Your verdict on how community money should be spent

 

PlaygroundMe and my Labour councillor colleague David Nagle  asked local people how £180,000 should be invested in Rothwell, Woodlesford and Oulton for green space in the community, and have  had a fantastic response.

The money comes from the developers of the sites in Royds Lane, Rothwell and Fleet Lane, Woodlesford. It is known as ‘Section 106′ money and is a legal requirement that developers have to pay when they build large developments. It is to help the local community make improvements to the community and improve the local infrastructure to cope with the additional people the new developments bring.

However, it’s not that simple as there are different types of 106 money and each type can only be spent on certain kinds of improvements. So for example Royds School is getting £300,000 that is allocated to increasing the amount of secondary education available.

There is also about £180,000 of ‘green space’ money. This is meant to be spent on providing green space or outdoor recreational facilities that can be used by the community. It’s not just for the people who eventually live in the new houses, but to benefit everyone in the wider community who is impacted by the new developments.

The money will become available in phases with the agreement being that a third becomes available in the first six months of the building work starting.

In the past council officers have asked councillors for their opinions on how the green space money should be spent, but it has largely been a decision by council officers and councillors. Me and my ward colleague Councillor David Nagle don’t think this is good enough and we think everyone in the community should be given an opportunity to have a say on the various ideas and options that are available.

Thank you to everyone who has responded since we opened out the conversation to give all local people a chance to have their say, I have asked people on my blog, on our Rothwell News Facebook page and we’ve asked people at our stall at Rothwell carnival to let us know what they think and share their ideas. As well as asking people about existing ideas we also asked for new ideas.

The most popular choice amongst local people is new playgrounds in Rothwell Springhead Park and Woodlesford Park.  There were lots of comments in support of new playgrounds with modern equipment such as a zip wire which is already available in newer playgrounds such as in Carlton and Swillington.

The 8010 group campaigning for a new skatepark in Springhead Park also has lots of local people backing it on Facebook. It is already applying for various pots of funding, but to succeed in getting a new skatepark needs a significant contribution from the 106 green space money. The group, along with Groundwork and the council, are applying for funds from other sources as they need a minimum of £100,000.

The other idea that was put to people was Royds School’s request for £100,000 towards its plans for a £600,000 3G sports pitch for use by the school and some local sports clubs. This idea has some support, but not as much as the other ideas. It also had a number of people against it. Some said it was asking for too big a share of the money, while others felt that it wasn’t real community use as access would be via the school and formal, organised sports group therefore it wouldn’t be as publicly accessible as the other ideas.

Visitors to the Labour councillors stall at the carnival and people commenting on the Rothwell News Facebook page also made some new suggestions. The most popular of these ideas was outdoor gym equipment in Springhead Park and Woodlesford Park.IMG_8240

This is the verdict of local people

We would like to thank local people who have given us feedback. Both me and David Nagle think it is better to support the skate park, new playgrounds and outdoor gym as they will benefit more people in the community than spending £100,000 on a 3G pitch at the school where the only community use will be via a few formal sports clubs.

Lib Dem councillor Stewart Golton wants to spend more than half of the 106 money on the 3G pitch for Royds school. Cllr Golton claims there was a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ that the councillors would give £100,000 to Royds. That was never the case as we don’t believe in doing secret, back-room deals. That’s why we asked local people first.

The community has clearly called for the playgrounds, skatepark and outdoor gym equipment.

However, I’m aware Cllr Golton has put Royds School in a very difficult position by falsely leading the governors to believe they could have most of the community money. That’s not the governors’ fault so we want to offer £50,000, which is still a huge chunk of the money. This would still mean we can deliver most of the community schemes with the money, but not all the schemes like the outdoor gym equipment.

As your Labour councillors though, we’re determined to try to make all the schemes a reality. We very much want to try and get some adult gym equipment and will try to access funds from other sources to be able to do so, but even a reduced contribution to the 3G pitch at Royds makes this very difficult.

Funding for spring trips to support tea cosy memory cafe Rothwell

 

Tea Cosy Karen and David with PeterI was pleased to be able to give a donation from my councillor’s MICE money to Tea Cosy Memory Café in Rothwell. I’ve worked closely with the community group since it began in October 2011, and pledged £300 from my MICE fund to support the work the café undertakes in the local area. The money will be used specifically to fund day trips for those who attend the Café, which allows those in need to feel able to leave the local area in the knowledge that they will be safe and secure.

I remember when Tea Cosy cafe first started there were literally a handful of people attending so it’s wonderful now to see the parish centre packed on a Saturday morning attracting 100 to 150 people. It’s lovely to see everyone with a smile on their faces in a welcoming, friendly and safe environment.

The Café offers a range of activities, largely for those affected by dementia, and is working to counteract the impact of social isolation within the local community. The day trips which will be put on this year will include visits to Skipton and Bridlington and they will be invaluable to those taking part in them, as many feel unable to leave their local community during the year without such support.

The founder of Tea Cosy memory cafe is Rothwell man Peter Smith who has used his passion and personal and work experience to launch both this dementia cafe and dementia friendly Rothwell.Thanks to Peter Rothwell has led the way with both the tea cosy dementia cafe and dementia friendly Rothwell. Peter has also provided vital support to other areas of the city and farther afield to set up their own similar initiatives.

The Tea Cosy Memory Café is a fantastic organisation that offers much-needed opportunities for people in Rothwell. However, as a non-profit making community group they rely on their own fantastic fundraising efforts and the goodwill of others to ensure they can continue doing the brilliant work they do.

