We are launching a campaign to save Calderdale pubs from threats of closure. Research from CAMRA that shows across the country 26 pubs are closing every week and if something isn’t done now we risk losing more of our cherished community pubs.
The Coalition government has introduced measures in the localism act to register community facilities such as local pubs as community assets. This power has already been used in Calderdale by campaigns to save the Fox & Goose in Hebden Bridge and the Holy Well Inn in Holywell Green. However we believe both the government and the local Council need to go further to protect our cherished pubs from closure.
The campaign is asking for a number of practical measures from Calderdale Council and Government such as reforming large pub companies to giving pubs better protection under planning legislation. We have launched a campaign website and petition at www.savecalderdalepubs.com which local residents are signing to demonstrate their support. We then intend to put forward a motion to Council calling for better protection of pubs. We hope this will receive cross-party support.
Councillor Janet Battye leader of Calderdale Liberal Democrats said: “Local pubs are hubs of the community and are vitally important, especially in the villages that have lost their post officer or shop. We are running this campaign to get Calderdale Council to take action to protect pubs. ”
Cllr Baker & Battye supporting the Little Valley brewery based in Calderdale. Photograph by Jade Smith.
Councillor James Baker said “The coalition has helped reduce the cost of living by scrapping the beer duty escalator. We think it should go further in lowering beer tax so people can afford to be social and visit their local, rather than having to buy cheap booze from a supermarket.
Just weeks after Labour took control of Calderdale Council saying that it was going to be “open and transparent” it has turned down an opportunity to extend this to committee minutes.
Liberal Democrat Councillors Janet Battye and James Baker asked the Council’s Governance and Business Committee to change the rules about minutes for the Council’s Scrutiny Panels and Committees so that they would record which Councillor had proposed and seconded decisions being made. But this was resoundingly refused by both Labour and Conservative Councillors.
“If and when schemes like the Copley Valley development or Central Library come under discussion at scrutiny people should have a right to see who has proposed and seconded a course of action ” says Cllr Battye. “How else will they know which Councillors have been taking the lead on matters which can have significant effects on local people and businesses?”
“Labour said that they would be open and transparent in the way that they run the Council, and yet just downed down the first opportunity to do so.”
Liberal Democrat Councillors are concerned about the environment impact of the Council’s decision to burn off methane at the Cromwell Bottom former landfill site between Brighouse and Elland. They are asking the Economy and Environment scrutiny panel to consider whether the gas released at the site can be filtered to remove pollutants, and then put to use creating energy.
“This is another of those problems that I had to make sure we sorted out when I became Leader of the Council in May 2010” said Cllr Janet Battye (Leader of the Liberal Democrat group and ward Councillor for Calder ward). I welcome the progress made in sorting out the old landfill site, but I want to be sure that everything possible is being done to use this landfill gas productively as a source of energy.”
“The Council should be taking a leading role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing the use of renewable energy, so we can’t let this opportunity go by.”
Councillor James Baker the Deputy Chair of the Economy and Environment Scrutiny panel said “The proposal is to burn the gas off by ‘flaring’. I am concerned that this may create dioxins which could damage local people’s health. These dangerous chemicals are created by burning hydrocarbons such as methane with chlorine, which is present in landfill gas, in the presence of oxygen.”
“I want the panel to double-check this to ensure the gas will be properly filtered and then, if possible, is put to a productive use to power homes or heat water in boilers.”
This issue will be considered at an extra meeting of Calderdale Council’s Scrutiny Panel being called on Monday, June 17th at 6pm in Halifax Town Hall.
The Communities Directorate of Calderdale Council has delivered a balanced budget at the end of the 2012/13 financial year, according to a report to the Council’s Cabinet today (3 June 2013).
Commenting on this, Councillor Pauline Nash (Liberal Democrat, Skircoat), who was, until last month, the Cabinet Member for Communities told us:
“I do not have to follow the example of Liam Byrne, Labour’s last Chief Secretary to the Treasury, who left his successor a note saying there was no money left. I am handing over to the new Cabinet member a directorate in financial good health and delivering services that are valued by the people of Calderdale.”
“I hope the same is true when the next annual accounts are published in a year’s time”.
A new £2m scheme has been launched by the Coalition Government to help boost childcare businesses and help women back into work.
People who want to set up a nursery can apply for grants of up to £500 to help cover things like legal and insurance costs, training, equipment and adaptations to buildings. The scheme is aimed to launch up to 6,000 new childcare businesses across England.
We hope people in Calderdale will take up this offer so that a significant number of new nurseries will spring up here, boosting options for parents.
This funding boost comes on top of other recent good news for parents. Last month it was announced that 524 of the poorest two-year-olds in Calderdale stand to benefit from 15 hours free childcare a week from this September. This was championed by Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government to ensure those toddlers have a good start in life and education.
Commenting, Cllr Ashley Evans said:
“Liberal Democrats want to create a stronger economy in a fairer society, enabling everyone to get on in life. Childcare plays a vital role in achieving those goals. It helps the early development of children and removes barriers for those parents keen to return to work.
“We have seen time and time again the important difference that good quality childcare can make in giving children the best possible start in life.
“This money will help entrepreneurs set up and run new childcare facilities which along with over £1.4 million extra to help fund child care for two year olds will be a boost to Calderdale’s economy and a massive help to families here.”
Since May 2010, Calderdale Council has been run by Liberal Democrats and Labour Councillors working together on a jointly agreed programme. Now the Labour group has decided unilaterally to end this arrangement although the Liberal Democrats were committed to seeing through the current two-year programme that was agreed last year.
Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Calderdale Council, Cllr Janet Battye (Calder ward) says: “The Labour Group have told us that they want to end the local agreement on running Calderdale Council so that they can campaign against Welfare Benefit cuts. However, they seem to have missed the fact Calderdale Council has no power to stop the programme of Benefit Reform: that is being pursued by the national government and is designed in part to help reduce the debt that the last Labour government left this country with when it lost the election in 2010.
This reform, though, has to be done alongside developing the local economy, supporting businesses and creating jobs, to ensure that those people who go out and work get fairly rewarded for their efforts. There is more to running the council than welfare reform, so it is clear that Labour here care more about national politics rather than working constructively to improve the lives of local people here in Calderdale.”
“We feel that Liberal Democrat Councillors have worked constructively with the Labour group since May 2010 to help build a stronger economy and a fairer society here in Calderdale. We have worked intelligently to make savings that meant that the services that matter to people, such as libraries and Sure Start Children’s Centres, were kept open. We conducted extensive public consultation and listened to what people told us.
This is all in stark contrast to Labour-run Councils across the north that lack the economic competence or interest to make smart changes to services and instead simply blame the government for cuts.”