Category Archives: Bradford Council

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 (http://claphamvillagestore.co.uk) or Burton (http://www.burtonshop.co.uk)? Of course we already have a Post Office, around which these examples are based, but worth exploring? 

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Computers aren’t that clever when it comes to flooding

Emeritus Professor David Rhodes CBE FRS FREng

Emeritus Professor David Rhodes CBE FRS FREng

Professor David Rhodes told a packed house at the Kirklands Community Centre on Tuesday evening (more than 100 present) that Bradford MDC had given planning permission for housing developments on Derry Hill and Bingley Road on the basis of false information.

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The problem is that the computer model used by BMDC, and other local authorities, grossly underestimates the volume of water involved in the kind of weather events experienced in Menston recently. In the case of the January 2008 floods the volume of water was underestimated by an order of magnitude; in a later event the volume of water was about six times that predicted by the computer model. A member of the audience who seemed to have some knowledge of computer modelling seemed to confirm this, saying: “The computer model is inevitably wrong because it is working without sufficient data”.

WotWboxProfessor Rhodes said he had been able to estimate the approximate volume of water involved by estimating depth etc and speed of water coming down into Menston from video clips taken by members of the Menston Action Group. This made good sense from Prof Rhodes’s explanation.

100,000 cubic metres of water

Based on Prof Rhodes’s observation not only was diverting the water coming down the slopes into Menston impractical because of the volume and flow rates involved, but to store the water from the January 2008 event would have required a holding tank with a capacity of 100,000 cubic metres. Apart from cost, to have such a quantity stored above Menston would be extremely dangerous.

Prof Rhodes told the audience that the estimates used by flood risk authorities, like BMDC, were wrong because they accounted only for rain water falling on the ground, but the actual volume involved was far higher because of water coming out of the ground. In this situation, had the houses been built on the proposed sites in Menston, water would have been coming up under the houses causing a great deal of damage. It is no wonder that another expert, giving evidence to BMDC, when asked if he would buy a house on one of these sites, said absolutely not.

Victorian engineers had an answer

In earlier times, ground water had been pumped out into reservoirs. Victorian engineers did it to supply water to the former hospital at Highroyds; later a similar system was used to supply water to Menston residents. Both these systems were abandoned so now the ground water was available to flood Menston.

Prof Rhodes’s novel solution

Professor Rhodes said he had a solution. Basically this would involve horizontally boring deep in the ground where water accumulates and having permeable pipes there into which the water could drain, these flowing out into existing water courses which could handle the continuous flow involved. He suggested that this solution would cost only tens of thousands of pounds. What is more, he said that such a system of horizontal pipes could encircle Ilkley Moor to alleviate wider flooding problems, though this would cost tens of millions.

Judicial Reviews re Menston housing; ‘party’ before summer break for eggs2iPads; 35 years singing at St John’s; Bleach Mill House charity day; Man United signed shirt up for grabs

Sheila Glennie with her medal outside Menston Parish Church

Sheila Glennie, 35 years a chorister at St John’s, with her medal (see below)

The final session of the Menston Community Association eggs2iPads project, before a summer break, is next Thursday (16 July), a little longer than the usual 5-6pm hour as it will be a bit of party. In this project some of Menston’s elderly, potentially ‘isolated’, people are meeting weekly at The Menstone club with a team of great 14-15 year olds, ostensibly to learn how to talk to distant friends and relatives on Skype, Facetime, etc on a tablet like an iPad, but the weekly cross-generations meeting is just as important. The sessions will resume in September. If you know someone who might like to join in email menston.village.wharfedale@gmail.com or call Jane Pratt of Menston Cares on 876945.

Saturday charity day at Bleach Mill House

Don’t forget the Bleach Mill House ‘charity day’ tomorrow, 10am to 4pm. Tea/coffee and cakes, all proceeds for Menston youngster Charlotte Wormald who has severe cerebral palsy and needs regular specific treatment and specialised equipment.

Medal for St John’s chorister

Chorister at the Parish Church, Sheila Glennie, recently received a medal from the Royal Society of Church Music for her amazing 35 years singing at St John’s. It was presented to Sheila by vicar Rev Ruth Yeoman during an evensong service at the church. Shiela is also a long-standing member and former Leader of the Mothers’ Union. More on Sheila in the August edition monthly magazine ‘It’s the Business‘. It is understood that early distribution problems with this new Menston magazine have been largely resolved and it should be in most Menston homes early in August.

Judicial Reviews re Derry Hill and Bingley Road

The Judicial Review for the proposed housing development on Derry Hill is scheduled for 15/16 July (the developer has withdrawn from the proceedings leaving just Bradford Council to contest) and now another Judicial Review for the proposed development on Bingley Road by Chartford Homes has been granted, date as yet unknown. More information as and when available on the Menston Action Group website.

