Labour's Housing Failure

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Calderdale Council has one of the worst records in the country for building new homes. As a result we have lost out in Millions of pounds of 'New Homes Bonus' funding. This funding could have prevented many of the public sector cuts that Labour promised to protect us from. In the past year just 61 affordable properties were built in the Borough. This ranks the Council as 'red' on it's own RAG rating system.

The Council has also failed the Government's Housing Delivery Test. 55 local authorities failed the test of meeting the 75% target. However, Calderdale was in a smaller number who failed the target by a significant margin with an outcome of 50%, this makes the authority the worst performing metropolitan authority in the North, and the 13th worse local authority in England.

Even when you compare Calderdale to other Northern Mets that have faced similar challenging circumstances under a Conservative Government our current Labour administration has still failed us locally.

The lack of affordable housing is a real issue impacting on people. People are dying on our streets. Many more are stuck on the housing waiting list, unable to find suitable accommodation that meets their needs.

Don't just take our words for it, this is what one Labour Councillor had to say: “The council and partners are failing the people of Calderdale. Other areas are building far, far more houses,”

 

We demand better for the people of Calderdale

Liberal Democrat Councils across England are leading the way on building sustainable and affordable housing for residents. Liberal Democrat run York Council is building the country's biggest ever sustainable Passivhaus scheme. Eastleigh Council has been able to cut Council tax while smashing its targets for building homes. A Liberal Democrat Council in Calderdale would do the same by:

Transforming our Town Centres

There are dozens of empty units on some of our high streets. Sadly, Calderdale as a local authority has sought to further expand the retails space in Halifax Town Centre causing an oversupply. At a time when the model of high streets as retail spaces is in decline. We would support the transition of our town centres into parks, leisure and residential spaces.

Bring empty homes back into use

There are too many empty homes in Calderdale. We would apply the maximum Council Tax premiums available on these empty homes to encourage landlords to bring them back into use.

Building on Brownfield Sites

There are many former industrial sites in Calderdale. This requires investment to get them into a suitable state for the sites to become profitable for developers. We would work via the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to unlock more of these sites and therefore reduce the amount of development required on the Greenbelt.

Investing in housing

We would take a robust approach to challenging social housing providers over the state of repair of their properties.

We believe in fighting poverty. There is no greater poverty than the poverty caused by not having a home. That is why we would use the new Calderdale Housing Company to build more independent living and affordable housing. We would also develop and support Community Land Trusts to help bring forward more housing projects.

You can read more about our plans for Calderdale in our 2021 local election manifesto

 


Paul and Alex - A hard-working team for Greetland and Stainland

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On May 6th we have a bumper set of local elections. Voters across Greetland and Stainland will be voting to elect two Councillors and a West Yorkshire Mayor. In Feburary this year serving Liberal Democrat Councillor Marilyn Greenwood sadly passed away. This means in May we will be electing two Calderdale Councillors to represent Greetland and Stainland Ward.

This has been a difficult time for our local team losing such a dedicated member.However we are delighted to announce that Alex Parsons-Hulse is going to be joining our team working alongside Cllr Paul Bellenger and Cllr Sue Holdsworth. Alex is an engineer who manages a team of 37 people who look after our canals and waterways.

 

 


Our 2021 Local Election Manifesto

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Click on the Image to view a PDF of our local election manifesto.

A plain text version can read below.

Our Vision for Calderdale

Calderdale Liberal Democrat Manifesto for the 2021 Local Elections

The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.

Our Values – Liberalism & Social Democracy

  • Open to new ideas.
  • Tolerant of others views and beliefs.
  • Value everyone as an individual.
  • Belief in empowering people and communities.
  • Fighting poverty, ignorance and conformity.
  • Protecting the environment.
  • Internationalist outlook.
  • Supporting community politics and re-engaging people at a local level.
  • Committed to democratic reform.
  • Champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals. 

Improving our local Economy

Local investment

We will work to ensure the Council invests in local businesses and industry.  Currently, the Council holds millions of pounds in investments with banks. We think we more of these public funds should be put into local enterprises.

Boosting Tourism

Calderdale has a fantastic cultural heritage and a stunning natural environment to offer for tourism. We believe it is short sighted of the current administration to close tourist information centres.

