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2015-12-24   A Merry Christmas to All Our Readers

Goinlocal would like to wish all its readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thank you for your continuing support in 2015. We look forward to seeing you all in 2016 

 

2015-01-07   Goinlocal Visitors Jump 31 Percent

Goinlocal wishes to thank the 221,632 visitors to the website in 2014, fifty-three thousand more than visited in 2013. We thank you for your support and look forward to seeing you all again in 2015  

 

2014-12-24   A Merry Christmas to All Our Readers

Goinlocal would like to wish all its readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. The website will continue to publish news throughout the Christmas holiday. Thank you for supporting us in 2014. We look forward to seeing you all again in 2015.  

 

2013-12-24   Goinlocal Visitors Up 22 Percent

Goinlocal wishes to thank the 168,378 visitors to the website in 2013. thirty thousand more than visited in 2012. We thank you for your support and look forward to seeing you again in 2014 

 

2013-10-08   Kept in the Dark Again

The council’s decision to pilot the scheme to turn off the street lights in Garforth and Swillington has been taken without consulting or even warning the communities involved. The saving in this area will be about £15,000 a year. According to Department of Transport figures a slight accident on an urban road incurs a cost of £17,400 and a serious accident costs £174,900. So one single minor accident directly attributable to the lack of street lighting in Garforth will cost more than the entire annual saving. According to Government figures on the unit cost of crimes a burglary costs £3,925, a vehicle theft costs £4,970 and a homicide costs £1.774 million. Whilst the turning off of street lights might save the council a few pounds, events arising from that action will more than likely incur much larger costs on other agencies. Agencies that we as tax payers would still pick up the tab for. Councillor Richard Lewis hopes people will not really notice much of a difference but informs us the council will have the flexibility to turn the lights back on again if major problems arise. He doesn’t sound very confident at all, so why are the residents of Garforth and Swillington being used as guinea pigs? Shouldn’t it be trialled in Pudsey where Councillor Lewis can be held accountable to his electorate if a wave of burglaries, muggings and hit and runs occurs as a result of this amazingly dim policy. And why have the Garforth and Swillington councillors allowed their ward to be used as a testing ground that could have fatal results for some of its residents? Have they dropped the ball again?  

 

2013-09-27   Does Garforth Need a Parish Council?

At a 10 minute open floor session of Garforth and Swillington ward meeting in July 2013 the question was asked ‘What does the forum think about Garforth having a parish council?’ The conclusion of the 18 attendees, including 3 representatives of other parish councils and just three residents, was that they were not sure if the town would benefit from this as it already has a robust city council representation. There is no doubt the Garforth councillors are hardworking both for the ward and for the city as a whole but so are the councillors representing Kippax, Aberford and Swillington, where there are parish councils to support them. An Evening Post poll conducted in October 2007 on this very subject revealed that 68 per cent of Garforth residents were in favour of a town council. Why the ward councillors are prepared to work with Swillington Parish Council but don’t think one is needed in Garforth is a mystery. If Garforth had elected a town council then it would have been in place to take on the leisure centre and run it full time as a community asset. A Garforth town council would have created and submitted a town plan for future housing development, just as neighbouring parish councils have done. Instead there is now a part-time leisure centre and in the absence of a town plan every field around Garforth has been nominated by the council as a potential site for housing. Robust or not, the ball was definitely dropped on these occasions and it is clear that our councillors need a reliable parish council behind them to ease the burden. Political dogma should be put to one side and what is best for Garforth residents should be their first consideration. Garforth needs a parish council again.  

 

2013-07-24   Saying No to Greenfield House Building

Leeds City Council is looking for greenfield sites across the city to build thousands of new houses and has given residents till 29th July to provide feedback on the proposed sites. Many parish councils have consulted their residents and created neighbourhood plans reflecting their residents’ views on where any new building can take place. Some communities have not consulted their residents. The Government, which is behind the drive to find sites to build additional homes, says greenbelt land can only be built on in exceptional circumstances and only after extensive consultation with the community to gain its support. The council’s site search is extensive and will include your area so if you have not been consulted about new house building plans in your area you should email ldf@leeds.gov.uk give them your name and address and tell them you oppose all greenfield building in your area because you have not been properly consulted. Email them now and beat the deadline.  

 

2013-01-04   Thank You for Your Support

Goinlocal would like to thank the 138,179 visitors to our website in 2012. We look forward to seeing you all again in 2013.  

 

2012-12-24   A Merry Christmas to All Our Readers

Goinlocal would like to wish all its readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. The website will continue to publish news throughout the Christmas holiday. Thank you for supporting us in 2012. We look forward to seeing you all in 2013. 

 

2012-10-20   Black Day for Garforth Sport

The council has announced that the proposed handover of Garforth Leisure Centre to the Schools Partnership Trust is dead and as a result the residents of Garforth find themselves left with a part time leisure centre. Nobody has ever explained why the council selected Garforth for closure in the first place. Of seven similar sized Leeds leisure centres Garforth was the best performing, losing 75p per visitor, yet it was selected for closure whilst for example nearby Kippax Leisure Centre in Council Leader Keith Wakefield’s ward lost £2.12 per visitor and yet remained safe from closure. Clearly profitability was not the criteria used to decide which centre would close. So what was it? Did somebody at the council naively select Garforth on the misguided assumption that the Schools Partnership Trust would snap it up? Poor judgement has been demonstrated throughout this debacle. The only positive to take from this announcement appears to be that a loss-making leisure centre starts to break even if opening times are reduced to 58.5 hours a week. So we finally have a solution for all the other loss-making leisure centres, reduce their opening hours too. Then look at returning Garforth Leisure Centre to full-time operation.  

