Rothwell Labour councillors’ response to site allocations in Rothwell, Oulton, Woodlesford and Carlton

Green field Karen and DavidHere are the comments so far from me and my ward colleague Cllr David Nagle on the site allocations proposed for the Rothwell ward. We’ve actively asked local people to tell us what they think of the proposed site allocations and I’ve tried to include as much as possible of what local people have told us, along with our three neighbourhood forums in Rothwell, Oulton & Woodlesford and Carlton. Any further input would be very welcome and amendments and additions can be made. Pictures are around the ward and not necessarily site specific, to break up and illustrate the large amount of text in this post.

Leeds City Council has produced its local plan showing land that could be available for housing during the next 15 years. The government requires the council to do this and make new land available to show there is enough supply. Any development would still need planning permission in the normal way and some sites, especially those in later phases will not be built for some years.

Despite our strenuous objections the draft plan still includes some sites for housing which we feel are unsuitable. We are submitting our formal response to the public consultation on the site allocations process on behalf of local people and there is still time for local people to have their say before the deadline of 5pm on Monday 16 November 2015. We have taken into account residents’ and neighbourhood forum comments we’ve received so far and will continue to listen to what people have to say up to the deadline date as we make our submission. Woodlesford and Oulton Neighbourhood Forum with our backing are asking for an extension of four weeks to this deadline for consultation for the Outer South area to allow time for a possible announcement on HS2 to be taken into account in submissions, it is unknown at this time whether this will be granted.

Our stance is that we firmly believe that our green belt should not be built on while there are brownfield sites anywhere in Leeds. It’s lovely here because we’re surrounded by green fields and we want to keep it that way. It’s important to stand up for our area along with local people and our neighbourhood forums, making our voices as a community heard!

The government informed all councils they needed to develop a plan to show land for housing for the next 15 years and planning laws have been relaxed to encourage building of homes. Sites allocated for housing in the outer south area which covers Rothwell are 4% of the total, which is lower than most of the other areas in Leeds. However, we are concerned that some green belt land is included. The public consultation process is a chance for everyone to have a say on where future development might be.

We were assured by planning officers that through the consultation, well thought through changes could be made to the site allocation proposals. Historically, Leeds had a sequential brownfield-first policy. This meant, simply, that with more than 340 brownfield sites available across the city, Leeds was demonstrating not only local supply but also protecting greenbelt sites from speculative development requests. Indeed, there are currently many brownfield sites with live planning permissions in place for in excess of 10,000 homes. These would, based on current housing projections and population growth forecasts, deliver sufficient land supply for at least ten years.

The list of Council owned brownfield sites, and their current standings, is available here:

This clearly shows, I believe, that there is actually no need to actively progress sensitive land supply. So why is Leeds being asked to forfeit greenbelt sites, when there are live permissions granted and a brownfield supply available to satisfy the housing needs of the city for at least a decade?

The simple answer is that there has been a loss of local planning control due to the demands of the Government and the Government Inspector. In Leeds there have been ten successful appeals from developers who had submitted applications for housing development on greenbelt land. All were planning permissions rejected by Leeds City Council, in line with the sequential brownfield policy, but later passed by the Government Planning Inspector. And this was replicated on sensitive sites up and down the country.

Developers now have the right to submit applications on any land in any location, with a guarantee of winning on appeal, unless the council can demonstrate sufficient land supply. And this land supply must be adequate across each HMCA.

HMCAs were established through the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), which was prepared by consultants for the council through 2010 and published in 2011.  They were designed to reflect market areas that people relate to when they are looking for a house; they also relate to the four affordable housing zones.

Rothwell ward, which also includes Woodlesford, Oulton and Carlton, is in the Outer South HMCA.

It is clear that without a plan and agreed numbers that could demonstrate a 15 year land supply, the alternative would be to lose appeal after appeal. We would be faced with rampant development across every area of the Rothwell ward, with little or no Town & Country Planning Section 106 monies (the funds paid by builders to develop infrastructure or its replacement, the Community Infrastructure Levy).  The council effectively had to negotiate a housing number with the Government and demonstrate it was working towards a site allocation plan. And while it may not guarantee stopping speculative development, it is the only way to ensure it is much less likely to succeed and satisfy the Government Planning Inspector as to land supply.