We would work in partnership with the private sector to develop new tourists’ attractions in the Borough. This would bring more wealth and visitors into our area and local economy. From Shibden Hall to the Industrial Museum there are many underutilized assets

A 21st Century Manufacturing Centre

Calderdale has a rich industrial history. We ought to be driving the next industrial revolution that will involve high-tech manufacturing, automation of production and sustainable energy production and storage. A Liberal Democrat run Council would strive to support modern industries.

Technical Skills

We would support the creation of more apprenticeships in technical skills. Currently the workforce in West Yorkshire is under-skilled. To attract the best businesses and increase the life chances of people we need to create more opportunities to learn technical skills to complete in a modern workplace. 

Growing exports, and international relations

We would work to support local businesses to access new markets and export more. We would also promote our existing cultural links and put more of a focus on Town Twinning. We exist in a global market and need to think globally.

Start-up zones and markets

The best way out of poverty is to give people the tools to build, trade, develop and start up their own enterprises. However, the start-up costs can be so high that often only those with existing capital can undertake new enterprises. We would seek to set up enterprise spaces for new start-ups.  We would also invest in our local markets and develop them into leisure destinations with live music and food stalls.

Local business networks and mentoring

We would develop more local business networks and mentoring schemes across Calderdale. We think a community- based scheme for local businesses that are supported by the Council would help to foster a business spirit across Calderdale.

Highway improvements

A lot of money is spent patching our roads. We believe it would be more cost effective for there to be a major capital invest to save initiative for our Highways to bring them up to standard.

Pothole Machine

JCB has produced a brand-new pothole busting machine. We would invest in the latest pothole busting technology to help fix our streets.

Quality Repairs that last

Too often Highways in Calderdale are fixed by throwing down some cold tarmac. We would ensure proper repairs are carried out with roads being sealed and higher quality use of services. This might cost more in the short-term but would save money in the long run. Buying cheap isn’t economical.

Investing in housing

Calderdale Council ranks in the lowest 15 authorities in the country for new homes being built. This has resulted in large waiting lists for social housing. It has also meant we have missed out in Millions of pounds of ‘New Homes Bonus’ funding.

In parts of the Borough much of the existing social housing stock is in a poor state of repair with too many people living in damp properties. We would take a robust approach to challenging social housing providers over the state of repair of their properties.

We believe in fighting poverty. There is no greater poverty than the poverty caused by not having a home. That is why we would use the new Calderdale Housing Company to build more independent living and affordable housing. We would also develop and support Community Land Trusts to help bring forward more housing projects.

Supporting a South Pennines Regional Park

The South Pennines is the only area upland area of England without any designated protection framework. A Liberal Democrat Council would help lead a campaign to get our unique Pennine landscape into a new National Park. This would be a major boost to environmental protection and tourism within our region.

Transforming our Town Centres

There are dozens of empty units on some of our highstreets. Sadly, Calderdale as a local authority has sought to further expand the retails space in Halifax Town Centre causing an oversupply. At a time when the model of highstreets as retail spaces is in decline. We would support the transition of our town centres into parks, leisure and residential spaces.

Bring empty homes back into use

There are too many empty homes in Calderdale. We would apply the maximum Council Tax premiums available on these empty homes to encourage landlords to bring them back into use.

Building on Brownfield Sites

There are many former industrial sites in Calderdale. This requires investment to get them into a suitable state for the sites to become profitable for developers. We would work via the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to unlock more of these sites and therefore reduce the amount of development required on the Greenbelt.

 

 

A modern democratic and efficient Council

Sorting out customer first and improving access to services online

We are open to new ideas. That is why we would transform how the Council delivers services.  We would ensure that it is easier to interact with the Council and the services you require with it via a mobile phone.  We would also ensure the Council maps reported faults such as fly-tipping, potholes, street light repairs so you can see if a problem has been reported and when it will be fixed.

We would also sort out problems with customer first where problems people report are not getting fixed or passed onto the right officers.

A more commercially minded approach

Many local authorities are leading the way on the commercialisation agenda in Local Government. Sadly, Calderdale Council that managed to lose £60K a year running car boot sales is not one of them.

