Tag Archives: Menston Parish Council

Reminders: Neighbourhood Forum; new community magazine Menston events/activities listing deadline; celebrate Menston women

The Neighbourhood Forum, now run by the Parish Council, is this evening (Tuesday 10 March); a reminder, though it’s been in the Events listing here for while. Another reminder, the deadline for getting events in the listing in the April edition of the new community magazine covering Menston is this coming Thursday – 12 March. Send details of events in April/May, and further ahead, to roger.at.itb@gmail.com.

Start of the Menston section of the new community magazine 'It's the business', which covers LS29

Start of the Menston section of the new community magazine ‘It’s the business’, which covers LS29

The magazine was launched by two female entrepreneurs with two other women, all mothers and all from Haworth, so as last Sunday was International Women’s Day it’s a good reason to post a little more about the venture but also make some attempt in this post to acknowledge some of the remarkable women of Menston – volunteers and entrepreneurs. Let down by Royal Mail at the last minute, the March magazine was not distributed as widely in Menston as intended but the next edition should be delivered to every house in early April. For more about the Haworth team go to http://grumpytyke.com.

The team which has brought a new community magazine to Menston. Left to Right: Louise Atkinson, partner and graphic designer, Cathy Frobisher , Office Manager, Janet-Alison Arkwright , Partner and 'Sales Contributor', and Andrea Kerman, Sales Person, at the reception in their offices in Haworth, each holding the first edition of the new magazine.

The all-female team which has brought a new community magazine to Menston. Left to Right: Louise Atkinson, partner and graphic designer, Cathy Frobisher , Office Manager, Janet-Alison Arkwright , Partner and ‘Sales Contributor’; Andrea Kerman, Sales Person. In their office in Haworth.

The Menston community is nourished by a wide range of women residents, both volunteers and entrepreneureal business women. They are not all known to the webmaster of this site but if you know of any who have been overlooked in the list below (which is in no particular order) feel free to add them using the ‘Comment’ box at the bottom of this post.

Some Menston women

Sue Rix, Menston’s only woman Parish Councillor (maybe that can be rectified in the forthcoming PC elections: nominate someone) and involved in many village projects and activities

Sue Richmond, Chair of the Menston Village Show Committee, volunteer at Cornerstone and proprietor of the Bleach Mill B&B

Elizabeth Loy, former teacher at Prince Henry’s school, member of the Menston Village Show committee, teaches crafts and involved in other activities

Christine North, founder and Chairperson of the Menston Business Association, runs The Studio, Pilates and Fitness.

Charlotte Leeming, Menston’s own TV ‘celebrity’ and, in the opinion of many, one of the two best presenters on BBC Look North.

Charlotte Montague, Solicitor specialising in services to Menston’s elderly population who, with Jalna Jenkins, also helps to stage the occasional  film shows at the Methodist church. Jalna is also involved in other church activities, including those for young people.

Patricia (Trish) Heeney, new proprietor of the Village Bakery, added to her other job of caring for family, including two children.

Menston Cares female volunteers, too many to mention individually but ensuring Menston’s elderly are supported in many different ways.

Jenna Wood, who runs Sunday teas for the elderly as Menston Coordinator for Contact the Elderly.

Rachel Holder, runs her own Human Resources business in Menston, Purple Frog, and is Co-Chair of the Friends of Menston Primary School.

Rev Ruth Yeoman, vicar at the Menston Parish Church

Zandra Monroe-Cochrane, Secretary of the Menston Business Association who runs the new Railway Children children’s centre at Menston railway station; formerly ran Cleasby Kindercare.

Kalyani Dakini, who runs the Meditation Centre in Cleasby Road.

Beth Street, involved in several youth activities but very active raising money to rebuild a school destroyed by typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. The latest is the Soul Night at the Kirklands Community Centre on 21 March. A repeat of the very popular similar event last year.

There are many more remarkable women living in or contributing to community life in Menston. Please add any more you know of using the comment box below.

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 .

Happy New Year! Menston Action Group is back. Menston’s ‘election year’ is here!

FollowButtonPicA Happy New Year ! to all the readers of this website/blog, particularly the ‘followers’ who, by following, not only ensure they are informed of each new post and/or comment but indicate that the considerable (entirely voluntary) work required to keep the site up to date is worthwhile.