When the government inspector overturns local planning decisions at appeal, the cost is picked up by you, the local taxpayer. The Government having relaxed the planning rules, has, in effect, taken the final say away from local councils.

Site specific comments:


HG2-173 Haighside

The site is unsustainable and is therefore unsound and not justified because

  • The infrastructure of Rothwell and in the immediate vicinity around the top of Wood Lane cannot cope with the sheer IMG_8186scale of this development:
  • We strongly believe this site on open green belt land is unsuitable for such a potential housing development. It is not justified to remove this site in preference to other rejected Green Belt sites where they do not fulfil as important a role in Green Belt terms as this site.
  • This site represents urban sprawl.
  • This site serves as an important gap between Rothwell and Robin Hood – building on this gap would see Rothwell sprawling towards Robin Hood.
  • Access to such a large site through existing residential streets and also near to the busy and problematic T junction at Jaw Bones cannot be justified when other sites with better access have been rejected as site allocations
  • There are sites in the Outer South that were identified as Green in the Issues and Options consultation, specifically land at Hope Farm, Robin Hood, which were assessed against the Site Methodology more favourably but have been rejected for reason of local preference for other sites. There is no local preference from the Rothwell community for the site at Haigh Side. We have been contacted by many residents who are unhappy with Haigh Side being allocated as a housing site.
  • This area off Wood Lane is unsuitable for major development due to infrastructure and facilities not being in place so it is unsustainable. There is very little in the way of services and facilities at this top end of Rothwell which makes this site an unsound element of the council’s plan. We don’t believe that this site has been positively prepared, justified, effectively or consistently with national policy. Therefore, we believe it should be removed from the council’s plan.
  • The highways network is unsuitable. Already problematic situation at T-junction at Jaw Bones, at the end of Wood Lane. At rush hour residents have reported to us suffering regular long delays at this bottle neck and journey times into Leeds from Rothwell, being held back at the traffic lights whilst traffic is allowed to flow on the main Wakefield to Leeds road.
  • Protection of Haigh Side Wood (off Low Shops Lane). Working with the Rothwell Neighbourhood Forum and the council, we are working for improvements to bring it up to community asset standard and ensure protection of the wood. We have already had an independent expert visit the wood with us to provide guidance on how best to do this. This wood, the beck and surrounding countryside are important to this area of Rothwell.
  • The presence of power lines could make development problematic and compromise needed to accommodate these could result in a poor quality development. Could this large number of housing be delivered here given these constraints and if not, what additional land would be needed to make up for the shortfall?
  • Local schools are already at capacity. For a development this size a new primary school would have to be planned for as part of the site, with part of land needed to provide a new school. A school on a different site in Robin Hood without housing development is not justified and it is not justified not to have a school here if the site remains as an allocation.
  • Locals already have to wait to see a doctor. For a development of this size a new doctor’s surgery would be necessary and planned for, with part of land needed for new surgery.
  • Public transport needs would need to be catered for with a development of this size and development couldn’t happen until improvements are made.
  • It is planned that the new NGT trolleybus system will come as far as Stourton, However, we feel that this would have no effect on the road situation coming out of Rothwell at Jaw Bones end and in our view additional residential development in the area would exacerbate current problems. We feel that the current infrastructure would not be able to cope with a large residential development at this site and feel that these concerns have not yet been addressed.
  • If such a large development was to remain in the housing plan in Rothwell, we would need the next leg of NGT to come directly through Rothwell, to be of benefit to our community and cope with the population increase and increase in movement of people.
  • This site is included for phase 2. If this, in our view, unsuitable development was still to be included in the plan this site, if approved should not be released until Phase 3 as if a review is carried out by the Council on housing numbers this allocation may not be required and could be retained as Greenbelt.

