When the council budget is proposing cuts in spending affecting the most vulnerable in our society, I feel that a lot of people would like, if not demand, an answer to these questions. We want cost cutting all the way to the top, not just on frontline services.
Some of the Kirklees Council documents I have come across online seem bewildering corporate development and organisational dictates. It’s difficult not to get the impression that a lot of ratepayers’ money is spent on self-serving organisation within the Council framework rather than on an efficient service to the community it serves.
Is there an Oversight Committee, an Audit Office or some other function to ensure that Kirklees ratepayers are getting value for money?
Is this ‘real’ estate?
WHAT a fascinating article in the Examiner on February 18 about the town that bought itself. What a marvellous achievement that was!
But you tell only part of the story. What I should very much like to know is what has happened to all this real estate since Kirklees took control of it in 1974?
Has Kirklees been a worthy custodian? Has it looked after our inheritance and is the estate now worth even more than one can imagine, as the Town Fathers of 1920 envisaged?
An alternative way
THIS May everyone in this country will have a chance to choose a voting system that will give us MPs that don’t represent us and Governments that have no mandate to govern.
Or we can choose the Alternative Vote and join the mature democracies that don’t waste votes on the ‘first past the post’ system.
The elected dictatorships of Blair and Thatcher were the product of a system where most votes don’t count, most MPs take their seats for granted and the fate of the country is decided by a handful of voters in a handful of ‘swing seats’.
We need a system where we can vote for the candidates we actually want, not make calculations on how to keep out the ones we don’t.
I’m asking the Examiner to join in an open and fair debate, in the way the BBC has already refused to, and present the issues clearly to your readers at this historic moment.
Lack of information
WHY is there a lack of coverage and explanation of the referendum on electoral reform on May 5?
This country deserves electoral reform and we don’t have a minute to waste. Now we have a referendum on May 5 where we can deliver change to the way we conduct our politics.
We have a simple choice – we can keep using the first past the post system to elect our politicians, delivering safe seats, or we can choose a new and fairer system – the Alternative Vote.
I am saying Yes to AV because I want my vote to count. With AV, even if my first choice doesn’t win, I will still have a say in who eventually is chosen to represent me in Parliament, unlike the current system where, unless you vote for Labour or Conservative, your vote is essentially wasted.
I hope the UK will realise what an incredible moment this is – a chance to make a small change that will make a big difference.
JUNE Jones’ letter on The Big Society (Mailbag, February 19) describes exactly the Blair/Brown government we have just got rid of.
They took us into five wars and squandered our money with their incompetence, selling the gold reserves at rock bottom price and saddling the country with the public private initiative PPI, building schools and hospitals that cost 10 times the value which will take 30 years for our grandchildren to pay off. Meanwhile, they swan around making millions for themselves on the lecture circuit.
A Day of Rage
WITH the unrest intensified throughout the Middle East, please can we in Huddersfield have a ‘Day of Rage’ so that we can get rid of Kirklees council as it no longer represents our aspirations?
Going down potholes
MAY I just say well done to the council on their ‘great job’ at filling in the potholes on Leeds Road last week.
I would have thought the whole idea is to fill in the entire hole and not just the deepest part, leaving the rough edges still exposed to the weather.
At the start of the week all we seemed to do was drive in and out of the potholes. Now we tend to go over each mound of tarmac then drive into the rough, then hit the road before doing it all over again.
Lindley Moor soft sell
MANY local people accepted the Spawforths planning consultants’ invitation to a ‘Consultation Exhibition’ at Lindley Methodist Church to view and discuss the proposed new development of 300 houses on the Lindley Moor site.
Unfortunately there was little Spawforths could add to the knowledge of most Lindley residents. It was a re-run of similar previous applications and was the first instalment of three planned meetings of an efficiently-run public relations exercise.
The exercise was delivered with composure, calmness, consideration and courtesy, but its objective was to disarm the confrontation they had probably been warned to expect.
Spawforths had a carefully prepared colourful enlarged glossy document at every table to promote their future application and even prepared an A3 copy setting out their propaganda for people to take away with them.
To give this document’s content authenticity, Spawforths recorded that before the Lindley Moor sites were adopted into the 1999 Unitary Development Plan (UDP) the proposals were assessed by a Government Inspector.
But will these 1998 statements made in the report by the Inspector 13 years ago still be relevant in 2011?
In the 1990s building land was scarce, but following the decline of industry many brownfield sites became available. The results of the Urban Capacity Study ordered by the Government in 2003 were detailed in the draft 2011 Kirklees Local Development Framework (LDF) literature that there are enough brownfield sites available to build 12,250 homes.
That is equivalent to 12 years’ supply of land to build homes in Kirklees at the present annual average construction figure (1,000) under the existing UDP.
Since 1998 about 750 homes have already been completed in Lindley. These additional homes have already increased the need for school places at infant, junior and senior schools.
Currently, in 2011 the M62 corridor and Leeds Road industrial zone has buildings unoccupied and on some available sites construction has not been started or even planned. Why are greenfield sites released before brownfield sites?
The inspector’s report said 13 years ago that the Lindley Moor site ‘has special character, which could not be substituted by available re cycled land.’
What absolute nonsense 13 years on. The old ICI site (now Syngenta) with good rail (Deighton Station) and road access (M62 junction 25) is crying out for redevelopment, and there are many other brownfield sites available for houses or industrial development within Kirklees Council’s area.
The truth is, greenfield sites do not need clearing and it is much easier and cheaper to dig up virgin ground than clear a brownfield site.
‘The traffic implications are not the reason to resist the principle of the use,’ the 1998 report said.
So the next time you are queuing to negotiate your vehicle through Lindley at peak time travel or cursing at the gridlocked Ainley Top roundabout, smile and be happy that now in 2011 the traffic is no worse than 1998 and will not be exacerbated by the building of another 300 homes in the heart of Lindley, plus an industrial site at Lindley Moor Road.