 

2012-01-02   Thank You for Your Support

Goinlocal would like to thank the 104,465 visitors to our website in 2011. We look forward to seeing you all again in 2012.  

 

2011-12-08   Six Years and Still Waiting

Whatever happened to the plan to install traffic lights at Charlie Sweeps Corner? In November 2005 following lobbying by Councillor Mark Phillips planning officers agreed to include the lights in the local transport plan. And in October 2006 an application, supported by all local councillors, was submitted to install traffic lights at the junction of Selby Road and Leeds Road. In November 2009 council bosses gave the go-ahead to a 300 thousand pound scheme at Charlie Sweep’s corner to provide traffic lights, bus lay-bys and pedestrian crossings. In September 2010 a Kippax schoolgirl died in a road accident whilst trying to cross Leeds Road on her way to school at Garforth Academy. Local residents restated their longstanding concern for school children crossing this road and nearby Selby Road. But as Christmas 2011 approaches there is no sign of this work commencing at this busy road junction. Six years and still waiting…………  

 

2011-12-03   Lowest Crime Rate in Leeds

Congratulations to the Garforth, Swillington, Kippax and Methley Neighbourhood Policing Team for achieving the lowest reported crime rates in the whole city. It is a tribute their commitment and dedication. They will also be the first to admit it is a team effort involving the whole community as much as their officers. We must all continue to be careful, vigilant and cooperative as this is a record well worth keeping.  

 

2011-02-15   It Just Doesn’t Add Up

According to a table of leisure centre key statistics published on the Leeds City Council’s website, out of the seven leisure centres that attract between 100,000 and 200,000 visitors a year, Garforth is the best performer, it makes the smallest loss per visitor. Comparing Garforth to its near neighbour Kippax Leisure Centre, Garforth wins hands down - Income at Garforth £420,000 Kippax £280,000, estimated costs at Garforth £533,000 , Kippax £534,000, visitors at Garforth 135,000 , Kippax 120,000, annual maintenance cost at Garforth £30,000, Kippax £40,000, deficit per visit at Garforth minus 75 pence, Kippax minus £2.12. How does the council justify closing Garforth Leisure Centre when its own figures indicate there are so many worse performers? 

 

2011-02-08   Garforth Squash and Leisure Centre

The following letter, copied to this website, clearly expresses the view of most Garforth residents on the proposed closure of out leisure centre ............ Mark, I feel compelled to contact you regarding the proposed changes to Garforth Squash & Leisure Centre announced yesterday. This centre has been providing a service to the community of Garforth for many years, both as a private squash club, and then as part of the Leeds City Council Leisure Services provision. I myself have been playing squash at this centre for the last 35 years, and there are still players who were member of the original Stocks Squash Club before me still playing on a regular basis. You comments on the information made available at the centre does not seem to make sense to those of us that use the facilities. You state that the centre has seen a long-term decline, something not reflected when trying to park in the car park when using the facilities, or agreed with by members of staff at the centre, who stated last night that it is 'busier than ever'. The proposal to close the bar and to reduce the opening hours whilst consultation on asset transfer is explored, is not a move that myself or other users I have spoken to are happy with. Whilst reducing the opening hours during the week to 17.00 - 22.00 will not affect most squash players, who are working during the day, it will have major impacts on some other user groups, particularly the mother & baby groups. I cannot see where else they could go, the schools are obviously not available as are being used by students, so I envisage this will be a major issue to these users. 

 

2011-02-07  

The proposal to close the centre all day Saturday seems not well thought out. Weekends are a time when most people are not at work, and can therefore make use of the facilities, and I know from my own experience that there is a large group of squash players who have and continue to play on Saturday afternoons, and we are not happy about this proposed closure. Through using the centre at weekends, I am also aware that the centre and bar area are also used to host many functions, which I believe generate substantial revenue for the council, particularly through drink sales. The decision to close the bar therefore seems even more puzzling, as I am sure this area pays for itself. Perhaps you can make available details on bar sales at this centre for the last year? If not then I will request this information through the Freedom of Information Act. You have indicated that the current users could be accommodated at other centres in Leeds, but as far as squash is concerned, I do not think this would be the case. Garforth, which was originally a private squash club, still has 6 squash courts, which appear to be busy most evenings during the week. With the closure of East Leeds Centre, this will leave only Fearnville with reasonable access from East Leeds with squash courts outside of Garforth. They have 3 courts, which I have been told are not in good condition, and would certainly need refurbishment for players from Garforth to use, and even then could not cope with the current demand at Garforth. It does seem there is a distinct bias within Leeds Leisure Services towards the West side of Leeds. Out of a total of 12 squash courts outside of Garforth, only the 3 at Fearnville are on the East side. There has also been substantial investment on the opposite side of Leeds, with The John Charles Centre, Armley and Morley all having new facilities.  

 

2011-02-06   .