HG2-174 Wood Lane next to Garden Centre

The site is unsustainable and is therefore unsound and not justified because

  • We strongly believe this site on green belt land is unsuitable for such a potential housing development.
  • This area off Wood Lane is unsuitable for major development due to infrastructure and facilities not being in place so it is unsustainable. There is very little in the way of services and facilities at this top end of Rothwell which makes this site unsound element of the council’s plan. We don’t believe that this site has been positively prepared, justified, effectively or consistently with national policy. Therefore, we believe it should be removed from the council’s plan.
  • Traffic situation at T-junction at Jaw Bones, at the end of Wood Lane. At rush hour residents have reported to us suffering regular long delays at this bottle neck.
  • Local schools are already full. For a development this size a new primary school would have to be planned for, with part of land needed to provide a new school.
  • Locals already have to wait to see a doctor. For a development of this size a new doctor’s surgery would be necessary and planned for, with part of land needed for new surgery.
  • Public transport needs would need to be catered for with a development of this size and development couldn’t happen until improvements are made.

HG2-183 Swithens Street

The site is unsustainable and is therefore unsound and not justified because

  • This site is on green belt land. Brownfield land should be built on first.
  • Traffic situation and local roads. The access to this site would be horrendous. Swithens Street is a farm road leading up to Swithens Farm and cannot cope with such a development. Tractors and horses are a regular feature. Residents should write from their own perspective of this. It is very narrow at the bottom of Swithens Street.
  • Local schools are already full.
  • Locals already have to wait to see a doctor.
  • In the plan this site is potentially for older people. Being situated on a hill it is unsuitable for older people’s housing. It is not suitable for scooters and is a steep hill for older people to walk up.

HG2-175 Bullough Lane

The site is not justified or effective unless several issues are resolved

  • Local concerns around this site are that access to the site should not be through the John O’ Gaunts estate. This estate would not be able to cope with an influx of extra vehicular traffic into a new development. This could be a danger to local children playing and other local residents living on the estate.
  • A suggestion was made at the recent Rothwell neighbourhood forum that a site in this vicinity could lend itself to access towards the motor way. This would make it much easier to access.

New Site which has not previously been considered

Motor Auctions site, Rothwell

  • This is one of the few brown field sites within the housing characteristic area, which is an important consideration bearing in mind that all proposed allocated sites within Rothwell are Greenfield sites.
  • We strongly believe that where possible brownfield sites should be built on before greenfield sites, which should only ever be built on as a last resort.
  • The site is flat and regular in shape. Is contained by the A630 to the North and Stybank Lane to the East. It can be easily accessed both from the Pontefract Road and Stybank Lane boundaries.
  • Stybank Lane provides direct access to Rothwell and the A630 provides direct access to Leeds.
  • There is a range of local amenities close by, including recreation fields, pubs and restaurants and a Tesco Express supermarket is within easy access, together with a children’s nursery soon to be built. However in common with all proposed allocated sites in Rothwell, there is a shortfall in education provision. If the whole motor auctions site was utilized for development there would also be a possibility of locating school provision on the site.
  • The site lends itself well to development without being intrusive to the existing community without it being overseen and therefore the visual impact for the community will be lessened .The development itself would be well screened from the adjacent roads.
  • The sites is at present primarily used to store motor vehicles that are sold through a motor auction business at the site. This site would be valuable for housing use and if provision could be made for the auction business within the Aire Valley this would be much more justifiable for Rothwell than wholly relying on the use of agricultural mostly greenbelt/greenfield land.

