Time to make key decisions for our future

wet  Save Primrose Hill Care Home campaigners.  (130225M3e)
wet Save Primrose Hill Care Home campaigners. (130225M3e)

By the time you read this column, we will know if we have been successful in overturning Leeds City Councils decision to close Primrose Hill Residential Home in Boston Spa.

Along with a number of my colleagues, we have called in the decision to be scrutinised by an all-party group of councillors with the hope that they will agree with us that the council’s decision making Executive Board should reconsider their decision.

The scrutiny boards are similar to select committees in Parliament and are supposed to be non-political, although this is not always the case.

I have arranged for members of the Save Primrose Hill campaign group to attend and give evidence to the panel and I really do believe that they have a compelling, well researched and well-argued case.

I would not like to predict how the vote will go as I have sat in these committees when they have been genuinely impartial and voted with their conscience.

There have been many other occasions, such as a recent enquiry into the council’s decision to stop funding transport to school that I instigated, where the vote is clearly whipped along political lines.

Even if we haven’t succeeded, I still believe that the economic and moral case for keeping Primrose Hill open is so powerful that we can convince the council that there is a better way.

I quite understand why people often feel that consultations are meaningless and a waste of time when they are conducted in the way that the consultation on Primrose Hill was.

There was not a single person in thousands of responses that wanted the outcome that has now been proposed.

It’s hardly surprising that people often feel that these decisions are a done deal.

In spite of my cynicism about consultations, I now have the job of trying to persuade you to take part in one.

At the moment, our neighbourhood planning group is meeting every other Wednesday and we are nearly ready to start our next phase of community involvement.

We are preparing a leaflet and questionnaire that will tell you all about the neighbourhood plan, why we’re preparing one, who’s involved, what we’ve done so far and what will happen next.

We’ll also have a series of questions to find out your views on key issues that affect the town such as education, leisure, healthcare, roads, housing, working and shopping.

It will be your views that shape the plan for our town over the next 15–20 years and it is crucial that as many people respond as possible in order that we can reflect the views of the town as a whole.

The consultation will be open throughout November and we will be delivering a leaflet and questionnaire to every house in Wetherby.

You will be able to respond by either filling in the questionnaire and dropping it to one of a number of drop off points in town; fill it in on line or alternatively, we will be holding an open day when you can come and ask questions and look at our background research in more detail and complete your response.

We still need more volunteers, especially to help us deliver the leaflets.

If you would like to be involved or feel you could help in any way, please drop me a line or pop into the Town Hall and leave your details and I will get back in touch with you.

We have a fantastic team that support our Town Council that work out of the Town Hall.

Thankfully, they help to keep me organised and make sure that everything gets done that needs to be done.

I’m pretty certain that I’m not the easiest person to support as I’m generally quite disorganised, very forgetful and have an impulsive tendency to have grand ideas that suddenly create a whole load of work for a lot of people.

I think the words our town clerk dreads hearing the most are “I’ve had a brilliant idea!”

Thankfully, whatever wacky ideas I have, she and her team are always up to the task of delivering it.

One such idea was to approach the Mayoral Christmas Cards in a different way.

I wanted to involve some of the town’s children and also try to raise some money for my chosen charity, Martin House Children’s Hospice.

I wasn’t too keen on having a drawing competition for the selfish reason that I would make the winner very happy and upset everybody else!

What I’ve decided to do, is have blank cards printed and each one will be uniquely designed by one of our primary school children.

The designer will sign it and I will personally sign each one and go and visit the children to thank them for their work.

I should warn the recipients in advance, that I will be suggesting that you might like to donate a couple of pounds to Martin House in recognition of the Children’s efforts.

Why am I telling you this in the middle of September I hear you ask?

It’s such a task to organise that the clerk had to begin this week.

I’m not sure if I’m still on her Christmas Card list…