Karen Bruce and David Nagle can’t support HS2 blighting Woodlesford and Oulton

Image may contain: 2 people, people sitting, table and indoorMe and my fellow Rothwell ward Labour councillor colleague David Nagle organised a drop in session for Woodlesford and Oulton residents so they could tell us about their concerns over HS2 prior to the deadline for submissions.

Many residents had already told us their views either by coming to our surgeries, emailing us, phoning us, using social media or by talking to us at community events. It was useful to have our drop-in session on HS2 which gave residents another chance to tell us what they think. There was a good turnout of local people and good to chat with many people about the issues concerning them.  We would like to thank SoWhat, the local campaign group for the work they have done to campaign on this issue, keep up the good work.

Residents are worried, there are many questions which HS2 aren’t answering and people are stuck in limbo.

We have made clear that we as local Labour councillors cannot support HS2 unless the huge blight on Woodlesford and Oulton is lifted. In our submission to HS2 to its latest consultation, we have strongly objected to the revised route.

 

HS2 Ltd consultation submission from Rothwell Labour councillors Karen Bruce and David Nagle

We have held a drop in session in Woodlesford where residents could come and talk to us about their concerns over the HS2 revised route coming through our community. The following is a summary of concerns expressed by very worried and anxious residents who want answers and are getting far too few.

We strongly object to the revised route including two tunnels and viaducts tearing through the villages of Oulton and Woodlesford and causing untold blight on many more residents in the heart of the villages than the original route, although most of those previously impacted will still also feel the blight. This is not acceptable for our communities. Whilst ever the route proposes a blight on the villages we represent, namely Oulton and Woodlesford, then we cannot support HS2.

From the time the original HS2 route plan was announced in 2012, the communities of Woodlesford and Oulton which we represent, have been blighted, the ability to sell homes impacted and prices falling.

The changes announced recently by HS2 to the route in November 2016 has seen the viaduct along the canal side replaced by two tunnels travelling through the heart of our villages and the proposed main line viaduct has got higher and longer. Those previously the most impacted remain affected and now many more residents are impacted as HS2 engulfs the whole of Woodlesford and Oulton.

The area is riddled with old mine shafts and workings and there is therefore the real concern about subsidence and slip.

Residents are worried about possible noise and vibration from the train both under and over ground. We are concerned with the vibration and noise especially near to the exit of the tunnels, and this (together with noise as the train eventually passes) is of major concern to residents living in the houses around Eshald Lane, Bernard Street and Fleet Lane areas closest to the tunnel entrance. It is a fact that the faster the train, the louder the sound and vibrations.

Impacts on residents’ health and wellbeing – We are very concerned as local elected representatives that the negative impacts could affect the whole community in its health and well being. Impact on and possible loss of vital local businesses to the community functioning as healthy and happy places and job losses. Health issues including mental health issues can arise out of people living with worry and fear as well as any actual impact on physical health from air pollution, dust and what might be disturbed from tunnelling on an old landfill site and old mines, where there is believed to be raw asbestos rocks. Concerns about the pocket of radon gas known to be present under Woodlesford Primary school and in the area. We do not want local children or residents at risk.

Increased traffic concerns – we already have many traffic, congestion and road safety concerns in our villages and it is unimaginable that the amount of spoil from tunnel excavation will equate to some 14,000 extra trucks on our roads.

Landscape and visual impact We feel that the cutting to enter the tunnel entrance at Water Haigh Woodland Park, and the tunnel entrance itself is planned to be unacceptably close to here. Visually this is intrusive and the make-up of the landscape makes this unsuitable.. We feel that another route for the tunnel is found away from the residential area, and that limits the damage to public green space, or at the very least the tunnel entrance entering Woodlesford is moved all the way back to the M62. We are concerned that the proposed entrance to the tunnel going under Woodlesford will have a significant impact on access during construction as both Eshald Lane, and Fleet Lane will need to be closed and new bridges constructed over the cutting. Aberford Road is already at, or over maximum capacity and gridlocks easily. Further loading would have devastating effects to the community and infrastructure. There is only one road through Woodlesford, and this doesn’t seem to have been thought about.

Community spaces and wildlife – – Local residents regularly use all of the the green space within Woodlesford, and Oulton and surrounding areas. Residents stay healthy through dog walks, cycling, Walking/rambling, playing with children and vital exercise for the elderly, Running and sports. Residents are worried about losing valuable open and green spaces, which have had a lot of thought, effort and funds spent to make our green spaces joined up. Residents fear the decimation of these green space due to HS2 coming right through communities and green spaces.

