Your Letters – Friday March 9, 2018

No riverside road rage on this new development

Letter of the Week: Nigel Ingham, Thornhill Lees

Following on from last week’s front page story, Kirklees Council are not the only local authority embarking on a massive housing project.

Neighbouring Wakefield City Council have one too – their City Fields development is equally as big but they are controlling it in a completely different way by ensuring that new road provision is in place first. 

Miller Homes, who are ironically developers on both projects, have even stated in the documentation of the Dewsbury Riverside project that they have “accumulated expertise in the delivery of major schemes, most notably in West Yorkshire at Wakefield’s East/City Fields and associated delivery of the Wakefield Eastern Relief Road”.

Sadly no such forward planning of viable solutions to the historic traffic congestion around the Dewsbury development has emerged.

The plan to build a lavish access road via a bridge that will almost reach the Mirfield border at Fir Cottage in 15 years’ time seems unessential, as there would already be a main road access in place to the site at the end of Ravensthorpe Road.

The £20million set aside for this posh entrance to the most exclusive part of the site could be better spent building new roads to improve traffic movement through existing localities first.


Save our town from planners

From: Caz Goodwill, Cleckheaton

Kirklees’ five-year plan for poor Cleckheaton – asset stripped of its historic buildings, most of its green belt removed and more and more houses approved.

Its historic library under threat, Whitcliffe Mount’s Foundation Building lost for the want of a signature from Coun Turner, even though we have a developer willing to pay half a million pounds for the building and willing to put £100,000 in an account to cover Kirklees’ costs.

Whilst the Spen Valley Civic Society gets the help of Robin Hood to save the Mirfield Valley from industrial devastation, it does not stand up for poor Cleckheaton which loses its last areas of historic green belt in Whitechapel Fields and Scholes.  

This area is historic meadow and woodland. Roman coins have been found here and the industrial units will back right up to the historic Whitechapel Church, mentioned in the Domesday Book and after whom the town is named (Cleck meaning church, heaton meaning the town on the hill).  

No Robin Hood, but certainly plenty of history. Not to mention the large primary school which will now look straight at large warehouses.

Consider also that Cleckheaton already has a high proportion of employment/ industrial land.

Follow the route from Junction 26 – next to the Hunsworth pub, restaurant and hotel – there are a number of warehouses, then up the A58 to the industrial site with the former RT Haley building and a number of other businesses.  

Between J26 and Moorend there is a considerable industrial site, formerly BBA Mintex, and along the main Dewsbury Road A638 through Cleckheaton, industry is all along that route at Law Street, Balme Road up to the town hall then beyond the bus station to another large industrial area.

From the centre of Cleckheaton we have industry all along Westgate and more housing planned on green belt between Cleckheaton and Hightown. 

Probably a quarter of land in Cleckheaton is industrial or employment land – a very high proportion for any small town. 

What we need is our green belt to ensure air quality and protect the health of our children and a buffer between the urban sprawl of Bradford and industrial Kirklees. 

We do not need more housing or industry on green belt. 

I made a submission to save Whitechapel Fields and wished to speak at the hearing last week.

But guess what, you had to be registered in 2016 – how democratic is that?

Who will speak up for Cleckheaton? Not our councillors, not the civic society, we need our own town council as Mirfield, Kirkburton and Drighlington have.

Surely it would be worth a few pounds on our council tax to save our town from devastation by planners who care nothing for our quality of life or our heritage.


Make your voice heard

From: The Friends of Mirfield Library

An open letter to all Mirfield residents

The threat of the loss of the Mirfield Library Service is real!

Mirfield Library is the hub of the town and is the home to a vast array of activities, groups, advice, information, and the IT services provided by the Kirklees Library Service. 

Plus, it also has an excellent selection of books for all groups, ages and interests!

Mirfield Library truly serves the entire community, from toddler groups to advice and help for the elderly. 

Residents of Mirfield: please consider what direct effect the loss of the Mirfield Library Service would have on your life.

Obviously there’d be no books, but also, what would you do about the loss of computer services? The loss of DVD and CD provision? The loss of talking books? Where would you go for all the essential help, advice and information about council services, NHS and social care? Where would you get your photocopying done? 

Mums and dads – what happens to the quiet time you and your children enjoy during storytime? What happens to the activities organised for children, especially those during the school holidays?

Various interest groups using the library would also be affected – where would your group meet? 

To lose the Mirfield Library Service would be to take the beating heart out of the town and, as the double Pulitzer Prize winner Barbara Tuckman said: “Nothing sickens me more than the closed door of a library”.

