Tag Archives: Flooding

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).

 

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

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.

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 .