Closure of Woodlesford Train Station – untold disruption and loss of amenity for residents as Woodlesford train services could be suspended for up to two years.

Construction – enduring construction for around 6 years would be too much for our villages, if the route was moved away from villages, from communities and densely populated areas, this would be hugely mitigated. A temporary village is planned to house 1000 workers. Residents also have concerns over the impacts of possible ventilation shafts and emergency exit workings along the route of the tunnels during construction and afterwards.

The blight on these villages from this huge engineering project cutting straight through them is too much for these quiet villages to take.

We strongly believe that HS2 should be re-routed away from whole villages to cause the minimum amount of impact. There are many people worried and impacted, were the route to be taken away from our villages, far fewer people would be impacted.

As the plans stand, we cannot support HS2, unless the huge blight on Oulton and Woodlesford is lifted.

We request that HS2 Ltd moves its route away from our densely populated, happy and peaceful communities. We still believe a more direct tunnelled route , or a route largely following the existing transport corridors would be cost neutral in comparison to the complex viaduct and tunnel construction now proposed.

New playground for Woodlesford Park

Labour councillors Karen Bruce and David Nagle at one fo the new Rothwell playgrounds

Rothwell Labour councillors Karen Bruce and David Nagle at one of the new local playgrounds they’ve secured for local children.

Me and my Labour councillor ward colleague David Nagle are excited that new playground equipment is coming to Woodlesford Park with work expected to start any time now. Getting new playgrounds locally is a priority for us as Labour councillors and we are not only working to get a new playground for Woodlesford park, we are also then pushing for Rothwell Springhead Park to be next for new playground equipment.

Nearby residents in Woodlesford were written to over the summer and the parks department has included as many suggestions as possible from the comments received from local people.

A new playground has been one of our priorities for the area. Local people told us it was important to them to have new play equipment for local children and we’ve worked hard to see that it happens.  Research shows that outdoor free play gives children many valuable benefits, including the development of physical, emotional, social and cognitive skills and although local children have loved playing on the current equipment over the years, it is now well past its best and I know many local children are looking forward to trying out the new equipment.

Some, but not all, of the monies from recent building developments have been used for the playground.  It is fantastic that the new playground will be ready and able to be enjoyed by local children this spring and summer. It will be great to see these improvements for local children. Residents constantly tell us that they need new play equipment and it is a pleasure to help to provide it for Woodlesford and Oulton children.

 

Rothwell to get brand new leisure centre built

Rothwell sports

Fantastic news for Rothwell, Woodlesford, Oulton, Carlton and surrounding villages as it is announced that Rothwell is to get a new state of the art leisure centre

At the recent meeting of the Executive Board, as part of a wider report on the vision for leisure centres in the city, proposals will see a brand new facility built on land adjacent to the existing site in Rothwell.

Me and my Labour ward colleague Cllr David Nagle have been campaigning for improvement and significant investment to overhaul Rothwell Leisure Centre and have had meetings with the senior officers and the executive board member responsible.

We really welcome the new proposals, which will see a number of integrated services housed alongside gym facilities and full size and small swimming pool,with lido splash pool, along with new gym and sports facilities. Extra facilities not currently offered under the existing leisure centre model will also be included. Pending the outcome of a detailed feasibility study, it is estimated that the new leisure and wellbeing facility would cost in the region of £10-14m, forming part of the Council’s wider ‘invest to grow’ focused commercial strategy.

This is even better than we hoped for as we have been pushing for investment in our leisure centre for a long time. To get a new build is absolutely fantastic news. It’s wonderful to see this significant investment into our local communities despite continuing pressures to our budgets. It shows a continued commitment to giving all residents the opportunity to either remain or become active, and will contribute greatly towards the health and well-being of local people.

Rothwell Leisure centre is one of the most well used sports centres in the city and is well loved in Rothwell and our villages by many people and families, including my own. But the current centre was built in the 1970’s and needs more than a little TLC. We need our leisure centre to be fit for the 21st century and people’s expectations and experiences change. With a brand new modern, high quality leisure and wellbeing centre, I know that the people of Rothwell will greatly welcome access to affordable, top class classes and facilities.

Rothwell Primary school gets new 20mph zone

Rothwell councillor Karen Bruce has successfully campaigned for 20mph zones throughout the wardIt’s fantastic that we’re getting another 20mph zone in Rothwell. The latest one is around the Carlton Lane area and includes all the streets from Carlton Lane and Butcher Lane. This includes Stone Brig Lane which all too often is used as a rat run by some inconsiderate people.

Road safety is one of the top issues that people contact me and David about and the roads around Rothwell Primary are no exception. Local residents, parents and grandparents consistently raise the issue of safety for children with a combination of speeding cars and inconsiderately parked cars being two of the biggest complaints.

