I met Chris Dickinson at this afternoon’s consultation event that was held at Wrangthorn Church. Chris is our new local Area Management Officer in charge of the team which provides support to the twelve local councillors who together form INWAC (Inner North West Area Committee). Chris is a native of Maine, who has managed to retain his charming accent, despite having lived in the UK for quite a number of years. He’s very keen to work with residents and councillors to make this a better place for everyone, and with all of his American energy and enthusiasm, I really believe he could succeed.
This afternoon’s event was well attended and there were plenty of people there from council departments and the police to answer questions. There was also a very interesting and attractive display of the Little Woodhouse Neighbourhood Design Statement. This will eventually be published by the council as a Supplementary Planning Guide which then ought to be used to inform planning officers and councillors when deciding whether to approve planning applications.
There’s to be a consultation event on Monday the 16th March between 2.30pm and 6.30pm at Wrangthorn Church, Hyde Park Corner. The council says it’s a chance for us to “influence local decision making by setting local priorities.” Forever the optimist, I’ll be going along to tell them what needs doing since they don’t seem to know, in the hope that maybe they’ll listen and actually do something. If nothing else it’ll be a chance to meet our local councillors (yes, it seems they are still alive), and put questions to them and our community police officers. Will I see you there ?
In response to the clamour of protests from local residents about last year’s mayhem on Woodhouse Moor, when trees and benches were burnt in bonfires, as both the police and Leeds City Council failed to enforce the no-barbeque byelaw, the council has responded – not by taking steps to enforce the byelaw, but by first getting the byelaws changed to make barbeque areas possible in principle, and now by proposing barbeque areas on Woodhouse Moor. There’s to be consultation, but apparently, it’s not aimed at local residents. There are to be two consultation events :
Friday 20th March, 5pm – 7pm at Leeds University Student Union Meeting Room 2 (upstairs in the ARC).
Thursday 26th March, 3pm – 7pm in the Bowls Pavilion, Woodhouse Moor. For a map showing the location of the bowling greens, please click on the words highlighted in green above.
Clearly the views of local residents don’t matter to our councillors, and neither does the waste of public resources given that between the 1st May and the 10th June 2008, the fire brigade was called out to Woodhouse Moor 29 times to extinguish fires (at a total cost of around £66,000 given an average call-out cost of £2,289). This contrasts with just three call-outs to Roundhay Park in the same period.
On the 17th December 2008, central government bureaucrats gave their approval to Leeds City Councils’ application to change the city’s byelaws to allow unauthorised parking and barbeque areas in the city’s parks. Local residents had asked the Department for Communities and Local Government to reject the proposals on the grounds that Leeds City Council had failed to consult. But instead, the department chose to accept Leeds City Council’s assurance that consultation had taken place. I have since learnt that Leeds City Council consulted just six bodies : The National Council for Metal Detecting, South Leeds Aero Modelling Society, British Model Flying Association, The Leeds Society for Deaf and Blind People, Access Committee for Leeds, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
No response was received from any of these organisations. This is hardly surprising since whilst the proposed changes will have a big impact on local residents, they will have no effect whatsoever on the people represented by these organisations.