Business Association meeting postponed; still time for Menston pantomime; WW1 battlefields tour

The meeting of the Menston Business Association, scheduled for 26 February, has been postponed – new date to be confirmed – until Chair Christine North has recovered sufficiently from recent surgery.

We all wish Christine a rapid recovery.

Troupe of dancers from Menston ballet/dancing classes at Kirklands. Details of classes under 'Events'

Troupe of dancers from the regular Menston ballet/dancing classes at Kirklands, performing for the first time in the Menston pantomime. Details of classes under ‘Events’

Still time to see the panto

Opening night for this year’s panto was last night – Thursday – but there are still three opportunities to take in this Menston tradition. Staged by Menston Thespians, there are performances at 7.15pm on Friday and Saturday and a 2.00pm matinee on Saturday.

It’s at the Kirklands Community Centre. Tickets are £8, children £6, available by phoning 01943 872016 or 01943874855

Poppy picture with annotation 'Lest we forget'WW1 battlefields tour

There are still a few places left on the Menston tour of the WW1 battlefields in September. For six days from 13 to 18 September, there will be specialist guides and participants will be staying at the Novotel Ypres, a few minutes walk from the Menin Gate. The cost of the tour is £499, a £50 deposit being required at booking. To book or for more information contact either Judith Knaggs (david@timewarpband.co.uk) or Dale Smith (dale.smith@bradford.gov.uk).

Pantomime; Dr Who visits Menston; Queen at St Mary’s; another community site for Menston; Philip Davies joins Leeds MPs in housing protest

Poster advertising Menston Aladdin pantomime 19-21 FebruaryPanto week  – Aladdin – this week, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and an afternoon matinee on Saturday. More details, including how to get tickets, under Events. For the first time this year there will be dancers from the ballet classes held in Kirklands on Tuesday afternoon/evenings and Saturday mornings; more details of these classes too in ‘Events‘, where they are listed. For the classes, contact menston@btapacademy.co.uk.

Apologies for the confusing times/dates for the panto in the ‘Imminent events’ on the right. It’s a Google thing. When Menston organisations do not send in details an event might be put in without a time; Google then decides it’s midnight. When the actual time is subsequently known, no way of deleting the ‘midnight performance’ has yet been found.

Another useful community site for Menston?

Have you seen the new Streetlife community site which has a page for the area “local to Menston” (www.streetlife.com)? It seems to aim to serve the same purpose as the ‘Menston village group’ on Facebook but it could be very useful for people who dislike Facebook intensely so do not go on it. You just sign up and say what area you are interested in. It doesn’t seem to understand that Menston and Guiseley are quite different so you get some Guiseley stuff when looking for Menston, but it’s a small price to pay. Recent items included someone looking for a lost cat, someone wanting to know where they could get tickets for the panto, some give-aways, and objections to the new proposal for a wind turbine.

Preserve us from even larger local authorities!

We are aware of course that the battle to preserve a way of life in Menston is not unique and the problems with large local authorities are not confined to Bradford. Aireborough MPs took up the issue recently in the House of Commons, among them our own MP Philip Davies: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/whall/?id=2015-02-03a.49.1 The complaints about Leeds City Council – from ignored to ignorance – sound only too familiar.

Grumpytyke says: Do we believe that creating even larger regional authorities, as proposed for ‘the north’ or Yorkshire, will bring more “local decision making”. Of course it will not; it will just mean more jobs for would-be politicians. What we need is real local decision making, ie, when the people of Menston vote overwhelmingly against a proposal which they know very well will destroy their village, it should not be over-ruled by some regional authority like Bradford, let alone one for ‘Yorkshire’. What we need is more power for the Parish Council; if it had power then capable people would stand for election to it, people would vote for them, and we would have true ‘local decision making’. As it is, I suspect that the forthcoming Parish Council elections will be ignored by most residents, as past ones have so the PC just re-elects itself.

Menston schools in pre-holiday energy

Pictures at the end; click any one to see them larger as a slide show

Menston schools pulled the stops out in the period leading up to half term. On the back of excellent GCSE etc results St. Mary’s rightly proclaimed their success with a “We are outstanding” banner across the front of the school. However, it’s not only about excellent results in the classroom or producing the right ticks for Ofsted, but the excellence carried through into another of the school’s superb shows ‘ ‘We will rock you’, based on the songs of Queen.

Meanwhile, Menston Primary was busy hosting an important guest, none other than Dr Who, who arrived to a red and orange goo-spattered playground in Tardis. Ominously, a Dalek arrived too (but the school is still there!). Dr Who was interested to hear what was ‘interesting’ about Menston, and the pupils were keen to tell him, having considered the question as part of their lessons. The parents have not been idle either, backing Menston in Bloom and Wharfedale Naturalists to create a willow tunnel in the school field.

