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Update on speeding traffic concerns


In recent weeks both Cllr Ashley Evans and I have received a large increase in complaints about speeding traffic. This isn’t just a case of people driving a few miles of the speed limit, but some seriously dangerous and reckless driving with people racing around Halifax in some very fast cars. It’s clear that a state of lawlessness has existed on our roads with a minimum amount of Police enforcement. We have raised this concerns both with the local Police, and the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire Mark Burns-Williamson. You can read the letter I sent to Mr Burns-Williamson on the subject here (PCC Letter). Other Councillors have also been raising this issue, and it was raised at our last full Council meeting.

The good news is that Colin Skeath the Halifax Neighbourhood Inspector has emailed Councillors to inform us that the Police have put operation Hawmill in action. I’ve posted up a section of Colin’s email so it can be explained in his own words:

As you know poor driving, speeding and anti-social use of the roads is one of our biggest concerns in the community. I am sure that you, like me, will have many complaints around this issue and recognise the dangers of poor driving and the need for us to act.

In response I have implemented Operation Hawmill which involves the deployment of a dedicated Road Traffic Officer in a high powered car (SRANS) in company with an NPT officer. This deployment is on overtime and is over and above normal policing.

Areas that will be targeted have been selected in relation to the area where we receive most complaints. They include:-Warley, Park, Town Centre / Boothtown, Skircoat

The operation has been running for two days and so far we have issued 16 endorsable fixed penalty tickets and seized two expensive cars.

Normal deployment of the Pro Lazer and Sid will continue along with various partnership road safety activities.

This operation is good news. However we are told the long term funding for such an operation is not in place. Cllr Evans and I will be campaigning for a continuation of a dedicated traffic officer for Calderdale, one that can also then be deployed in other areas across the Borough that have experienced problems. Give then cost to taxpayers when there is a serious accident (let alone the human tragedy involved) we think spending money on policing like this is a wise use of public funds.

Calderdale Council’s new recycling scheme

The above video explains how Calderdale Council’s new recycling scheme works. As it’s a new system there appears to have been a few teething problems with collections. I relayed these concerns onto Cllr Tim Swift the leader of the Council, and asked what was being done to help resolve the problems. Tim responded quickly with the following message

There is quite a lot of action being taken, including daily discussions between officers and Suez about issues, extended working hours and additional weekend collections, extra staff in the call centre, etc.

Another issue people have raised with me is that the online system had quite a strict cut off for when you could report a missed collection. You had to wait until the end of the day the collection was on before being able to report it, and then you had just 48 hours to report a missing collection. Obviously this is no good if you go away for a weekend and come back and find your recycling hasn’t been collected. The good news is that after raising it the Council officers have quickly responded and changed this online cut off. It should now be possible to report missed collections online at anytime after the missed collection. You can do this online here 

Council publishes greenbelt review – Covers up details of locations

We recently pushed for all Council working group meetings to be held in public. The working party for the greenbelt review did just that recently. Sadly however the report was written in a way to deliberately obscure what bits of greenbelt in Calderdale were likely to be re-designated. The detailed list that contains all the reviews of each parcel of reviews are all contained in an Annex to the report which members of the working party were not given, and which hasn’t been put out into the public domain.

So much for transparency on Calderdale Council!

You can download the report and papers for the meeting here. Good luck in trying to work out how a local bit of greenbelt near you has been assessed though.


We need Cross-Party Working on Local Brexit Effects

We are calling on councillors from across the political parties to be involved in facing the local challenges of the UK leaving the European Union.

Leaving the EU will affect Calderdale Council and the people of Calderdale and the Council as a whole needs to start working now to ensure that any harm is minimised. I have therefore asked that the Council establish a cross-party steering group as soon as possible.

A number of issues come immediately to mind: What will happen to the European funding received by the Council and how will this impact on our plans? What will we do to offer advice and support to local businesses? What plans are there in place in terms of economic hardship that could arise if firms relocate, if prices go up, or interest rates rise?

I am sure that others will have further issues to discuss and that important issues will arise in the future.

Although we think our country would have been better served by remaining in Europe, we will be working as hard as possible on the Council to ensure Calderdale is well placed to tackle any of the challenges ahead.

The people were lied to, the brexit dream they were promised will be an economic nightmare


Millions of people have been lied to on an industrial scale. They were promised an extra £350M for the NHS, sold a dream of what life would be like outside of the EU. Told the election was really about immigration. This morning we are waking up to an economic nightmare as markets across the world react to the economic suicide we have just committed.  People will soon wake up to the fact that there is no £350M extra for our NHS. That things haven’t improved, that their streets are still dirty, that the roads still have potholes that they are in fact even poorer than they were before.

Farage said this is a ‘war’. It isn’t a war. We need less inflammatory language in our politics. It is however a debate about the future of our country. This debate will be ongoing. It looks at this stage of the morning that the leave campaign have just scrapped to a marginal victory. The country is still hugely divided on this issue. Large areas such as London and Scotland wanted to remain.  Many younger people who will live with this decision also wanted to remain. In a few years time public opinion could easily shift to wanting to be a part of Europe again, especially if people realise they were lied to and experience the economic fallout of yesterday’s historic referendum.



