Category Archives: Planning and development

History in the making as the Court of Appeal supports MAG on Derry Hill; St Mary’s Menston Bambisanani concert well worth a visit

Another historical milestone has been reached by the Menston Action Group (MAG), on behalf of all residents, in opposing inappropriate development in the village when the Court of Appeal allowed a MAG challenge concerning development on Derry Hill to go to Judicial Review. Full story below.

Concert at St Mary’s Menston on Friday well worth a visit

St Mary's Menston concert 9 May 2014St Mary’s Menston’s now annual concert to support its South African Bambisanani project is this coming Friday (24th April) and very well worth a visit. Last year’s concert was superb and many of the same artists, including the Leeds Youth Jazz & Rock Orchestra in which several St Mary’s students play, are featured. This orchestra will transport you back to the ‘big band’ era then take you on a journey to the rock & roll age. On the other hand, there will be some wonderful singing, both solo and choral, and the fun of a ukulele band.

Places can be reserved by calling in at St Mary’s, Pupils’ Reception, between 1.30pm and 2.00pm or turn up on the night. Tickets are £5 (£3 concessions).

Both MAG’s objections to Derry Hill development supported by Court of Appeal

Following Bradford Council’s approval of a scheme from Barratt Homes to develop 176 houses on fields off Derry Hill, Menston, the Menston Action Group challenged the decision in the Leeds Administrative Court and were given permission to go to Judicial Review on one of the two grounds on which they challenged the approval: the validity of the procedure adopted by Bradford Council when making their decision.

However, MAG were refused permission to proceed with their primary ground, which is based upon a much wider issue of whether the condition and sustainable drainage principles required Barratt to put forward a drainage scheme that addressed potential improvement of flooding issues around the Derry Hill site, including a nearby electricity substation that is prone to flooding.

Now, the Rt Hon Lord Justice Sullivan, sitting in the Court of Appeal, has decided  to allow the Judicial Review of the proposed development at the Derry Hill site in Menston to proceed on all grounds of challenge.

Alistair Kennedy, who is leading the team of solicitors from Schofield Sweeney, acting for MAG, said: “This is a fantastic result for MAG and the residents of Menston, who are desperately worried that the proposed development at Derry Hill will make flooding in Menston much worse. MAG also have very serious concerns about ongoing flooding of the electricity substation adjacent to the Derry Hill site and have raised health and safety concerns. For the Court of Appeal to acknowledge the wider importance of this challenge and give MAG the opportunity to bring all of their concerns before a full hearing of the Administrative Court is very encouraging”.

This is a historical decision which has far wider ramifications for other communities throughout the UK fighting inappropriate development.

Of course Barratt and Bradford Council have brought out the big guns to oppose MAG; it is a great pity that it is necessary to go to very costly litigation to oppose such development, especially when a referendum in the village produced such resounding opposition to the scheme but, although local residents raised over £100,000 to fight the Bradford Council decisions, now more money is required although Schofield Sweeney have done much work without charge.

Contributions to the fighting fund, payable to ‘Menston Action Group’, may be sent to or left at:

  • 3 Albany Row, Main Street
  • 4 West Winds (off Moor Lane)
  • 39 Hawksworth Drive
  • 2 Red House Gardens
  • Small Print, Main Street

More information and the Press Release issued by Schofield Sweeney on the Court of Appeal decision will be posted on the MAG website.

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Wet but determined – Menston/Guiseley green belt protectors march. Strictly, come dancing in Menston

Banner inviting to honkAround 100 protesters, including the Chairman of the Menston Action Group (MAG) and a peacefully protesting contingent of dogs, gathered at the Menston/Guiseley boundary on the A65 in pouring rain on Sunday lunch time to bring to people’s attention the loss of Green Fields, the potential merging of Menston and Guiseley to be part of a Bradford/Leeds urban sprawl, and the lack of facilities to cope with yet more houses, if Ings Fields on the boundary are developed, . Passing motorists were invited to “hoot in you love green belt” and around half of passing cars did just that with gusto. After gathering where the Mire Beck crosses the road the bedraggled but cheerful and determined crowd walked up to Ings Lane, down to the proposed entrance into the housing development planned for Ings Fields, then back into Menston via the bridle path beyond St Mary’s school. Pictures, and more about the protest from yesterday’s post, below.

