ALL this talk about shutting down our libraries – what is the world coming to? What will the powers that be put a stop to next?
The dedicated band of Reading Friends, of which there are over 400 in the Kirklees area, voluntarily attend our junior schools each week giving an hour or so of their time to helping the little people to improve their reading skills. At the end of a 10 week session they give each child a book for them to keep.
We are very lucky in Huddersfield to have so many brilliant writers living in the environs. To name but a few there is Joanne Harris who wrote the novel Chocolat which became a film, there is Deric Longden with, among others, his cat books, well worth a read. Then there is his delightful wife, Aileen Armitage, and her many historic novels.
There is one exception. My friend John Watson, who wrote Yorkshire Bred, Australia Buttered, is currently living in Perth, Australia.
And now we have a young, vibrant writer called Annabel Pitcher whose book My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece I must admit tugged at my heart strings.
If books be food for thought, read on.
Kirklees Reading Friends Association
A community effort
WITH reference to Bernard McGuin’s letter about Reinwood changing rooms (Mailbag, March 16), we have been trying to get work done on the changing rooms since 2008. Clearly this is not a recent idea.
Our original plan was to get Kirklees to improve the changing rooms with money from the capital fund. This was thwarted by the fact that the council estimated the cost at £300,000-plus and that sort of money was not available.
Our second plan was to set up a community group to not only improve the changing rooms but to open it up for other groups to use.
We invited officials from Marsh FC to the first community meeting but they did not attend.
Funding has been obtained from both the Area Committee (£20,000) and Leisure and Recreation (£20,000).
The most recent estimate from the council shows that this will fund only very basic work. However, a community group can access funds not available to the council which will mean we will get far better value for money.
In addition, this will allow us to expand the building and more sporting and other activities for the whole community.
The old caretaker’s house at Reinwood school is an example of good work by a community group getting things done and using external funding, but it is not suitable for changing rooms or any sporting activities as it is far too small.
Clrs Tony Woodhead and Christine Stansfield
IT is a common trait for Lib Dem activists to peddle misleading facts in their election literature, and once again I have been subjected to this in their latest Holme Valley South leaflet.
I don’t mind being criticised, but I wish they would at least try to get their facts correct.
The suggestion that the Business Association and myself are opposed to the expansion of fast broadband in Holmfirth for businesses and residents is ridiculous.
We were very keen for BT to undertake this work. The problem was that BT wanted to dig up the town centre during the Christmas shopping period which would have had the double impact of badly affecting Christmas trade and badly disrupting the Christmas lights switch on which also benefits local trade.
Our request for them to delay the work was rejected, so we resorted to people power and the media to try to make them see sense, which they did.
They delayed work until the new year and we then worked with them to ensure a smooth transition in the town centre and high speed broadband has now been in place for many months.
So no-one was opposed to it. We very much wanted it, we just wanted the work doing at a sensible time.
Clr Ken Sims
Holme Valley South Ward
Trains not planes
I SEE that Flybe will soon no longer make flights to Gatwick as it has become to expensive.
It broken-heartedly says that it will hit travellers to London badly.
Forgive me, but I thought people nowadays had a better idea of the British geography.
Gatwick and, for that matter, Luton, are not in London.
I presume this is a cynical move by Gatwick management to get some slots back they can sell to international and higher payers.
Although there are easy and efficient ways to get from Gatwick into London, it is not a get out of customs and a 15-minute walk or five minute drive. It is 30 to 90 minutes, depending what part of London you want.
A better bet would have been the City Airport or Heathrow, but the latter would be dearer than Gatwick, probably. Luton is not bad and by car easier in to north, north west and east London.
A fast train from Leeds is only about 2hrs 30mins into London and, considering the palaver, it is a lot longer to get a plane from Leeds to Gatwick and then travel into London.
The cost was not a lot different either, I think.
I had looked at a plane trip instead of driving. However it is about a 45-minute drive to Leeds/Bradford and about two hours all in by plane plus 40 minutes by fast train Gatwick to south London.
How best to get to London?
The verdict has to be the fast train from Leeds or Wakefield.
A collapsing vote?
BARRY Gibson (Examiner, March 23) is right to question the Liberal Democrats’ assertion that Labour ‘can’t win’ in the Colne Valley in the coming local elections on May 5.
The evidence from around the country is that the Liberal Democrat vote is collapsing, even in areas where they have been traditionally strong.
A recent poll in the south west showed the Lib-Dems’ popularity plummeting from 35% to 18% of those polled, while Labour had shot up from 15% to 29%.
The Colne Valley has missed out by not having Labour representation on Kirklees Council. This May there is a good opportunity to give the valley a strong voice in the council chamber and, at the same time, show the Liberal Democrats what people think of their performance in Government.
My money is on Golcar ward going Labour to Hilary Richards and even the former Lib-Dem stronghold of Colne Valley, covering Slaithwaite and Marsden, being wooed by the charms of Labour’s Tabath Ellam.
What really worries the Lib-Dems is that for the first time in many years, Labour actually can win in the Colne Valley.
Interesting times ahead.
Dr Paul Salveson MBE
An unwanted ‘war’
I NOTE with dismay that we now appear to be at war with Libya and would ask people to protest against this by contacting their MP.
It seems to me that David Cameron is keen to enter into a conflict which appears – as initially did the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq – to be more of a brownie points exercise than anything. Bring freedom and democracy to the masses in Libya without thinking any further than what can be achieved by air strikes and the use of force.
We have seen the consequences of military action without a plan in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Freedom and democracy need to be nurtured and cannot be imposed by bombs.
I would also like to question who is paying for all this? Will it be those of us who are bearing the brunt of spending cuts because the government is unwilling to spend money on services, but has money for arms?
Eyes off the road
WITH reference to the article in the Examiner headed ‘Campaign crackdown on danger of mobile oblivion’ (March 10) I quite agree that mobile phones should not be used while at the wheel.
It is quoted by Kate Marsh that for those driving at 30mph, for every second they take their eyes off the road their car will travel about 44ft.
My argument is that this also applies to the plethora of speed cameras on our roads today.
I find it impossible to watch the road as I have to keep my eye on the speedometer – how can I do both?
On many occasions I travel home about 11pm in 30mph and 40mph zones. The road is obviously very quiet at that time and it would be quite safe to drive above 30mph to 40mph but I still have to keep my eye on the speedo in fear of exceeding the speed limit and being caught on camera.
As a result I am taking my eyes off the road, albeit for only a second at a time, during which time the car has travelled at least 44ft each time.
May be it’s time to find a compromise. Speed cameras should only operate at peak times or up to 9pm?
Quest for tripe
IF Colin Vause (Mailbag, March 14) wants some tripe he only has to go as far as Dewsbury market on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday to the tripe shop.
The only thing you can’t get now is elder, my favourite, but everything else is available.