Barwick and Scholes

Ron Miller


‘Midsomer’ in Barwick: a murder mystery evening with the intriguing title of ‘Charity begins at Murder’ will be presented at a special meeting of Barwick Village Ladies on Friday, August 17. The drama will be enacted by members of Kippax Amateur Dramatic Society in the era of the 1920’s. Ladies are encouraged to wear costumes of that period to add to the evening’s authenticity. The key question of ‘Who done it’ will, of course, rest with those attending. Admission, by ticket only, will cost £6 and the action begins at the Village Hall at 7.30pm.

Seed tray gardens: an opportunity for local youngsters to demonstrate their creative skills is being offered by Barwick Horticultural Society. One of the many competitive classes to be judged at the society’s annual show on Saturday, September 1, will be for creating ‘A Garden in a Seed Tray.’ This can contain either fresh or artificial plants and flowers, or presumably a mixture of both. For information on how to enter please call the show secretary, Geoff Thornton, tel. (0113) 281-2171.

Scholes Village Show: the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Coun Ann Castle, who is well known in the parish as one of its representatives on Leeds City Council, will officially open Scholes Village Show at 2pm on Saturday, September 8. This popular event, successfully revived last year after a gap of several years, will again take place at Scholes Elmet Primary School. There will be numerous competitive classes, including arts and crafts, flowers, fruit and vegetables, home cooking and photography, as well as special classes for children to enter. A plant and produce stall will also be available, while refreshments will be served by members of the Women’s Institute. There will not be an admission charge but a silver collection will be taken at the door. Further information about the show and how to submit entries can be obtained by calling (0113) 264-5491.

Bowling, anyone? Scholes Bowling Club is keen to welcome new members, of any age or playing standard. Sets of ‘woods’ are available for people who do not have their own, or for those who have not played before and would like to give bowling a try. The club secretary can be contacted on (0113) 273-3889 for further information, or just turn up at the bowling green.

Campaigners’ invitation: members of the Save Our Scholes residents’ group, who have pledged to fight to protect the rural identity of their village, recently asked Scholes resident and former parish councillor George Hall to reconsider his decision to resign from the steering group putting together a Neighbourhood Development Plan for the parish. Mr Hall, who has considerable knowledge of planning issues and is an outspoken advocate for the village, has accepted their invitation, with the proviso that his return should have the support of the Parish Council. The Wetherby News understands that an assurance of that support has been given to Mr Hall by the Chairman of the Parish Council, Scholes resident Coun Ben Hogan. As previously reported, Coun Hogan told the July parish council meeting that Mr Hall had stepped down from the steering group as a result of disagreement between its members about the plan’s strategy and content. It is believed that Mr Hall has agreed to return to lead only the Scholes steering group and will not take part in discussions about Barwick’s contribution to the plan.

Scholes parish meeting: a large number of Scholes residents, plus some from Barwick, were expected to attend a parish meeting at Scholes Village Hall last night, Wednesday, August 8. It was organised by members of Save Our Scholes, the pressure group of villagers who have pledged to protect the rural identity of Scholes in the face of proposed, large scale housing developments. Currently, there remains a possibility that up to 3,500 new homes could be built in and around Scholes during the next ten years, with a further 850 possible in Barwick. It will be next January, at the earliest, before Leeds City Council, the local planning authority, reveals just how many homes are likely to be needed to the East of the city to meet Government targets. Recent changes to planning regulations, which have been cut from around 1,000 pages to just 50, mean that far more applications for planning approval submitted by new home developers will be approved. Parish councils, such as the one in Barwick and Scholes, will not have the power to say ‘No’ to housing schemes, nor will the city council be able to oppose developers’ plans as readily as they have in the past. Under the new planning guidelines they will be expected to give a green light to the majority of new developments. Many people have welcomed the changes as they recognise that families and individuals need more homes to be available, both for sale and to rent, in many parts of the country. However, many Scholes residents fear that if approval is given by the city council for up to 3,500 new homes to be built in and around their village its rural identity will be lost forever. They believe Scholes will become a sprawling East Leeds suburb, with little of its centuries old village appearance or atmosphere remaining. Members of Save Our Scholes, along with contributors to the Village People social networking website, are determined to resist large scale development. The Parish Council’s view is that the villages’ best defence against housing schemes of unwelcome size will be for the parish to agree the content of a robust Neighbourhood Development Plan. Once approved by at least half the electors in the parish this will have legal status. It may not enable the community to stop bulldozers in their tracks but it will empower villagers, with backing from the parish council, to resist the size and nature of housing schemes and insist that any approved housing is accompanied by improved local services such as more schools, health centres, leisure facilities and better public transport.