YP Letters: Trams were a lost cause in Leeds in 1950s

An artist impression of the trolleybus scheme for Leeds before it was vetoed by a planninginspector at a cost of �72m to taxpayers.
An artist impression of the trolleybus scheme for Leeds before it was vetoed by a planninginspector at a cost of �72m to taxpayers.
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Have your say

From: ME Wright, Harrogate.

A FUNDAMENTAL problem with trolleybus was an absence of genuine expertise (The Yorkshire Post, June 9). Coincidentally, I’ve just unearthed a 1950s cutting from The Yorkshire Post in which two long-dead Leeds councillors are locking horns on the future of the city’s public transport. Claiming to have acted on the advice of “experts in modern transport,” – names and pedigrees not given – Alderman Rafferty accuses Councillor Mather of “championing the lost cause of trams”. Coun Mather points out that tram replacement abroad has been by tube systems, not by buses. He even dares to demand that the city council should “look beyond 1960”. All this was treated with contempt, and the city and region continue to pay the price.

Another panel of “experts” is to be convened, with a 30-year transport remit for the whole Leeds region. About time, but the city itself is in dire need of something rather more expedient. I wonder if the ghost of a despairing Coun Mather haunts the Civic Hall? If so, will the present council and their experts listen to him or is plus ca change inevitable?

Medics must lead NHS

From: B Murray, Sheffield.

CONCERNING your recent Editorial on the NHS (The Yorkshire Post, June 6), medical staff need to be in charge (who would think of putting a business manager in charge of a school) and a senior Matron would ensure that her nurses are not overworked and provide a high standard of care.

Perhaps we need to look at how the NHS is used – short stay residential accommodation for the elderly in the grounds of hospitals would help to relieve the beds crisis and treatment for non-medical conditions may be passed over to the private sector.

People could be encouraged to pay £1 for a prescription (not unreasonable) and perhaps even pay for housekeeping charges while in hospital – above all non-medical politicians should keep out of the equation.

Libraries had a social role

From: Matthew Smith, Endcliffe Vale Road, Sheffield.

ONE thing that seems to have been forgotten by councillors of all parties, and the Press, is that the wonderful library staff of Stannington and other community libraries was lost in Sheffield upon the transfer to voluntary groups a couple of years ago. The community libraries had a different feel to the large libraries which still have staff with regular users and librarians knowing each other in many cases by first name.

This familiarity of having a safe person in a safe space could have made all the difference to elderly and vulnerable people who would have viewed visiting the library and its staff as the highlight of their day or even their week.

It could be argued that this informal social work along with everything else the library staff did saved the council cash having to provide other social services. In addition the current generation will be growing up without benefiting from the decades of knowledge these human libraries had built up.

To any former library staff, thank you for you hard work which really made a difference to mine and other lives. To any councillors reading this, please try a bit harder to find the savings to employ library staff at community libraries again.

Demeaning employment

From: Louis Kasatkin, Pinderfields Road, Wakefield.

RE the evidence that Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley gave to Parliament (Bill Carmichael, The Yorkshire Post, June 10).

The trade union movemet has, alas, not effectively engaged with the spreading cancer of zero hours agency contracts, nor with the business practices that all agencies utilise with virtual impunity against the many millions of workers now wholly dependent on casualised precarious work.

Ashley’s antiquated, oppressive tyranny is a symptom and a pretty major one at that. However, what needs to be addressed and focused on is the cause of such heinous, inhumane and demeaning conditions of employment being allowed to exist and take shape in the first place.

Passport shambles

From: Colin Jackson, Sandal, Wakefield.

IS this bureaucracy gone mad? Some members of my family have recently applied to renew their passports. They are all members of the same family, husband, wife and two children, all living in the same household.

In an effort to save time they began the procedure on line, but have now been told to submit their applications separately to four different passport offices, using registered mail.

Regardless of the unnecessary expense, it seems a waste of everyone’s time and effort to deal with this at four different offices.

Can anyone explain why?

Value of job training

From: Peter Hyde, Driffield.

EDUCATION is a valuable tool for the development of young people, but I do believe that training is somewhat better.

Seventy years ago this month, I left school at the age of 14 with no qualifications. I retired from work at the age of 65 as a solicitors’ clerk, having been an airman and a police officer.

I feel that National Service which took me into the Royal Air Force was my kick start in life. I was trained to obey orders and look after myself and the Police Service gave me life skills and further training.

Yes by all means education, but do not forget training.