Councillors-In-Shock Shock

Astonishment at bus cutbacks plan:

Leeds City Council’s deputy leader today added his voice to criticism of proposed bus service cuts by transport giant First.

Coun Andrew Carter says he is “astonished” by First’s plan to axe nearly four per cent of the services it operates in West Yorkshire from the middle of next month.

“I told you this was going to happen over a month ago!” says Tiberius – wondering how much notice our councillors require to prevent them going into shock.

Still, to Carter’s credit, he does offer the following dazzling insights into Leeds’ transport problems:

Coun Carter (Con, Calverley and Farsley) said: “These changes are a major obstacle to any strategic attempt to get more people to use public transport.

“First are rapidly becoming part of the problem and not part of the solution.”

No kidding.

But, not to be outdone on stating the bleeding obvious, Coun Chris Greaves, chairman of Metro, says:

the company “seems fixated on increasing profit levels”, rather than helping the people who rely on its services.

“My God, it’s almost as though these companies have a legal compulsion to put their shareholders’ interests ahead of the general public’s!” screams Tiberius – worrying whether the next shocking revelation from LCC might be that Ronald McDonald isn’t concerned about the health of this city’s children.

First They Came For The Bins…

Privatisation threat to Leeds bin service:

REFUSE collection services in Leeds could be privatised unless bin crews agree to major changes in the way they work.

Council bosses have started talks with trade unions over changes they say are needed to make the service more efficient and cost effective…

Council chiefs say that current collection costs must be reduced and run as efficiently as possible so that funding can be reinvested in new services.

According to the council, both in-house and independent reviews have identified where significant savings could be made.

Neil Derrick of the GMB says:

“The interests of Leeds citizens and the city council are both served best if the service is provided in-house, in a modern and professional way with proper investment having been put in by the local authority.

“We don’t think the people of Leeds would support the service being provided by the private sector.”

Tiberius doesn’t think so either.

Published in: on April 20, 2009 at 9:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Air Mail

Apparently the people of Leeds were well aware of the many good reasons to prevent the expansion of Leeds-Bradford airport:

Controversial Leeds-Bradford airport plan stays grounded

Controversial plans for a £28m extension to Leeds-Bradford International Airport terminal have been scuppered for the time being.

Councillors last night delayed a decision on the scheme amid concerns about the impact it could have on roads in the area after getting more than 900 letters of objection. (emphasis added)

And even more, if the Yorkshire Post are to be believed:

The council received well over 1,000 letters of protest to the proposals.

Which, by any standard, is a lot of letters!

Congratulations to Leeds Friends of the Earth, Stop LBA Exspanion, and all others involved for obtaining this much needed breathing space.

However,  it’s at this point that Tiberius must risk being made unpopular with the city’s environmental activists, with this open letter to the YEP:

LBA Expansion: Time for Lobbyists To ‘Take off’

Much has been written about the proposed LBA expansion, yet many commentators neglect the most crucial consideration: what is it that the people of Leeds actually want?

Whilst many will agree that the environmental lobby is more representative and accountable than its corporate counterpart, ultimately our council does not exist to cater to special interests of any kind; it is there to implement the collective will of the people of Leeds – eco-friendly or otherwise.

As all would-be policy-influencers are keen to remind us, every letter written to a politician represents the views of a significant number of constituents. Since Leeds City Council is in receipt of 900 such letters relating to the expansion proposals, it must now recognise that a significant proportion of Leeds’ population is concerned about this issue. Should any doubt remain, our representatives at the council might wish to experiment with a seemingly unfashionable concept: democracy.

LCC could publish a consultation document, allowing both sides to clearly present their case, and give Loiners the chance to deliver their verdict via a local referendum (which could easily be implemented during a council election). Special consideration could also be given to those people in the areas most affected – Yeadon, Rawdon, etc.

If this idea seems like pie in the sky, it is only because we have for too long allowed ourselves to be removed from any meaningful participation in the decisions our city makes. It’s high-time that the future of Leeds was decided upon by the people of Leeds, not by Bridgepoint Capital, the Yorkshire Tourist Board, or even Friends of the Earth.

Craaaaaaaasssshhh

Price of urban development land in Yorkshire crashes:

THE PRICE of urban development land in Yorkshire and the Humber crashed by 64 per cent during 2008 – the steepest fall in the country, research showed today.

A report by estate agents Knight Frank said that nationally the value of land for housing developments halved during 2008 as the problems in the house building sector hit demand.

House builders and other residential developers now account for 27 per cent of groups selling land, while speculative land investors are now the biggest buyers at 24 per cent, followed by housing associations and private landowners.

The group thinks land prices will fall by a further 10 per cent before stabilising over the summer.

“And which is the most urban part of Yorkshire and Humberside, boys and girls?”, asks Tiberius, “That’s right! Leeds!”

You’d have to pity any suckers who’ve made significant land purchases in the area in the last twelve months.

Oh:

At a meeting in November, the council opted to buy land from Leeds Metropolitan University on Claypit Lane for £6m as a site for the arena.

But still, given that even estate agents (i.e. vested interests) are estimating a further fall of 10%, the council would surely not consider this a good time to be using tax payers’ money to buy-up even more land in Leeds, would they?

Oh:

COUNCIL bosses in Leeds look set to approve significant land purchases as part of a £20m bid to ease congestion on a key commuter route.

It is hoped the new scheme will persuade more people to ditch their cars by reducing bus journey times on the route by up to six minutes during peak periods.

Wait – on second thoughts, that’s only a mere £3 million per minute! Another great investment by LCC!

Proper Gander

Stop funding ‘propaganda’, Leeds Council urged

A council newspaper condemned as “propaganda at council taxpayers’ expense” should be scrapped, say its critics.
During the past 12 months four editions of About Leeds – a free publication delivered to homes in the city – were produced by the council at a cost of £185,000.

Malcolm Naylor, of Otley, a campaigner for improved adult social care services, said: “This paper is a disgraceful abuse of democracy and complete waste of council taxpayers’ money.

“The latest issue boasts of council tax being the lowest rise in 14 years, but makes no mention of the increased means-tested charges for elderly and disabled people to raise an additional £2million.

“This propaganda paper, paid for by council taxpayers, makes no mention of this or the 6 per cent increase in rent for council tenants.”

Tiberius says:  “Kudos to you Mr Naylor!”.

Published in: on March 31, 2009 at 8:06 pm  Comments (1)  
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