Your Letters – Friday March 6, 2020

Community can't cope 

Letter of the Week: David Harrison, Birstall

Over the past year I have read with interest the many letters in your paper regarding the building of large numbers of houses in areas which are not suitable due to many reasons, and the numerous letters complaining of how Kirklees Council are riding roughshod over the plight and feelings of the community in general. 

We now have a new contender entering the ‘Ring of Deceit’. Last year Birstall lost its last bit of green space, namely the land between Smithies Moor Lane and Huddersfield Road, already a very traffic-laden area and prone to flooding. 

Only last week some houses on Park Street and gardens in Mill Street were flooded.

Last year Kirklees Council allocated the land at Smithies in their Local Plan, essentially confirming the land is prime for development of 262 new houses. 

The land was originally green belt and is owned by the Diocese of Leeds. Its value is estimated to be in excess of £6m.

Now here’s the rub. It would appear that the disposal of this site (according to a recent article published in the St Patrick’s parish bulletin) has had “overwhelming support” by its parishioners.

So this small band of people have it in their power to give the go-ahead for this scheme, which could put an extra 400 vehicles daily through an already heavily-congested junction at Birstall Smithies.

We are already bursting at the seams being close to the M62 corridor and Junction 27 Retail Park. How much more traffic and pollution can our village take?

In a world now in crisis over climate change, surely this scheme needs a re-think by everyone who has agreed to this.

Time for a change of Kirklees control?

From: Harry Teale, Mirfield

Due to the adversarial behaviour of political parties, the public is subject to the whims of the puppet masters of the majority party in control after any local council elections.

Since the creation of Kirklees in 1974, council tax-payers have had to endure the detrimental effects of the same political party year after year. 

There have been numerous examples where Kirklees Council has given ‘outsider’ interests priority over local taxpayers. 

In May the locals can follow the lead of the national electorate and re-arrange the political parties in Kirklees and change the future of the district by allowing the ‘other party’ to take control for a few years. 

Many voters have had more than enough and so let’s see what the ‘others’  can do by changing the ‘colour’ of the political spectrum!

If things take a turn for the better, in 2022 the voters can then implement the final blow and the citizens of Kirklees could look forward to a future for the area instead of the ridiculous situations experienced lately.

I never forget my Jewish heritage

From: Ruth Wood, via email

Having read Mike Popplewell’s story of the small Jewish community in Dewsbury at the outbreak of war I was reminded of my own ancestry.

My great great grandfather Napoleon Bernstein, was a Russian Jewish immigrant that settled in the Liverpool area in the 19th century.

His grandaughter, Gertrude Barker, moved to Chickenley with her brother and sister, Rueben and Sarah, just after the First World War and took a job in service with the vicar of St Mary’s, Gawthorpe.

Rueben got a job with the Electric Board where he met my grandad Clifford Ward, and they worked alongside Betty, later Baroness, Lockwood.

It was through this work connection that my grandma Gertrude met Clifford and they married in 1922 – my dad, John Barker Ward, being born the same year.

St Mary’s is now demolished, and the Bernstein name never quite made its way to Dewsbury, from where the family had settled in Liverpool, but though now much watered-down I have never forgotten that element of my Jewish heritage. 

In fact both Gertrude and her son could both have been listed on that 1939 Jewish community census through matrilineal descent, ie from Napoleon Bernstein’s daughter Gertrude.

Shouldn’t they come down?

From: Stephen Boden, Birstall

As usual the Christmas lights in Birstall went up in December.

The money to do this I think is raised by local people. This is okay, but why don’t they take them down after New Year?

Two of the larger features above the dry cleaners and Watson’s estate agents were never taken down from the year before.

With all the bad weather and wind two of the features are hanging down from the lamppost, probably damaged.

If they were taken down, as in other local towns, they could be stored safely for the next time.

We have still got Christmas trees above a lot of the shops. 

I have lived in Birstall for more than 60 years and I think this looks bad when other people drive or walk through the town centre.

The only thing that has been removed is the large Christmas tree.

Come on whoever is in charge. Sort it out; otherwise we will still have them up in December. Or is that the plan? 

No defences where needed

From: LR Hirst, Mirfield

People of my old age must laugh when they hear councillors with extraordinary titles say they were not prepared for flooding, despite Yellow weather warnings in other areas than their own.

Councillors who were members of Mirfield Urban District Council years ago knew that Granny Lane, Lower Hopton and Station Road were all areas prone to flooding after heavy rain had fallen in other places, thereby filling the River Calder and that that was the cause of the floods in Mirfield, not the rain that fell here.

