Tag Archives: Menston Parish Council

Women’s Day; mums-to-be praise local Pilates; more awards for St Mary’s Menston; responding to Bradford’s long-term plan

Logo for International Women's Day, 8 MarchToday is International Women’s Day so a good day to recognise that many Menston local community organisations, from the churches to organisations like Menston Cares, depend for the most part on women. There is also a significant number of Menston businesses run by women. Yet we have only one woman Parish Councillor and only one active female member on the committee of the Menston Community Association. Isn’t it time to change that? There can be a Parish Council election in May 2015; the next MCA AGM, at which officers can be elected, is in November this year.

Three stories in today’s post, two of them featuring the gender appropriate for today. Click on the link below to go directly to the story, or just scroll down.

Mums-to-be recommend pilates

“It’s great having something local”, says Ruth, one of eight mums-to-be attending pre-natal Pilates sessions at Menston’s own Pilates studio. “It helped me with posture and walking, and relieved some of the aches I was feeling as a result of pregnancy”, says Hannah, another of the group.

The classes began about four weeks ago and are limited to eight people at a session so that each can have individual attention from proprietor and qualified modern Pilates trainer Christine North-Minchella. There is already a waiting list but as each mum-to-be has her baby a place is vacated.

Menston village Pilates studio with Christine North-Minchella with a model of the spine

Menston Village Pilates centre; Christine North-Minchella in the studio with the model of a spine used to show how Pilates can help aleviate back pain

The rise in obesity and the resulting increase of diabetes in pregnancy has prompted NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) and RCOG (the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists) to recommend safe exercise during pregnancy. Pilates is known to be gentle and safe so ideal for exercise when pregnant, says Christine. It also tackles one of the major problems for women during pregnancy – back ache; 70% of women suffer this during pregnancy. Pilates strengthens the back and abdominals and is safe exercise right up to the last week. And after birth, it helps with bending and picking up baby. Many of the women intend to return for post-natal sessions after the birth.

“There’s a social element too”, says another mum-to-be, Ruth, “It’s good to meet other expectant mums with similar feelings”. Aimee says she learns things “which I can then do at home”. Or, Catherine says, “It gives an hour every week when you can be calm and focus on yourself”. “I’d really recommend it”, says Shelley; “it’s relaxing and keeps you active”.

The Studio is a purpose-equipped facility behind an imposing house near the bottom of Cleasby Road. Telephone 879816 or email christine@pfetraining.co.uk

Leeds Sports Awards for St Mary’s teacher and students

A St Mary’s Menston student, Isobel Palmer, former student Sarah Lawn, and teacher Barbara Pounder, were all honoured at this year’s Leeds Sports Awards at the end of February (click a picture to see it larger with caption).

Barbara Pounder was honoured for her Services to Physical Education and Sport. In addition to Barbara’s contribution to the St. Mary’s curricular and extra-curricular programme, her outstanding work developing young leaders and her significant contribution to the school’s work in South Africa (the Bambisanani Partnership) were also noted. Special mention was given to the SOS Club (Sport on Saturday), which has been run by Barbara for the past fourteen years and provides young disabled people with the opportunity to participate in sport.

St. Mary’s student Isobel Palmer received a Young Achiever Award in the Young Disability Sportsperson of the Year category. Former St Mary’s student Sarah Lawn was recognised for her outstanding achievement in football, both participating and officiating, as Leeds City College Sports Personality of the Year.

Would Sinehlanhla Fortunate Qwane of Eshowe, S Africa, please send an email to menston.village.wharfedale@gmail.com and give us a return email address so that her recent message (comment on the Bambisanani article last year) can be answered.

Bradford Core Strategy – less than four weeks to respond

Residents who attended the traffic ‘consultation’ last week had the opportunity to see a copy of the Bradford ‘Core Strategy Development Plan Document – Publication Draft’) and its supporting ‘Evidence’ documentation and talk to Alan Elsegood and Steve Ellams about it. They also would have seen the form which had to be completed to ‘object’ to the plan and if this was not enough to put people off then the massiveness of the documents they were required to comment on certainly would. What is more, the bases on which any objection can be raised are limited to three (the ‘soundness’ of the plan, the legal compliance of the plan, and the ‘duty to cooperate’); most people would not be able to make a challenge on the basis of the last two of these.

