Re-election campaign gathering strength

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I’ve been campaigning hard to get re-elected so I can continue to represent you as one of your Councillors in Warley ward. You probably will have seen all the posters and garden posters that have gone up around the ward. Thank you so much if you have agreed to take one. If you haven’t got one already just get in touch with me and I’ll drop one off for you. Thanks as well to the residents who have offered to help delivering some of my elections leaflets or who have donated to my campaign.

I know some people are getting a bit of sick of the leaflets from all political parties, it’s just a few more weeks to go now though then it will all be over! If you can offer any help in the final weeks of my campaign please do get in touch.

Pothole blues

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Anyone driving around Warley ward can’t helped to have noticed we are inundated with potholes at the moment. Over the past week or so some of these potholes appear to have been marked out, raising hopes that at some point they might be filled in. The problem is though when the Council finally does fill them in they do such a temporary quick job.

Next time you are driving down Sandbeds Rd just take a look at how the repairs done last year already need re-doing. As a  Council we must spend a fortune on these temporary repairs, perhaps it’s better we just bite the bullet and get the whole road re-surfaced properly?

It’s not like the Council is sort of money in the Highways department either. Last year the budget was underspent by around £0.75m, which is an amazing mismanagement on behalf of the first Labour and then Conservative portfolio holders who managed the department during the year. This underspend was then subject to the budget debate as Labour proposed using that underspend on other priorities. This would have cut almost £800,000 from the Highways budget which could have made the potholes even worst.

 

Tackling litter and fly-tipping

 

Litter and rubbish around parts of the wards are terrible at the moment. In past budgets the Liberal Democrats have done what they can to protect the Safer Cleaner Greener teams that help to tackle this problem. When I am out and about delivering my Focus leaflets I regularly report instances of fly-tipping I come across. In the past few days I’ve reported problems at the following sites:

· Paddock Lane, Halifax, West Yorkshire
· Beckenham Place, Halifax, West Yorkshire
· Pathway at Queensway, Halifax, West Yorkshire
· Bin store Byron Street, Halifax, West Yorkshire

If you come across an instance of fly-tipping yourself you can report it on-line using the Council’s website, or feel free to get in touch with me and I’ll report it for you.

Money from the £5,000 community funding scheme I established is also being used to help tackle problems of litter in the ward. £500 is going towards a clean up taking place in May in the Mount Pellon area, and some money has gone towards the  litter clean up day that the Friends of West View Park carried out.

Improving the cleanliness of our streets is also part of our local election manifesto:

Improve our streets: Many streets across Calderdale are in need of repair. We would invest to resurface our streets, protect gritting services and put efforts into ensuring our streets are free of litter and dog fouling.

Read our local Calderdale manifesto

Our local election manifesto sets out our ambitions to improve local services. To date we are the only political party in Calderdale to publish a local election manifesto for the local Council elections that take place on May 7th, the same day as the general election.

The manifesto sets out policies and ideas we would implement if we were running the Council. Some of the highlights of their manifesto include:

  • A commitment to resurface local roads.
  • Reforming the Council’s top heavy management structure and sharing “back office” functions with other local organisations and services to make the Council more efficient.
  • Exploring the possibility of the debt on Calderdale Royal Hospital being bought out to get rid of the debt that Labour saddled local people with.
  • Continuing to improve waste collection and recycling to include garden waste and plastics.
  • Involving local people more in how the Council makes decisions through consultations, ward forums, web casting meetings and opening up planning committees.

Our local election manifesto is full of ideas from our grass roots members who are all Calderdale residents.  All of our members were invited to attend our manifesto day where everyone had a chance to discuss and put forward ideas to be included in the manifesto. As a democratic party our members who are all local Calderdale residents have had a real say in shaping this manifesto.

On May 7th there are two elections and people will have two decisions to make. This manifesto demonstrates our serious commitment to improving local services and the difference voting Liberal Democrat locally will make.