10th anniversary for Menston in Bloom

Over the past ten years Menston in Bloom’s dedicated volunteers have planted bulbs, trees, shrubs and flowers throughout the village and been rewarded with awards in Yorkshire in Bloom and we have all benefitted from a beautiful village. The Yorkshire in Bloom judges will be visiting early in April so preparations must begin. The group’s first work party session is on Saturday, 21 February and you can meet up with them at 9.30am outside of Kirklands. If you cannot make that you can contact the group by email at menstoninbloom@gmail.com .

Flooding & drainage expert would not buy a house on Bingley Road, Menston, development

Picture of flooding in Menston village“Of course not” was the unequivocal reply of independent flooding and drainage expert, Dr Duncan Reed , when asked at last Thursday’s (29 Jan) meeting of the Bradford Council Regulatory & Appeals Committee whether he would buy a house on the proposed Bingley Road, Menston, housing development. Having heard also a warning from solicitor for the Menston Action Group, Chris Schofield, “Put simply, if you get this wrong, householders and their insurers are entitled to hold you legally responsible”, the committee did not approve the scheme.

Reports show a purchase would be foolish

You do not have to be an expert to conclude from a careful reading of Dr Reed’s report, and that of Professor David Rhodes before this, that anyone buying a house on this development would be very foolish. It is clear that the Bradford Council officers advising councillors to go ahead did not, do not, have the necessary expertise to give that advice. This in itself is no reflection on them: flooding resulting from situations like that of Menston is only just beginning to be understood.

Of course this is not likely to be the end of the matter; there is a lot of money to be made, and not only by the developers, but almost certainly also by a small group of individuals who have backed the scheme from the start. The developer’s agent has already indicated that if they do not appeal against last week’s decision they may instead proceed with another application for the same site.

Objectors to the R&A committee decision who commented on the Telegraph & Argus news report (in particular ‘Toni’ – who insists this is her/his real name), are completely wrong when they say, or imply, that those opposing the planned developments are a few wealthy ‘nimbys’ who would be directly affected by the flooding. By far the larger proportion of Menston residents who voted overwhelmingly against the Bingley Road and other developments in the referendum on the matter, would not be directly affected by the consequent flooding, nor are the developments in ‘their back yards’, nor are they ‘wealthy’. What these residents would be seriously affected by would be the overloading of already stretched health, educational facilities and transport and the irreparable damage to one of Yorkshire’s special attractions – village life in the individual communities which are scattered throughout the vast Bradford metropolitan area.

However, faced with a Council which thinks nothing of destroying its villages and semi-rural communities, and not only Menston, and developers and ‘Tonis’ who care even less, the stupidity of building on areas prone to flooding was the most likely reason for the Council to stop the developments if Councillors could be made to listen to the overwhelming evidence, which previously they have refused to do.

We now await the outcome of the recent High Court hearing on the other similarly foolish planned development, off Derry Hill, Menston.

For all the background, go to the Menston Action Group website: menstonactiongroup.wordpress.com. You can always get to the MAG website using the link in the right sidebar.

 

No Menston housing development decision yet; young dancers working hard for Menston panto; Menston ladies choir looking for singers

A large mural at Menston Primary Schoolwith some of the pupils who helped to create it

Children at Menston Primary School have been enjoying the mural they created before Christmas with Justin Leeming from Menston graphic design company JGL Design

No decision yet following the Leeds High Court hearing on 19 January at which Menston Action Group were asking for a Judicial Review for what the organisation claims are illegal actions by Bradford Council in granting permission for new housing development on Derry Hill in Menston. The hearing lasted all day and the judge indicated that he needed more time to study the submissions before making a judgement.

Some of the MAG members and other Menston residents at Menston Station on their way to the Leeds High Court where MAG is seeking a Judicial Review. They are displaying the poster warning potential house purchasers of the flood risk should houses be built on the proposed Derry Hill and Bingley Road sites

Some of the MAG members and other Menston residents at Menston Station on their way to the Leeds High Court where MAG was seeking a Judicial Review. They are displaying the poster warning potential house purchasers of the flood risk should houses be built on the proposed Derry Hill and Bingley Road sites. Click the picture to read the warning from Lord Smith, Chairman of the Environment Agency.

Dance treat promised at Menston panto

Youngsters from the Menston ballet/dance classes held weekly at the Kirklands Community Centre have been working hard for their appearance for the first time in the annual Menston pantomime (Aladdin, 19-21 February, see Events listing).

