Menston village – what more can Philip Davies MP do?

Philip Davies MP, worried about proposed housing developments in Menston but is he doing enough to prevent them?

Philip Davies MP seems as worried about the ill-conceived proposed Menston housing developments as the majority of Menston residents, but is he doing enough to oppose them? Here’s a chance to tell him what more you think he can do.

Can our local member of Parliament, Philip Davies, do more to help prevent the inappropriate and destructive housing developments proposed for Menston village? Could he have done more?

Click here for An interesting debate (comments) following the report in the Telegraph & ARgus on the recent derry hill decision

MCA meeting 6th November. Click here AGENDA.

Click this paragraph to see the full flooding report prepared by JBA Consulting.

He does not think so but if you do then here’s a chance to tell him.

Grumpytyke responded to a comment on the most recent previous post (Menston village community slapped down by Bradford MDC … ) which said “Surely he (Philip Davies MP) can pressurise Parliament to investigate the Council’s dubious tactics” by saying he would pose the question at a meeting with him scheduled for last Saturday. 

At the meeting on Saturday afternoon our MP pointed out that he had attended numerous meetings, had managed to bring two Government Ministers to Menston so that residents could put their case, has monthly meetings with the BMDC Chief Executive at which he frequently challenges the developments and points out that they will benefit Bradford not at all as any new residents will certainly work (if they can work at all) and shop in Leeds, and had very recently asked council planning officers for an explanation of why the conditions of the planning permission had been changed.

He said that he was as frustrated and angry about the determination, and ability, of the BMDC Labour group councillors to force these ridiculous, inappropriate developments through against common sense and the wishes of the majority of the Menston community.

If you have a suggestion of what more he can do just respond with them in a comment to this post and they will be fed through to the MP and the outcome reported in a future post.

grumpytyke says … 
as I said in my previous comment, and even more frustrating than this particular situation, is that it proves conclusively that we do not live in a democratic country. My personal argument with Philip Davies is that he believes the BMDC Labour group were “democratically elected”. Only if you accept a flawed definition of democracy, I say. The BMDC Labour group is an oligarchy, the Labour group on the Regulatory and Appeals Committee even more so, the opposite of democracy; the group does not represent us in any way, so it is not even ‘representative democracy’. Let us hope that Kris Hopkins MP and others succeed in their declared intention to remove us from the control of this incompetent local authority.
Advertisements

21 responses to “Menston village – what more can Philip Davies MP do?

  1. Please forward my thanks to Philip Davis I have just read the transcript of his statement for a House of Comons Debate regarding Bradford Council
    let us hope they are brought to acount for their actions.
    WELL DONE MR DAVIS
    Commons debates on 21 Nov 2013
    Philip Davies (Shipley, Conservative)
    May we have a debate on the activities of Labour-run Bradford council? Not only are there questions about whether there was a cover-up regarding Paul Flowers, but my constituents in Menston have serious and legitimate complaints about the planning process, which led to a planning application being approved on a wholly inappropriate site. I have received a letter from a developer saying that Bradford council planning officers are supporting developers in pursuing another bid for housing on another inappropriate development site, which has been rejected by a planning committee, a planning inspector and the Secretary of State twice. Is it not time that my constituents had a council that worked in their interests, not against their interests?

  2. The whole fiasco should be called in by whoever is in charge of the Planning Inspectorate, so that the evidence can be examined at a public enquiry, by an independent planning inspector.

  3. I can assure followers of this blog that Philip Davies MP has been following all your comments and has recently sent a message which says the following:
    “Unless I missed it, I didn’t see anywhere anyone suggest something that I could have done to stop this development that I have not already done.
    “If there was something there then please could you highlight it for me”.
    I tend to agree with him but I have sent him a suggestion of my own which, admittedly, would not help the present situation:
    “To suggest that decisions on a semi rural village made by a bunch of Labour councillors, representing wards of BMDC which they have already largely ‘destroyed’, is ‘local democracy’ is ridiculous. So I say we were misled by David Cameron and the Conservative party when it was said that ‘local democracy’ would be restored. To have our fate left in the hands of politically-motivated groups in the vast BMDC is not local democracy. It is no better, perhaps worse, than having things imposed by Central Government.
    “So I would like to see you move a motion to establish some true local democracy, ie some law which would prevent a 98% vote of 50% of the electorate of a community, like Menston, being overruled”. – grumpytyke

