Keep our town clean and tidy

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As I write this the sun is shining, the sky is blue and the snowdrops and crocuses are coming through to remind us of Spring time, writes Mayor of Wetherby Coun Norma Harrington.

Many of us will be taking the opportunity to get out and about in the fresh air, in our parks, cycle paths and leisure areas. Can we all please remember to use the litter bins for our rubbish, or if one isn’t available take it home. The same goes for the minority of dog owners who are not responsible and fail to pick up after their pets. They give the rest of us a bad name and are endangering others by their careless lack of respect. Small plastic bags are available from the pet shop in town and nappy sacks are available from all the supermarkets and chemists at varying prices so there is no excuse for leaving your dog’s mess on the pathways! Anyone can report an offender to Leeds City Council, preferably with photographic evidence, but it would be so much more pleasant if we all acted responsibly.

Keep Britain Tidy are launching a national campaign and Wetherby Town Councillors will once again be championing this cause on Saturday March 3. Come along to the Town Hall at 10am and join in this community minded activity. Contact the Town Clerk for further details. We will have high vis vests, litter pickers and refuse bags and teams will be deployed to various areas around the town. I would encourage residents to follow the example of Coun Gerald Wilkinson, who last year litter picked the street where he lives. We could all do the same, and when we see litter, pick it up. This is our town and litter is everyone’s responsibility.

As usual, I have attended a variety of events during the past month, starting with a book signing in Boston Spa at the home of the co-author Richard Newman. The book is about the life of an ex-colleague of mine, Veronica Bird, who had a very difficult and sometimes harrowing childhood but went on to make an exceptional career for herself first in the police and then the Prison Service. You may have seen her on Sky TV or Look North. The book is Veronica’s Bird, published by Clink Street.

The highlight of this past month has to be the Lions’ Pensioner’s Lunch at the High School. You will have seen the pictures. The event is very popular and the food was wonderful. The servers included the Lord Mayor of Leeds, two local ward councillors, our MP, a group of local Scouts and yours truly, and the entertainment included bingo and musical entertainment by the U3A Singing for Fun group. The Lions do a fantastic job in fundraising for this event and then organising the whole thing and deserve our heartfelt thanks.

I also attended the installation of the new Bishop of Ripon, Dr Helen-Ann Hartley at the Cathedral. It was a cold afternoon, but despite that the Cathedral was full of people eager to welcome her and take part in this auspicious occasion, the installation of the first female Bishop of Ripon. Coming in the month of the 100th anniversary of Votes for Women, it was a timely reminder that with equality of opportunity, great things can be achieved. Bishop Helen-Ann is an articulate preacher with a down to earth style that will be appreciated by the straight talking parishioners of North and West Yorkshire.

There have been reports of HGVs and large farm vehicles driving through the town centre rather than using the by-pass. Coun Matthew Robinson (Harewood Ward) has instigated a forum for parish and town councils in the area to discuss the issues associated with these vehicles in our villages, and will feed concerns into discussions with Leeds City Council. Farm vehicles are not all regarded as HGVs but all the same should not be using the town centre routes unless they are making a delivery. Traffic Regulation Orders are being reviewed by Leeds City Council and updates will be made available via the Town Council minutes and our website in due course.

Finally I would support a plea from the Wetherby Bandstand concert organisers. Can you spare a few hours once or twice a month to help marshall the concerts on Sunday afternoons? Please contact the Secretary, Mrs Mary Gray on 01937 520579. I for one am looking forward to the concert season starting again in April, and hope to see many of you there.