From: Peter Snowdon, Ripon.
YOUR CORRESPONDENTS (The Yorkshire Post, May 12 and 17) question the suggestion that 2.6m people turned out to watch the Tour de Yorkshire.
Most councils in Yorkshire have given at least £200,000 each in direct grants. Our roads are approaching Third-World conditions (No exaggeration, I was in Ghana recently). Yet those same councils who have neglected our roads spend thousands to keep the roads en route in pristine condition.
We can argue about the scale of the economic impact but the impact on councils is certain – that money goes out and it never comes back to fund direct services.
The Amaury Sports Organisation that runs these events makes £50m a year profit. Good luck to them. They have mastered the knack of getting local councils to divert public money to provide their lifeblood – roads, crowd control, policing etc.
We are told the economic benefits outweigh these subsidies. The supposed £64m benefit is calculated by Leeds Beckett University on a tiny and statistically insignificant survey.
If this event is so popular (and it is very popular, albeit for a few short moments as the peloton flashes by), then let it be like other popular events and paid for by supporters themselves or by sponsors. Let the Tour de Yorkshire stand on its own merits.
The Tour is a great community event. The TV coverage makes us all feel lucky to live in a fabulous part of the world, but the promotional effects are questionable. During the decline of the Roman Empire the authorities spent millions on circuses to placate the people. It was a waste of public money then and it is today – Rome fell.
City regions just tinkering
From: John Hall, Yorkshire Party, Harrogate.
PERHAPS it’s time Lord Jim O’Neill realised that the devolution debate has moved on and that his city-regional mayor concept is not the answer to Yorkshire’s economic problems.
The city mayor notion is little more than a bit of local economic management. It’s just tinkering at the edges, a faint-hearted attempt to appease the North. It is certainly not what Yorkshire folk want.
The CBI and the TUC are both in favour of a One Yorkshire administration, as is the Yorkshire Party. It would seem the Labour party are behind the One Yorkshire deal.
Lord Heseltine, who successfully dealt with Liverpool’s economic problems in the past, has come out in favour. And 85 per cent of those who voted in a community poll held by Barnsley and Doncaster councils said they would prefer to be part of a Yorkshire deal as opposed to a Sheffield City Region mayor.
James Brokenshire, the Housing and Communities Secretary, said: “I am looking closely at the sustainability of local government moving forward and where devolution and unitary authorities can seek to make a difference then I do want to advance that agenda.”
Well, Mr Brokenshire, you now have all the evidence you need. Yorkshire has a credible case for devolution. It is time to deliver.
Pride and prejudice
From: Brian H Sheridan, Lodge Moor, Sheffield.
I AM not proud of being British. There, I’ve said it, but if it will mitigate the backlash from readers who would call me a traitor, neither am I ashamed of being British.
I am British by pure accident of birth, just as I am a Yorkshireman, another reality in which I can take no pride.
Of course I like England and Yorkshire to win but I would rather Barnsley FC be promoted next season than England win the World Cup this summer because being a Reds fan is of my own doing (though I often joke that I have never forgiven my father for first taking me to Oakwell at an early age).
The notion that a certain provenance somehow makes one a superior individual is absurd.
Some years ago a newspaper reported that a London bus driver had politely asked an American visitor to wait his turn to get on the bus. He replied angrily: “Don’t tell me what to do: I am an American”. No disrespect to a smaller nation but a good riposte would have been: “Well I’m an Albanian and I’m telling you not to push in.”
Cameras on wrong roads
From: John Fisher, Menwith Hill.
THE number of people having to attend speed awareness courses seem to be increasing and many of the vans with cameras appear to be sited on roads where very few, if any, accidents have been recorded.
Is this yet another attempt by the Government to fund our essential services? If attending these courses fails to reduce the number of accidents, the Government should try siting the mobile cameras in the inner, and outer, city areas where most of the accidents appear to be recorded.
Flyover to ease traffic
From: Terry Morrell, Willerby.
THE biggest traffic hold-up on the Humber Bridge to Beverley route is at The Ketch roundabout in Willerby.
Some form of flyover could be integrated into the current landscape profile and should not cost a fortune.