Victory for Carlton village as Strawberry Fields saved

Councillor Karen Bruce in Carlton village photo

I’m so delighted as a councillor (and as a resident!) for Carlton that Leeds City Council has backed local people and our community campaign and turned down this totally unsuitable application for 129 houses in the heart of Carlton village.

I’ve fought hard with other local people, including the Carlton Village Neighbourhood forum and ‘Save the Rhubarb Triangle’, against this application. When we first found out about this I wrote, with my fellow councillor David Nagle, to all residents to inform them how to comment on the application and some bullet points on what valid points for objection were. The Labour team also sent another letter to residents after I confirmed with planning that comments couldCarlton parking still be sent in after the official deadline.

We all know if this application was allowed it would change the face and character of the small village of Carlton forever. The small village infrastructure cannot cope with such a huge development.  The school, local doctors surgeries, the local village roads, drains and other services could not take the scale of development proposed.

Carlton village meetingIt was fantastic to see the turnout of villagers coming together at the village meeting earlier this year uniting against the overdevelopment of our village. Thank you to everyone who has joined in the fight and submitted your comments and objections, which were all taken into account when the decision was made.

Rothwell Labour fights Carlton Strawberry Fields developmentIt is great that this application has been turned down but we must be on guard in case we need to continue the fight, as the applicant has the right to appeal against the decision of the council to the secretary of state.  You can be assured if this happens I will be fighting all the way again with Carlton villagers.

You can view the refusal of outline planning permission on the Leeds City Council website.

20 mph zone for Royds Lane and streets in Rothwell St Mary’s primary zone

We are delighted that our ongoing campaign to have local speed limits reduced to 20mph takes another step forward as Royds Lane  and Karen-20mph-Carlton-sign_thumbstreets around the area will be included in the new 20 mph zone.  There will also be a 40mph limit approaching the 20mph built up zone on Royds Lane to slow traffic down before arriving in the 20mph zone on this country road..

We are pleased that this scheme has been proposed including the 40mph buffer zone which we hope will deter motorists from driving at high speeds right up to the new 20mph zone but will encourage a gradual drop on speed to slow motorists down before entering the residential zone.

Improving road safety is what residents keep saying is one of the most important local issues.  It’s great that we have got 20 mph zones in the streets surrounding most local primary schools including Woodlesford, Carlton, Rothwell, Victoria and Haigh Road.  We want Holy Trinity and Oulton to be next, which will take in many of the streets not already covered by the 20 mph zones.

One of our priorities as local Labour councillors is making our roads safer for everyone, especially for children and older people.

Action on Wood Lane Parking

Wood Lane parking

After many months of work we are finally seeing action on the terrible parking situation on Wood Lane. Wood Lane is to get double yellow lines to stop parking on both sides of Wood Lane at the same point and at junctions off it. You will soon see notices going up on lamp posts and can respond with your comments to Highways before implementation.

In response to our previous three letters many of you have already given us your views so we have asked council highways officers to include some of your feedback and suggestions. The formal consultation by the council is an opportunity for you and your neighbours to give some final feedback before the new double yellow lines are introduced.

However, as your local councillors we don’t think this is enough so are also pushing for lots of other measures to be taken to improve road safety and the parking situation including:

  • A pedestrian crossing is needed on Wood Lane – a survey is being carried out which we are hopeful will back up our case in trying to secure a crossing within the next 12 months. This will improve safety for everyone, especially school children when crossing the road when catching and getting off school buses.
  • We are liaising with the company that manages Valley Park (new management have just taken this over) and companies on it to get them to provide more on-site parking for employees, to improve their parking policies (such as allowing more staff to use current parking facilities, rather than just senior management), and allowing double parking in on site car parks and parking on the roads that are part of Valley Park.
  • We are lobbying strongly for the new park and ride at Stourton to be part of relieving the pressure on Rothwell. Council officers claim they can’t do this as part of a park and ride scheme, so we have demanded that they find a solution using land immediately next to the park and ride.

We will keep on monitoring and watching what happens to make sure it does lead to real improvements. Please keep use informed as to what you think as we want to give you our full support.