We would seek to examine all Council services to see where there are opportunities to generate more of a revenue for the local authority. This would mean fewer cuts to public services. When you are faced with a financial crisis you can either reduce your costs or increase your income. We would strive to do the later.

Local and fair decision making

Under the current system power is concentrated in the Town Hall in the hands of senior officers and cabinet members. We would establish area committees of ward Councillors to make decisions about Highways Spending, Safer Cleaner Greener activity, regeneration planning and services in their area. We would also ensure a fairer distribution of capital spending across all wards in Calderdale.

Scrapping the undemocratic cabinet system

Calderdale Council has 51 Councillors. Currently just 7 Councillors get to sit on a cabinet that has nearly all the decision-making powers. We would revert the Council back to the committee system, so every Councillor elected to represent an area got to participate in decision making about their community.

Give people power to shape their communities

Neighbourhood Plans give power to local people to shape their communities, for example, in deciding where new housing is built. We want to extend this opportunity to all communities across Calderdale. We would also encourage the establishment of new Town and Parish Councils

Crowd-funding

We believe in empowering people and communities. That is why we would set up a website that allows people to fundraise for small community capital projects.

Community management of assets and services

Where possible we would encourage community management of assets and Council services. This would help to reduce the cost of the Council in maintaining assets and give local people the opportunity to play a role in working with the Council to deliver service

Mutual model for service delivery

It is the role of local Councillors to determine what services are needed, but the details of how a service is delivered would be best achieved by empowering our workforce. We would seek to promote mutual models of service delivery where worker co-operatives delivered more of the services that the Council provides.

Voluntary Overpayments of Council Tax

Westminster Council, and Islington wrote to its residents and asked them if they would be willing to make a voluntary extra payment in Council Tax.  We believe there are many residents in Calderdale who might be willing to support extra services such as youth services, projects to help the disadvantaged, extra improvements to parks and public spaces. We would introduce a voluntary scheme where people could make additional contributions to Council services.

Reduce capital borrowing to protect against the cuts

We would ensure any capital schemes are done on an invest to save benefit. By reducing the Council’s capital borrowing and debt repayments we would have more money to spend on delivering front-line services.

Council lottery scheme

We would work to establish a Council run local lottery scheme. Money raised from the lottery would be used for local good causes within Calderdale.

 

Health and Social Care

Dementia village & more independent living accommodation

We would seek to build a new ‘Dementia Village’. This is an innovative way of providing social care to people suffering from the rising problem of Dementia. The dementia village would be based on the Hogeweyk project in the Netherlands and would provide care grounded in day to day life within society. We would also work to build more independent living accommodation units for Calderdale.

Building more bungalows

There is a chronic shortage of bungalows with disabled access for people living in Calderdale. We would seek to address this social care problem via our house building agenda.

Ensure that mental health gets a fair share of health spending

Improving mental health provision is a priority for Liberal Democrats nationally and locally. We want to invest more funding in mental health services and want to make sure that services in Calderdale are easily accessible for local people. While “talking therapies” are important, so are creative arts therapies and support and care services for people living with enduring mental illness.

Care closer to home

We would towards ensuring everybody has easy access to health, wellbeing and care services in their local community provided and coordinated through a partnership between Calderdale Council, the NHS and local community groups.

 Looking after our Children

Currently we have a society where many children are taken into care. These children are then placed in privately provided placements. The cost of this system is exorbitant and sadly many children in care have poor outcomes. At the same time many loving parents are turned away from adopting for reasons such as they have the wrong BMI.

We would seek to provide more of the provision of care placements within the public sector. We would do this by working with other authorities across the region to build new children’s homes.

We would also seek to invest more in early intervention to try and keep more children with their birth families where possible. We want the best outcome for our children and that starts with examining the underlying social problems and causes as to why children have to be taken into care.

 

 

Protecting your rights and Freedoms

Protecting Human Rights, Equalities & Diversity

We value everyone as an individual. That is why we want Calderdale to be a beacon for Human Rights, Equalities and Diversity. Too many people still face discrimination, prejudice and hatred and we are determined to stamp this out. We would ensure the Council is at the forefront of setting an example on the equalities agenda.

Tackling religious intolerance

We value being tolerant of others views and beliefs that is why a Liberal Democrat Council would work to tackle intolerance of others people’s religious beliefs. We would also ensure that we treat everyone as individuals and do not give any special preferential treatment to any particular group of people.

