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I WAS pleased to see the article on York’s possible involvement in the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
It’s vital people are told more about Labour’s wish to join this authority. It will not surprise readers that I agree with the “No” argument put by Coun Ian Gillies rather than Coun James Alexander’s “Yes” case.
However, I was amazed Coun Alexander failed to address whether the new authority was right for York.
He spoke about how combined authorities were positive overall, but on York specifically there was nothing tangible or certain. Instead he twice referred to “the chance” of things and once what “would potentially” happen.
These vague hopes are simply not enough given the amounts of money involved.
York has no joined boundaries with West Yorkshire and would be a junior member.
This administration is running York with loose spending of taxpayers’ hard-earned money. It is vital there is more evidence-based planning on what really is right for York, rather than vague wishes about how a tie-up with West Yorkshire councils, for whom York is very much on the periphery, may work out.
Coun Chris Steward, Conservative, Rural West York, Dewsbury Court, York.
• A CYNICAL person might say James Alexander is keen to join up with West Yorkshire councils to become part of a super-authority because he believes those industrial towns contain more Labour voters, but I think there is an additional practical reason.
The council leader and his cabinet cohorts live west of the river. With all the traffic restrictions it is difficult to cross the city at the best of times.
When the so-called trial closure of Lendal Bridge becomes not only permanent, but also extended to cover all working hours of the day, it will be easier to get from Holgate Road to Leeds than it will be to the centre of York.
John Jones, Sand Hutton, York.
• I THANK The Press for raising the debate on devolution through the creation of a Combined Authority (Conflicting tale of two cities, December 5).
This flagship Government proposal could see us secure funds for a major upgrade to York’s outer ring road. This infrastructure improvement is an ambition Labour and Conservatives in York share, so I am perplexed as to why the Conservative group leader would be against this proposal.
In the article Coun Ian Gillies referred to my “Labour cronies in West Yorkshire”. I do wish our Conservative and Liberal Democrat opposition would keep their debates political and not personal. After all, the Shadow Combined Authority includes Conservative and Liberal Democrat leaders who are managing to work well with Labour colleagues.
I would also like to address Coun Gillies’s concerns that York would have no voting rights in the Combined Authority. This is not the case. I secured a vote for York at the first meeting of the Shadow Combined Authority on October 3, 2013.
He would like us to enter a North Yorkshire Combined Authority, but Government only allows combined authorities for the largest cities and their neighbours. We are working within the parameters set by Government to gain the best deal for York.
Coun James Alexander, Labour Leader of City of York Council.
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