A tuesday evening class; older dancers with teacher Stephanie Clements who has choreographed the pantomime dance sequences

A tuesday evening class; older dancers with teacher Stephanie Clements who has choreographed the pantomime dance sequences. Lessons for little ones are on Saturday mornings

There were not enough youngsters from the Menston classes to make up both an older group and a group of ‘sunbeams’ so Stephanie Clements, who runs Bradford Theatre Arts (BTA) classes in other locations as well as Menston, is bringing some of the best dancers from these other classes too to take part. Beautiful dancing in the pre-Christmas BTA Show at the Bradford Playhouse (for some video clips click here) indicated the Menston audience is in for a treat. For more information on the classes go to http://bradfordtheatrearts.webs.com/  or phone Stephanie on 0798 671 3203.

Menston choir seeking altos and sopranos

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Menston ladies choir, Ladies Please, is looking for more singers to join them, specifically they are seeking two altos and two sopranos. The choir would welcome any lady who loves to sing; the ability to read music is not an absolute criterion although it would help; the choir does have some ladies who sing ‘by ear’.

Some of the Ladies Please members with the musical director, reader for a concert

Some of the Ladies Please members with the musical director, Arnold Boddy, ready for a concert

The choir meets weekly on Thursday evenings to rehearse in the Fairfax Club, Main Street, Menston from 7.30pm. Musical Director is Arnold Boddy, who formed the choir, and the choir is supported at some rehearsals and at all concerts by accompanist, Mike Nicholas.

Performances are mainly to support the raising of funds for a charity or to bring entertainment to those who can no longer get out and about; although the choir meets private requests from time to time such as singing at weddings. They mainly perform in the Wharfedale and Bradford area. Charities are encouraged to get in touch if they would like the choir to come and support your event. There is no charge and over the years Ladies Please has helped raise about £10,000 for a number of different charities, most recently The Children’s Society.

As this year is the choir’s 10th anniversary it is hoping to have a special Gala Concert. Watch this site for details when available.

Any ladies possibly interested in joining the choir can contact the secretary via the website: www.ladiespleasechoir.org

Smiles at four Menston businesses, bakery, child care, Body Sanctuary & writing. Support MAG

Support the Menston Action Group, fighting inappropriate development in Menston, at the High Court in Leeds, 10.30am, Monday 19 January, or join the party on the 9.21 train from Menston (click this for more information)

It’s almost Panto time in Menston (Aladdin, 19-21 February) but there are already plenty of smiles to greet you at some new or changed businesses in Menston.

Smiles at the Village Bakery

A smiling welcome from the new owner of the Village Bakery, and two cheerful helpers Kate and William

A smiling welcome from the new owner of the Village Bakery, and two cheerful helpers Kate and William

Trish, with her cheerful, efficient assistants Kate and William when they are not at school, has taken over the Village Bakery. A newcomer to shopkeeping, Trish doesn’t intend to change very much in the short term: she’ll be selling the same locally-baked bread, the sandwich menu is the same, though she may introduce one or two new ones, and the only problem with the cakes is which ones to choose.

Living in Cookridge, Trish has to cross the Chevin every morning to open up but the snow this weekend didn’t dampen the cheerful greeting.

Welcome to Menston!

The Railway Children arrive in Menston

The Railway Children logo

The school run made easy, for parents of children of primary school age and younger, has come to Menston with the arrival of ‘The Railway Children’ at Menston Station, in what was formerly the coffee shop and 1875 Indian restaurant.

Zandra with the colourful Railway Children sign

Zandra Monroe-Cochrane, who formerly ran Cleaseby Kindercare in the village, with the Railway Children sign of the relocated business. A founder member of the Menston Business Association, Zandra had her new logo and sign designed by another MBA member, JGL Design (www.jgl-design.co.uk)

What a transformation! A delightful reception with Scandinavian all-weather suits hanging ready to ensure an outing, rain or shine, and photo-named trays for belongings, entered by way of the booking hall with a parent’s fingerprint – no strangers get in here.

Upstairs is a bright, colourful play, ‘work’, sleep area packed with toys and activities, designed with gated areas so that siblings can be together or separate as they wish. Primary school children dropped off earlier are taken to school via the safe route along the ‘ginnel’, then brought back after school to join the early years and pre-schoolers. Then they have a sit-down, locally-prepared meal learning not only independence but, eg, how to count (sausages!).

Places are limited: 14 pre-school, 14 primary school, maximum. For more information call Zandra on 0795 416 6653.