As a result, it is nigh on impossible for most people to make any meaningful response at all, certainly not within the short time period allowed. You might wonder whether that is the whole idea.

We are fortunate in having one resident who has been prepared to go through this pile of documentation – days of work – and draw up some very sound objections, mostly on one of the bases upon which it can be challenged – that it is ‘not sound’.

Tireless campaigner for the village and former chairman of the Menston Community Association, Alan Elsegood, has now gone through this Brazilian forest of paper and drawn up detailed arguments against the plan, mostly on the basis that they are ‘not sound’ but also on not meeting the ‘duty to cooperate’ (eg with Leeds re the High Royds development or the road infrastructure).

It was impossible, within the time available, to organise a way for all residents to see Alan’s objections and append their supporting signatures, so Alan has sent them to the Menston Parish Council in the hope that they will be incorporated into a vigorous response on behalf of the electors of Menston.

The final submission by the Parish Council will be examined with interest.

Let’s have a 20mph limit for Menston

The 20mph road sign

Road sign for a 20mph speed limit, not the same as a 20mph zone

Many Menston village residents have indicated that they favour a speed limit of 20mph throughout the village, but some may have been misled by comments from the Chairman of the Parish Council planning committee, Cllr Metcalfe, at the recent Neighbourhood Forum. He seemed to say that if there were 20mph limits there would have to be ‘speed bumps’. This is not true.

First, it has to be recognised that there is a difference between ’20mph Zones’, as there are in parts of Menston now, and a ’20mph speed limit’.

20 mph zones require that no point in the ‘zone’ is further than 50m from a traffic calming feature, unless the road is a cul-de-sac of less than 80m in length. A 20mph speed limit has no such requirement.

However, according to the charity which is the expert source of information on 20mph limits and zones – ’20’s Plenty for Us’ – the requirement for traffic calming measures is often misinterpreted in the UK as meaning physical speed constraints such as speed bumps and speed tables (vertical) or chicanes, road narrowing and build outs (horizontal). Bradford Council traffic officers certainly seem to misinterpret in this way (and want to continue to do so in what they have proposed for the village). In fact, the charity says, it can mean gateways, road markings, hatching, carriageway roundels or rumble devices. Humps and bumps are not a requirement.

So, it would seem that we could have a 20mph speed limit throughout Menston and all that would be required would be the 20mph signs at each of the entry points and small 20mph roundels mounted on lamp posts at intervals. Every English authority has a traffic sign authorisation which permits them to place a 20mph speed roundel road marking as a repeater sign (without the requirement for an upright sign), to reduce unnecessary signing. A low cost solution with no massive engineering works disrupting the village in the short term and defacing it for ever after.

If we had an area-wide 20mph limit it would be much more effective than isolated 20mph zones according to the charity, which says, “For any given expenditure 20mph area-wide limits are 7.2 times more effective than physically calmed zones”.

Apart from this, 20splentyforus says that the introduction of physical measures has many disadvantages, many of which have already been pointed out by Menston residents, these including:

  • Physical measures are uncomfortable even for motor vehicles conforming to speed limits.
  • They slow down emergency service vehicles
  • They are expensive to implement
  • They are expensive to maintain and re-surface
  • They can cause noise and vibration
  • They can result in acceleration between features by drivers seeking to maximise average speed, thereby increasing pollution and emissions.

The charity has a very good website with ‘everything you need to know about 20mph limits’. It’s worth a good look at:

http://www.20splentyforus.org.uk/

There’s a conference ‘It’s time for 20’ on 18th February; unfortunately it’s in London, at Camden Town Hall, and costs £125 to attend. Click here for full details.

11+ good reasons to go to the Menston traffic management consultation

Past experience of ‘consultations’ on possible Menston developments run by Bradford Council may have convinced you that taking part in such consultations is a waste of time. However, the investigation of the Council by the Local Authority Ombudsman may have persuaded Officers and Councillors to observe proper procedures this time.

A consultation, on 25 February, provides a five hour window (see under ‘Events‘) in the Kirklands Community Centre main hall to go and make your views known. It is known as a ‘TIER 2 CONSULTATION’ on traffic and roads, but you don’t need to know that.

