LETTERS: Wakefield readers on having pride in our city and the EU

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I would like to assure Mike Loakman that Wakefield Council, and the many people who actually live in Wakefield, do have pride in our city.

Westgate has for many years been home to nightclubs, bars and restaurants.

It is now also home to the wonderful Wakefield Theatre Royal and the newly transformed Unity House, which provides office and conference spaces and a great new live music venue.

Westgate also boasts the Art House, a brand new railway station and Merchant Gate, a major private development where work has just started to build another 100 new homes.

There is no doubt that it continues to be a challenging time for high streets in nearly every town and city centre in the country. But we have some fantastic local businesses and well-known brands in Wakefield.

I am very proud that we can offer people a range of shopping experiences - at our two shopping centres, Trinity Walk and The Ridings, at the market and other independent shops. Planning is underway to relocate the outdoor market in Wakefield onto the Cathedral Precinct, which will create a large, vibrant market right in the heart of the city.

It is very frustrating that the owners of the old ABC cinema have not moved forward with any work, however, Compulsory Purchase Orders are not always the answer and we are continuing discussions with the owners.

This hasn’t stopped us moving forward with the regeneration of this area, which has seen the new West Yorkshire Family History Centre being built and Kirkgate Station having a major refurbishment.

A £6m project to remove the Kirkgate subways and improve the road and surrounding area also gets underway this winter. This will help link the city with our internationally acclaimed art gallery, The Hepworth Wakefield and the Waterfront, which is also undergoing a major transformation funded by private sector investment.

Over the last five years, we have had £119m wiped off our budget and we are now in a position where we are having to make some very difficult decisions about frontline services. Yet despite this we continue to invest in our parks as well as working with some superb volunteer groups.

This has meant that, in partnership with the park’s friends group, we have replaced more than 5,000 roses at Thornes Park as well as planting 20,000 summer bedding plants.

There is always room for improvement, which is why we are never complacent and have long term regeneration plans for the city and wider district, but for those of us who do call Wakefield home, I am very proud of what our city has to offer.

Coun Denise Jeffery

Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Skills at Wakefield Council.

EU

We need to show a united front

In light of the results of the EU referendum in the Wakefield Council area it is patently obvious that our local MPs are out of touch with a large majority of their constituents.

As David Cameron is resigning as captain of the ship because he feels he isn’t the right person to steer it to it’s next destination (and rightly so), maybe Yvette Cooper, Mary Creagh and Jon Trickett should consider jumping ship as well, because the boat isn’t going in the direction they want it to either.

Britain needs to show a united front to Europe by all political parties in the forthcoming negotiations. They can do it; as shown in their united attempt to convince us to vote to stay in.

Lewis M Jodrell

Snydale Close,

Normanton

eu

Disappointed and disheartened

Now the referendum is over and the decision was to leave the European Union.

This was not to my desire - leaving the EU will cause quite a lot of upset and unrest with a lot of people and families.

I think a lot of elderly people voted to leave, only thinking about themselves and not about the future for their children or grandchildren in the years to come.

Some businesses have already considering closing down and going back to Europe.

This will eventually happen, causing unemployment and people losing their jobs. Already, a rise in racism, hate and crime has started and this must be stopped immediately.

The country is already divided, with Labour and the Conservative parties showing disagreement and having new leaders or leadership battles.

I am British and I am disappointed and disheartened with this country and the mess it is in.

John G Wildie

Briar Grove,

Sandal

chilcot report

Lib Dems were right about war

In 2003, the Liberal Democrats, led by Charles Kennedy, joined thousands of others in opposing the war in Iraq.

Tony Blair and the Labour government ignored the concerns raised at the time. Now 13 years later,

The Chilcot Report shows that Tony Blair was fixated in joining George Bush in going to war in Iraq, regardless of the evidence, the legality or the serious potential consequences.

That fateful decision cost hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, as well as the lives of 179 members of the British Armed Forces.

The Chilcot Report lays bare the complete lack of planning for the aftermath of the invasion.

That failure caused many more years of bloodshed and instability in the Middle East and led to the rise of Daesh.

In 2003, quite a number criticised Charles Kennedy’s judgement and leadership on the Iraq War and our party’s position.

I hope those in the Labour and Conservative parties who were so forceful in their criticism at the time are equally forceful in their acknowledgements today that he was right.

I sincerely hope that lessons are learnt from the Iraq War and such a dreadful decision is never repeated.

Kamran Hussain

Chairman of Yorkshire and

Humber Liberal Democrats Policy Group

brexit

Theresa May played long game

As most Tory MPs waited the UK to remain in the EU, it was predictable that they would want one of their own to be the next Prime Minister whatever the result.

The way project smear was quickly put into action against her Brexit opponent shows how desperate they were.

Mrs May played the long game with great success, joining the remainers as they were expected to win whilst keeping a low profile with her fingertips on the fence, just in time to hop over and claim her prize.

Mrs May, when she was Home Secretary, failed to get a grip on immigration and deporting murderers and rapists - one has to doubt her efforts at getting this country away from the EU.

Mrs May has two years to prove the doubters wrong - if not she, and many others, may find out the electorate are not has stupid as they think we are.

Judy Goodwin

Windross Close,

Altofts