I am so pleased to be able to make a contribution to them and to help them to continue to provide such a wide range of activities for some of the most vulnerable people in my ward. I am extremely proud of what the Café has achieved to date, so long may it continue.

The Tea Cosy Memory Café opened in October 2011 and is the major contributor – and originator – of Dementia Friendly Rothwell. The Café is held on the first Saturday of every month at Rothwell Parish Centre and the next one is this coming Saturday, if you know anyone who would benefit then come along, we look forward to seeing everyone!. Tea Cosy is for all those in need of support, but specifically for those affected by dementia.

Dementia Friendly Rothwell is a campaign to make Rothwell the first dementia-friendly community in Leeds. It has inspired a number of other similar campaigns across the city.

Making sports safer in Oulton and Woodlesford

A popular sports and social club in Oulton can now purchase a defibrillator thanks to a helping hand from local Councillors.

Brian Bache contacted me recently as the club wants to make sure it is doing everything possible to protect and keep safe those who play sport there so I arranged the application for a small grant from the Outer South Community Committee.

We have now contributed £500 to the Oulton & Woodlesford Sports & Social Club for them to purchase a defibrillator.

The club is at the centre of the community with a great number of residents being members and taking part in the various local sports teams based there. The Club is keen to improve health and safety measures to allow for increased numbers of members and visitors to make use of their excellent facilities.

I’m  delighted that funding has been approved and would encourage everyone to join the campaign to get more defibrillators installed in public places, led by local schoolgirl Cody Hartley. Cody has worked tirelessly to raise thousands of pounds to install defibrillators at schools and public places.

It is essential to act quickly when  someone is in cardiac arrest and fighting for their life is crucially important.  There are around 60,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the UK every year. 

When someone goes into cardiac arrest, every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces their chances of survival by 10%.

A defibrillator is a machine that delivers an electric shock to the heart when someone is having a cardiac arrest. These machines can also be called AEDs (automated external defibrillators).

Having a defibrillator on hand is incredibly important as it could ensure lives are saved in those crucial minutes waiting for paramedics to arrive. It’s fantastic to be able to contribute to the on-going improvements at the Oulton & Woodlesford Sports & Social Club which will ensure that visitors and members can continue take part in the great range of sports on offer in a safe and friendly environment.

Action for Fleet Lane flooding problems

Rothwell resident and former Rothwell councillor Brian Walker contacted both me and the Chief Executive of Leeds City Council to try and get an on-going problem of the blocked culvert under railway lines near Fleet Lane, Woodlesford resolved. It was causing problems for youngsters not being able to use their local football facilities.

The Rothwell Juniors football club which Brian has worked with for many years was having problems with the pitches flooding at their Fleet Lane base.  As well as this, there has also been flooding to agricultural fields on Fleet Lane.  The blocked culvert has been causing substantial flooding for the last two years to the sports fields of Rothwell FC and also to Fleet Lane itself so it was frustrating that no action seemed to have been taken to try and resolve this issue. The blockage of the culvert was caused by one of Network Rail’s contractors some time ago, but Network Rail had continued to delay the resolution of this problem without good reason.  

I wrote a joint letter with my ward colleague David Nagle to call for urgent action so that this matter could be resolved and the appropriate work can be carried out without further delay, because as well as the flooding to pitches and fields, there are health and safety implications at this site.

We received a prompt reply to our letter to Network Rail.  Network Rail reported that the work needed to rectify the situation has now been developed and it would now submit an authority paper to its internal investment panel.  We were also notified in the letter that the funding had been identified and that it would shortly have a firm timescale for implementation of the project.

Network Rail said that the delay to the project has been due to the time needed to obtain the detailed ground condition information necessary to design the new culvert required to alleviate the flooding. The work required will involve the thrust boring of a new pipe beneath the railway.

I’m well aware of the on-going flooding problems and have got the highways department involved before when the road was flooded a couple of years ago, when water had to be pumped from the road. The action from Network Rail is long overdue, it is only right that it should rectify a situation caused by its contractor. I now look forward to seeing the work carried out as soon as possible and I’m pleased that Brian brought this to my attention and that we could also be of some help.

Celebrate 65th anniversary of the NHS

NHSToday is the 65th anniversary of the NHS – the National Health Service.

Worldwide the NHS is the byword for outstanding state healthcare. It is an achievement that the Labour Party can be justly proud of. Especially as it was created in a time of austerity and shows just want a committed, enthusiastic and imaginative Labour government can achieve in tough times.

And what is Alec Shelbrooke, our Elmet and Rothwell MP, doing in this week to celebrate the NHS? He’s not. Instead he’s spending his time contacting local people about his role in Tory party in-fighting about Europe, while his government systematically dismantles and privatises the NHS.

Before the last general election the Tories promised us that the NHS would be safe in their hands. There would be no frontline cuts. Tell that to the 4,000 nurses who’ve been laid-off. Tell that to the patients suffering because of the crisis in accident and emergency departments.

As the NHS came into being Nye Bevan said: “There will be an NHS as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it.” If you’ve got the faith to fight then please come and join us to show your support for the NHS.

Our street stall will be outside Morrisons on Commerical Street in Rothwell between 2pm to 4pm tomorrow (Saturday, July 6). Please come along and show Shelbrooke, Cameron and Clegg that in Elmet and Rothwell we’ve got the faith to fight for the NHS.