These are the strong sentiments shared by many.

The Friends of Mirfield Library are working hard to protect your library service but the clock is ticking!

The public consultation period on which Kirklees will base their decision about the survival of Mirfield Library Service ends on April 2.

If you haven’t yet completed the consultation document, please either pick up a paper copy at the library, or go to www.kirklees.gov.uk/ librariesC.

Make your voice heard!

All are invited to an open day at Mirfield Library on Saturday March 17, from 10.30am to 2pm.

Come along and see what the library service does at your library. See for yourself what’s at risk of disappearing from Mirfield.


No reason for second vote

From: John Appleyard, Liversedge

I campaigned and voted to remain in Europe in 2016, but I accept the democratic decision of the majority of voters who wish to come out.

I certainly do not accept the argument for a second referendum, we have had years of discussion on this subject in the pubs, cafes, buses, post offices, housing estates etc. 

During the campaign, everywhere I went I was asked the same question – ‘in or out?’

Politicians on both sides were dishonest in the campaign. 

The argument that they understood Brexit better than the voters is patronising, and I am reminded of an old quote from the late Bertolt Brecht: “You cannot re-elect the electorate; you have to live with their judgement.”

So be it.


We deserve true democracy

From: Shaun Gardner, Mirfield

When Jeremy Corbyn announced that Labour will seek to develop a customs union agreement with the EU, the CBI cautiously welcomed it as a “real world solution” to Brexit, but this mild praise caused fits of apoplexy from the Tory Brextremists and Brexiteers everywhere were outraged. 

We want our democracy back.

Betrayal from the Marxist Steptoe and Labour no longer represent the working class were just a few of of the sentiments I came across. 

What errant nonsense! Is it democratic to tell 16 million people to “shut up and put up”? 

The turkeys have voted for, well, they don’t even know, do they?

Brexit was driven by a campaign of lies, deceit, xenophobia and jingoism. 

With the truth leaking out, we deserve a period of true democracy.


Safeguards won’t work

From: David Honeybell, Heckmondwike

My opposition to euthanasia is well documented, so I won’t take up too much of your Forum space, especially now so many more of your readers are contributing. 

Enough to say, if euthanasia was allowed in the UK, I’d be among the most vulnerable people.

I read an article about how far euthanasia in Canada has evolved, to the point where prisoners are being escorted to hospital to be put to death by doctors. 

Many readers will probably think this is a good idea, and it would be difficult to argue against such as murderers or child abusers and rapists, but where will all this killing to save money lead to? 

Just as abortion was supposed to have safeguards to prevent abuse, none of them worked, and once euthanasia is made legal, all the safeguards in the world won’t stop the unscrupulous among us from having the most vulnerable put to sleep.


Young may get their wish

From: D Johnson, Mirfield

After reading the latest socialist fairytale from our Mr Appleyard, I feel compelled to reply to some of his observations.

On the subject of foreign aid, it is completely misleading to suggest that this country gets a net benefit from the 12 to 13 billion pounds it spends anually. 

Wake up, this bill is adding to our mountain of national debt. The interest alone on this debt is the fifth largest expenditure item we have, and significantly more than transport, public order and safety, and housing and environment.

As for cancelling foreign debt, can I remind Mr Appleyard that the UK paid the last tranche of its World War Two debt to the USA as recently as 2006?

As a nation we pay our debts, so we have every right to expect others to do the same.

Also, it is incorrect to suggest that it is only people on the right wing of the politcal spectrum that believe we should take a long hard look at foreign aid when people in this country are suffering and dying through lack of funding. 

Believe me, I am not a lover of the current set of muppets in government, but at the same time I cannot abide the cynical way that Corbyn is trying to win votes by covertly suggesting that he would ‘look’ at cancelling student debt and other such feats which would suggest that he has actually found not just a money tree but a forest full of them.

At my age, I have seen every single Labour government since the 1960s run this country’s finances into the ground.

The latest set of our young purple-and-green-haired snowflakes may well get their wish for a Corbyn-led government, but the inevitable will happen and another generation will come crashing back to reality.


A laughable response

From: Dean Mitchell, via email

I have one word for the once (Great) Britain. PATHETIC.

The Beast from the East arrived and there was widespread panic and disorganised chaos.

The government and local councils have failed on so many levels.

The National Grid at one point said we may run out of gas. Laughable. 

I was laid off work due to the weather. I will receive two snow days’ pay and that’s it. Yet I will still have to pay the disgusting and unfair council tax. 