Improving disabled access

It is shocking that there are still railway stations such as Todmorden that do not have full disabled access. We would seek to improve disabled access right across the Borough. Working with charities and NGOs to ensure our public spaces are accessible for all.

Privacy guidelines

We value everyone as an individual. That’s why we would ensure Calderdale Council respects residents personal privacy and introduce a new gold standard for local government. We won’t share or use your personal data for research without your consent; we will keep you informed about how your data is used. We will allow you to opt out of any profiling.

 

 

Transport

One-hour free car parking

We believe in fighting poverty, and that the cost of parking is too high. Motorists are not all wealthy, and many people need a car in a semi-rural area such as Calderdale.  We want to encourage people to shop locally in their own Towns. We would do this by ensuring that all of our Towns had one-hour free parking. This would boost local businesses whilst ensuring that parking spaces were not taken up all day long.

Campaign for better-integrated transport systems

We’ll continue to press for significant improvement to the rail services (electrification of the Calder Valley line, modern railway carriages, the station at Elland) and we’ve protected and improved local buses. We’re supporting more cycling and walking, and reducing carbon emissions (and cleaner air) by electric cars. But we want to do more than that and make certain that transport is properly integrated so the system works well for local people.

Powered two-wheelers (PTW)

We would develop a policy to support the use of powered two wheelers. This generally have lower CO2 and congestion consquences as a form of transport.

Cycling

We would seek to promote cycling and ring-fence a percentage of all Highways Spending to improve cycling infrastructure.

Electric Busses

A Liberal Democrat Council would work to providing a fleet of electric buses to operate around Town Centres. We would support free hop on and hop off buses in Halifax Town Centre

A Cleaner and Greener Environment

Litter

Litter is a problem on the rise in Calderdale. Often bins are left overflowing. Not many people are prosecuted for littering and there is little by way of any public campaign to keep our streets clean.

We would introduce a litter champion scheme and aim to use Ward Forum Grants to provide anyone with the tools to help clean up their street.

We would organise more community clean-ups with residents and seek to provide free tips in parts of the Borough with real problems

Tackling Rats and Vermin

Sadly, there are increasing reports of rats and other vermin linked to fly-tipping and waste problems. We would review the Council’s pest control service to ensure it is able to deal with this public health issue.

Calderdale Energy Company and faster action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

We believe in protecting the environment so we would set the Council a tough target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030. We would also invest in community energy schemes and seek to set up our own energy company to supply energy produced in Calderdale to residents living in Calderdale

Divestment from Fossil fuels

Shortly after declaring a climate emergency Calderdale Council became the landlords to a petrol station. We would introduce a policy of not investing in fossil fuels. We would also cease the exploitation of our local woodland for biomass fuels that add to climate change.

Real-time monitoring of air pollution

Poverty in health means that the poorest in our Borough die on average 10 years earlier than the richest parts of our Borough. Many of the poorest areas are those most affected by air polluting. That is why we would upgrade our capacity to monitor air pollution in Calderdale to provide residents of real-time information and warnings when pollution levels were high.

Opposition to fracking

We are opposed to fracking within Calderdale and will do everything we legally can to try and oppose any attempts to frack within Calderdale. We believe we should be transitioning to low-carbon energy production, not seeking new ways to extract even more fossil fuels from the ground.

Ban single-use plastic by the Council

Single-use plastic items such as cups, straws and plastic bags contribute to polluting our environment. Plastics take hundreds of years to break down and find their ways into our seas and Oceans. We think the Council should lead by example and stop using these materials in favour of more sustainable alternatives.

Back in to the top 10 in the country for recycling

Under a Liberal Democrat Council leader in 2012-13 Calderdale reached the top 10 Council’s in the country for recycling. Since then, our recycling rates have dropped. A primary cause for this is the failings in the current collection service that result from when it was retendered. When this contract expires, we would seek major improvements. Reviewing the wheelie bin and recycling containers. Improving the level of recycling collections and reliability. We would also seek to ensure our food waste goes back to being composted and bio digestion rather than being sent to an incinerator.

