Getting the political facts right

SIR, - I am writing in response to the letter in last week's Wharfedale Observer from former Liberal Democrat town councillor, Betty Hustler, in which she urges Coun Clive Fox and myself not to 'play politics'.

Had she bothered to read my letter she would have realised that I did not complain about our Member of Parliament's absence from the opening ceremony of the new Library. I merely defended Coun Fox's right to attend the ceremony against, what I saw as, an unwarranted attack on him by our MP.

Betty should really check her facts first before rushing into print. She is obviously completely oblivious to the fact that, far from Labour 'getting close to the Tories', it is her party that eagerly went into coalition with the Tories on both Leeds City Council and Otley Town Council.

And on that subject, Coun Colin Campbell may well attempt to defend cut backs in Social Services, by denying that they are taking place.

I would suggest to him that however he dresses up what is happening, if he were a disabled pensioner in his seventies/eighties who had previously received home care support (shopping/cleaning) and now had that withdrawn, that he too might conclude that he had suffered a cut-back.

John Eveleigh

Labour Councillor,

Ashfield Ward,

Otley Town Council.

Carers at bottom

SIR, - Carers' resource centres, like the one mentioned in the letter from Anne Smyth, Director of the Harrogate Carers' Resource Centre (February 9) are well intentioned, but only scratch the surface of carers needs. Whilst not denigrating the work they do may I, a carer, give a fuller picture?

Most carers' organisations do the best they can, but are minimally funded by government and local authorities, and this inhibits campaigning. What they do is woefully inadequate and more propaganda than support. The emphasis is on self-help rather than support because it costs nothing.

Because the Government holds the purse strings they keep control of organised protest. And the root of carers' troubles is the uncaring Labour Government.

Ms Smyth says 'who cares for the carer'? Well certainly not New Labour. The elderly, disabled and carers have been on Labour's hit list from the first day they came to power.

Labour is doing as little as it can get away with and cutting care funding to local authorities. As a result, some local authorities are cutting respite care and increasing means tested charges. Some authorities, like Sheffield by as much as 300 per cent.

These are the issues Carers' Resource Centres should be bringing to the public's attention, not support for exhausted, emotionally damaged carers. Preventative action is required not patches and propaganda.

Labour's treatment of carers is scandalous. Carers' benefits are the lowest and pensioner carers get nothing at all.

Local authorities have a legal obligation to provide assessments of carers needs, but here is the joke. They have no obligation to provide assessed needs and often don't.

Carers are at the bottom tier of society. We have no value other than as cheap labour and there is no prospect of this ever changing.

Ms Smyth rightly describes carers' services as 'bleak' and under Labour's regime of inequality, bureaucracy has replaced care.

Malcolm Naylor

21 Grange View,


Zone too short

SIR, - A 20 miles per hour zone has been installed in part of Station Road at Burley-in-Wharfedale and I very much approve of this - except that the zone is too short.

It seems ridiculous to revert to 30mph towards the bottom of Station Road, where the shops are and where there is parking on both sides of the road.

Because of the congestion caused by parked cars and large lorries taking goods to the village store, it is rarely possible to reach 30mph at the bottom part of Station Road in any event during the day and speed should not be encouraged at night.

I think it would be a good idea to make the whole of the centre of Burley-in-Wharfedale and adjacent streets into a 20mph zone.


14 The Robins,


Changing Otley

SIR, - Every time I visit Otley there are signs that what was an old market town is changing inexorably into something else.

In the old days it was a centre for the farming community with its two cattle marts and busy shopping streets. Now we are down to one mart and I see that the other is being demolished.

Many of the old shops have gone, and in their place are charity shops and supermarkets. What is going to happen when Sainsbury builds its store, with the Waitrose supermarket only a quarter of a mile away, heaven only knows.

Each will have their own car parks so will the people who shop there merely fill their car boots and drive off out of town without venturing anywhere else? It could happen.

One thing is certain. The whole shopping ethos is changing and soon Otley will not longer be able to call itself 'a market town'.

I suppose that on the positive side it has a brand new hospital, though what services it will be eventually left with is anyone's guess; and the new library is indeed a splendid building and an asset to the people who live in the district.

However, even this took away valuable town centre parking spaces and, let's face it, neither the hospital nor the library are going to do anything for the trading economy of Otley.

At least good old 'Woolies' is showing some long term faith with its planned refurbishment.





Marathon appeal

SIR, - The London Marathon takes place in April and I would be grateful if you would allow me to use your columns to make an appeal to runners who are definitely taking part but who as yet have not decided on a charity for which to run.

Please run for us! Leukaemia CARE is a national charity looking after people in your neck of the woods. We provide care and support for people affected by the leukaemias. We provide vital care and support services to patients, their families and carers during the difficult journey through diagnosis and treatment.

We'll provide anyone who runs for us in the London Marathon with the same level of support as our Gold Bond runners and they, too, can join the post-race party and have a complimentary massage once they cross the finishing line!

Full details can be obtained by calling us on 0870 774 4266 or by visiting our special Flora London Marathon page at

Louise Carlin

National Fundraising Manager,

Leukaemia CARE,

National Office,

One Birch Court,

Blackpole East,

Worcester , WR3 8SG.

No optimism

SIR, - I see nothing optimistic about the building of a Sainsbury's in Otley. We already have one supermarket; I fail to see the need for another.

Concentration of power in the hands of supermarkets is bad news for consumers, businesses, farmers, and the environment. Supermarkets are damaging the soul of British market towns.

Otley has a wealth of independent food shops; bakeries, butchers, grocers, specialist food retailers, market stalls selling produce from cheese to chillies. Do we want to forsake this diversity for a homogenised high street of chain stores, charity shops and estate agents?

The Deputy Mayor thinks that a new supermarket will 'create quite a lot of improvement in that area'; he is probably right, but surely there are other ways we can regenerate this area to improve the town as a whole - more car parking, a gym, swimming pool, or venue for a permanent Farmers Market to give people a genuine alternative to supermarket domination?

If a new supermarket or leaving this site 'to rot to nothing' are the only options, and show the extent of the imagination being put into this valuable piece of land, then it really is a sad state of affairs for our town.


7 Danefield Terrace,