SIR, - Your correspondents about Yeadon High Street are over egging their protest.
My reason for bringing this up is that from Harrogate Road to Ivegate the surface and subststructure of the highway of Yeadon High Street and its footways and dropped kerb crossing points has been allowed to deteriorate until now only reconstruction of the highway will do.
That is a very expensive job. One of a £60 million backlog of highway maintenance jobs that we inherited in 2004. Nothing to do with the buildings or the Town Hall, just the state of the road.
I visited The High Street yesterday It is colourful, it is exciting but the surface is well below decency standard.
Your conservative minded correspondent is right about Otley Bridge. It is a beautiful ancient monument, spoiled, in my opinion by the footway.
No one nowadays would allow a pre-streesed concrete footway to be tacked onto an ancient monument. Equally the footway is an extremely busy footway and absolutely essential from north of the river to the town centre and beyond.
Bringing back the pre 1957 traffic lights on the bridge and a footpath on the inside would create traffic chaos. Build another bridge would be an answer, but from where to where?
What would that do to the residential areas the road would pass through? Building another footbridge would be another answer, but it woud have to be very close to the existing bridge.
I hope that a rational debate can be held. I do not think the existing footbridge will collapse in the near future, but it has a very short lifespan left.
I have, by the way, met Leeds Bridge department on the bridge this year Coming up with an interim range of options for proper consultation is some way off. I am pledged to make sure that consultation on this will be real consultation.
I think lessons have been learned over the fence and the bridge should be dealt with in a more transparent manner
Coun GRAHAM KIRKLAND - Otley and Yeadon Ward,Leeds City Council.
SIR, - I am inquiring to see if any readers have a photograph of the old Benton Park House at Rawdon which stood on the site of the present Benton Park Comprehensive School until about 1959 and 1960.
I attended Benton House during the mid-1950s and remember taking some photos of the frontage of the house with a Mr Norman Kirkbrite standing in the front entrance ringing the school handbell. I remember obtaining extra copies which were given to members of the teaching staff.
Unfortunatey my own copy has disappeared over the years and I wondered if any reader still had one of these photos from which I might obtain a copy. These were black and white and postcard size.
R B Pearson - 51 Birch Avenue, Sleights, Whitby.
Safety on roads
SIR, - Many will have read with relief the front page report (Wharfedale Observer, August 9) on the decision to make Otley Market Place traffic lights safer.
MP Greg Mulholland is quoted describing the situation as an accident waiting to happen'. His words might be applied to other danger spots on roads round Otley, including the Leeds Road roundabout which has already had considerable improvement.
Chevron boards towards the eastern end of the bypass now make it clear there is a bend in the road, but not that the roundabout is only yards beyond that bend . Astrong case could be made for a series of paint lines across the carriageway to indicate the rate of approach.
A second place where vision may be deceived occurs on the half-mile stretch of the improved Ilkley Road between the Burley roundabout and the Otley boundary sign; here the wide new road narrows into the old, and the perspective of the view ahead can suggest a much greater distance for safe overtaking than actually exists.
The only road narrows' sign is poorly positioned, too small - and hidden by another sign!
Thirdly, on East Chevin Road, approaching Carlton crossroads (an area well known for its dips in the road), there is special danger from a particular blind summit, often only becoming noticeable to eastbound traffic as oncoming vehicles rise from the dip it conceals.
At that very point there is, ironically, a large red warning sign to drivers, saying nothing about a hidden danger but announcing the very clearly visible New Traffic Signals Ahead'.
John Hepworth - 9 New Market, Otley.
SIR, - I was very interested to read of the seance at Yeadon in the 75 Years Ago column las week. When I started attending the Otley Spiritualist Church in the 1960's there was a gentleman, Mr. King, who attended there and who had attended seances where the 'medium' was Helen Duncan.
He was keen to tell anybody about his experiences at her seances. Helen Duncan was a materialistion medium and he had actually seen his mother come through her. His mother had died when he was very young. Helen Duncan was famous for being sent to jail through the 'Witchcraft Act' during World War Two. At one of her services she had given the names of some of the crew of the Ark Royal who had drowned and told of its sinking.
The Royal Navy had not released the fact of its sinking at this time and suspected, I believe, that she must somehow have had contact with the enemy. After the war, sympathetic MPs had the Witchcraft Act repealed and Spiritualists got together to form the Spiritualist National Union.
As I said earlier Mr King was keen to tell of his experiences at Helen Duncans seances. She took services in places like Otley Spiritualis Church, with solid stone floors and walls. A curtain was hung across the corner of the wall behind which, sat the medium. This corner was called 'The Cabinet'.
The medium was then taken upstairs by lady members of the congregation, stripped and searched so that nobody could accuse her of trickery. She was then dressed in knickers and dressing gown.
Often Ectoplasm was seen to come out of the 'cabinet'. This Ectoplasm was used by the Spirit entities to make their spirit bodies visible in a material world. Mr King seemed to enjoy telling how, when the 'power' started to fail, the visible spirit entity would whoosh' down into the floor!
The spirit bodies, by the way, came in the form of men, women and children of different sizes. Having read in the Wharfedale' about the seance at Yeadon, it sounded so like the descriptions given by Mr. King that I believe it was her service. If anyone has more information about this, or any other seances performed around that time I would really like to know.
John Harrison - 128, Park Road, Guiseley.
SIR, - At a time when campaigns against cruelty to animals have had some successes and some setbacks, Animal Aid's message is that all cruelty to animals needs to be stopped - and they get results.
They stopped the largest annual exhibition of birds trapped in the wild, and they played the central role in the successful campaign to prevent the building of a massive new monkey research laboratory in Cambridge.
They have also successfully campaigned against the sale of pets in environments that encourage impulse buys. Recently Wyevale Garden Centres announced an end to animal sales. Before that the Focus DIY chain quit pet trading.
They get these results by lobbying MPs, debating issues on national television and radio, organising demonstrations and exhibitions and conducting investigations. They also have four campaign websites and an active high profile youth group.
Animal Aid receives no state funding and relies on individual people's generosity to fund its vital and successful work. If you would like to make a donation, or find out more about what we do, please contact Animal Aid on 01732 364546 and help Animal Aid to prevent animal cruelty.
Tony Benn - Animal Aid patron,C/o The Old Chapel, Bradford Street,Tonbridge,Kent.