Manifesto

Warley Crime Update 16/17th April

Warley Crime Update 16/17th April
Please be aware of the following incident(s) that have taken place in the neighbourhood.
Burglary Dwelling & attempts
None recorded
Burglary other (including garages & sheds)
None recorded
Theft from motor vehicle
Fountain Head Road – 15/16th April – TWO vehicles parked locked and secured outside owners home addresses. Overnight, person/s unknown using implement unknown force rear door of vehicle and gain entry. Quantiy of tools removed from within the vehcle.
Theft of motor vehicle / TWOC
None recorded
Other Crimes
None recorded
If you have any information regarding these, or any other crimes, please phone the Police on 101 or CRIMESTOPPERS: 0800555111

Detailed work on tackling the impact the environment has on public health

You often hear in the press and in leaflets when politicians disagree and argue with each other. It’s often because these disagreements are deemed newsworthy and reported. Yet over the past few months a cross-party group of Councillors have been working constructively together on a scrutiny review group I have chaired  looking at the relationships between the local environment and public health.

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We held our first review group meeting in November 2014 and agreed our methodology and ways of working. During the course of our review, we have looked closely at how the Council and its partners work on local environment and public health activities and initiatives, primarily within Calderdale, but also looking at examples of best practice regionally and nationally.

The scrutiny review group focussed on exploring the relationships between the local environment and public health to see if by making our environment a healthier place to live we can improve people’s health.

We identified three key objectives for us to focus on through our review group work: developing policies that promote active and sustainable travel across the borough; developing policies that reduce the negative effects of living in cold homes upon public health and developing policies that seek to mitigate the public health effects of environmental pollution.

The review group has produced and published a report that you can read in full here. It also made nine recommendations in total. These reccomendations will now be put towards whoever forms the next administration of Calderdale Council after the local elections next month.

Recommendation 1

That the Director of Communities and Service and the Director of Public Health, are requested to prepare a leaflet containing details, lengths etc. mapping National Cycle Route 66, perhaps dividing it into manageable lengths, and showing access points, so that local people and tourists are made aware of what Calderdale was offering in its endeavour to support cycling. This would be a good way forward to support healthy living, outdoor pursuits, and safe cycling and it is essential that the information is passed to the public via Tourist Information Centres, libraries and websites, etc.

Recommendation 2

That to help promote active and sustainable travel across the Borough, Cabinet be asked to consider setting aside a portion of the annual highways budget specifically for cycle path improvements.

Recommendation 3

That Cabinet be asked to give consideration to the establishment of one or two data analyst positions to work on a cross- council basis (economic justification for establishment of posts – invest to save basis)

(Whilst appreciating the Council already has an in-house Business Change and Performance Team, the review group felt that a dedicated data analyst resource would be beneficial to the Council in the long run in addressing fuel poverty / affordable warmth in particular and that Cabinet should consider this as a proposal on an “invest to save” basis. Further discussions around the principles of “open data”, sharing with partners and other organisations should also be explored and undertaken).

Recommendation 4

That the Portfolio Holder / Cabinet and the Director, Economy and Environment be

requested to take note of and consider the evidential research previously undertaken by the National Institute of Environmental Health and the Building Research Establishment (BRE) which suggests that targeting the Borough’s worst housing with a £1.4m investment programme could save an estimated £4.65m in associated health care costs (and the increase in economic benefits such work would bring to the Borough).

Recommendation 5

That Cabinet’s agreement and support be sought for the early revision of the Calderdale Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP), which was written in 2009 and is in need of updating.

Recommendation 6

That Cabinet’s agreement and support be sought to the undertaking and promotion of

  • a targeted campaign of awareness of the on-

  • going West Yorkshire Low Emissions

  • Strategy (WYLES) work from a public health

  • perspective, with the primary delivery method

  • to be through low cost platforms such as

  • social media (Facebook, Twitter etc.)

Recommendation 7

That Cabinet is asked to endorse and support more direct enforcement work being undertaken by external partners of the Council, such as the police, through the use of legally enforceable powers to tackle un-roadworthy vehicles with high emissions.