    • Yes you missed it Mr Davis I requested you expose the wrong doing of the Bradford Planners.
      It needs someone of your stature, to use your position to stand up and let parliament and the country know what is going on in Bradford.
      Yes you got Ministers up here, what a waste of space they turned out to be, with a recommendation for Menston to produce their own Urban Development Plan and to say that we have a voice that councils must listen to, what a joke, it is no use having a voice that is suppressed and ignored.
      You say you have opposed the planners in meetings, and then what have you done, I may have missed it but I have not seen any condemnation of the planners by you in the press.
      I realise sticking your head above the parapet can be political suicide, but it can also make your political career.
      Saying I support your campaign is not enough, you must show your support by exposing all you know about the way Bradford planners have acted
      This is not going to go away, come the next election Menston residents will remember your efforts. So I invite you to lead us forward give us the inside ammunition so the labour led planners can be shown for what they are.
      Or am I just being a naive old man to think a politician may have the moral substance to act for his voters above his career

    • In reply to this Philip Davies has pointed to some Parliamentary questions he has put to Ministers on this issue. It seems only fair to reproduce them here:
      Philip Davies (Shipley) (Con): May we have debate on localism? In a referendum with a 49% turnout in Menston in my constituency, 98% of those who voted opposed a proposed 300-house development in that village. However, Labour and Lib Dem councillors from other parts of the Bradford district came in and voted to impose that housing development on the village, which was clearly against the express wishes of the local people. Until the Government resolve issues such as these, localism will seem like a pipe dream to my constituents.

      Mr Lansley: I understand my hon. Friend’s point. In my experience, we should have more locally led planning decisions, which this Government are making possible. Also, local authorities’ use of neighbourhood plans can give further force to local decision making, but that has to be pursued within each local authority.

      Philip Davies: Local referendum took place in Menston in my constituency. On a 49% turnout, 98% voted against a proposed 300-home development on previously green-belt land. Despite that, Labour and Lib Dem councillors from other parts of the Bradford district came over and voted to impose that development against the wishes of the local community. What is the Minister going to do about that, because until something is done, localism will seem a distant dream to my residents in Menston?

      Nick Boles: It is fantastic that the people of Menston participate in democracy as vigorously as they do, and I am sure that almost 97% of them voted for my hon. Friend. I urge him to encourage his constituents to explore the possibility of a neighbourhood plan, as such a plan would enable them, rather than people from elsewhere, to determine the future shape of their community.

      Philip Davies (Shipley) (Con): I commend the hon. Gentleman for bringing this debate to the House. As he knows, there are two proposals for big building developments in Micklethwaite and Menston, in my constituency, on beautiful, picturesque green fields. Does he agree that building houses on the outskirts of the district does nothing to alleviate the housing need in the centre of Bradford and that at a time when the council and all of us are trying to regenerate the centre of Bradford, it is rather counter-productive to build houses in that part of the district, the residents of which will shop in Leeds, regenerating Leeds even more, rather than Bradford?

      Mr Ward: That is a massive issue. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman is well aware of the fact that, as people progress up the housing chain, they move out of the inner-city areas. There is a long history of that happening in Bradford. […]
      http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm110615/halltext/110615h0002.htm#11061540000381

  4. I have read the majority of these technical reports by Sirius Geotechnical on behalf of the developers , JBA etc and I can honestly say that I am no expert in drainage but even I can find the points where the test holes filled up as opposed to drained away and the conclusions that neither site can be considered to ever meet the regulations required for sustainable drainage solutions. Time and time again these reports whether commissioned by the developers, developers’ agents, Menston Community or other, they all say the same thing that this land is not fit to be built upon. However this is summarised by our planning department as green light to build, vote as you feel your whip. There are not many places like ours that wade through shit every time it rains. Menston is Bradford’s greatest shame and yet the system has let us down. Even today we are flooding once more and we are not even into winter yet. Something dreadful smells, but I fear the stink is greater in BD01 and we can only speculate at the source.

