Art exhibition next weekend. Vote for ‘new’ community venue. Barratt to continue chasing misplaced Menston development? Call to support Menston businesses.

Picture of MCA newsletter and MBA leafletTwo leaflets dropped in my letter box this past weekend: one seems to signify that the Menston Community Association (MCA) is taking up the cudgels again to battle against inappropriate development after dropping out of involvement for the past year or more; another from the  Menston Business Association suggests that if we each spent £5 a week with Menston businesses the local economy would benefit by over £1 million.

Click the above links to go to a discussion on each of the these (or just scroll down) but first:

Menston Arts Club art and crafts exhibition and sale

I’m reluctant to mention Christmas in November but the Menston Arts Club’s November exhibition of art and crafts on 19th and 20th, next weekend, in the Kirkland’s Community Centre is a good chance to find some Christmas presents and support some Menston artists. Entry is free and the exhibition will be open from 10.30am to 5.00pm on Saturday and 10.30am to 4.00pm on Sunday. Refreshments will be available with a café serving “delicious” home made cakes, lunches and beverages. (As usual on this site, click any picture below to see them larger as a slide show).

Visitors are encouraged to vote for their favourite painting; this was a popular activity at the exhibition in May this year.

Following the successful exhibition in May a cheque for £100 was presented to Menston Pre-School for their contribution to the exhibition; they painted ‘selfies’ which were used to decorate the café area.

Menston Cricket Club is seeking funding for a new community venue, ie a tearoom extension, and a new roof, from Aviva. Proposed projects get money depending on votes received. Cast your votes (you get 10) before 18 November.
Click to go to voting site

Barratt to continue fight?

It seems that at least Barratt has not given up on building its host of little boxes on the Derry Hill fields. According to the Yorkshire Post in an article following the Press release from the MCA (the basis of the recent leaflet), a Barratt spokesman has said “Barratt Developments has a contractual position on the site and remains committed to the project at this stage. We are awaiting the Supreme Court verdict on the ongoing judicial review proceedings before progressing our planning strategy for the site.”

This is hardly surprising. Barratt has invested a lot of money in proposals to develop the site and rumours have it that not only Barratt, but several individuals, stand to lose considerable sums if the development does not go ahead. MCA has said the fight will continue and is appealing for funds for the Menston Action Group for this purpose .

Of course the ongoing legal arguments are only around the subject of flooding. They do not consider at all the inadequacy of infrastructure – transport, education, health, etc – to support a large number of additional homes in the village, or the destruction of the countryside.

Where to spend £5/week to support Menston?

The latest leaflet from the Menston Business Assocation, which lists 36 members, just over half of the businesses based in Menston, suggests that if each Menston adult spends £5 a week with Menston businesses then the local economy would benefit by £1 million (presumably over a year). However, there is a problem for many people to spend this as there are relatively few retail businesses.

The major shops, the coop and now Sainsbury’s, in which it would be easy to spend £5 a week, are not local businesses, but part of large chains. Ladies’ hairdressers abound and I guess their clients spend more than that but we see people on the village Facebook page recommending salons in Guiseley and elsewhere. We did have a greengrocer most recently but not enough villagers spent that £5 (I did!) so it closed.

Here’s an idea for the Menston Community Association: what about a project to set up a community owned community store in Menston, similar to Dales examples in Clapham ( or Burton ( Of course we already have a Post Office, around which these examples are based, but worth exploring? 

5 responses to “Art exhibition next weekend. Vote for ‘new’ community venue. Barratt to continue chasing misplaced Menston development? Call to support Menston businesses.

  1. Dont_do_Facebook!

    Personally I feel the Co-op and Sainsbury’s are one key reason that small independent retailers are not going to to take the risk and expense of opening an overlapping retail enterprise in Menston. Other factors such as high rents, the tax system, deeper pocketed and more ruthless multinational competitors, our increasingly car dependent society, more value conscious consumers, increasingly time poor consumers, continued economic uncertainty, and the fact that 55% of small businesses fail within the first five years, would make me ask why anyone, without a totally unique offering, would sanely want to venture into local retail?

    Just look at the salivation of anticipation of some locals at the prospect of the opening of the new Aldi. Yes, Aldi have done a great marketing campaign, by catching the attention of the well heeled middle classes, up-shifting their demographic target market and sales, and it is clearly working. By introducing a limited range of high quality items, nestled amongst the established lower quality items, that were it’s staple for many years, they have managed to become the doyen of dinner parties. Ten years ago you’d have been outcast at such a similar gathering for even intimating that you’d ever consider stepping foot in one of their shops. This show us that marketing can truly have a powerful effect on perception.

    These large businesses may employee local people, but these are in the zero contract category with low pay, little collective sense of ownership and often limited career opportunities. Some have questionable employee monitoring techniques, and working practices. In the case of all of them, profits are extracted from the community and Yorkshire (Co-op small tokenism excepted, but they as an organisation are hardly gold standard in good practice, and are clinging onto survival with huge debts due to past mismanagement).

