Category Archives: Menston Action Group

Are Bradford council officers blind, deaf, daft or … ? Superb art exhibition. Menston library volunteer?

Are ‘officers’ at Bradford Metropolitan Borough Council blind, deaf, daft or is something else operating? It’s a pity some weren’t taken by the scruff of the neck to accompany stalwart campaigner Alan Elsegood on his tour of the village, recording the floods, this week. Would they still have insisted that neither they nor other authorities “have found any clear evidence to suggest that the two sites flood or water courses and combined sewers cannot cope”. Probably! Of course the fact that some of the flooding was caused by leaves blocking drains is likely to be used as an explanation, rather than the underlying causes and the drains themselves.

Nuff said. A letter to the local Press from Menston Community Association Chair Steve Ellams is up on the Menston Action Group website so no need for more here.

Art exhibition best ever?

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General view on last weekend’s art exhibition by Menston Arts Club was “the best exhibition for years!” A good turnout of visitors despite the weather and many paintings were sold. The café was busy and the craft stall and the cake stall sold out very quickly.

The ‘vote for your favourite painting’ was again popular following its introduction at the May exhibition. The favourite was ‘Moon Lighting’  by Judy Illingworth (picture) . Her painting was one of those sold at the exhibition.

Not too early to put the next exhibition in your diary –  13-14th May 2017. It’s already under the Events menu.

Sadly not enough votes for cricket club scheme

Although Menston Cricket Club got almost 3,000 votes for funding from Aviva for a tearoom extension and new roof it wasn’t enough. It’s a pity as the extension would have given the village another valuable venue for events. The club reckoned it needed about 5,000 votes so, with 10 votes each, it required around 500 villagers to cast their ten votes.

Volunteering takeover of Menston library?

The recent ‘extra’ newsletter from the Menston Community Association has a form for those interested in volunteering at Menston library when Bradford council ceases to run it. Lots of possible roles are there to choose but a surprising omission is just helping on the counter to date stamp books, receive returns etc. If you haven’t received the newsletter you should be able to pick up a form at the library.

 

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? 

Derry Hill & Bingley Rd developments abandoned; Art exhibition & other news

BattleThanks to the untiring efforts of many Menstonites, and donations from many more, Menston Action Group (MAG) is celebrating that former plans to develop on Derry Hill and Bingley Road are not going ahead. The developers have ‘given up’ and planning permissions have expired. As I said in the previous post, since the MAG website became more active this site has not generally covered village housing development in such detail as in the past but, as this is written, a Press statement issued yesterday is not on the MAG site so it is published in full HERE. Let’s hope that now proposals for more sensible development, eg housing for older people to downsize without leaving the village, in more sensible locations, come forward.

Art and crafts exhibition

Christine Thomas with her painting 'Rwo glasses of red'The next exhibition of the Menston Arts Club is on Saturday and Sunday 19th and 20th November at the Kirklands Community Centre, 10.30 till 5.00 on Saturday and 10.30 till 4.00 on Sunday. There is always an astounding display of art from local artists at the club’s twice a year exhibitions and the November one is a great opportunity to look for Christmas presents among the painting and crafts.

Entry is free but there are great cakes and drinks on sale and you can vote for your favourite picture; at the exhibition earlier this year the most popular picture was ‘Two glasses of red’ by Christine Thomas (pictured).

Events to be updated later

Following the previous post saying that closure of this site is being considered unless more information about forthcoming events is emailed to menston.village.wharfedale@gmail.com and there is more reaction to posts in the way of ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ some information has been received though the information has come from organisations which have always kept us informed. The Events listings and Imminent Events will be updated a little later than this post, hopefully today (Wednesday 9th).

 

To be or not – continuing this site/blog?

Picture of tin can and string for communication

Acknowledgement to ITworld

Postings on this site/blog have become somewhat irregular for some time, mainly due to the health of the author. Even the event listings are not and have not been as complete or as up to date as in the past, much of this due to not receiving news of events directly by email (see below – incomplete information particularly affects the ‘Imminent events‘ listing in the right column) in a situation where the author has not been able to trawl notice boards etc or chase village organisations as in the past (apologies to those who have sent information but it has not appeared; sometimes this is health interfering, sometimes lack of space, sometimes it is judged not be be of wide enough interest). In this situation stopping publication of this site is being considered but, having mentioned the dilemma – it is obviously a lot of work, all voluntary of course – to many village friends, many in positions of influence in some village organisations and groups, there have been strong requests to keep it going.

Discussions

The deterioration in health coincided with the Menston Action Group site becoming more active and in this situation it was decided to generally leave the battle against inappropriate development to them so, when mentioned, the mention was brief and a link was usually given to the MAG site. This immediately cut the discussion on this site, which used to be quite lively, to very little.

One unique feature of the site was this discussion, often prompted by posts which advanced an opinion, not necessarily on inappropriate development. In theory the opinion was usually anonymous, being signed ‘grumpytyke’, the name of the author’s personal blog, though most people knew who the author was. More recently the real name has been added in ‘About’.

Facebook

Another factor has been the increased popularity of the Menston Village Facebook group. Many people in the village seem to understand Facebook and favour it; few seem to understand how to interact with a blog.

With all the above in mind it has been decided to continue this site/blog for the time being but to attempt to return to having regular opinion to which readers can react, either by adding a ‘like’ or a comment.