What facilities are being provided for the East side of Leeds? Garforth is a major population centre within the Leeds Council area, and more affluent than the average, with 20% more home owners than Leeds as an average, and I would therefore of thought a more than average council tax contribution, for which we are not receiving a fair share of the sport and leisure spend. Could you also confirm that should you not be able to find a community group to take over the centre, then as with East Leeds Sports Centre, Garforth will be closed. Please also send details of the requirements to take over the centre, are you asking community groups to buy the facility, or will you hand it over to be managed by any such group? Whilst I appreciate that savings have to be made, you appear to have targeted the East side of Leeds, and the only centre that is focused on squash, as per the centre name. I understood following meetings last year when the council was trying to close the centre then, before any of the current central government funding cuts, that there was an excess of 4 or 5 swimming pools in Leeds, all of which cost much more to run than dry sites. Should not the focus therefore be on more of the 17 swimming pools you have, rather than the 1 squash centre? There is strong feeling around these proposed changes and potential closure, so may I suggest that you should be available at the centre to discuss this with the current facility users, not to mention the staff, some of whom are local Garforth residents, and have been working at the centre for over 20 years. I look forward to your response, and would also like to point out that I have sent a copy of this mail to what I consider will be other interested parties. Regards Trevor Whittaker 

 

2011-01-12   Thank You for Visiting

Goinlocal would like to thank the 83,876 people who visited the website in 2010. This is an increase of 16 percent on 2009, an additional twelve thousand visitors in the last 12 months, clearly indicating the value of a local community website, reporting local news and events. Thank you for your support. 

 

2010-02-18   WiFi Garforth

Project Cirrus, courtesy of the School Partnership Trust and Leeds Learning Network, is to provide broadband wireless internet access to all families with children at any one of the member schools of the Trust. They will provide 125 access points throughout the town enabling the filtered internet access currently available in local schools to be accessed at home, free of charge. Whilst there are the obvious big brother concerns about who decides what is filtered out and whether access is restricted to member schools or freely available to all local residents and businesses (who are almost certainly paying for it), the Trust and the council are to be applauded for an idea that should be hugely beneficial to the community.  

 

2010-02-02   Mayoress of Garforth

Congratulations to Garforth Councillor Andrea McKenna and her Councillor husband Jim on their appointments as Lady Mayoress and Lord Mayor respectively of the city of Leeds from next May. It is a great honour to represent our city in this way and she will not let us down. Well done councillor.  

 

2009-08-01   RAF Blows Windmills Away

The proposed wind turbines at Micklefield have been rejected by the Council because they will affect radar at nearby RAF airfields, jeopardising the lives of aircrew using them. A good decision, why risk lives unnecessarily when any other field in Leeds would be equally as suitable as the one at Hook Moor? Fortunately we have Councillors and MPs across the city who have spoken out strongly in support of building windfarms. They will no doubt be scouring their constituencies for a suitable plot of land. But don’t hold your breath.  

 

2009-07-04   Kippax Parish Council Show the Way

Having surveyed every home, giving every resident the opportunity to say how they want their community to develop, then analysing, publishing and issuing the findings to every household, Kippax Parish Plan steering group is now taking the first steps to realising these aspirations of their community, confident that it has a popular mandate. Meanwhile in other communities across the district, people similarly charged with finding better ways of engaging with the general public, have briefly discussed the matter in small, unpublicised meetings and decided that it is probably best if they continue to make decisions for the community in small unpublicised meetings. Shame. 

 

2009-04-03   New Caravan Site Finally Approved

The dispute over Makin’s caravan park is ended. This year and hopefully for the foreseeable future, his seasonal workers will be lodged on a new caravan site well away from the housing estates surrounding the farm. The correct solution has finally been agreed, one that benefits both sides in this long running dispute, and the council and government are allowing it to go ahead. But one niggling question remains. Why was this exact same site rejected when it was first proposed by the farmer back in June 2006? Who objected to it then and had the planning application thrown out, inflicting a further three years of unnecessary misery on the residents of the The Chase?  

 

2009-02-21   Crossing Slowly, Arriving Safely

The successful initiative by Garforth councillors to create two elderly people crossing zones on Church Lane and an additional zebra crossing on Main Street has made those streets much safer for the older residents of Garforth.  

 

2009-02-14   Safety on Cedar Ridge

The controversial plan for a larger car park at Garforth Town FC has been abandoned and an eighteen thousand pound council grant to build it has been returned. Despite the obvious increase in traffic if this plan had gone ahead, the council have always claimed this scheme was all about making Cedar Ridge safe for local children, so residents should now press their councillors for a Plan B that will actually reduce the volume of traffic using the street on match days. 

 

2009-01-16   End in Site at Makins

The long, drawn out confrontation over the siting of seasonal workers caravans at Makins Farm took a significant step towards a satisfactory resolution yesterday when the council finally granted the farmer planning permission to relocate them. The decision is still subject to review and approval by the Government Office but hopefully the residents of The Chase will have already seen their last rowdy Summer.  

 

2008-11-26   Escaping from Prison

The commercial development of land at North Newhold in Garforth will remove, once and for all, the possibility of building a high security prison there. Assurances given by politicians, however sincere, do not compare to the reassurance of seeing something more acceptable being built there instead.  

 

2008-10-12   Burgon the Banker Slayer

Once again local MP Colin Burgon is asking awkward but appropriate questions in Parliament. Our banks do not hesitate to pursue their defaulters, so it is equally right that reckless bankers are called to account when they try to default on their customers. The disappointing fact that only 18 MPs signed this motion for an investigation by the CPS suggests it will not happen but at least he is asking the right questions.  

 

2008-08-24   Fewer, Dearer, Later

Thus goes the city council’s creed with its proposal to close half a dozen leisure facilities, including the Kippax and Garforth leisure centres, at a time of unprecedented British success in Beijing and in the countdown to the 2012 London Olympics, astonishingly badly timed and out of touch with the mood of the country.  

