WETHERBY MP Alec Shelbrooke has joined with the Wetherby News for a brand new service.
Starting this week is a new monthly column in which he answers questions readers pose on issues they would like answers to.
Alec Shelbrooke was duly elected as the Member of Parliament for Elmet and Rothwell at the General Election in May 2010.
His seat consists of five Leeds City Council wards – Garforth and Swillington, Harewood, Kippax and Methley, Rothwell, Wetherby.
In this first link with parliament the following questions were put to the MP and here are his answers.
Ray Trewhitt, of Badgerwood Close, Wetherby, asked:
“I would like to know how our MP could help improve Wetherby’s parking facilities?
There is never anywhere to park in the town other than the Riverside car park and I would like to see more free parking spaces available for residents and shoppers. Is this going to be possible?
Answer: The car parking situation in Wetherby is a priority for my colleagues on Leeds City Council - Councillors Procter, Wilkinson and Lamb.
They have worked with local businesses to develop a new free car park in the centre of the town.
As those plans were being finalised, proposals by Sainsbury’s for a new supermarket in the town halted their proposals.
A clearer position should emerge in the first quarter of 2012 and I will be doing all I can to assist my colleagues on this issue.
Dot Ryce, Owner of Heaven is on Wetherby High Street, asked:
“I would like to see the issues of rents for Wetherby shopkeepers and businesses in the town addressed.
Some kind of incentive or rent reduction in the town would be good for shop owners like myself who work extremely hard.
What incentives do you have in mind?
I would also like to ask about traffic on the A1 which often builds up and if there is any way that this can be diverted or if there is any way of redirecting the traffic?
This affects commuters like me on a daily basis.”
Answer: The way business rates are collected will be changing; instead of the Treasury collecting the money and then distributing back to local Councils, the Councils themselves will collect the money which is used to fund local services.
In my view, it would also be helpful to decentralise rate setting powers which would allow local Councils to offer incentives in struggling High Streets.
I will raise this matter with Ministers in the New Year.
Wetherby is lucky to have the experience of Coun Gerald Wilkinson who picks up Highway issues in the town. I will raise your thoughts on traffic congestion with him.
Katrina Popely, of The Square, Harewood asked:
“A lot of my shoppers would like to see a focal point in Wetherby to attract more tourists to the town.
Are there any schemes or business groups who are going to arrange this?
All the traders in Wetherby work extremely hard and anything which attracts more shoppers and tourists to the town is a good thing.”
Answer: Wetherby has a great set of traders who work hard to keep our Market Town vibrant.
Wetherby has some great assets, the River walk and the market square to name but a few.
We were successful in lobbying for the Olympic Torch to come through Wetherby and it is important that we ‘cash in’ on events such as this and get as many visitors to the town as possible.
In turn, this provides a great opportunity for local traders to attract visitors into their shops.
Likewise, the Town Mayor’s Jubilee Celebrations will be good for the Town.
Derick Willis, Wetherby asks:
What can we do to form a solidarity movement to change the planning laws at local level with regards to supermarkets wanting to open stores on the outskirts of the town?
And what is your view of supermarket proposals on the outskirts of Wetherby? Will you support it?
Answer: Planning laws have already had a major change in the passing of the Localism Bill.
The Act now decentralises powers over planning to local councils rather than faceless bureaucrats in Whitehall.
At a local level, it would be a good idea for local councils to plan for where they see a need for new supermarkets across the City.
I fear the effect new supermarkets in Wetherby will have on our local traders, especially the Sainsbury’s proposal which would cut off the town completely.
Do you have a question you would like answered by Wetherby MP Alec Shelbrooke?
It can be on any subject – local or national.
If so, please e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 19. Alternatively write to Wetherby News, 9 Westgate, Wetherby LS22 6LL