Our campaign to save Windmill is gaining pace and it’s great that hundreds of people have already signed the petition. People have responded brilliantly to both the online petition and also the paper petition which David Nagle and I ran on our stall at the Christmas Fair in Rothwell. Thanks to everyone who has shared with us their fond memories of Windmill from many generations in Rothwell, including on the Rothwell News Facebook page.
We managed to get coverage on the first page of this month’s Rothwell Record, which was excellent for the campaign, but unfortunately slightly spoiled by negative comment from Rothwell’s Liberal Democrat councillor Stewart Golton using it to make cheap political shots. I’m saddened as saving Windmill is too important to make into a political game. The fantastic young people I’ve met at Windmill have shown more maturity than Cllr Golton has on this issue.
As leader of the Liberal Democrat group and a member of the council’s executive board Cllr Golton should have a better understanding of the issue than he shows by his comments.
It is true what Stewart says about my party running the council, but I am prepared to stand up for my community nonetheless. That’s what I’m here for – to represent local people. However, it is untrue that the council officer who wrote the community centres report about Windmill reports to me as chair of the Outer South community committee. He actually covers the whole of outer east Leeds and inner south Leeds, not just our area, and therefore doesn’t report to me as I only chair a part of it. He also wrote the report for his former role when he reported to the deputy chief executive of the council. This is an example of council saving money by combing roles. The report is a central review that has identified 10 community centres across Leeds of which Windmill Youth Club is one.
I also think it is extremely unethical of Stewart to bring hard working politically neutral council officers into petty political games.
Now that I’ve cleared that up, I want to appeal to Stewart to work with me and David in the interest of those young people in Rothwell who desperately need our help to keep their youth club (or youthy, as it’s known). Please put aside political differences so that we as a community can work together to save Windmill for the young people I’ve pledged to try to help and for future generations so that our children can also enjoy Windmill as much as past generations did. Come on Stewart!
Our villages and green fields are under attack from predatory developers exploiting relaxed planning laws, according to Country Life magazine, which says that rural communities are being ruined by house builders ‘let off the leash’ by the Tories and Liberal Democrat government through its National Planning Policy Framework introduced two years ago to boost development and tackle the housing crisis by cutting red tape.
As a result, developers want to build large estates on the outskirts of our villages, leaving our schools and GP surgeries overcrowded. When we try to defend ourselves from poorly conceived housing sprawl we’re considered Nimbys.
We’re fighting a war to protect our green fields, we all need to stand together. We’ll win battles and lose battles, but we’ve got to win the war to protect Rothwell, Woodlesford, Oulton and Carlton.
I welcome the fact that we now have three Neighbourhood Planning Forums in Rothwell, Oulton and Woodlesford, and Carlton all of which David Nagle and me are actively involved with. If development does happen in the next 15 years, it should be where local people decide it should be, not where a government inspector decides it should be. Neighbourhood planning should insist on infrastructure being in place to cope with any development. All those involved with our Neighbourhood planning forums are doing a wonderful job, if you’d like to get involved in your area forum please contact me and I’ll pass on your details to your local forum.
This is the letter we are sending to residents near to the government’s proposed HS2 route in the wake of David Cameron’s speech in Leeds this week.
We are writing to you following Monday’s speech in Leeds by David Cameron and George Osborne, regarding the future of the HS2 project. In what is likely to be the last major statement on HS2 issued by the Conservative and Lib Dem Government before they face the voters next May, no indication has been given that the route through our area is likely to change, and there is no new or improved deal on compensation. People living in Woodlesford, Oulton and Swillington would be right to feel let down. Their Tory and Lib Dem representatives have failed to stand up effectively for those they represent, and have failed to convince their own Government to act swiftly to remove the route from our immediate area.
A strong response could have seen a clear decision by Christmas to reshape the route. Instead there remain many unanswered questions, and little evidence that views of local people here have been given serious consideration by Conservative and Liberal Democrat ministers. Ever since the route was released in 2013 we have worked with local residents and although all the main decisions will be made by National Government, Leeds City Council has responded to the Government’s consultations citing that the route has unacceptable impacts on local communities; that further work is essential; and that the compensation arrangements need reviewing.