 

2008-07-24   Park and Ride Salvation

East Leeds Parkway, a proposed park and ride facility near Micklefield, mooted on this website back in April 2007, will have a profound affect on local communities. For those villages without a railway station it will create a convenient, purpose-built rail access point. For those communities with stations it will ease the current associated congestion. In Garforth it will reduce pressure on the station car park and surrounding streets, it will free up parking spaces on Main Street, reduce through traffic in the town and improve the train service into Leeds for commuters. Roll on 2011. 

 

2008-07-02   Blown Down But Not Out

For the second year running a local carnival event has suffered from freak summer weather conditions and had to be called off. Kippax Carnival organisers were able to salvage a small number of events and should be congratulated on their months of hard work despite being thwarted by events beyond their control. They will bounce back to produce an even better event next year. 

 

2008-06-06   Dirty Work at Makins Farm

A collection of young folk, on a working holiday, making a lot of noise is hardly a surprise. However local residents are also entitled to a bit of peace and quiet in their homes so hopefully a visit from Noise Nuisance Officers will do the trick. But deliberate action by the council, targeting washing and toilet facilities with a view to making life as uncomfortable as possible for the foreign youngsters working at Makins farm for the summer is frankly disappointing. Which of our councillors is looking after the interests of these young visitors to our community? I hope all of our youngsters travelling or working overseas are treated better, wherever they may be.  

 

2008-05-15   Saving Our Post Offices

Is there a constituency in the land that is unaffected by the post office closures? Is there an affected MP who is in favour of post office closures in his constituency? Despite its name, Royal Mail Group Limited is wholly owned by the government. If our MPs are truly interested in saving our post offices they can do it in Westminster. Otherwise it's just crocodile tears.  

 

2008-04-30   Don't Forget to Vote

Thursday 1st May is polling day for the Garforth and Kippax wards. It is your chance to select the person who will represent you on Leeds City Councilfor the next few years. Whoever you support, don't leave it to others, pop along to the polling station and cast your vote.  

 

2008-04-24   Worst Case at Sturton Farm

No-one should view the overturning of the planning inspectorate decision at Sturton Grange Farm as a victory. It is only relevant in the worst case scenario of failure in negotiations to relocate the caravans, a lose/lose situation for the farmer and the long-suffering local residents involved. A decision on the planning application to relocate the caravans is imminent and both sides want it to succeed. Let’s hope this appeal decision is just a coincidence, commonsense wins the day and the caravans are finally moved to a better location. 

 

2008-04-15   Renaissance for Sherburn

The 1.4 million pound regeneration plans for Sherburn will create a village square with a limestone clock tower centrepiece, bringing markets, events and socialising to the heart of the community. Congratulations to the Sherburn Renaissance Group for the ideas and Yorkshire Forward for supporting them. Contrast this with the regeneration plans for Garforth and Kippax centres, new benches on which to sit and watch the traffic, underfunded and half hearted. 

 

2008-04-11   A Dead Certainty

The approval of the Garforth Cemetery extension was inevitable and is the correct decision. Garforth residents should be able to bury their dead locally if that is their wish or tradition. This does not mean that the cemetery should be used by everyone else in East Leeds and it doesn’t mean that the sacrifice of sports pitches is in any way acceptable. Our councillors must press the City Council to find an immediate replacement for the lost sports pitches and in the more medium term to find a proper permanent solution to the cemetery crisis in Leeds. 

 

2008-04-05   Eco-Town Fiasco

When the Housing Minister states that ‘we need more housing in that neck of the woods’, when the 3 favoured schemes are specifically rejected but their venues are not, it is time for those communities to fear the worst.  

 

2008-04-03   No Eco-Towns for Micklefield or Eggborough

The Government has announced its first shortlist for proposed eco-towns across the country and the combined objections of local MPs, councillors and residents have been taken on board. No eco-towns in Micklefield or Eggborough. So now Micklefield residents and their elected representatives can re-focus on fighting off the windfarm proposal.  

 

2008-02-17   Caravan Saga in Final Throws

The long running dispute over farmer workers caravans at Makins Farm is finally coming to a conclusion. Councillor Dobson’s successful efforts in getting all interested parties around the table have enabled Mr Makin to try once more for permission to relocate his caravans away from the homes of the long suffering residents of East Garforth. All that remains is for the planners to ensure that their regulations are being properly met and this matter will finally be resolved. If commonsense wins the day these caravans should be in their new location by the summer. 

 

2008-01-27   Fighting for the Other Garforth Playing Fields

Whilst all eyes have been focussed on the threat to turn Glebelands playing fields into THE new cemetery for East Leeds, residents in East Garforth have been equally concerned that the council might be planning to build a car park for football traffic on top of a 5-a-side pitch on the Brierlands playing fields adjacent to the Garforth Town FC ground. However local councillors have given a 100% assurance that the land to be used for the car park will not come from the existing playing fields and that all the pitches are therefore safe. Sports pitches have been in short supply in Garforth for many years and it is reassuring to hear that our councillors are united in fighting to retain every last inch, whilst also striving to find long overdue additional facilities.  

 

2008-01-10   Well Done Councillor Harrison

Local Councillor Andrea Harrison is stepping down after leading the International Day of Older Persons group for the last 3 years. She has successfully promoted the interests of senior citizens city-wide as well as within our own community. Congratulations on a job well done. 

