Winter service (gritting !)

At the recent Town Parish Council Conference, there was an interesting presentation by Calderdale Council’s Highways office about their work. So I asked the question about gritting – essential to make sure that we can get about in the winter months (however long that lasts). The answer was that this year’s service will be as before but the standard (and cost) is higher here than in many places – approx 2/3rds of the road are gritted here – so the Council is planning on reviewing it.

So I went to the Economy and Environment Scrutiny Panel last night to speak out for us – a review is planned (last done in 2008/9) but it’s essential that our needs are taken into account. So watch this space and be ready to respond.

I also asked about the salt barn (a large barn to contain and protect the Council’s pile of salt and grit). Not much from the sound of it – caught up in the Council’s Review of depots. Watch this space, too.

Making progress with plans to move Hebden Bridge market

In this morning’s Working Group meeting, we had a draft plan of proposal to move the market into Lees Yard which we worked on. A further (final ?) version will be brought back to us shortly. We’ll need to check the costs and urge Calderdale Council to fund it. It does look promising but it needs to be good enough to consult with market traders, local shops and local people. A big step forward, nonetheless !

Update on Brow Foot Gate Lane


Lib Dem campaigner Ashley Evans

We have been campaigning for the Council to take action on the traffic problems around Brow Foot Gate Lane for a fair amount of time now. Having continued to raise this issue at various Council meetings it seems we are getting somewhere. Copied below is the latest response we have been given by the Highways Manager at the Council.

Brow Foot Gate Lane is one of the schemes that will be progressed. Owing to the complexity of BFG Lane and the surrounding roads there are likely to be a number of options that will generate local interest and involvement. After discussion with legal colleagues we consider that an experimental traffic regulation order (TRO) would be a good way to identify local concerns and requirements and help in identifying the best solution for everyone in the quickest time.

I have attached a link ( )  to a briefing paper about TROs that includes the following text about experimental TRO’s:

Making an experimental order as a precursor to a permanent order can have material benefits, specifically it can truncate the requirements as to consultation, notice of proposals and objections, providing other requirements have been met (see Regulation 23). This can be a more cost effective and flexible approach (allowing e.g. for immediate feedback and minor changes) than a permanent order or a temporary order

We will need to carry out some feasibility work to identify what the experimental TRO will consist of and carry out technical surveys and consultation. This work has not started yet but I will ask my colleague, Roger Archer-Reeves, to advise you when the feasibility work starts.

Meanwhile we continue to push for small improvements, having requested the Council gets around to repairing the steps at the bottom of Kelvin Avenue, and working to try and get vegetation on Churn Lane cut back.


Bonfire night events across Calderdale – 2014

There are a range of bonfire night events going on around Calderdale this year

Saturday 1st November – Elland recreation Ground, Hullen Edge Road. Gates at 5.30pm admission £5 for adults and £2.50 for children.

Wednesday 5th November Moorlands Inn, Ogden will hold a firework night. Doors 6pm with Pie & Peas. Entry fee is £5 or £2.50 for under 12s.

Wednesday 5th November – Casa Hotel and Restaurant, Brighouse. Will do a firework display. The night starts at 7pm and entrance fee is £5.

Wednesday 5th November – The New Hobbit, Hob Lane, Halifax Bonfire lit at 6.30pm and fireworks at 7.30pm. Entrance is £3, kids go free.

Friday 7th November – Long Can Hall, Fountainhead, Bonfire will be lit at 7pm with pie and peas throughout the night

Saturday 8th November  – Heath RUFC will be open from 4pm and the bonfire will be lit around 7pm

If you are planning your own display, remember to take time to remind yourself of the firework safety code but most of all have a wonderful time!

Flying the flag

There is a story in the Express UKIP fury as Labour and Lib Dems ‘claim Union flag is nasty and nationalistic. This story is based off a Conservative party press release that UKIP MEP Jane Collins has reacted to. She is quoted as having said:

They’re quite happy to take their expenses off the British taxpayer yet insult the country by saying that children should not sing the national anthem and that the Union Flag is ‘nasty’.

We categorical deny having called the Union Flag nasty, and wonder where the UKIP MEP who wasn’t at the meeting got this quote from. It’s an example of really bad journalism where one person makes an allegation, and then it’s reported in the headline in a way that makes it seem like a fact.

What’s alarming is how quickly some people have accepted that story as gospel. At least one UKIP supporter has suggested that we ought to be hung for treason! UKIP should be ashamed of this type of incitement to violence from one of their supporters.

We have no problem if schools choose to fly the flag or sing the anthem. We said we don’t think it’s the role of the Council to encourage them to do this. I find it immensely hypocritical that the Conservatives  having spent years arguing schools should be run separately as academies  now see the Council as an appropriate vehicle to try and tell them how to teach citizenship.

Our position is clear,  It’s down to teachers and governors to decide how to teach citizenship and choose themselves whether they want to fly flags, not the Council. We expect many will choose to spend 15 mins on education rather than saluting the flag and singing the anthem.

Below for the sake of clarification is the wording of the Labour amendment to the Conservative motion. This amended was carried and that became the substantive motion the Council passed. Noticed nowhere does it call the flag ‘nasty’, in fact it includes a schedule of days in which we WOULD fly the flag on Council buildings and promote citizenship ceremonies.


