Inside the Council: Fast forward to issue of speed

Bank Street car park, Brighouse.
Bank Street car park, Brighouse.

I make no apology for returning to the hotly debated topic of 20mph zones in Calderdale.

At its meeting on October 7, the Labour Cabinet received a report from the Director of Economy and Environment, which preferred three options for consideration.

Option 1: To continue the current arrangement of implementing 20mph areas in a targeted manner. Currently there are four areas where a “blanket” restriction has been implemented. These are Stainland, Elland, Pellon and Boothtown. The intention would be to introduce on a phased basis two selected residential areas per year based upon what is known as the “Killed or Seriously Injured (KSI) matrix.

Option 2: To implement 20mph limits outside schools only.

Option 3: To implement area-wide restrictions in all residential areas, again using the KSI matrix and geographical neighbourhoods.

Any reduction in the speed at which vehicles drive is what the Americans term “a no-brainer”. Analysis of evidence of vehicle speed in pedestrian fatalities has shown that 45% of pedestrians are killed when struck by vehicles travelling at less than 30mph, dropping to 5 per cent at speeds below 20mph.

The conclusion of the Cabinet was to enter into public consultation on the issues and the alternatives. Now, we all know from the recent debacle and heavily weighted “consultation” around the Central Library, that the Labour Cabinet have a very skewed idea about what constitutes ”consultation”. It would seem that they were prepared to consult until they reached the answer they wanted or to carry on regardless with their avowed plans.

The Cabinet report stated that consultation with the public would be with stakeholders, community groups, Ward Forums and the Council’s website. Not good enough I say, in fact an insult in its narrow focus, particularly as the Leader of the Council has already attempted to skew the results by stating “It doesn’t do the job if it’s just outside schools”.

Your Conservative Group has been leading its own campaign to gauge truly representative opinion. More than 16,000 leaflets have been distributed around the Borough and the return rate is encouraging.

If you haven’t received one of the leaflets, don’t hesitate to let us know your views. Comments can be made by email to brighouse@yorkshireconservatives.org.uk or in writing to C&K CCHQ, Spring Villas, 16a Church Lane, Brighouse, HD6 1AT.

Free parking U-turn

is welcome and vital

It would seem that common-sense has at last prevailed, but not without considerable pressure from right-minded groups.

Labour have had to think again about charging for previously free car parks throughout the Borough and the move is a welcome one for our communities in Brighouse and Rastrick.

This past year has seen some wonderful events in our town, thanks to the hard work of the community and in particular the Brighouse Business Initiative (BBI). Think back to the Olympic Torch, The Forties Weekend, the Beer festival, the Arts Festival, the Jubilee, Totally Locally Market Days, the list goes on.

Their success can be directly attributed to a strong local community and an effective small business forum.

I spoke to many “out-of-towners” who visited these events and they told me that they loved coming to the Brighouse and Rastrick area because of the variety of smaller, specialist shops and the convenience of parking. The imposition of parking charges would undoubtedly mean that less of these visitors would be attracted to come to our area and it would be the small businesses which would suffer.

A very effective campaign by our residents in no small way contributed to this Labour U-turn.

It’s important that we keep up the pressure and ensure that our businesses and community are protected from these disproportionate charges.

Take care during darker days

This coming weekend sees the clocks go back one hour, which will mean that, increasingly, the late afternoons and early evenings will become darker.

It’s a time when we all have to exercise that extra bit of caution. Walking, as far as possible, in well-lit areas, ensuring our homes are safe and any out buildings secure, watching out for our neighbours, particularly the elderly and vulnerable and being ever-aware of road safety, whether driving or as pedestrians.

Thankfully, we live in area which is relatively low on crime. It would be good to keep it that way.

By Councillor Ann McAllister