After attending a meeting in Ripponden on October 17 and listening to Councillor Collins outline the intentions for road safety in the village and now reading Tim Swift’s article in the Courier it seems that we can expect the speed limit to be 20mph in all settlements. I passed my driving test in 1959 as a 17 year old and as I recall there were only two speed limits at that time, 30mph and unrestricted. The highway code said that my car would take 75 feet to stop at 30mph which was probably about right. Modern cars with improved brakes, tyres, suspension and ABS will I am sure stop in much less than 75 feet so why during the last 50 plus years was 30mph thought to be a safe speed limit and now suddenly be thought to be too fast. About 12 years ago I was caught speeding at 34mph in a 30 zone and invited to go on a speed awareness course which I took notice of and have been more careful since. My present car has a speed limiter and I use it in 30mph zones all the time. When looking in my mirror I always see cars catching me up who either pass on by or tailgate me, I never catch anyone else up. The problem then is not that the 30mph speed is too fast but that not many seem to take any notice of it. The police do not enforce the Highway Code any more anywhere in the country so I assume they have been told not to enforce it. Speed cameras help but Councillor Collins says that we cannot afford any more. I pass through the 20mph zone between Elland and Lower Edge and not even the locals take any notice of the speed limit except where the speed bumps are, therefore, who asked for the speed limit. To think that reducing the speed limit from 30mph to 20mph will make the roads safer is ludicrous and will lead to those that usually break the speed limits becoming frustrated, because that is the sort of person they are, and tailgate or overtake in inappropriate places even worse than now. We are a selfish society who by and large want to do their own thing regardless of anyone else, I hear Dave, our tough-talking leader, saying that he will crack down on the anti-social element but never does. The police need to be given their powers back so as to educate drivers to respect the laws that we already have.
Lower Park Royd Drive, Sowerby Bridge
Prepare for a blanket of smog
Councillors Swift and Stout pontificate so eloquently about 20mph restrictions on local roads, are they aware that to reduce speed to this level requires all vehicles to change down through the gears, greatly increasing the volume of toxic gases discharged. If we are to witness the coming of ‘Total 20’ in Calderdale, the town will disappear in a blanket of smog. Worse, the quality of air in the town will be seriously compromised, affecting asthma sufferers and multiplying chest and lung complaints among the population for years to come. Nowadays most traffic accidents occur in supermarket car parks, we rarely see statistics for accidents occuring on main roads because they have fallen, which is hardly surprising considering the congestion commuters face daily, vehicles parked at each side of roads frequently reducing width to one direction travel, a proliferation of cars for sale now add to the obstacles to be steered around. Slow moving traffic poisons the atmosphere and needs extra petrol and diesel to do so, how does this sit with the green lobby? Longer journey times significantly increase transportation costs, and affect tradesmen and delivery drivers alike. All commercial activity becomes more expensive. If this hare brained idea ever gets off the ground household budgets will inevitably suffer more pain in the longer term. Total 20. Arrant nonsense. Think again councillors.
Speed poll said only near schools
Regarding the council meeting re the local speed limits. May I suggest they take notice of the poll they had regarding the speed limit and the result of the majority verdict of the 16,000 who said they wanted the limit to be 20mph around schools only. This seems to be the most sensible suggestion. Otherwise, if this is reduced to 20mph all round we shall end up with traffic jams all over and it will be faster for everyone to use a bicycle.
Withdrawn - but what has it cost?
I am writing in response to Tim Swift “Talking Politics”. Mr Swift rightly says that Calderdale “has so much to offer”. He goes on to extol the virtues of his “Business and Economy Strategy”. Elsewhere in his article he bemoans the current Government’s cuts and how unacceptable they are and how, in the face of Government cuts, they are struggling and blame the Government for the situation. Well, I have a message for Mr Swift: if your council spent less time wasting ratepayers’ money we would all be receiving the services we pay for and probably be paying less for them. Easy for me to say, you might say. I attended a ward forum meeting in Ripponden. The main item was a proposal from Coun Barry Collins’ department to place double yellow lines on one side of the road from Kebroyd to Rishworth, a distance of several miles. The letter that accompanied the plans stated that it was to ensure traffic from the M62 could flow unimpeded if the motorway was closed as a result of an incident. Councillor Collins (Lab) and Mr Willerton (Head of Highways) attended the meeting that had been arranged by the local ward councillors. After the usual party political speech, Councillor Collins stated that the letter was wrong and the proposal had nothing to do with the M62 “it was for road safety”. After several questions from the 100-plus audience, Mr Collins withdrew the proposal because he felt it needed further consideration and “proper consultation” with the residents and business owners who would be severely affected by his plans. When Mr Willerton was questioned he agreed he did not think the proposal was appropriate and when asked why he had approved it (his signature was on the letter) he stated that whilst his name was on it he hadn’t signed it or approved it. “But that happens a lot”. Apparently the proposal was put together by a firm of consultants who used a 10-year-old drawing which didn’t accurately reflect the conditions that currently prevail. No consultation had been held with businesses or residents and, as far as could be ascertained, no impact studies had been made in relation to the effects the proposals would have had on businesses, village life or safety. Whilst Mr Collins had earlier implied the plans were part of a Calderdale Grand Plan, it transpired that the proposal is part of a European plan for the “free movement of freight” through Calderdale. The meeting did nothing to enhance the council’s reputation. If Mr Swift is worried about Government cuts, he should ask himself why they are required? How much have Calderdale paid to consultants for a study and proposal that has now been withdrawn by the councillor and the Head of Highways responsible for delivering it? With a programme of charging shoppers for using car parks next to shops to squeeze even more money out of the people of Calderdale, “because of the Government making cuts”, the council continues to waste millions of ratepayers’ money. Maybe in his next “advertorial” Mr Swift will explain why we have so much waste, how much there is, and what he intends to do to put a stop to it?
libraryTell us the figure - and no delay
I have lost count of the number of glamorised artists’/architects’ impressions of their proposed new library (most recently in Your Say, October 11) Calderdale Council has presented to the public in your columns. It is surely high time these depictions were balanced by representations of the public amenities they have in mind to occupy the prime site occupied by the much loved present library, after its demolition. The cost of its proposed replacement and numerous impressions of it should also be made public before the currently clearly unpopular proposals are implemented. If this information continues to be withheld, the conclusion that councillors realise how badly it will affect public opinion of their proposals, is hard to escape. I am copying this letter to Calderdale Council’s Chief Executive with the request, under the Freedom of Information Act, that the information be published without further delay.
Asda petrol station not Wonderfuel!
I was really disappointed yesterday, after being a dedicated Asda customer for years I was excited about the new petrol station, after all everyone likes to save money. However, after visiting yesterday it definitely was not Wonderfuel, in fact the only thing that was fuelled was my frustration. Apparently they don’t accept some credit/debit cards mine being one of them and they have no other way of payment so I had to drive away and go to the Pellon Lane petrol station. When there are so many in need of jobs why not have a kiosk and employ a few people, it’s prejudice to older folk who don’t have credit cards. I politely voiced my opinion in store to be told it’s so people can’t drive off without paying. So we have to suffer! Get security cameras and let the police sort them - you’re losing sales!
Mrs Jane Marriott,
I like to think that I am a reasonably tolerant person, and a defender of free speech. Nevertheless I find myself baffled, angry, and upset by the latest decision of Facebook to allow you to post and watch videos of barbarians beheading other human beings, provided you “condemn and not celebrate” them. I hope that your readers will join me in writing to the CEO and Chief Exec of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, to get his company policy changed and not to allow these repugnant, repulsive videos.
Coun Nader Fekri