MY friend, Alison Sinclair, gives readers information about the part William Etty played in saving Bootham Bar and the City Walls from a Philistine city council.

Etty was born in 1787, the year my ancestor came to live in York, and died in 1849. That was more than 160 years ago and I think his paintings in the Art Gallery are sufficient recognition.

I recall a statue of Queen Victoria being moved to West Bank Park and for all I know it may still be there.

I am against statues. Just imagine if Coun James Alexander moved on to higher things and his colleagues wished to honour him with a statue. Where could we put it? Union Terrace car park or Lendal Bridge?

King’s Square has been paved, not to everyone’s liking, but I hope it will be kept clear of tables and chairs from adjoining establishments.

The opportunity arises to have a similar open space in front of the gallery.

Although no one has responded to my suggestion that space be reserved in the gallery for modern York-born artists, consideration could be given to holding outdoor summer shows of York artists in a square free of statue, fountain and traffic.

GAW Heppell, Rawcliffe Lane, York.

• IN REPLY to several letters on February 11, we need to decide what services we need and how they must be paid for.

If there is a pot of money to be spent on Exhibition Square, we should be able to decide whether to replace the perfectly good paving or whether more reinvigoration could be done (for less) by keeping the grant to the theatre.

Would we like to retain the council workers who provide us with services, or do we prefer the ones who dream up such schemes as shutting our roads, but not repairing the ones we have left to use?

Such schemes as providing a new community stadium – to be built at the same time as a new shopping centre at Monks Cross, where we get the shops already built on green belt land, with no sign of a stadium.

Can we ask for the bosses who come up with these ideas to take redundancy and leave the hardworking service providers in place, then the elected councillors might listen to sensible and loyal residents, such as Sue Linfoot, who would like to see houses instead of empty offices, and BM Horsley, who liked York when it had more shops than food outlets and more houses than hotels.

Ruth Roberts, Elmfield Terrace. Heworth, York.

• Sue Linfoot asks, in relation to the former council offices in George Hudson Street: “Surely, City of York Council can afford to give these buildings a lick of paint and do something with the windows?’ (What a mess this is, Letters February 11).

She also says: “Also, the old council buildings in North Street are being converted into yet more offices…Perhaps some well-needed affordable housing would have been a better use for these buildings?”

While both are good ideas, City of York Council does not own either of these buildings – they are two of the 17 that the council used to rent and/or lease, Therefore neither of these requests are within our control to do.

When the unitary council was formed in 1996 it owned only a couple of buildings which were mainly in poor condition and unsuitable for anyone with a disability to work in.

With all its new duties, which the county council formerly ran from Northallerton, the council had to rent and/or lease office space across the city and hence the use of North Street and George Hudson Street.

The council’s new offices, owned by the council, will save £17million over the next 25 years, previously paid in rent and leases, and allow easier access to residents at one reception point.

Coun Tracey Simpson-Laing, Deputy Leader, City of York Council Amberley Street York