Thank you also to all those who have taken advantage of the unique facility, in Menston, provided by this website/blog, to comment and discuss issues of importance to the community.

Thanks are also due to the individuals responsible for ‘publicity’ in many village voluntary and charitable organisations who have regularly sent information to appear on this site, thus ensuring the ‘Events’ listing and ‘Imminent events’ calendar are more complete and up to date than they would be relying just on things picked up from the ‘grape vine’.

This site was viewed about 38,000 times in 2014

WordPress, which hosts this website/blog, tells us that Menston Village Wharfedale was viewed about 38,000 times in 2014, which considering that the author/webmaster was out of action for a considerable period and is only just getting back into regular posting, due to a serious health problem, is impressive.

St Mary's Menston concert 9 May 2014There were 419 pictures published on the site; that averages well over a picture per day, 95% of these being taken especially for and published only on this website. A considerable number have been of young people engaging in community activities.

The busiest day of the year was 11 May with 1,307 views. The most popular post that day was St Mary’s Menston Bambisanani concert, paying tribute to Nelson Mandela, 9 May 2014. The Menston Vehicle Show posts had even more views over the respective weekend.

Potential changes on this website

Some of the changes outlined below will lead to some changes on this website. It is likely to include even more opinion (the change has begun in this post) and point to issues for discussion while continuing to present news and pictures – even video clips – about events, activities, community developments and Menston businesses in a hopefully interesting way. The policy of allowing comments to be made anonymously, and not editing them unless they are obscene, illegal or personally abusive, will continue.

Some of the ‘services’ provided to village organisations, eg the ‘official’ Menston Community Association section, where meeting agendas and minutes have been published, may be dropped.

Massive changes seen in 2014

There were some notable developments for the Menston community during last year, particularly the transfer of many of the previous ‘campaigning’ activities of the Menston Community Association to the Parish Council. Most notable among these are opposing the inappropriate housing developments on Bingley Road and Derry Hill and the monitoring of aircraft noise from Leeds Bradford Airport.

Menston Business Association – MBA

The Menston Business Association logoThe formation of the Menston Business Association was an important step to help ensure that a vital feature of the local community – local businesses – are promoted and supported. Let us hope this organisation becomes ever more active over the coming year, helps to develop some of the important aspects of village life and even prompts introduction of new ones. Entrepreneureal thinking could be an important input to the development of village activities and services. Let us hope its activities might also lead to reintroduction of some important missing shops in the village – such as a butcher and greengrocer. A pipe dream? Maybe, but cooperation between the MBA and the MCA could lead to greater support for such local businesses than has been evident recently.

An important development last year was the involvement of the MBA in the Menston Village Show. It is to be hoped that the experience gained by both the MBA and the Show Committee as a result will lead to more development of this important annual event.

Housing developments

Although it has been argued on this site that the Menston Community Association was not the right body to lead the fight against inappropriate housing development, as it led to many other community matters with which the MCA should have been concerned being shoved to one side and even ignored, leaving this to the Parish Council would, on past experience, be disastrous. Indeed, had it been left to the Parish Council over the past few years it seems likely that we would already have all the traffic, transport, educational and health services problems that an extra few hundred houses would bring. A truly independent voice was needed.

Menston Action Group – MAG

Map showing proposed Menston 20mph/30mph sections

Proposed Menston 20mph/30mph restrictions

It is therefore a real relief to see the resurrection of the Menston Action Group which, of course, was formed originally to oppose inappropriate development. It is to be hoped that MAG fights the battle on all fronts, not confining itself to just the flooding consequences. Important as these are, and it may well be that these have been the basis on which the developments could best be stopped, it is not the consequent flooding which would kill Menston. It is the destruction of green space, destruction of Main Street, overloading of services and joining up of the currently separate Wharfedale/Airedale communities into one oppressive urban sprawl which would kill our village.

So, although very costly, there are engineering solutions to the flooding problems which would threaten the village should houses be built on the currently proposed sites. There are no engineering solutions to the destruction of a village community by the consequences mentioned above.

