SIR:- In his/her letter published in your issue dated May 18, Fed Up' makes some very pertinent points but still leaves many questions unanswered in regard to traffic problems and political in Ilkley.
1 How much has been spent on moving two pedestrian crossing: in Brook Street and outside the HSBC Bank? And why?
2 Why is the taxi rank allowed to remain outside Woolworths and why do taxis ignore the rank outside the station?
If tourist and day visitors are to be welcomed in Ilkley, then more provision has to be made for their cars. With the new housing being erected in Guiseley, Menston and Addingham, more and more cars will need parking spaces. If these are not found then the only alternative will be a congestion charge.
The highway consultants who reported on traffic matters some years ago recommended a park and ride for Ilkley. Why has this suggestion been left if abeyance? Rather than have a car park at Ben Rhydding, the derelict petrol station and surrounding site on Coutances Way could be utilised.
Another could be on Skipton Road where the railway bridge used to be. Land owned by the Council could also be considered: eg the old Middle School site, the waste depot on Golden Butts Lane, the moor, adjacent to the Lido, and the Middleton Hospital site.
Tough decisions will have to be made; the councils will not please everybody. These matters were not debated at the elections at the beginning of May. "What elections?" some of your readers will ask.
In the Metropolitan District, my ward had three candidates; only two sent a leaflet which only sketchily dealt with policies. No wonder voters are apathetic if the candidates are (less than 50 per cent turnout in total. It would be interesting to compare postal voter turnout with the rest).
There is a demand for affordable housing. Where are the policies to deal with this? Again the local councils should have taken the lead; planners should be asked to plan and produce solutions to problems including suggesting uses for undeveloped brownfield land and not spending time turning down applications.
As for the parish council, the Conservative candidates were elected unopposed. This year Menston and Burley split from Ilkley because the voters of those areas voted to have separate parishes.
The voters of Ilkley did not have the opportunity to decide whether or not we wanted to continue with a council with the responsibility for very little. By not fielding candidates the other parties have disenfranchised the voters. The parish councillors in my ward, at least, have been appointed without them having had to state what they intend to do. Is this democracy?
No local authority is effective without an opposition. It makes me wonder, do we need a parish council?
If it is to be worth having, the parish council should be pro-active; taking over responsibilities for services such as parks, sporting facilities, litter collections; rather than giving out grants to other organisations.
The present system does not work: litter bins overflowing on the May Bank Holiday Monday, litter piling up at the entrances to the vacated public toilets at Kings Hall and in front of cellar windows all over the town, parking on footpaths and kerbs, potholes in roads.
Parish management of such works and of sporting facilities could lead to better standards and a much needed sports centre in Ilkley.
In lieu of a manifesto from our parish councillors, the voters of Ilkley should be offered a rolling five-year plan, fully costed, detailing how the problems of Ilkley can be overcome and a realistic timetable. This could then go to the electorate for approval or otherwise a mandate being obtained for each project.
Yes, I voted but only because I had a postal vote,
Voter in the Dark Ilkley, Full name and address supplied.
SIR:- Earlier this year the RSPCA urged members of the public to help prevent the senseless slaughter of thousands of badgers by writing to the Government about proposals for a massive badger cull.
The result was fantastic. The Government received a record 47,474 responses. Most opposed a cull. But this isn't the end of the matter.
The Government is still under pressure to withdraw badgers' legal protection and allow them to be shot, snared or even gassed because it is claimed this would reduce TB in cattle. A decision is expected this summer.
The latest scientific evidence reveals that killing badgers could actually increase TB levels in cattle. Expert advice is that the main factor in spreading the disease is not badgers but diseased cattle.
Millions of cattle are moved around the country every year and it is estimated that up to a third may be carrying undiagnosed TB. The RSPCA has strongly supported the Government's recent introduction of tests of cattle before they are moved.
We have also pressed for more routine testing of cattle, strict quarantining of new animals and financial help to farmers to pay for the tests.
There is currently an Early Day Motion (EDM) - a kind of petition which only MPs may sign. It urges the Government to act on the clear scientific evidence and concentrate on tackling the disease spread between cattle.
Members of the public may wish to encourage their local MP to sign the EDM on badgers. They can find their MP via (www.locata.co.uk/commons) or write to them at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA. Please act now to enlist MP's help in saving badgers from a terrible fate.
Alan Wolinski RSPCA Regional Manager for the North.
SIR:- District Councillor Anne Hawkesworth is wishing to concoct a trust to look after Ilkley Moor. I have a few questions to ask those who signed her petition, Ilkley Parish Council and other interested groups.
How many read, before or after signing her petition, Bradford Metropolitan District Council's Ilkley Moor Management Plan 2003-2012? If not, why not?
How many councillors, especially new councillors, have read the management plan? Again, if not, why not?
The same goes for groups and interested parties, not only in Wharfedale but further afield, including Bradford Metropolitan councillors.
Ilkley Parish Council is to debate the issue at its next full council meeting, on June 5 at 7.30pm, in the Council Chamber at Ilkley Town Hall. I hope residents and interested parties from afar will be there in strength to voice their opinions.
I have read the management plan a number of times. There is more here than to signing your name to a dubious petition. Make a wrong decision and it will affect you and your community for many years to come.
How long will estate agents be able to say Ilkley is the address' to live in, if the condition of the Moor deteriorates through lack of forethought? How long would a trust be able to maintain the Moor in ways set out in the management plan? How long would it be before the majority lost interest and a minority were left scrabbling in the mire?
Better the devil you know than one you don't.
I vote to keep Bradford Metropolitan District Council as owners of Ilkley Moor, not to follow some fanciful idea from a young girl's dream of Hollywood.
Frazer Irwin, Queens Road, Ilkley.
SIR:- Much has been written recently about asylum seekers, prisoners and immigration. One statistic, however, received very little coverage.
Last week it was announced that the number of children being locked up by the UK Government has gone up.
More than 2000 children are detained, with their families, in immigration detention centres each year. It's known that this causes distress, depression, confusion and behavioural changes.
They have committed no crime - and yet can find themselves locked up without a judge reviewing their case.
The Refugee Council has joined with Save the Children and Bail for Immigration Detainees to call for an end to this unnecessary and inhumane policy.
I would like to ask your readers to help us by logging on to www.noplaceforachild.org.uk for more information and to send an electronic postcard to the Home Secretary.
This is not about controlling immigration, it's an issue of children being locked up.
Maeve Sherlock,Refugee Council, 240-250 Ferndale Road,London SW9 8BB
SIR:- With reference to your feature on the recent visit to Iran by members of our Travel Group, it is very unlikely that anyone would disagree with their sentiments regarding military action against Iran.
However, just in case any misconceptions arise, I would like to make it quite clear to your readers that the Ilkley and District Third Age Group is a non-political organisation.
Janet Leach, Chairman,Ilkley and District Third Age Group, 7 Wharfe View Road,Ilkley.