Despite the assurances given at the recent Neighbourhood Forum by the chairman of the Menston Parish Council Planning Committee – Cllr Metcalfe – that the proposals would improve traffic flow and safety, many at the meeting remained unconvinced and many more in the village consider that, if carried out, the proposals will destroy the village as we know it.

Links to lists of many objections were given in a recent post and to give you time to think about them here are some of the most important links with 11 objections mentioned:

Whether or not you can go to the consultation, feel free to add your objections in a comment at the end of this post; they will be consolidated with those above and be deposited at the consultation. However …

Grumpytyke says:

Has Cllr Metcalfe or the traffic “experts” he mentioned or those from Bradford Council ever driven from the Chevin Pub down Buckle Lane then on Bingley Road to Dick Hudsons, in the ‘rush’ periods when dark in the winter, let alone when it’s raining or snowing? I have had to drive at such times from Menston to Eldwick, frequently; the traffic is very heavy and it is extremely dangerous. The nonsense of pouring more traffic, from a fair proportion of the 300 or so houses proposed in Menston, will sustantially increase the danger no matter what is done to slow traffic in Menston itself. The proposals will certainly cause a log-jam on the Menston section of Bingley Road, leaving frustrated drivers to take their chances on the narrow, twisting, undulating Buckle Lane and Bingley/Otley Roads. Has any one of the “experts” given any thought to this? The answer lies not in costly plans on paper by so-called “experts”, it lies in preventing the ridiculous developments. In any case, I’m in favour of a 20mph limit throughout the village with no more than speed signs at each entrance; but the limit will need to be enforced, as anyone dodging the trade vehicles while walking in the village centre early morning will know.

Note the ‘Imminent events’ in the right hand column. After a long wait a bug in the software might have been fixed so imminent events in Menston can be flagged up, with more details under the ‘Events’ menu. Here’s hoping it continues to work!

Get rid of 1/3 Bradford Councillors and save? Important issues for Menston Community Association other than housing developments. Another accolade for St Mary’s. Neighbourhood Forum 4 Feb

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Go to agenda (Click): MCA/Neighbourhood Forum 4 Feb

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Posters calling Menston residents ‘to arms’ (The Battle for Menston) have appeared around the village and it is, of course, important that as many people as possible attend the second part of the forthcoming Neighbourhood Forum/MCA meeting on 4 February, at which this will be discussed at length. Housing development and these other issues are dealt with in more detail below, with links to supporting documentation where relevant.

Keighley Councillor Judith Brooksbank and Bradford Councillor John Pennington on the One Show

Keighley Councillor Judith Brooksbank and Bradford Councillor John Pennington on the One Show

Grumpytyke says: We’re grateful to John Naylor for bringing a recent ‘One Show’ broadcast to our attention. BBC1 is usually switched off at 7.00 as I find the worship of ‘celebrities’ tiresome, but this coverage of the suggestion by Keighley Town Councillor, Judith Brooksbank – that 1/3 of Bradford Councillors could be ditched to save £400,000 a year –  was surprisingly good reporting. Our absent ‘Spanish’ councillor protested that he attended all Council meetings but having recently been at a full Council meeting I can say that they are pretty much a waste of time. Those Councillors who do work hard and usefully do it outside of these meetings; good examples were shown during the show. But I doubt more than 60 of the 90 councillors are worth the money they take so a 1/3 cut wouldn’t go amiss. If you missed the show you can still see it on BBC iPlayer. Click on the picture to see it; it’s worth a look.

However it is also important that the attempted destruction of our village by BMDC does not distract attention from proposals to help revive some of the community spirit and involvement which, in the opinion of many, has been in decline in recent years. Some of these proposals (see below) will be on the agenda for the first half of the meeting and the input of as many residents as possible to the discussions is vital.

St Mary’s Menston

is in the news again, having gained Youth Sport Trust Gold Partner status for the school’s outstanding commitment to PE and School Sport.

