Councillor Sophie Whittaker: Road to success over Bridge End resurfacing

Making a difference at Longroyde snicket
Making a difference at Longroyde snicket

Coun Sophie Whittaker (Conservative, Rastrick) talks about local road resurfacing and supporting the community by shopping local.

With the help of our community, the fences at Longroyde snicket have been replaced, the litter has been picked up, and the graffiti painted over.

As a councillor, I receive a lot of casework from constituents. Some requests by residents take longer than others; however, one of the things most requested by Rastrick residents is for their roads to be properly maintained.

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Sometimes trying to get someone in the council to listen, take ownership and actually do the work can feel like an uphill struggle.

I have written previous articles about the issue with Bridge End and the relentless failings of the council’s highways department to respond either within a reasonable time frame or even at all to requests from both myself and residents alike. I am therefore pleased to report that following my numerous articles on this matter, tens of emails from both residents and councillors, and a petition to full council, senior officers in the highways department have finally confirmed that they will resurface Bridge End.

An exact date is still to be forthcoming. However, I am informed this should be around March 2019.

I would like to thank those constituents who worked alongside me in pushing for a positive outcome.

Another example of working together was demonstrated over the weekend when the community wardens and Rastrick residents joined forces to clean up Longroyde snicket. The snicket is a well-used short cut down from Rastrick High School, but was in an awful state with half torn down fencing, foul graffiti plastered on the walls and litter strewn everywhere. With the help of our community, the fences have been replaced, the litter has been picked up, and the graffiti painted over.

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Nevertheless, the work of a councillor (and indeed a community) is never done.

I love to shop in Brighouse as many local residents do.

Brighouse is blessed with a wonderful town centre with a great variety of shops.

I like to support the local community by, whenever possible, buying locally.

Whilst Brighouse sees reasonable trade despite the serious pressure on retail nowadays, this local economy is delicate. Calderdale Council is planning to increase parking charges. This is despite a petition, complaints and pleas from traders and residents not to do this.

We have established from officers that the council does not investigate the impact of parking charges on the amount of business rates collected, the number of empty shops, or the revenue of local traders.

As long as the money raised on parking alone doesn’t go down, they assume it can be raised without considering the impact on the town, its businesses, or even the other monies the council raises from shop rents and business rates.

This is the kind of narrow minded short termism that has seen many a council destroy many a beloved market town.

Parking is fundamental to the shopping experience. Easily accessible, cheap, or free parking in town centres has a strong, positive effect on trade, something that is vital to small retail businesses suffering at the moment against large online companies.

I’m concerned that if the council continue to press ahead with the planned increases, against residents’ wishes, they may very well do irreparable damage to our town.

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