Bonfire night events across Calderdale

There are a range of bonfire night events going on around Calderdale this year

Saturday 1st November – Elland recreation Ground, Hullen Edge Road. Gates at 5.30pm admission £5 for adults and £2.50 for children.

Wednesday 5th November Moorlands Inn, Ogden will hold a firework night. Doors 6pm with Pie & Peas. Entry fee is £5 or £2.50 for under 12s.

Wednesday 5th November – Casa Hotel and Restaurant, Brighouse. Will do a firework display. The night starts at 7pm and entrance fee is £5.

Wednesday 5th November – The New Hobbit, Hob Lane, Halifax Bonfire lit at 6.30pm and fireworks at 7.30pm. Entrance is £3, kids go free.

Friday 7th November – Long Can Hall, Fountainhead, Bonfire will be lit at 7pm with pie and peas throughout the night

Saturday 8th November  – Heath RUFC will be open from 4pm and the bonfire will be lit around 7pm

If you are planning your own display, remember to take time to remind yourself of the firework safety code but most of all have a wonderful time!

More 20mph zones for Warley Ward


Much of Warley ward is now covered by a large 20mph zone. Speaking to residents the 20mph zone gets a mixed response. Some people think it has reduced average speeds, and others think 20mph is too slow over such a large area.  Personally as a father of a young boy I think the increased safety slower traffic creates is worth going a bit more slowly for.
One thing everyone seems to agree on is that the Police are not enforcing the speed limit. This is despite assurance given by Labour’s Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson giving assurances they would be. I do wonder if perhaps he had chosen to employ an extra traffic copy rather than appointing a Labour party colleague as his deputy on £53,000 a year then speeds might be better enforced. Anyway we are where we are with these 20mph zones now.
The Council has plans to roll-out further 20mph zones across the Borough. These plans include bringing in a 20mph zone for Warley Town with an estimated implementation date of November – December 2015 and for Fountainhead village in 2016.  There is a link to the time table of 20mph zone introductions below. In an email to Councillors the Council’s director for Public Health said:
The areas of Calderdale were prioritised using a combination of:
-          Road safety benefits (targeting areas with highest numbers of Killed and Seriously Injured)
-          Geography/Population (targeting areas which would enable existing/planned 20mph speed limits to be linked to each other at an early stage and will have an impact on larger numbers of Calderdale residents)
The default position will be that all 30mph residential roads will be expected to be 20mph.  Main ‘A’ and ‘B’ roads will be excluded but each area will be looked at individually and assessed.The roll out of 20mph will be phased over three years with the first phase (Siddal, Southowram, Manor Heath, Saville Park and extended Town Centre) planned for installation the middle of next year.  Each phase will take approximately 9 months to develop, consult upon and implement.

All stakeholders and service providers will be consulted at the start of each phase.  Area plans and legal speed limit orders will be published on the website and advertised in the local press.

phasing document

I did ask whether Mount Tabor would also be included in the 20mph zones, and also the scope of the 20mph zones in Warley Town and Fountainhead village, and got the following reply:

Warley and Fountainhead are included and need to be assessed. Warley is thevillage centre not the wider area, Fountainhead we need to review entry points. Mount Tabor not included as the route through is a major road and would therefore not be 20mph and the streets/roads off this are small and therefore inappropriate for signing up as 20mph.

Stamping out Mental Health Stigma


For too long there has been a stigma attached to mental health conditions. The lack of support, and help available to people suffering means that many people suffer and miss out on opportunities. The stigma attached to mental health means that many people take too long before they try and seek help and support from others, and then when they do so often there simply aren’t enough services in place.

At our conference this year we announced that  we want to guarantee equal care and waiting times for mental health as for physical health, by
increasing spending on the NHS. We will be ensuring mental health is included as an important issue in our manifesto for next year’s general election. The news has been welcomed by the mental health charity mind:

“It’s really encouraging to see one of the main parties prioritising mental health at this early stage in the development of their manifestos. Mental health should be a central issue in the upcoming election campaign, which needs to address the challenge of creating a society that values the mental health of its citizens.”

The Liberal Democrats are committed to delivering better care for everyone. We are:

The Tories and Labour have put the NHS at risk. It was Liberal Democrats who stopped Conservative privatisation plans and reverse some of Labour’s policies which meant private health companies got special favours.

Remembrance Sunday Services



This week I joined volunteers helping the Royal British Legion with a stall at ASDA. The store has been fantastic giving us the space in the foyer, and stalls to sell poppies, pin badges, car stickers etc. You can donate to the British Legion online if you are able to help support them in the work they do.

There are a number of services on remembrance Sunday across Calderdale. Two in the vicinity of Warley ward residents are

Warley Town  - Starting at 10.30am the service will start in the village before processing down to St John the Evangelist

Halifax – Remembrance Sunday is on Sunday 9 November, with the Parade leaving Halifax Town Hall at 10.20am to head to the cenotaph in Duffy’s Park at Halifax Minster. The Service of Remembrance will be held there at 10.45 am prior to the service in the Minster at approximately 11.30am. 

HS3 will help unlock Economic Growth in the North

spruce-image (4)

There is some welcome good news today as a High Speed rail project to link Manchester and Leeds takes a step closer to becoming a reality. Improving Trans Pennine transport links will make it easier for freight and passengers to travel between the great Northern cities, unlocking economic growth that will bring benefits to Calderdale too. It will also help to reduce overcrowding on the Calder Valley line as more passengers from Leeds or Manchester will be able to choose to travel on this new faster line.

