Barwick in Elmet and Scholes area news

Barwick and Scholes

Ron Miller

07717 150625

Village design statement: a public consultation will be held at the Manor House community centre, Scholes, on Saturday, September 15, to give local residents a chance to discuss the draft Village Design Statement for the parish with its authors. Parishioners can attend any time between 9am and 1pm. The statement, which once approved will become a key part of the Neighbourhood Development Plan for Barwick and Scholes, has been drawn up by rural planning specialists whose services were retained by the parish council. A six week consultation period is due to end on October 16. One Scholes resident, speaking at the latest Parish Forum, criticised the manner in which the village is described within the draft statement and expressed disappointment that the history of Scholes was not described in greater depth. She suggested that the description “sells Scholes down the river.” Another Scholes resident, Karen Dales, alleged that the consultants had shown a lack of respect in responding to her questions and had not addressed their replies to her in person. She asked why copies of the draft statement had not been displayed in Scholes library and other village locations. Coun Ben Hogan, chairman of the parish council, said because the start of the public consultation had been delayed the deadline for the receipt of responses had been extended. In reply to a resident’s request that more copies of the draft statement should be made available throughout the village he said the consultants would be asked to make sure that happened.

Traffic regulation: delay in the introduction of speed and parking restrictions near to Scholes Elmet primary school was criticised at the Parish Forum by residents. Coun Matthew Robinson, a Barwick and Scholes representative on Leeds City Council, agreed that the 20mph speed limit and new rules restricting vehicles waiting or parking near the school, should have been introduced before the start of the new term. He said Highways officials had suggested introducing them during October but he had told them that was not soon enough. Parking restrictions will also be introduced close to the New Inn, Barwick and at the nearby junction of the Leeds and Garforth roads in a bid to improve road safety.

Election cost concerns: the need to hold a local by-election to fill one vacancy for a Scholes representative on Barwick and Scholes Parish Council, costing more than £7,000, has been questioned by some council members. Because at least 10 Scholes residents have called for the election to be held, Leeds City Council has no option but to organise one. Their action prompted criticism from some councillors at their September meeting, including the chairman, Coun Ben Hogan. After the meeting he told the Wetherby News: “It is their democratic right, though at a time when money is so tight I believe an election should have been avoided.” Nominations from prospective candidates must be received no later than Friday, September 21, with the election taking place in Scholes on Thursday, October 18. During the meeting Coun Hogan urged members to save almost £1,300 by not printing poll cards for each registered elector in the village. He said voters did not need to produce poll cards when visiting the polling station. However, after a lively discussion councillors agreed to meet that cost to avoid any suggestion that voters were not made fully aware of the forthcoming election. This decision prompted Coun Hogan to comment: “They are spending money like water.” However, another Scholes representative, Coun Norma Fletcher, insisted: “Scholes residents have said they want an election. We have no choice; that is democracy.” Costs which must be met from parish funds will include more than £950 to print ballot books, over £2,300 to print postal vote packs, £1,275 to post the poll cards and postal vote packs plus more than £1,300 for the poll station, polling day staff, counting of votes and clerical support. Parish Council vacancies are normally filled at no cost, by inviting interested local residents to submit information about themselves, followed by an interview conducted by council members. Coun Hogan suggested that the election costs could result in an increase in next year’s precept, the amount added to council tax bills for the provision of local facilities and services.

Crime report: local residents reported 15 crimes in the two villages during July and August, nine of them in Barwick and six in Scholes. Reporting this to the September meeting of the parish council, PCSO Geoff Nottingham, of West Yorkshire Police, said two arrests had been made following a theft in Barwick. There had also been two burglaries and two incidents of criminal damage in the village. In Scholes, reported crimes included one assault, one burglary and the theft of a vehicle. He told councillors that the police wish to update Neighbourhood Watch schemes in Barwick and Scholes. A meeting to discuss this will be held in Aberford Village Hall on Tuesday, October 23, at 7.30pm.

Spending approved: among charges for goods or services approved by Barwick and Scholes Parish Council at this month’s meeting was £550 for a detailed archaeological survey of earthworks at Scholes Lodge Farm, carried out by Wessex Archaeological Services. The purchase of two replacement trees for Jack Heap’s Field, Barwick, was approved at a cost of £280. A contribution of £205 payable to Wetherby Town Council, for a ‘police support vehicle,’ was also confirmed.