Heroes Welcome aid to forces personnel

wet   Hilary Waddington lays a wreath on behalf of Soroptimist International of Harrogate and District at the Remembrance Service in Wetherby.  (111113M1o)
wet Hilary Waddington lays a wreath on behalf of Soroptimist International of Harrogate and District at the Remembrance Service in Wetherby. (111113M1o)

The schools are back, there’s a slight chill in the air and the nights are drawing in.

Summer seems to have flown by and has been busier and much more turbulent than usual.

Life has been a bit of a whirlwind since becoming Town Mayor in July last year and it’s suddenly dawned on me that I don’t have that long left in the role.

After the September meeting next month I only have six more Town Council meetings to preside over.

It’s a strange sort of job when you just about start to feel that you’re getting the hang of things it’s almost time to step aside and hand over to somebody else.

There’s not time for reflection at this stage as there are still a number of key things I want to achieve in the short time I have left.

Tonight I will be attending the monthly meeting of our Youth Town Council, the establishment of which is probably my proudest achievement to date.

They have been working incredibly hard over the summer on a number of projects and one in particular about a new approach to supporting fellow young people into employment and training opportunities is particularly exciting and I’m looking forward to hearing about the progress they’ve made on that. Hopefully, I can report back a little bit about it next week.

I have always been incredibly proud of the way we commemorate the dedication and sacrifice of our brave armed forces personnel on Remembrance Sunday each year in Wetherby.

We have a wonderful branch of the Royal British Legion and one of their number, Edna Hilditch, who is also a Town Councillor and good friend, has been promoting the idea of us becoming a Heroes Welcome Town.

I am pleased to tell you that will be doing exactly that to coincide with this year’s commemorations in November.

Where displayed, the Heroes Welcome logo shows support for British Armed Forces Personnel and indicates a warm welcome, service upgrade, special acknowledgement or even a little discount as appropriate.

Businesses and shopkeepers will shortly be receiving information about how they can get involved in the scheme and I really hope there’ll be lots of people signed up when we launch later in the year.

It was great to see the Engine Shed celebrating their first birthday since they re-launched last year.

It’s a great venue and a real asset to Wetherby and the new owners seem to be doing a fantastic job.

I was sorry not be able to join them for their birthday party but I hope to get to see them soon.

Much of my focus at the moment is being directed at the production of our neighbourhood plan.

Planning is not one of my areas of expertise and I am having to learn all about it very quickly!

We are meeting again this week and will shortly be looking to begin a variety of community consultation events and delivering leaflets and surveys to tell people more about what we are trying to do and ask for your thoughts and ideas about the future of the town.

Once we have a plan in place, it will be legally binding on the planning authority and developers to adhere to its objectives and while they are not bound by it now, they still have to take the work we have done so far into consideration when submitting or considering any development applications.

There are currently three significant planning applications that affect Wetherby as I’m sure you are probably aware.

The deadline for comments on the application for 2000 houses at Thorp Arch Trading Estate passed on August 29, although if you still wished to make a comment, planners would almost certainly consider it up to the point that the application is considered.

The deadline for comments on the proposed development on Spofforth Hill is tomorrow, Friday, and you may also be aware that an application has been submitted to develop the former Benfield Ford site into sheltered apartments for elderly people. Comments for this scheme should be submitted by Saturday November 9.

Readers can view the applications on line at publicaccess.leeds.gov.uk or they should be available in Wetherby Library.

Anyone with questions or who needs any help in making comments either for or against any of the schemes can then please get in touch.