Town had its heart ripped out by planners

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From: Matthew Shaw, Golcar, Huddersfield.

YOUR article “The slides that show Yorkshire town at the crossroads” (Yorkshire Post, January 25) highlighted the fate of many of Huddersfield’s handsome old buildings.

It’s all too easy to get over-sentimental and misty eyed about the loss of Victorian architecture, buildings come and buildings go, it’s called progress, get over it.

The 60s and 70s saw large areas of the town centre demolished in the rush to “modernise”.

Tragically, good architecture was usually replaced by the bland and ugly. Huddersfield is a wonderful town but parts of it resemble dated, nightmarish visions of utopia.

The age of concrete, plate glass, ring roads and tower blocks had arrived and Huddersfield was eager to embrace it. The guardians of the town couldn’t get rid of the out-dated Victorian rubbish fast enough.

The splendid Italianate Town Hall became isolated in a sea of modern bunker-like retail premises and the imposing Art Deco library was similarly surrounded on three sides by dreadful brutalist architecture.

Inevitably, the poor buildings thrown up at this time, which once looked modern and trendy have now become shabby, unloved eyesores.

One wonders whether the town planners, property developers and civil servants responsible for ripping the heart out of towns like Huddersfield have pangs of regret when they gaze up at their hideous creations and wish they could turn back the clock.

Our role in African war

From: Beryl Williams, School Lane, Wakefield.

YOUR reader Phyllis Capstick’s question as to why we see public appeals for water aid for Africa, has to be rhetorical (Yorkshire Post, February 3): everyone knows that government aid ends up in the hands of corrupt governments.

However, this is negligible compared to the “aid” given to the government of Rwanda by the US and UK in terms of the weaponry that fuelled the Rwandan invasion of the Congo, in a deal to secure the mineral resources of that country and satiate their greed for iron ore for our road, sea and air transport, and coltan for our mobile phones.

This war has so far seen the brutal deaths of over eight million Africans and the displacement of millions more terror-stricken refugees.

Alongside this, despite water being a recognised human right, wells used by villagers in many countries are being emptied to obtain “mineral water” for western companies. So yes, they do need water. And not only in Africa.

Therefore, given also that our Government cannot even be relied upon to safeguard the needs of its own people, the least we can do from our position of relative affluence gained at Africa’s expense, is to respond to its urgent appeals for food and water, both by implementing our innate generosity and by requesting MP’s to bring to the attention of Parliament the urgent issue of the correct implementation of aid programmes. Such a course of action could at least mitigate the incalculable damage that our taxes have already wrought.

City let down on transport

From: James Bovington, Church Grove, Horsforth, Leeds.

THE eastern German city of Leipzig, with a population similar to that of Leeds, opened last November a central area tunnel with four new underground stations, dramatically improving ease and frequency of access to its central area and opening up the opportunity for welcome environmental improvements in the city centre.

As the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa constructs its own Metro, even smaller but innovative cities like Cambridge are looking at exciting ways of developing Metro networks that open up access to their historic cores.

Hence Cambridge is evaluating an automatic underground Metro system that will reduce traffic congestion while improving the environment.

There is no fundamental reason why Leeds, with its stated ambition to be the best British provincial city by 2030, should not develop long term plans for a fully-electrified suburban rail system with central area tunnels giving direct access to all major passenger objectives, including a spur to the airport.

Nor is it unrealistic to expect our local transport planners, at the very least, to evaluate how such a system could likely fund its operating if not its capital costs.

I look forward to a formal analysis.

Shooting memories

From: Pamela Cunliffe-Lister, Countess Of Swinton, Sledmere, Driffield, East Yorkshire.

I WAS very interested in Ben Barnett’s article on shooting (Yorkshire Post, February 1).

I was brought up in the country and accompanied my father on shoots from being a small girl.

He was a very good shot and taught me how to shoot.

My first gun was a 4.10 shotgun, I suppose I was aged about ten at the time.

Shortly afterwards I graduated to a 28 Bore when aged about 12, and found it very exciting bringing rabbits and hares home for the pot.

At around 14 I started shooting with a 12 Bore “side by side” and one day took part in my first very small and friendly clay pigeon shoot in the village with some 
of my father’s friends, beating most of them!

After that I didn’t shoot competitively until into my twenties.

My then husband was an international Olympic Trap Shooter who represented Great Britain in the World Championships in Seoul, South Korea. I got the “bug” in a big way. I bought a Browning “over and under” 12 Bore 30in barrels shotgun and every weekend we took the three children all over the British Isles and abroad to shoots. It was a very exciting life.

I gave up clay pigeon shooting at the end of the 1970s, as my reactions became slower with dare I say it – “age!”

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