Barwick and Scholes News

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Barwick and Scholes

Ron Miller

r.miller10@sky.com

Christmas Tree festival: members of Scholes Methodist Chapel will host their popular Christmas Tree Festival this coming weekend, from 10am-4pm on Saturday and from noon-3.30pm on Sunday. Morning coffee, lunches and teas will be available at appropriate times. Admission will cost £2, including light refreshments; children free.

Christmas by Design: this will be the theme of a flower arranging demonstration given by Vanessa Wellock at next Wednesday’s open meeting of Barwick in Elmet Flower Club, to be held at Scholes Village Hall at 7.30pm. Guests are welcome to attend. Tickets costing £9, including wine and seasonal refreshments, are available from committee members or can be obtained by calling 0113 264 5491.

Scholes Christmas market: the new management of The Buffers, a popular pub at the top end of Scholes which has recently re-opened, are holding a weekly Christmas market. Stalls selling a variety of goods will be set up every Thursday until December 20, from 4-9pm.

Barwick school fair: pupils and staff of Barwick Church of England Primary School will hold their Christmas Fair on Saturday, December 15 at Barwick Village Hall from 2-5pm. A wide variety of products, including Christmas gifts and cakes, will be available, plus a tombola. The event will also offer local children a chance to discuss their Christmas wish list with Santa in his grotto. All proceeds will be used to support the work of the school.

Golden opportunity: young people living in Barwick or Scholes currently have what a local team of volunteers describe as a golden opportunity to have their say on what type of facilities they would like to see provided in their village. The term is used to introduce the Youth Leisure Survey targeting local young people aged between eight and 18. A questionnaire has been delivered to each house in both Barwick and Scholes, with space for up to four young people in a family to express their opinions without the need to give their name or address. Completed forms must be returned by Tuesday, December 18 to one of several collection points. In Barwick these are the Post Office, the primary school reception desk or Mr Virdi’s corner store; in Scholes: Satnam’s convenience store, the primary school reception desk or Scholes Library. They can also be posted to The Parish Clerk, Chessingham, Elmwood Lane, Barwick in Elmet, Leeds, LS15 4JX. The survey is being carried out by volunteer members of the steering groups in each village putting together a Neighbourhood Development Plan for Barwick and Scholes. Once approved by local people and by Leeds City Council this will be used in discussions with builders and planning officers about questions such as how many new homes should be built in the two villages and where should they be located. It will also help negotiate cash payments from developers towards the cost of improving public services, such as schools, health centres, sport and leisure facilities. Young people filling in the questionnaire simply need to tick a few boxes, say which existing facilities they now use and what they think about them and suggest how they can be improved. Under the heading My perfect youth centre they are asked “If there was a place to meet your friends to just relax and have fun, what indoor and outdoor facilities would you like it to have?” A list of possible facilities, including computer games, Internet access and serious computing as well as music, table tennis, darts and other games and indoor sports is included. Outdoor options include a sports track and ramps for BMX biking, skateboarding, roller blades or scooters, plus marked out Astro turf for football, netball or basketball. Young people are also being asked if they are already members of sport or leisure groups or would be interested in joining these if they were made available. Extra copies of the survey questionnaire can be downloaded from www.barwickandscholesneighbourhoodplan.co.uk

Frank comments: the small number of local residents who attended the recent Saturday morning meeting in Scholes to discuss neighbourhood planning were treated to some refreshingly candid comments from Coun John Procter (Con, Harewood) who chairs the Housing Scrutiny Board at Leeds City Council. Some of the new home building proposals put forward by developers for the Leeds district were, he said, “barking mad.” And during discussion of where the 70,000 new homes needed in Leeds should be located, he commented “Developers don’t really care where the sites are; they would probably like to build 90,000 if they could.” Responding to a question about whether the threat of 3,500 new homes being built in and around Scholes was now receding, he said this number was “not a threat but an aspiration, nothing more than that.” Welcoming the present policy of councillors being open and transparent with people about development proposals, Coun Procter said: “We have been accused by Leeds City Council officers of frightening our communities but we would rather people know than face a fait accompli.” He said 20 years ago plans were considered behind closed doors but now people “want to know what’s coming at them.” Elmet MP Alec Shelbrooke gave encouragement to local people anxious to preserve the rural identity of villages in the Wetherby and East Leeds areas when he said “There is a plan in the offing which will give relief to all our villages.” And in reply to the question of whether hundreds of hours of voluntary work in communities to produce Neighbourhood Development Plans would prove “a waste of time,” he said the plans will be “of vital importance,” adding “communities will decide their own future using their NDP, which will take priority.” He also insisted that under the government’s Localism Bill “further protection of the Green Belt will be enforced.” The meeting was organised by Scholes resident George Hall, who is leading a team of volunteers drafting the village’s section of the parish development plan.