  5. I follow Philip Davies’s questions in the House via the “They work for you” website and, whilst I’m a supporter of Philip and believe he exposes many issues of real concern, I think it’s difficult to see what he’s done recently to support Menston in its (overwhelming majority) opposition to development which the village can’t absorb or sustain. But he’s not alone. One of our Ward Councillors lives in Spain and gives no more than token support; another persistently ‘sits on the fence’ and the third has allowed herself to be intimidated, suppressed and generally humiliated on every occasion. Why don’t these elected representatives strain every sinew when they know the village faces undesirable change? Who speaks for Menston???

    There’s only one credible position to adopt when faced with deception, maladministration or possibly worse: you either stand up and object including whistle-blowing, or you condone what’s going on and are thereby complicit. There’s no middle ground. Time for some to consider whether they’ve done and are doing enough.

  6. I follow Philip Davies’s questions in the House via the “They work for you” website and, whilst I’m a supporter of Philip and believe he exposes many issues of real concern, I think it’s difficult to see what he’s done recently to support Menston in its (overwhelming majority) opposition to development which the village can’t absorb or sustain. But he’s not alone. One of our Ward Councillors lives in Spain and gives no more than token support; another persistently ‘sits on the fence’ and the third has allowed herself to be intimidated, suppressed and generally humiliated on every occasion. Why don’t these elected representatives strain every sinew when they know the village faces undesirable change? Who speaks for Menston???

    There’s only one credible position to adopt when faced with deception, maladministration or possibly worse: you either stand up and object including whistle-blowing, or you condone what’s going on and are thereby complicit. There’s no ,iddle ground. Time for some to consider whether they’ve done and are doing enough.

  7. It’s disturbing to see someone so poorly informed as Toni William take such an antagonistic stand on matters which affect so many people – but maybe not him/her directly? TW can’t simply assume that I was ejected from the BMDC meeting for being disruptive: those who weren’t present can only speculate. TW’s comment is not based on fact and not accurate.

    As regards the Local Referendum, this was recommended to Menston residents by the then Housing Minister (Greg Clarke) at a meeting in Menston. That mechanism was promoted by the Government as a way to demonstrate that ‘localism’ was the way forward and a Referendum would have to be respected by the Local Planning Authority (Bradford). Anybody (including TW) who wanted to vote in favour of the development plans had the opportunity to do so – a handful did. If TW didn’t vote then ‘zip it’ ‘cos that was the time to express your view! Given that the vote was held on a weekday, with constrained hours (so that many people who work outrside of the village had difficulty getting there before the poll closed), and that those who supported TW’s position were out-voted by 100:1, the result is much more credibly ‘democratic’ than the votes for national or local politicians. BMDC simply said “We’re not obliged to take account of it”, but still billed Menston Parish Council for over £4,000 just for providing the hall and clerical support. Is that democracy in action or an example of the Council showing its contempt for any community which won’t just roll over? can anyone remember any occasion – other than the Jubillee weekend – which attracted more support than that Referendum? I can’t.

    TW should take up Steve Ellams’s invitation and attend the next MCA meeting rather than hide behind anonymous criticism. Then we could listen and give consideration to opposing views instread of just being ‘sniped at’ and vilified for what a majority of Menston residents believe in.

  8. Dear Toni
    It is obvious that you have not been taking an active role in most of the events over the last 4 years. If you had been present at the recent Leeds Development Framework meetings you would know that the developers are openly stating their preference for greenbelt rather than brownfield sites (due to economic reasons). As regards the flooding on Main Street, this is due to surface water entering the combined sewer system which cannot cope with anything other than reasonable weather conditions. You appear to have strong feelings regarding why we should have the developments in Menston so I invite you to come to the next Community Association meeting and air them to the assembled.
    Steve Ellams – Chairman of Menston Community Association

  9. Well there you go Mr Davies two opposing views on the Menston developments, the Derry Hill plans are now passed as of yesterday (24th October) so let’s have a statement from you, on who you think is right, or at the very least your opinion on the way things have been conducted.
    I fear time will tell the true story, unfortunately that will be after the developers have long gone and the labour councillors will have been replaced in office.
    The only amusing thing is that someone believes that in heavy rain the raw sewage that runs down the Main Road is down to Menston residents using their toilets inappropriately.

  10. Dr S.D.Ellams Menston Community Assocciation Chairman

    What better project for a community than to stop inappropriate and unnecessary development which would change for ever the character and wellbeing of their population(not to mention the increase in flooding and loss of green space)As only 10 or so people voted for the development I must assume (if you are of voting age Toni) that you were one of the 10.