MAG has announced its resurrection with a new website and it will be interesting to see how this develops. At the moment there seems to be no facility for commenting publicly on items appearing on the site, reflecting the tag line “Relaunched site to keep you updated”, which seems to indicate only one way communication is intended. If so this is a pity. To be effective it needs the level of involvement of the community seen at the time of the referendum. Public meetings alone, particularly those now controlled – eg the Neighbourhood Forums – by the Parish Council, are not likely to achieve this.

Nevertheless, the new MAG site gives this site the opportunity not to publish the volume of factual information, reports, etc, as in the past, just pointing to the MAG site for these, so leaving more time to comment on developments.

Menston Community Association – MCA

Now that the MCA has had its teeth pulled, it will be interesting to see how it develops. Will it now be active in not only ensuring support of the many independent community organisations active in the village but active also in introducing new ones? As a registered charity it has an enviable capacity for supporting the community should it choose to use it.

Menston Parish Council – MPC

This year, 2015, is not only the year of the general election but before that there is an election which, it could be argued, is even more important for the future of Menston village – the Parish Council election. This is an opportunity for the community to consider whether the current ‘system’ of an MPC which effectively re-elects itself regularly is what the Menston community needs. Of course, there need to be nominations for new Councillors, and that means there need to be people willing to offer themselves as Councillors. What is more, we need a good turnout at the election to ensure we end up with a truly democratically chosen body to represent us. This website will be doing what it can to ensure full advantage is taken of this opportunity.

 

 

 

 

Menston WW1 trip to Flanders; St Mary’s Menston pupils make 8th visit to South Africa in school’s 50th year; Menston films project on hold

St Mary's Menston pupil Olivia Leonard with a Zulu child

St Mary’s Menston pupil Olivia Leonard with a Zulu child

Judith Knaggs and Dale Smith are asking for possible interest in visiting WW1 sites in Belgium in 2015; St Mary’s pupils make their 8th trip to South Africa in the school’s 50th year; Menston films project on back burner for the moment. Click any link below to go to more information, or just scroll down.

Menston visit to WW1 battlefields and graves

Poppy1Judith Knaggs and Dale Smith, who are leading organisation of Menston’s commemorations of the First World War, are asking for expressions of interest in a trip to Flanders and Northern France in September 2015. They stress that this is not a request for a firm commitment but just an indication of interest so that likely numbers can be assessed. The intention is to make a 5 day trip with Dalesman Coaches, beginning on Sunday 13 September 2015, to visit a number of cemeteries where men from Menston who fought in WW1 are buried and also visit some of the battlefields, eg the Somme, Vimy Ridge, Arras and Passschendale. The cost is £599 per person which will include coach and ferry travel from Menston via Hull and Zeebrugge, hotel accommodation and entrance to museums. Single rooms will have a supplementary charge.

Interest, including possible numbers in your party, should be communicated either to Judith or Dale, email Judith at david@timewarpband.co.uk or Dale at dale.smith@bradford.gov.uk. All messages will be acknowledged.

St Mary’s make eighth South Africa project visit in school’s 50th year

This year St Mary’s Menston will be celebrating 50 years of providing education in Menston, having opened its doors to pupils in 1964. Celebrations begin in with an Open Day and a garden party for former pupils in October and continue throughout the next academic year. Go to the programme on the school website for more details including how to book to attend a garden party and an anniversary ball.

David Geldart presenting Minister Counsellor, Dumisani Ntuli with a painting from one of St Mary's students, Sara Riley, which symbolises the work of the Bambisanani Partnership,at a Leeds Civic Reception to celebrate the 'Life and Legacy' of Nelson Mandela

David Geldart presenting Minister Counsellor, Dumisani Ntuli with a painting from one of St Mary’s students, Sara Riley, which symbolises the work of the Bambisanani Partnership, at a Leeds Civic Reception to celebrate the ‘Life and Legacy’ of Nelson Mandela.

This 50th year saw the eighth visit to South Africa by a team of pupils as part of the internationally acclaimed Bambisanani (a Zulu word meaning ‘working hand in hand’) project with a high school in one of the most deprived areas in S Africa, with one in three adults infected by HIV/AIDS, 90% unemployment and an adult illiteracy rate greater than 60%. The school serves a vast area and many students walk two hours to and from school each day. The full story can be read in an excellent article written by the project’s founder, Assistant Headmaster David Geldart.

