THE Library Service is probably one of the main links between the council and the public.

I use my local library for information and advice on council matters, for access to council reports, for occasional internet access, for photocopying, for research through books as a reference. I now hardly ever take out a book, although I have a Kirklees library card which can be used at any library.

Clr Christine Stanfield acknowledges the above points, but is quoted in the Examiner as saying; “That’s not how the library service measure things. This closure wouldn’t have happened if it had more registered users.’’

The reference to ‘registered users’ is confusing, given the way my own card works.

Clr Stanfield seem to be saying that we are stuck in a past era and don’t really know what we are doing. I hope that she will follow your statement with: “We are carrying out a review of procedures to make sure that we don’t have any more errors and upset.’’

I ask that you please retain the libraries as an essential service and not as a luxury to be cut away when times are difficult.

Richard Smith


Reduce library hours

THE figures for the usage of New Mill library that were given in the Examiner put its proposed closure in a whole new light.

Hitherto, readers had been led to believe that New Mill library was little used with only 288 books borrowed in 2007/08. Now we read that 288 is, in fact, the number of active borrowers who on average borrowed between 48 and 49 books each last year – surely a very respectable rate of usage. Clr Stanfield herself admits that it is a much-loved, well-used library.

Clr Stanfield seems to have simply decided to close the library in Kirklees with the least number of registered borrowers, regardless of its users’ needs. Such a bureaucratic approach is the last thing I would have expected from a Labour/LibDem administration.

The Conservatives were strongly criticised for not putting people first when they ran the council and already the new administration is doing just the same thing.

If the library service needs to save money, surely a fairer method would be to cut the opening times of certain libraries by two or three hours a week.

This is not an ideal solution and would doubtless inconvenience some people, but it would share the pain around and would at least ensure the survival of all Kirklees libraries. The cuts in opening times could easily be reversed when better times return, but it is far harder to re-open a library once it has closed.

I urge Clr Stanfield to reverse her decision for the sake of the people of New Mill and the neighbouring communities.

William A Kirby


Maternity transfers

I WRITE regarding the article about Huddersfield Birth Centre transferring a quarter of women in labour.

There was widespread public concern about the changes made to maternity care with many worries about the dangers posed by the proposals, but despite all this the changes went ahead.

It is pleasing that there have not been any transfer-related incidents. However, there was also a comment from the consultant that the number of transfers had fallen to 19% from 27% in the first six months. The consultant also comments that over time they are seeing a fall in the transfer rate.

If these are the numbers that the hospital uses to seek to show that the changes have been a success then there is a danger here. In any targeting system “objectives drive behaviour’’ so if the objective is to show a reduction is there not a danger that risks may be taken and transfers not made when hard-working staff feel under pressure from those above to reduce the transfer rate?

Surely at the end of the day the key measure that should be focussed on is one shaped around the percentage of successful and safe births where mother and baby are well.

Kevin McDonnell


Double parking danger

I WROTE last year with regard to the parking outside Shelley High School.

Well, now an accident has happened. When are the police going to do something about the cars parked at either side of the road and on causeways and grass verges?

These lines of cars are getting longer each day. I dread going on that road as I have had a near miss with someone pulling straight out in front of me from the roadside with nowhere to go to avoid an accident.

If those who drive these cars cannot be bothered to walk to school – they obviously don’t like exercise – why not use some of the land behind the school for extra parking?

Susan Just


All-women shortlists

ALL-women shortlists do have a useful role in increasing the representation of women in Parliament.

Nearly 20% of Labour MPs are women and over the past decade Labour has increased the number of women in Parliament more dramatically than their critics.

Your correspondent Ann Baldwin (Examiner Letters, April 2) makes some good points about the complacency of the Conservatives on this issue and the history of struggle for women to be represented in our political life.

This is not about political correctness. Women give their time and energy in the workplace, the community and at home. They pay taxes.

Research shows that women are still the main carers of children, older people and disabled people. Their contribution to decision-making is essential for a fair and balanced society.

The Green Party is the only party with a woman leader, six out of 10 of our lead candidates in the June 2009 Euro elections are women and we have a greater proportion of women councillors (36% compared to a national average

of 30%).

If the Labour Party really wanted to get more women elected to Parliament it would support the introduction a fairer electoral system – proportional representation – which is used already in Scotland and Wales.

This would help to bring back more confidence in politics and encourage wider participation. We also need a directly-elected second chamber, in place of a nominated House of Lords.

We believe a fairer society is essential to achieve a more caring community that adopts more imaginative ways of tackling the causes of crime and poverty.

The Green Party will shortly be selecting its candidate to contest the Colne Valley constituency at the forthcoming General Election to give electors the option to elect a Green MP.

Chas Ball

Colne Valley Constituency Green Party

Tesco’s big impact

I UNDERSTAND that Tesco have been in Holmfirth this week meeting with Holme Valley Parish Council.

At the meeting Tesco was asked to provide an example where one of their stores opening had had a beneficial effect upon a market town. Tesco gave the example of a store opening in Beverley in East Yorkshire in 2002, claiming that this had been a success for Beverley town centre.

How interesting to see then that the local press in Beverley ran a story just last month reporting on a survey showing that vacancy rates in Beverly town centre had more than doubled since 2003, with 9% of commercial properties standing empty.

It is also worthy of note that Tesco’s Beverley Store is only 100 metres from the town centre, while Tesco’s Holmfirth proposition is 1,100 metres from the town centre.

If that is the result of an edge-of-centre Tesco on a market town, what can we expect from an out-of-town Tesco on Holmfirth?

Dominic Stankiewicz


Marx saw it coming

IS Gordon Brown really trying to save the world or has he read this quote by Karl Marx?

“Owners of capital will stimulate the working class to buy more and more expensive goods, houses and technology, pushing them to take more and more expensive credits until their debt becomes unbearable. The unpaid debt will lead to the bankruptcy of banks which will have to be nationalised and the State will have to take the road which will eventually lead to communism.”

Is this his hidden agenda? I accept that bankers' greed is also to blame for our current demise, but Mr Brown’s apology of a government encouraged them.

Barrie Schofield


Radical change needed

I WAS very pleased to hear that Kirklees Council had announced additional funding for road repairs.

As a resident of Thorpe Lane, Almondbury, I have just seen what I can only describe as the worst workmanship possible. In fact, the so-called repairs are totally unacceptable.

With other recent events like Castle Hill and St George’s Square I am personally running out of confidence that Kirklees Council and the councillors can actually support the true requirements of the residents.

Radical change is needed. Employ better managers. Employ quality local contractors.

Use materials from Kirklees-registered suppliers. Cut the council chamber by 50%.

Mark Armitage