 

2008-01-06   Over 53 Thousand Visitors in 2007

For the last 3 years goinlocal has increased its readership on average by 17,000 visitors a year. In the last 12 months alone 53,536 readers visited the site. We would like to say a big thank you to each and every one of our readers. We have tried to keep you up to date with what is going on in the area, bring you local news, both good and occasionally bad, and through our editorial comment have tried to cajole people into doing the right thing. We look forward to seeing you all again in 2008. A happy new year to everybody. 

 

2007-12-24   A Merry Christmas to All our Readers

Goinlocal would like to wish all our readers in the LS25 postal district a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 

 

2007-12-12   Government All at Sea Over Windfarms

The Government has decided to build enough windfarms to generate half the UK’s energy requirements by 2020. The good news, for the residents of Micklefield, is that the Government thinks they should all be built at sea, where the winds are most suitable and public opposition is weakest. The fishing lobby is up in arms of course, even out of sight nobody wants one, but there is an awful lot of sea out there and it is the sensible place to put them, a victory for common sense.Hopefully Banks will now forget Micklefield and turn their minds to what promises to be a North Sea bonanza for the windfarm builders. 

 

2007-11-18   We’ll Know Where We’re Going

Kippax Parish Council has wisely commissioned a Parish Plan to determine how the residents of the village would like their community to develop in the future. Without a plan the community will drift, reacting to events and settling for what happens to be on offer rather than what is needed. If you don’t know where you are going, how will you ever get there? Other communities should follow their example. 

 

2007-11-01   A Great Win for the Library

It is excellent news that a 1.4 million pound lottery grant is to be spent on improvements to Garforth library. The Library Service have a clear vision of what they need to do to ensure that the library remains at the heart of our community and we can all look forward to some 21st century facilities within the next three years. 

 

2007-10-26   Our Own Little Pot of Gold

Just when it seemed that nobody wants to invest in our local communities, along comes a charity with 350 thousand pounds to spend on community and environmental projects. And would you believe it, the biggest grants, up to 125 thousand pounds are available to projects in the communities within 3 miles of the Peckfield landfill or to put it another way, in LS25. Even better, there will be 300-350 thousand pounds available annually, at least 70 percentage of which must be spent on projects within 5 miles of landfill site. The money comes from Caird Bardon Ltd, the owners of the Peckfield landfill site. There are funding criteria to be met for a project to qualify (see the criteria and how to apply by following the link on the home page of this website). Local clubs, societies and similar groups should not look this gift horse in the mouth, now is the time to dust off all those plans you never thought you could afford and see if they qualify.  

 

2007-10-23   Making a Point

Despite council officials pressing their support for the windfarm application and urging a rethink, the planning panel should stick with its original decision regarding the Micklefield proposal. The developer can appeal if he wishes and the Planning Inspectorate may reverse the decision but at least the bureaucrats at the Planning Inspectorate will know that this wind farm is not wanted. To not bother objecting because of a precedent set elsewhere is nonsense, every application has its own particular circumstances and should be assessed on individual merit. At the very least, forcing the developer to appeal will slow them down and make it that little bit less profitable for them to continue. 

 

2007-10-18   Movement at the Caravan Site

Finally a meeting has taken place between the key parties in the caravan dispute at Makins farm and a set of actions to relocate the site have been agreed. Whilst nothing can be taken for granted when planning applications are involved, the determination of Farmer Makin to resolve this dispute amicably and the marathon efforts of Councillor Dobson to facilitate a successful meeting deserve to be rewarded. So with a bit of luck and continued goodwill on all sides the residents of the Chase may at long last enjoy a peaceful summer next year. 

 

2007-09-29   WindMill Application Round 1

The rejection of the proposed test windmill was the correct decision and we would rightfully feel aggrieved if councillors on the planning panel had voted otherwise. 769 protests is a clear indicator of unanimous local feeling. However we have seen all this before and an appeal to some planning body in Bristol, people who don´t have to live with the consequences, may well reverse this decision. Lets hope not.  

 

2007-09-13   Extending the Cemetery

The need to extend Garforth cemetery for a second time in only a few years is worrying, not least because each extension eats up a few more of our precious playing fields. It’s not that the residents of Garforth are passing away faster than everywhere else, it is people from outside the community looking for a cemetery place to bury their loved one that is filling this graveyard so quickly. The council have tried to open a new cemetery at Thorner only to be beaten by strong local opposition. But the dead can’t wait around until a new site is found and it would take a very cold heart to turn away a grieving family at such a painful time, so an extension intended to last 20 years fills in 5 years instead. If the Council do not act promptly to resolve this grave problem the playing fields at Glebelands will inevitably become, in 5 year bites, the largest cemetery in East Leeds. 

 

2007-09-04   New Threat to Garforth Playing Fields

The council plan to extend the local cemetery in Garforth at the expense of one of the football pitches is yet another body blow to the sports facilities in the town. For very many years the community has been poorly served by sports fields, despite being surrounded by farmland on all sides. Our local football teams find themselves playing their home games in Aberford, or Kippax or Castleford, communities that would appear to have no problem with sports facilities. Meanwhile in Garforth, if a new facility is required the preferred location always end up being an existing sports field site e.g. the skate park, the cemetery extension, football stadium parking.It is time someone told the council to stop digging up our playing fields. If, because of its location, they must use a sports field site then build a replacement for it first. 