    Then there’s the Digital age, a revolution that is impacting all generations, and all aspects of our lives. Its possible to have fresh, locally sourced goods delivered to your door within one click. Pretty soon it will be possible to order and take delivery within a couple of hours. The problem with this is that again the big boys like Amazon who will be offering this and will further stretch the traditional anachronism retail businesses model.

    Retail may not be dead, as many local businesses will testify, but the landscape is getting more and more challenging. Only the fittest will and do survive.

    On an entirely separate note, I’m glad to see the return of the Art Society exhibition, and good work on keeping this site going. It is a welcome antidote to the first world problems and minutiae (dog poo, parking, dog poo, etc) that tend to dominate other local interest sites I could (but won’t) mention. Thanks.

    • Great to see such a well-considered response whether others agree with it, or all of it, or not. Interesting your comment about Aldi climbing the social scale. That doesn’t seem to be the case in Germany where you might still be an “outcast at such a similar gathering for even intimating that you’d ever consider stepping foot in one of their shops”. Appreciate the name ‘Dont_do_Facebook!”. I didn’t until working with teenagers in Menston they convinced me it was the only way to communicate with them, and free. Thanks for the thumbs up for keeping the site going – it’s much appreciated.

      • Dont_do_Facebook!

        Thanks for the responding to my comments and kind words.

        I singled out Aldi to highlight the paradox of the ‘shop local’ mantra which gets banded about the community versus the apparent clamor of delight at the impending arrival in Guiseley of the German retail powerhouse.

        This new retailer will clearly impact on local Menston and Guiseley businesses, take money away from the local community and the UK. It will also impact locally headquartered national supermarkets such as Morrisons, and to a lesser extent, Asda. An example – Morrisons employee 1000s in this region at their HQ, they also own most of their own suppliers (supply chain), supporting more UK jobs (many in Yorkshire again) and providing much needed provenance following the horse meat scandal. Perhaps the question is how local is local?

        Aldi (UK HQ in Warwickshire) is a retailer that outsources it’s food production supply chain, uses Emperor’s New Clothes style marketing techniques to raise quality perceptions about it’s products. In the recent past it has compared branded shopping with their own brand equivalents to deceptively declare 30% like for like savings (for which they’ve now been sanctioned by the Advertising Standard Agency), and ultimately is a retailer with dubious staff engagement and welfare practices (Google “Dispatches Aldi”). All profits are taken out of the UK to Essen, Germany and in the past criticism has been leveled at them not paying their fair share of tax (ala Google, Amazon). As they are a privately run enterprise, they are not required to publish detailed accounts, so there is no real transparency other than basic HMRC tax returns.

        So can they both happily co-exist – will they even compliment – the multinational and the local? Can we still spend sufficiently by shopping locally to sustain local businesses, whilst at the same time have the new kid on the block – Aldi – as a guilty pleasure, regardless of what it sacrifices to create it’s so called “value” pricing structure? I don’t know, and maybe I’m unfairly singling out Aldi. After all, do we care about the ethics of the supply chain, the herded animal retail experience, or how staff are treated if ultimately we can get our bottle of Prosecco for £4 or obtain cheap German Stollen?

        As for Facebook, good for keeping in touch yes agree, but not for me. Fortunately apps like Whatapp seem to taking away it’s dominance and lead for a much more pleasant experience.

  2. This isn’t helpful towards MBA they are trying to promote and encourage use of businesses in Menston and co op and Sainsbury’s were never mentioned so why bring them up? The £5 pw is simply an eg, many of the businesses would not be for weekly use but for one off whereas others such as shops and deli would be. Work together with MBA PLEASE not against.

    • Any regular reader of this site will know that it has always been very supportive of the MBA and promoted the idea of supporting local businesses. The point being made was that because locally-owned businesses in which the majority of village residents could spend an average of £5/week were not sufficiently supported in the past they disappeared. This means that any one private entrepreneur is unlikely to risk setting up a butcher, a general store, a greengrocer or a ‘chippy’. But a community owned general store might well be supported and could make a considerable input to the local economy, which is why the ides was ‘floated’.
      The coop and Sainsbury’s were mentioned because these are the kind of businesses in which many residents can, and some do, spend an average of £5/week but they are not ‘local businesses’. This does not mean they should not be supported – they are valuable amenities, provide local employment and, at least in the case of the coop, support many local causes in different ways, as do many other local businesses.
      Of course local businesses should be supported, as should the MBA, which could do far more if the half of local businesses which are not members joined (and more of those which are played a more active role – most of its valuable work at present falls on a tiny number of shoulders). Although it has among its members excellent heating engineers, plumbers, electricians, decorators, joiners, landscape gardeners, etc, etc. I am disappointed to see all these trades, not from local businesses, working in the village so often. Not in my home.

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