Welcome new Rothwell Springhead Park playground

The new playground for younger children has been
eagerly anticipated and it’s great to see it’s already started to be enjoyed with vigour by lots of our younger members of the community including these Easter holidays.

This is the first phase of the new Springhead Park playgrounds, with the second phase for older children to be the next step.

It’s wonderful that the playground is here and it’s fantastic to see the children enjoying their new play equipment. I’m so pleased it’s being enjoyed right from the start of spring. It’s great when a project I’ve worked hard on for so long to achieve finally happens and I can see the benefits to Rothwell’s youngest residents.”

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I would like to thank Groundwork for its help in pulling the scheme together, support from Rothwell Tenants and Residents Association and Springhead Park Volunteers, Large grants came from S106 monies which has to be paid by the developer towards greenspace projects from recent building at Rodewelle Green, and Veolia Environmental Trust and thanks to South Leeds Housing Advisory Panel and the Tea Cosy Memory Cafe for their contributions.

The new playground includes 6 swings, a toddler castle with slide unit,  2 towers multi-unit with slide and wackle bridge,- 8 lucky clover stepping pods,  3 spinner bowls, a fully inclusive roundabout and much more!

I talked to a lot of residents and it was clear this was a huge priority for young families and grandparents alike.

So many local children, including my daughter, have loved playing on the current playgrounds over the years and have fond memories, and I’m sure the new equipment will give many hours of happy memories to families with young children today.

I’m keen to see more dynamic and challenging pieces of equipment for older children, such as zip wire and other popular equipment. This will be the next phase in improving our park this summer, your ideas are welcome.

Outdoor play is great for children. Playing outside helps children to develop their learning abilities. Outdoor play is great for encouraging children’s creativity. There are numerous health benefits to playing outside. Other benefits to local children include social skills, well-being, independence and exploration.

New flashing speed warning signs for Woodlesford and Leadwell/Carlton Lane

A new speed indicating device SID (flashing speed indicator device) is now in place on Aberford Road in Woodlesford. 

I held a site meeting some months ago on Aberford Road, Woodlesford with residents and the council’s Highways officer to site a speed indicating device to slow down traffic coming into the village. We were able to have confirmation that the area is indeed suitable and to identify the best site to place a SID (this is the dynamic sign which gives a smiley face if you’re below 30 or tells you to slow down if needed). It was agreed to place the sign approaching the village before the railway bridge and just after Juniper Avenue (The Maltings estate).

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Checking out the new flashing speed warning sign in Woodlesford

It’s great to see the SID in place, I have been to have a look and seen that it is having an impact.  Having already earmarked funding as Rothwell councillor and chair of the Outer South Community Committee, I wanted to see the measure in place as soon as possible for the benefit of the community. So I’m delighted it’s now in here. 

I’ve worked to get another flashing speed sign SID as Leadwell Lane approaches Carlton Lane in Rothwell, to help slow down the traffic approaching a particularly bad bend. This will complement the one further up Leadwell Lane near the Chinese takeaway. This will be in place soon. 

I met with concerned residents at the end of last year at the junction of Carlton Lane with Stainton Lane on site with the Highways officer to look at what could be done to help make it safer.

As well as the speed indicating device, one of the immediate measures identified are improved bend warning signs (on yellow backing boards) which have been designed and manufactured and will be erected as soon as possible. This sign will highlight the hazard much more effectively than the existing signs do.

Speeding traffic is amongst the top issues I get contacted about, asked about whilst out and about, at surgeries, when knocking on doors, and on social media.  I want to do all I can to make all our roads safer, it is a top priority. I hope these actions will be a good addition to improving the safety of our roads.

Both devices are funded from the Outer South Community Committee funding, which I chair.

Ashcourt Fleet Lane 24 hour lorry nuisance

I have demanded that action is taken on a company running unauthorised HGVs including through the night disrupting residents of Fleet Lane, causing loss of sleep and noise nuisance. The issue had flared up again following recent complaints to me from residents and the lorries stopped for a short while after a visit from a planning officer.

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Looking at the volume of lorries at the site

But Ashcourt lorries were soon back up to their tricks, running lorries down Fleet Lane at all hours and carrying out an unidentified operation through the night which is disturbing residents in the early hours with HGVs thundering down Fleet Lane.  As there is no planning application and therefore no planning conditions I’m told that it is more complicated to resolve.

I am vehemently persisting in chasing action on this.  Ashcourt’s head office has now been contacted. The planning agent has been spoken to also and advised that working throughout the night is not acceptable and must cease.

I’ve also contacted the environment agency passing on the concerns of many residents who have contacted me on Fleet Lane and surrounding streets.

