15th August set as launch date for Friends of Roils Head Moor Group

Following the successful establishment of the friends of West View Park community group we are looking to establish a similar group of
residents who are interested in improving the Roils Head Moor recreational ground. Currently the Moor is a favourite spot for dog walkers, and horse riders. However it also has underused sports playing fields, problems with off road bikes, and a play area that is in much need of some care and attention.

Our vision is for people who enjoy the Moor to work as a community group in partnership with the Council to help improve and protect this valuable bit of green space on our doorstep. Projects the group could carry out could range from improving footpaths, notice boards, protecting wildlife and helping to report incidents of fly-tipping and off road vehicles.

At a time when Council services are under financial this type of partnership working with the community is a necessity if we are to see improvements to our local neighbourhood. We hope anyone interested in getting involved or finding our more information will attend an initial Consultation meeting with local Councillors and Council officers on Saturday 15th August from 10am.-12pm at Grace Baptist Church.

Highways department publishes satisfaction survey – The results might surprise you

The Highways department at Calderdale Council has published the results of a survey into levels of public and Council member satisfaction with the service it supplies.

In total just over 300 members of the public replied and around 23 members of the Council (just under half of the Councillors). The survey shows there is a poor level of stratification with the time it takes the Council to respond to problems, with only 22% of Councillors and 50% of the public being satisfied with the response time. The satisfaction with the final outcome of issues was equally poor with only 47% of the public being satisfied with the solution to the problem they raised.

The surprising result though was that 87% of the public were satisfied with the Council’s road safety measures and 93% with street lighting (despite their having been reported problems with street light repairs).

You can download the a summary of the report here

A summary of the department’s response to the survey can be read below

The key findings of the survey are summarised in the attached report. What is abundantly clear is that we need to be better at telling you what work we are doing and why; keeping you informed about your requests; and we need to respond quicker.
Since the survey was carried out we have been working hard to address your concerns. The following is some of the work we have been carrying out:
– Implementation of a new staffing structure and filling vacant posts;
– Improving our process for dealing with customer requests;
– Making the process for reporting things to us on line much easier so that so you can track the progress of work and receive an automated response when work has been carried out;
– Improving the information we have on our website to help you find what you want more easily. We will also be providing Frequently Asked Questions for the most common things that you report to us. These will hopefully answer your question without you needing to use valuable time to contact us;
– Improving the information we provide to Customer First so that you get your query or request dealt with at the first point of contact wherever possible.
All of this work is ongoing and we are making good progress. We ask that you are patient with us while we carry out these improvements but we hope that you will have a more positive experience when you contact us in the coming months.
We are hoping to hold a “Market Place” Event in October where we can share the work we are doing with you and get further feedback and suggestions from you. We will let you know about this nearer the time and hope that you will be able to join us.
We know we don’t get everything right but we do take pride in providing the best service we can for residents and visitors. The fact is that in these times of austerity we have to work more creatively to make every pound go that much further. Although we can’t carry out all the work you ask us to do, we will explain to you why and we want to work with you to make our funding stretch as far as possible.

Labour contest mired in entryism problems

Last week I was chatting to a senior local Conservative Councillor about the Labour leadership contest. I was remarking on how it seemed daft to allow anyone to sign up for £3 to become a supporter of Labour and vote in their leadership contest. He informed me whilst chuckling that a load of local Conservative members had been signing up just for the intention of voting for the left wing candidate Corybn. This is part of an on-line campaign #ToriesForCorbyn that is backed by folk such as Toby Young. I don’t agree with that type of wrecking strategy, yea I guess it’s kind of amusing on one level but I don’t think it’s ethical to mess with another parties democratic processes. What would be really amusing is if their plan backfired and Corbyn got elected, but then turned out not only to be electorally successful!

