Barwick and Scholes

Barwick and Scholes

Ron Miller

07717 150625

Headteacher retires: pupils, parents, teachers and other staff members gathered at Barwick Church of England Primary School last Friday to bid farewell to Peter Doherty, who has retired following 27 years’ service at the popular school. He joined the team as deputy head in 1986, achieving promotion to headteacher in 1997. His teaching career, including an initial six years in Colchester, spanned 33 years. Hundreds of Barwick children, including your correspondent and his wife’s three daughters and son, passed through the school during Mr Doherty’s stewardship. They have good reason to thank him and his highly professional team for giving them a sound platform of primary education on which to build successful careers. Mr Doherty told the Wetherby News he was especially proud of the school’s achievements in encouraging pupils to appreciate art and music, including learning to play a musical instrument. Opening the successful pre-school and after school club more than a decade ago were also highlights. He added: “I have been fortunate to work with some very dedicated and caring staff and leave behind a very good team.”

New home locations: Barwick and Scholes residents should learn next month or during February the locations earmarked by Leeds City Council planners for proposed new home developments in the parish. Speaking at a Scholes meeting in November, Coun John Procter, a Harewood ward representative on the city council who chairs its Housing Scrutiny Board, suggested that the number of new homes proposed in and around Scholes could fall well short of the 3,500 originally proposed by developers. When first announced this figure sent a shockwave through the village, prompting concern that such a huge building programme would erode the cherished rural identity of Scholes. At the same time it was suggested that around 850 new homes would be built in and around Barwick. At the meeting Coun Procter revealed that 600 acres of land owned by Leeds University close to Headley Hall, near Tadcaster, could become available for development. This would provide space for 3,000 new homes, removing the need to build a similar number near Scholes. Some development in the parish is viewed as inevitable but may prove beneficial, as developers will be required to pay for improved local facilities and services.

Parish Council: the next meeting of Barwick and Scholes Parish Council will be held on Monday, January 7 at Barwick Methodist schoolroom. The parish forum, at which residents can raise issues of local concern, will begin at 7.15pm, followed by the council meeting at 7.30pm. Parishioners are fully entitled to attend the meeting, though cannot join in councillors’ discussions.

Church ‘split’ decision: next year will almost certainly see a decision by members of St Philip’s Church, Scholes, on whether they will pursue a proposal to work and worship independently of All Saints’ Church, Barwick. This contentious issue continues to divide Anglican opinion within the parish, with most members of the Barwick church and some at St Philip’s firmly opposed to the proposal. At a meeting at St Philip’s chaired by the Archdeacon of Leeds a few weeks ago, Dr Alan Stanley, a Lay Preacher in Scholes, said the potential gains to be made through splitting the parish might prove unjustified in view of the upset being caused to those who oppose the change. He offered the olive branch of re-examining the proposal, though it is understood that many St Philip’s members remain determined to pursue independence. An application to do so would first have to be considered by the Deanery, then by the Diocese before a recommendation could be put by the Bishop to the Church Commissioners, who would take the final decision.

Neighbourhood planning: volunteer members of the Barwick and Scholes groups producing the draft Neighbourhood Development Plan for the parish are collectively putting in hundreds of hours of unpaid work. In doing so they are hoping that Elmet MP Alec Shelbrooke was right in saying at a recent meeting in Scholes that the final plan will prove a vital asset in defending both villages against any developers’ plans considered inappropriate in either village. Steering groups drafting the Barwick and Scholes plan expect the initial document to be ready for public consultation in the spring. Once amendments are made, approval of the plan by the city council and by at least half of those voting in a local referendum will be needed for it to be given legal status, empowering villagers to negotiate with planners and developers with confidence.