Importance of high street research

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From: John S. Culpan, chairman of Brighouse Civic Trust, Bradford Road, Bailiff Bridge, Brighouse.

further to your front page story (Yorkshire Post, October 17) featuring the importance of the ongoing research into the decline of our high streets, it was very interesting and informative.

On that very day, I had arranged to meet a young French student on behalf of the Brighouse Civic Trust.

He is at present going around Yorkshire towns while working alongside the Yorkshire and Humber Association of Civic Societies (YHACS) who are undertaking much research on the high street scene.

Along with a colleague from our local trust we took him around the Brighouse town centre, pointing out the main features and heritage plaques on the most interesting buildings, and he was impressed that, although a small town, there are only three shops empty at present.

We discussed with him the activities and involvement of our local Civic Trust – how wonderful if we could only attract others of his age as members. All trusts are open for anyone to attend. I gave him a copy of that day’s Yorkshire Post, to help with his research and understanding on this very complicated present-day problem – it could not have been timed more appropriately for his visit to our town.

We await (YHACS) report to be presented at Beverley in November.

From: Bob Watson, Springfield Road, Baildon, Bradford.

THE excellent letter from Dan Laythorpe (Yorkshire Post, October 20) rightly highlighted the mediocre design of the now sanctioned Westfield development in the centre of Bradford, and also the scandalous lost opportunity to leave room for a future cross-rail link that could be introduced when the economic situation improves.

It has previously been reported that Bradford Council and Metro are looking at how links between the two Bradford stations should be improved.

One would have thought that the answer was staring them in the face, but no, both are happy to totally ignore the cross-rail proposal and look at utterly inadequate options instead, thereby simply confirming Bradford’s place as a transport backwater for yet another generation.

Dose of reality for Baroness

From: JW Smith, Sutton-on-Sea.

BARONESS Warsi says we need a dose of common sense; what she needs is a dose of reality (Yorkshire Post, October 20).

At £390 per person, Yorkshire is suffering a greater public expenditure loss than any other region, there is an increasing number of bankruptcies and the regional growth fund is showing little progress.

Jobs in steel, rail and air industries are being exported, rising unemployment means instead of paying taxes more people are having to rely on an ever-increasing welfare bill.

The VAT increase means that for every £100 spent an additional £14.28 is raised in tax.

Despite knowing his Shadow Health Secretary had been working on a top down system to the National Health Service for a number of years, David Cameron still denied at the time of the election that there would be any such change. What is it achieving?

In addition to mounting disquiet about changes among NHS employees, we are seeing increased waiting times at hospitals, longer waiting lists, doctors being instructed to prescribe cheaper treatments which often do not work and widening health inequalities between North and South.

Many GPs, including my own, are saying they came into the job to treat patients not become accountants.

Despite all their protestations about sharing the suffering of the nation, the multi-millionaires in Government are in no way feeling the pain.

Testing grounds

From: John G Davies, Alma Terrace, East Morton, Keighley.

NEITHER the recent crops of GCSE results from Yorkshire schools, nor the associated comments, come as much of a surprise.

Politicians seem to seek a silver bullet to cure any problems; in this case firstly privatisation was tried in Leeds and Bradford to no effect; next, academies. The causes of educational failure are complex; they include cultures, poverty, social division, leadership, irrelevant curricula and Government interference, to name but a few broad areas. Over the years, plenty of interventions have been tried on similar seemingly intractable problems with varying degrees of success.

Techniques that are ideologically suited to certain political outlooks often gain traction way beyond their real value, eg synthetic phonics, while others of real value are ignored.

Bradford, Barnsley and Hull would provide perfect laboratories for small scale interventions based on pragmatically useful ideas which could be developed and disseminated if they are successful.

Finance and Dogger Bank

From: RD Leakey, Giggleswick, North Yorkshire.

SARAH Freeman’s very important article (Yorkshire Post, October 20) should have stressed that the Dogger Bank is probably the most important North Sea fish rearing ground between Britain and Europe, which means that as such the finance industry should want to overfish it because too many fish from the seas pull down the prices and profits of food in the shops.

Conversely wind farm pillars on the sea floor would make it harder for the modern fishing ships to sustain their purpose, damaging and destroying as much fish breeding grounds as possible, solely to prevent fish becoming the plentiful and cheap food they were last century. Also such wind farms would cause cheap electricity, again the last thing that the finance industry would want.

This means that the public and the fish would have two advantages from the wind turbines, and the financiers would not benefit.

A third advantage for the public from these wind turbines and also for the fish would be to put wind turbines on catamaran fish farm ships which could also generate electricity by wave power.