 

2007-09-01   Danger at the End of Lidgett Lane

It‘s hard to imagine a more dangerous road junction than the end of Lidgett Lane and Selby Road, however the Highways Department have managed to make it even more so in the process of modifying the junction ready for its new traffic light system. The turn right from Selby Road into Lidgett Lane involves an extremely dangerous turn across the traffic waiting to exit Lidgett Lane and has already created a number of minor traffic accidents. Fortunately the problem will be resolved once the traffic lights are turned on and the white lines at the end of Lidgett Lane are moved back a few yards. Our councillors need to insist that the Highways Department turn on these lights as a priority, before someone is seriously injured. In the meantime the safest bet would be to avoid the junction altogether until the lights are on. 

 

2007-08-22   Community Spirit

It is heart warming to read of a local farmer’s gift of 4 and a half acres of land to South Milford Parish Council for the benefit of the local junior football teams. The Parish Council must also take a bow for the farmer having such confidence in them to manage this resource for the benefit of the village. He obviously knows this generous gift is safe in their hands. 

 

2007-08-10   Library Lotto

Does anybody else think it bizarre that we will have to win a lottery grant to improve the library building at the bottom of Main Street in Garforth? What do they do with our council tax? Clearly they use it to hire a team of people to research and submit lottery grant applications. I wonder if they have a team that buys lottery tickets as well, then sits nervously in front of the TV on a Saturday and Wednesday night, fingers crossed, hoping for a jackpot win so that we can buy some library books.  

 

2007-08-08   No Power Station In Our Backfield

No matter how green you might think a wind farm is, it is still a power station and ‘greenness’ does not mean it must be built on green belt land. It is one of the few types of power station that benefits from being in an inhospitable location such as the top of a mountain or out at sea so why waste good farmland on such an ill-conceived scheme. Banks, the North East based company behind the scheme, inflicts endless opencast schemes on this region and must see our planners as the softest of soft touches. It’s time the planners said no, pointed to the North Sea and said build it in your own backyard. Visit www.hookmoorwindfarm.org.uk and find out how to tell the planners what you think.  

 

2007-08-02   Still No Light at the End of the Road

Three more months have passed and still no traffic lights at the junction of Lidgett Lane and Selby Road. However there are poles in the ground and new traffic islands in place. It took months for the council to set up the lights at the junction of the A63 and the M1 and finally turn them on so we should not hold our breath yet but we should hopefully see them working by Christmas. All credit to Councillor Dobson for doggedly pressing the Highways Department to deliver these long overdue lights. We can all look forward to seeing his picture in the Evening Post at the grand switch on, and deservedly so. 

 

2007-07-31   Put this Car Park in the Right

Unbelievably, the council is to spend 18,000 pounds on a 60-70 space car park on council land by the Garforth Town stadium to meet a possible fortnightly demand for parking spaces when the club commences its season in the Unibond league. Forget for a moment that the owner of the club is a millionaire and more than capable of building his own car parks. This is parking space that will be needed once a fortnight, in winter only and the actual number of spaces required is an unknown. Also all the flat land around the stadium currently hosts football pitches. If this car park is built at the expense of any of these pitches the council should be ashamed of itself. Meanwhile at East Garforth station where there is also council owned land available for a car park, passengers have to park their cars on the streets, creating a hazard for local school children. Main Street is crying out for additional shoppers parking because of all the spaces occupied 5 days a week by park and riders. The enormous car park at Garforth station is quickly full to overflowing every single weekday.I suggest the council spends a few pounds on a big sign on the corner of the road leading up to the football stadium saying ‘Strictly Residents Only’ and directing football traffic to the nearby industrial estate where there is ample roadside parking on Saturday afternoons . The club should put a steward by the sign on match days to ensure that everyone obeys the instructions and the council could occasionally send along a traffic warden to financially remind anyone who thought they knew better. As for the 18,000 pounds, build a car park where it is needed. 

 

2007-07-17   Town Regeneration on the Cheap

In 2006 we were all invited to look at and comment on proposals for the regeneration of Garforth Main Street and Kippax High Street. We assumed that the original proposals were what the council intended to do, subject to comments from residents. We all knew deep down that if we proposed significant changes to the plans the council would more than likely come back and say it couldn’t afford to do the additional work. But to find out they are unable to fund their own proposals either, beggars belief. You have to ask what was the purpose of the consultation? Were they hoping that all over Leeds communities would say ‘no we don’t need any of that, it will spoil our charming run down look’? All they have managed to achieve is delay, with the majority of the work in Kippax being done in 2007 and Garforth Main Street not starting till 2008. Perhaps that was the goal. The rearranging of benches and bins is nobody’s idea of a serious regeneration plan for either town’s main thoroughfare. Our councillors must be tearing their hair out, having to watch helplessly as nearly 60 per cent is hacked off the funding. The council should think again and either find more money or reduce the number of communities included in the scheme. I know this would almost certainly mean we miss out yet again but the alternative will be to waste a vast amount of money not doing enough to satisfying anybody. And you never know, we might just win the toss this time. 

 

2007-07-10   Time To Talk About Makins Caravans

Councillor Dobson, with the unenviable task of setting up a meeting of relevant parties in the middle of the holiday season, has now succeeded in getting the right people round the table to sort out Makins caravans dispute. All that remains is for the various parties to reach an agreement on where the farm workers caravans should be relocated to and when it can happen. Both sides agree it is time to resolve the dispute and that there is a mutually acceptable solution so it is hard to see how the meeting could possibly fail. However the summer is flying by and an early agreement must be reached so that Farmer Makin can put in place the infrastructure needed to support a relocated caravan site before the winter sets in. Otherwise he might well be using the current site again for one more, final season.  

