At Rothwell Tenants and Residents meeting last night people were very angry and upset about the Tory/Liberal Democrat ‘bedroom tax’. People found it hard to understand why this was happening when there aren’t any properties coming up for people who will be hit to move into to ‘downsize’. Comments like ‘unfair’ and ‘ridiculous’ were made.
In Elmet and Rothwell constituency for every home that comes up there is a very long list of people applying for it. Many of these people are high priorities so are desperately in need of a home, but they are turned down as there are so many applications above them.
Stark choice between eating and heating or losing their home
Time and time again I have been contacted by people wanting to downsize often by people whose families have ‘left the nest’ and are living alone in a three bedroomed house but are simply unable to find a suitable smaller home. These are some of the people who are suddenly being hit with finding up to £22 a week extra just to stay in the home they’ve lived in for years. For many the stark choice is between eating and heating or losing their home.
Some of those worst hit by the bedroom tax include parents who are separated or divorced whose children only stay with them part of the time, soldiers on leave from Afghanistan or Iraq who want to stay with the parents, disabled people living in adapted or specially designed property.
The biggest problem for those wanting to move to a smaller home is that there just isn’t enough social housing for the demand in the Rothwell ward or indeed the rest of the Elmet and Rothwell constituency.
This Tory/Lib Dem ‘bedroom tax’ is designed to hurt some of the most vulnerable and deserving people in society. And the Tories claim they are no longer the ‘Nasty Party’!
We shouldn’t be surprised, but I’m still disappointed that my local MP Alec Shelbrooke voted for the bedroom tax. In doing so he will cause misery for many of his constituents who will lose the essential money they need to live just because the Tory government thinks they have too many rooms. I don’t see Alec Shelbrooke complaining about the spare rooms in the mansions of millionaires.
Before the last election the Conservative Party fooled voters into thinking it was no longer the ‘Nasty Party’, but cruel and unfair policies like the bedroom tax show it’s just the same as it always was.
As a Rothwell councillor my postbag and advice surgeries are always full of local people desperate for social housing. We should be looking at what we can do to improve the quality and availability of homes for everyone and not penalising those in need.
People won’t forget the Tory government’s cruelty and won’t forgive Alec for his part in it when it comes to the general election and they vote him out.
The fight to save the Victoria and Reservoir allotments rages on despite their sale by the private landowner to two new landowners. The new owner has already served the council with a year’s notice on the Reservoir site. I’m meeting regularly with the council leader to explore every option for saving the allotments, including a compulsory purchase order. The two allotment sites in Rothwell have been used as allotments for decades .
Please sign the online petition here to help to save Victoria Pitts and Reservoir allotment sites!
The purpose of this petition is to prevent the new owners from changing the use of the land and evicting the allotment holders. Given the current financial climate and the government’s encouragement for people to grow their own produce we need to keep this valuable resource in the community.
The allotment holders are holding another public meeting this evening at 7pm at Haigh Road Community Centre, David Nagle and I will be attending in support of the allotment holders.
It’s great to see the village of Carlton looking great thanks to the efforts of the newly formed in 2011 Carlton in Bloom and the on-going good work of Carlton Village Residents Association. It’s evident for all of us who live in or visit Carlton the amount of hard work and time that local people have invested in the village and I was pleased to be able to help and support Carlton In Bloom to put in a successful bid to get a grant for £500 last year from Aire Valley Homes Outer South Area Panel to help them to get off to a cracking start.
I have been impressed with the events which CVRA has organised for the village last year including the successful gala in the summer and ‘Carols around the tree’ on 16 December which many villagers turned out for. It was a cold crisp evening full of community spirit as the sound of Garforth Brass Band rang out through Carlton together with the festive singing of carols and warmed by mulled wine and minced pies. As if that wasn’t enough, everyone then went onto Carlton Social Club for the rest of the carols and to warm up. There was a children’s entertainer and a special visit from Santa, which my daughter loved.