Action on anti social behaviour in Rothwell

Residents have raised concerns with us as your Labour councillors about anti-social behaviour by some groups of young people in and around Commercial Street in Rothwell, gathering outside Morrisons and the town centre. The police tell us that there have been a high number of calls for service, 23 in the last three months from there.

This many young people in a group acting boisterously is intimidating for many shoppers. The vast majority of local youngsters are responsible and wouldn’t cause these problems, but we’ve got to do something about the small minority who cause big problems.

Morrisons talking to local people

We’re working closely with local police, youth workers and Morrisons to tackle the problem. We have asked for the town centre to be a top priority for police presence. When confronted with evidence that their child has been misbehaving in the town centre, some parents have been shocked.

Police budgets have been  cut so much by this Conservative government, helped in the first term of Tory office by the Liberal Democrats, that there aren’t enough police officers. They’ve cut nearly 1,000 police officers from West Yorkshire. Our local police officers and PCSOs are brilliant, but we desperately need more of them.

I called a meeting last week at Blackburn Hall in Rothwell with police, Morrisons, anti-social behaviour officer and youth services.  Lots of positive actions were discussed, the main points to move forward with:

· Police presence to be boosted in the town centre, especially at problem times.

· Morrisons, police and anti-social behaviour unit to work on a plan together to combat problems

· Orders being pursued on ring leaders.

· We are looking into upgrading CCTV in the town centre and Morrisons are to get CCTV in foyer.

· Security at Morrisons need to be consistent with different staff taking the same approach. Police to look at bespoke training for staff.

Another meeting will be arranged for June to assess progress. It has already helped that local people have reported incidents and this has backed us up in getting more police presence in the town centre. Any further incidents should be reported by phoning 101.

We can assure you that stamping out anti social behaviour is a priority for us. I know as a local resident that the Rothwell area is a lovely place to live and I am determined will remain so.

Labour councillors help fund ‘Miles of Smiles’ for older people in Rothwell, Woodlesford, Oulton and Carlton

Karen at FDM eventIt was fantastic to be able to help wonderful local Rothwell transport charity FDM to enable them to deliver a new initiative combating social isolation and loneliness.

A grant of £2,800 from the Council’s Outer South Community Committee, which I chair, and Cllr David Nagle also sits on, has been provided for the ‘Miles of Smiles’ project, which will provide trips out, both locally and further afield, for older and disabled local people living in Rothwell and its surrounding areas.

Through the project, For Disability Mobility (FDM) will provide a variety of opportunities for the elderly and disabled so they can continue to live life to the full and have an active role within their community. The organisation is aware through other initiatives, such as their social club, that by helping people form new friendships many people can feel they have a new lease of life.

The ambition of the project is to deliver 27 trips over nine months, helping at least 324 people get out and about and feel more independent, as well as improving their mental wellbeing. Another aim is to promote and communicate the service provided by FDM across the area to attract new service users.

The grant from the Outer South Community Committee supports the delivery of at least three trips a month using FDM’s two fully-equipped 16-seater mini-buses, which can also safely carry wheelchair users and wheeled walkers. The second mini bus became available in September 2016, when the organisation increased its capacity and improve comfort for their members.

FDM have recently celebrated their 20th anniversary and have therefore been serving the community and getting people out and about for over two dFDM eventecades.

It was great to attend FDM’s 20th anniversary celebrations, attended by the Lord Mayor of Leeds and FDM’s patrons Christine Talbot, Billy Pearce and Dicky Bird. There was a lot to celebrate, getting so many of our local older people out and about and meeting friends over a 20 year period is something to be applauded.

FDM provides an absolutely vital service to many people across our local area. my ward colleague Cllr David Nagle and I work very closely with them all-year round and I am delighted that we as the Community Committee could provide a grant to them to support the delivery of such a brilliant project.

Social isolation  and loneliness is a huge issue but one which can be hidden. We must do everything we can to prevent it and the ‘Miles of Smiles’ project is a fantastic way of getting people out of their homes and bringing them together. Our Community Committee is very happy to support such a worthwhile initiative and it is very fitting that following FDM’s 20th anniversary, we can fund this marvellous project to allow them to reach even more socially isolated and lonely older people than ever.

You can find out more about FDM at its website.