Sports pupils at St Mary's Menston

Some of St Mary’s outstanding sports pupils: left to right, back row to front: Tom Brady, James Cape, Niamh Roberts, Chloe Tindale, Lucy Tindale, Frances Westhead, Michael Jones, Sam Hollindrake Hughes, Oliver Armitage, John Cooper, Chris Jackson, Laurence Patterson, Jessica Tindale, Lily Greenhalgh, Olivia Brady, Samantha Breen, Isobel Palmer, Charlie Houlders, Daisy Sutcliffe, Kathryn Sammon, Caitlin Baran, Orla Turnbull, Georgia Malir, Claire Shepherd, Evie Malir, Leah Delahay, Elizabeth Westhead, Pauline Hall (Click on the picture to see it at a larger size)

“We are thrilled with the award”, says Craig Thornton, Acting Faculty Leader of Physical Education and Sport (second from left in picture). “We are responsible for a massive programme at St. Mary’s and beyond and it is great to have the quality and extent of this work recognised. The award acknowledges the hard work of the staff that make all of this possible”.

Communication with and between village residents and organisations

The less than good communication within the village has been mentioned at several meetings – from the inadequacy of the notice board outside of Kirklands to the failure of organisations to send information to all the possible communication media like the local papers and the two village websites. The Wharfedale Observer often covers stories well but as it must be bought it has limited reach; the Wharfe Valley Times has limited story possibilities but since its revamp to include a Menston column it does offer a good information channel into most of the households in Menston (and Otley). The ‘official’ website seems now to be ‘working’ but the communication possibilities are very limited; this ‘alternative’ site was set up to fill the gap and, for example, enable good discussion of important issues. So the person responsible for ‘publicity’ in the many village organisations should be ensuring that information on activities are sent in good time to all four media (to menston.village.wharfedale@gmail.com for this site). (Mention should be made of the excellent communication from Helen Scarbrough at the Parish Church of St John and Jackie Ash at St Mary’s Menston high school – thank you).

A proposed project to improve communication within the village but also to visitors will be presented at the forum – more, larger, better and more informative notice boards around the village. Three principal aims of the boards will be to promote health and ‘outside’ village activities from sports to village walks, to promote support of local businesses, and to provide village organisations with more opportunities to publicise their activities to people who do not read newspapers and do not use internet.

village Car Show

The village car show on the 5 May Bank Holiday will largely mirror the show which was part of the Jubilee Celebrations in 2012. Some people have suggested there should be a ‘parade’ through the village as this year there will be no Jubilee activities to entice the crowds. Come and give your views at the 4 Feb meeting.

Regular ‘cinema’ In Menston?

The fortnightly film shows at the Courthouse in Otley are very popular. Can Menston sustain something similar? A proposal to perhaps have a pilot showing later this year, to gauge reaction, but it is hoped to get a better idea of whether it would be supported as a result of discussion at the meeting.

Menston Christmas lights and festivities

Many residents have expressed dismay at the lack of Christmas festivities accompanying a switch on of Christmas lights, common in many other villages (and, it is understood, in Menston in the past), obliging them to take children elsewhere. Better lights and festivities to go with them in 2014 will be on the meeting agenda.

Children’s Centre

If Bradford Council persists in its proposal to close the wonderful Children’s Centre in Menston, could it be sustained by the village (and our neighbour)? Some people thought so at the January MCA meeting. An update on the situation is on the 4 February agenda.

Housing developments and ‘traffic calming’

Battle

There will be four speakers on the ‘developments’ during the second half of the meeting, but they will be limited to 10 minutes each to give the maximum number of residents the opportunity to voice their opinion.

Prof David Rhodes will speak on flooding and drainage; Philip Moore on roads and the proposed traffic ‘management’; Steve Ellams on Greenbelt and wildlife habitats; Alan Elsegood on the complaints to the Local Authority Ombudsman.

