20 mph zone for Royds Lane and streets in Rothwell St Mary’s primary zone

We are delighted that our ongoing campaign to have local speed limits reduced to 20mph takes another step forward as Royds Lane  and Karen-20mph-Carlton-sign_thumbstreets around the area will be included in the new 20 mph zone.  There will also be a 40mph limit approaching the 20mph built up zone on Royds Lane to slow traffic down before arriving in the 20mph zone on this country road..

We are pleased that this scheme has been proposed including the 40mph buffer zone which we hope will deter motorists from driving at high speeds right up to the new 20mph zone but will encourage a gradual drop on speed to slow motorists down before entering the residential zone.

Improving road safety is what residents keep saying is one of the most important local issues.  It’s great that we have got 20 mph zones in the streets surrounding most local primary schools including Woodlesford, Carlton, Rothwell, Victoria and Haigh Road.  We want Holy Trinity and Oulton to be next, which will take in many of the streets not already covered by the 20 mph zones.

One of our priorities as local Labour councillors is making our roads safer for everyone, especially for children and older people.

Action on Wood Lane Parking

Wood Lane parking

After many months of work we are finally seeing action on the terrible parking situation on Wood Lane. Wood Lane is to get double yellow lines to stop parking on both sides of Wood Lane at the same point and at junctions off it. You will soon see notices going up on lamp posts and can respond with your comments to Highways before implementation.

In response to our previous three letters many of you have already given us your views so we have asked council highways officers to include some of your feedback and suggestions. The formal consultation by the council is an opportunity for you and your neighbours to give some final feedback before the new double yellow lines are introduced.

However, as your local councillors we don’t think this is enough so are also pushing for lots of other measures to be taken to improve road safety and the parking situation including:

  • A pedestrian crossing is needed on Wood Lane – a survey is being carried out which we are hopeful will back up our case in trying to secure a crossing within the next 12 months. This will improve safety for everyone, especially school children when crossing the road when catching and getting off school buses.
  • We are liaising with the company that manages Valley Park (new management have just taken this over) and companies on it to get them to provide more on-site parking for employees, to improve their parking policies (such as allowing more staff to use current parking facilities, rather than just senior management), and allowing double parking in on site car parks and parking on the roads that are part of Valley Park.
  • We are lobbying strongly for the new park and ride at Stourton to be part of relieving the pressure on Rothwell. Council officers claim they can’t do this as part of a park and ride scheme, so we have demanded that they find a solution using land immediately next to the park and ride.

We will keep on monitoring and watching what happens to make sure it does lead to real improvements. Please keep use informed as to what you think as we want to give you our full support.

Action on anti social behaviour in Rothwell

Residents have raised concerns with us as your Labour councillors about anti-social behaviour by some groups of young people in and around Commercial Street in Rothwell, gathering outside Morrisons and the town centre. The police tell us that there have been a high number of calls for service, 23 in the last three months from there.

This many young people in a group acting boisterously is intimidating for many shoppers. The vast majority of local youngsters are responsible and wouldn’t cause these problems, but we’ve got to do something about the small minority who cause big problems.

Morrisons talking to local people

We’re working closely with local police, youth workers and Morrisons to tackle the problem. We have asked for the town centre to be a top priority for police presence. When confronted with evidence that their child has been misbehaving in the town centre, some parents have been shocked.

Police budgets have been  cut so much by this Conservative government, helped in the first term of Tory office by the Liberal Democrats, that there aren’t enough police officers. They’ve cut nearly 1,000 police officers from West Yorkshire. Our local police officers and PCSOs are brilliant, but we desperately need more of them.

I called a meeting last week at Blackburn Hall in Rothwell with police, Morrisons, anti-social behaviour officer and youth services.  Lots of positive actions were discussed, the main points to move forward with:

· Police presence to be boosted in the town centre, especially at problem times.

· Morrisons, police and anti-social behaviour unit to work on a plan together to combat problems

· Orders being pursued on ring leaders.

· We are looking into upgrading CCTV in the town centre and Morrisons are to get CCTV in foyer.

· Security at Morrisons need to be consistent with different staff taking the same approach. Police to look at bespoke training for staff.

Another meeting will be arranged for June to assess progress. It has already helped that local people have reported incidents and this has backed us up in getting more police presence in the town centre. Any further incidents should be reported by phoning 101.

We can assure you that stamping out anti social behaviour is a priority for us. I know as a local resident that the Rothwell area is a lovely place to live and I am determined will remain so.

Labour councillors help fund ‘Miles of Smiles’ for older people in Rothwell, Woodlesford, Oulton and Carlton

Karen at FDM eventIt was fantastic to be able to help wonderful local Rothwell transport charity FDM to enable them to deliver a new initiative combating social isolation and loneliness.

A grant of £2,800 from the Council’s Outer South Community Committee, which I chair, and Cllr David Nagle also sits on, has been provided for the ‘Miles of Smiles’ project, which will provide trips out, both locally and further afield, for older and disabled local people living in Rothwell and its surrounding areas.

Through the project, For Disability Mobility (FDM) will provide a variety of opportunities for the elderly and disabled so they can continue to live life to the full and have an active role within their community. The organisation is aware through other initiatives, such as their social club, that by helping people form new friendships many people can feel they have a new lease of life.

The ambition of the project is to deliver 27 trips over nine months, helping at least 324 people get out and about and feel more independent, as well as improving their mental wellbeing. Another aim is to promote and communicate the service provided by FDM across the area to attract new service users.