In June this year fourteen Sixth Form students, three members of staff and a business sponsor, visited Mnyakanya School in the Nkandla region of Kwa Zulu Natal to develop the collaborative work between the two schools and wider community, which is referred to as the Bambisanani Partnership. The Bambisanani Partnership uses sport as a catalyst to promote education, leadership, health and global understanding.

This visit was led by physical education teacher Barbara Pounder, supported by Catherine Chattoe and Giles Wilkes from St. Mary’s and Roisin Serridge from Cardinal Maritime, one of a number of business sponsors of the partnership.

St Mary's Menston pupils and teachers at the Bambisanani Partnership school in South Africa

St Mary’s Menston pupils at the Bambisanani Parnership school in South Africa

The students were: Beth Cotton, Anna Evans, Myles Hanlon, Megan Haskins, Helena Hunt, Megan Ireton-Bourke, Olivia Leonard, James Smith, Emily Sutcliffe, Eleanor Thompson, Beth Tindall, Caroline Turnbull, Karl Verspyck and Jonathan Vincent.

St Mary's Menston pupils Bethany Tindall and Eleanor Thompson in the classroom with Zulu children

St Mary’s Menston pupils Bethany Tindall and Eleanor Thompson in the classroom with Zulu children

An important aspect of this year’s visit was to consolidate the relationship with the well-resourced and highly successful Eshowe High School, situated approximately an hour away from Mnyakanya. To that end, five students from Eshowe were invited to join the Bambisanani Leadership Programme for the week with St. Mary’s and Mnyakanya students. During the visit, St. Mary’s students, supported by Eshowe students, mentored twenty Mnyakanya students through the Bambisanani Leadership Course. An aspect of the course was for students from all three schools to jointly organise and deliver a Cricket, Rugby and Rounders Festival as well as a Reading Festival for eighty four children from Ntolwane Primary School.

Awards

A number of very special annual awards were also presented at an assembly in memory of two young men that have died in recent years. Four years ago, Laurie McCauley from Otley sadly died. Laurie was passionate about sport and literature and his family donated two special awards in these areas to be presented annually at Mnyakanya School to support the partnership. The awards are referred to as ‘Laurie’s Legacy’ and this year the Most Improved Footballer Award was won by Sikhakhane Sanela Steve and the Creative Writing Award by Zitha Nomvelo. At the ceremony, Zitha said: “It is a great honour to win this special award. Laurie’s awards inspire learners at Mnyakanya”.

Another annual award was also presented in memory of Sbonelo Magwaza, a Mnyakanya student who also died three years ago. Sbonelo was an outstanding young leader who, a year before his death, had successfully completed the Bambisanani Leadership Award. In tribute to Sbonelo, each school now presents an annual Sbonelo Magwaza Award for Outstanding Leadership. The award this year was won by Shange Siphesihle. Two other awards were introduced this year.

A first for South African partner school

As a result of links with St. Mary’s, this year Mnyakanya School became the first school in South Africa to be accepted into the John Paul II Foundation for Sport. The Foundation presented Mnyakanya with special awards for “Helping Others Achieve Their Potential” and “The True Spirit of Sport”. These were won by Mzobe Zothani and Shandu Nondumiso respectively.

Menston films

The project to bring regular film shows to Menston has had to be ‘put on the back burner’ by proposer Roger Livesey, unless someone is willing to move it forward, due to health problems. The amount he can do, and mobility, is limited so he has had to restrict involvement in various village projects, one of which is the ‘Teaching grandmother – from eggs to iPads’ for which he is trying to keep the impetus going.

Five reasons given by the Minister why Derry Hill and Bingley Road developments in Menston should not go ahead

Philip Davies MP

Philip Davies MP

Yesterday’s post on the House of Commons Adjournment Debate in which our representative, Philip Davies MP, set out Menston’s case against the proposed housing developments on Bingley Road, and Derry Hill, has been incorporated in this post to carry forward the links to a transcript of the debate and to the BBC iPlayer video of it (see the end of this post). Philip rightly did not dilute his argument by concentrating on the lack of infrastructure in terms of transport, health and education, which we in Menston know to be other very good reasons not to build several hundred more houses in Menston.

Stephen Williams MP

Stephen Williams MP

However, the Minister, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Stephen Williams, (Lib Dem) did, in setting out Government policy, give five very powerful reasons why the developments should never have been given planning permission.