Speeding and parking are also two of the top topics people raise with us when we’re running community stalls, doing our roving councillor street surgeries and calling round knocking on doors to listen to local concerns.

This will be the latest 20mph zone in the Rothwell ward in our campaign to get many of our suitable roads into the zones, following successful schemes introduced in Carlton, Woodlesford, Haigh Road, and Victoria Primary school.

The highways department tell me:

“Preliminary speed surveys have been undertaken and the results have indicated that this area can be implemented as a 20mph Limit. With the current driver behaviour on these streets, traffic calming should not be required in order to bring vehicle speeds down to an acceptable level. Post implementation monitoring will be undertaken to ensure that this has been successful.

In addition to this the existing School Keep Clear markings will be formalised by introducing a Traffic Regulation Order to that affect. This will allow Leeds City Council to enforce them and will be in force from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.”

This is another measure in our campaign to improve road safety in Rothwell, Woodlesford, Oulton and Carlton. A recent addition was the two crossings in Oulton to help school children in Woodlesford and Oulton cross the road safely and funding luminous clips for the children to wear.

Rothwell councillors David Nagle and Karen BruceWe’re also hoping to get funding for installing mobile speed camera units, on an occasional basis on the John O Gaunts end of A639:  These will need an area to be installed on the central reservation for a vehicle to be parked up and appropriate signage

At the same time we are tackling parking problems outside our school including Rothwell Primary and have again had discussions with the neighbourhood policing team and requested regular police checks to be undertaken around all our local schools at peak times in Rothwell, Woodlesford, Oulton and Carlton and action to help to try to ensure safer parking including ticketing and this was agreed as a way forward.

This is the proposed 20mph zone and parking restrictions.

Rothwell Primary school 20mph zone map

 

New job shop to open at Rothwell library hub

Cllr Karen Bruce and Cllr David NagleA new job shop in Rothwell library will help people who are out of work to get jobs, help those with work to get better paid jobs, access training for new skills, apply for apprenticeships, improve their CVs and application forms and improve their interview skills through tips and mock interviews.

The new job shop is part of improvements to the Rothwell one stop centre which is moving to Rothwell library to become a community hub providing a wider range of improved services. As well as the new job shop residents will be able to access all of the services that were previously available in the one stop centre as well as new improved ones.

Services available in the new Rothwell community hub include registering births and deaths, arrange to pay rent or council tax, get help to find housing, report rubbish and litter in streets and parks, access the internet and borrow the latest bestsellers all under the same roof.

Rothwell library is a great local resource and having the community hub means that we can help protect the library in the long term. Not only that, but it means all council services for Rothwell will be in one place, at the heart of our community in the centre of Rothwell. The new job shop is one of the most exciting parts of the new community hub and will mean residents who currently have to travel to Seacroft, Harehills or the city centre will be able to get help locally.

We know there will be a short period of disruption whilst the improvements take place, however the newly refurbished building will mean better access to Leeds City Council services for people in the Rothwell district. I believe that libraries can form the basis of a vibrant community. This is a ‘win win’ for local residents as the current building will stay in use with the local housing department staff still based there. Despite Cllr Golton stirring up fear, the fact is that just the two frontline staff will be moving over to the library. This provides better services to residents, protects the library by increasing the number of people who use it. It’s sad that Cllr Golton wants to talk down local people instead of fighting to improve and protect services like me and Cllr David Nagle.

The council has received complaints about the current one stop centre because of the lack of privacy to make enquiries. The enquiry points in the library hub will be larger and confidential. Often of course, residents use both the one stop centre and the library and wonder why these services are in two buildings.

In a difficult financial climate we want to make sure our civic buildings are being used in the best possible way and that residents don’t have to move from place to place to get everything done. The move will mean that the council front desk services are open longer to come into line with library hours benefiting local people. Library hours include some evening and Saturday and Sunday hours so these are extra hours when people will be able to make face to face enquiries to the council in Rothwell.  We are also in talks with the police with a view to getting a PCSO to come into the hub to be accessible to local people there, as I think this would be a great addition as there is currently no police front desk in Rothwell.

The community room will still be for hire as the library shelving will be on castors in that area so can be moved around. However, the room is very poorly used with only two bookings per month at present, so this will improve usage of the room with dual use. The newspapers and places to sit and read them will continue.

A key reason to bring services together is to protect services and enable them to be delivered locally. As we know many neighbouring councils have taken the options to close face to face services including libraries, but we want to ensure our library remains well used. The hub initiative enables us to do this.