From: Pete Fawcett, Cleckheaton.
I AM an award-winning, professional gardener with 52 years’ experience. I have been a campaigner for the improvement of the situation of public parks and the gardeners who work in them for 15 years.
The public parks are a valuable heritage handed down to us through the ages, but unfortunately, in the last 30 years, the value our public parks to the community has been wholly under-estimated.
During the pandemic, parks became more popular than they have been for over five decades, and were there for people to enjoy and keep their spirits up in the difficult times.
There was a big increase in visitors and more interest in horticulture. This is set to continue. Parks and their gardeners have never been more important in these difficult times.
The parks staff have been reduced year after year.
For instance 10 years ago, my own parks area in Spenborough had a total of 18 gardeners; now it has but seven.
It has become impossible for them to do their work to the high standards of yesteryear.
I would like the West Yorkshire mayoral candidates to answer the following four questions:
1. Do you support the work that the public parks departments do and their value to tourism ?
2. Do you agree that parks bring in visitors to towns? It has been shown by research by Sheffield University that towns with more green and flowering areas attract more shoppers who spend more money as a result. Investment in public horticulture brings rich returns.
3. Do you regard the parks as being important to the everyday lives and wellbeing of the general public? Horticulture by its very nature requires constant attention (think of your own garden, if you have one). If your lawn is not attended to, and your flower areas are not hoed and kept weed-free, it becomes very hard. Working under such conditions also takes away a lot of the interest in the job, because the gardener realises that it has become an impossible task and morale becomes lower as a result.
4. Finally will you support and work to champion the reinvestment and revitalisation of our public parks?
Voting blind on new Mayor
From: David Downs, Sandal, Wakefield.
I WOULD suggest that 99 per cent of the public do not feel qualified to choose any of the six proposed candidates for the position of West Yorkshire Metro Mayor (The Yorkshire Post, April 6). No-one can judge their capabilities to manage the county from the information provided.
What have these candidates done and achieved in the past to demonstrate their ability to take on such a job ?
The public are voting blind and in the dark: what’s the point in voting?
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