They should have built flood defences years ago as they did in Dewsbury and district, to prevent flooding in the town centre: Aldams Road, Savile Town roads, not forgetting Bradford Road and Thornhill Road.

These areas have not had floods since.

The planning committee were also told that the fields around that district were an old floodplain.

Another intelligent councillor who we taxpayers finance, stated that building on a floodplain was ‘worth the risk’. She should have lived there when the floods came this month.

I read that Kirklees Council leader Shabir Pandor is going to compensate all the flood victims. I trust the money will come out of £200m that’s going to Longcauseway in Dewsbury to turn it into a garden and one-way road.

If it happens it will be four times that of the town centre has been altered in my lifetime, and I have the 

photographs to prove it. 

More changes since debate

From: David Honeybell, Heckmondwike

At the North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group (NKCCG) event in Batley Town Hall there was an item about the cost to our NHS of prescribing paracetamol.

It was suggested that paracetamol should no longer be routinely prescribed as it was so cheap to buy over the counter. 

The idea was welcomed by most of the people present – although I and two or three others spoke against the proposal on the grounds it was the thin end of the wedge and once paracetamol was not prescribed it would lead to other medication and treatment being added to the list and where would it end?

It was also pointed out, it only affected those on free prescriptions as they would now have to pay, whereas the rest of patients would pay the over-the-counter price anyway and only have the prescribed items dispensed that couldn’t be bought over the counter.

I can appreciate the need to save money as our NHS is under-funded, but since the debate on paracetamol a further 35 items have been added to the list.

Let’s ruffle a few feathers

From: D Green, Mirfield

Regarding the recent floods in Mirfield, when the River Calder spilled over onto Steanard Lane by the Ship Inn. 

It was not raining hard, the water table was at its highest and the ground was saturated; anything like the downpour from the two recent storms and we would have been in very serious trouble.

There are no flood defences in Lower Hopton or Mirfield. After years of increasing rising water, the local Tory group has done nothing. As usual they sit back and blame nature.

Climate change has happened, flood defences in Mytholmroyd, Todmorden, and Hebden Bridge impact the flow into Mirfield and beyond.

Councillor Martyn Bolt’s assertion to contain flood water in the sewage works at Cooper Bridge was probably the most ridiculous nonsense to date.

Former mayor Coun Sean Guy kindly informed us that there is a 4x4 rescue service in Mirfield, should we need it. Well thank the Lord for that comforting bit of information. Someone has been watching far too many episodes of Thunderbirds.

You see, this is how it works, when our houses flood we all start screaming and then people like our MP and councillors are pressured into doing something positive about the situation instead of blaming the weather and the Environment Agency.

Now here’s a thought I heard the other night, there is an election due shortly, wouldn’t it be good fun to ruffle a few blue feathers by voting tactically in our favour?

I remember a few years back when the town council got chucked out of their building because it was ‘a bit damp’. I wouldn’t trust many people who couldn’t keep a roof over their heads, would you?

Troubled times but interesting

From: Alec Suchi, Bradford

Derek Cartwright (Feb 21) is correct to express concerns regarding our increasing population and the implications it has in terms of demands on services, housing and infrastructure. 

It is also concerning that there has been suggestions that the national census may be abolished after 2021 as its contents expose the demographic changes which the authorities conspire to withhold at every opportunity.

There is little justification for continuing immigration either for supposed economic reasons or via a flawed and bogus asylum system when those claiming refuge have passed through many safe countries. 

However the liberal left or progressives favour open borders as a means of demographically altering our population, together with the promotion of multiculturalism, diversity, feminism, homosexuality, transgenderism and egalitarianism. 

In the process the progressives endeavour to transform a traditional and patriotic society to that of a leftist dystopia.

Colin Walshaw is correct to question the importance bestowed to David Attenborough’s warnings regarding climate change and the questionable correlation asserted between rising carbon dioxide levels and rising temperatures. 

As Mr Walshaw had stated, CO2 only comprises 0.04 per cent of air in our atmosphere, or 416 parts per million and it is absurd to claim that a slight increase will irreparably alter the world’s climate. 

On a geological timescale current CO2 levels are much lower than previously and in the Cambrian period levels were 32 times higher than today!

In reality the world’s climate has always changed and will continue to do so, independent of our own actions. 

We must not confuse the effects of pollution with so-called climate change; these are two separate and unrelated processes which people such as David Attenborough confuse and conflate. 

The extremist group, Extinction Rebellion has seized to take advantage of the current climate change hysteria to attack western society, and not being in the least concerned with the pollution generated by China or India.

We live in troubled but interesting times!

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