From: Paul Johnston, Fylingthorpe.
I HEARD a couple of weeks ago that Scarborough Borough Council has revived plans to close toilets at various locations around the borough. This includes closing the toilets at the large car park on Station Road in Robin Hood’s Bay. This plan is utterly madness and I have written to my local Conservative councillor to ask what plans she has to oppose the scheme.
As yet I have had no reply so I wonder if The Yorkshire Post could help. It would be good if the council could answer a couple of questions.
If Robin Hood’s Bay toilets are closed, then where does the council expect the hundreds of thousands of visitors to go to ‘spend a penny’? Several coaches arrive each day carrying school children and older people from across the North of England. On arrival many people head straight to the toilets, often forming an orderly queue.
The council raises between £250,000 and £500,000-a-year from parking charges at Robin Hood’s Bay car park. Why can’t some of this money continue to be used to support tourism by funding the toilets to stay open?
If finances are so tight, then simply raise the parking charges by 50p a time. Ring-fence the money for use to keep the toilets open and make this clear to visitors in the signage.
Scarborough Borough Council prides itself on seeking to give visitors the warmest welcome. Closing toilets is a slap in the face to not just the visitors who want to use them, but also to all those locally who are working hard to make a living in the hospitality and tourist industry.
Transparency in tax row
From: Daniel Vulliamy, Brigham, Driffield.
CONGRATULATIONS for both your coverage and editorial comments on Leeds City Council’s extraordinary decision to refuse to disclose the names of councillors who defaulted on their council tax (The Yorkshire Post, December 16).
We await the result of at least two other complaints to the Information Commissioner’s Office.
There are two reasons why the issue is important. First, councils do not move immediately to prosecution of council tax defaulters; there is a sequence of warnings first. It follows that defaulters have demonstrated significant unsuitability for the holding of public office, and the public have a right to know of it.
Second, council officers have a statutory duty to ensure that any councillor in default is not allowed to vote in a budget decision. In order to ensure officers have not committed a criminal offence, the public needs to know the name of the defaulter so it can be checked against the voting record. In a context where there is clear evidence of the dangers of councillors and officers being too close, it is vital that the public is able to check and discover such unacceptable irregularities.
Jack’s lesson raised the bar
From: Peter Lees, Irton, Scarborough.
READING the review of the authorised biography of Jack Charlton (The Yorkshire Post, December 17) reminded me of a time back in 1960.
I was teaching at Stanley Secondary Modern School at the time. Leeds United had an arrangement with schools to send a player to coach the youngsters. Jack was allocated to us.
He was an engaging personality in both the staff room and on the playing field. Two stories spring to mind. The male staff room at lunchtime had a number who played solo for pennies. Jack was invited to join in and promptly cleaned us all out every time.
On the field he won instant respect from the boys by saying to them: “I am now going to show you something only Puskas ( the Hungarian international captain) can do.” He then placed the old leather ball on the goal line by the corner flag and with a deft flick of his boot landed it on the crossbar. “Now,” he said. “Only Puskas can do that! But you will if you practise.”
What a character.
Minster bells need experts
From: Tim Bagnall, Lewes.
WHILe I’m sad to hear about alleged intimidation of people offering to ring York Minster bells, I do sense some naivety on the part of the Minster authorities. York Minster houses a very heavy set of 12 bells, the largest has a mass of almost three tonnes.
Only an expert ringing band can ring these bells, the sort of band that rings the bells of St Paul’s Cathedral or Exeter Cathedral. Ringers used to ‘ordinary’ rings of bells will not have the ability to ring at the Minster.
To suggest that they can ‘train a band of volunteers’ in three months is fantasy, it takes many years of practice surrounded by an expert band to achieve this.
There are simply not enough ringers of this calibre, unless another tower with a similar ring is abandoned, with the ringers shipped to York.
From: Allan Ramsay, Radcliffe.
IF Transport Secretary Chris Grayling sees fit to ban strikes on the railways, why doesn’t he ban drivers who use mobile phones while behind the wheel?