 

2007-07-06   Double Blow to Lions

For the second time in a week a major Lions event has been cancelled due to the effects of the recent bad weather. Members of the Lions clubs in Garforth and Elmet have spent months preparing for what is always the highlight of the summer in their respective communities and it must be heartbreaking for them to see all their hard work defeated by the freak rainstorms of the last few weeks. But they are not called Lions for nothing and they will both bounce back with bigger and better events next year. 

 

2007-07-03   New Lion Leader for Garforth

Congratulations to the newly appointed President of Garforth Lions, Ken Woodhead and hearty congratulations to outgoing president Dave Richards. He has had a challenging year terminating with the monsoons that washed out the annual Lions gala but at all times he has been up to the mark. Well done Dave. 

 

2007-06-27   Pedestrian Danger on Main Street

Police are searching for the driver of a blue Volvo that knocked down a female pedestrian on Main Street. Given the number of speed bumps there are scattered throughout the town you have to ask why the busiest street in Garforth, with the boy racer friendly long straight flat bit, that’s usually lined with illegally parked cars to obscure everyone’s view and packed with shoppers who would rather risk the traffic than walk to the widely spaced out crossings, does not have any traffic calming measures in place.  

 

2007-06-25   The Road to Regeneration

I would like to coin a new phrase, Garforth Ring Road - the three roads forming a loop around the edge of the town - Aberford Road, the Ridge Road and Selby Road. Okay, it’s more of a triangle but how many Ring Roads are absolutely circular? What’s the big deal about a Ring Road? Well, many communities battle for years for a bypass, or half Ring Road as I like to think of it, to banish through traffic from their High Street. We are blessed effectively with 2 bypasses, one to the left and one to the right. We don’t need to allow through traffic up or down Main Street at all. So if we string a set of bollards across the road, turn the road surface into pavement, giving pedestrians more space whilst confusing those people who insist on parking at a kerbside, and push the ‘park and riders’ out of the shoppers car parks , we might have the beginnings of a regenerated Main Street.  

 

2007-06-13   A Pedestrian Decision on Main Street

Contrary to general belief the plan to regenerate Main Street is not dead, the business plan was approved in March for an estimated commencement in early 2008. However, one of the main planks of the plan, the semi-pedestrianisation of Main Street has been thrown out on cost grounds and following an objection from Metro. Considering Fidlers Lane mini park and Garforth Library are not even on Main Street, this leaves us with a regeneration plan consisting of gateways at either end, painting the front of the Welfare Hall and some new lamps, bins, barriers and benches. Why does rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic spring to mind? How can pedestrianisation be rejected on cost grounds? If it is too expensive then why did it appear in the original proposals? Or has the budget been slashed since the original plans were published? Can we have gates on our gateways please, to rid Main Street of the illegal parking and through traffic that make it so dangerous to cross?  

 

2007-06-10   Promoting the Town

Congratulations to Garforth Town AFC on gaining entry to the Unibond League. Although their place was as a result of the expansion of that league and one promoted team dropping out there is no doubt amongst fans that this ambitious club will flourish and triumph in this league 

 

2007-05-30   Still Waiting to Talk

Despite offering, two weeks ago, to sit down and talk with interested parties to resolve the caravan issue Mr Makin has not yet had any response to that invitation. As the invitation to resolve the matter was made via this website I felt I should ask Mr Makin what progress had been made in the two weeks since the offer published. As of today he has heard nothing. In his emailed response to my enquiry Mr Makin emphasised the important role of the planners in the resolution of the problem. So hopefully when the meeting eventually takes place the planning department will be in attendance, with its helpful hat on.  

 

2007-05-25   Still No sign of Light

Despite promises from the council that work is about to commence on installing traffic lights at the junction of Selby Road and Lidgett Lane they have still not started. What can a cynic conclude from this? Well the council elections are over for another year. Perhaps the planning department is helping? Maybe we need more than 3 councillors in Garforth. Seriously, this project is not 18 months late, it is 30 years late and whilst you might say what’s another few months then, this road junction is dangerous and another few months might see another accident.  

 

2007-05-20   Farmer Makin Offers an Olive Branch

In a letter to this website Farmer Makin has indicated his willingness to sit down with interested parties and resolve the caravan problem. Our new Councillor, Mark Dobson, is already trying to facilitate such a meeting. This is a giant step in the right direction. It’s important now that all sides put behind them any ill feeling that may have developed over the last few years and refuse to leave the table until a mutually acceptable agreement has been reached.  

 

2007-05-17   Councillor Dobson

Congratulations to the new Labour Councillor for Garforth and Swillington, Mark Dobson. His efforts on behalf of the residents of Garforth over the last 3 years have earned him the right to continue his work at a higher level. Hopefully he will continue to make a big impact on our behalf. 

 

2007-04-15   Park and Ride

Parking congestion at the Garforth stations has been a problem for quite a while and the council’s solution of sticking its head in the sand and hoping it goes away has failed. I would like to suggest that East Garforth station is relocated 200 yards further east, adjacent to the farmland between Garforth and the Ridge Road and that around this station site a Park and Ride car park should be constructed for the hundreds of ‘out of town’ drivers who currently park up and ride in to Leeds from the 2 Garforth stations. The advantages of this proposal are: • The station would still be convenient for the residents of East Garforth • Park and Riders would no longer need to clog up the Garforth car parks and surrounding streets • The new station location would be easily accessed from the M1, the A1 and the A63 via the relatively uncongested Ridge Road, convenient for residents from Kippax and the other villages east of Garforth For the proposal to succeed we would need the co-operation of the council, the farmer who owns the land, the planning department and the rail authorities. … oh well, so much for that idea.  