Tackling Derelict Sites & Enforcing Planning

Calderdale Council has taken a lax approach to using its legal powers to ensure owners of derelict sites and properties tidy up their sites. We would develop a new policy to ensure a pro-active use of the Council’s legal right under Section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act to force the site owners to tidy up the Halifax Road and Burnley Road derelict sites.

We would also ensure the Council’s planning department actively enforces conditions of planning permissions.

Insulation and affordable warmth

We believe in fighting poverty and protecting the environment. We would push public health spending towards providing insulation for people living in cold homes. Cold homes result in premature deaths and a lack of insulation contributes to forcing people into poverty that has an adverse effect on their physical and mental health. We would launch a major affordable warmth scheme.

Passivhaus and Sustainable building

The Liberal Democrat administration in York has just secure one of the largest Passivhaus schemes in the country. We would follow the example of other well-run Liberal Democrat administrations and seek to bring forward new sustainable housing schemes in Calderdale.

 

 

Education and Young People

Protecting small schools

In many rural communities, small schools are an essential part of the local community. We would pledge to protect small schools that are performing well from closures or mergers.

Vocational training

We would ensure the Council promotes apprenticeships and vocational training. We would seek to open a skills centre in partnership with local businesses and manufactures to ensure we had a workforce that was trained for the future needs of our economy.

Improving key stage five education

Calderdale underperforms in terms of its KS5 education standards. We support the opening of a new sixth form college to help improve the education standards of students wishing to take A-Level courses within Calderdale.  We also recognise that different areas of Calderdale need local access to KS5 education, and would support any new college having a satellite site to cover the geography of the Borough.

Tackling the lack of diversity in schools

In Halifax, we have schools that are divided between White British communities and British Asian communities. We believe that this lack of diversity in our schools will lead to a more divided society. We will seek to work with schools on projects to address this issue and bring people from different cultural and religious backgrounds together as residents of Calderdale.

More funding for youth projects

We believe there should be more structured activities for young people to participate in across the Borough. We would seek to increase the number of youth workers to ensure our young people are supported into becoming happy, creative and constructive adults.

 

Community Safety and Resilience

Supporting action to tackle dangerous driving and speeding

We would ensure Council resources are used for traffic calming measures in areas where speeding is a problem. We would also support community speed watch initiatives to help residents monitor speeds in their communities.

Tackling anti-social behaviour

Anti-social behaviour is on the rise across Calderdale. It is committed by people from all age groups and backgrounds.  We would ensure the Council uses its legal powers at its disposal such as Community Protection Notices and Public Space Protection Orders to help tackle this problem. We would also work to ensure the provision of more Council and Community services designed to encourage people into constructive and creative activity. 

We would also seek to tackle the causes of anti-social behaviour by linking services together. All too often environmental problems, mental health issues or poverty can contribute to unhealth environments in which anti-social behaviour flourishes.

Community based flood resilience

We would work with the local community to develop and train more community flood wardens and to ensure Town Councils had an active role in supporting flood resilience and recovery work. We think we need much more community involvement in official flood and recovery plans.

Preparation and resilience.

Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic exposed how poorly prepared Local Government is for dealing with some risks. We would ensure the work of the West Yorkshire Resilience Forum is taken far more seriously and more effort is put into preparing our society for risks. From flooding to snowing, to power cuts and pandemics. Being prepared is key to protecting people’s livelihoods and wellbeing.

Fly-tipping

Fly-tipping is a major problem in Calderdale. We would get tougher on those who commit this crime and invest in new CCTV traps, no fly-tipping signage to catch offenders. We will also tackle the causes of fly-tipping. A poor bulky waste collection service, excessive charges at tips, and further education as to how to dispose of waste legally are all required.


Implementing Calderdale Green New Deal's Pledge

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On Wednesday 14th April Calderdale Council is debating the Calderdale COVID-19 recovery. The motion can be read online here.

Part of the motion states 

This Council resolves to

To take action on the Climate Emergency and grasp the opportunity to build a better, fairer and greener future for the borough putting the environment at the heart of growth – not a return to the old normal.

We will seek to amend this to strengthen the motion with the pledge that Calderdale Green New Deal is asking all election candidates to sign.

