THE controversy surrounding the obtrusive and garish blots that are the infamous 'Welcome To Leeds' signs is a year old and shows no indication of abating. That is a disgrace in itself.

This newspaper has led the campaign for the removal of the ill-advised 'Welcome to Leeds' signs since last April, with 3,600 people signing our petition in just a matter of weeks. But here we are, one year on, and still faced with vandalised yellow and blue monstrosities greeting people to this beautiful part of Yorkshire.

To add insult to injury, not only are the signs which were defaced by protesters still in that deplorable state, 'welcoming' visitors to our communities, we are no nearer to getting a date when additional signs will be put up. All the council can tell us vaguely is that the additional bits for the signs will be erected 'later this year'.

We say to the city council what we said a year ago: Enough money has been wasted already in the £50,000-plus it cost to put up the original signs. Throwing in a further £12,000 of taxpayers' money to add the names of our towns and villages does not help the situation or alleviate people's anger.

It is simply not good enough. The signs are unnecessary, inaccurate and visual monstrosities. If a company had tried to erect this sort of thing in our countryside, the council would undoubtedly have given it pretty short shrift.

The signs are offensive and our petition calling for their removal reflected a public opinion which, we believe, has not changed. When is the city council going to get the message? People don't want the signs altered - they don't want them at all.

If ever there was an example of how unnecessary they are, then it lies in the fact that many of them have remained defaced for 12 months. The council has made no effort to clean them up, so it can't itself regard them as being of importance.

End the farce now - get rid of them altogether.

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.