YP Letters: No justification for spending £380,000 of public money on cycling events

From: John Hayton, Pateley Bridge.

Are events like the Tour de Yorkshire good for the economy?

I WAS interested to read that North Yorkshire County Council has decided to spend £380,000 over two years on cycle events on the pretext that such events are beneficial to the local economy.

One wonders why if, in fact, these events put substantial sums in the tills of our local businesses the local businesses don’t feel it worthwhile to provide this funding themselves.

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£380,000 is, I would suggest, a substantial sum to support a sport which is, after all, of minority interest.

I, like many others in the district, have little interest in this activity, but nevertheless have no wish to spoil the enjoyment of others. However, at a time of constant service cuts, I feel that one must question if such expenditure can be justified.

Another type of wheeled activity has been provided by NYCC this year which has resulted not in substantial costs but in a saving. The activity can be viewed every day throughout the school year.

It results due to the council’s decision to remove £5,000 from the budget of the primary school in Pateley Bridge.

This funding covered rent to allow the school to utilise the local Memorial Hall for school dinners. The hall has provided accommodation for the school since it opened in 1959 and it is perhaps a measure of just how far austerity has bitten that even long-running arrangements such as this have now to be curtailed.

The net result of this saving to the council is not only a substantial loss to the hall (a charity which exists for the benefit of the community), but also provides the spectacle of the transportation of school dinners through the streets of Pateley Bridge.

From: Edward Grainger, Botany Way, Nunthorpe, Middlesbrough.

IT comes as no surprise to learn that the first review for 23 years of the National Cycle Network by the charity Sustrans in its Paths for Everyone report shows the extent of the deterioration across much of the network.

The plain facts are that cycle lanes and cycle paths need to be maintained, otherwise they inevitably fall into misuse and lack of use by the majority of serious, sensible cyclists of all ages and capabilities.

I seem to remember that the National Cycle Network, as conceived by Sustrans, won Government backing and was awarded taxpayers money to provide the network and keep it properly maintained.

The state of the network overall is a depressing reflection on the extent to which investment in the upkeep of the cycle routes stops the network from fulfilling its optimum potential to reduce the nation’s dependence on the motor car.

From: S Matheson, Wakefield.

I SEE that next year’s Tour de Yorkshire is wisely avoiding the roads of Wakefield, as the peloton would risk utter carnage.

It is all well and good promoting cycling as a healthy pursuit (Andrew Vine, The Yorkshire Post, December 26) but the fact is the roads are not fit for purpose.

Wakefield Council has a duty of care and I propose it erects a warning sign at every damaged section of road to warn of the danger to life and limb.

Driven out of post office

From: Shirley Needham, Harrogate.

I RECENTLY visited the Post Office depot on Claro Road, Harrogate, to pick up a parcel and was astonished to find that there is very little parking available for the general public because the Post Office employees are using the public car park.

Apparently this is because the local council has painted double yellow lines on the local roads and the employees have nowhere to park. What is the point of putting the depot ‘out of town’ if the public can’t park when they arrive?

We have to run the gauntlet of parking on yellow lines or parking in local office spaces and possibly being clamped. This is totally unacceptable.

Blame parties for police cuts

From: Chris Preston, Halifax.

RECENT articles about police budgets at tipping point as crime levels continue to rise are an indictment on this Government and more especially the 2010-2015 coalition.

I remember Theresa May, the then Home Secretary and now Prime Minister, telling an annual police conference that “crime was reducing” as a justification for reducing police budgets.

Nick Clegg, the then Deputy Prime Minister, justified the austerity policies and reduced money for the police by stating “we must put the country first”. Don’t blame the police for the problems today or the reduced services we receive. Place the blame and responsibility on the Liberals and Conservatives.

Charges risk fly-tipping

From: Coun Trevor Chapman (Lib Dem), Bilton Grange Ward, Harrogate Borough Council.

I NOTE with interest concerns at the amount of fly-tipping in the Harrogate District.

I share their views as I have recently requested the council to remove rubbish left in my Bilton Grange Ward on more than one occasion.

Fly-tipping is on the increase across the district. In 2015-16, 425 cases were reported to Harrogate Borough Council at a cost of £27,408 to remove.

In 2017-18, this had increased to 639 incidents with clear up costs of £43,999.

Unfortunately fly-tipping has increased since charges were introduced for certain materials/items at North Yorkshire County Council recycling centres. In 2017 the Liberal Democrats attempted to persuade Harrogate Borough Council to ask NYCC to reconsider the policy of charges at their household waste recycling centres – but this failed to gain support from the Conservatives.