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The amended section on the environment will read: 

To take action on the Climate Emergency and grasp the opportunity to build a better, fairer and greener future for the borough putting the environment at the heart of growth – not a return to the old normal. We will achieve this by producing a plan to drastically cut emissions over the next 10 years and making the climate and ecological emergency a top priority in all Council actions. The plan will have clear dates, actions, persons responsible, and milestones to ensure its implementation.

This is a fantastic opportunity for the Council to back the aims and objectives of local residents who are campaigning to tackle the climate emergency. 

In addition, we are also asking that the recovery is a fair one across all wards in Calderdale and that we also come up with a new housing strategy to tackle the poor performance of the borough in this area. 

 

 

COUNCIL MEETING ON 14 April 2021

FROM COUNCILLOR Baker

 

AMENDMENT TO Agenda Item 12, Covid Response and Recovery

 

AMENDMENT:-

 

After

Invest in a fair recovery – working with our partners in health, the voluntary sector and local businesses to implement a Recovery Plan that benefits our communities.

Insert

This will include developing a new strategy for regeneration in all 17 Council Wards, not just those covered by Town Boards.

 

After

To take action on the Climate Emergency and grasp the opportunity to build a better, fairer and greener future for the borough putting the environment at the heart of growth – not a return to the old normal.

Insert

We will achieve this by producing a plan to drastically cut emissions over the next 10 years and making the climate and ecological emergency a top priority in all Council actions. The plan will have clear dates, actions, persons responsible, and milestones to ensure its implementation.

 

After This council Resolves to:

Insert

Address the historic underperformance on housing with a new housing strategy. This will ensure the provision of homes fit for all, expand the Council Tax Base, and reduce the need for budget cuts.

 

 

NAME OF SECONDER - COUNCILLOR Evans


Matthew Doyle - A Fresh Start for Todmorden

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I’m Matthew, I grew up in Todmorden and I’d like to tell you my story about why I am standing for Council.

Firstly you should know that I am a young carer. I’m also studying at college, and a Todmorden Town Councillor! I’m very busy. As they say if you want something done ask someone busy.

Sadly not everything is easy at the moment. My family are struggling to find a property with suitable disabled access. There is a real shortage of properties like Bungalows across Calderdale. There are a few reasons for this, but one reason is because our local authority ranks bottom 15th in the Country for building new homes. We simply have a lack of affordable social housing to meet our needs. This has left many people in a difficult situation without proper access to a suitable home.

Don’t just take my words for this though. Here is what one of Labour’s own Councillors said about the issue “The council and partners are failing the people of Calderdale. Other areas are building far, far more houses.” Labour Cllr Bryan Smith. Things have got so bad the Chief Executive of Calderdale Council wrote to all Councillors warning about how much new homes' bonus funding the authority was losing out on.

This funding could have helped to protect us against cuts. Cuts such as the closure of the Youth Club, or Walsden Library. The club did amazing work and offered a safe space for young people to be themselves. It brings back many happy memories, and I’m still disappointed to see it go.

I am precisely the sort of person that the Labour Party was meant to stand up for. However, I feel badly let down by them here in Calderdale. I grew so frustrated with their failings that I decided to stand for the Liberal Democrats. I was successful and gained a seat from Labour to get a place on Todmorden Town Council. It seems there is a real shift of people who feel the same way as me and want to see change locally.

I want things to be better for Todmorden.  If elected I would

  • focus on creating more disabled and independent living accommodation to meet the needs of an ageing population.
  • Tackling problems with waste collections on some streets across Todmorden face and the impacts this has on people’s well-being. I would also like to work with my colleagues from neighbouring wards and get the backlog of broken street lights.
  • Ensuring the Council is financially well run, so we don’t miss out on vital funding like the New Homes Bonus that could have protected us from cuts.

Todmorden has been put to the back of the queue far too many times. I believe it is time for a change and time for concerns to finally be highlighted and actioned upon.


Councillor Pat Allen still working for Elland

Like us all Pat has been in lock down for almost a year but has still found ways to help those in Elland who have been, and are, in difficulties as she has always done during the more than 21 years she has been a councillor. She helped found the Elland Food Bank some years ago and it has never been more needed than now. Pat is often there helping and is regularly contacted by folk in need. She also helps fill the family food bags, desperately needed by our children. Pat explained “It is not acceptable for mothers to go hungry so their children don’t, and as you can see they get a lot more than the government’s miserable offering  highlighted by     Marcus Rashford”

A message from Pat.