    Dr Steve Ellams
    Menston Communi

  11. Regarding Philip Davies I would like to point out “Panel members will have an open mind and NO POLITICAL BIAS SHOULD PREVAIL”.
    Could I ask you to challenge the voting pattern of BMDC as just about every vote is 4:3 Labour to Conservative, I believe this orchestrated from Val Slater (Labour) in retaliation on ‘Middle Class’, mainly Consevative, areas. ie. Menston, Burley, Ilkley and Addingham.

  12. Dear all
    Could we get the facts straight on the voting population of Menston.
    Currently the numbers of adults able to vote in Local or National elections is 3,731. The figure a year last April gave a figure of 49% turn out. Jackie Whitely (Cons) got in with less than 30%. Well over £100,000 donations from the community says the rest. Steve Ellams

    • £100,000 donations from the community does say the rest!
      In that, this amount of money could have been spent on projects, charities, etc for the benefits of Menston residents instead of the selfish needs of a selected few who do not want houses near them!

      • As your other posts you are assuming again, by making an assumption that donations would be given for other projects , so I’ll make some, I assume you agree with the way the Bradford Planners have suppressed a drainage report that shows flooding in Menston will increase, l assume you think deals done behind closed doors are OK. I assume you agree with developers wanting to build on green field sites when they have planning permission to build on brown field sites. I assume you would be happy to live near to a 12 inch culvert which does not cope heavy rain now and which the developers wish to use for the surface water drainage of an extra 170 houses. I assume you are happy with raw sewerage running down Main Street. I could go on but life is short, so I’ll finally assume that your support for the developments indicate you will profit in some way when it goes ahead.
        Assuming things does not make them fact, support the developers if you wish, but please stick to the facts when making comments

        • Fact: The chair of any council meeting has the right to eject any member of the public for disruption if they have not been nominated to speak.

          Fact: Councillors are democratically elected and voted in by the electorate.

          Fact; Many developers are willing to build on brownfield sites, example: eddison fields, Guiseley, old Garnetts paper mill site, Otley. But the problem is most people prefer to live in outer town areas.

          Fact: The problem with raw sewage leaking into Menston, I assume, sorry believe has been addressed by informing householders to stop flushing inappropriate items down their toilets.

          Fact: £100,000 would have gone a long way in sorting out the culvert problem, I assume!!!

  13. The Bradford planning Committee is not fit for purpose, with voting done on party lines, flooding reports suppressed, meetings with developers behind closed doors, individual objectors allowed just 5 minutes to state their case, alterations to the wording being made public at 9 o’clock on the day of the appeal.
    This shows to the public all that it is money speaking and that the labour group on the planning committee is as wholesome as the raw sewerage that runs down Main Street in heavy rain now, heaven alone knows what will happen after the developers have done a runner after building without having to deal with true flooding issues.
    You want our vote in the future, then it time to get off your backside and expose the wrong doing of the planning committee, all done looking to follow the due process, but in the eyes of many corrupted and not working as it should

  14. Your theory of an oligarchy conspiracy is incorrect as Philip Davies MP correctly says that the councillors are democratically elected and an example of oligarchy would be where only members of one political party were allowed to govern, this is not the case as Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat and other partys are voted in by the electorate.
    At council committee meetings involving planning or council matters the members vote on what they believe in not on behalf of action groups or community associations.
    And as I have posted before 1,760 votes of 4,660 do not represent a majority of Menston residents.

    • When Council members state at the first appeal they understand our concerns as they now get flooded after building has taken place, and then vote to weaken the 106 section with the regard to flooding and drainage indicates to me they are voting as they are told not as they believe in, and I guess 1760 votes is a good majority of Menston residents who have gardens and cellars flooded and have to avoid raw sewerage running down main street after heavy rain

    • It’s good to have an input from ‘the other side of the fence’. However, to think that councillors in committee “vote on what they believe in” is extremely naive. As far as the Menston referendum is concerned, you cannot argue that the Menston vote is not representative while maintaining that the Bradford councillors, voted in overall with about the same turnout as in Menston but with far lower proportions of the vote, are. Your example of an oligarchy is, of course, correct but oligarchies occur in other ways too, as the Greeks discovered and as Bradford Council has demonstrated.

Comments are welcome on this or any post or page. They can be anonymous and are not edited unless obscene, illegal or personally abusive.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s