New greenspace sites for consideration

Haighside Wood

This site is suitable for inclusion in the Site Allocation Plan;

  • This Wood, which is owned by Leeds City Council, has been in the past the subject of reclamation and upgrading work (together with associated and linked former railway tracks). A number of other former railway track routes already constitute Green Space and the addition of Haighside Wood and the former tracks would considerably strengthen the network.
  • In this part of Rothwell there is a lack of wooded areas and Haighside Wood is a hub for wildlife due to the connectivity it presently enjoys with the Haigh Beck and the aforementioned tracks. At the same time the Wood is accessed by a public footpath (Public Footpath No 54) that allows public access. This means it is accessible for community use. It has the potential to be a community asset and be further upgraded and used even more. Councillors and Rothwell Neighbourhood Forum are working with the council to make improvements to bring the wood up to community asset standard.
  • Haigh Beck comes from a spring local to Haighside Wood and flows down toward Rothwell Centre and through Spring Head Park, we understand, as the River Dolphin, eventually becoming Oulton Beck.

Swithens Plantation

This site is suitable for inclusion in the Site Allocation Plan;

We support the Rothwell Neighbourhood Forum’s position on Swithens Plantation.

Swithens Plantation is a mature wood that has not been recognised as a Green Space, but is an important component of local green infrastructure. Though the wood resides on private land, it provides a positive contribution to biodiversity emanating from its level of maturity and connectivity to the large tract of land that is Oulton Hall golf course. To omit the plantation from the Green Space allocation is considered not to be justifiable in the context of the aims and functions of the Strategic Green Infrastructure Network and is a natural habitat worthy of designation.

Woodlesford and Oulton

The government’s preferred route of HS2 through Woodlesford has a significant impact onIMG_5854.jpg proposed site allocations in the Woodlesford and Oulton areas and should be taken fully into account. Residents nearby are in limbo and their lives have effectively been put ‘on hold’. As Woodlesford is being expected by the government to take the devastation that HS2 coming through would cause and having to take a share of the toll from national infrastructure, this cannot be ignored when looking at site allocations.

Not enough affordable housing or bungalows. The Woodlesford and Oulton neighbourhood forum has identified the need for bungalows for local people moving to retirement homes to enable them to stay in the local area.

MX2-14 Coopers Garage

This site could be suitable for mixed use development. We don’t want to lose this site as a business site but in the plan it assumes that the garage will be destroyed. This location is potentially suitable for older people’s housing being close to amenities. Flooding could be an issue.

  • Site currently occupied by Cooper’s garage, one of the major sources of employment in Oulton and Woodlesford.
  • The site has been reclassified for mixed development, this could allow for the garage business to remain as part of the site.
  • We would support the southern part of the site to be developed to strengthen the Oulton village hub.
  • The site would be ideal for housing for elderly persons. Being well situated for this, being near to shops, post office and a café and on a bus route. Such a development will increase the site’s capacity.
  • Frontage on to Midland Street has potential for development of a further terrace of two-bedroom houses similar to those recently developed further up Midland Street .

HG2-180 between Fleet Lane and Methley Lane

We believe the site is unsustainable and is therefore unsound and not justified because the site:

  • Is within the Greenbelt
  • Includes a special landscape area (SLA), Methley Lane, being one of only 18 in the whole of the Leeds area. T
  • represents urban sprawl
  • Doesn’t round off the village as there are green fields to three sides
  • is further encroachment into the open countryside
  • has no strong boundary to check future encroachment of the Greenbelt on both sides of Methley Lane
  • does not meet exceptional circumstances for Greenbelt release as outlined in the NPPF and the Core Strategy
  • this will be a car dependent site
  • destroy the setting and high scenic quality of the SLA
  • be visually harmful and will destroy its attractive character and appearance
  • have a detrimental effect on the habitat network running through the site
  • destroy this area as a well-used amenity for walking/dog walking over many years
  • spoil local views
  • not preserve the setting and view of the adjacent Oulton Conservation Area
  • there are no buses to Rothwell, the local Town Centre and other bus services are not frequent
  • too far a distance to Woodlesford train station
  • car dependent site
  • it will damage the area on environmental grounds
  • the infrastructure is not available to support a development of this size
  • It is proposed to have a through road from Fleet Lane and Methley Lane. We feel that this would become a rat run and do not want a cut through.