We continue to campaign with local people and will write to the Conservative Transport Secretary and Liberal Democrat Minister responsible for the route, expressing people’s anger frustration that a firm decision hasn’t been reached. People in Swillington, Woodlesford and Oulton face huge uncertainty about the future of their homes, jobs and livelihoods as a result of this government inaction. It simply isn’t good enough.
In order for voters to make a clear choice at the next election about whether they have been effectively represented by local representatives of the Conservative and Lib Dem Government we call for the Department of Transport to release final recommendations on the detail of the route before next May.
Yours sincerely Veronica King – Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Elmet & Rothwell Cllr Karen Bruce – Labour councillor for Rothwell ward Cllr David Nagle – Labour councillor for Rothwell ward
I thought that nothing could surprise me with how this Conservative and Lib Dem government are handling the HS2 project, but once again I’m left aghast at the government’s contempt for local people who are blighted by its plans to plough it’s HS2 rail link through Woodlesford building huge viaducts next to some of the locals’ homes
On Tuesday, October 22 councillors received an email warning them about difficulty in accessing Leeds Civic Hall on Monday, October 27 because: “Civic Hall is hosting a press event on Monday 27th October for the proposed HS2 project. “
I’m sure you can imagine my anger at not being informed of this event as an elected member of councillor representing Woodlesford which is on the government’s proposed HS2 route.
I’m furious that once again the government is treating the people of Woodlesford, Rothwell and Oulton with contempt. I had to discover from an email sent by accident that the government is making a major announcement about HS2 on Monday in Leeds Civic Hall. The proposed HS2 line threatens to devastate Woodlesford and is already making people’s lives a misery. It’s disgusting that the government minister in charge of HS2, Baroness Kramer (Liberal Democrat), didn’t tell local councillors that the results of the consultation will be announced by senior government ministers on Monday. The government is once again treating local people as an irrelevant inconvenience who get in the way of their grand designs.
When the HS2 route was first announced the government treated local people with contempt and couldn’t even be bothered to tell local councillors what was happening leaving us and local people to find out through the media. Once again they’re riding rough shod over locals.
My ward colleague Cllr David Nagle is just as angry and told the Yorkshire Evening Post and Rothwell Record that: “The whole consultation process has been a disgrace and shows how little this government thinks of the views of local people and this latest insult shows just how incompetent the government is.”
Here is an important statement I’ve just sent to the Yorkshire Evening Post in response to a very dangerous blog post from Rothwell Liberal Democrat Councillor Stewart Golton:
STATEMENT TO YORKSHIRE EVENING POST
Local Liberal Democrats have been scaring and misleading vulnerable local people by falsely claiming that there will be a black out on streets.
Quote from Cllr Karen Bruce, Rothwell Labour councillor:
“I’m very concerned that Cllr Stewart Golton’s irresponsible and misleading comments are scaring vulnerable people who as local councillors we have a duty of care towards. With just one in 10 lights being turned off in the middle of the night there will be no black out as there are no streets where all of the lights will be turned off!”
“Leeds has taken a very cautious approach and is only turning off a tiny number of street lights after midnight, in contrast to many councils some of which are turning 70% of lights off compared to our 10%. There are 2,805 street lights in Rothwell ward and just 287 lights will be switched off after midnight, not the 8,000 claimed by Cllr Golton yesterday on his blog.”
“Cllr Golton forgets to mention the environmental benefits as it will reduce the council’s carbon emissions from street lights by almost 5% which is something I welcome. He also forgets to mention that his government has cut the council’s budget so turning off a few lights helps us save money that can be invested in maintaining the roads, keeping leisure centres and libraries open and providing vital social care to help older people live in their own homes. Cllr Golton is one of a small minority who want to waste money and damage the environment as public consultation has found that 75% of people agree with switching some lights off to help the environment and save money.”
If you want to see the truth about which lights will be turned off I uploaded all of the maps to document sharing site Scribd at the start of last month. There are maps for all of Rothwell, Calton, Woodelsford and Oulton so take a look at what is happening on your street. I don’t know why Stewart has to use political spin instead of simply sharing the actual maps and letting people make their own minds up. You decide.