Flockton Delegation Best Presentation At Kirklees Council

Well done to those who represented Flockton at the Council meeting on the evening of 10 October 2018. The presentation, under the heading of point 6: Deputations & Petitions (From Members of the Public) was very well presented and equally well received.

Audio version:

This meeting was chaired by the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Mumtaz Hussain, in the absence of the Mayor, due to illness.

Unfortunately, Cllr. Richard Smith’s question, at the end, was once again cut off by the Council. This was the fourth time Kirklees Council had filled time to prevent the question from being asked and answered!

Cllr. Richard Smith shared this to our facebook page:

“I would like to apologise to the people of Flockton for the shameful display earlier this evening at the Full Council Meeting.

“When the Deputy Mayor announced that we were running out of time and made it clear we would not have time to discuss the Motion I had prepared in relation to traffic issues in Flockton, the Bypass and other major road projects in Kirklees, I firstly asked that we suspended Standing Orders, which would have allowed us to discuss the motion and give it the consideration it deserves. After having lost this vote, due to, it seems many Councillors in other groups wanting an early night, I asked the Deputy Mayor, as Chair of the meeting to exercise, as is his right, discretion and grant this anyway. When this was also declined, I asked if we could take a vote on the motion.

“Unfortunately, the Deputy Mayor refused and closed the meeting at 20:58.

“I am very disappointed with the lack of courtesy shown to the good people of Flockton, especially after a small number of you, including some school children made the effort to attend the meeting and present a very well thought out and presented deputation relating to the same issues.

“I can only say I tried my best to prevent this from happening and I have already written to the Clerk, formally requesting that this be placed on the next Full Council agenda.

“The 3 Ward Councillors will continue to support the residents we represent and in time we will have our time in the Council Chamber.

“All the best, Richard.” –  Kirkburton Ward Councillor


Residents responded with a number of comments (some paraphrased)

“That must have been so frustrating – so much bureaucracy and sounds like as it doesn’t affect them then it can keep being put back – I personally think it’s a disgrace!”

“Angry doesn’t come close. I was involved in the deputation, and know how much work we put into it. I also know this is the 4th time Richard Smith has tried to discuss Flockton’s issues at a council meeting and he has failed to get a hearing. This time, perhaps with many more of us watching, we can get angry at the way some of our council casually dismissed his motion because they wanted the meeting to close. I feel let down by those elected to represent me.”

“They’ll avoid at all costs. They don’t want to spend the money. Not your fault at all, you did your best.”

“It’s like history repeating itself same as when we tried no body seemed to take us seriously and always bottom of the pile it’s disgraceful.”

“It reminds me of the shenanigans in Westminster. They are given an important issue to discuss, and waste their time on something useless until time runs out to debate it.”

Another resident added:

“I will help out where I can, no problem. I can’t help but think that the time for pussy footing around Kirklees Council has come and gone. I’ve lived here all my life and am sick of hearing all the false promises the council make and the blatant disregard for how dangerous the road has become. It simply beggars belief how they can just ignore the issue. Instead the council pass planning for even more house building , making the road even more congested. If they could make money from a bypass the bulldozers would be out road building right now! For Christ’s sake this has only been going on for 65 years to my knowledge, how much more patient does this village have to be before something is done?”

Cllr. John Taylor said:
“This has been an a shocking outcome, it was clear from earlier on in the meeting that Labour did not want us to get to the motion. In the past we have extended the Council Meeting to complete important business. Whilst I am angry for myself & Richard who have worked hard on this I am really angry for the disrespectful way they have treated you Charlotte Michael & the rest of the group especially after you came and spoke so well & were applauded by the Council when you finished. It was a disgraceful outcome, showing contempt for local residents but Richard & I will try again next month & will continue to do so until we succeed, this is far too important to let them get away with. Questions need answering & support provided.”

Cllr. Richard Smith replied:
“I have asked for a list of all the elected members that voted against suspension of Standing Orders. I am not certain I will get it, but if I do, I will be passing it to the Examiner.

“There are some of them that think they are there for themselves, as opposed to representing the people in our Wards and I think those that think an early pint or Coronation Street is more important than Council business should be named and shamed. I can say categorically that your 3 Ward Councillors, John, Bill and I tried to get this heard.”

Resident and bypass campaigner, Elena said:
“I also felt very let down but the worst part was the feelings of the children we took to speak on our behalf as part of the deputation. They were excited and proud to be part of the democratic process and spoke confidently, passionately and eloquently and became more and more interested with the whole process following it live online after we’d left. They felt so let down and just couldn’t understand why the council didn’t have time to hear the motion prepared by our councillors. Especially when they realised this was the 4th time of trying. They knew that this was an important part to follow on from their deputation and despite the fact they are young and inexperienced, could clearly see that we’d been ‘fobbed’ off. I was shocked to hear the deputy mayor say on live webcam at the end. ‘It’s 9 o’clock, I’ve had enough’ when it actually wasn’t 9 o’clock and he’d purposely wasted time!! So disappointing but it has made me all the more determined that our voice will continue to be heard…”

See the Huddersfield Examiner article here (or scroll down to later post).