There is no planning permission on the site other than for the original use as a fuel storage depot. Although Ashcourt submitted a planning application they have been previously instructed to cease operations on the engineering works that were being carried out until the planning application was determined one way or the other. But it has obviously have started up illicit operations again.

The application, which states it is for the ‘creation of a development platform using imported construction and demolition waste, storage of imported inert waste plus engineering operations associated with remediation of the site’ is on hold as planning officers are waiting for further requested details.

I’ve instructed officers to keep pursuing this as it is not acceptable for residents to be disrupted in this way and a solution has to be found so that residents can have the peace and quiet they deserve especially through the night.

My call for select committee inquiry into HS2

Frustration amongst residents who live in Woodlesford and Oulton where the HS2 line is proposed to run though is running high. The last consultation event produced more unanswered questions.   So I called for a select committee scrutiny inquiry to demand answers that residents badly need.

You need answers on HS2. As your local councillor I’m frustrated that we aren’t being listened to by those in power in London.

That’s why I support Ed Miliband’s demand for a parliamentary select committee to do a proper inquiry into HS2. I want to see the inquiry look into every single aspect of HS2 – the route, the compensation, the consultation, the cost and above all if it is the right solution to the needs of the country and people in living in the north of England.

In the 1 March issue of the Rothwell Record

Despite originally supporting HS2 Ed Miliband has demanded the inquiry because the HS2 route runs through his constituency. His constituents share the concerns that you – my constituents – have. I first highlighted it at the end of January here on the Rothwell News Facebook page.

I wrote to Alec Shelbrooke MP asking him to support Ed’s demand for an inquiry on 9 February and am still awaiting a reply. Given all the concerns and criticisms that you and I have raised I can’t see how he can refuse to support an inquiry. I’m not asking him to rebel against Conservative Party policy, just to pause and take stock. If he refuses to support an inquiry we have to question what the government, and he, is trying to hide.

HS2 doesn’t appear to care about the impact on residents like health, air pollution, noise and vibration, proximity, homeowners, flooding and subsidence, traffic, local rail disruption, local businesses or our green spaces. I believe residents have been misled and mistreated from the start. It is wrong and means that residents can’t trust the government or HS2 to deal with them respectfully.

I can’t support HS2 and in the latest consultation again put in my own strong objection after discussing the issues with residents at the consultation event at the Oulton Institute.. But it is the government that decides. That’s why a parliamentary select committee is the best way to get answers and hopefully action.

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At the recent HS2 drop in event at the Oulton Institute listening to residents’ concerns

Government inspector overturns Labour council decision to refuse Carlton 129 houses

You may already have heard the disappointing news that the government inspector has overturned the Labour council’s decision to refuse planning permission to build 129 houses on Strawberry Fields in Carlton. The council listened to us and understood why this was entirely inappropriate development and therefore correctly turned down the application. Despite hearing compelling evidence from myself and members of the Carlton Neighbourhood Forum the government inspector chose to ignore all of the local knowledge and expertise and overturn the council’s refusal of planning permission.

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The Government planning inspector looking at Strawberry Fields, he has overturned the Labour council’s decision to turn down the planning application.

We gave it our all speaking on behalf of the village at the appeal and fought the good fight for Carlton. Along with other residents I spoke passionately for the village and against its over-development.  I also went to the inspector’s site visit to Carlton to show him the impact such a large development would have – including the current rhubarb production and Rhubarbfest. The windy village roads, which already suffer at school drop off and pick up times can’t cope and local village services and infrastructure can’t absorb a development of this size.

It’s so frustrating that local decisions can be overturned by a national government as it flies in the face of local democracy.

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With residents waiting for the Government planning Inspector to arrive in Carlton

Some may try to blame the council for this decision for their own reasons. But I can’t be clearer that this decision was made by the government inspector and it is plain wrong as he could and should have listened to us as people who know the village and live here.

Unfortunately the previous Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government relaxed planning legislation to help developers by having a presumption in favour of ‘sustainable development’ which makes it much harder for local councils to stop development and for government planning inspectors to overturn local decisions.

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I want to thank all the local people who worked tirelessly to fight this, who put in many hours of their time on behalf of the community and to those who objected and attended village meetings.




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We now all need to get together and think about next steps. The important thing is that we continue to work for what is best for Carlton. We can still make a difference in shaping the exact development that will take place. We need to make sure it’s the best it can be to fit in with the existing village and to still try to maintain the character of our village.  I will make it my priority to push the council for the improvements that will be badly needed with such a development.

We will certainly have had more than enough large development so it is more important than ever that we continue to produce our village plan.

Carlton is a fantastic village and I’m determined that it will continue to be. Despite this blow to our collective spirit, it won’t be defeated. We have to look to the future and re-group. By continuing to work together with a passion for Carlton, we can ensure that we get the best for Carlton residents, businesses and a thriving Carlton village community for many decades and generations to come.