Unique signed football shirt and sporting event tickets to be auctioned

Framed Manchester United shirt, signed by the 199 teamThere’s an exciting auction being run by St Mary’s Menston to support their Bambisanani project, a partnership between the Menston school and one in one of the most deprived areas of South Africa. For many people the top item will be a Manchester United shirt signed by the team which won ‘The Treble’ in 1999.  It’s got a suggested price of over £500. Some other interesting signed football shirts are to be auctioned too. Other items up for grabs are tickets for major events such as Ascot Racing, British Super Bikes and a British Touring Cars race day. More information on the auction, on www.bambisananipartnership.org. Bids must be received by mid-day on Monday 13 July.

A Menston welcome for the Tour de Yorkshire; Writers Club to meet in Menston; don’t forget to vote locally on Thursday; Art Show next weekend

Some of the crowds gathered alongside Menston Park and up Bingley Road waiting for the Tour de Yorkshire riders

What a Menston turnout for the Tour de Yorkshire! It did the village proud but pointed again to the ineffectiveness of the Parish Council in representing the people of our wonderful community. More about this below in the context of the forthcoming election on Thursday 7 May. (Thanks to Sue Rix for the picture).

Art Show

The first of Menston Arts Club‘s two annual shows is next weekend – Saturday and Sunday 9 and 10 May at the Community Centre. There’s no entry charge and you might find an appealing picture to enhance a wall. Details under the ‘Events’ menu.

Writers Club

Ruxandra Busoiu, founder of the new Writer's Club, which will meet at The Menstone

Ruxandra Busoiu, founder of the new Writers Club, which will meet at The Menstone (pic by Bob Hamilton)

Writers and would-be writers of any genre are invited to come to a meeting of a new Writers Club, formed in Ilkley but which will be meeting every other Saturday lunchtime in Menston, at The Menstone club in Farnley Road. The next meeting will be on Saturday 16 May (the next on 30th) at 12.00 upstairs at The Menstone. It’s a small, informal friendly group with a wide age range, currently from early 20s to over 70s. There’s no agenda at the moment and no fees. It’s not a ‘writing course’, no lessons – just a group with an interest in writing who meet up for a chat and swap ideas. Sometimes when the weather’s good we might retire to Menston Park.

The Menstone serves drinks – coffee and tea, beer and others and offers snacks like Paninis so if you want to make it a lunch meeting, not just a lunchtime meeting, you can.

The group was set up by Ruxandra Busoiu, a young behavioural psychologist  who graduated from Bradford University and has been working for the NHS. She now lives in Ilkley. One member of the group has had a book published though it’s not a novel. Two have been working journalists. Three aspire to write a novel. Some write poetry and short stories but don’t want to write a novel. And, of course, one writes this blog (and some others). So whatever writing you do, published or not, or want to do, you’ll be welcome.

Just turn up on a Saturday 16 May lunchtime if you wish; if you prefer to make contact before just email  rbusoiu@yahoo.co.uk.

The election

Thursday 7 May we have three elections in Menston – national, district and parish.

No comment here about the national election other than to note that Philip Davies has been a very good local representative who has often gone against his own party for something he believes in and has worked extraordinarily hard for Menston. So, many who are of other political persuasions may well feel they should vote for him on that basis.

If only party politics could be eradicated from the district council.

As far as the Parish Council is concerned, we do have one woman nominated. Lilias Mcculloch has long been a force in the battle against undue noise from airport operations so it will be good to have a female with her energy and perseverance on the council, especially as Sue Rix stood down after a very energetic term in office. A substantial number of votes for Lilias would show she is appreciated by the community.

Unfortunately, as there were no nominations for other women or younger men, we will inevitably be stuck with the old team for another four years. The Tour de Yorkshire gave an insight into what we can expect there.

Last year, when it was suggested at a Parish Council meeting that the village should do something to mark the Tour de France coming to Yorkshire, it was said that as it was not passing through Menston nothing would be done. Some might think that was reasonable, some not. But it is embarrassing that when such an event is to come to us the same lethargic, do nothing attitude prevailed. What an opportunity missed to put Menston on the map, as other village communities like Addingham or Hunmanby did.

It was wonderful to see such a large part of our community, of all ages, coming together along Bingley Road; the community atmosphere was wonderful; special thanks to a few individuals who did do something – bunting, the wonderful comic figure, etc.

But no thanks to the Parish Council. The massive turnout illustrated well just how unrepresentative of the community the council have been.

There is a way out. The self-elected Council could ‘adopt’ others to the Council, as happened with the only female member in the past. But some younger people, and more women, would have to put themselves forward.

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