This week Calderdale Council asked businesses to review its future strategy including its “key priority” of promoting creative businesses.
However it appears to have missed a real opportunity to encourage future investment in to Calderdale’s creative sector by appointing Heavenly PR to handle its promotion of the area during “Le Tour”.
What a snub to the very talented agencies in and around Calderdale that a Cardiff, New York and London based agency was deemed to be a better option than any local firms. The £40,000 project, whilst not a great sum to market a region, if awarded locally would have kept the money within the local economy and more importantly provided a local PR firm with an opportunity to showcase its skills to an international audience.
Who knows, maybe they would be well placed to sell their services to organisations in London, Cardiff or New York!
Taken with a pinch of salt . . .
What’s not to like about a £400k barn for a pile of salt?
The old saying that too much salt is bad for you, first springs to mind. However on a more serious note is it worth spending £400,000 on the construction of a building to house salt when Calderdale Council can’t even maintain public buildings, never mind a building to house what is commonly found on the dining room table!
Public buildings, which I believe Calderdale Council has a statutory duty to maintain to a safe standard for their staff and their customers such as we, the public of Calderdale .
Cow Green Car Park, Elland Swimming Pool and the Halifax Central Library are just few of the many buildings under Calderdale Council’s ownership which come to mind.
It appears that these buildings have been deliberately allowed to fall into a state of disrepair, subsequently jeopardising the safety of the public, as Calderdale Council appears to have an interest in seeing all of the above mentioned buildings demolished for one reason or another. The safety fears regarding the roof of Elland Swimming Pool which prompted its closure, appear to have been exaggerated.
If indeed the roof actually did prompt a “significant danger to staff and the public” as it is claimed, then Calderdale Council is guilty of negligence, as no measures were put in place to prevent members of the public from walking along Elizabeth Street and Huddersfield Road, directly adjacent to two structural walls holding up this apparently dangerous roof.
This pool coincidentally sits upon the preferred site for the construction of Elland Bus Station! At Halifax Central Library a piece of cladding swung away and almost fell directly onto the public highway below. Ironically this was adjacent to an area closed off by Herras fencing which was erected and later strengthened a whopping two years before this incident occurred and later removed shortly after work which was carried out as a result of this cladding failure.
Central Library is to be cleared away to make way for an extension to the Woolshops Shopping Centre which is expected to bring major new retail facilities to Halifax, according to Calderdale Council. Cow Green Car Park has been identified by Calderdale Council as requiring a refurbishment costing around £2.25 million (as far back as 2008).This car park closed on the January 11, 2013 on health and safety grounds. So what’s not to like about a £400,000 salt barn?
What have we learned in 33 years?
I write to you again on the subject of austerity and this council’s inability to get things right.
I would like to bring to your attention to an article published in the Evening Courier on January 30, 1981: “Firms attack ‘silly spending’ by council. Industry and commerce leaders have accused Calderdale Council of waste and inefficiency.
“Chamber secretary, Miss Mary Walker, said the list included spending on gardens, playing fields, recreational areas, the building or proposed building of two sports centres, a CENTRAL LIBRARY and town centre redevelopment.” So no change there then is there?
Thirty-three years later they are building ‘a new library’ and redeveloping the area around the Industrial Museum. Why, oh why, after 33 years, although the faces have changed, has this council not learned anything?
Interestingly, central government had also cut £1.9 million from the council’s budget, so to pay for this spending the council approved a 24 per cent rent increase - now where have we seen that recently? A case of Conservative austerity and Labour waste?
Area scheme is to protect children
Darren Bernard’s rambling letter in last week’s Courier (‘20mph only outside schools’) argues that the council’s proposals for area based 20mph speed limits now out for consulation are some kind of plot to extract fines from motorists, and little else.
Let’s look at the facts rather than resorting to paranoia. The analysis of the benefits of these area-wide limits undertaken by the Department of Transport and then the local authorities representing over 11 million people which are already introducing them is strong and clear.
Other research, including by the AA Motoring Trust, shows that there’s a much stronger association between child road accidents and low income and ethnic minority status, and with ordinary childhood activities like playing, than with school location. Area-wide limits are (we think) the best possible intervention the council could undertake in response to the fact that Calderdale’s accident reduction performance since 2005 has been unacceptable, and has failed to meet government reduction targets.
Here’s just one quote from the Calderdale 2012 Road Casualties report: “The number of children killed or seriously injured had generally been falling until 2005, but since then the trend has been disappointingly upward” – and similar trends apply generally to adult pedestrians and cyclists.
Crucially these accidents are not associated just with the area immediately around schools and during a couple of weekday hours only. This has nothing to do with being ‘anti-motorist’, or just the pretext for extracting fines. Area-wide 20mph limits are typically not applied using road humps or speed cameras but rather by awareness of greater consistency (that drivers will know that the urban area speed limit is uniformly 20mph, rather than constantly changing), clear signage and some police enforcement.
Motorists will usually find their journey times are only fractionally longer and, after all, all of them are pedestrians too and will have family and friends they want better protected. And areas covered by these limits are better places to live, work and shop. I would hope that most people would want to support a commonsense measure that will save lives and prevent individual family tragedies.
Coordinator, Calderdale Friends of the Earth
Small scale power is not practical
It is time to realise that onshore, small scale, local generation of power is not practical for the community.
The facts about how much power is generated AND how much of that is actually used needs to be known. The subsidies are extremely generous - so generous that people are happy to consider an investment of £750,000 to install a very large turbine in our valley. This is a cash generator for them and no more.
No-one is looking to reduce how much power they use, except those of us who are not cashing in on the subsidies. Energy costs are so high partly due to the levies to pay for the wind turbine subsidy. Finally the Government has realised how ineffective and inefficient on-shore wind power actually is, and what a waste of taxpayers money the subsidies are.
Calderdale planning department are considered in their approach to each application. Too often the applications are too harmful to our greenbelt, our residents, the openness and amenity of our precious landscape and quite rightly they are refused.
(Full name and address supplied)
Wardens to chase off business
Welcome to Halifax.
Come and set up your business - but beware of traffic wardens! On Monday, November 25, at 7.30pm I was having a meal in a restaurant in Union Street when I spotted two traffic wardens who walked up and down the road four times once stopping to talk to two people who were loading/unloading a small van outside their shop on the opposite side of the road. Halifax was like a ghost town, at least there was no sign of traffic or people in the region of this street. However, the gentleman owner of the car was told to move it, or so he told the people in the cafe! As a tax/rate payer in town I think I have just found out the meaning of the “jobsworth”. Yes, there was a notice in the street, I quote, “Pedestrian Zone” with a no parking symbol with “At any time” next to it. Underneath this notice was a white oblong stating “No loading 10am - 4pm”. All clear? Now, I have a brilliant idea! Could these two wardens be employed booking car drivers who not only break the law but put pedestrians’ lives in danger every day by ignoring the “Pedestrian Zone” notice at the top of King Edward Street and the one on Market Street. I am sure bus and taxi drivers and others who legally drive there will be very grateful!