Oh yes, did anyone else notice in the chaos that the British government has given itself a pay rise of over £1,500 per year, taking their wages to £77.000+.

If only we all could get pay rises like that and be able to use an NHS that millions of us have paid into for years, but yet foreign nationals who have paid nothing into the system get free treatment.

Just to add, the powers that be need to get a grip of bad weather conditions and instead of giving large unjust pay rises to managers/government officials, use that money to implement more resources to assist in getting the country moving in such adverse conditions.


Thanks to hospital staff

From: Joyce Briggs, Batley

I would like to offer a sincere thank you to the wonderful staff at Dewsbury Hospital’s A&E department and Ward 9, following my recent visit there and subsequent overnight stay with flu.

I was treated with the utmost compassion, dignity and respect, despite their very busy workload. Thank you all once again.


Would you still vote the same way again?

From: Peter Moreland, Heckmondwike 

I voted to remain in Europe, the country voted for Brexit, so to my mind we should pay the bill and leave.

However two years later it is obvious that never mind plan B, the government didn’t even have a plan A, and day by day the mess gets worse. I put it to your readers who voted for Brexit – if you were voting today knowing what you know now would you still vote the same ?


Look at the real areas of inequality

From: R Spreadbury, Liversedge

To me, the current self-congratulatory media circus revolving around the gender pay gap and sexual harassment just distracts attention from the real corrosive inequality in our society, that of the vast difference between the rich and privileged, and the rest of us.

To highlight my point, consider the following: 

The Weinstein firm has been rescued by a consortium headed by Maria Contreras-Sweet, former head of the small business administration in Obama’s government, and American billionaire Ron Burkle.

The deal is for the sum of $500m and, includes provision for a $80m compensation fund for the victims of sexual harassment by Weinstein.

So, a victory for star-struck actresses who seemingly endured sexual harassment to avoid damaging their chances of a successful well-paid acting career.

Now they will have access to hefty compensation, if they employ a good lawyer.

No such luck for the 1,200 children from disadvantaged backgrounds in Rotherham whose sexual abuse was of a completely different order.

Perhaps if their socially-disadvantaged families had access to even a small amount of that sort of money, then their lives may have well turned out differently.

Addressing the so-called gender pay gap. Now over-paid women in the broader entertainment industry will be paid the same as their grossly over-paid male colleagues.

And similarly, over-paid women in the high echelons of business will enjoy the same obscene salaries and bonuses as those paid to their male colleagues.

Meanwhile, in the real world, if the ‘radical’ feminists have their way, the career opportunities left for young women without university qualifications will soon be limited to work in a nail bar, call centre or as retail shop floor assistants.

Thus, for ordinary women, struggling to make ends meet, I suspect all the hype over gender pay etc seems somewhat irrelevant.

So, to redress the balance, here is an idea or two: All the beneficiaries of these equality campaigns could give 10 per cent of their earnings (#TenPercent) to help the marginalised in society. Egotistical, self-promoting, celebrity luvvies could also sponsor campaigns such as:

#GizzaProperJob

#PayuzADecentWage

#PayYourFairShareOfTax

Then we might actually make real progress in achieving a fairer society for all and not just one that further enriches the privileged/lucky few.


Please do all you can to save Batley Library

From: Jane Hicks, committee member, Friends of Batley Library

Libraries are part of the solution to improving social care for all groups within the community and are an important weapon in the fight against social isolation and loneliness.

One can’t help but feel, after struggling to find a way of balancing the budget, the council went for the usual fall guy – the libraries – well, not quite all of the libraries obviously. 

It is hard to believe that any other department suffered a cut of over 40 per cent.

At this moment in time, the library is still open and is the only place in the area which is open five days out of seven that people can go to for help or advice regarding all things Kirklees.

Now that the job centre has closed the library is the only place jobseekers without their own computers can search for jobs and also link up with people who can help them with this and with application forms.

Libraries are no longer just about books, in fact they have not been for a long time.

They are about supporting different groups within the population, providing toddler groups, Lego and code clubs, and also groups for older members of the community.

People use the library differently at different stages of their lives.

Closing Batley Library would be divisive.

Everyone appreciates the need for an adequate budget for adult social care. The libraries, however, are part of the solution to social care.

Closing the library would do the exact opposite as regards to improving people’s lives and the town centre.

Please do all you can to support the library either by filling in a consultation form, writing or emailing your local councillors or writing to Carol Stump, head of library services.

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