Options for ward forums

THE future of ward forums is being discussed with residents.

Three options have been put forward by Calderdale Council to get the best form of engagement for residents to air their views. Each of the options have been tailored to the ward individually.

In Hipperholme and Lightcliffe, residents have been discussing traffic and highways issues and are deciding if a focus group that would meet to discuss the problem with councillors and council offices and feed back progress at the ward forum would be beneficial.

Maybe having drop in sessions with the police and councillors so it is more informal, or not having a councillor chairing the meeting.

Or looking at other forms of community engagement such as knocking on doors and holding community events such as market stalls were discussed.

Residents felt they needed to be better attended.

Mags Bryson, neighbourhood co-ordinator from Calderdale Council, said people attended them if there was a major concern. “There is quite high numbers that attend this one particularly around certain issues such as the crossroads. But we will hold the meetings even if only two people turned up.”

One resident suggested splitting the ward into areas such as Hipperholme, and Bailiff Bridge so that people were given the chance to put any thoughts forward.

Councillor Colin Raistrick (Ind, Hipp/Light) said the ward forums were originally set up as a means of community engagement. “I do think despite my initial scepticism they are a valuable tool for people to sit and talk to their local councillors and also whenever they decide to turn up, council officers. It also gives some sort of accountability.”

Another resident asked if they actually helped to solve an issue but was told that although they can’t always they do their upmost.

Councillor Raistrick added: “The problem with Hipperholme crossroads is never going to be sorted but unless we keep the pressure on we are never going to move forward.”

The residents recommended not getting “bogged down” with one particular issue and giving each one an limited amount of time.