YP Letters: Contrasting tale of Leeds and Manchester city leaders speaks volumes

From: Mr M Bell, Foxhill Green, Weetwood, Leeds.

The record of former Leeds Council leader Keith Wakefield has been called into question.

REFLECTING on the retirement award of an MBE to Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds Council, a striking message comes home.

His opposite number in Manchester, Sir Richard Leese, was awarded a CBE early into his period of office then later a knighthood, so presumably if nothing goes wrong before then, on his retirement he will get ermine? He has delivered a proper new ring road, international airport extension, hugely successful docklands development, the largest new city tramway system in Europe, brilliantly and quickly restored the city centre after the bombing and many other great developments.

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Coun Wakefield’s MBE is the minimum he could have got. His achievements are minimal and include the largest wooden greenhouse in Britain with a waste incinerator attached for £43m, an Arena without a car park and a road system on Kirkstall Road that encourages flooding. He has spent over a decade promoting the irrational NGT trolley scheme.

Clearly we can interpret his appropriately derisory award relative to Sir Richard’s as a clear message from London that overall he has failed badly. Is this the clearest possible signal that they have already decided to refuse his Trolleybus scheme?

From: Arthur Quarmby, Underhill, Holme.

I AM dismayed to see that Yorkshire people are failing vigorously to support the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to recreate a unified Yorkshire.

After suffering bigger and ever-more-remote bureaucratic forms of local government, to miss the opportunity to form the local authorities which we want seems incredible.

Present local authorities are bankrupt, hugely in debt and busily cutting such public services as remain and selling off any and all surviving local assets, leaving only the monster bureaucracy with its salaries, bonuses and expenses in place.

One might look back to the days of the old West, East and North Riding County Councils and the tiny Urban District Councils which served them to see how things could be run both efficiently and economically – no debts with the WRCC; roads kept in good condition, schools running well and the policeman in view, unarmed and your friend. To mention just a few.

If no urgent action is taken, then all will be decided by bureaucrats, and to their huge advantage. And we shall only have ourselves to blame!