HG2-179 Fleet Lane/Eshald Lane

The site is unsustainable and is therefore unsound and not justified because:

  • It is Greenbelt
  • would represent urban sprawl
  • would be further encroachment into our local open countryside
  • is outside the settlement boundary, so represents settlement extension not a rounding off of the settlement
  • has no strong boundary to check future encroachment into the Greenbelt on both sides of Fleet Lane
  • does not meet exceptional circumstances for Greenbelt release as outlined in the NPPF and the Core Strategy
  • agricultural land

HG2-176 (4082) Windlesford Green, Holmsley Lane, Woodlesford015.jpg

  • This is a Brownfield site
  • This site should be developed with supported accommodation for older people, which could form a ‘care’ hub adding to existing amenities. The council has been working with the Dolphin Manor Trust over several years to provide a new care home and is also talking about options for extra care housing and new nursing home provision. This site is a good one to utilise for such plans and should serve to cater for Rothwell’s future older population for their care needs and we would like to see this run in partnership with the local trust for local people.

HG2-177 (136) Alma Villas, Woodlesford

  • Brown Field Site.
  • Not far from HS2 route.
  • Site is on a slope and has contains mature trees that should be preserved..
  • Site is an awkward shape.
  • Poor vehicle access via Alma Street.
  • Challenging site but could have potential with creativity.

HG2-178 (143) Aberford Road – site of Glenoit and Minerva Mills, Oulton

  • Flood alleviation scheme completed.
  • Currently government’s proposed HS2 route would have major impact.
  • If presently proposed HS2 route is kept, then mixed development might still be possible. Small business premises and a restaurant might still be compatible.
  • If HS2 route revised, ideal site for canal-side flats and restaurant.
  • Concentration on flats will increase site capacity.


HG2-182 and HG1- 410 Main Street, CarltonCarlton-field.jpg

These sites use for development is not justified or effective unless several issues are resolved:

  • HG2-182 is a brownfield site opposite the Unicorn Inn. Identified as potentially improving visual aspect of area if developed. Highways have commented that there is limited frontage with Main Street, so development would need to be combined with HG1-410
  • HG2- 182 includes farm and farm buildings and land between Main Street and Ashton Crescent which are a renowned cornerstone of the rhubarb triangle. Tours of the sheds have featured on national television. The site sits at the heart of the Rhubarb triangle and the local bed and breakfast business and the Unicorn Inn do trade from this. It is unclear from these proposals what a future operation would continue as. It is vital that any development that takes place in this location needs to sensitively account for the traditions, history and heritage of what was and is still a small rural village.
  • Part of this site is also used for the annual local Rhubarbfest celebrations, when the road is closed off and the Carlton community comes together with live music, rides, stalls etc. This is one of the highlights of the Carlton community calendar. Part of this land is the subject of a community bid to become a community asset.
  • G1-410 contains some grassland and a number of increasingly mature trees that were planted by the community. The community would not wish to lose these trees.
  • The site would involve a junction immediately opposite the Unicorn Public House. The Main Street is a very narrow road and the pavements are extremely narrow and do not meet modern standards. Carlton infrastructure is not able to accommodate a significant level of development being a small village.
  • There are already drainage problems in the village and in particular around the Main Street/New Road area.
  • Local school is at capacity and no room on the site for expansion.
  • This site is used as an overflow car park for the village, this is particularly important given that the main car park used for the village on Town Street has been lost to development.
  • The nearest doctor’s surgery is Lofthouse Surgery, many residents of Carlton are registered there. It is at capacity and recently had a planning application refused to extend the surgery to two levels as it already has problems with parking capacity.

There is still some time left to submit your own comments on the site allocation during the public consultation period which ends at 5pm on Monday 16 November. Details on the site allocation plan can be found on the Council’s website at: where you can also submit comments.

Email comments can be sent to

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Sadly had to deliver letter to Rothwell Liberal Democrat candidate

I love election time and campaigning, another chance to communicate with voters and put forward the positive and hard work I’ve done for and with local people and hand over to them to decide on my record whether to re-elect me to continue to represent the Rothwell ward, my home. That’s why my election address is 100% positive. I know I’ve worked hard on behalf of our community and fought very hard when our ward is under any threat.