SOU – a mix of martial arts, meditation and fitness, at the Body Sanctuary

Another completely new activity for Menston is ‘SOU training’, which is taking place at the Body Sanctuary (42 Cleaseby Road) on Tuesdays. More about this activity, brought to us by Antonio Ferreira from Portugal, can be found at http://soutraining.wordpress.com/ where you’ll find all you need to know, including prices. The word ‘sou’ is from ‘I am’ in Portugese, when used to address concepts that are permanent and intrinsic to a person’s nature, as in “I am a human being” – “Eu sou um ser humano”.

Other regular activities and events at the Body Sanctuary are meditation, therapies, healing, group meetings and workshops and Shakti Dance once a month, a relaxed event for women to connect together and let go of emotional tension. Call Kalyani on 0795 203 6326 for more details.

Extraordinary writing – a job from Luxembourg

Another Menston business with good news is Extraordinary Writing (http://extraordinarywriting.net), set up in December last year to offer news and feature writing, and production of complete newsletters, to businesses and other organisations. Writer Roger Livesey says “I wasn’t really looking for work until the next financial year, having recently retired from ‘employment’, but if anything interesting turns up in the meantime I may take it; this job from a company in Luxembourg was to write two magazine features, about on-board WiFi on long distance coaches in Europe. To be researched and written by 10 January, it was sufficiently interesting so I took it on”.

Teapot didn’t tickle people enough

Sadly, the Tickled Teapot cafe in Croft Park, set up last year after the greengrocer closed, shut its doors on Christmas Eve.

A thank you from the Menston Action Group, fighting to save our village

In the most recent post on this site the ‘resurrection’ of MAG (the Menston Action Group) and its new website was welcomed. Usually, now, this site will just refer readers to the MAG website with the wealth of information and documentation archived on it. However, this post is an exception and rather than simply link to the post, it is reproduced below in full. You can, of course, see the post in its original form on the MAG website: http://menstonactiongroup.wordpress.com

Feel free to comment on this post in the usual way which, as confirmed in the previous post, can be anonymous and will not be edited unless illegal, obscene or personally abusive.

Thank You

To all the villagers who have responded so quickly to our call for more funds. We are reaching the end game now which will decide Menston’s future, but we do need more to finish the task.

You may be wondering why all this talk about flooding and drainage, the answer is simple! All the issues on schools, roads, trains in fact the whole infrastructure of the village we have found are easily countered by the developers with money! They say they will pay to make the roads safe, to improve transport to the schools create new amenities etc. You can see the proposed road improvements planned on this site and any new amenities are planned to go in Burley in Wharfedale!!

So flooding and drainage is the only way we have to go forward, and for that we have a really good case. All reports (barring the developers) now say there will be flooding and drainage problems.

So why do we need more money when so many of you have given many times, (for that we are truly grateful). Now the fight is moving on to the courts, Chris Schofield our Solicitor has given £100,000 worth of his time FREE, a Litigation Lawyer costs between £200-£400 pounds an hour, and a Barrister costs £400-£800 pounds an hour, although some do charge more. You can bet the developers will have the best, so we need to have legal parity!  We hope this helps to explain why you are being asked to be as generous as you can.

In years to come you could say with pride I played my part in saving this village.

So we invite you to join with those who give, and those who give on a regular basis

WE CAN WIN BUT ONLY WITH YOUR GENEROSITY

THANK YOU

Happy New Year! Menston Action Group is back. Menston’s ‘election year’ is here!

FollowButtonPicA Happy New Year ! to all the readers of this website/blog, particularly the ‘followers’ who, by following, not only ensure they are informed of each new post and/or comment but indicate that the considerable (entirely voluntary) work required to keep the site up to date is worthwhile.

Thank you also to all those who have taken advantage of the unique facility, in Menston, provided by this website/blog, to comment and discuss issues of importance to the community.

Thanks are also due to the individuals responsible for ‘publicity’ in many village voluntary and charitable organisations who have regularly sent information to appear on this site, thus ensuring the ‘Events’ listing and ‘Imminent events’ calendar are more complete and up to date than they would be relying just on things picked up from the ‘grape vine’.

This site was viewed about 38,000 times in 2014

WordPress, which hosts this website/blog, tells us that Menston Village Wharfedale was viewed about 38,000 times in 2014, which considering that the author/webmaster was out of action for a considerable period and is only just getting back into regular posting, due to a serious health problem, is impressive.

St Mary's Menston concert 9 May 2014There were 419 pictures published on the site; that averages well over a picture per day, 95% of these being taken especially for and published only on this website. A considerable number have been of young people engaging in community activities.

