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.

Looking to future needs of Rothwell people with extra care housing

Great news for Rothwell as plans are approved by the council to provide brand new extra care housing potentially in the Rothwell area.

I brought a group of interExtra care groupested community activists together to start looking into the possibility of extra care for the future in Rothwell over a year ago and they have been meeting regularly with and my Labour ward colleague Nagle and the council’s adult social care and Executive Board members to discuss how the group will liaise with the council and others to help to make extra care happen in the Rothwell area. Members of the group include, Ron Frost, Pauline Hope, Peter Smith, Anglela Kellett, Stuart Bruce, Gordon Dick, James Morley and Brian Garbett.

We also have an ambition to incorporate a community social hub into Rothwell plans where both residents inside and outside of the extra care housing can meet and it could become a focus of activity to beat social isolation in the wider community, especially where older people are living alone in their own homes.

We have as a group visited two extra care sites – at Yew Tree House in Moor Allerton and last month the recently opened council extra care facility Wharfedale View in Yeadon to get a feel for what we could achieve in Rothwell as a forward thinking alternative that many of us would prefer when we reach our older years.

Yew-Tree-Court-extra-careAt the council’s executive board meeting held at Civic Hall on Monday 17 July, members approved a proposal which involves potentially developing six sites in the city for council-owned extra care accommodation, and one of the sites is at Windlesford Green, Woodlesford, which is past the Tesco Express along Holmsley Lane.

The sites identified for possible extra care schemes are in Rothwell, West Ardsley, Armley, Seacroft, Holt Park and Middleton form part of a commitment by the council to invest £30million in the development of extra care housing in Leeds, and working with partners with the aim of delivering over a thousand new extra care units to meet rising demand by 2028.

The council’s approach forms part of the Better Lives Programme, which aims to modernise how care and support is organised in line with older and disabled people’s aspirations. Extra care housing offers an alternative model to residential care, and is primarily for those who have care and support needs as well as a housing need.

Features of the extra care approach include on-site access to 24/7 emergency or unplanned care, access to shared facilities, dining and activities to help alleviation isolation, allows people to use personal budgets to make their own arrangements for planned care, accommodation can be adapted to support the delivery of personal health and social care services.

It’s great news that Rothwell is in the six identified for potential extra care housing to be built. I’ve been impressed by what I’ve seen looking at other schemes. Whilst in a care setting, people get to have their own modern apartment, not just a room like in a care home, and still have access to the care they need, extra care is not like sheltered housing, as some have suggested, as it can still provide the level of care one might expect in a care home. Times change and so do expectations, I want the best possible for people in Rothwell, Woodlesford, Oulton and Carlton. I would like to thank the group for helping us come this far and look forward to working even more closely with local people and the council to try to get the scheme we’d all like in the Rothwell/Woodlesford area.

Rothwell Labour councillors’ news on Wood Lane parking latest plans

Great news, we now have the plan of how the council’s highways officers propose to tackle the double parking and other problems on Wood Lane. This is a result of me and David getting highways officers, the executive member and director to come to Wood Lane to see the problem for themselves.

The proposals contain further restrictions to try to combat some of the current problems with cars parking along both sides of Wood Lane and at the entrances to streets off Wood Lane. It is a difficult balance to strike but we would be interested to know what people think before we feed back to the highways officer our views on this proposed scheme.

The plan looks like it could help, but we think it is unlikely to solve all the issues. Let us know what you think in the comments below or contact us direct.

This is the plan. You can click on the magnifying glass icons at the bottom to zoom in and out, or click on the right hand icon with the four arrows to make it full screen. Or you can download a PDF of the map here.

Wood Lane Parking Plan by karenbrucelab on Scribd


This was the info in the email accompanying the new plan:

Dear Councillors,

Please find a plan showing a traffic regulation order scheme to formalise parking to address the concerns you have raised which are mainly sight lines been obstructed due to parking and that the width of Wood Lane does not safely permit parking on both sides of Wood Lane.

The proposals therefore removes the ability to park on either side of Wood Lane both in the rural section and the urban area to address your concern. I am aware that the parking demand in this area will not simply disappear and I do have a real concern that parking will migrate into some of the side streets. As I have previously explained the policy for resident permit parking is that

a. There is an all day parking issue.

B. Residents are unable to park in close proximity to their homes when they return to the area and

C. The residential properties do not have their own off street parking provision/ opportunity.

As you are aware many of these side streets all have off street parking opportunity and therefore we would not be able to support permit parking in these area.

I am also mindful that the restrictions within the urban area will inconvenience local residents who do and have for many years parked on both sides of Wood Lane and also often park partially on the pavement which was also a complaint you raised at the meeting.

As I have previously explained that from a Traffic Engineering perspective their is no justification for such wide scale measures and that in my opinion some extension of the double yellow lines would address the sight line concerns and the parking on both sides of Wood Lane does act to slow vehicle speeds, particularly when the service used to get regular complaints of speeding.

I trust the above and attached is of interest.

Regards