Independence call to create new parish

wet  Campaigners Caroline White, Stephanie Gibbins, Linda Bateman, Mel Tobin, Dixie Dean, Christine Clegg, Mick Komar, Adele Thompson, Susan Glover, Karen Dales and Amanda Munroe with the petition.  (130902M3)
wet Campaigners Caroline White, Stephanie Gibbins, Linda Bateman, Mel Tobin, Dixie Dean, Christine Clegg, Mick Komar, Adele Thompson, Susan Glover, Karen Dales and Amanda Munroe with the petition. (130902M3)

Villagers in Scholes are calling for independence from neighbours Barwick-in-Elmet and ending a centuries old allegiance.

A petition calling on Leeds City council to carry out a governance review in Scholes has been signed by 544 registered electors and submitted.

It seeks approval for the two wards to be separated, paving the way for Scholes to become an independent parish in its own right.

Spearheading the proposed parish split is Scholes resident and former parish councillor George Hall, whose initiative has the backing of the pressure group Save Our Scholes.

Mr Hall told the Wetherby News this week: “Many people in Scholes no longer have confidence in the existing parish council.

“They believe its decisions are too heavily infuenced by existing councillors from what is referred to as its ‘sister’ village.

“These councillors regrettably do not recognise the diversity of the individual communities, which have outgrown the historical association.

“Several decisions taken recently, most notably on the bus service issue and potential development, have brought about unrest.

“A review is long overdue. There is a genuine desire to obtain a separate parish council for Scholes.”

Coun Matthew Robinson, one of three Barwick and Scholes representatives on the city council has said he does not intend to take sides over the controversial issue.

Amanda Munro, a spokeswoman for Save Our Scholes, told the Wetherby News that members had helped to collect signatures for the review.

“SOS fully supports the petition calling for an independent Scholes Parish Council,” she added.

Asked if the parish council wished to comment, parish clerk Chris Hassell replied: “We have not received any communication from Leeds City Council or SOS on this issue so cannot say anything at this time.

“We have, however, seen a copy of the petition, passed on by a resident, and will in due course prepare a statement.”

Although unconnected to the petition, members of the Anglican church in Scholes are already pursuing a wish to become independent of the church in Barwick.

Their support for creating a new management structure in which churches in Barwick, Scholes and possibly Thorner would work independently, has caused uproar.

All Saints’ Church, Barwick and St Philip’s Church, Scholes are now governed by a Parochial Church Council.