So it’s very upsetting when the Liberal Democrat candidate’s election address is full of personal attacks and untruths about me and the Rothwell Labour team.  This has meant I’ve had to break from both campaigning and working for the community in the Rothwell ward at this busy time to take a trip outside the ward to personally deliver this letter to the Liberal Democrat candidate at his home address.

I won’t let the bully boys win though, this Liberal Democrat nastiness won’t stop me putting my best foot forward and continuing to post some of my achievements regularly on our Rothwell News Facebook page so voters can judge for themselves.


Dear Ben

I was disappointed to read your election address as it contains many personal attacks and misleading statements about me and the Labour team. I am therefore giving you an opportunity to apologise publicly as you probably don’t realise you are potentially breaching Section 106 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 regarding false statements about candidates.

As your leaflet contains several lies about me I ask that you please cease distribution immediately and deliver an apology to every household that has received your previous communication.

The facts are these:

Incinerator – it is a lie to say I opposed an incinerator when I was elected in 2011

When Leeds City Council was run by a coalition led by Liberal Democrat and Conservative councillors I did campaign against an incinerator being built that would have a major adverse impact on the Rothwell ward. The councillor in charge of wanting an incinerator was your former Lib Dem council colleague Steve Smith. When I stood against and beat Steve Smith in 2011 I did NOT campaign against an incinerator as he and your Liberal Democrat colleagues had already made the decision to build one. It is therefore a lie to claim I was elected on “a ticket to oppose the incinerator”.

I therefore require an immediate public apology and for you to inform every elector that when elected in 2011 it was not on “a ticket to oppose an incinerator”.

Dolphin Manor – it is a lie to say I u-turned

I did not “u-turn” on Dolphin Manor as I opposed its closure from the very first instant I heard about it. I immediately informed the executive board member in charge of Dolphin Manor that I would campaign to save it and look for ways to keep it open. That is why when the option of moving it into community ownership was put forward I supported it.

It is therefore a lie to say I u-turned and I require an immediate public apology from you and for you to inform every elector that I in fact opposed the closure of Dolphin Manor and support community ownership.

Streetlights – I have not done a u-turn

Local Liberal Democrats have previously issued leaflets which falsely claim that streets in Rothwell face a ‘blackout’ such as one with the headline “Say NO to the BLACKOUT”. In fact not a single street in the ward is facing a blackout. Your Liberal Democrat colleague Cllr Stewart Golton was challenged to name one and was unable to do so.

My position has remained 100% consistent that I will oppose a blackout of streets in Rothwell or where there is actual evidence that partially switching off street lights pose a threat to public safety. There has been no ‘u-turn’ by me on streetlights. I think it is sensible to help save the environment, and save council tax payer’s money, by turning off lights that aren’t needed. Where inappropriate lights have been identified for part night time switch off I have alerted council officers and ensured that they stay on.

In your leaflet you quote several anecdotes from Cllr Golton about petty crime, but fail to point out that crime in Rothwell has actually fallen. Maybe that’s because Cllr Golton failed to inform you of the facts, as he frequently fails to inform his constituents of the truth.

I’m surprised that you would appear to prefer to help destroy the environment and waste council tax payer’s money.

Windmill – it is a lie to say “Community Committee Chairs had been discussing the community centre closure review since at least July last year”

The first mention of the community centre review on any of the minutes of the Community Chairs’ Forum was the 26 August 2014 meeting. This was in item 2.2 which was a reference back to item 2.3 on the minutes of the 1 July 2014 meeting. Item 2.3 of the 1 July meeting was about community centres, but not about the community centre review. In fact it was about internet broadband, ALMO community buildings, booking centres online and that a “report about amending the pricing and lettings policy will be going to the Exec Board”.

The first reference to the community centre review that I am aware of is in the minutes of the executive board on 16 July 2014. As you are aware I don’t sit on the council’s executive board, however your colleague Cllr Stewart Golton does.

