PERHAPS the biggest problem with the Local Development Framework (LDF) as it stands is its potentially rapacious destruction of greenfield and Green Belt sites.

Almost as serious for many are the proposals for large ‘estate-like’ housing developments in some areas.

Overall, the LDF appears to be intellectually lazy in that it uncritically proposes the development of green land.

Nonetheless, we do need to plan for future expansion. So how should we go about it? Let me suggest the outline of a plan.

Firstly, a blunt statement that no Green Belt will be released for development before 2021, but that areas may be provisionally identified for release after 2021.

Secondly, no industrial development on Green Belt, and such development on greenfield only if it is demonstrated that all brownfield options have been exhausted.

Thirdly, greenfield housing development limited to less than 50 units per annum in any ward.

By adopting such an approach, we could go a long way towards alleviating the justified concerns of residents. With incremental building we avoid the sudden swamping of local infrastructure, and by insisting on the re-use of brownfield sites for industry, and prioritising their use for housing, we avoid the eyesores of derelict and redundant land lying waste.

By removing the option of cheap to buy and develop Green Belt land we stimulate planners, developers and builders to find more imaginative and less destructive ways of using that most finite of resources – land.

Surely worth looking at more closely.

Bill Armer


Knowing what’s going on

I READ Mr Bradshaw’s letter in Saturday’s Mailbag concerning the Freedom of Information Act. I couldn’t make up my mind whether he was in favour of it or against it.

I think he’s berating Barry Gibson for asking about the ‘consultant’ who was paid a ridiculous sum to advise how Kirklees could make cuts in services and save money, while we were paying her expenses!

Then he asks some very important questions. I wonder why he didn’t ask Kirklees under the Freedom of Information Act!

Kirklees Council thrives on ‘mushroom people’: the ones who live in the dark and are fed manure. Evidence for this is too plentiful to quote here but the so-called LDF ‘consultation exercise’ is the latest example. The public meetings weren’t public meetings and the information leaflets were not delivered.

Only by holding our council up to scrutiny will we ever find out what they are doing supposedly in our name.

Trevor Woolley


Those who can, do ...

EXAMINER correspondent Dave Rawnsley, (Mailbag, March 16), is, of course, quite right.

The Council should never employ a donkey to do a lion’s job. But the questions he needs to ask are these:

How many ‘consultants’ were formerly employed as third, fourth and fifth tier officers in other local authorities? That is, ambitious, but never reaching the level of top management?

How many of them took early retirement, with a substantial local government pension, on the grounds of ill health, meaning perhaps they could not stand the heat and so got out of the kitchen?

And, most crucially, how many of them have ever been invited back to ‘advise’ and ‘make recommendations to’ their previous employers?

Very few, I suspect. I think that Mr Rawnsley, our councillors and the chief executive have all the answers they need.

J Brian Harrison-Jennings


Taxi penalty points

THE proposed new penalty point system for taxis in Kirklees is an excellent idea. Well done to all the councillors who backed these overdue changes.

I am particularly pleased with the four point penalty for a driver refusing to accept a fare without reasonable cause.

As a wheelchair user, I am continuously refused a taxi.ŠDrivers’ excuses include ‘I don’t have ramps,’ ‘Your chair is too big’ or ‘I have a bad back.’Š This system is a small step in the right direction.ŠA four point fine should stop some drivers from refusing fares.

I can’t understand why cabbies are protesting. I fully agree with Clr Derrick Yates who said ‘The good drivers aren’t affected by this’.

ŠOnly a few weeks ago, Mr Nadeem (Kirklees Hackney Carriage Association)Š was trying to justify an increase in fares. Now that councillors are trying to protect the public and get a better service from the drivers, Mr Nadeem is suggesting his members may strike over this proposed new system.

I hope this proposed strike action and planned protest by cabbies doesn’t stop these changes from being implemented.


Way too lenient

THE new penalty points system for taxi drivers proposed by Kirklees Council (Examiner, March 19), seems excessively lenient.

The national tariff for 12 penalty points is a 12 month disqualification. Here the council propose that actions would take effect in three escalating stages of 12 points, resulting in disqualification of less than two months for 24 penalty points.

The revocation of a licence would take 36 points. This means that a taxi driver could, for example, be found carrying an offensive weapon six times before his licence was revoked. He could be caught taxi driving without a licence three times before his licence was revoked, and with no licence to revoke, the council would be powerless to do anything at all.

If an offending taxi driver got caught at all he would be very unlucky, but to be caught attracting 36 points would be almost impossible.

This kind of liberal leniency is irresponsible as it is putting the public in unnecessary danger. I believe this proposal should be reconsidered with a view to making its purpose realistically effective.

David Morrell


EU trampling again

ONCE again the EU has dictated that Kirklees Council cannot charge companies for carrying out local searches.

When buying a house it is essential that the correct information is given on the local search.ŠIn the past, councils were the only body able to do this and made a statutory charge for the privilege.

However, independent companies have set up in business to carry this work out and to charge solicitors a little less for that vital information.

All the information belonging to Kirklees Council has been collated over a number of years and is updated on a regular basis. Kirklees officers do this.

For the EU to say councils cannot charge for this information is a disgrace. When buying a house in a mining area, solicitors carry out a mining search with the Coal Board who of course make a nominal charge just like Kirklees Council have done in the past.

Are the EU now going to say that this is illegal and they cannot charge?ŠEven though the council have lost their appeal against this decision, I for one congratulate them on their stand.

Clr Christine Smith

Kirkburton Ward

Late night concerns

HAVING read the letter from Angry and Concerned, Lepton (Letters, March 21) I can’t believe this person lives in Lepton.

The pub closed down is near the centre of the village, Lepton Highlanders is out of the village on Wakefield Road on the way to Emley.

I speak as someone who has nothing to do with the Highlanders. Last time I was there was for a bonfire when my children were young. They are now in their late twenties and even older.

There is one house close to the clubhouse, the other complaints to the licensing committee were from people at least a quarter of a mile away.

Across the road from the Highlanders clubhouse a new restaurant is due to open soon which says it is a restaurant with rooms to cater for functions.

I would suggest that Angry and Concerned from Lepton should be more concerned about this. If they get fully booked there could be weddings Friday, Saturday and Sunday all finishing late, with people drinking and getting taxis at all hours together with fireworks and Chinese lanterns which seem to end most weddings.

Bewildered of Lepton