Save Sandhall Green play area

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When I was elected as a Councillor I requested details of all the unspent Section 106 moneys allocated to Warley ward. I identified a sum of money (I recall around £40k) that had been allocated to improving green spaces. This money was given to the Council by the developers who built over the old play area on what is now Bridleway Ct. Working with Council officers your Liberal Democrat Councillors helped to devise a scheme to improve the green as a recreation ground. Following a public consultation in 2013 the Council went ahead and built a small children’s play area, football posts, planted new trees, built a fence around the play area, created some parking spaces, and improved the planting with some new trees.

Just three years later and the Labour run Council is now proposing to build eight bungalows on the site. You can see the plans for what is proposed below. They would be placed right over the existing play area, and leave a much smaller space. Destroying the space for people to walk dogs and the football play area in the process. This decesion is going to cabinet on 14th November so we have just a couple of weeks to encourage the Labour cabinet not to build over this play area.

You can sign the petition against this scheme here

Picture that shows plans to build bungalows on Sandhall Green

Calderdale Council has spent £327,000 on empty offices at Dean Clough.

DeanClough

Calderdale Council moved out of the offices it was leasing at Dean Clough two years ago, but is still paying £163,500 per year for the space. That means that the Council has paid out nearly one-third of a million pounds for something that is of no benefit for the people of Calderdale.

As the lease has over six years still to run, a further million pounds could well be wasted in the same way. Clearly the Council needs to take action to reduce this wasteful spending or, hopefully, get rid of it altogether.

This also calls into question the wisdom of the Council in entering into long leases that it can’t easily get out of.

Even if the Council’s coffers were overflowing with cash, this would be an unacceptable waste of public money. In these difficult times it is even more intolerable.

The tax-payers of Calderdale and the Council staff who are at risk of losing their jobs over the coming years would be right to be appalled by this wasteful use of scarce resources.

What will Labour’s Council budget mean for you?

Tonight was Calderdale Council’s budget setting meeting, and I thought you might like to have a run down of what the budget will mean to you as a resident living in Warley ward. I’m trying to keep this article factual, you can read our political statement that we made here. The Liberal Democrats group did not support Labour’s budget, or the Conservative group’s amendment. Labour’s budget passed on the night as Labour are the biggest party on the Council, and we did not want to support the Conservative’s amendments.

Changes in Council tax 

There will be a social care precept levied of 2% a year. This increase is largely to pay for the cost of introducing the living wage for our contractors who provide social care services for the Council. Additionally there will be a 1.95% Council tax increase, this will be used to create a flood recovery fund. The new Council tax bills, which include the Police, Environment Agency and Fire Authority precepts will be as follows (in areas such as Warley ward without parish Councils).

New Council tax bands

Band A –  £1,004.35

Band B – £ 1,171.74

Band C –  £1,339.12

Band D – £1,506.51

Band E – £1,841.28

Band F – £2,176.07

Band G – £2,510.86

Band H – £3,013.02

Growth proposals and savings proposals

The full list is below, you will notice the only growth in revenue spending is on social services. This is largely to take into account changing demographics and the cost of paying staff the living wage. In terms of cuts/savings of note is the extra £1 million a year to be raised from charging people more for Council services, and the million pounds that will be taken out of children’s services. In addition to this revenue spending a one of fund of £3 million will be created for flood recovery work.

 

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Warley Ward Forum – Wednesday 2nd December 2015

Meeting description: Ward Forum meetings are attended by local ward councillors and local officers, and are your chance to have your say about issues that matter in your neighbourhood.

Date: Wednesday 2nd December 2015
Venue: Asquith Court. Sandhall Green. Pellon. Halifax.
Time: 6.30pm for a 7pm start.

Agenda item
7pm

1. Welcome and introductions.
2. Minutes and updates.
3. CMBC Planning Officer – Presentation on Development Plan.
4. Police Update
5. CMBC Budget Consultation Update
6. WF Grants Review
7. Open Forum – Your Issues
8. Group Updates
9. AOB
10. Next Meeting; 7pm Wednesday 2nd March 2015 venue TBC.

