THROUGH involvement with dramatic societies in Leeds and Huddersfield I have, for more than 40 years, used the Yorkshire Music and Drama Library facility at Wakefield which is to close next spring.

Closure will come as a blow to drama and music groups who have been given less than two weeks to submit comments on how they would like to see future ‘service delivery’.

The service provides copies of music scores and play scripts.

What is clear, however, is that there is no intention to provide a central resource and that the collection currently housed at Wakefield will be at best fragmented and retention of the stock will be dependant on ‘other authorities, institutions or groups’ being prepared to assume responsibility for parts of the collection.

If such bodies are unable to accept parts of the collection presumably it will be destroyed.

The decision to close has come as a bolt out of the blue but seems to be driven largely by moving out of the existing premises at Balne Lane in Wakefield.

These premises have become decidedly jaded in recent years (though the staff have invariably been most helpful) and one wonders whether a decision to close has not been on the cards, awaiting a suitable opportunity, for some time.

The Examiner article (October 26) states that the service cost £118,000 to run last year. I do not know how this figure is derived, but it seems a relatively insignificant figure spread across the 12 local authorities who currently subscribe to the service. It probably costs that sort of figure to install one pelican crossing!

The Kirklees spokesman refers to the collection held by Kirklees itself. This is not, and one could never expect it to be, as comprehensive as the collection held at Wakefield.

Helpful as they are, Kirklees library staff cannot produce stock which they do not hold and have, until now, had the facility to fall back on the collection in Wakefield. This will be lost.

Terms such as ‘cultural vandalism’ are perhaps over-used but that seems to be what we face with this decision.



Prince’s big idea

WE read that Prince Charles is going to do what he can to help those in deprived areas.

That’s nice, but how is he going to do this? Front a national charity that gambles on the Stock Exchange? Spend taxpayers’ money? Or front a ‘plebian’ revolution against the establishment that still wants him as the traditional head of the country?

I believe we need a good explanation.

Michael Jenkinson


The battle’s not over

NOW the dust is settling after the approval of the planning on Lindley Moor and before it starts to rise again as the excavators move in, let us consider the pros and cons of the plan.

No-one can argue we have to promote industry. That is the only way we are going to get out of the present economic situation. We have also to build new homes for the people employed by those industries.

However, it is the responsibility of the people looking after the forward planning of each town to get things right for everyone’s benefit.

I don’t feel the Lindley application fits this bill. Not enough consideration has been given to the effect it will have on infrastructure, particularly to Lindley.

The arguments for approval put by Kirklees Council leader Clr Mehboob Khan in the Examiner I feel are weak.

It’s said that on September 19 planning committee members received a strongly worded report from council officials urging them to approve the plans because if they didn’t and Miller Homes took it to appeal and might win, it could cost the council a six-figure sum.

The council has no problem spending that kind of money when it suits. And there is nothing to say the appeal application would succeed. If it was opposed strongly on present evidence, there’s a good chance Miller Homes would fail.

Miller Homes have offered the council £750,000 for school improvements. This isn’t much – a one-off payment of about £900 a house – if the extra long-term burden on the whole infrastructure is taken into account.

Clr Khan says we have to allow building on greenfield sites for the future jobs for our children.

I disagree. There are plenty of sites and empty buildings already available in the area, many of them in or near the town centre and the public transport network which urgently needs regeneration.

To say they are forced to build next to a motorway is complete nonsense. The motorway is already critically overloaded. Putting more cars and commercial vehicles on the road would not only reduce efficiency but would most certainly increase accidents. I feel the fate of Lindley Moor was decided long ago – but perhaps the battle is not yet over.

Those who oppose building on Lindley Moor have the weight of public opinion behind them so they should carry on with the opposition using all the means at their disposal.

I’d like to remind Clr Khan and the rest of the council they were elected to serve the people of Kirklees.

Green fields can never be replaced. Let’s preserve these areas for our children and future generations.

Alan Bradford


Lighter footprint

PROF Bob Carter (quoted by Keith Rothwell, Mailbag, October26) is one of the few scientists left who deny that climate change is man made.

But guess what. At least two of the organisations he writes for and represents are funded by ExxonMobil (they sell petrol).

That aside, the way out of the dire economic malaise is not by making cuts.

Cuts don’t help. They send everything into a downward cycle, thus reducing an economy’s ability to work its way out of the problem.

Spending works but we have two choices. Increasing consumer spending doesn’t work. We end up with higher piles of useless stuff and shareholders/Chinese companies make more money.

Green investment does work. We build a carbon-light economy and better infrastructure, thus improving the lives of all.

We all benefit from warmer houses, better transport, safer energy supplies, better public spaces. And we fight global warming. It’s that simple.

Russ Elias


Hunt anomalies

THE beginning of November when 300 hunts across England and Wales are holding their traditional opening meets seems a relevant time to once again expose the flaws and irregularities contained in the Hunting Act 2004.

If anyone thinks that this law has improved animal welfare, perhaps they might reconsider and examine exactly what the Hunting Act does.

It is legal to chase wild mammals out of cover using dogs as long as only two dogs are used and ‘reasonable steps’ are taken to ensure the animal is shot, but it is illegal to use three hounds to flush out an animal and a second offence is committed if there is no intention to shoot it.

It is legal to use a terrier underground to flush out a fox and kill it in order to protect birds to be shot for sport – eg pheasants – but illegal to use exactly the same method to protect farm livestock or a rare species.

It is legal to hunt a rabbit with dogs, though illegal to hunt a hare with dogs.

The Hunting Act permits a hare that has already been shot and wounded to be hunted, but not a wounded fox. Finally, it is legal to hunt a rat with dog, but illegal to hunt a mouse with a dog.

While the supporters of this law claimed that it would improve animal welfare it is clear that their true aim was to prevent a particular type of hunting upheld by a particular type of person.

However, at all levels the Hunting Act has failed miserably. The vast majority of successful prosecutions have been for poaching offences which were already illegal under legislation that pre-existed the Hunting Act while organised hunting has survived, albeit in a different form.

As for animal welfare, the limited evidence gathered so far indicates that wild mammal welfare has declined.

Is it not time, therefore, to consider a more practical and principled way to improve the welfare and management of our wild mammals and forget this obsession with banning the use of scenting hounds – a natural and humane method that is selective and leaves no wounded survivors?

James Barrington

Adviser, Countryside Alliance

Euro troubles

JUST how many bogeymen does the world need now the Cold War’s ended?

First they tried frightening us with global warming. Hot on its heels came international Muslim terrorism. Now we have Angela Merkel implying that if the Euro collapses there will be another European war.

She claimed this week: “No-one should think that a further half century of peace and prosperity is assured. It isn’t.” Once upon a time this would have been called sabre-rattling. So was Britain right to stay out of the Euro? I rather think so. Although it looks as if we’ll still end up paying for it.

Richard Huddleston

West Slaithwaite