Tonight our thoughts are with Jo Cox’s family

This evening many of us are reacting to the shocking news that one of our West Yorkshire MPs Jo Cox was brutally killed whilst serving her community.
Jo was a passionate supporter of positive contribution immigrants can bring to our communities, the plight of Syrian refugees, and the need to stay a member of the European Union. These are all causes and values that many Liberal Democrats hold dear.

Tonight we stand shoulder to shoulder with the politicians in West Yorkshire’s Labour movement who we know and work alongside with . Many of whom will be grieving the loss of a friend. Our thoughts go out to Jo’s family, no child should lose a mother and no husband should lose a wife in such a hateful act. We hope some small crumb of comfort is taken in the knowledge that the values that Jo stood for will never be extinguished as easily as her life was brutality taken today.

All of our local campaigning for the European Referendum is currently suspended in respect of Jo. We will return to this campaign with zeal however, and return to it in the knowledge that we are fighting for light, peace, and international cooperation against the tide of dark nationalistic hatred that is sweeping our country.

I condemn the homophobia of Councillor Roger Taylor


I’m calling on Calderdale Conservative’s to take action against the hateful homophobia of Councillor Roger Taylor. Offensive and insensitive language like this directed at a minority group within our society is totally unacceptable. The bile and spite that he spews in response to an invite to a remembrance vigil  stands totally opposed to the values of tolerance, openness and liberalism that we uphold.

Cllr Taylor has previous form of sending totally unacceptable and offensive emails. The Conservative party needs to take action to make it clear that he does not stand for their views.


Traffic Calming – Mount Pellon School Battison Road – Now to include Blackwood Grove

The Council has drawn up plans that would see humps outside of Mount Pellon School on Battison Road. I’m personally in favour of traffic calming outside of all schools, and would very much like to see a scheme like this outside of Ling Bob School and Christ Church too.

One problem with the Battison Raod scheme as initially drawn up was that it missed off Blackwood Grove. There is a nursery entrance to the school along this road so it made sense for it to be included too. After a resident raised this issue I got in contact with the Council officer responsible for drawing up the plans. The good news is that today he has confirmed that Blackwood Grove will be included in the scheme.

I’ve amended the plans so that they provide for three round-topped road humps and a new warning sign to be provided on Blackwood Grove, as suggested.

Mini Roundabout at Junction of Highroad Well Lane, Court Lane, Paddock Lane

I recently raised  safety concerns about the mini roundabout at the junction of Highroad Well Lane, Court Lane, and Paddock Lane. I was hoping perhaps that there might be an engineer solution that would make this roundabout safer as currently a number of drivers are cutting across it and making dangerous manoeuvres on it.
Today I got a reply from the Council’s road safety officer. It seems a bit like passing the buck here to the Police. No doubt if we contact the Police they will say the Council needs to make improvements to the road to improve safety! I’m not convinced the Police have anything like the traffic enforcement capacity to deal with problems like this.
Dear Cllr Baker
Thank you for raising your concern over the illegal driving behaviour taking place at the mini roundabout at the junction of Highroad Well Lane, Court Lane and Paddock Lane. The issue of taking action against such behaviour lies with the Police and we would encourage those who have raised the matter with you to approach the Police on the issue.
Kind regards
Road Safety Officer

We don’t back either party, we do what we think is right!

Labour say the Liberal Democrats always vote with the Conservatives. The Conservatives bemoan the fact we vote with Labour. The truth is that Calderdale Liberal Democrats vote for what we think is right for the people of Calderdale based on our own values, and our own principles.

This hasn’t stopped Labour from making the claim on leaflets that Lib Dems have ‘time after time voted with the Conservatives instead of joining Labour to stand up for Calderdale. IMG_3222

We decided to fact check this. Out of 57 votes in the last year 70% had cross party agreement from all three parties. Shock horror folks local politicans actually all agreed with each other on 70% of the topics that came to the vote at Council.

In actual fact there were no votes where we voted just with the Conservatives and without Labour. There have been in previous years though, it just depends on what the issue is as how the other two parties vote doesn’t effect how we vote as we have our own ideas and views.

There were 11 votes where we voted with Labour but not the Conservatives. There was 1 vote where the Conservatives and Labour voted together but not us (this was senior officer pay policy). There were two votes where we abstained and different Labour and Conservatives voted differently. There are three that are uncertain or we couldn’t ascertain.

Total No of Votes 57 %
Con+Lab+LD 40 70%
Con+LD (Not Lab) 0 0%
Lab+LD (Not Con)* 11 19%
Con+Lab (Not LD)** 1 2%
LD abstain, Con + Lab vote differently 2 4%
Uncertain*** 3 5%

You can see the table that we used to work all this out. It is possible there are a few mistakes, it’s not always clear to work these things out as there is no electronic system on Calderdale Council that automatically records things.