its more extensive references to Derek Smith. 

He had significant influence in hiring a torrent of talent to tread the boards in Batley which coincided with its peak years, making the club the standard bearer for competing joints to aim at.  

That, and the fact he eventually acquired the same establishment, re-branded it The Frontier and helmed it successfully for longer than the 11 years Batley Variety Club was in business cannot be coincidence.

King Kenny deserved it

From: John Appleyard, Liversedge

I don’t have much interest in the honours list, too many receiving awards that don’t deserve them.

Mark Carney is a good example, receiving a CBE when he has to take responsibility for the recent chaos on the railways.

However there are exceptions and I do not begrudge former footballer and manager Kenny Dalglish receiving a knighthood.

He played 102 times for Scotland, was the embodiment of Celtic’s football success and when he came to England he kept Liverpool at the forefront of English and European football. Later he took an unfashionable team in Blackburn Rovers to its first title in 81 years.

The Heysel Stadium disaster of 1985 in which 39 people died and the Hillsborough disaster of 1989 in which 96 died knocked the stuffing out of Dalglish.

But through it all he showed diplomacy and compassion, not for nothing was he called ‘King Kenny’.

In his autobiography ‘Dalglish’, on the very last page he states: ‘they say that behind every successful man is a woman’, but as far as he’s concerned his wife Marina has never been behind him, she has been beside him, always.

Well put, Sir Kenny!

What exactly did my dad fight for?

From: Name and Address Supplied

Your mention (Ed Lines, June 8) of D-Day and the Normandy landings brought to mind my dad.

He’s 94 this year. He started work at 14 (as did my mother who passed five years ago) and with the exception of his time in the army as a conscript he spent the next 51 years working as an engineer, retiring at 65.

He was 19 when he landed in France somewhere near the Normandy port of Caen, “Nothing left of the place,” he recalls with a touch of sadness, “we shelled and bombed it to rubble.”

And for the following months until the end of WWII he saw action in France, Holland, and Germany.

He put his life on the line for this country, and believe me, had he known what he knows now he’d have had none of it. 

Men like my dad have been betrayed by this country and the despicable cowards that purport to lead it. 

They’ve had their towns and communities destroyed by mass immigration, their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren have been made strangers in their own land, and the politicians tell them to either like it or lump it.

I wonder if Baroness Warsi and the Muslim Council of Great Britain ever consider how people like my dad feel about the impact that mass immigration has had on their towns and communities and on their lives? 

I doubt it. The only feelings that appear to concern them are their own.

Although his body is showing signs of wear and tear his mind is still sharp and he’s still in his own home. 

And as far as he’s concerned the only improvements worthy of note are to the environment and to the beer, he still enjoys a pint, and as for ‘winning’ the war, he wonders if things could possibly be worse than they are now had we lost.

It’s grim up north

From: Paul Young, Batley (@Paul4Batley)

It was interesting to see Dewsbury MP, Paula Sherriff raising the issue of the decline of the high street in northern towns in Parliament this week. “What is the government going to do about it?” she asked.

Given that Dewsbury and now the whole of Kirklees is under Labour control; shouldn’t her soul-searching be done closer to home?

I very much doubt that the proposed new parking charges will help one bit, it sounds just the kind of proposal to speed up the decline in our town centres.

We should be looking to provide free, clean and safe parking to encourage shoppers.

But when shoppers turn up, what is there for them?

I don’t think we can re-create the high street of yesterday. Shopping habits have fundamentally changed; the internet and Amazon have seen to that.

What we need now is a re-imagining of what a northern town centre is for. It needs to be the local place residents go for essential services: the Post Office, the doctor, the library, the optician, the dentist. And around those essential services, in areas with natural footfall, we need to entice consumers. 

Local, good-quality produce and fantastic personal service has to have a place in today’s retail offering and local councils must do more to seek the right kind of investment from the private sector to help support this.

We had ‘The Great Get Together’s Big Batley Iftar’ in the memorial gardens last week, just showing the potential the civic quarter has with some vision and innovation. 

Investment in that market square, just steps away from many essential services might help keep people in Batley long after their appointment or errand has ended.

Let’s shine a light on what we are lucky enough to have and encourage new enterprises, from farmers’ markets and craft fairs to pop-up street food stalls and outdoor film screenings.

It’s not always good enough to just accept things as they are or blame constrained budgets. 

That will just help the eventual demise of our towns and villages. There needs to be a plan B, taking into account views from residents, traders, community groups and councillors alike.

So, I would be also asking, what is Kirklees Council’s vision for its towns and villages in the next few years? Or is Huddersfield still the only town really in its sights?

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