Ilkley and Otley have been at the mercy of Bradford and Leeds for too long - Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Malcolm Naylor, Ilkley.

For too long the Wharfedale Towns of Ilkley and Otley and villages have been at the mercy of control by the cities of Bradford and Leeds.

They are geographically and socially different and with some exceptions need different democratic processes and strategy. To take just one example is the deteriorating and neglect of traffic and public transport in the Wharfe Valley. Another is the abuse of green field sites for housing without supporting services. One of the worse bus services in Leeds is the X84 between Leeds, Otley and Ilkley and there are no bus services at all between Ilkley and Bradford to whom Ilkley pays its council tax!

It’s quicker and easier to get to Harrogate and Ripon from Leeds than to Otley and Ilkley.

Ilkley, West Yorkshire. Picture: James Hardsity.

Yes, there’s a depleted train service on which pensioners cannot use their free bus passes, and until recently it was easier to get to Harrogate. But even that’s been cancelled! Public transport has long been a neglected contentious issue. The huge metropolitan councils are happy to create, fill and take revenue from parking and build houses on Green Field sites for council tax revenue but do little in return to solve our traffic, public transport and social care problems. So what is going on?

The Town Councils of Ilkley and Otley are severely restricted in what they can do without the approval of their Big Brother metropolitan authorities Leeds and Bradford. Even our MPs’ hands are tied in getting services for their constituents. So what are the exceptions?

One answer is the catastrophic political failures (by all parties) to fund, integrate and resource the NHS and social care.

We need a National Health and Social Care system funded by income tax. Not council tax.

This has long been neglected and the financial burden of social care placed cunningly on council tax to protect the wealthy from income tax increases.

Keep in mind the privileged position of the monarchy and aristocracy in this respect. For example the Queen pays only £2,300 council tax for Windsor Castle! Flats in Ilkley pay more than this. We are in Wharfedale and should have our own rights of accountability and control. Wharfedale has been at the mercy of Metropolitan Councils for too long and has little in common with urban conurbations whose faceless, remote, unaccountable bureaucrats have more power than our local town councils

Radical democratic reform, the integration of social and health care and having a taxation system that makes the monarchy and wealthy pay according to their means is a priority.