Anyway dress it up how you like but this is clearly entryism, a political tactic where supporters attempt to join an organisation to subvert it for their own purposes. This entryism is understandably really annoying some long standing Labour members who are essentially seeing their leadership contest hijacked by a mixture of Conservatives and hard left socialists. The tweet below is just one example of what’s going on. Could you imagine if you had been a member of a party for years paying your subs, only to then have someone come along pay £3 and get an equal say as you?

Twitter

The problem is such that some Labour MPs are calling on the leadership contest to be delayed whilst checks can be carried out on all these new £3 supporters. Corbyn has dismissed claims there is infiltration occurring, but there is an orchestrated campaign encouraging it available for anyone to read about. It’s farcical what’s going on, and the contest has been bought into dispute. However pausing what is already a long drawn out contest doesn’t seem like an option for Harman.

Rather than opening up the leadership contest it appears the ‘£3 supporter’ plan has backfired spectacularly, undermining the democratic process of the Labour leadership contest and bringing a question of illegitimacy into whatever result is declared.

Calderdale Liberal Democrats launch campaign to save Halifax’s Court

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The Conservative government has launched a consultation on the closure of 91 courts and tribunals in England and Wales. These proposed closures would affect the Halifax County Court and Family Court and the Halifax (Calderdale) Magistrates’ and Family Court.

Under these proposals residents of Calderdale would be required to travel to Bradford to access justice; journey times to Bradford from many parts of Calderdale are significantly longer than assumed in the consultation document.

The historic Grade II court building is an important asset to Calderdale, and the Ministry of Justice’s consultation includes no plans as to what would happen to the building if the Courts were to close.

Taken alongside cuts to legal aid the closure of local Courts will restrict people’s access to justice, particularly for local residents who lack the means to travel easily. Calderdale Liberal Democrats are opposing the closure of our local court. We urge you to support our campaign and sign our petition here.

We are submitting an urgent late motion to next Wednesday’s meeting of Calderdale Council opposing this closure. We hope the Mayor will accept this late item as the consultation on the Court’s closure was only announced yesterday.

Details of proposed Warley Town 20mph zone released

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There has been a campaign to get a 20mph zone in Warley Town for a number of years, and back in 2012 there was anger when there was a Council u-turn on introducing a 20mph limit for the village. The good news is that a scheme is now once again back on the agenda and set to go ahead.

20mph zones are not the only solution to speeding traffic. I’m very much aware that they are ignored by a large number of people. However there is evidence to show that they reduce the average speed of traffic, and there is also evidence to show that accidents with pedestrians occurring at a lower speeds have a much higher survival rate. In this sense it is clear they do create some improvement in road safety for ourselves, our family and our children and as such I personally support them in residential areas.

A consultation on the details of the scheme is now open and runs until the 31st July. You can find out more information about the consultation here.

There is also a map of the proposed 20mph zone that you can download here 

Anyone’s Child – Families for Safer Drug Control Launch Campaign

Today a new network of families whose lives have been wrecked by our current approach to drugs will hand in a letter to 10 Downing Street calling for the legal regulation of drugs. Anyone’s Child: Families for Safer Drug Control is a project supported by Transform Drug Policy Foundation.

A spokesperson for Anyone’s Child said:

“Our vicious and stupid drug laws don’t stop young people from taking drugs. But putting dangerous criminals in charge has devastating results for them and their families. In 2002 David Cameron called for a debate on legal regulation. Since then, there have been over 26,000 drug deaths in the UK – compared with 453 UK soldiers in Afghanistan. Enough is enough. He should immediately commission an independent review of our drug laws. The government knows the evidence proves that legally regulating drugs would help protect all our families.”

You can read their letter to the Prime Minister here

Keeping up the pressure on rail improvements

Calderdale Liberal Democrats are calling on Calderdale Council and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to increase the pressure on the government to press ahead with the electrification of the rail line from Manchester to Leeds. The Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, recently announced that a number of electrification schemes, including the Manchester-Huddersfield-Leeds line, would be ‘paused’.

