IT seems Kirklees Council is not content with merely squandering a million pounds on a completely unnecessary bus lane on Manchester Road and yet another set of pretty green traffic lights at the bottom of Outcote Bank.
They seem to want to use it as an opportunity to infuriate the long-suffering public in grand style – first by erecting some very impressive-looking safety barriers for the full length of the road to protect a non-existent council workforce (they’re hardly there and the site is completely deserted for over 90% of the time).
And second by replacing kerbs that didn’t need replacing at all and taking months to do it, instead of days.
Third – and this is probably the most effective way of infuriating the public – by closing the main A62 arterial trunk road for nine (yes, nine) weeks and creating traffic mayhem in the area around Chapel Hill, Folly Hall and Longroyd Bridge.
Knowing the council’s recent track record of failing to complete other roadworks on time, I’ll bet they come back for an extension to the road closure as well, complaining that it snowed in winter or that the sun came up every day.
Have council officials ever thought to ask themselves and explain to the public why a road closure is necessary and why it isn’t just ‘elf and safety’ gone mad?
The council says the bus lane project is justified by the savings in bus journey times between the ring road and Longroyd Bridge.
Politically correct nonsense it may be, but if you count the cost of the delays caused by the forthcoming road closure to members of the public I reckon the scheme might pay for itself in about 3,000 years (not counting the £1m capital cost, of course).
What really irks me is that no-one at the council seems to care. No-one seems to understand financial restraint or the concept of public service. They always think they know best and act as though the public is only there to keep them in a job. There’s something wrong somewhere!
Currently imprisoned in the Colne Valley
THE closure of the outbound carriageway on Manchester Road from Chapel Hill to Longroyd Bridge for nine weeks can only be classed as a Kirklees Council/Highways farce.
The Kirklees Council spokesman offers no valid excuse why a second carriageway should be closed. Since the work to create the bus lane started in June 2010 with some preparatory work taking place in March/April 2010, the inbound carriageway between Fenton Square and Outcote Bank – a distance of 300 metres – has been permanently closed. Perhaps Clrs M Khan, A Cooper and P McBride – the three main advocates of the bus lane – can explain why the work on this short stretch is not completed after six months?
Are the motorists using this being taken for mugs? A 24-hour bus lane when no buses run during the night – how stupid and crackpot is that? Since the bus lane was first planned, have the number of buses using this road decreased or increased? You can understand why Kirklees roads are in such a deplorable state when a bus lane 600 metres long cannot be completed in nine months without major disruption to the travelling public.
Why is Kirklees Council/Highways inept at doing major roadworks? Is it time for proven private contractors to be employed? Why are the works taking so long and are we still in budget? Did Kirklees Highways consult the First Bus Company, the main benefactor of the bus lane, about the nine week closure and apologise about the forthcoming disruptions to their bus schedules?
Can I expect any sensible answers and not some waffle about the Waterfront Quarter which is an entirely separate site?
Last National Serviceman
I WOULD like to point out that the last National Serviceman to be discharged was ‘fixed’.
It should have been Pte Fred Turner of the Army Catering Corps, who was demobbed on May 7, 1963.
He should have been demobbed before May 7, but someone of much higher rank thought otherwise. He was told to ‘meander’ his way home.
It took him nine days to complete a journey from his unit in Germany, a journey that should have taken two days.
He eventually got demobbed on May 16, 1963.
I, too, was stationed in Germany.
Mr P Makin
Blowing in the wind
YOUR photograph from Birdsedge (Examiner, January 8) shows three tall windmills alongside a church, a school, the village hall and a group of houses.
Perhaps we are supposed to imagine the three mills would be able to supply all their lighting and heating needs during 2011 or 2012. Exactly what could such devices guarantee from January to December?
Churches lead the way
I AM sure that most of your readers would echo the call of Jacqui Goff and Alan Boyd (Examiner January 3) for Kirklees Council to ‘provide night shelter for the homeless within the town.’
Many more such calls will be forthcoming if David Cameron pursues his idea of a ‘big society’ as more and more people are hurting and in need of help, not just because of the freezing conditions, but through loss of jobs, families, health, education etc.
I was glad to read in the national press that Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Local Government, stated that while many think religion is the problem, this government sees religion as part of the solution. The Huddersfield Mission has been proving this for a long time.
They, along with Street Angels, churches running luncheon clubs, playgroups, youth groups, over 50s clubs and many individuals involved in debt counselling, marriage and parenting courses, teaching asylum seekers English, working with drug addicts, prisoners and sex offenders etc, have been giving their time, efforts and money to help people and change our community for the better with very little recognition for a very long time.
Three years ago a survey funded by the Welsh Assembly estimated that in Wales faith communities contributed more that £100m worth of voluntary work annually and that 97% of this was from church people.
A number of people from churches in this area are digging wells in many developing countries, feeding the hungry, caring for the sick and challenging injustice.
Others are helping some of the 200 million people who have been displaced from their homelands all round the world.
Recently a local churchman, Yaqub Masih, travelled from Huddersfield to Pakistan to deliver a large donation collected in churches in this area for the Pakistan Relief Fund and specifically to make clear that Christian giving is to people of all faiths, even in countries where at present fellow Christians are actually dying for their faith.
We all must do everything in our power to make the Big Society work, but also should remember that the idea started globally 2,000 years before David Cameron thought of it, with a man called Jesus.
Dr R Jameson
Attitudes to women
I AM surprised that Jack Straw’s remarks about some Muslim men’s attitude towards white women has become a cause for comment.
Anyone with experience of life in secondary schools over the past 30 or 40 years is aware of the poor view of all women among some Asian men and boys.ŠIn some cultures male dominance over womenfolk is total.ŠThis creates a fiercely proprietorial and protective attitude to Šwomen within their society.
The high view of the value of women in Muslim teachings is admirable and could be an example to the rest of society.ŠIt is one reason why the liberal attitude in this country to women’s autonomy may be seen as something that responsible Muslim parents wish to guard their children against.Š
Any behaviour by girls which appears immodest to traditionally educated Muslim men and boys may be interpreted by them as a sign of moral laxity.ŠThis can lead to some acting in ways which are disrespectful to non-Asian girls and women. ŠWhy has Jack Straw been criticised for expressing similar opinions?
At least one prominent Muslim has acknowledged that immigrants from Asia need to be taught that they should obey the law here while still retaining their own beliefs.
He has urged that all criminal attacks on women should be dealt with severely according to the law and that the culprits, whatever their background, should be seen as a disgrace to their community.
This is a positive way forward.ŠThe rule of law is what protects all of us.ŠReligious extremists of any faith ought not to dictate the agenda for public discussion.ŠOpen and tolerant expression of opinions is the way to increase mutual understanding and respect. Why should I feel apprehensive in writing this letter?ŠAny reasoned and civil response will be welcomed.