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.
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.
It’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.
We’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.
A 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.
Just had the great news that we’ve saved the number 22 bus which me and my ward colleague Cllr David Nagle have been working to save on behalf of local residents.
When we found out the the private bus company Square Peg was going to stop the service we launched a campaign to save it. The 22 is a vital bus for many residents who rely on it. It runs from Rothwell Commercial Street via Woodlesford to Garforth and Seacroft.
We’d already started to campaign to save it when residents started to contact us and also came to see us at our councillors’ advicce sessions and street surgeries we’ve been holding around the ward.
We raised residents’ concerns directly with the chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Transport Authority (WYCA), Cllr Keith Wakefield; the deputy leader of Leeds City Council, Cllr James Lewis; and Square Peg.
It’s hard to save a bus service as Square Peg is a private company running the route as a commercial business so can withdraw it if it wants to.
However, we got WYCA to get passenger numbers from Square Peg so it could analyse the route and do surveys to see if it would meet its criteria for support. A spokesperson for WYCA told me that it has now decided to subsidise Square Peg to continue operating the 22 service. It will run Monday to Friday off peak from 21 March until 22 July, when the service will be reviewed alongside others in Leeds as part of a wider network review.
I know residents from the Woodlesford area, who don’t live near the main Aberford Road and many people who live further up the hill off Holmsley Lane, including older people really rely on this service. This bus serves a need for those going to the NHS dentist in Garforth who haven’t been able to register with one in Rothwell. It also allows people relying on public transport to shop at Lidl. There are also quite a few carers who rely on this bus.
Residents on Haigh Road and streets off such as Styebank Lane are also badly affected as they rely on this bus with no bus serving it to Leeds. We are campaigning for a better bus for these residents and don’t want residents to lose the service they do have. We understand that buses are essential for many local people who need them to get to work, college, hospital visits and shopping.
Many people think the council run bus services as they did many years ago but this is not the case. Square Peg run this service commercially so decisions to run or cancel are made by them as a business not by Metro.
The Conservative government cuts mean there’s a lot less money to subsidise tendered services, but we are so pleased that funds have been secured to keep this valuable service going and we will be pushing for this service to be further extended on behalf of the residents who rely on it.
So you see despite the Tory cuts to council service we can still stand up for local people and not just stand by and see people suffer.