Cllr Battye Liberal Democrat group leader said: “We are deeply concerned about this decision, and the knock-on effects it is likely to have on the electrification of the Calder Valley line. These schemes form part of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ plan that was promised by the Conservatives during the election campaign. This plan now seems to be in serious trouble only a matter of weeks later. If the Conservatives’ ‘Northern Powerhouse’ is to mean anything, this work has to be done and it’s simply not good enough for them to blame Network Rail for any problems.”

“Electrification of the rail routes is an important next step in the improvement of public transport in the North as the lines are heavily used by an increasing number of people to get to work, as well as for pleasure.”

“It is important that Calderdale Council and the Combined Authority speak out clearly in support of rail electrification and that we all continue to make the case for it as strongly as possible. I have tabled a motion to next week’s Council meeting to allow the Council to publicly and forcefully make the point that this work needs to be carried out as soon as possible”.

Highways problems reported – Still no action form Calderdale Council

The following are a list of highways problems that are affecting Warley ward, along with the dates I reported them to the Highways department. So far all of these works are outstanding and I have received no information as to when our Labour run Council will be able to carry out these works or complete them.

As you can see your Liberal Democrat team in Warley ward is doing its best to try and get the Highways department to act on numerous problems. If you are aware of a problem then please let me know and I will reported it to the department and add it onto this list.

13th March – Requested that Ling Royd Avenue be resurfaced.

18th March – Congestion reported at the junction of Spring Hall Lane and Gibbet Street with residents complaining it’s impossible to get out in the morning. Suggested the junction be assessed for traffic light suitability.

18th March – Asked what the rationale was for resurfacing Broomfield Rd.

18th March – Reported that a drain cover outside 70 Norton Close was missing.

23rd March – Requested that some action be taken to surface Grindlestone Bank which is a well used track.

23rd April – Reported problems with cars taking the junction where Moor End Rd and Pellon Lane on the wrong side creating a safety risk.

5th June – Reported that the street sign on West View Terrace needs replacing and requested a new free standing sign is placed on the verge by the entrance to the road. Both signs need to indicate that there is no through road.

5th June – Reported that the bollards on West View Terrace are not stopping cars getting around as on either side the gap is big enough for car to drive through on the pavements.

5th June – Reported that the footpath behind Broadley Grove leading to top of Rye Lane needs some resurfacing.

8th July – Requested the pavement outside 1-27 Pellon New Rd be resurfaced.

Conservatives break promises on rail electrification

It’s less than two months since the general election, and already we have witness the Conservatives breaking their promises over the delivery of rail electrification and the creation of a’Northern Powerhouse’. George Osbourne’s promises of a Northern Powerhouse were a centrepiece of the Conservative’s election campaign in the North of England. Here in Halifax we had a visit from the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin. During this meeting he met with the Conservative candidate Philip Allot and promised us 800 miles of electrification, including the Calder Valley line.

We are planning to do over 800 miles of electrification

Now the complete project is in disarray, with the Great Western route being prioritised and electrification of our line being ‘paused’. I think it’s right that we ask ourselves whether the Conservatives knew this project was in trouble when they made their pre-election promises. This is a massive set back for everyone who uses the trains here in Calderdale. It means we will be stuck with the outdated Pacer trains, slower journey times and fewer services for years to come.

Council looks at two new ways to fix potholes

The Council is working with its Highways contractor Amey to trial two new pothole road repair systems. The first one is called JetPatcher. This is a quick pothole repair system that provides a permanent repair in about 15 minutes and is suitable for rural roads. The second one is the Thermal Repair System. This is also a fast and cost effective repair system that can be used on busier roads.

There is going to be a demonstration of both these systems for Councillors early next month. Seeing as the state of road repairs is probably the number one issue residents raise with me I’ll be trying to make the effort to attend the demonstrations of these new systems to see if either of them are any good! Fingers crossed if adopted they will help improve the state of our roads.