New council leader meets with HS2 Woodlesford residents

Cllr Karen Bruce and Cllr David Nagle supporting local people campaigning against HS2 in Woodlesford

Cllr Karen Bruce and Cllr David Nagle supporting local people campaigning against the HS2 route in Woodlesford.

My Rothwell Labour ward colleague David Nagle and I arranged for the new leader of Leeds City Council, Cllr Judith Blake, and Keith Wakefield, the former council leader and now chair of the combined transport authority, to come and meet the local campaigning group of residents HS2SoWhat. The meeting took place on Saturday 12 September. This was Keith’s third meeting with the group at the request of us councillors and group members. We attended along with MP Alec Shelbrooke.

Cllr Blake sympathised with the plight of local people, her sister is in exactly the same position in another part of the country with the HS2 line proposed to run at the bottom of her garden.

Cllr Blake and Cllr Wakefield stressed throughout the meeting, they understood the frustrations of local people, but that this is a national government project and the decision on both the route and compensation will be made by government.

They confirmed that the council’s position is:

  • Not happy with the government and HS2’s preferred route coming through Woodlesford
  • The compensation package offered to residents is not good enough
  • The HS2 station should be as close and as integrated as possible to the existing station as engineering will allow

Cllr Blake asked Alec Shelbrooke if he had heard anything about either the re-route or his alternative plans for tunnelling, Alec said he had not.

Cllr Blake said it was the responsibility of local MP Alec Shelbrooke, along with other partners and the council to continue to push for a better deal for Woodlesford residents, including better compensation for local people, however ultimately it was the decision of the government.

It is hoped that there will be an announcement at the end of October regarding the route and compensation in the autumn spending review.

David and I really sympathise with residents, it is appalling how those impacted the most on the government’s preferred route have been treated by HS2 from the start. We put in our own submission on the route and the compensation demanding a better deal for residents in the consultation period, but with it being a government project it’s frustrating not being able to do more.

It’s terrible how residents continue to be in limbo and we hope that there will be an announcement soon as residents need to know where they stand. We are dearly hoping that the government has listened and will act on the needs and concerns of local residents.

Rothwell residents’ victory over Aldi


Rothwell councillor Karen Bruce at AldiYesterday I spoke at the planning panel to argue on behalf of residents and the Rothwell Neighbourhood Forum about a planning application from Aldi to build a new supermarket in Rothwell on the site of Ashleigh Signs. Aldi had applied for permission for the new supermarket to close at 10:00pm which I and local residents felt was far too late. I was angry that in the original paper Leeds City Council planning officers had caved into Aldi and agreed to accept the late opening and recommended the application for approval.

Aldi thought it could treat local people with contempt and despite having agreed to me and Cllr David Nagle an earlier time and in an email to Rothwell Neighbourhood Forum that it would accept 9:00pm as a closing time it still applied for 10:00pm.

Right up until yesterday morning before the meeting I was continuing to lobby planning officers and eventually got them to concede that Aldi had privately agreed to 9:00pm. At the meeting I spoke up for local people and argued in favour of the store, but against late night opening and deliveries. I argued that it was disgraceful that Aldi was still lobbying to to open later, despite privately having agreed to an earlier time.

After a long debate by councillors on the planning panel they eventually agreed with me and David Nagle and granted planning permission for the new supermarket, but with restrictions to make it close at 9:00pm. This was a sensible compromise from the 8:00pm that I wanted and the 10:00pm that Aldi wanted. It was important to have this limit as the Aldi site is surrounded by housing including sheltered bungalows and family housing with small children.

I’m delighted that planning permission has been granted as overall it will bring benefits to Rothwell. The new supermarket will create new jobs and offer local people more choice and provide much needed competition to Morrisons. Many residents have told me that they would like a cheaper alternative in these tough times and that Morrisons wouldn’t have such a stranglehold on Rothwell, as it owns a large chunk of the town centre.

