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. 

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 backs down on late night opening

Aldi

Good news for many residents living close to the proposed new Aldi site.

Following our strong opposition with the community to Aldi’s attempt to opening hours until late at night, me and my Labour ward colleague Cllr David Nagle and nearby residents are pleased that the pressure we brought to bear has caused Aldi to withdraw its application to open later.

When Aldi got planning permission to build a store in Rothwell hours were restricted to 9pm as we as your councillors and nearby residents objected to late night opening as young children and older people in sheltered housing would be sleeping nearby.

Aldi went for another bite at the cherry as it didn’t like the original decision at plans panel but soon realised that permission would not be given and that we are still as opposed to late nights. Aldi seem to be more interested in tinkering with the opening hours than with actually getting on with building the store which should be its priority now. Residents want to know why it has stalled and we are calling for Aldi to get on with the job.

Don’t lose your vote – did you know that the way you register to vote has changed?

Previously, one person in every household was responsible for registering everyone else who lives at that address.  Under individual electoral registration, each person is now required to register to vote individually, rather than by household. Even if you’ve always been registered to vote in the past you need to act now.

Under Individual Electoral Registration you need to provide ‘identifying information’, such as your date of birth and national insurance number, when applying to register and your application will need to be verified before you are added to the register. Anyone unable to supply this information can provide an alternative form of evidence of their identity.

Even if you are already registered to vote you will lose your vote if you don’t provide the government the extra information it is demanding by the end of December this year.

The government has changed the way that local people now register to vote. Everyone in the household will need to register to vote themselves and unfortunately can’t now rely on one person in the house doing it for all the family. This has made it harder for people to register and there is a real danger of some local people losing their right to vote without even realising. So it’s important to be proactive and make sure that you and your family have all registered individually. It is especially important for young people to register as it is now far harder for them to be allowed to vote.

Remember if you aren’t registered you can’t vote. If you don’t vote you can’t complain about things that your local council or the national government does. You have a right to have a say and have a vote. Don’t leave it until the last minute where you might forget to do it over Christmas. Register today to keep your vote.”

You can register to vote here: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Rothwell Labour opposes fracking as licences are issued

nofrackingway graphic

The government has granted licenses to energy companies to launch exploratory drilling for fracking throughout the north. One of the license blocks due to be issued includes the Rothwell ward including around Rothwell, Woodlesford, Oulton and Carlton and other areas in south east Leeds like Kippax and Methley and in the adjoining Wakefield areas.

The Conservative government has promised to ‘deliver’ on shale gas and expedite its extraction despite growing opposition to fracking. While the government is braced for a row with environmental campaigners, local government leaders and some MPs over the plans, ministers have become frustrated at the failure to get the UK fracking industry off the ground.

Fracking applications are to be fast-tracked through the planning system under new rules intended to kick-start the shale gas revolution. The guidance, will strengthen the power of ministers to step in and wrest decisions from local authorities if planners are perceived to be obstructive.

Who’s promised to oppose fracking near Rothwell?

This link shows which candidates for Elmet and Rothwell and for the rest of the country opposed fracking at the general election in May. Cllr Stewart Golton, the Lib Dem parliamentary candidate (and local Rothwell councillor) and Alec Shelbrooke MP did not give a pledge to oppose fracking, whilst Veronica King, the Labour Party candidate, and Dave Brooks, the Green party candidate, both gave their pledges to oppose fracking. https://secure.greenpeace.org.uk/page/content/fracking-map/

Labour’s policy is that it wants tougher conditions – including 12 months’ monitoring of conditions before drilling to ensure there is a robust baseline against which to check whether any seismic activity or methane in groundwater is the result of fracking.

CllrDavid Nagle speaking on fracking in full council photoRothwell councillor David Nagle recently poke in full council expressing concerns over possible fracking locally. Local people are contacting me and David expressing their concerns.

We’re calling for all local fracking exploration licenses to be withdrawn immediately and that there should be a complete halt on fracking and exploratory drilling and preparation work until environmental and public health concerns have been addressed.”

It’s alarming that just as with planning for new housing the national government wants to ride rough shod over the views of local people by introducing new rules that let government ministers force local councils into allowing development and planning that local people oppose.

The local Labour party has set up an online petition which is quickly gaining momentum. We also have a paper petition and we gathered signatures at our Labour councillors’ stall at the Woodlesford Park Fun Day recently. Please add your name to the online petition if you want to register your opposition to fracking coming to Rothwell, Woodlesford, Oulton and Carlton.