Cuts to bus services in Warley ward

Traffic

I’ve just been sent news that a number of bus services for Halifax are about to be cut. It seems the vast majority of these are bus services for Warley ward. The reason being cited is extremely low usage of these services rendering them uneconomical.

The following services are all going to be axed.

511 Sunday 2235 journey from Halifax
511 Sunday 2250 journey from Rye Lane
513 Monday – Friday 0645 journey from Halifax
513 Sunday 0925 journey from Halifax
514 Saturday 0753 journey from Halifax
546 Monday – Friday 0618 journey from Halifax
546 Sunday 1620 journey from Halifax
553 Saturday 1712 journey from Fountain Head
560 Saturday 0545 journey from Halifax
571 Sunday 2235 journey from Halifax
579 Monday – Sunday 2330 journey from Sowerby
X58 Monday – Friday 0535 journey from Halifax

Cause of short duration power cuts

Last month a resident contacted me about a number of short duration power cuts they had experinced on Moor End Road. I wrote to Northern Powergrid asking why that happened and a month later I have just received a response. I’m copying it below in case it is of interest to any other residents.

Thank you for taking the time to contact Northern Powergrid on 13 July 2015 on behalf of one of your constituents regarding the reliability of supply at their home. I would like to take this opportunity to say sorry for any inconvenience caused, we understand how frustrating power cuts can be and we are very sorry for the recent interruptions.

I am writing to you today to explain the reasons for the recent power cuts at your constituents home. I would like to reassure you that we do try our very best to keep the power on and we work as quickly as possible to restore supply when the power does go off. However, there are many reasons why the power goes off and we cannot guarantee to provide a supply that is never disrupted.

Since May 2015, your constituents property has experienced 4 short duration power cuts. These have been caused by problems on underground high voltage network and they have affected approximately 2000 of our customers in the Halifax area. Northern Powergrid restored supplies during these faults by rerouting the power and remotely switching the network from our control centre in Leeds. This allows us to restore your supply quickly without engineers travelling to site.

Our records indicate that the referenced property has not had any further power cuts since 2013.

It might be helpful if I explained our electricity distribution network in more detail, the power cuts were due to faults that happened on different sections of our wide area distribution network with different causes. We cannot, therefore, carry out any remedial action as the faults were not connected. Our wide area distribution network is vast and it is possible that a fault, that may seem a long distance away, can affect your premises and the surrounding area. Northern Powergrid are committed to providing excellent customer service making us aware of your concerns gives us the opportunity to investigate and put matters right for you.

I hope you find the above information helpful in understanding the cause of the power cut. Should you or your constituents require any further information please do not hesitate to contact me on the contact details below and I will be happy to help.

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.

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.

12 Community groups in Warley benefit from 5K funding pot I established

12 Community groups in Warley ward have benefited from the first year’s worth of a five thousand pound a year community funding scheme. I established this £5k budget for each of the wards when it was passed as a Liberal Democrat budget amendment at the 2014 budget Council meeting.

I’m a firm believer that the Council should work closely with community groups, and the activities that these groups carry out represent good value for money. The Council provides a small amount of funds to help with the projects people in the ward think up, but it’s the ideas and energies of local residents that make the projects happen. This is my idea of Liberalism in action, a Council that works with people, and tries to help empower them to improve their lives in partnership with them.

You can download a full report of the panel meeting to determine the funding below

Warley panel reports

 

Name of Group Project Title How much applied for Approved
1 FRIENDS OF WEST VIEW PARK WEST VIEW PARK – SPRING CLEAN £500  250
2 The Addy Community Pellon Easter Arts & Crafts £499.77  200
3 International group, Christ Church Graveyard tidy up £350  200
4 Wednesday Lunchbox Food with Friends £500  500
5 12th Halifax Boys Brigade Replacement table tennis table £500  500
6 Neighbourhood Award planning Committee Our Communities neighbourhood awards event. £500  500
7 West View Park Fun Day Committee West View Park Family fun Day £500  500
8 Mt Tabor Rainbows Mt Tabor Rainbows £500  250
9 Mount Tabor Guides Improvements to Guiding at Mount Tabor Guides. £475  250
10 Mount Tabor Community Caring Association Senior Citizens day outing £500  500
11 St Columbas JFC Football in the Community £500  500
12 SharX SharX activities £500  500