From: Clive Betts, Sheffield South East MP and Chair of Housing Communities and Local Government Select Committee.
THIS long-promised and long-awaited Housing Green Paper is a massive disappointment (Nigel Adams, The Yorkshire Post, August 21). I’m not surprised that the Secretary of State (James Brokenshire) chose to publish it in mid-August, well away from the Parliamentary scrutiny it deserved.
Mr Brokenshire must be totally embarrassed by this totally inadequate response to the housing crisis, locally and nationally. The Conservative-led Coalition and the successive Conservative governments have broken every house-building promise they have made. This Green Paper confirms that there is no chance of the government achieving its latest promise of 300,000 new homes a year in the foreseeable future
In fact, there’s more chance of Sheffield Wednesday winning the European Cup by 2022 – and I’m a big supporter – than of the Government meeting its housing target!
I have called for three things to be done to assist a dramatic increase in the building-rate:
a target to build 100,000 new social homes to rent pa by 2022, which is supported by a wide range of housing bodies;
£6.3bn of funding pa to councils and housing association to fund this programme, and
lifting the borrowing-cap on local authorities.
Without this type of investment programme, there is no chance of meeting the Government’s target, let alone make a significant in-road in to addressing the housing crisis.
Questions over town’s project
From: Coun Tony Wallis (Lab), Weetworth Avenue, Castleford.
IT’S easy to look back at the 10 years at the Castleford Project (The Yorkshire Post, August 15) and ask what happened? What’s happened at the Green at Airedale? Why was Tickle Cock Bridge changed so soon after being built? What about those market stalls? Yet, in reality, changes were occurring during the seven years of the project and the 10 years since have been no different.
The footbridge was not the one initially intended. The sculpture at Fryston was changed along the way. The Castleford Project was not just about pretty places – it was, and is, about changing the town as a foundation to the future, In that respect the footbridge, now being enhanced by developments next door at Queen’s Mill, is a major piece of the jigsaw. Fryston is another piece of that jigsaw. Over the next 10 years, the missing piece of the former Hickson site will join up that part of the jigsaw, creating the south riverside, an urban and rural mix of a boom for the town.
Even Tickle Cock Bridge, despite its change and need for cleaning (which is going to happen soon), is an improvement on the pre-project gap when even I, at 5’6”, had to lower my head. Now it is a major pedestrian route into the town. It will be another 10 years before we see whether the project has worked.
Retain vital services here
From: Ged Dempsey, Denman Road, Wath upon Dearne.
THE campaign to keep our learning disability services in Rotherham open has united the public – regardless of their politics. It is based on values of decency, dignity and humanity to defend the vulnerable.
Labour’s national leadership, and the TUC at local, regional and national level, support the campaign to keep them open. Over 66,000 have now signed petitions to oppose the council decision. Councillors on Rotherham Council areurged to stand up for our values and ditch the decision to close the facilities for our vulnerable adults. They have the chance to make a difference to the families.
The voters in Rotherham and district are fully behind keeping these vital places at Maltby and Wath Oaks open. It’s time for our councillors to listen, serve and represent the community.
In praise of the ‘boozer’
From: Brian H Sheridan, Lodge Moor, Sheffield.
I ENJOYED Jayne Dowle’s short history of pubs from post war to the present day (The Yorkshire Post, August 20). I have loved pubs unconditionally from the days of scruffy, smoke-filled public bars with no kids and few women to the somewhat sanitised examples of today, though, like Jayne, I find her “seventh circle of hell” a challenge. I refer to her hilarious definition of the modern family tavern with an indoor play park attached.
I can honestly say that in more than six decades of going to the “boozer”, (I love that nomenclature – is it confined to Yorkshire?) I have never witnessed a hint of aggro.
Pubs have been unfairly stigmatised over the years, usually by people who don’t go in them.
It seems that if you want to see some “bovver”, nightclubs are the place to go: you might literally bump into some of your sporting heroes.
Superb staff at hospital
From: The Right Reverend Dr John Thomson, Bishop of Selby, Bishop’s House, York Road, Barlby, Selby.
THREE cheers for York Hospital!
In this 70th anniversary year of the NHS, it is wonderful to have such committed, professional and caring people staffing the New Selby War Memorial and York Hospitals.
Three cheers from me especially for Selby Hospital’s Minor Injuries and GP Out of Hours Service and York Hospital’s Accident and Emergency Ward 22/AMU who cared for me as outpatient and an inpatient this summer. They were all superb!
God bless you for all you do.