The local plan

Mr Williams stressed, on several occasions, that an “up-to-date local plan, prepared through extensive public engagement, sets the framework in which decisions are taken, whether locally by the planning authority or on appeal. All areas should have some form of development plan”. Menston has no such plan, as has been discussed at Parish Council meetings on more than one occasion, the reason given being that it was too much work and would take too long to prepare. This may well be true, but it has clearly set Menston at a disadvantage.

“Powerful case” said Minister

Although the Minister said at the outset in response to Philip Davies’s “powerful case” (the Minister’s words) that he could not comment on specific cases, eg, the proposed Menston developments, he did – in setting out Government policy – give five commanding reasons why the proposed Bingley Road and Derry Hill developments should not go ahead. The only question remaining is how to stop them now that Bradford council has given the go-ahead.

The only concrete proposal given by the Minister was a Judicial Review, as he put it, a “last resort”, though he did suggest that Philip contact Ministers and other authorities with the ‘suggestion’ that something might be done if new evidence showed the BMDC decisions to be flawed (eg Prof Rhodes’s most recent research – see the post dated 5 June). Philip has told us that he will be taking up the Minister’s suggestions: “My intention is now to follow up with the Minister, as he suggested, providing him with all the expert evidence that Prof Rhodes has commissioned and produced. I will ask them to review this evidence – which I believe is overwhelming – and to let me know what steps they intend to take to address it – both at a national and local level”.

Communications from other communities

Since publishing yesterday’s post we have received communications from other communities, as close as Ben Rhydding and as far away as Cornwall, from people ranging from local councillors to highly qualified experts in flooding, indicating that Philip Davies’s contention that the Menston situation is of national importance is absolutely correct.

The five reasons

The five reasons given by the Minister for which, according to national policy, the Menston developments should not go ahead are as follows (annotions in bold, italics, etc have been inserted for clarity and are not part of the official transcript):

1. ” … sustainable development means granting planning permission unless the adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits or specific policies in the national framework that indicate that development should be restricted. These specific policies include building on the green belt or in areas where there are designated heritage assets and flooding … … most development in the green belt is inappropriate and should be granted permission only in very special circumstances, and that green belt boundaries should be reviewed only in exceptional circumstances through the local plan process. National policy equally sets out how planning must take account of the different roles and character of different areas, recognise the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside, and take into account all the benefits of the best and most versatile agricultural land … “.

2. ” … In respect of the historic environment, local planning authorities should set out in their local plan a positive strategy for the conservation and enjoyment of the historic environment. In doing so, they should recognise that heritage assets are an irreplaceable resource and that they should conserve them in a manner appropriate to their significance … “.

3. ” … We have been very clear that we expect councils to follow the strict tests (re flooding) in national policy, and that where these tests are not met, that new development should not be allowed … “.

4. ” … or a proposed development cannot be made safe, it should not be permitted. The framework is also very clear that residential development should not be allowed in functional floodplain where flood water has to flow or be stored … “.

5. ” … a site specific flood risk assessment has to be undertaken to demonstrate that development will be safe and resilient—for instance, through flood defence or raised ground floor levels. That should not increase flood risk elsewhere … “.

Links to the debate (from yesterday’s post)

For the next six days you can view Philip Davies’s speech and the Minister’s reply on BBC iPlayer by going to the link below. Note, however, the video includes several hours of proceedings of which the ‘Menston’ part is the final half hour, so to view just this go to a point 7 hours 29 minutes into the video.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b045pgdm/house-of-commons-05062014

The whole of these proceedings is recorded and available in Hansard but this is not an easy read. The transcript can be read a little more easily by clicking on the following link to a page on this site ADJOURNMENT DEBATE, HOUSE OF COMMONS, 5 JUNE 2014. For speed, editing has been minimal but this post will be augmented by some comment in the very near future.

Confusion and obfuscation on Menston housing developments at Neighbourhood Forum

Confusion! Deliberate or just, as someone remarked at the Menston Neighbourhood Forum on Tuesday evening, that the right hand in Bradford Council does not know what the left is doing as far as housing developments are concerned?

LATEST INFO RE COMMONS DEBATE (see below): Should be 5.00 – 5.30pm today (Thursday).

