The Rothwell Labour team 2018

Local Labour Party members who live in Rothwell, Woodlesford, Oulton and Carlton have chosen its three candidates for three candidatesnext year’s local council elections.

I’m delighted and honoured that they’ve chosen me (Karen Bruce) and David Nagle your existing councillors as well as a fantastic new candidate to contest the third Rothwell council seat.

At a meeting of local members on Friday 1 December we selected Sharon Burke. She told the meeting of her passion for giving local people the education, skills and employment they need to get on. Sharon spent many years working for the Job Centre and some may recognise Sharon from the seven years she spent working at the old job centre on Butcher Lane in Rothwell. She also worked as manager at Hunslet Job Centre. It says something when on leaving the job centre, 300 local people signed a petition to try to get her to stay!

Image may contain: 9 people, people smiling, people standingSharon impressed the local people at the meeting with her knowledge of many of the local issues Rothwell faces including her interest in the campaign by residents of the former coal board estate in Oulton, already coming up with ideas to help with the campaign before even being selected. Sharon also was well aware of the parking issue on Wood Lane and is keen to see progress with the situation. Sharon told the meeting that she doesn’t support HS2 and that she wants to help protect our local green fields.

Sharon is looking forward to working with us on the campaign and we are pleased to have her on the Rothwell Labour team.

Next year’s local election will be unusual in that all three council seats will be up for election at once. This means it is vitally important that you use all three of your votes to vote for Karen Bruce, Sharon Burke and David Nagle as it is essential we stop the Tories seizing control of Leeds council. If you vote for other candidates then there is a real risk the Tories will get in and impose even more brutal cuts in Rothwell, while protecting services in their own areas like Wetherby and Harewood. 

Wood Lane double parking action

PA300184Just to give an update on the parking issue on Wood Lane. We have been making regular visits over the last few months to look at the problem at different times. Just in the last two weeks we’ve looked at it with Angela Kellett, chair of Rothwell Tenants and Residents Association, and also with Gary Bartlett, the director of highways for Leeds City Council and with Cllr Richard Lewis, the executive board councillor responsible for highways.

We have spoken to lots of residents about this and you understandably have strong, and varied, opinions on the subject. We have also asked for more feedback from residents on the proposed plans which highways had drawn up earlier after our initial meetings.

After giving this much thought and deliberation and considering everyone’s comments, we have decided to progress with the scheme of further restrictions. It does need different actions working together to try to improve the situation. These further parking restrictions will play a part in this.

We are also working with agents of Valley Park who are planning short term to increase parking at one of the sites, the Lowell group’s own offices, a possible short term increase of 106 spaces, and we are working with them to make this happen, and to look at increasing parking at other businesses and at possible options on and off site.

PA300172Residents tell us they think the parking problem is dangerous. We want to see the restrictions in place as soon as is practical. Safety is our number one consideration so these are the improvements that we have asked to be implemented as soon as possible:

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To improve resident safety, including school children crossing:

  • Stricter parking restrictions to reduce double parking and provide better visibility and access at junctions.
  • Request for a pedestrian crossing, we’ve asked for a survey to be done to try to secure a crossing.
  • We’ve asked Highways to look at better access for buses to get into and out of the bus stops.
  • Work begins next year on Park and Ride car park at Stourton, which should alleviate some of the parking pressure in Rothwell including in the Wood Lane area
  • Liaising with representatives of Valley Park to increase its parking provision on site
  • Liaising with Valley Park to encourage employers to improve their parking policies, such as introducing better car share arrangements and allowing more staff to use current parking facilities (rather than just senior management).
  • Regularly review the situation particularly any actual impact of the further restrictions on Wood Lane.

We know how frustrating a situation this is for residents which is why we’re determined that things should improve.

We want to reassure you that residents have our full support and we have been and will continue to do all we can to resolve this issue.

Rothwell Springhead Park bonfire 3 November 2017

Bonfire photo for Rothwell Springhead Park bonfireIt’s that time of year again when the nights are drawing in and it’s starting to feel a bit chillier. In Rothwell we’ll soon be gearing up for the community bonfire and fireworks display. I always remember Yorkshire’s connection with the original gunpowder plot – Guy Fawkes was born in nearby York.

I’m really excited and honoured to be lighting the bonfire this year. The bonfire will be held at Rothwell Springhead Park on Friday 3 November. The fire is lit at 7pm and the firework display kicks off at 7.30pm. The event, as always, is being organised by Leeds City Council with the support of the Rothwell District Lions Club.