Strictly dancing – Tuesdays Kirklands

Ballroom dancing has joined the ballet classes at Menston’s Kirlands Community Centre on Tuesday evening, beginning of 14 April. Ballet classes for grade 4 to intermediate are well established from 6.00 to 7.15pm, turning out award winning dancers; most recently three students at the Menston classes being chosen to dance with English Youth Ballet in Giselle at St. George’s Hall, Bradford, in June.

The ‘Strictly’ classes are being brought to Kirklands by Sandra Beaumont, former UK champion and championship adjudicator. The new classes will cover Ballroom and Latin at 7.30pm, then Rock & Roll at 8.30pm, each Tuesday . There are some Tuesdays when Kirklands is not available for the dancing so consult the ‘Events’ listing to see if they have been arranged in another location.

PROTEST WALK TO SHOW LEEDS WHERE THE REAL MENSTON/GUISELEY BOUNDARY IS (click any picture to see larger as a slide show; text from post on 10 April)

If the Ings fields between Menston and Guiseley are developed then Menston and Guiseley will have merged!

Menston and Guiseley Greenbelt Protection Group had a day of action rally, walking the site under threat, which is just off the A65, behind the BP petrol station.

The rally was organised together with WARD (Wharfedale & Airedale Review Development). On this day Community Voice on Planning prepared a National day of action to protest at the loss of greenbelt between settlements which is leading to urban sprawl and a reduction in social standards across the nation.

We in Menston are one of many unique (and we are unique, aren’t we?)  communities which are threatened with becoming just part of an urban sprawl.

One of the major factors for preserving Green Belt according to Government guidelines is to maintain the distinctiveness of named settlements by keeping the greenbelt buffer between them. Building on the Ing fields, apart from the fact they are Green Belt, will effectively join the two settlements. If they are built on they are gone for good!

The walk was intended to show Leeds where the real Menston/Guiseley boundary is and should be preserved as a slice of green between the two settlements.

Recently Menston village was represented at the Inspectors examination in public of the Bradford Core Strategy for housing over the coming 15 years and much angst was raised by many communities around Bradford over the planning rules which state that Local Planning Authorities should be seen to cooperate over the development of their core strategies where these impact on neighbouring authorities. Those present could see the results of no such cooperation as sites are coming forwards for development across both sides of Menston that will result in the settlements of Guiseley and Menston becoming a single sprawl.

We may be forced to, once more, become victims of circumstances if the green space between Menston and Guiseley is further eroded and do remember that at the moment, this comes at the end of many years of heavy developments, where no additional communications or social infrastructure have been put in place.

The settlement boundaries between Menston and Guiseley need to be highlighted as Leeds’ planners have included Moorland Crescent and Bradford Road, Menston, in the major settlement extending from Guiseley, thus making the Ings Fields look like wonderful infill to them! This is a political boundary not a settlement or geographic boundary. The settlement boundary runs along the back gardens of Moorland Crescent Menston following Mire Beck.

The walk was organised by Liz Kirkpatrick at mandggpg@gmail.com, phone 01943 875640.

Keeping Menston & Guiseley separate. Join campaign walk on Sunday!

SHOW LEEDS WHERE THE REAL MENSTON/GUISELEY BOUNDARY IS

If the Ings fields between Menston and Guiseley are developed then Menston and Guiseley will have merged!

Menston and Guiseley Greenbelt Protection Group are having a day of action rally, walking the site under threat, which is just off the A65, opposite the BP petrol station. Join them at 12.30pm on Sunday 12 April. Meet where the Mire Beck crosses the road. There will be a banner you cannot miss! However, bring your own banner too to carry on the walk – the more the better.

The rally is organised together with WARD (Wharfedale & Airedale Review Development). On this day Community Voice on Planning are preparing a National day of action to protest at the loss of greenbelt between settlements which is leading to urban sprawl and a reduction in social standards across the nation.

We in Menston are one of many unique (and we are unique, aren’t we?)  communities which are threatened with becoming just part of an urban sprawl.

One of the major factors for preserving Green Belt according to Government guidelines is to maintain the distinctiveness of named settlements by keeping the greenbelt buffer between them. Building on the Ing fields, apart from the fact they are Green Belt, will effectively join the two settlements. If they are built on they are gone for good!

Let’s show Leeds where the real Menston/Guiseley boundary is and should be preserved as a slice of green between the two settlements.

Join the walk!