Decision

A decision will be made over the next two or three months whether to continue publishing the site, this depending on:

  • The number of followers who register (or who are already registered) with the site
  • The number of ‘likes‘ given to posts on the site
  • The number of ‘comments‘ made on posts on the site (they are not edited, other than for style, or censored, unless obscene, illegal, potentially libellous or a personal ‘attack’ on someone).
  • The emails received (to menston.village.wharfedale@gmail.com) containing info on forthcoming events (date, start time and estimated finish time, location, who or which organisation/group is organising, costs if any, and contact for more info, tickets, etc, are vital, together with brief details of the event). For events, the info must be emailed at least one week before the event but to be sure it appears in time to be useful much more in advance than that. For post event or other news it should be received immediately following the event, ie it should be ‘news’.
  • The number of visits to the site and to particular posts (before the health problems and resulting irregular posting the site averaged about 5,000 visits a month and over its lifetime so far has had about 35,000 visitors from all over the globe).

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.

Competition to find Menston/Burley ‘Young Writers’; flooding solutions; High Royds memorial garden development; St John’s graveyard open afternoon

Samuel Moore playing flamenco at a recent meeting of Writing on the Wharfe

Samuel Moore playing flamenco at a recent meeting of Writing on the Wharfe

Now one year old, the writers’ club which meets regularly at the Menstone club has adopted a new name to reflect its local base – Writing on the Wharfe – and will, within the next week, announce a competition to name ‘Young Menston & Burley Poet of the Year‘ and ‘Young Menston & Burley Short Story Writer of the Year‘. The competition will be open to young writers – six to 17 years old in various age categories, living in either Menston or Burley in Wharfedale (ie, living in post codes LS29 6xx or LS29 7xx. The two chosen young writers of the year, and winners in each age category (6-8, 9-11, 12-15, 16-17), will be announced at the Menston Summer Fair on 2 July at Menston Primary School.

Full details will be published on this site, posters will be displayed in Menston and Burley and schools, primary and high, attended by students living in Menston and Burley  will receive information within the next week or so. Watch this site.

The competition will open for entries on Monday 18 April and close for entries on Saturday 4 June.

Members of the Writing on the Wharfe club were treated to a short recital of flamenco guitar music and brief explanations of some flamenco styles by local guitarist and tutor Samuel Moore at the most recent meeting and will be making a group visit to the forthcoming Leeds Flamenco Festival in May.

A way to reduce flooding in Menston and elsewhere?

Emeritus Prof David Rhodes

Emeritus Prof David Rhodes

A novel solution to reduce flooding will be presented at a public meeting, by local campaigner Emeritus Professor David Rhodes CBE, FRS, FR Eng, at the Kirklands Community Centre on Tuesday evening, 7.30pm, 26 April. The meeting, organised by Menston Parish Council, is open to all. Professor Rhodes has, of course, given expert evidence at local enquiries and meetings on housing development in Menston and at a court hearings instigated by the Menston Action Group.

Open day at St John’s Churchyard

There will be an open afternoon at St John’s Parish Church churchyard on 1 May, with lots of activities including some for children. See the entry under ‘Events’.

Poster for open afternoon at St John's churchyard

High Royds memorial garden meeting

Poster publicising meeting of High Royds Memorial Garden committee

It’s Wembley for Menston dance class; free concert at Kirklands

Wish luck to this wonderful team of youngsters who are students in the weekly ballet/dance classes at Menston’s Kirklands Community Centre with ‘Miss Stephanie’ (Stephanie Clements) of Bradford Theatre Arts (BTA).

Set for Wembley, the Menston class team, left to right: back row; Kenix Lee, Emma Oxford, Ketie Quinn, Victoria Pickles, Sam Foster, Niamh Cater, Caitlin Brister; front row: Josephine Gibbs, Madeleine Wolfenden, Mollie Foster, Emma Townsend, April Lever, Megan Dobbin.

Set for Wembley, the Menston class team. Left to right – back row: Kenix Lee, Emma Oxford, Katie Quinn, Victoria Pickles, Sam Foster, Niamh Cater, Caitlin Brister – front row: Josephine Gibbs, Madeleine Wolfenden, Mollie Foster, Emma Townsend, April Lever, Megan Dobbin.

This weekend they have completed 16 hours of rehearsal for an appearance at the Wembley Stadium on 16th April and did the same a couple of weeks ago. They will be dancing to the voice of Grammy Award winner Foxes in what is set to be the biggest ever mass movement dance with a singer. They have been rehearsing with another 27 or so dancers from other BTA classes and 20 from the Emma Pilling Dance Academy in Swinton to make a Yorkshire contingent of 60. They will join well over 1000 dancers from all corners of the UK on April 16th. The Guinness book record for this type of event currently stands at 546 dancers. The mass dance will be before a capacity crowd at Wembley Stadium for the big annual Saracens ‘derby’ rugby match.

The 60 strong Yorkshire contingent going to Wembley, rehearsing with a dance coach from Proex, which currently holds the Guiness book record for mass dance, in the Kirklands Community Centre on Sunday morning.

The 60 strong Yorkshire contingent going to Wembley, rehearsing with a dance coach from Proex, which currently holds the Guiness book record for mass dance, in the Kirklands Community Centre on Sunday morning.

The Menston class is this year celebrating 20 years in the village, run by ballet examiner Stephanie Clements who founded BTA. Other than in school holidays there are classes every Saturday morning for beginners and lower grades and Tuesday evening classes for more advanced, Grade 4 and above. The classes are usually listed under Events on this site. Many youngsters come to the Menston classes from elsewhere in the Bradford area and asked why they say: “It’s fun but we work to get our grades”; “We get opportunities like this dancing at Wembley which we would not get anywhere else”; “We make friends outside of where we live”; “There is great camaraderie in this class and always support from the others”.

Free ‘thank you’ concert

Not to be missed is a concert with the Harrogate Male Voice Choir on Saturday 16th April, 7.30pm, at the Methodist Church Hall on Main Street. It has been arranged by the Menston Action Group as, the group says, a thank you to the people of Menston for their support. It’s free, including refreshments.