The full text of the motion is as follows:

Flying the Union Flag

This Council: 
(a) Notes that promotion of our British values and participation in civil society is an important part of the national curriculum, and recognises that headteachers and governors have the responsibility for determining the most appropriate ways of applying and promoting our shared values within their school community.

(b) Resolves to continue to delegate decisions over the flying of flags from the Town Hall and other civic buildings to the Governance and Business committee, in consultation with the Civic Advisory Group, and notes the current arrangements agreed by the Council as per below:

(c) Requests the Governance and Business Committee to consider how greater prominence can be given to Citizenship Ceremonies, highlighting the commitment show to this country by those who seek to adopt our citizenship.


Date Event Flag 
9 January Birthday of the Duchess of Cambridge Union Flag
20 January Birthday of the Countess of Wessex Union Flag
6 February Her Majesty, The Queen’s Accession Union Flag
19 February    Birthday of The Duke of York Union Flag
10 March   Birthday of The Earl of Wessex Union Flag
21 April       Birthday of Her Majesty The Queen Union Flag
23 April St George’s Day           St George’s Flag
2 June          Coronation Day Union Flag
10 June    Birthday of The Duke of Edinburgh      Union Flag
moveable date in June        Official Celebration of Her Majesty’s    Birthday Union Flag
21 June Birthday of the Duke of Cambridge Union Flag
17 July Birthday of The Duchess of Cornwall     Union Flag
15 August Birthday of The Princess Royal   Union Flag
Second Sunday in November Remembrance Day   Union Flag
14 November       Birthday of The Prince of Wales         Union Flag
20 November       Her Majesty The Queen’s Wedding Day       Union Flag  
Second Monday in March Commonwealth Day Commonwealth
Two weeks before Poppy Appeal Royal British Legion Flag
Last week in June Armed Forces week Armed Forces Day flag
1 August Yorkshire Day Yorkshire Flag
Two weeks before Remembrance Sunday Poppy Appeal Period Poppy Appeal Flag
17th May International Day against Homophobia (IDAHO) Rainbow Flag
25th November White Ribbon Day



Crime update – Warley Ward – 6/7th October.

Please be aware of the following incident(s) that have been recorded for the Ward during the period 7am 6th October  to 7am 7th October.
Burglary Dwelling & attempts   
Woodlesford Crescent, Mount Tabor – overnight 5/6th October – Rear door lock is snapped off and entry gained to dwelling.  Various items of property are removed including car keys.  Vehicle is also taken from the drive.
Gleanings Drive, Norton Tower –  overnight 5/6th October – attempt to force locks on both conservatory door and front door of premises has been made, however, no entry was gained.
Moor End Road, Halifax – 6th October 9/9.25am – 38 year old man has been arrested and is currently in custody.
Burglary other (including garages & sheds)
None recorded
Damage to buildings non dwelling
None recorded
Damage to motor vehicle
None recorded
Damage non specific
None recorded
Theft non specific
None recorded
Theft from motor vehicle
None recorded
Theft of vehicle
None recorded
If you have any information regarding these, or any other crimes, please phone the Police on 101 or CRIMESTOPPERS: 0800555111

Enforcement of 20mph zones



A lot of residents in Warley ward are rightly concerned that there is very little enforcement of the new 20mph zone that has been introduced. This is despite an assurance from the Police and Crime Commissioner that these 20mph zones would be enforced.

I’m currently chair of Calderdale Council’s Economy and Environment Scrutiny Panel. The Panel, as part of its work programme for 2015/16 has agreed to take a detailed look at the introduction of and the on-going roll-out of 20mph speed limits in the Borough and to hear from Council Officers and other interested parties in this regard. The meeting will be held on Thursday 12th November, 2015 at 6.00pm at Halifax Town Hall.

There will be an opportunity for members of the public to contribute to this meeting with evidence, or examples of their own personal experience. Feel free to turn up to the meeting, or if you can let me know before hand if you are planning on coming along.



Syrian Refugees – Britain can do more, say Lib Dems

Child Detention

I’m very pleased to say that the Council backed a Liberal Democrat motion calling on the government to do more to aid people fleeing for their lives from Syria.

We’re not talking here about the wider problem of people trying to get to Europe from North Africa, but specifically about Syrians displaced by the conflict in their own country; those understandably in fear of their lives, caught between the actions of their government on the one hand and a barbaric cult on the other. Britain is a relatively rich nation and we believe that the government could do more, and that the council should play its part in giving people a warm welcome here. Taking people directly from the refugee camps around the Syrian borders will not encourage the people traffickers so much in evidence elsewhere.

The Council debate brought out the best and the worst in people. The Labour group admitted that they had considered tabling a motion on this subject, but shied away from it, fearing the response from the Conservative group. We, however, are proud to be saying that this country needs to be doing more to show compassion for those experiencing such dreadful hardships.

Kinder new politics lasts a day… then Tom Watson speaks.

Corbyn made a noble call to improve the quality of political debate in this country:

I want a kinder politics, a more caring society, don’t let them to reduce to you believing anything less. So I say to activists whether Labour or not, cut out the personal abuse, cut out the cyber bullying and especially the misogynist abuse online and let’s get on with brining real values back into politics

Sadly his Deputy Leader Tom Watson didn’t seem to be listening:

“that useless bunch of lying sell-outs the Lib Dems”

Compare that attitude with Tim Farron on the Marr show:

I’ve never been a tribialist, I’ve always taken the view we should work with others whether they be on the progressive wing of politics or not to achieve what we want”