Electrification and improvements to the Calder Valley line are also a necessity too. Baroness Kramer the Liberal Democrat transport minister has confirmed that Calder Valley is being considered for electrification. There has been a massive electrification programme established by the Coalition Government with hundreds of miles of track being upgraded. Under the last Labour government from 1997-2010 just nine miles of track were electrified! 

There is some further good news as a  £1bn regional growth fund for transport infrastructure has been agreed thanks  to the Liberal Democrats in Government. It is from this fund that the West Yorkshire Combined Authority will upgrade Halifax Railway station. The third platform, and upgrading of the signalling system will enable more trains to run along the line. We also need to improve the car park there and get new rolling stock. It’s not fair we get the old trains from elsewhere in the country!

Key Points

  • £1bn of regional growth money for transport.
  • Improvements in Calder Valley line with signalling and station upgrade at Halifax.
  • A new hi-speed trans-Pennine trail connection boosting growth.

Addressing inequality with a £245,696 cash boost for children in Calderdale

Little girl with mom read book in bed


As a regular reader of New Scientist magazine a few issues back I was struck by an article a few issues ago that showed how the inequality arising from poverty sets in at such an early age and is then hard to reverse.  The article urged policy makers to focus on early intervention to address inequality, inequality is something that I feel strongly about. I believe that everyone should be given the opportunity to get on in life. In order to do that of course people have to take some responsibility themselves, but they should also get a helping hand up to level the playing field.

The Pupil Premium has been doing just that, giving extra money to the schools that have students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. This is targeted funding which is addressing the educational inequality that exists even at a young age between people from wealthy backgrounds and those from poorer backgrounds.  In Warley Ward is has been used for thing such as providing extra one to one maths lessons for Children at Halifax High. The great news is that this Pupil Premium is now being extending to cover Early Years Education.

So from April 2015 Nurseries, childminders and other early years providers in Calderdale are set for a £245,696 cash injection to help three and four-year-olds from disadvantaged families.  This Early Years Pupil Premium which has been backed by groups like Barnados, 4Children and the Child Poverty Action Group – ​will mean extra money to make sure every child gets a fair start. Here is what some of those groups said about the scheme.

The Government has dramatically improved life for England’s most disadvantaged children today by closing the yawning funding gap for poor 3 and 4 year olds, following years of campaigning by Barnardo’s.- Barnardos

An Early Years Pupil Premium from 2015/16 for disadvantaged three and four year olds is a great move and will be crucial to changing the fact that childcare is often worse quality in poorer areas. This vital injection of funds could really begin to turn round the standard of provision for the most disadvantaged children and an additional £50 million makes an important move in this direction.”- Child Poverty Action Group

Regular coffee mornings at ‘The Addy’ (Pellon Network Centre)

At the last meeting of The Addy Community group we agreed we would start to run a regular drop-in coffee morning for the local community. We want to encourage more community use of the building as we put together our bid to take over the running of the building from the Council.

So come along on Friday 14th November and drop by our coffee morning in ‘The Addy’ on Rye lane to say hello. It will be running from about 10am for an hour or so. I’ll be there so I can hold an impromptu surgery if you have any local issues or concerns that you need my help with.

Christ Church thief caught

Congratulations are due to West Yorkshire Police who have successfully caught a man who stole a TV and projector equipment from Christ Church, Mount Pellon.

Stealing from a Church that works hard for its local community is a particularly immoral crime. The courier is reporting that the man responsible was caught as a result of covert surveillance put in place by the Police following an earlier burglary and forensic evidence. A sentence has yet to be handed down, but I hope it suitably reflects the crime committed.



Restoring Dark Ln in Warley Town

A few years ago Calderdale Council made a ‘temporary’ repair to Dark Ln in Warley Town. This repair involved removing the traditional cobbles and replacing them with Tarmac. For those of you who don’t know Warley Town is a very picturesque conservation area within Warley Ward. Former Liberal Democrat Councillor Jennifer Pearson had secured a promise from the Council that this tarmac would in due course be replaced back to the original cobbles. This has never happened.

So when one member of the Warley Community association read my recent story on the tarmacking of Burnley Rd (which was justified on the basis that stone need to be conserved for use in conservation areas) they rightly pointed out that even in Conservation areas the Council is prone to tarmac over things.

Anyway there appears to be some good news as since contacting the Highways department and pointing this out I have been thanked by them for pointing this out and informed that they will consider restoring Dark Ln to its former glory when planning the work schedule for 2015/15.

So thank you to the resident who raised the tarmacking of Burnley Rd, and for the member of the community association who drew my attention to Dark Ln. Hopefully it seems some good might come out of this all!

Exploring the bureaucracy of the combined authority Part 1

Following my last post on the West Yorkshire Combined authority I was questioned on how the Combined Authority fits into the Leeds City Region. To understand this relatively simple question we must delve deeply into the new layers of bureaucracy our political masters have schemed up for us.  I thought perhaps I would try and explain this in the same manner it was explained to the members of the combined authorities scrutiny panel.

So behold the following slide, which contains a neat diagram to explain the relationship of the Combined authority and the LEP (otherwise known as Leeds City Region). What this diagram actually means in the real world is probably only understood by a handful of officials, but don’t worry as this organisation is about to be handed loads of tax payers money to make decisions that will affect your life..   LeedsRegionCombinedAuthority