What did come across strongly is that having run up considerable costs making plans for dealing with traffic problems relating to the proposed housing developments on Derry Hill and Bingley Road, which are mostly not wanted by residents, nor required if the developments do not go ahead, BMDC officers are now desperate to get the money from the developers. To do this they have to ensure that the developments go ahead.

Bulldozers in the Community Centre?

Philip Moore

Philip Moore

Cllr Sue Rix

Cllr Sue Rix

There were several attempts to bulldoze the plans through by trying to convince the assembled Forum that it was already a done deal. Several residents, led by Philip Moore, of the Menston Action Group, and Sue Rix, Menston Parish Councillor, were having none of it. Both representatives said that at the ‘consultation’ re the plans (which Philip insisted was not a consultation but an exhibition!), they and many others had been assured that an amended plan resulting from the ‘consultation’ would be fed back to Menston before anything went ahead. This had not happened. Principal Engineer, Highways, at Bradford Council, Simon D’Vali, and Richard Gelder, Transportation Development Manager, capitulated under the pressure and said that the amended plans resulting from the ‘consultation’ would be sent.

Nevertheless, the BMDC officers insisted that the Derry Hill developers would be signing the necessary agreements and the Council would get the money and begin the appointment of contractors within a very short time.

Emeritus Prof David Rhodes

Emeritus Prof David Rhodes

In comes Emeritus Professor David Rhodes (the BMDC officers had left by this time) to tell us that, backed by simulations using “the best software available”, taking 16 days on a ‘super-computer’, he now had “absolute proof” that building on the proposed sites was not viable. This was backed up by the British Geological Survey (which, as its website states, is “the United Kingdom’s premier centre for earth science information and expertise”). Prof Rhodes said that he had submitted his report to BMDC before Easter but there had been “zero feedback to date”.

Decisions to grant planning permissions for the developments had been on the basis of a complete lack of the necessary expertise to make sound decisions, and evidence supplied by Menston representatives had been ignored, Prof Rhodes said. Should the council go ahead with the developments without properly taking into account the evidence he would take them to court, he added, “and we will win”.

“What happens if the developers start work?”, someone asked. They would immediately be served with an injunction to stop it, Prof Rhodes said.

Against this background, our MP Philip Davies has finally got the Adjournment Debate in the House of Commons on planning in Bradford Council and the experiences of Menston. It is tomorrow, Thursday 5 June. He will have 15 minutes to make our case.

Chairman of Community Association resigns

SteveEllamsSteve Ellams, Chairman of the Menston Community Association (MCA), has tendered his resignation from the post with immediate effect in a letter to the committee circulated by email yesterday evening. You can see the text of the letter in full, published on the Menston Community Association section of this website, by clicking HERE (or click the MCA ‘button’ in the right sidebar).

grumpytyke says:

Steve has been a loud and effective voice in the battle to preserve for the Menston community what makes this village what the recently-formed Menston Business Association has said is ‘The best village in Yorkshire’.

It is no wonder that he is “exhausted mentally and physically” and it is time for someone else to step up to the plate.

Earlier this year I commented on the dearth of women and people from younger generations in both the committee running the MCA and in the Menston Parish Council (MPC). The Chairman and other officers of the MPC just last week re-elected themselves to their current positions.

With the high proportion of elderly people in the village it is certainly right that they are well represented in both the MCA and MPC, but the balance is not right: more younger people are needed. A higher proportion of women is also needed in the running of both these organisations, especially as they are largely responsible for the success of so many groups and charitable organisations in the village.

During the next few months there will be the opportunity to bring this about. The AGM of the MCA, with election of officers, is due in November this year, and there should be an election of the Parish Council in 2015. There will of course be objections to the latter – there is a financial cost and people have said that there is no-one willing to step up. But were they ever given the opportunity? Not as far as I can ascertain. It requires only 10 residents to request an election, and of course some people willing to be nominated. I find it difficult to believe that neither of these requirements can be met.

To add to the thought left by Steve at the end of his letter:

If the Menston community do nothing or always vote for what they’ve always voted for, they’ll always get what they’ve always had.

Unfortunately this is only true in some respects. Bradford Council is intent on taking away some of the things they’ve always had – their green fields for a start.