The grant from the Outer South Community Committee supports the delivery of at least three trips a month using FDM’s two fully-equipped 16-seater mini-buses, which can also safely carry wheelchair users and wheeled walkers. The second mini bus became available in September 2016, when the organisation increased its capacity and improve comfort for their members.

FDM have recently celebrated their 20th anniversary and have therefore been serving the community and getting people out and about for over two dFDM eventecades.

It was great to attend FDM’s 20th anniversary celebrations, attended by the Lord Mayor of Leeds and FDM’s patrons Christine Talbot, Billy Pearce and Dicky Bird. There was a lot to celebrate, getting so many of our local older people out and about and meeting friends over a 20 year period is something to be applauded.

FDM provides an absolutely vital service to many people across our local area. my ward colleague Cllr David Nagle and I work very closely with them all-year round and I am delighted that we as the Community Committee could provide a grant to them to support the delivery of such a brilliant project.

Social isolation  and loneliness is a huge issue but one which can be hidden. We must do everything we can to prevent it and the ‘Miles of Smiles’ project is a fantastic way of getting people out of their homes and bringing them together. Our Community Committee is very happy to support such a worthwhile initiative and it is very fitting that following FDM’s 20th anniversary, we can fund this marvellous project to allow them to reach even more socially isolated and lonely older people than ever.

You can find out more about FDM at its website.

Fighting with former coal board estate residents to ‘Save our Homes’ from the bulldozer

Residents on the former coal board estate of Wordsworth Drive and Sugar Hill Close, near Rothwell sports centre in Oulton are sick with worry as Pemberstone (their private landlord) submitted its planning application to bulldoze the 70 homes on the estate and replace with 71 new private houses. Residents are happy there and many have lived there for decades including quite a few former miners, miners widows or grown up children of miners. There are a group of residents that have lived there for half a century when the estate was part of the mining community of the Rothwell district.

Image result for councillor karen bruce full councilThere are also a lot of residents who have lived on the estate for up to 15 or 20 years, who still be turfed out of their homes with only two months’ notice the same as those who have been there for a shorter times. Pemberstone says it will meet its legal responsibilities but as that gives no protection at all for most of the residents, it isn’t good enough.

Petition on Christmas stallMyself and my ward colleague Cllr David Nagle have been supporting residents in various ways since October see previous update. On our Labour councillors’ stall in Rothwell we collected signatures for the paper petition to ‘save our homes’ along with residents. This is being run in conjunction with the online petition which already has over 1300 signatures and you can sign at http://bit.ly/sohls26.  I also organised for a welfare solicitor to meet the group and he gave some useful advice to the tenants.  I also advised the residents of a phone in on 18 February on LBC radio with the Conservative housing secretary Sajid Javid where a resident got to speak with him and put the plight of the residents to him. He said he would receive their information and looImage may contain: 2 people, people on stage, people sitting and indoork into it for them, but he hasn’t got back to the residents as promised.

I raised the issue in the council chamber at full council speaking up for the plight of the residents of the estate and used the opportunity to also call for more social housing. I also assisted the group in being able to take a deputation to full council on the same day to put forward their case to all councillors and senior council officers.

This is the singImage may contain: 3 people, people sitting, table and indoorle biggest injustice I’ve seen in my time as a Rothwell councillor and it beggars belief that this could be allowed to happen. I’ve met lots of great local people in my time as a councillor and it is gutting that a whole community of our fantastic local people face losing their homes. They deserve so much better. I will continue to do my utmost for these residents.

We have met with the group on a regular basis and offering ongoing support with all the issues as they develop. We have arranged for Leeds Housing Options to visit residents to offer the appropriate advice on each individual family’s housing situations.

When the issue came to light I managed to secure BBC coverage on its Look North television news programme to highlight the plight of the residents http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-41650285.

We are lobbying the council to see to what extent it is possible that it could intervene to help the residents.

As a result, I’m pleased that Martin Farrington, the council’s director of city development will meet with Pemberstone, the owner of the homes, shortly so that the council has certainty about its intentions towards the tenants.

The planning department has told me that it will still accept comments on the planning application up until at least 16 February. If you want to help local families stop private investment company Pemberstone from bulldozing their homes to replace them with expensive executive homes please put your own comments in to object to the planning application. They are our neighbours and part of the Rothwell, Woodlesford and Oulton community and are relying on us all for support.

Here are some of the points you may consider including in your comments to planning application 17/06933/FU :

  • These plans would see 70 families losing their homes and it would be impossible to rehome them all.
  • The proposal will change the character of the former coal board estate neighbourhood and a key part of the local mining heritage beyond recognition.
  • The 70 existing properties on this former coal board estate are fully occupied by tenants, many of whom have lived there for many years. Residents are happy living there in their close community.
  • It is unfair that a whole community of people should lose their homes and community support because they can’t afford to buy or rent expensive new private housing
  • This type of affordable rented housing is badly needed in the area. To lose 70 affordable housing units would be devastating for the area.
  • It is important to have a good mix of properties and the type of private housing proposed to be built will just provide more of the same type of new development we have seen so much of in the Oulton area.
  • This proposal is harmful to community wellbeing and the health and wellbeing of individual people.
  • The proposal doesn’t add any housing to the area and isn’t an allocated site.
  • Residents see a lot of bats around the estate, especially at certain times of the year. There are reports of bats in residents’ lofts. Bats are protected by law and no bat survey has been done.

You can comment at http://publicaccess.leeds.gov.uk/online-applications/