Recommendation 8

That Cabinet is asked to look into the possibility of undertaking a feasibility study into the possibility of introducing designated Low Emission Zones (LEZs) in Calderdale.

Recommendation 9

That Cabinet be informed that it should request a policy paper as soon as possible on how the £1.4m affordable warmth scheme recently agreed by Council providing grants to improve heating and insulation was to be implemented and it is recommended that that the Economy and Environment Scrutiny Panel could be used as “sounding board” on this important piece of policy development work. Links to public health, hospital trust and Adults Health and Social Care, the Better Care Fund and the work of the Health and Well-Being Board would also needed to be considered in taking this work forward.

 

Warley Ward forum funding for 2015/16 is now open for grant applications

With regard to the ward forum grants the 2015/16 grant pot is now open and the first application deadline is 31st July. There will be 2 x £2,500 grant rounds from April 2015 to March 2016. If you recall this is the £5,000 year funding I managed to secure for the ward in the Council’s budget.

For further information or details on how you can apply contact Tony King at Tony.King@calderdale.gov.uk

We are also looking at a possible project is a cleanup event in the Mt Pellon area. A cleanup event would involve the area being leafleted informing residents about the cleanup and asking them to bring out their rubbish and putting it in skips, staff along with volunteers would be in the area doing a litter pick.

A £500 ward forum grant would pay for the hire of several skips from a local provider.

University – Still free at the point of delivery

This 23 year old student Lance nails it on tuition fees. He makes the point the system we have now got is essentially a graduate tax as no one pays the money up front, and that you only pay back the money University costs if you start earn over £21,000. Once you earn over £21,000 you pay back 9% of all your earnings above that amount until your fee is paid off or after 30 years. This means many people will never even have to pay back everything their university education costs.

It’s for this reason that Labour’s proposals to cut tuition fees to £6,000 a year would only benefit wealthier people with a starting salary of £35,000. It’s this reason why finical expert Martin Lewis from the Money Saving website called their plan’s economically illiterate.

Trimmingham Lane to be close 5th May – 15th May

Hi folks, I thought the following notice would be of interest to people.

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that Calderdale MBC because of works by Amey intend to make an Order the effect of which will be that no person shall cause or permit any vehicle to proceed in the length of Trimmingham Lane from its junction with Trimmingham Road and Burnley Road for a distance of approximately 300 metres.

PROVIDED THAT such prohibition shall not extend to vehicles being used in connection with works being carried out and pedestrian access is maintained at all times and vehicular access for the emergency services is maintained.

The alternative route is via Brow Foot Gate Lane, Willow Rise, Burnley Road and vice versa.

It is proposed that the Order will come into operation on 05/05/15 and remain in force until 15/05/15 between the hours of 07:30 & 16:00 (Monday to Friday) (although it can remain in force for up to 18 months if necessary)

Highways department apologies for slow response to emails

I’ve recevied the following email from the Highways department, that was sent out to all Councillors. In it they do at least apologize for the slow response they have been given. Hopefully with their new structure things will start to improve.
Dear Councillors
 
Over the past few months we have had issues with a Street Lighting back log, winter weather conditions and some recent instances of flooding, all of which have resulted in a high number of enquiries from both Councillors and members of the public to the Highways and Engineering Service. In addition, a review has recently been undertaken of Highways and Engineering which resulted in a new structure being implemented on the 1st April 2015.  Both of these factors have resulted in there being a delay in our responding to emails to both the Members Highway Enquires and the Highways and Engineering email inboxes, for which we apologise.
 
With the  new structure now in place we are working hard to work through the back log of enquires and reduce reply times to those agreed in protocol as quickly as is possible.  If an issue is dangerous please report this either to Street Care on 01422 28802 or by using our online reporting service  http://www.calderdale.gov.uk/transport/roads/request-report/index.html
 
Thank you in advance for your continued patience.