Members of the management committee and trust will confirm that I was the first councillor to alert the group to Windmill being listed in the review.

I therefore require an apology to acknowledge that I was not aware of the community centre review in July and that the first Rothwell councillor to be officially aware of it was Cllr Golton.

HS2 – it is a lie to say I failed to “vote against party lines” at full council as there has been nothing relevant to vote against

The only votes to decide if the HS2 route goes through Woodlesford and the amount and criteria for compensation will be taken in the Westminster parliament.

Leeds City Council has no responsibility for determining the HS2 route or compensation paid to residents affected by it therefore there has been nothing relevant put forward at council to vote against. There has been no vote at Leeds City Council to determine either of these things. I am continuing to work with local residents on a change of route and improved compensation.

I therefore require an immediate apology to clarify that there has not been a vote.


I am opposed to development on greenfield sites locally. I was the only Rothwell councillor to speak up for the community at the planning meeting to remove PAS at Royds Lane and Fleet Lane. The core strategy plan that you refer to is about housing and planning in the whole of Leeds and not just part of it.

I looked forward to receiving your reply by Monday 4 May 2015.


Yours sincerely


Cllr Karen Bruce

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.

Rothwell FDM bus and Rothwell Rollers’ cars for older people to get blue badges back


FDM bus RothwellOur locally based groups which provide transport for older people and those with a disability in Rothwell, Woodlesford, Oulton and Carlton and the surrounding area, will be pleased to know that they will get their blue badges again. FDM bus charity (For Disability Mobility) will use its badge once again on its specially adapted bus. The charity operates from the grounds of Dolphin Manor care home.

I’ve previously raised this issue on behalf of our local groups including Rothwell Rollers, a charity which has been running for 20 years, funded solely by donations, has volunteer drivers who use their own cars to take members on trips to the shops, hospital appointments and even for days out, and it was sorely hit by the blue badge refusal, which isn’t right when it’s doing such a grand job for those who need it. I arranged a meeting with officers some time ago to raise objection and question the decision.

More recently Ron Frost of FDM (For Disability Mobility) and I had a chat about this at the International Older People’s day event held at Blackburn Hall, which spurred me to try to do something about the situation again. Local groups had been told by adult social care that the decision couldn’t be changed as it was the guidance from government. Ron explained that FDM have had a Blue Badge for 17 years, but its renewal was declined by Leeds City Council. The organisation, which arranges trips out and transport for older and disabled people in the local area, and which has a special lift fitted to the bus, was forced to ask its members to bring their own blue badges to use on FDM’s bus when they were taken out on trips, which was a major inconvenience to FDM which provides a fantastic service for our communities.

The move by the council followed changes to guidance/regulations from central government, and this is what council officers said they were basing their decision on to turn down FDM and similar organisations for a blue badge, although it seemed that there was an element of interpretation in the decision making.

I intervened and asked Cllr Adam Ogilvie, the Executive Member responsible for adult social care, to meet with Ron Frost so Ron could explain how the decision was impacting on the work of the charity as well as other local transport charities and groups, this meeting took place last week.

After meeting with Ron, Cllr Ogilvie then this week asked officers to look at the issue again including the guidance/regulations. Having taken legal advice from the council and speaking to Tom Riordan, the council’s chief executive, Adam instructed officers in Adult Social Care to revise the council’s policy so that such organisations will be eligible for an organisational blue badge. Officers will be devising the new policy and it will require a delegated decision and a clear process for organisations to follow.FDM, Rothwell Rollers and others locally are helping vulnerable people to get out of their homes into the wider community, which they enjoy enormously, and helping to prevent social isolation – something that is central to our health and wellbeing strategy in the city. I believe this change in policy is a victory for common sense.

People who are working for the good of Rothwell, Woodlesford, Oulton and Carlton should be helped wherever possible and I was pleased to be able to assist in getting the right decision for everyone concerned.

