Monday, 21 January 2013

Local residents "disapointed" with secretive Town Councillors



Local residents have again accused Horsforth Town Council of being "Secretive" and letting down the people of Horsforth.

In an open letter to the Council one resident says-

"I am a long standing Horsforth resident feeling somewhat let down, disappointed and disillusioned by the Town Council persay.

By just walking around my local area I see ASB, drug use, excessive drinking, public houses clearly flouting the licensing laws, the decline in street cleansing - excessive litter, dog fouling/chewing gum and graffitti. Not to mention the appaling condition many of our pavements and roads are in all seem in free fall in decline and deprivation.

Since the end of 2012 I have actively engaged with the local PCSO's and NPT which has seen a greater visible presence on our streets resulting in much of the ASB declining/eradicated altogether, drug using/dealing concerns addressed and speeding concerns tackled. I have contacted Leeds City Council and asked them to address the street cleaning issue whilst progress in this area is slow it has improved. Although the wider issue of prosecution of the perpetrators/ dog owners needs to be dealt with rather then just sending street cleaners to clean up after them periodically this does not tackle the route cause - it should not be happening at all.

By opening my eyes, ears and mouth I have proactively and swiftly tackled many local concerns I am one person who happens to work circa 50 hours per week and have a demanding lifestyle I have little time to be tackling issues which quite frankly should be picked up and addressed by our local town councillors. At present my personal opinion is that unless there is some PR / Media interest in it for the Town Council you are positively closed and disconnected to local concerns. I should not have to be doing what I am doing as that is why we have a local town council to maintain standards and address local issues is it not? to effectively bridge the gap between local residents and Leeds City Council so that local residents do not have to concern themselves with such issues. I do not see you as a proactive, useful resource at present which saddens me.


These are some issues I require assistance with:

•The streets to be cleaner ie. the dog mess to be eradicated and perpetrators dealt with effectively

•As above but with chewing gum our pavements are littered with it

•Following the weekend there is always piles of human sick on town street / Long Row

•Street lighting on Broadgate Lane is virtually none existant

•To maintain links with the PCT / NPT to ensure local concerns and 'hot spot' areas are tackled proactively before our more vulnerable members of the community are fearful to leave their homes after dark

•I understand the local bus services are to be cut/altered making it difficult for people to access neighbouring towns and villages

Overall a more visible presence of 'our town councillors' is required and not just at voting time! you should be working for your votes and supporters 365 days a year! I struggle to get to you because of the hours I work over the years I have tried to be an active member of the Town Council my last attempt was June time 2012 I was dismissed and given incorrect information.

Come on Horsforth Town Council get your act together if I am seeing the area decline rapidly than you must see the same! stop the rot now! I cannot do it all by myself. Confidence in you amongst local people is rapidly on the decline only you can save it and stop it going any further you can do this by been more receptive, engaging, visible and proactive! Rebranding the library was nice but that
doesnt help with those too scared to leave their homes around Low Lane because of the ASB in the area... it doesnt clear up the dog dirt on our pavements..."

There is feeling that Horsforth deserves better for the additional rates we pay into the Town Council and that it should be more open and accountable.

15 comments:

  1. I have to say that I agree with whoever wrote that letter bob, I tried to go to the Council office at the library and was told by some smug jobsworth to come back in 10 mins when we are open! I ended up calling Councillor Collins at home and she got my problem sorted PDQ!!

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  2. Is it true that they turn down grant applications from local groups?

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  3. I read somewhere that the bigest expense that the Council has is staffing costs!
    They are wasting our money on admin!! No wonder Covered Magazine had to pay for our Christmas Tree this year.

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    1. I totally agree - HTC spend around 68% of the precept on administration. This is a much higher proportion than other Leeds parishes. The council needs to get back to its original aim and stop wasting our money on political agendas that the residents of horsforth have not asked for such as the expensive neighbourhood plan and their delusions of taking over services from Leeds.

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  4. Did they get a response from the Council Bob?

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  5. Hi, I am the author of the letter still awaiting a full response from the chair and vice chair of Horsforth Town council I received a general response from the junior clerk which was littered with spelling mistakes...

    I have a letter ready and waiting to be sent to the independent ombudsman and local press :)

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  6. Not a word, only some "we will be in touch" message from a junior administator..

    It is now nearlly two weeks, they don't give a Damn!

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  7. I am a Town Councillor but in posting on here I am not answering on behalf of the Town Council.
    Whilst it is indefensible that the Chair of the Council has not responded to your letter, I note that there is only one item in your letter that is within the current remit of the Town Council - maintaining links with the NPT which is done through the Public Safety & Transport Committee.

    I suggest that, if you haven't received a response by then, you attend the next Full Council Meeting on March 13th at 7:45pm at St Margarets Parish Centre and at the part of the Agenda where the members of the public can raise issues ask why you haven't had a response.

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  8. Even if the Town Council is not responsible for providing all these services they are responsible for making sure that Leeds does, they should be more effective at getting a better service from Leeds

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  9. Thank you for your response John I know you have also sent me a response via the social networking site 'Facebook'.