"Firstly I want to thank all our health, care, teachers, emergency and essential workers for the skill, dedication and sheer hard work they have undertaken for so long. We owe you a huge debt of gratitude.

Secondly, please, if you are offered a vaccine accept it! Vaccination is a key element on our route back to a more normal life.

Finally, please obey the rules. They are hard, they are inconvenient and they can be difficult but they are necessary and will, along with vaccination, save lives and help us out of this crisis.

Thank you for the part you are playing in keeping us all safe."

 

Pat Allen’s  experience is invaluable for our community. It’s been gained through sacrifice, dedication and tenacity. Make sure we keep Pat Allen and her experience — Elland needs her.

 

To contact Councillor Pat Allen  either email :-[email protected]

Or telephone or text:   07767043365

 

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Many people in Elland know that if they need help then Pat is the person to contact. Sometimes it only requires Pat to contact the right person in the right department and the problem can be solved. Sometimes it can be a matter of life and death. Pat’s help has been such that this is what some of them have written. Most of us are fortunate enough not to find ourselves in need of such help but if one day we do, we need Pat Allen to still be there to help.


An entrepreneurial and philanthropic approach is needed to reduce cuts and council tax rises.

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Calderdale Council is currently run by a Labour administration. Their budget for this year contains plans for:

  • Closure of Mixenden Activity Centre.
  • Closure of Libraries including Hipperholme and Lightcliffe, Mytholmroyd and Skircoat.
  • Cuts to Youth Justice Services.
  • Closure of Tourist information centres.
  • Reduction of opening hours of household waste centres.
  • Selling off Clay house and other cultural assets.
  • Closure of Brighouse Customer first and civic hall.
  • Scrapping a 2.5% pay rise for public sector workers and implementing a pay freeze for two years.
  • The maximum 4.9% Council tax rise possible.

Many of these cuts are the result of the Conservative Government’s continued cuts to the Council’s maintenance cuts. However, the authority ranking in the lowest 15th  local authorities in the country for home building has also meant we have lost out on millions of ‘new homes bonus’ funding. For example if Calderdale had built as many homes as Wakefield we wouldn't have needed a single penny Council Tax rise this year.

Calderdale Liberal Democrats are suggesting a more entrepreneurial and philanthropic approach is needed to help generate more of an income locally and therefore reduce the cuts to public services.

Cllr James Baker leader of Calderdale Liberal Democrats said:

"During these challenging times, the Council faces further cuts to services and Council tax rises.”

“We are once again suggesting a community lottery scheme, a system of voluntary extra contributions, and utilizing internet crowdfunding for projects to unlock the community spirit of the Borough.”

“In Halifax’s heyday the Liberal MP for Halifax Sir Francis Crossley donated Almhouses, People’s Park and Crossley Heath School to the people of the Borough. This historic example demonstrates what industry and communities working together can achieve.”

Liberal Democrat Councillor Paul Bellenger said:

“There are many areas of the Council that if managed with a more commercial and entrepreneurial spirit would provide better outcomes for residents. For example, Calderdale was losing £60K a year from running car boot sales. Whereas car boot sales could easily be generating an income with a bit of business sense.”

Liberal Democrat Councillor Ashley Evans said:

“With revenue budgets facing cuts one area the Council has got the power to do things is its capital budget. Sadly, here we see huge inequalities across the Borough. For example, suburban areas in North Halifax losing out. There is not a single capital project allocated for Warley Ward that I represent. The Mixenden Activity Centre is threatened to close and the Three Ways Centre in Ovenden is shut.”

Liberal Democrat Councillor Sue Holdsworth said:

“As a borough we are failing to fully utilise our cultural assets. From the Crag Vale Coiners to Ann Lister’s house in Shibden Hall we have some amazing stories to tell.”

“The Council’s decision to close tourist information centres when we are trying to generate foot fall and the economy after COVID is short-sighted. By improving and creating new attractions that tell our cultural history we could generate increased tourism and income for the Council.”

Liberal Democrat Councillor Amanda Parsons-Hulse said:

“One area the Council could both save money and improve outcomes is for our children who are looked after. Currently, we pay thousands of pounds a year to private providers who have cornered the market for these placements.”