The planning approval also addressed some of our other concerns such as about highways and access. The busy junction at Butcher Lane will be widened by taking some of the land where the new Aldi will be built. It also included a Section 106 agreement to improve electronic public transport information and on local jobs. I want to see any new jobs first going to local people and I have asked Aldi to organise a jobs fair and for a jobs guarantee for people who live in Rothwell, Carlton, Oulton and Woodlesford, Aldi was agreeable to this during talks and we will be calling on it to make sure this actually happens.

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

Woody school students help us make Woodlesford roads safer


Cllr Karen Bruce and residents at road near Woodlesford schoolI’ve long pushed for 20mph zones and when the Woodlesford 20 mph zone was given the go-ahead I asked Leeds City Council Highways if children from Woodlesford Primary School could design the sign. As a result council officers have worked with Woodlesford Primary head teacher Robin Scott to organise a competition for pupils to design the new sign.

Robin then organised the competition in school. The school shortlisted the top 10 pictures from each year group and gave them to Leeds City Council for judging. I was delighted to be asked to be on the judging panel and really enjoyed going to have a look at the pictures. There were some amazing drawings. We weren’t just looking for the best pictures though, we had to think what would be effective with drivers and we viewed them from a long distance as well. Bold designs seemed to work the best. The winning six drawings will then be made into signs by the council’s sign workshop.

I’m really looking forward attending a special school assembly on road safety day on Wednesday, February 25 and awarding the prizes to the winners.

The road safety day will also see safety rangers and police at the school to help teach the children about road safety, pedestrian safety and HGV awareness, as well as using SID (the speed indication device) to show how fast cars are travelling.

The Woodlesford 20mph zone follows a successful zone in Carlton where the signs were also designed by a pupil from Carlton School. A further 20mph zone has also been put in near Haigh Road School and there is also an advisory 20mph speed limit near Royds School at school start and finish times.

It’s fantastic we can get the children to design the signs as this helps to teach them about road safety and really gets the local community involved in supporting the 20mph zones. Now we’ve got three in the ward I’m lobbying the council to see if we can get more 20mph zones on roads near to more of our schools. I want further ones introduced in more of our schools this year.

Royds students to benefit from safer road crossing

Woodlesford and Oulton residents with Cllr Karen Bruce campaigning for better road safetyAfter a long campaign with residents and road safety action group LAWRRAG I’m delighted that we’ve finally succeeded in getting a new road crossing to make it safer for children from Woodlesford and Oulton to get to Royds School. The crossing will be near to the roundabout and Rothwell Leisure Centre on the A639 and will be put in after April so it is ready for the start of the new school year in September.


The new crossing is part of our long-running campaign to support local people in the Leeds and Wakefield Road Residents Action Group (LAWRRAG). This included arranging for speed monitoring surveys to provide evidence of too much speeding traffic on Leeds Road and Wakefield Road. I arranged for officers from Leeds City Council highways department, Cllr Richard Lewis (the executive board member responsible for highways), Cllr David Nagle and Claire Rowlinson from the neighbourhood policing team to meet residents and agree what action could be taken.


Leeds City Council highways officer, Cllr Richard Lewis, local road safety campaigner Trish Wilson discussing road safetyI demanded crossing surveys be carried out along the road because of great concern by residents about the speeding traffic and children crossing to get to Royds School from the Woodlesford and Oulton communities. It is fantastic news that our concerns have been listened to and we are to get a crossing which will make it much safer for our children and young people to cross to the school, as well as improving community access to the leisure centre.


We also got council highways officers to do a review of signs all along the road, as we’re concerned that some aren’t visible enough, such as the 40mph signs at Dewans at the top of the road which are obscured by trees.

The flashing speed sign on Leeds Road which was set incorrectly and flashed at too low speeds, has now been corrected so it flashes correctly at 41 mph.


The council’s highways officers have done some further speed monitoring on behalf of the group and this will be discussed at the next meeting which will be held on Tuesday 3 February at 5.30 at the junction of First Avenue. If you would like to contribute you’re welcome to attend.