A day in the life of a Rothwell councillor

Brew Tea Rooms, Commercial Street, Rothwell

Rothwell councillors’ surgeries: Brew Tea Rooms 1st Friday of each month from 10.30 am. Morrisons 3rd Saturday of each month from 10.30 am.

Many people don’t know very much about what a councillor actually does, so I thought it would be useful to share a day in the life of a Rothwell councillor.

My day started with a coffee and a quick check of email, Facebook and Twitter to see if anything had cropped up overnight that might need my urgent attention that day. After that it was breakfast and getting my daughter ready for school.

Then the day started in earnest with a morning spent sorting out issues for local people who’ve contacted me by phone, email, Twitter, Facebook or attending my councillor’s surgery at Brew Tea Rooms or Morrisons. These tend to split into two sorts of case work. First there are the individual issues such as helping people with housing problems or social services and generally picking up on things where people are unhappy about the services they’ve received from the council. Secondly there are the issues that people raise with me that are applicable to the wider community such as road safety, street cleaning, parks and playgrounds, cars on Rothwell Commercial Street etc.

But in reality there is no predicting what issues will be raised as people come to you with all sorts of things. Some are things that I can sort easily (such as getting the drain on John O’Gaunts fixed). Others that are more challenging such as housing where much as I want to help it is hard as there simply isn’t enough affordable and social housing and policies like the Conservative/Lib Dem bedroom tax make it even worse. Often people will come to you with issues that really aren’t things that a councillor can help with.

I also made time to write a blog post and update Twitter and Facebook to make sure people knew about the latest on the lack of progress in building new homes on the site of the old Rothwell primary school (I updated people on the new Rothwell fire station on Tuesday).

Before heading out for an afternoon and evening of meetings I just had time to record a video message for my daughter so Stuart could play it to her as I wouldn’t be back from my meetings before she went to bed.

In the afternoon, I chaired the outer south area environmental committee (which includes Rothwell, Ardsley & Robin Hood, Morley North and Morley South)  where issues discussed included updates on various parks projects and how the fortnightly bin collections are working on the ground. We also discussed food waste collection, which was rolled out to include the whole of the Rothwell ward last year so now includes Carlton. It is proving very popular with local residents, despite our local Liberal Democrat councillor moaning about it. We also discussed how improvements can be made to local street cleaning, dog fouling and fly tipping. It was a good meeting and I was there as Rothwell councillor representative and the other councillor who was present was Cllr Karen Renshaw representing neighbouring Ardsley and Robin Hood ward.

I then went with ward colleague Cllr David Nagle to visit two long standing Rothwell Labour party members who are old friends. The visit was long overdue and it was good to see old friends who although suffering through illness, looked really well, it was lovely to see them.

Then David and I went on to the Rothwell Tenants and Residents Association meeting which was reasonably well attended with lots of familiar faces along with a few new ones which is nice to see. The meeting was chaired by vice chair Angela Kellett, as our chair Ronnie Hammill is unwell. Get well soon Ronnie!

The meeting started with a report and discussion on PACT – Police and Communities Together. Sergeant Paul Dennison from Rothwell neighbourhood police team talked about local crimes and stressed how although there is some crime, it feels like a very safe place to live in Rothwell, Woodlesford, Oulton and Carlton compared to other areas. He also explained to the residents present about the changes taking place within the police, which as a result of cuts to the police budget, will see a new Neighbourhood Policing Team which includes all of Outer South Leeds which also takes in Morley. As one older resident pointed out, Rothwell is going back in with Morley like it used to be. Rothwell police station will be kept open with staff still working out of there.

We then went on to the councillors’ part of the meeting where there were a lot of issues raised, some individual and more which affect the community. I came away from the meeting with lots of casework to take up on many different topics, but the most popular subject and in various locations, was trees, shrubs and bushes which are encroaching in some way.

And finally at about 9:00pm I got home for dinner.

And now it all starts again as I’ve got to get on with sorting out the caseload from last night! Luckily today I don’t have any meetings, but there is lots of case work, phone calls and emails to do today as I’ve got several meetings tomorrow.