Forum future questioned

A LACK of people atending at ward forums could be putting their future in jeopardy.

Only 15 people which includes both residents and council staff attended Brighouse Ward Forum where it was suggested that unless people started to use the ward forums they could risk losing them.

George Simpson said it had been suggested that Brighouse, Rastrick and Hipperholme and Lightcliffe could come together in the interest of saving money and secondly to increase the number of attendees.

Graham Gibbins from community development officer at Calderdale Council said there were a lot of discussions still on going. “We keep coming back to combining the ward forums in the area so I will take it back to officers and follow it up,” he said.

Sergeant Dean Maddocks, of the Lower Valley Neighbourhood Policing Team, said the ward forums were a good means of communication between the council and the public. “We have noticed that the numbers are dropping whether that is because no one has any burning issues or they don’t like the meetings. It does seem to be a trend coming to the meetings,” he said.

Councillor Colin Stout (Ind, Brighouse) said: “We are here to ask questions. If you need an answer we will get that for you. You don’t need to apologise for coming with an issue. You could be representing a community group or just a resident who has had enough about a certain issue because if you don’t use it we will lose it.

“When the cuts start and hit especially in this round they will be looking at severe ways to cut. We need to look at ways of stimulating people to attend. You can bring up an issue and you will either get the answer there and then or we will let you know at the next meeting. These issues may only start of as quite small but these can escalate and can become bigger problems so fetch your concerns to the ward meetings and let’s nip it in the bud sooner rather than later.”

But at Hipperholme and Lightcliffe’s ward forum held the following week more than 40 residents attended the meeting to discuss progress being made on the layby in Halifax Road, the situation of the crossroads and Bramley Lane.

One resident said that there had been a good turn out because of the type of issues being discussed which had been affecting residents for a number of years.

There was also the three ward councillors, police and various council officers to discuss the progress and to answer any questions about the three issues at the meeting at Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School.

Do you think ward forums are a waste of money or do they provide a good means of communication? Tell us your views at stephen.firth@brighouseecho.co.uk