    In response to your comments;

    Whilst it may not be possible for Horsforth Town Council to personally carry out my requests by means of cleaning the streets, repairing the roads so and so forth. It is in their remit and published aims to 'Horsforth Parish Council was formed in 1999 by a group of like minded people who wanted to preserve Horsforth's sense of community and by mainly voluntary effort, improve the appearance of Horsforth. They petitioned for a Parish Council and this was granted. They later changed their name to Town Council but this did not increase the Council's status. Horsforth Town Council exists to act as a democratically elected forum and focus for the township of Horsforth. It does not provide any services itself, these are provided by Leeds City Council'.

    You are therefore failing to uphold this 'promise' to the local residents and community by NOT taking these points to LCC and ensuring they are dealt with, by failing to communicate effectively with local residents and taking forward their concerns. The above situation should not occur if the council were upholding their aims. It has been down to myself a local resident to get off the fence so to speak and get such issues addressed I shouldnt have to be doing this and wouldnt be if we had a more effective and proactive town council.

    On your point of engaging and maintaining links with PCSO's and the NPT that's great but I would also argue you are failing there too as it has been as a direct result of local residents communicating directly with the NPT and PCSO's that our concerns and fears have been addressed! the NPT & PCSO's have taken swift and positive action. Why was this left to local residents to take up? I can answer that question because we as individuals have contacted the town council first and received NO response... I can give you a list of local residents who have all written the town council and all have been ignored! as you say it is unacceptable but appears to be standard practice! well I fore one will not be ignored and will not allow this situation to continue! All I want is a clean, nice area and for a proactive council I should not have to be doing what I am doing!

    I am sorry but I will not wait until 13 March for an answer from the Town Council! that time frame is absolutely unacceptable why should we live with dog mess on our streets for another 6 weeks? why should we be ignored?

    I also work circa 50 hours per week arriving home at 7pm I am not prepared to miss my evening meal to attend a meeting which quite frankly should not be necessary.

    As Luther once said... I have a dream...that one day we will have a proactive, engaging Town Council as a group and not just as individuals who act as they should whilst others stick their heads in the sand and adopt the ignorance is bliss state. I am here to tell those that stance will not be tolerated any longer! You are here to serve the residents of Horsforth! so either do your role as you should or get off the town council and make way for those who can and will do the role!

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  10. Any word back from HTC Carrie??

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  11. Good morning

    Sadly not! I have attempted to chase up a reply by various sources but nothing! very disappointing

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  12. ......I have been shown this by a HTC Councilor,

    Dear Carrie
    Please find below my comments on your email to Horsforth Town Council, posted to me as a message by Bob Horsforth on Facebook, along with a message to help.
    First of all, I am not authorised to comment on your letter as from Horsforth Town Council, but do so in respect of my local knowledge and involvement as a local Town Councillor. You also know me personally through your attendance at Horsforth Civic Society committee meetings.
    On the whole, I’d say that your comments are addressed to the wrong place, as many of the things you have noted are Leeds City Council issues, and therefore must be addressed by them. I think you are expecting more from Horsforth Town Council that it has responsibility (and the funds) to provide.
    Forgive me if you already know this, but there are 3 elected city councillors who are our Horsforth community’s link to Leeds City Council. There are then 22 town councillors who represent the various small wards in Horsforth. My ward is Victoria ward and I try to help residents with local issues relating to that area with in my work as secretary of Newlay Conservation Society and in a wider role as Chair of Horsforth Civic Society. The job of a Town Councillor individually has no powers (unlike city councillors) and the job is voluntary. Town Councillors get involved as much or as little as they want, though there is a requirement for them to attend a specific number of council meetings to fulfil their basic role. The only powers available are by consensus of town councillors at Full Council meetings (there is one tonight) when decisions are taken in respect of the limited issues that the town council can influence. All of this is governed by very strict laws of the land and we may not deviate from these.
    In respect of the points you make below, my suggestion is that you either go directly through to the LCC department with your comments and enquiries, or use the City Councillor route (one or all of Cllrs Collins, Townsley or Cleasby).
    I have made some comments of my own below in red to help you identify where you might find help and also given some other information that may also be relevant.
    I hope some of this helps.
    Please note that this email is private to you only, though I have copied in the HTC Chair, Vice- Chair and Clerk for their information – the chairman acts as my council “boss” and I wish him and the others to see what I am saying and to stress that these are my views and may not be the views of Full Council.
    May I make it clear that these comments are private and may not be disseminated to others.
    Regards
    Martin

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  13. Has anyone seen the 17.8% increase in Horsforth Council tax for 2013/14. I think that before doing this the council should have consulted residents to see if they wanted to pay extra to support the councillors pet projects. I understand that several of the councillors were copted and were not elected by the residents.

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  14. I read an article in the Wharfedale and Airborough Observer about the unfair 2013/14 tax increase in Otley. The same situation applies to the increase in Horsforth. Here is a link to the article: http://www.wharfedaleobserver.co.uk/news/10308225.Anger_at_higher_than_expected_Otley_rates_precept/
    I have written to HTC about it and am waiting to see what they are going to do about it.

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