LETTERS: Wakefield Post Office, the EU, road safety and energy strategies

How wonderful it is to see Mary Creagh campaigning to save the Post Office in Wakefield.

In 2010, RATS mounted a tremendous campaign to try and save our local Post Office (Upper Altofts) but all to no avail.

Unfortunately, Mary fails to mention that in 2010 she, along with Yvette Cooper MP, and former MP Ed Balls all voted in the House of Commons in favour of Post Office closures, which led to hundreds of closures across the UK, while voting billions of pounds to save private banks, and bankers’ bonuses.

Despite RATS, Normanton Town Council, Coun Peter Box and members of Wakefield Council all voting against such closures, our local MP’s decision left the old, handicapped and vulnerable people with no option but to trail considerable distances in order to access Post Office services.

Indeed I personally was so infuriated at their decision, made against all public opinion, that I openly declared that all Labour MPs who voted for such closures should be removed from office, as they had no idea just what they were destroying in our communities. No lining up for them at Post Office counters to access their expenses.

Indeed my MP Yvette Cooper has refused to respond to any of RATS correspondence ever since I made that statement.

However, now that Labour is in opposition, it seems that whatever their political machinations are, they now deem the closure of Post Offices to be wrong. Perhaps it is now time for all our elected Labour MPs to openly admit that the people of Altofts, Normanton, and Wakefield were correct to condemn their actions, and now publicly apologise for their mistakes - and perhaps, too, my MP might just start to respond to RATS correspondence.

But I very much doubt if any of them will as our MPs are above ever saying sorry to their constituents.

Paul Dainton

Altofts Lodge Drive,


Huge challenge

I am writing in response to the letter from K Brown (Express, March 4) regarding the closure of the Visitor Centre in Wakefield.

This year we need to make another £27m of savings on top of the £119m already cut from our budget.

The scale of this challenge is huge and unfortunately we have had to make some very difficult decisions. One of these decisions is to close the Visitor Information Centre in Wakefield.

We found that most of the enquiries to the centre involved requests about attractions that are out of the area, or to book holidays outside of the district.

However, I cannot stress too highly that tourism is a very important part of our economy and we remain fully committed to promoting the district in traditional and new ways.

As part of our tourism promotion, we - and all the councils in West Yorkshire - pay Welcome to Yorkshire an annual fee to raise the profile of the district.

We also publish an annual visitor guide and highlight events and attractions via our ‘Experience Wakefield’ website.

Going forward, we are looking at how we can share district-wide visitor information within our key attractions. We will be taking this approach when our new visitor centre opens at Pontefract Castle in September, as part of the major development project at the site.

Coun Les Shaw

Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport at Wakefield Council.

Stronger in EU

I couldn’t disagree more with letter writer Louis Kasatkin regarding the EU.

The advantages of belonging to the EU are so overwhelming that I can’t understand why we are wasting time and money on a referendum. Not only have we had peace in Europe for 70 years after centuries of war, but trade with Europe has kept prices down, we have much stronger employment legislation than any UK government would have introduced, we have Europe-wide environmental policies, cross border security control, the European Health Insurance Card, and the freedom to work and live anywhere in the EU.

Just look at a map of the world – the UK is part of Europe, not part of China, or India, or the USA, or any of the other major world players.

Since we joined the EU, our economy has prospered and the UK now has the sixth largest economy in the world. We have the best of both worlds because we have all the advantages of belonging in the EU while opting out of the things we disagree with, such as the Euro and the Schengen agreement. If we left the EU, but still wanted to trade with it, we would still have to contribute to its finances and follow its rules (as Norway does) but we would have no say in making the rules. I can’t believe that Mr Kasatkin thinks we should be so powerless.

Of course the EU isn’t perfect – what institution is? For instance, I personally would like greater democratic control being given to the European Parliament, further reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, and a co-ordinated strategy for helping Syrian refugees. But the reason why the other EU countries (and the USA) think we should stay in, is because everyone benefits from our membership.

Those who want us to leave include Vladimir Putin, neo-fascist Marine le Pen, right-wing newspaper tycoon Rupert Murdoch, and self-serving politicians such as Boris Johnson and George Galloway – need I say more? I feel very proud to be both British and European, and I look forward to a time when the UK will contribute wholeheartedly to the future of Europe.

Sheena Vigors

Leeds Road,


Use the crossing

Being the helpful soul I think I am. I would like to offer some advice to parents who park on Sandal Cliff before walking their children over Barnsley Road to Sandal Castle Primary School.

There is a crossing 50 yards up the road.

I know it’s there, I’ve seen it and have actually used it when walking my own children to the school over the years.

It is a fine alternative to dicing with death each morning.

This plan, amazingly, also works in reverse.

You are allowed to use the crossing when picking the children up after school to return to your car parked on Sandal Cliff.

Graham Spark

Sandal Cliff,


We need strategy

Recently, in the Wakefield Express, Yvette Cooper argued for a “proper energy strategy”, then evaded the issue.

Why is Ferrybridge C power station closing, despite record low coal prices?

Because the government has imposed the highest carbon tax in the world. Coal-fired power plants are being crippled.

Power stations in the EU pay £5.30 per tonne of CO2 emitted, but British coal-power plants pay £23.38 per tonne. We should be benefitting from falling electricity prices, as we are from falling oil and gas prices.

The Labour Party can’t blame the Tories (Labour imposed the Climate Change Act and supports the tax).

The Tories can’t blame the EU (the UK carbon tax is five times higher than other EU countries).

Nobody can blame the climate (the global temperature hasn’t risen this century despite record CO2 emissions).

The blind obsession with carbon dioxide is having real consequences and they are not good - Drax now imports wood chips from the US instead of burning coal, at massive cost; Kellingley super pit has been shut;

Ferrybridge is being shut; and the council has killed a new fracking industry before it has started.

Electricity and gas prices should be falling dramatically and they’re not. So, we do need a proper energy strategy and it should be based on two simple principles – cheap and abundant energy.

Come on Yvette, take an honest look around you and argue for a proper energy strategy – one that will actually benefit us all.

Andy Shaw

St John’s Grove,