Below is a list of various relevant documents and extracts from communications with various objections, suggestions, etc, in no particular order, which may be of interest before the 4 Feb meeting. Click on any to see the document as a PDF (if anyone has a suggestion of more to add to the list please send – preferably as an attached PDF – to menston.village.wharfedale@gmail.com):

Road change proposal map 1

Road change proposal map 2

Road change proposal map 3

Road change proposal map 4

Road change proposal map 5

Road change proposal map 6

Road change proposal map 7

MAG planning update Dec 2013

MPC objection letter Jan 2014

BMDC traffic proposals Jan 2010

MAG flood risk objection Jan 2014

MAG to MPC after MCA Jan meeting

Traffic photos

MCA Deputy Chairman to BMDC Jan 2014

JNaylor traffic objections

J Houlihan traffic objections

Traffic objections Feb 2012

Bingley Road area satellite picture

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Bradford Council housing proposals “illegal”, “insane” and “uninsurable” claim Menston village residents

Illegal“, “Insane” and “Uninsurable” were words used to describe housing developments on greenfield sites, and associated ‘traffic calming’ works, proposed by Bradford Council (BMDC) for Menston along Bingley Road, by speakers at the 8 January meeting of the Menston Community Association (MCA).
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Minutes of 8 January 2014 meeting (posted 16 Jan). Click this sentence for link on MCA intro page

Yet again there was a ‘complaint’ at the 8 Jan meeting from a Parish Councillor that he had been unable to find/access the minutes of the previous meeting. Yet again it was pointed out that the minutes were up on this site shortly after being received from the (currently ‘acting’) Secretary – in this case Christmas Eve morning, ie more than two weeks before the 8 Jan meeting. It is very frustrating when this site endeavours, and generally succeeds, to get information posted promptly that people say they are ‘unable’ to find minutes, etc.

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Traffic ‘calming’ proposals

Residents wanted to know why they were not supposed to hear about the traffic calming proposals, following complaints from the BMDC traffic planning officer after a Parish Councillor had let the cat out of the bag by circulating the proposals. Another Parish Councillor present at the meeting failed to convince the residents that they should not yet have heard about them. In fact, he was questioned on why previously agreed plans had been abandoned and asked to put this question at a forthcoming meeting with BMDC to discuss the plans. However, another speaker pointed out that the housing developments should not go ahead at all so the traffic measures were irrelevant.

Illegal

The housing developments themselves were claimed to be “illegal” under Common Law and would be opposed on this basis, another speaker said. They were also illegal under European law another resident added.

NB. Various documents relating to the above will be added to the site at a later date.

Notice boards: Cllr Sue Rix reported that, following her suggestion at the previous meeting that there was a need for more and better noticeboards in the village, work was progressing in a small working group. Various suggestions were made, among them inclusion of a village map. These will all be taken into account with the aim of having a firm, costed proposal to present to the next (February) meeting.

Car Show: following some discussion about the proposed car show on 5 May, it transpires that this is intended to be a ‘village only’ show, with vehicles from the village being displayed at sites around the village. Various other suggestions made at the meeting are therefore not relevant.

Children’s Centre: Cllr Sue Rix reported that she had been to a meeting which, in BMDC style, had not been ‘advertised’ until the last minute; she only found out about it by accident and staff had been given only 48 hours notice. She urged residents to get objections to closure in very quickly..

Neighbourhood Forum/MCA meeting: The next Neighbourhood Forum, which will also be the February MCA meeting, is on Tuesday 4 February in the main hall of the Kirklands Community Centre. In the first half of the meeting the agenda will include proposals for supporting local business, proposals for better communications within the village including the proposed MCA notice boards, an update re the Children’s Centre, proposals for the village Car Show and for 2014 Christmas lights and accompanying festivities in the village. The second half of the forum will be devoted to the proposed housing developments on Bingley Road and Derry Hill, accompanying plans for managing road traffic in the village, and of course the latest situation re fighting these proposals.

Grumpytyke asks:

Did you see the BBC1 Countryfile programme on Sunday evening? Covering extensively housing developments on greenfield land in Surrey, in some ways similar to Menston, both David Cameron and Nick Boles were shown assuring viewers that they had no intention to cover greenfields with housing! Personally I do not now believe a word which comes out of their mouths, on this or any other subject. Which presents me with a dilemma. I would like to vote of our MP, Philip Davies, who does seem to be working hard on our behalf, but how can I do that when he is a member of the political party represented by these two? Nick Boles did, however, make a valid point, saying that local councils could be more likely to get housing they wanted where they wanted, and avoid inappropriate development, by developing a ‘local plan’. Menston has not done that. Whether expecting small Parish Councils to make such a plan is realistic is a valid question, but our neighbours Burley seem to have managed it. When are the next Parish Council elections?

