Agenda item

Open Forum

In accordance with Paragraphs 4.16 and 4.17 of the Community Committee Procedure Rules, at the discretion of the Chair a period of up to 10 minutes may be allocated at each ordinary meeting for members of the public to make representations or to ask questions on matters within the terms of reference of the Community Committee. This period of time may be extended at the discretion of the Chair. No member of the public shall speak for more than three minutes in the Open Forum, except by permission of the Chair.


In accordance with Paragraphs 4.16 and 4.17 of the Community Committee Procedure Rules, at the discretion of the Chair a period of up to 10 minutes may be allocated at each ordinary meeting for members of the public to make representations or to ask questions on matters within the terms of reference of the Community Committee. This time may be extended at the discretion of the Chair.


The Commitment

The Commitment are a small organisation established in 2019 whose aim is to accelerate action for environmental change. Two members of the Commitment attended the Open Forum and provided a presentation for Ward Members to see.


Members of the organisation are asked to pledge to only vote for politicians who commit to environmental change. It was noted that they have no agenda, no policies to push but do provide the views of voters in Leeds. Some of the views were read out to the Community Committee.


The Community Committee were informed that 11,000 commitments had been made nationally with 338 people making the commitment from Leeds. It was noted that 95% of people who had made the commitment honoured the commitment. The main reasons for people making the commitment were:

·  For future generations

·  Protection and restoration of nature

·  Air quality and public health


The Commitment value democracy and have a realisation of how Councils work and the limited resources available to them. The organisation wanted to work with Councils to bridge the gap between the public and the politicians.


Responding to questions from the Community Committee Members the following information was provided:

·  No studies had been carried out by the Commitment on poorer sections of the community. However, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has carried out studies and worked with vulnerable communities. The Commitment work across all demographics and assist with issues such as heating and transport.

·  The Commitment is a small team of six people, but they work with other groups and partners. Information about them can be found on social media.


The Community Committee were grateful for the Commitment’s attendance at the meeting and were happy for discussions about how to move forward with the climate emergency agenda in local communities.



Wildlife Friendly Otley – Nature Recovery Plan for Otley

Two Members of Wildlife Friendly Otley attended and provided a presentation outlining the Nature Recovery Plan for Otley.


A brief background to biodiversity and its importance was provided to the Community Committee. Members were informed that the United Kingdom was one of the worst countries at protecting biodiversity. Otley Town Council declared a Biodiversity Emergency and as a result of this declaration a Nature Recovery Plan was written for Otley. The Plan has eight action points listed as:

1.  No use of pesticides/ herbicides/ fungicides

2.  Baseline survey work with Town Council to improve nature reserves.

3.  Habitat restoration

4.  Create community orchards

5.  Provide hands on support for privately owned spaces and gardens

6.  Look at new types of lighting – It was noted that LED lighting reduced reproduction of insects and bats.

7.  Cleaning of the River Wharfe – which had received a poor rating due to raw sewage being dumped which had affected fish, birds etc.

8.  Communication and working together


Responding to questions from the Community Committee the following information was provided:

·  Encourage gardeners to create a small area for a mini meadow and to offer signs saying that the area had been left for wildlife to alleviate fears that people were leaving their gardens in an untidy state. It was noted that work was needed in relation to relaxed mowing by Parks and Countryside.

·  Members suggested that the group should speak with their local Ward Members who would be able to advise them of appropriate land which could be turned to rewilding areas. It was noted that some mapping had been undertaken of sites for rewilding, and the group were happy to consult with Councillors and residents.

·  The group would prefer not to use pesticides, herbicides and neonicotinoids but did recognise that Japanese Knotweed was difficult to remove. However, there were other methods available which were more environmentally friendly to remove such invasive species as the Japanese Knotweed. Members were advised that volunteers are available to assist with clearing weeds from footpaths and pedestrianised areas.

·  It was recognised that LED lighting had been installed to street lighting in relation to assist with the Climate Emergency and to save money. However, this was now found to be worse for certain species and more research was required for a more appropriate lighting solution.

·  In relation to the planting of whips the group were upset that the Council had not advised them of the planting, as they would have been able to assist with where was appropriate to plant them and would have been able to provide care for them. It was noted that concerns had been raised at Plans Panels about the issues in relation to the planting of whips and the number of whips which perished.

·  It was noted that Councillors would be happy to support the funding of ‘bee bomb’ seeds to assist with rewilding of appropriate areas.


The Community Committee thanked the two members of the group for attending the meeting.


A resident of Cherry Lea Court attended and explained to the Community Committee the issues that her and other residents of Cherry Lea Court face in relation to parking.


It was noted that Cherry Lea Court is a private road. However, parents dropping off children at Benton Park School, park on the road blocking in residents. Members heard that on occasion the parents are abusive even more so than the children. The residents were requesting that the yellow lines be renewed as they had faded.


The residents had also noticed that school buses when dropping off and picking up were causing pollution with diesel fumes and noise as they were sat idling the engines. During summer months the trees whilst in full leaf alleviate some of the issue, but during the winter months the noise and fumes have been an issue.


The residents were also concerned for safety on the main road due to the speed of road users and this also caused an issue for access to and from Cherry Lea Court, especially with cars and vans parking close to the entrance and blocking visibility. It was the view of the residents that yellow lines were required on this stretch of road. The Committee were informed that the residents had tried to contact the Council but were constantly told to use the electronic system. It was noted that most of the residents of Cherry Lea Court are in their eighties, and most are reluctant silver surfers.


Cllr Wadsworth said that as Chair of the Transport Sub-Group he would take this issue forward.


A resident of Guiseley attended the meeting on another road related issue this was the junction of Hollins Hill and Hawksworth Road. He wanted to raise concern about the number of accidents in this particular area and was concerned that someone would die if the issue was not resolved.


It was noted that former Cllr Graham Latty had raised this issue on previous occasions. However, nothing seems to have been done to address the issue. The resident said that for a number of years he had sent emails to the Highways Department setting out the issues and providing solutions, but nothing had happened.


It was noted that the Police had only recorded 2 accidents in this area. The resident was of the view that speed on this section of road was an issue and reducing it to 30mph would alleviate some of the incidents. 


Cllr Wadsworth said that the issue had been discussed on numerous occasions at the Transport Sub-Group and the Highways Section were currently looking into this issue and running a model for the signals at this junction. He said that he would follow up on this work with the Chief Officer, Highways.


Another Resident of Guiseley attended the Open Forum and raised the following issues:

1.  Barclays Bank closing on 12th April and the fact that this was the last remaining bank in the area. Residents would now have to travel to Leeds or Bradford to use a bank. It was his view that the area needed a banking hub. He said that he had contacted the MP Stuart Andrew who was looking into this but had been told that premises for the hub were an issue.

2.  Potholes on the A65 were an issue especially in the location of Westside and Nunroyd Park.

3.  The resident also wished to know what was happening in relation to Micklefield House and Orchard Way Car Park


Members explained that the process of setting up a banking hub was not a short process. Cllr Alderson said that he would contact Stuart Andrew MP about banking services in the area. It was suggested that a mobile banking hub may be suitable alternative for Guiseley.


Cllr Wadsworth, as Chair of the Transport Sub-Group explained that potholes are currently taking 21 days to be filled. He said he would contact Highways Section in relation to the potholes which had been highlighted.


Cllr Wadsworth explained that the Orchard Way Car Park was currently with City Development, and he would look into what is happening and feedback.


The Chair thanked all the speakers for their attendance at the meeting.

















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