Recently Menston village was represented at the Inspectors examination in public of the Bradford Core Strategy for housing over the coming 15 years and much angst was raised by many communities around Bradford over the planning rules which state that Local Planning Authorities should be seen to cooperate over the development of their core strategies where these impact on neighbouring authorities. Those present could see the results of no such cooperation as sites are coming forwards for development across both sides of Menston that will result in the settlements of Guiseley and Menston becoming a single sprawl.

We may be forced to, once more, become victims of circumstances if the green space between Menston and Guiseley is further eroded and do remember that at the moment, this comes at the end of many years of heavy developments, where no additional communications or social infrastructure have been put in place.

The settlement boundaries between Menston and Guiseley need to be highlighted as Leeds’ planners have included Moorland Crescent and Bradford Road, Menston, in the major settlement extending from Guiseley, thus making the Ings Fields look like wonderful infill to them! This is a political boundary not a settlement or geographic boundary. The settlement boundary runs along the back gardens of Moorland Crescent Menston following Mire Beck.

Any questions or bright ideas, email Liz Kirkpatrick at mandggpg@gmail.com or phone 01943 875640.

Anti-social behaviour in and near to Menston Park; A65 junction; Alan Ayckbourn in Menston

The author of this site has recently become aware of a discussion on the village Facebook site (he does not like or use Facebook but it was shown to him) concerning anti-social behaviour by a small group of boys (11-12 years old?) in the park or adjacent to it on Easter Sunday. Following a notice about it, some Facebook users who clearly had no direct knowledge of the incident ‘defended’ the boys concerned saying they were “just kids” with nothing to do and only doing what “we all did” in our youth and they would soon be back at school and the problem would go away. Not true!

These are three extremely unpleasant youngsters looking for trouble and the Easter Sunday incident is not unique; at least one of these boys, who seems to be the ‘ring-leader’, has been seen behaving unsociably in the park on several occasions when schools were not on holiday.

The Low Hall Road side of the eyesore building at the side of Menston Park, behind the Scout hut.

The Low Hall Road side of the eyesore building at the side of Menston Park, behind the Scout hut. A magnet for the more unsavoury elements of Menston youth.

Location for ‘seedy’ goings on

The building on which they were misbehaving, that behind the Scout Hut, is the location for frequent seemingly ‘seedy’ goings on with young people. It is adjacent to the ‘over 55s’ flats at Menston Hall and Sunday’s incident was unpleasant for those residents because of the appalling, obscene language used, loudly, by the boys on the roof of the building over a period of around an hour. Another young person did remonstrate with them only to attract taunts – laced with obscenities – to fight.

The side of the building facing into the park

The park side of this unpleasant looking building

What is more, when the three left it was not before attempting to smash in the doors of the building, whatever it might be.

Insulation, kicked free by boys on the roof, hanging down, and many gaps in the edging stones.

Insulation, kicked free by boys on the roof, hangs down. Notice the many gaps in the edging stones.

The boys involved in the Easter Sunday incident will be reported to the police; publishing their pictures on this site was considered but they would probably just enjoy the notoriety and indulge in even more anti-social behaviour.

It is a great pity that this small minority spoils a wonderful Menston amenity; it was a joy to see the park full of families and young people on Easter Sunday. Just a few need better educating to use the many litter bins!

However, whatever authority is responsible for this building should be taken to task by the Parish Council. Buildings in this state inevitably attract hooliganism and further vandalism.

Another problem corner

Another corner of the park which attracts unsavoury elements is at the back of the children’s playground behind another ugly building, or on the other side of the fence behind it. This is a pity as many young children play there usually doing no more than hide and seek though they often need to be reminded not to trample down the flowers planted by residents. Almost every morning empty packets and drinks cans/bottles are scattered here even though there is a strategically placed litter basket (see photo). In fact litter in the park is far more widespread. Easter Monday morning litter next to the seat close to the building mentioned above, with a litter bin adjacent, is shown in another picture below.

Park corner behind the children's playground

Park corner behind the children’s playground

The seat and litter bin near to the ugly building with Easter Monday morning rubbish on the ground

The seat and litter bin near to the ugly building with Easter Monday morning rubbish on the ground

Alan Ayckbourn at Highroyds

NB. The Alan Ayckbourn play at the Highroyds Social Club is this coming Friday evening, not Friday 17th as originally listed in ‘Events’ and in the ‘Imminent events’ calendar. These have now been corrected but unfortunately this may happen when things are picked up ‘on the grapevine’. A plea to Menston organisations: please send information on your events, meetings, etc in good time to menston.village.wharfedale@gmail.com otherwise they can occasionally be mis-publicised or not publicised at all.