The busiest day of the year was 11 May with 1,307 views. The most popular post that day was St Mary’s Menston Bambisanani concert, paying tribute to Nelson Mandela, 9 May 2014. The Menston Vehicle Show posts had even more views over the respective weekend.

Potential changes on this website

Some of the changes outlined below will lead to some changes on this website. It is likely to include even more opinion (the change has begun in this post) and point to issues for discussion while continuing to present news and pictures – even video clips – about events, activities, community developments and Menston businesses in a hopefully interesting way. The policy of allowing comments to be made anonymously, and not editing them unless they are obscene, illegal or personally abusive, will continue.

Some of the ‘services’ provided to village organisations, eg the ‘official’ Menston Community Association section, where meeting agendas and minutes have been published, may be dropped.

Massive changes seen in 2014

There were some notable developments for the Menston community during last year, particularly the transfer of many of the previous ‘campaigning’ activities of the Menston Community Association to the Parish Council. Most notable among these are opposing the inappropriate housing developments on Bingley Road and Derry Hill and the monitoring of aircraft noise from Leeds Bradford Airport.

Menston Business Association – MBA

The Menston Business Association logoThe formation of the Menston Business Association was an important step to help ensure that a vital feature of the local community – local businesses – are promoted and supported. Let us hope this organisation becomes ever more active over the coming year, helps to develop some of the important aspects of village life and even prompts introduction of new ones. Entrepreneureal thinking could be an important input to the development of village activities and services. Let us hope its activities might also lead to reintroduction of some important missing shops in the village – such as a butcher and greengrocer. A pipe dream? Maybe, but cooperation between the MBA and the MCA could lead to greater support for such local businesses than has been evident recently.

An important development last year was the involvement of the MBA in the Menston Village Show. It is to be hoped that the experience gained by both the MBA and the Show Committee as a result will lead to more development of this important annual event.

Housing developments

Although it has been argued on this site that the Menston Community Association was not the right body to lead the fight against inappropriate housing development, as it led to many other community matters with which the MCA should have been concerned being shoved to one side and even ignored, leaving this to the Parish Council would, on past experience, be disastrous. Indeed, had it been left to the Parish Council over the past few years it seems likely that we would already have all the traffic, transport, educational and health services problems that an extra few hundred houses would bring. A truly independent voice was needed.

Menston Action Group – MAG

Map showing proposed Menston 20mph/30mph sections

Proposed Menston 20mph/30mph restrictions

It is therefore a real relief to see the resurrection of the Menston Action Group which, of course, was formed originally to oppose inappropriate development. It is to be hoped that MAG fights the battle on all fronts, not confining itself to just the flooding consequences. Important as these are, and it may well be that these have been the basis on which the developments could best be stopped, it is not the consequent flooding which would kill Menston. It is the destruction of green space, destruction of Main Street, overloading of services and joining up of the currently separate Wharfedale/Airedale communities into one oppressive urban sprawl which would kill our village.

So, although very costly, there are engineering solutions to the flooding problems which would threaten the village should houses be built on the currently proposed sites. There are no engineering solutions to the destruction of a village community by the consequences mentioned above.

MAG has announced its resurrection with a new website and it will be interesting to see how this develops. At the moment there seems to be no facility for commenting publicly on items appearing on the site, reflecting the tag line “Relaunched site to keep you updated”, which seems to indicate only one way communication is intended. If so this is a pity. To be effective it needs the level of involvement of the community seen at the time of the referendum. Public meetings alone, particularly those now controlled – eg the Neighbourhood Forums – by the Parish Council, are not likely to achieve this.

Nevertheless, the new MAG site gives this site the opportunity not to publish the volume of factual information, reports, etc, as in the past, just pointing to the MAG site for these, so leaving more time to comment on developments.

Menston Community Association – MCA

Now that the MCA has had its teeth pulled, it will be interesting to see how it develops. Will it now be active in not only ensuring support of the many independent community organisations active in the village but active also in introducing new ones? As a registered charity it has an enviable capacity for supporting the community should it choose to use it.

Menston Parish Council – MPC

This year, 2015, is not only the year of the general election but before that there is an election which, it could be argued, is even more important for the future of Menston village – the Parish Council election. This is an opportunity for the community to consider whether the current ‘system’ of an MPC which effectively re-elects itself regularly is what the Menston community needs. Of course, there need to be nominations for new Councillors, and that means there need to be people willing to offer themselves as Councillors. What is more, we need a good turnout at the election to ensure we end up with a truly democratically chosen body to represent us. This website will be doing what it can to ensure full advantage is taken of this opportunity.