Improvements are needed to the rail network, but the present proposals show that the strategy has not been thought through, is centred on London and does not meet the needs of the rest of the country.
Originally HS2 was all about speed.
That emphasis has now changed and capacity is what is being pushed to justify it.
In 2010, the then Labour government changed the southern terminus from Kings Cross/St Pancras, where HS1 also terminates, to Euston which has very poor onward transport links.
The chaos that will ensue when HS2 opens is now being used to justify the building of the proposed Crossrail Phase 2 to solve London’s transport problems.
I can see some merit in a new north-south line if it were to benefit the north as well as London, say by entering London from the east after joining HS1 at Stratford, giving direct access to the Channel Tunnel, or with links to Heathrow and the southern ports.
The financial benefits of the proposals are also rather dubious, based on predictions of trains running full every few minutes.
When HS1 opened, the passenger numbers were about 1/3 of those predicted.
The last time that I saw a breakdown of predicted costs there were uncosted items, such as improvements to Junction 34 of the M1 at Meadowhall when the station was proposed there.
The train sets and inflation weren’t included, and the estimates for diversion of utilities looked extremely light.
The addition of extra sections in tunnel have increased the cost and will reduce the running speed, casting further doubt on the economics.
There are the makings of another Concorde – technically brilliant, but a political project that will be a financial disaster demanding a permanent subsidy to keep it going.
There is talk of job creation, and I am sure that the German tunnelling machine builders, the German and French train makers and Spanish/German/French construction companies will be among the main beneficiaries – as happened with Crossrail and other recent projects.
If it is just extra capacity that is needed there must be cheaper and quicker ways of providing it.
I am sure that it would be much preferred by the people of our district if a serious attempt was made to improve the local commuter services with ticket prices at affordable levels.
That would be a much better way to use a little of the fund that the government seems to have for spending on projects which benefit the London area.
Coun David Dews, UKIP
St Paul’s Walk,
Library has a great feel
The soaring heat of recent days was most welcome but not as much as the community chest I found at South Elmsall Library.
A great feel of community involvement with toddler groups, reading clubs and, in my quest along with many others, computer and job search support.
The library staff, career expert and local youths offered expertise, assistance and knowledgeable help.
The relaxed and informative atmosphere led to a successful venture for me following my recent retirement.
Please do not pass go, but go in and sample for yourself the benefits of our local libraries.
Litter sets a bad example
The extensive bird feeding station and observation seating area is a commendable wildlife sanctuary on the Smawthorne Marsh, at the back of Pontefract Road.
If one is to access this facility from Pontefract Road along the unnamed footpath, opposite Close Road, towards Pine Close, the very antithesis of civic pride is in evidence.
On both sides of the footpath mattresses, household detritus, house and garden clearance items and the odd supermarket trolley are deposited.
This access is used by pedestrians and the occasional unsocial motorbike user, between houses towards bus routes and schools, via Pontefract Road.
What sort of example does this demonstrate to children about the responsible use of shared urban spaces?
Try ringing the council to report the situation and the response of staff is obstructive.
The grass area was mown around the offending eyesore last week, one would assume the grass cutter would have reported the situation to a central agency to trigger removal and clean up of the site. Some 10 days later it remains there.
I appreciate not everyone has a vehicle to take unwanted household items to the recycle facility at Flass Lane and that some, in fact, like to keep discarded useless items on their property as “art installations”, regardless of the negative impact on their own and their visitors’ sensitivities.
Would it not be possible for Wakefield Council, in cooperation with WDH, to consider providing a legitimate cost effective communal skip service on a regular basis so the problem does not escalate further.
Signs highlighting the penalties for fly-tipping would then be rendered unnecessary.
Rerun calls ‘ludicrous’
Calls for a re-run of the referendum are just ludicrous.
We live in a democracy where the vote of the majority is the deciding factor, and to call for a re-run just because your team lost is a very juvenile reaction in my opinion. What do these people want - best of three?
Many people, especially the young, mistakenly believe that we have always been part of the EU, because they can’t remember anything else, whereas “oldies” like myself can recall the days when Great Britain was an independent and prosperous nation with citizens who were proud to declare they were British.
There is nothing to fear from standing alone, we have done it before and we can do it again, indeed once we are totally free from the shackles of Europe, we can begin to show the world exactly what we are capable of.
Already there are signs from across the globe that countries are queuing up to do business with us, with major businesses and conglomerates eager to invest in Britain.
Closer to home, we heard recently that China has pledged £1 billion to a huge building programme in Sheffield, and has handed over almost £250 million with the promise that more will follow. This will mean the creation of thousands of jobs at all levels, where British firms will be used to provide British workers with long term employment.
Surely, being part of a country that stands proudly on its own two feet is far better than being a tiny minnow being constantly jabbed and poked by the stick of the EU to keep us swimming in the direction they choose for us?
If we had remained within the EU, there is no doubt we would have been compelled to ditch sterling and accept the euro as our currency - and we have all seen the outcome of this in countries like Greece where it will take a miracle for them to recover and survive.
Well, I for one have seen and heard enough of the EU to convince me that it was sacrilegious of our politicians to place the chains of Brussels around dear old Blighty (Great Britain) in the first place, but to allow them to remain there for 43 years was the most inglorious act they have ever committed.
We do not need years
It need not take years for this country to depart from the EU.
The department dealing with negotiations should be given a time scale of months not years, and if no deal is done with the EU, we walk away and this should be explained to anyone negotiating on behalf of the EU. We all know that the EU takes years while negotiating anything.
All those lobster lunches and fine wines to be had while filling in your expenses forms. What is surprising is that any deals are done at all. As for immigration just announce from January 1, 2017 that anyone visiting this country will need a visa and if they require a working visa proof of a job awaiting them is also required. This, together with proof of medical insurance for all visitors, should just about cover it.
I prefer to be European
We learned in a letter last week that Mr Crees’ wife would prefer to face the coming Armageddon being British and independent.
By contrast, Mrs Aspland’s husband would prefer to face it being European and united.
How ironic that I happened to be reading the local UKIP chairman’s optimistic assessment of the post-referendum economy just as the BBC news was reporting pretty much the exact opposite.
Oh, and since I last wrote, we have the backing not only of Donald Trump, but of Marine Le Pen too.