3 good reasons to keep up with the Menston Community Association

Three particularly interesting bits of news from the Menston Village Neighbourhood Forum on Tuesday 4 February evening; click on any of them to go directly to the story below or simply scroll down.

Other interesting items, though not ‘news’ within the Menston Community Association, were a project to produce new Menston Community Association ‘community’ notice boards for the village, the first to be sited outside Kirklands Community Centre (this project, which includes the aim of promoting local businesses, will be the subject of future posts on this site), and the intention of the Local Government Ombudsman to investigate the actions of Bradford Council (already reported on this site).

The full minutes of the meeting will be posted on this site when available.


Professor David Rhodes told the Forum that following repeated refusals by Bradford Council planning, flooding and drainage officers, and Councillors on planning panels, to take into account the “factual” report which he had prepared on the flooding situation in Menston and the inadequacy of measures said to alleviate it, “I am at the end of my tether”. He added, “What they are proposing is illegal under Common Law and they have left me with no alternative but to serve an injunction on them”. He had instructed his solicitor to do that this very lunchtime, he said.

Bid for Council seat

Steve Ellams, Chairman of the Menston Community Association and a tireless worker to not only prevent the inappropriate development in Menston village but also to

Dr Ellams pictured in front of local newspaper placards announcing campaigns against inappropriate development in Menston prevent loss of Greenbelt in the Wharfe valley, told the Forum that he would stand as an independent candidate for the Wharfedale Ward at the elections for Bradford Council on 22 May this year. He later made the announcement to the local Press as follows:

Dr Stephen David Ellams, current Chairman of Menston Community Association, announced at the Community Forum meeting last night that he would stand as an Independent Candidate at the next Wharfedale Ward Council elections to take place on May 22nd.

Dr Ellams is currently teaching at The University of Leeds having retired as examiner for the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh and from the N.H.S. as a Specialist Oral Surgeon.

He has been heavily involved in local matters for many years, particularly the issue of planning in and around Wharfedale. The potential for merging and therefore loss of identity of Burley in Wharfedale and Menston Villages are real and must be resisted.

He is a founder member of the Wharfedale and Airedale Reviews Developments Group (WARD) and as special projects manager was responsible for commissioning a major report on the A65 Trunk Road. He fronted the Village Green Application against the current Derry Hill planning application in 2012.

Most recently he presented a petition at Bradford Council Chambers and gave a speech on the ”Loss of Green Belt” and is currently pursuing an investigation with his local M.P. Philip Davies by the Local Government Ombudsman on the handling of the current planning applications in Menston.

Steve was elected Chairman of Menston Community Association in October last year and has participated in major activities in the village from the Diamond Jubilee commemorations and Vehicle Show to many deputations to Bradford MDC on planning.

Stephen stood for Parliament in the 1997 General Election for the Shipley Constituency under Sir James Goldsmith’s Referendum Party and even though Stephen does not have a Yorkshire accent his first school was in Thirsk. His family background in the forces has enabled him to travel the world.

Stephen stated ”I have now lived in Menston at four different addresses for nearly 30 years and see myself retiring finally in the Wharfe Valley. However before that time I would very much like to represent the Communities of Menston and Burley in Wharfedale as an Independent Local Councillor and hopefully rebalance local politics”.

Cllr Anne Hawkesworth (Ind Ilkley) commenting on Steve’s announcement said “ I welcome Steve’s decision. I know from my own experience that the only way our local communities can defend themselves from the predations of developers exploiting the shamefully lax attitude of the Conservative and Labour governments to planning matters is to return strong local Independent Councillors to stand up for them. Councillors subject to the party whip simply cannot do this.”

Enthusiasm for film shows in Menston

More than a third of people attending the Forum filled in a questionnaire about possible regular film shows in Menston, all welcoming them and ten indicating that they would be willing to assist in some way if films were shown. Altogether a possible regular audience of 48 adults from the Forum participants was indicated, about half the required number to make the project viable, so this bodes very well as the adult population of Menston is about 20 times the number attending the forum.

Menston resident Roger Livesey, who introduced the project, said that we have two residents in the village who knew a great deal about organising film shows – the Chairman of the British Federation of Film Societies, Alex Leggat, and the organiser of the first Ilkley Film Festival, Martin Pilkington, and thanked them for their advice and assistance. He also thanked the Otley Film Society for the advice they had given and the possibility of them organising a ‘pilot’ showing in Menston later this year, to gauge reaction.

A special email address has now been set up and those who have already expressed an interest and who have an email address have now been sent an email and will be kept informed of progress. If you were not at the meeting and want to express your interest, email menstonfilm@gmail.com and you will be added to the emailing list. (If you put your email address on the questionnaire but have not received an email then, sorry, it was ‘deciphered’ wrongly; a small number did ‘bounce’. Please email the address above).

3 responses to “3 good reasons to keep up with the Menston Community Association

  1. “Independent” is – by definition – non-party. The MCA has no political affiliation, but its members may hold political affiliations, otherwise Dale Smith (Conservative) would not have been on its Committee for all these years. The Constitution of the MCA makes it clear that Officers and Committee Members shall be so only to support and work towards the objectives of Clause 2 which are:
    “The objects of the Association shall be to promote the benefit of the inhabitants of Menston and the neighbourhood without distinction of sex or of political, religious or other opinions by associating the local authorities, voluntary organisations and inhabitants in a common effort to advance education and to provide facilities in the interests of social welfare for recreation and leisure-time occupation with the object of improving the Conditions of life for the said inhabitants.”
    It seems to me that this is precisely why Steve Ellams believes he can better promote Menston’s interests by working from inside Bradford Council than by continually banging away on the outside.

  2. As the big surprise emerged at the Menston neighbourhood forum of Mr Ellams standing as an independent candidate for Wharfedale. The BIG question is will he now stand down as chairman of Menston community association, as the constitution states that no member may represent any other interest but that of clause 2, and shall be non party in politics?

    • The English in the Constitution is quite clear:
      No officer or Committee member may be so BY VIRTUE OF REPRESENTING ANY OTHER INTEREST but that of Clause 2.
      Steve Ellams is Chairman by virtue of his being elected so at the last AGM.
      If the Constitution were to be misinterpretted as in the comment suggesting he stand down, then as Alan says a significant number of committee members would have to stand down for being either Parish Councillors or members of a political party, eg Conservative. But, of course, the Constitution has no such requirement. Whether we should have so many MPC Councillors on the committee is a different question; wouldn’t one be enough?

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