LETTERS: Wakefield readers on the sale of city buildings, the NHS junior doctors' strike and the EU
I was dumbstruck to read last week that some mindless bureaucrat has decided the loss of (Wakefield's) Bishop's Palace and Lodge Buildings is outweighed by the benefits of regeneration.
Surely it is possible to preserve this existing Victorian mansion as apartments and to develop the surrounding land, as was done with the old Stanley Royd hospital?
This legalised vandalism comes on top of recent plans to demolish another charming 19th century building, Clayton Hospital.
These delightful buildings are part of Wakefield’s history and heritage. Victorian buildings express a confidence in design, solid build and sense of England’s tradition and character and over the decades Wakefield has lost many such buildings and this destruction should end now.
I urge readers to write and complain about the future of the Bishop’s Palace by emailing the Police and Crime Commissioner on [email protected] I urge the civic society to be more vociferous in protecting Wakefield’s heritage.
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Also, why isn’t there any meaningful public consultation locally before such beautiful buildings are destroyed? In the case of Clayton Hospital, we were given a choice in the two-week consultation of either destroying 100 per cent of the old hospital or 95p per cent of it!
Are Wakefield people only informed of land deals once the decision has been made?
Blenheim Road, Wakefield
I was interested to read the article in the Wakefield Express (March 25) titled ‘All Change for Kirkgate’, which set out details of some of the council’s key plans to regenerate the Kirkgate area of Wakefield city centre.
The comprehensive regeneration of the Kirkgate area is clearly long overdue and I think the recently completed improvement work at Kirkgate Railway Station has made a brilliant start in improving the area.
With regards to the other proposals mentioned in the article, I would like to comment that I am bewildered by the external design of the new £6.4m West Yorkshire Archive building. I wonder what architectural message the designer of this building is trying to make?
Wakefield has an excellent tradition of civic buildings, which has clearly not been respected in the design of the new archive building.
I appreciate that architects have to link the future with the past but I would be interested to hear other people’s views about the appearance of the new archive building, especially members of Wakefield Civic Society?
Walton Lane, Wakefield
Well done to all
I would like to congratulate Wakefield Gilbert and Sullivan Society on its excellent production of The Yeomen of the Guard, which ran last month at St Austin’s Theatre.
Valerie Green, Gordon Fawcett, Maggie Lowe and Ian Stewart deserve special recognition for their fantastic performances as Phoebe Meryll, Colonel Fairfax, Elsie Maynard and Jack Point, respectively. Congratulations also to director James Newby, the band, and all those working hard behind the scenes for putting on such a fantastic show.
There is so much going on artistically and culturally in Wakefield, with our array of galleries and museums, festivals and concerts. In addition to that, it’s also great to see local amateur dramatics societies thriving and providing such high standards of performance.
Well done to all involved in last month’s production. I look forward to finding out what’s next for the society, and to many more enjoyable evenings.
Fight for NHS
Having attended two recent picket lines to talk to hospital junior doctors it is clear to me that their action is motivated by much more than just money.
I have also studied the position taken by Jeremy Hunt, which is one of being deliberately confrontational to the point where the dispute will not be resolved.
All agree that there will be significant ongoing harm to the NHS and those who work in it. The Department of Health and government team are not stupid, but they can be very devious in following their aims.
So is there method in their madness?
At the present time somewhere around 75 per cent of hospitals are running at a loss because demand exceeds income. Hospitals are the providers.
Funding comes from a government allocated pot of money administered by a Clinical Commissioning Group, the purchasers. The only way to reduce cost is to limit demand and or increase efficiency but the latter has been milked dry. What a Godsend then is a strike.
Waiting times go up, desperate patients move to the private sector, cut price enterprises start up, resulting in a smaller, more privatised NHS. And whose fault is it? The greedy junior doctors.
This seems to fit in with a policy of expanding private health care at the expense of the substantially free NHS. The consultants and nurses are in the queue for new contracts. I only hope they learn a lesson from the brave juniors that there is more to this dispute than meets the eye.
Bevan, in founding the NHS, said that: “The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with faith to fight for it.” Perhaps now is the time for MPs of all parties to show some faith and fight for the future of the best health care service in the world. At the moment their silence is truly deafening.
We need a Brexit
The recent letter in the Wakefield Express from Sheena Vogors, in support of remaining in the EU actually sets out the reason why the UK should leave.
Firstly, Ms Vogers argues the EU has brought peace to Europe for the last 70 years. In fact, the EU has only been in existence for 23 years and now has 28 member states. Peace in Europe has largely been achieved through the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), which are completely separate institutions to the EU. The council was set up in 1949 with the aim of promoting human rights, democracy and the rule of law within its 47 member states, only 28 of which are also member states of the EU. If the UK withdrew from the EU it would remain a member of the Council of Europe and a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights.
Secondly, Ms Vogers argues that radical reform is needed to the EU, which can only be affected if the UK remains. I doubt it would have any influence. Ministers from the UK have said on 55 occasions that they would object to an EU directive but have been overruled by the EU every time. Cameron gained little from recent intensive negotiations with EU ministers – so little that the results were not only risible but unenforceable.
Thirdly, Ms Vogers suggests that everyone benefits from the UK membership of the EU. I would argue that everyone except the UK benefits. Of course, the other member states want the UK to stay given that it is a net contributor – the contribution being estimated at anywhere between £11.1 billion and £7.9 billion between 2016 and 2020; and of course, the US wants the UK to stay since it would gain significantly from the proposed TTIP, over which the UK would have little control and which would lead eventually to the privatisation of the NHS, UK schools and all other public services.
As for trade benefits and costs, I leave economists to interpret them as they will. I would however point out that all other countries in the world trade successfully with EU member states without contributing to the EU.
I would also point out that the free movement of people within the EU makes future planning nigh well impossible for the UK government. If anyone can come here at any time, how is the government to estimate the number of houses, school places, hospital beds and staffing the UK is likely to need and how is it supposed to determine appropriate policies? Should ministers just leave it all to market forces on the assumption the market will provide. It won’t, unless of course there is a Brexit.
New Road, Woolley