I’m looking forward to the next meeting of Carlton Village Residents Association (AGM) which is to be held on Wednesday, January 25 at Carlton Social Club at 8.30pm and I know that new people wanting to get involved will be very much welcomed.
Finally, to give people plenty of notice the Carlton Gala is a week or two earlier this year and will take place on June 30. Make sure you put it in your diary now as it’s sure to be another great day.
I’m sure that everyone in Carlton will want to join me in congratulating Nora Walton, the village postmistress, on reaching the Yorkshire Regional Finals of the Countryside Alliance Village Awards. Nora was nominated by a resident for services to the community and I know many locals voted for her. Good luck Nora, you’ve already done well to get this far!
For any residents of Woodlesford and Oulton who have not yet heard of Woodlesford and Oulton Action Group, this is to let you know about this fantastic local group that only started last year and has already achieved a lot. It has a great new website to give you the latest news from Woodlesford and Oulton and what the group is involved with.
If you would like to get involved or to see what is happening to improve your area WOAG would like to see you at its next meeting which is on Tuesday 6 December at 7pm at Midland House, Midland Street, Woodlesford.
Woodlesford and Oulton Action Group were responsible for organising the first ever Woodlesford Park fun day which I was delighted to open in September – it was a great success and we’re all looking forward to an even bigger and better event next year!
As a Rothwell councillor (representing Woodlesford, Oulton, Carlton and Rothwell) I sit on the Outer South area committee of Leeds City Council and at our last meeting we granted £8,000 to be spent on improving Woodlesford Park. The local area committee is made up of all the local councillors in outer south Leeds – that’s five Labour councillors, five Morley Borough Independents and two Liberal Democrats.
Woodlesford and Oulton Action Group, together with the local residents, identified improvements they would like to see as their top priority and the area committee funding will go towards these improvements. The improvements will include fencing to form a seven-a-side court, goal end, surface, sports markings, seats and bins, improved access by the bowling green, entrance sign and bulbs. Rothwell councillors supported the application which then went on to be approved by the full area committee last month.
I fully support the Woodlesford and Oulton Action Group and have been impressed with the work I’ve seen them do since being elected in May and am delighted to have helped with providing funding to make sure the required improvements go ahead, I’m really looking forward to seeing the work completed and working on many future projects with the group for Woodlesford and Oulton.
The news that we had saved Dolphin Manor from imminent closure was reported in last month’s edition of Rothwell Record. As a result of local people’s hard work a new proposal was developed to create a new social enterprise company that could become responsible for running Dolphin Manor in the future. This was as a result of me lobbying both the leader of Leeds City Council Cllr Keith Wakefield and Cllr Lucinda Yeadon, Executive Board Member responsible for adult social care to persuade them to back the social enterprise plan and we have gained the support of the council in our bid to be allowed to put together a plan to run the care home locally.
Making sure the momentum is kept up at Leeds City Council level myself and James Normington, the local Labour Party member who is taking a lead the social enterprise plan, went again this month to see Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, the executive member for adult social care, to explain how the plan will now develop. It was agreed that enough time should be allowed to enable a full plan to be developed and that this will be more than a year until the practical proposals would be ready to be put into place. A local steering group has now been set up to put the plan together for the council to approve and it is hoped to have it in a position to run in April 2013.
I’m delighted that local people are being given the chance to save Dolphin Manor by setting up the social enterprise. I have every faith that the commitment and hard work of local people can make this plan work. The hard work has already started to create a practical social enterprise that will keep Dolphin Manor open for residents and for future generations in Rothwell.
As the massive cuts imposed by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat government begin to bite one of the things that had to be cut was the central funding that Leeds City Council used to give to provide local communities right around Leeds with money for Christmas trees and lights.
