Councillors have no experience
I read the letter from Lesley Adams in the Echo (March 20) and agree totally with the comments made. Having been involved in retailing since the 1950s and having created three successful businesses during that period I feel I have the experience to comment.
My last venture prior to retirement was the development of the Canal Basin in Leeds as a visitor attraction which became known as Granary Wharf. The concept of the schem came about because of the amount of research my wife and I carried out in America, studying the concept of the Rouse Organisation. Rouse concentrated on derelict inner cities, turning them into world-wide attractions. When Covent Garden became redundant London City Council sent a team out to study the Rouse schemes - hence the great tourist attraction that exists today.
In Leeds, from a derelict site, within three years we had turned the site into a visitor attraction and by the mid-80s our footfall over the weekend had reached 4-5,000. I was extremely lucky that Leeds City Council were open to ideas and the Leisure Services department very supportive.
During the years from 1977 to 1983 I was still running other businesses in Stockport and commuted seven days a week. That is how we decided to select Brighouse as a place to live. Being at almost the centre of the UK by road and rail the location was ideal. More importantly we liked the town with a great selection of shops, facilities and a bustling market.
Sadly, that no longer exists, primarily because of the short-sighted attitudes of Calderdale Council, centred on Halifax. There are numerous examples of opportunities lost. The Canal Basin in Brighouse is still virtually derelict. All of this down to the fact that the council does not take on board the responsibility of creative management and the risk it involves.
In the early ‘80s, we built a passenger boat (the first boat launched on the River Aire in 50 years) to connect to the (then) Tetley’s Museum and the Royal Armouries and supported that with the first Inland Waterways Rally on the River Aire.
The problem with councillors is that they are the same breed as today’s politicians. They have no experience of commerce and take the easy option. Also employees in the public sector are not encouraged or expected to take risks. Incidentally the small number of forms from residents in favour of the new Aldi store were all from elderly residents from the houses off Birds Royd who would have less distance to walk, compared to the extra few hundred yards to Sainsburys.
Lastly, councillors are always banging the drum regarding employment the new Aldi store will create. But Aldi work with a minimum of staff compared to most supermarkets which reduces costs. If more shops are forced to close on the High Street following the opening of the store, there will be no opportunities for employment as the staff will already have been appointed and trained prior to opening.
It will also be interesting to see what effect this competitively-priced store will have on Sainsburys. Let us see who is right as time passes.
policy of selling cheap milk
I feel that the supermarkets’ latest policy of selling milk cheaper than bottled water, simply to bring more customers into their stores, is wicked. I have no doubt that families are glad to get their milk so cheaply, it is more or less given away. But supermarkets do not care what the knock-on effect will do to our countryside.
Calderdale has a lot of marginal land which, not so long ago, was used for dairy farming. The cows grazing out of doors in summer gave creamy fresh milk; other fields grew long grass for hay and after the hay harvest became extra grazing. The hay, of course, was winter fodder for the cows.
The cow manure fertilised the pasture and the hay field. The whole worked in a complete cycle providing milk, meat and green countryside for people to walk in the fresh air away from car fumes etc.
The cheap milk policy will mean that cows will be kept in big herds in sheds and will not have the freedom to graze out of doors which is the natural thing for them. Supermarkets are only interested in profit margins and do not care what producers suffer because of their actions. I still have my milk delivered to my doorstep in glass bottles; it is local milk from a medium-sized herd.
Time to call a meeting over A&E future
Having recently read the report about the future of the Accident and Emergency services in Calderdale and Kirklees we have been given five options to consider. The only option as far as I’m concerned is there should be no change.
At the recent protest march there were several groups marching against the possible closure of Calderdale Accident and Emergency unit and even though the Conservative group on Calderdale Council stood on the town hall steps not one Conservative councillor attended the march.
I now think it is time that the leader of the Council called a special full council meeting to discuss this issue and hopefully send a message with one voice. This is our NHS. Not the civil servants, not the politicians but our NHS. We had an agreement with all Governments to provide education, protection, welfare, and the NHS. We pay income tax and national insurance to provide this. Recently the people of Dewsbury presented a petition with over 10,000 signatures on to stop their accident and emergency unit from being closed but it was ignored by Health Minister Jeremy Hunt. It is now closing and being moved to Pinderfields. As Dewsbury is in Kirklees I cannot see them closing two Accident and Emergency units in Kirklees so you know what’s on the cards.
Councillor Colin Stout