Rothwell District Lions Club do a marvellous job on behalf of the community. The Lions Club Motto is ‘We Serve’. In the case of Rothwell District Lions, this is to serve and support the local community, at events such as the Rothwell Carnival, the annual May day Duck Race (which is my daughter’s particular favourite) and the Rothwell park bonfire. Every December the Lions escort Father Christmas on his sleigh visiting  homes in the area. I still remember seeing my little one’s face a few years ago after hearing actual sleigh bells!

As chair of the council’s Outer South area committee I’m pleased we help to boost extra police support around Bonfire Night, with extra money for police foot patrols as part of the Operation Flame Bonfire. It’s awful that a small minority misbehave and spoilt the enjoyment of everyone else.

Although bonfire night and fireworks are great please remember to think of your pets and make sure you keep them safe inside your house. The RSPCA has some good advice here. That includes not bringing your pet dogs to the bonfire!

In Rothwell, bonfire night is one of the highlights of our calendar and we’re expecting a huge turnout in excess of 10,000 in Springhead Park for 2017. I hope to see you all there for what’s sure to be a spectacular display to light up the skies of Rothwell once again.

Save our homes plea from residents of Sugar Hill Close and Wordsworth Drive

Photo of residents of Sugar Hill Close and Wordsworth Drive with Cllr Karen Bruce and Cllr David Nagle

It’s a very worrying time for residents on one of our local estates, which is the former coal board estate near to Rothwell Leisure Centre, Sugar Hill Close and Wordsworth Drive. As it came to light in the last week or two that a whole community of 70 families is in danger of having their homes bulldozed as their private landlord prepares to put in a planning application for new housing in place of their homes.

This is a devastatingly worrying time for them and we as Rothwell councillors are doing all we can to support them. We have already spoken to many of the residents already and are continuing to knock on doors to try and visit all the residents. We have helped them to start a campaign this week for them to “Save our Homes”.

Many residents of the estate tell me they love where they live and want to stay as they have a great community. Many have paid enough in rent over the years to this private landlord that it would have been enough or even more than enough to buy their house.

Most residents only found out about this when a flyer arrived through their door. about a ‘public consultation’ event for “land at Sugar Hill Close and Wordsworth Drive”. Some didn’t see the leaflet as it was hidden in amongst takeaway menus that were delivered the same day.

Residents are rightly very upset and angry to be treated in such a horrible way. This is about the homes they live in and their close community which are far more important than the land.

A company called Pemberstone owns both the land and the homes. It is going to put in a planning application to build 72 new houses which we believe is likely to be sold as private housing.

David and I attended the drop-in session held by the agents and then demanded a meeting with the owner and its agents. The owner didn’t attend and the agents who attended on its behalf did not give satisfactory answers to our questions. The agents refused to make any guarantees to ensure that existing tenants would be protected and refused to give any guarantees to reassure tenants.

We as local Labour councillors will stand by the residents to fight this proposal and try to protect them and their families.

Poster in window Wordsworth DriveWe are already working with residents and have helped to set up a residents’ action group to fight this and stand up for people on Sugar Hill Close and Wordsworth Drive. A house meeting on Saturday saw volunteers come forward to help start the campaign. Over the weekend and using social media to keep in contact with the group, the campaign has already started and it’s great to see the posters in windows so quickly saying, “Save our Homes”.

Aldi to start building Rothwell site 2018

Good news to put an end to the speculation around the Aldi site in Rothwell as Aldi’s planning consultants confirm that Aldi will begin building on the site next year.

I have chased the issue on many occasions amidst much speculation over whether Aldi intended to actually go ahead and build the store after initially clearing the site, there was then no activity whatsoever on the site for so long after Aldi got planning permission. I chased the issue again this week after speaking to residents on the surrounding streets with my ward colleague David Nagle and the local Labour team the previous weekend and received the confirmation from Planning Potential, Aldi’s consultants who stated, “the construction team will be on site next year.”

I’m really pleased that Aldi has finally communicated with us, there have been a lot of rumours circulating and I’ve been asked many times what’s happening, having pressed for information constantly, it’s great that we now know what is happening and that things appear to be on track. Aldi

I know that many residents are looking forward to being able to have a choice in Rothwell of where to shop and some local people struggle in the current climate with zero hours contracts being commonplace and some even having to use the Rothwell Foodbank, it has to be welcomed when people have a choice of a discount supermarket, which I think will also keep Morrisons on it’s toes when it comes to prices. It will also be handy for residents who don’t drive and rely on buses to have another local supermarket.

The site has been a bit of an eyesore and it will be good to see it in use, we will now turn our attention to the benefit of Aldi jobs coming to Rothwell and liaise with Aldi to make sure that these new local jobs go to local people.