The good news is that in Rothwell we have managed to save the Christmas trees and lights by using some of the money from the local area committee budget. The local area committee is made up of all the local councillors in outer south Leeds – that’s five Labour councillors, five Morley Borough Independents and a couple of Liberal Democrats. The councillors are funding all the Christmas lights and trees across the council wards of Rothwell, Ardsley and Robin Hood, Morley South and Morley North.
“I’m delighted that we are investing almost £4,500 to pay for Christmas trees and lights for the Rothwell ward. We made sure that we will have our Christmas lights on Commercial Street and local Christmas trees and ensured that there would still be “Carols Round the Tree” in Woodlesford, Carlton and outside Rothwell One Stop Shop to bring the traditional Christmas cheer and encourage people to use our excellent local shops and businesses leading up to Christmas.
It’s been a hard year for many and Christmas is a time for all of us to come together and celebrate.
Image via Wikipedia
It’s almost Bonfire Night and in Rothwell we’re gearing up for the community bonfire and fireworks display. Yorkshire has a huge connection with the original gunpowder plot – Guy Fawkes was born not far away in York .
I’m delighted that I will be lighting the bonfire this year. The fire will be lit at 7pm with the firework display at 7.30pm. The event is being organised by Leeds City Council supported by Rothwell District Lions Club.
Rothwell District Lions Club are actively involved this year as every year. The Rothwell Lions 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 our local community, organising and helping out at events such as the Rothwell Carnival, the annual May day Duck Race and the Rothwell Park Bonfire. Every December the lions escort Father Christmas on his sleigh visiting homes in the area.
We’re hoping for a record turnout in Springhead Park for 2011 so I hope to see you all there for what’s sure to be a marvellous display for all the family to light up the skies of Rothwell once again!
This week I attended my second outer south area committee meeting. The area committee consists of all of the councillors for the four outer south wards of Rothwell, Ardsley and Robin Hood, Morley South and Morley North. This includes my Labour councillor colleagues from Ardsley and Robin Hood – Lisa Mulherin, Karen Renshaw and Jack Dunn and from Morley South Neil Dawson. There are five Labour councillors on the area committee, five Morley Borough Independents – and two Lib Dems. The area committee meetings move around the area – the last one was in Rothwell and this one was in Thorpe.
At the start of every area committee meeting there is an ‘open forum’ which is a good opportunity for members of the public to make representations or ask questions on matters within the terms of reference of the area committee. There were no members of the public at this particular meeting and so no matters were raised.
Councillors heard presentations, received reports and asked questions on our various subjects including Parks, it was interesting to discover that Springhead Park has the most visits by far than any of the parks in the outer south area with 1,732,000 annual visits according to the 2009 residents survey. Of the nine parks listed, the second most visited was Scatcherd Park with 633,000 followed by Drighlington Moor Park at 619,000. It’s great to see just how popular our Springhead Park in Rothwell is. The top reasons residents gave for visiting Springhead Park in Rothwell was excercise, relaxation and play.
Committee members approved funding for improvements to both Springhead Park, for resurfacing work at park entrances and to Woodlesford Park, towards the project which is being spearheaded by the Oulton and Woodlesford Action group which I’m very happy to support to make various improvements to the park. The group are doing some fantastic work – they’ve only been going for a year and have already had their first fun day and have masterminded a plan to improve the park for people in Woodlesford and Oulton to enjoy! I look forward to working with them to see the plans implemented.
Had fun officially opening the Woodlesford Park Fun Day yesterday. The Woodlesford and Oulton Residents Association did a brilliant job in organising the event in its first year. With the support of local businesses, the Fire Service, Aire Valley Homes and the Leeds City Council to name but a few the Fun Day saw a really good turn out, and glorious sunshine for the first couple of hours! Local families really seemed to be enjoying the day and the children were queuing for the face painting. I think that this could mark the beginning of a very successful annual event for Woodlesford folk and I will certainly support the group in any way I can to build on this and make it an even bigger event and a greater success next year and in future years.