Menston village: battle won, Bradford MDC war continues; call to support local shops; save the Children’s Centre; St Mary’s pupils continue to inspire

Chloe Tindale, one of two St Mary's Menston pupils who met Prince William at a Diana Award 'Inspire Day, with Zulu children in South Africa earlier this year

Chloe Tindale, one of two St Mary’s Menston pupils who met Prince William at a Diana Award ‘Inspire Day’, with Zulu children in South Africa earlier this year. Follow the link at the bottom of this post for the full story.

Menston villagers have been celebrating one important battle won to keep the character of our lovely Wharfedale village and its surrounding countryside: the plan to erect a gigantic wind turbine behind High Royds, twice the height of the iconic clock tower there, was refused permission. The fight against development on the Derry Hill and Bingley Road sites, which apart from destroying the character of our village would lead to more flooding and increased sewerage flowing down the street, according to the best expert evidence, continues.

Steve Ellams, Roger Livesey and Alan Elsegood make the case with banners and T-shirts outside City Hall before Steve's presentation

Chairman of the Menston Community Association Steve Ellams, left, with Secretary Alan Elsegood and Menston resident Roger Livesey (centre) outside City Hall before Steve’s presentation of a petition signed by members of communities in Wharfedale whose representatives joined the Menston team inside the Council Chamber for the presentation

It is understood that the Parish Council intends to reply to the dreadful letter received from Cllr Warburton, the letter being greeted with disgust and disbelief at the Menston Community Association meeting on Wednesday 4 December.

Poster for 'Save our Greenbelt'

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Click here to read the presentation ‘Save our Greenbelt’ given to the full Bradford Council on Tuesday 10 December by Steve Ellams, Chairman of the Menston Community Association.

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Support local shops

The need to support local shops and businesses was an important topic at the meeting and a suggestion of the need for some kind of campaign was greeted with approval. Parish Cllr Sue Rix said that there was an urgent need for more, and more suitable, notice boards around the village, promoting local business being one function of them; this suggestion was greeted with approval. Among comments from the floor was “Why people pay more for inferior produce when our local greengrocer brings fresh from the market every morning is beyond me”. Another said they were glad to buy meat there, supplied from Burley.

A Menston Christmas celebration next year?

A suggestion from the floor was that there was a need to set up small working groups to move forward this and other projects proposed, among them a village Christmas celebration event based around better Christmas lights next year. Comments from villagers that “It is really upsetting that I have to go to another village for such an event when we used to have one in Menston” were related from the floor.

MCA Chairman Steve Ellams said that there would be a ‘bucket collection’ at next year’s Menston Car Show (note the countdown to it on the right has now reached 4 months!) and funds raised would go towards the Christmas event.

Fighting children’s centre closure

Another important battle being mounted is against the closure of the Menston and Burley Children’s Centre, with its magnificent ‘new’ facility behind Menston library. A petition is circulating and available to sign in shops around the village.

St Mary’s inspire

More inspiring news continues to come out of the excellent high school in the village, St Mary’s, from excellence in sport to meetings with Prince William. Read about it on a page giving more details.

Total contempt for Menston residents displayed by Chair of BMDC Regulatory and Appeals Committee

If there was any doubt about the contempt in which Bradford Councillors hold Menston residents, demonstrated again and again throughout the four years saga on the inappropriate development planned at Bingley Road and Derry Hill in the village, a letter from the Chair of the Regulatory and Appeals Committee in reply to a letter from the village Parish Council surely puts it beyond doubt.

Letter from Cllr Warburton, Chair of the BMDC Regulatory and Appeals Committee, in response to letter from  Menston Parish Council

Letter from Cllr Warburton, Chair of the BMDC Regulatory and Appeals Committee, in response to letter from Menston Parish Council

The letter, in response to the Menston ‘Duty of Care’ letter  sent by the Parish Council on 27th October and published on this website 7 November, ignoring mis-spellings including even the name of the Parish Council Chairman who signed the Menston letter, displays a contempt almost beyond belief. The reply was circulated to residents attending last week’s Menston Parish Council meeting.

The letter will be debated at the Menston Community Association meeting on Wednesday 4 December, 7.30pm in the Methodist Church Hall. All Menston residents of voting age are members of the association and are invited to attend.