IN a democratic society we expect the decisions of our representatives to be both transparent and accountable, yet we see little of this from the established political parties in the Town Hall.
When the opinion of the voters was clearly expressed — such as happened with the survey about the proposed cuts in services for the elderly and disabled — the voters’ opinion is simply ignored.
Neither is there transparency. We regularly find information of public interest hidden. This is the case with the Tesco agreement. Both the council and Tesco could, if they wished, act in the public interest to make the details of their agreement public. But they refuse to do so. What, we may sensibly ask, are they hiding?
Behind all their secrecy we see a glimpse of the problem. Tesco states it is paying for the demolition of the old site. This, however, is just spin. Any new owner of a land site could expect to buy it ‘as it is’. They would, therefore, expect to pay to demolish any building, should they wish to do so. This demolition is no ‘gift’ to the town, but simply publicity to make the deal sound better.
The Tesco spokesman said that they ‘paid the market rate for the land.’ As the Examiner editorial pointed out, a competition for the sale of the site could have brought a higher price.
But this statement also reveals that the deal contains no additional benefits to the town. Readers will remember that the council initially promised us that the deal would contain significant benefits. Where are these ‘benefits’ now?
When first announced, there was even a suggestion that Tesco would be paying for the whole new sports centre! Now it is merely paying ‘the market rate’.
Not only is the council secretive, it looks like they are also poor managers of the public interest. Tesco obtains a prime town centre site for nothing more than ‘the market rate’, the voters are left to pay for a new sports centre.
It seems the council has struck a very poor deal. Of course, they could prove me wrong and make the facts of the Tesco deal public. But will they do so?
Milnsbridge in decline
MILNSBRIDGE has been allowed to slip further and further into decline over a period of years.
Those agencies tasked with policing conservation areas have a lot to answer for.
My home used to overlook a blacksmith/farriers where horses were brought to be shod. Now it overlooks a pile of scrap cars and a 24-hour hour taxi office.
Scargill and Gaddafi
I FAIL to see the point of the letter from GB of Shepley unless it seeks to establish guilt by association and somehow link Alan Brooke to Gaddafi (Mailbag, March 15).
If GB has indeed a long memory then he/she should also recollect that I was expelled from the Socialist Labour Party a decade ago. Far from Arthur Scargill being my ‘mentor’, I have profound political differences with him.
I still believe that Scargill is the greatest British trade union leader since the 1926 General Strike. He squandered an opportunity to use the esteem in which he was held in order to build a viable alternative to the Labour Party because he lacked vision and was unable to jettison the Stalinist baggage he carried from his Communist Party days. A working class hero he may once have been, but no longer.
However, there is no evidence that Scargill personally accepted cash from Gaddafi. Nor has he been in any position to do Gaddafi any favours – unlike leading politicians like Mandelson, Blair and Berlusconi who have welcomed Gaddafi into the democratic fold, sold him arms and turned a blind eye to human rights abuses.
I have personally and politically helped people from North Africa and the Middle East in their struggle for human rights for many years. If GB means to question my sincerity then he/she should do so on the basis of my own record, not Arthur Scargill’s.
The curse of litter
LIVING on a small over-crowded island, it only takes a small proportion of its population to create an awful lot of litter, a social ill which causes no end of puzzlement and gnashing of teeth.
Overflowing or uncovered industrial skips are responsible for much of the rubbish that ends up in our rivers, back streets and railway embankments. Our hedgerows and roadside verges appear permanently festooned with litter because of the appalling habit of morons who toss rubbish from their vehicles. Beauty spots, parks, gardens, high streets or beaches, even mountain summits are all marked by the litterer.
Blame the parents, fly tippers, children, drunks, (drunk children?), blame lazy ignorant stupid people, the government, our rich over-fed, over-packaged society, blame whoever you like, the litter is everywhere.
We tend to hold our local authorities responsible for cleaning up after those who toss litter and spend billions in the process – a never-ending and futile process. During these mean times this service needs withdrawing immediately. Eventually, wallowing waist deep in a sea of litter, Cameron’s Big Society may step up to the plate, whereby communities mobilise to keep their own neighbourhoods clean. Litter louts would be identified, named, shamed and given a good telling off ...
Dream on. In the meantime we remain the ‘dirty beggars’ of Europe.
A pox on litter and those responsible for it.
Jumping the gun?
DURING 2010 at least three planning applications were submitted to alter the Junction Inn on Manchester Road, Crosland Moor.
I presume the three councillors for the Crosland Moor/Netherton ward received a copy of the planning applications and presumably reasons for their rejection and yet during the past six months very extensive alteration work has taken place on this building, which is in a very prominent position.
Why then didn’t the three ward councillors notify the planning department that work was taking place on this building without planning approval?
What now? Will the inn: 1) Revert back to its former handsome state? 2) Be granted retrospective planning permission, despite the concerns of Clrs Molly Walton, Barbara Jones and Nicola Turner? 3) Become living accommodation? 4) Another Mirfield mansion saga? 5) Be demolished?
Cloud cuckoo land
ROGER Carter says that he ‘can’t recall seeing any financial cutbacks being imposed’ on ‘Kirklees Council executives and managers’ (Mailbag, March 8).
Either he didn’t see the Examiner report a couple of months ago or he has forgotten, because half of Kirklees executives and senior managers’ jobs have already been scrapped. They seem to have set an honourable example by starting the cutbacks at the top.
Ironically, Mr Carter accuses Kirklees of living in cloud cuckoo land and asks when they are going to get off the gravy train and join the real world.
In the light of these facts, his tirade against the council and its managers misses the mark entirely.
Who is in cloud cuckoo land, Mr Carter?
Local control is best
WELL done, police, for accepting after 15 years that something – central control – doesn’t work and especially for doing something about it.
Together with the ambulance service, which still has a central control, all control rooms should be based locally.
My comment follows a report in the Examiner only a few weeks ago where an emergency call attended the wrong location, something the operational staff will never forget to the end of their life. Staff 20 miles away shouldn’t be held responsible for knowing the local area.
Attending emergencies or non-emergencies for that matter is not the same as delivering a second class letter.
The only time the public find out about a mistake is if the coroner or some other official is involved. Wrong addresses have always been a problem with central controls. Why would anyone ask a question about an address if they thought they had got it right?
Sgt John McFadzean is quoted asking which Wakefield Road is the correct one. I would say which Towngate in the Holmfirth area is the correct one? Choose from four of them.
Or what about Church Street in HD1? Would an emergency go to Huddersfield town centre or Paddock? It’s not very far on a map but in an emergency it is a long way.
Operational staff should have the support at all times from a control team who know the area.
Not so offal after all
ON the subject of tripe (Mailbag, March 14) H Mitchells butchers on Station Street have recently started sell it due to a rise in demand.
Fixing the roads
I KNOW that there was a fatal accident in Alder Street at its junction with Flint Street a couple of years ago and I know that Alder Street is a busy thoroughfare (largely because Fartown Green Road is positively dangerous due to parked vehicles).
I still think the new ‘traffic calming’ measures in Alder Street are very much overstated.
Might it not have been a better use of scarce resources to have spent half the money, materials and time on Alder Street building humps, and the other half on repairing potholes in, for example, Fixby? Or perhaps better still, on fixing Bradley Road.