“It makes sense of us to build new homes here in Calderdale to look after our children locally. This could lead to better outcomes, and more funds to spend on early intervention and preventative efforts in social care.”


Focus on Feburary's Council Meeting

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Tributes to Marilyn

The meeting started with tributes being paid to, Cllr Marilyn Greenwood (Greetland & Stainland) who died at the beginning of February. Speeches were made by the Mayor, her chaplain Canon Hilary Barber, three group leaders, the Chief Executive and other councillors. Mention was made of Marilyn’s dedication to her ward and to the causes she felt passionately about. A slideshow of Marilyn’s favourite photographs was shown accompanied by a recording of the Calderdale Choir, of which Marilyn was a member.

Waste Collections

At the November 2020 Council Meeting, a petition was submitted opposing reductions in the waste and recycling collection service that were under consideration at that time. As the petition had garnered over 3,000 signatures, the issue automatically gained a place on this Council Meeting’s agenda. Paul Bellenger (Greetland & Stainland) led the debate, highlighting the options that were being considered earlier: closure of some of the waste/recycling sites; reduced frequency of collections, and the withdrawal of the household collection service for some rural properties. James Baker (Warley) commented that the size of the petition showed how much local residents valued universal services such as waste collection. However, while Paul led, very few councillors followed, with just one Labour councillor pointing out that the Cabinet had not found it necessary to pursue many of the savings options initially put forward.

Council Transparency Questioned

James Baker questioned whether the Council was as open and transparent as it claimed. The recording of the November Council Meeting had not yet been placed on the Council’s YouTube channel; a Cabinet key decision list had again been published containing no upcoming items; Cabinet agenda papers had recently been published later than normal and spending reductions agreed under the Future Council programme were difficult to follow.

Access to Education

Ashley Evans (Warley) expressed his concern that, especially in the current lockdown situation, children from lower income households had less access to education than those who were better off. The effects this may stay with them for the rest of their lives, said Ashley.

Waste and Recycling Collections Need to be Improved

Following increases in complaints from residents about missed collections, increased fly-tipping and more sightings of rats, Ashley Evans placed a motion on the Council agenda calling for the Cabinet to come up with a plan to improve the waste collection service.

Ashley told the meeting that the quality of the waste collection was a big issue for residents and the service seemed to be struggling to cope with the extra demand caused by many people being at home and many children not at school. While the collection crews were working very hard, there were increased reports of missed collections and rats and other vermin. Fly-tipping was a big problem in some areas – especially in poorer parts of the borough – and his calls for a more pro-active approach to tackling it, including greater use of mobile CCTV cameras, had gone unanswered.

James Baker agreed that the collection crews were working hard, but recent events had tipped the service over the edge and capacity needed to be increased. James also criticised the government for not doing enough to shift workers from commercial waste services where demand had fallen to domestic waste collection where they were more needed.

Labour councillors, though, reported much better experiences with waste collections in their wards and replaced Ashley’s motion with a self-congratulatory statement of what has been done to improve matters. As Ashley pointed out, whatever has been done has been shown to be inadequate and the service being received by residents is not good enough


Council should be investing in Wind power

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Calderdale Liberal Democrats are calling for the Council to stop investing in fossil fuels and Petrol Stations and instead explore the possibility of purchasing Ovenden Moor Wind Farm.

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Tribute paid to kind-hearted Councillor Marilyn Greenwood

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Cllr Marilyn Greenwood was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and daughter. A person who cared so much about her family, a dedicated Councillor to her constituents and a pillar of the community. It is with great sadness that we announce her passing.

She fought hard for what she believed was right and during her time representing Greetland and Stainland Ward for the Liberal Democrats from 2014-2021.

During her term of office she represented resident’s interests on campaigns to improve children’s dentistry, to improve the local plan and adult health issues. Marilyn was passionate about trying to improve the health and lives of others.

During her final months serving as a Councillor during the pandemic Marilyn thought of others first. Working to set up a volunteer network to help vulnerable local residents she represented.

A remarkable woman with many talents, a singer, a marathon running and recently and author of a  book titled The Whistler: A Harrowing True Story. Marilyn will be missed by many but remembered by more.