Otley traffic discussion spreads to Menston

Another discussion on another social media site ( click Streetlife) is worth a look by Menston residents (and joining in). What began as a discussion about Otley’s one-way systems has now spread to include discussion of the Bingley Road/Buckle Lane/A65 junction and traffic lights.

Busy Menston Saturday: Kirklands Community Centre, the Menstone, High Royds Social Club, a fighting team to Ilkley and getting ready for Menston in Bloom judging

Beth Street with the poster for the Soul Evening on 21 March, to raise money to build a school destroyed by typhoon HaiyanA lot to do this coming Saturday: an interesting youth snooker event begins at the Menstone in Farnley Road at 1pm, the last ‘Family Boogie’ of the season at the High Royds Social Club begins at 3pm and the day in Menston can be rounded off at the Soul Night at Kirklands Community Centre, beginning at 8pm. Meanwhile, some of the team working hard to protect Menston from inappropriate housing development will be going to a meeting in Ilkley where protection of both Wharfedale and Airedale will be the theme of discussions. You can also join the Menston in Bloom team for a ‘work session’ outside Kirklands at 9.30am.

Soul Night at Kirklands

It’s still not too late to get a ticket to the Soul Night at Kirklands; this event went down very well last year with the Soul Surgeons and Sally’s Army Choir entertaining, drinks and a chilli supper if you want it, all in a great cause – to rebuild a school destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines at the end of 2013. Call Beth on 0771 978 5986 for tickets, £10, or you can buy at the door (starts at 8pm and goes on till 11pm) if you can get in!

Youth snooker at the Menstone

Beginning at 1pm on Saturday, there will be snooker pro plus coaches at the Menstone to celebrate the juniors who have taken part in the Paul Hunter Foundation snooker coaching. You will be able to watch the juniors play and there will be opportunities for juniors to join one of the forthcoming snooker coaching programmes to be run from the club.

Club coach, David Horrix, says that snooker is growing in popularity and the Menstone is on its way to becoming the number one club in the area for juniors.

You can just turn up at the Menstone between 1pm and 3pm or for more information contact David on 0751 921 0021.

Family Boogie at High Royds

Last chance this ‘season’, before the summer break, to take the kids along to the High Royds Social Club at the top of High Royds Drive, between 3pm and 5pm, for “adult music in a child-friendly setting”. It’s organised for families who want to have fun with their pre-school children but older siblings are welcome too. There’s a reasonably priced licensed bar, hot/cold drinks and snacks, free parking, baby change and food preparation facilities. It’s all free but a  £5 donation suggested, all of which goes to Save the Children. For more information email John at johnrobertparkinson@yahoo.co.uk.

Menston in Bloom work sessions before 31 March visit

Work sessions to make Menston look its best before a visit from Yorkshire In Bloom judges, Phillip Young and Joanne Morris, will be on Saturday morning and Monday (23rd) morning; for both meet outside Kirklands at 9.30am. Any help will be greatly appreciated, as would any tidying and litter picking around your street.

The judges are visiting on 31st March. They will be shown not only the lovely colourful planters throughout the village, but also the parks and open spaces, the churchyards, Meadowlea Children’s Home and the station, amongst other areas.

Planning Issues and Localism:  Is it Working?

A team from Menston will be attending a public meeting in Ilkley, about planning, housing, infrastructure and localism and the impact on local communities, organised by Wharfedale & Airedale Review Development (WARD) at the Clarke Foley Centre in Ilkley, beginning a 1pm on Saturday. Several local MPs and Councillors will be attending and there’s a BBC style ‘Question Time’ at 3pm to end proceedings. Everyone is welcome and there’s no charge to attend.

Our MP, Philip Davies, will be there, together with Stuart Andrew MP and Greg Mullholland MP. Other MPs have been invited. Speakers include Ilkley Ward Councillor Anne Hawkesworth.

For more information contact Steve Ellams, Special Projects Officer for WARD, s.ellams1@btinternet.com, mobile 0795 086 8379 or 01943 872607.

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.