Mayor goes walkabout to meet people

This week sees the first gathering of our new Wetherby Youth Town Council.

All sorts of groups and organisations across the town have been nominating young people they believe will be good representatives.

In future, all members of the youth council will have to stand for election.

The youth council was one of the first things I instigated when I became Mayor last year.

I feel that it’s really important to give young people a stake in their town.

The age profile of many of our voluntary groups, including Wetherby Town Council, is on the high side and it’s crucial that to ensure that our young people are inspired to take up the mantle in the future, they have a real say in decision making now. I’m looking forward to working with them.

We’re also taking the next steps in the neighbourhood plan this week as I’ve invited all those who’ve expressed an interest in being involved to a meeting at the Methodist Church to outline the next steps we’ll take in the process.

It’s going to take about 18 months in total and we have a lot of work to do between now and then.

We’ve gathered together all the ideas and suggestions that people put forward at our first event in December and that will be the starting point for our discussions.

We’ll be breaking into small groups to look in detail at how the suggestions that people put forward for things like; more affordable housing, new leisure facilities and even a theatre could work in practice.

We’ll also be holding further open events to make sure everyone gets a chance to have their say.

It’s not too late to get involved, if you feel you’d like to and want to know more, please get in touch.

Last Saturday, with my colleagues councillors John Procter and Gerald Wilkinson, we began a new type of street surgery.

We wrote to residents in the Aire Road area of Wetherby to let them know that we’d be calling in the morning and to put a poster in the window if they’d like us to come and see them to try to help with any issues they may be experiencing.

As with anything new, I was slightly nervous that there’d be no posters and no one would want to talk to us.

On the contrary, we struggled to get to everybody in the time we’d allowed and ended up over running terribly!

There were a whole variety of issues raised such as the state of the roads and footpaths, anti-social behaviour problems, broken fences, poor signage, housing issues and whole range of others.

It was very enjoyable and people seemed genuinely pleased to see us, they were all incredibly constructive and had some great ideas and possible solutions.

I thoroughly enjoyed the session and we plan to carry on so watch out for us on your street soon.

Please bear in mind that we have the whole Wetherby Ward to cover which is about 7000 households.

We got through about 200 on Saturday so it will take a while to get to everyone!

You may have noticed some work being done on the main roundabout at the entrance to Wetherby in the last couple of weeks.

We’ve been working with a local stone merchant who’s providing all the materials to make this key entrance to the town a really attractive feature.

I won’t say too much at this stage as I’m sure the Wetherby News will reveal all, but as the full design emerges, I hope you’ll like it as much as I think you will.

My final thought this week is about proposed changes by Metro to the local 770 & X99 bus services on a Sunday evening.

There is often an assumption by those in the centre that everyone that lives in our area is wealthy, lives in a big house and has access to a big fancy car.

Those of us that actually live here know that is not the case.

For those don’t have access to a car including, young people, the elderly and many disadvantaged and vulnerable families, buses are vital to ensure they can live fulfilling lives and to prevent them from becoming isolated.

Metro have attempted to sneak through changes which would withdraw a number of services, mainly on a Sunday evening.

In some cases, it would mean people had no way of getting home from work.

I have arranged to meet with senior figures from Metro to raise my concerns and whether you’re a bus user or not, I’d urge you to sign the local petitions.