Time to bite bullet on college

The recent history of Keighley College sometimes feels like sitting on an aeroplane, hurtling down the runway but never quite taking off. For one reason or another, plans have been delayed.

The time has come to bite the bullet. There is no point in Bradford Council on the one hand paying lip service to the new build and then throwing whatever obstacle it can in the way of the development on the other.

The latest position is that the chairman of planning - a Tory councillor who does not even live in Keighley - has decided to take upon himself the role of sole decision maker of the development or otherwise of Keighley. Without even referring to the planning panel, Councillor Greaves's recent stalling tactics include a refusal to make any progress at all - and delay the possibility of massive investment - until the question of a pedestrian crossing is sorted out.

Thankfully, some common sense appears to have prevailed and the planning application has been re-scheduled to be presented before the full planning committee on December 6.

It is the lack of vision, ambition and half-hearted support on the part of Bradford Council that has dogged the development of Keighley College for years. Just because the council has singularly failed to deliver the development of the centre of Bradford - and turn it into a simple pile of rubble - does not give them the excuse to attempt to do the same in Keighley.

Keighley College has gone through a turbulent time. The new Park Lane College Keighley already has an impressive record of enterprise and, what I have seen to date, suggests that it is a welcome arrival to the town.

But we must give it the opportunity to thrive - to reach out to the businesses, schools and students of Keighley. This is the source of the future of our town and, rather than being sceptical and shy of ambition, we need to welcome and encourage it. Wanting to get on and improve our standards is not something of which we ought to be frightened or ashamed.

Keighley deserves it. Keighley also deserves the courage of leadership. The council says that it is committed to the development of the college. If that is the case then now is the time to back that with action. Whatever difficulties there are, there will be a political solution. The funding is in place (and has been for years), the college is keen to get on - it is now time for the council and those on the planning committee to deliver.


Magnanimous cubs

Could I on behalf of Daniel Joyce and Kells ARLFC, thank Liam and Bob Gillard and the players etc of Keighley Cougar Cubs U18s who clubbed together to donate money to Daniel.

This came out of the blue and Daniel wants to thank them all. Daniel badly broke his leg when Kells U18s played at Keighley on September 23, 2007, in the fantastic Halifax Home Insurance National Youth League, and he is making a steady recovery.

Once again the camaraderie and generosity of the rugby league family game comes to the fore, in times when the youngsters of today are harshly criticised for being out of order in one way or another.

The Cougar Cubs staff and the parents of the players must take some credit for the way their lads behave in such a magnanimous manner.

Unfortunately, we will not meet again this term, unless we draw each other in the National Cup, but this gesture will not be forgotten, many thanks once again.

Russell Lofthouse Kells ARLFC Secretary, High Road Kells,Whitehaven, Cumbria.

No plans to say thank you

I was very distressed to see that in the "Christmas Countdown" supplement everything was planned for with the exception of making time on Christmas Eve to take the children to a Christingle Service (where they learn about the real reason for Christmas).

No time on Christmas Day to go to church to say thank you to God for the greatest gift - His son, Jesus, who came as a baby to Bethlehem to redeem the world. Many people are able to plan their Christmas to spend time in church to say thank you to God and do all the rest of the things in Christmas Countdown. Please try and plan to give some time for God this Christmas.

Ivy Aspinall Westview Way, Woodville Road, Keighley

More local trains needed

I write in response to your article last week regarding the watch and transport committee aspirations for additional direct rail services to London from Skipton and Keighley.

I believe that improved services to Leeds and Bradford would be of greater benefit. At present, there are generally only trains every half and hour to Leeds and Bradford Monday to Saturday.

Local trains in the peak hours are often full and standing and extra services are crucial to meet current demand and future growth. This would benefit the Keighley area by improving access to employment. In contrast, the current London service is not operating at anywhere near capacity. Let us remember that the service only runs because it has been specified by the Government and is subsidised by taxpayers.

More services to Leeds, Bradford or London would need subsidy and as such would need to demonstrate that significant benefits resulted from their introduction. Has any such analysis been done by the town council or other local transport bodies to support their view that more London services are a priority over anything else?

It appears to me that the transport committee lacks direction.

Tim Cook Middlefield Court, East Morton

Torrent of allegations

Why is Keighley Town Council so sensitive to even mild criticism? Why does a genuine criticism of that council's action result in a torrent of personal abuse and allegation?

And why do I, as someone who doesn't even live in Keighley, keep on with my gentle criticisms?

I can't answer the first two but in the case of the third I can say that I really want Keighley Town Council - and all the other parish and town councils - to play a part in improving the places where we live. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a fan of first tier authorities, supporting their creation and urging the extension of their capabilities and competencies.

The charter that Keighley Town Council is so reluctant to sign represents a real attempt by the city of Bradford to engage with the parish and town councils within its boundaries. For the first time it gave first tier authorities guarantees about their ability to influence the city council's decisions where they impact on the parish or town.

When I set about designing the charter - along with representatives of the city's town and parish councils under the able leadership of Peter Hill - the aim was not to create confrontation but to allow partnership and co-operation. It's not perfect but it's real progress and widely regarded For the first time there is an agreed set of protocols guaranteeing parish and town councils speaking rights (where they have made representations) at planning meetings and area committees. Implicit in this is the right of parish and town councils to make representations to other city council committees. Personally (although most of my colleagues disagree) I would have granted parish and town councils voting positions on Keighley and Shipley area committees.

Until I set up the parish and town council liaison group, there was little or no formal link between the city's parish and town councils and the city council - confrontation and mistrust ruled the day. It is in nobody's interest for that confrontation and mistrust to continue. It is very sad that Keighley Town Council - for whatever reason - seems to want to continue in that vein. And even sadder that the reaction to my mild jibes is, in the case one former town mayor, a diatribe directed at me. I can take it but it reflects very badly on Keighley.

Cllr Simon Cooke Hallowes Park Road, Cullingworth

Irony on disabled parking It was heartening and encouraging to read recently that Bradford Council intends to make available funds to help the disabled in Keighley and is actually proposing to ask their views on how those should be spent.

Ironic therefore that the same council has been reducing the availability of town centre parking facilities, especially for the disabled, and are intending to dispense with what is probably the most important, convenient and well-used disabled parking facility right next to the town hall.

Of course, it will probably not affect those in authority making such decisions and sometimes using the town hall, nor stop vehicles of any kind visiting the town hall and parking right outside its doors, often illegally and often blocking Bow Street.

It was saddening to read that one of our supposed elected representatives, Graham Mitchell, saying that people would be prepared to walk that bit extra to East Parade's shops. Has he not looked at the effect of increased restrictions on parking (not always enforced or adhered to anyway) on the businesses on North Street and Cavendish Street? Obviously he is not disabled.

Perhaps all should be reminded that the time may not be too far off when they too could be in a similar situation requiring such facilities themselves.

I am sure that the disabled of Keighley might possibly be prepared to forego the prospect of the equivalent of at the most a few extra pounds each in return for a guarantee that those facilities were left well alone.

S Bennett Grafton Road, Keighley

Spare a thought for the turkeys

As the festive season approaches - full of food, parties, fun and laughter - Animal Aid is asking people to spare a thought for the millions of turkeys and other animals bred for the plate.

Approximately 17 million turkeys are eaten every year in the UK alone. Around a third are killed just at Christmas. The vast majority will have lived short lives full of suffering, inside damp, windowless sheds, where thousands are packed together, standing in their own filth.

Kelly Slade Campaigns Officer