 

2007-04-05   Caravan Saga Continues

It’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry at the ongoing dispute at Makins Farm. The caravans continue to snuggle up against local residents fences, the residents group continues to make it more and more difficult for the farmer to run his business and the planners continue to make life more difficult for everybody. The farmer refuses to move his caravans, the residents group objects to everything the farmer tries to do and the planners, who invariably sit in the middle of all this, consistently fail to reach the ‘right’ decision, whatever that might be. The solution is to move the caravans to a different part of the farm. We all know this. A bit of give and take is required. Commonsense needs to prevail. Farmer Makin must be allowed to accommodate on his land the workers he needs to run his farm and factory operations. If he can grow more by using polytunnels then good luck to him. He is entitled to earn his living. The local residents must not be deliberately subjected to nuisance. There are many other places to locate the caravans. Don’t councils have rules about bad neighbours? Maybe an ASBO would be more appropriate. Is anyone sitting round a table trying to reach a mutually acceptable solution? It’s time to stop digging trenches and get the Christmas football out.  

 

2007-03-28   Council Tax Hits the Doormat

The 2007/8 council tax notices arrived this week, up 4.5% on last year, £1182 for a band D property, an extra £52 a year, for more of the same. What could be more depressing? The government takes all these taxes plus the business rates then using a complex formula, determines how much per person is allocated to each council. So for example we in Leeds pay in our thousand plus pounds and get back less than £300 a head from the Government. This money is used by the council to provide services and amenities in each of its wards (and we all know how poorly we do in that share out). Even worse, per capita allocations vary from council to council, so our money is used to subsidise amongst others the citizens of Manchester, who this year receive nearly £300 a head more than us. Manchester already has a tram system, an arena and world class sports facilities, financed seemingly by the tax payers of Leeds, at a time when we are desperate for these facilities in our own city. Leeds City Council taxes are about 10% below the national average. Admirable, but in the game of siphoning cash out of the Government’s council tax pot Manchester is beating us hands down. Clearly they have much sharper politicians than ours. So, Council tax allocation is a shambles. The only council tax payment that goes back to your community in its entirety is the precept paid to your parish council (if you are lucky enough to have one). Perhaps the way forward is more parish councils, with bigger precepts, correspondingly lower ‘council set’ taxes and responsibility for some services devolving downwards.  

 

2007-03-21   Leaky Report on Leaky Road

A leaked report says that the drains on the A1-M1 link road are inadequate and result in flooding during heavy rain. So we have been warned. If its bad try an alternative route and be safe. The link road has been a boon for Garforth and Swillington. It has taken the traffic congestion away from the local roads and made everywhere else easier to get to. Its a pity they didn’t get the plumbing and the noise right but on balance it’s a fine road.  

 

2007-03-15   171,000 Multicoloured Elephant

The new skate park at Glebelands will become a white elephant if gangs of graffiti artists and vandals are allowed to take control of it. It is of course in the wrong place. It should have been part of the leisure centre, fenced in to keep out the vandals, supervised by trained staff with medical knowledge and maintained by charging a fee to use it. It is galling but hardly a surprise that the brand new skate park is covered in graffiti. Graffiti ‘art’ might even be appropriate for such a facility, I’m of the wrong generation to know, but without seeing it I suspect it will be the usual graffiti filth. To me the park will never be more than a concrete sculpture. Perhaps for me, the colourful graffiti will improve it visually because I won’t be going too close or reading it. Unfortunately our children will because they want such a facility, so it is unacceptable. I can’t help feeling that giving £1000 to 171 clubs and societies in Garforth would have been a much better use of the money. Time will tell.  

 

2007-03-04   Albert Mountain VC

The Civic Trust intend to erect a blue plaque outside the Miners Arms to commemorate Albert Mountain VC, a hero of the Great War who was born, lived and died in Garforth in 1967. Well done to all those that have made this happen but how did we fail to honour him for so long? He is the true hero you build a statue to or name a school after.  

 

2007-02-01   Not Seeing the Light

In November 2005, a news item on this website reported that traffic lights at the junction of Lidgett Lane and Selby Road were to be added to the local transport plan. Well its 15 months later and we’re still waiting. Are we missing something here? A tin of white paint and this problem could be solved overnight. 

 

2007-01-29   A New Place to Play

Great Preston Parish Council have just provided land for a football pitch in their community. Meanwhile in Garforth, where there is no parish council, labour councillors and our MP recently complained about the scandalous lack of sports facilities, something we’ve had to endure for the last 30 years. How come a parish council delivers when a city council can’t?  

 

2007-01-27   It’s Just Not Cricket

Well done Councillor Murray for going in to bat for the residents of Great Preston concerned about the future of their historic cricket pitch. There is still some way to go to determine ownership of the land but removal of the £3m price tag should make this easier.  

 

2006-12-15   Litter on Our Streets

If Garforth had it’s own town council it would have the statutory right to install litter bins and even appoint a village sweeper. Then if the streets were strewn with litter we could simply tell him to clean it up rather than complain to no-one in particular about how bad things were. 

 

2006-11-21   Flooded Cemetery

A Cross Gates Councillor has taken up the issue of flooding in Garforth Cemetery. The council’s response is that they’ve already put drainage in. So is that it then? If we had our own town council they have a legal right to maintain both drainage and cemeteries. We wouldn’t have to argue the toss with the council’s cemeteries team, the town council would simply fix it  

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