 

Bypass Public Meeting 15 June 2018

Around 40 to 50 people attended the public meeting for an update on the Bypass campaign, held in Flockton Church from 6:30 pm on Friday 15 June 2018. Although the Police and a representative from Highways weren’t able to send a representative (they were invited), Paula Sherriff, MP, was able to make it to the first 30 to 40 minutes of the meeting, which ended at about 7:45 pm. Our three local Councillors were also present, presenting cross-party unity in support of a bypass for Flockton.

Bypass Public Meeting - flocktonbypass.co.uk
Left to right: Jimmy Paxton, Kathryn Middleton, Paula Sherriff MP, Cllr Bill Armer, Cllr Richard Smith, Cllr John Taylor, David Rawling.

Bypass Public Meeting - flocktonbypass.co.uk

Items mentioned

Paula Sherriff met with [Mr] Jesse Norman, MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Transport) – whom she described as being “a reasonable man” – on 21 January 2018 to mention Flockton Bypass. On 12 March 2018, a submission was made in respect of the Major Road Consultation. On 30 April 2018, Paula had a further meeting with Jesse Norman. Paula also said that we have to keep nibbling away and persevering. Nothing major will happen overnight as we are well aware. Everyone can play their part by reporting issues etc.

HGVs and Police ‘participation’
There have been problems enforcing the no access for HGVs from the Grange Moor end of the village. Basically, the Police are waiting for the TRO (Traffic Regulation Order) to be revised which has, in effect, not allowed them, or the Council, to do what was intended when first introduced in the early 70’s. The 4 week closure (see further down this page) will have them undertaking very lengthy diversions! An opportune time to get them backing our campaign, in case of any future issues in the village.

Reporting accidents – no matter how minor
A number of residences have had either near misses with vehicles, or been hit by parts of vehicles. It is important to report all ‘issues’ or events to the 101 emergency number, so that they can be recorded. This way, the Police will be able to build up a ‘map of hot spots’. You can also send details (and any photos) which can be added to this Flockton Bypass website.

A proposed 20 mph speed limit
Cllr John Taylor talked about a village request for a 20 mph limit through the village – the proposed section shown on the map below:

Proposed 20mph limit map - flocktonbypass.co.uk(Apologies for the shadows, but I snatched this photo in the subdued lighting of the Church). If you click on the map, it will enlarge, and if you download it, you should be able to enlarge it further.

It was pointed out that a full stretch of 20 mph through the village wouldn’t be possible, as from the Grange Moor side, you couldn’t drop a limit from 50 mph down to 20 mph in one go. Similarly, 40 mph down to 20 mph from the other end of the village would have the same issue. Furthermore, a protracted stretch would add to congestion, rather than easing the situation.

Flockton Road Closure
We were informed that the road through Flockton, from the Sun Inn, to Haigh Lane, will be closed for 4 weeks from 30 July 2018. Judging by the audible gasps in the audience, this came as a surprise to most present. The closure is connected to the need to revamp and improve, the sewage system connecting the new builds. During this period, residents will still have access to their homes, but lorries and regular through traffic will be turned around by 24/7 ‘Gate Keepers’ posted at The Black Bull, Midgley and Grange Moor roundabout. (It wasn’t made clear, how they were going to turn HGVs around at the Black Bull, whilst also preventing them from driving down through Netherton). Currently, no solution to allow regular buses has been proposed.

In addition to the sewage system, other work will be carried out by utilities and services, at the same time, including new street lighting.

Kirklees have been in contact with Wakefield Council to inform them of the closure as it will impact on roads in their district too. All residents will shortly be receiving a letter re the closure etc we understand.

Although not intended to trivialise this situation, John Taylor suggested that this might be a good time for any residents with road-side property, to undertake any renovations, since applying to encroach on roads or pavements for scaffolding can cost around £3,000.

Feasibility Study
It was widely agreed that a proper professional feasibility study is required for the village. This would take into account everything to do with road suitability, pavements, traffic, economic viabilities, and so on. The only thing preventing such a study from being commissioned, is money!


 

Highways Responds to Traffic Recording Strips

Cllr John Taylor has now received a response from Highways, following the recent use of traffic recording (count and speed) strips placed throughout Flockton village, from 16 May 2018.

“The detailed response from Highways about my request, supported by Jacqui Gedman, the Chief Executive and my ward Colleagues for an end to end road safety audit of Barnsley Rd and the reason for the recording strips that were across the road. Rather than summaries I have copied below the entire response.”

“We have now received the speed counts back that we did before the half term holidays, which have allowed us to better assess the extents of any speed limit changes for the village. The team have also spent some time walking up and down the village to get a feel for where the issues are, and looked at the casualty information for the full length of the current 30mph section.

All of the 7 traffic counters we placed recorded speeds in both directions, over the full week, and from that we know that the slowest speeds through the village were recorded on either approach to the school , and then gets gradually faster as you travel away. Phill will also send the full summary of results next week, but the average speed across all the counts is around 28mph eastbound and 32mph westbound.

The 2 outer counters, one approaching Haigh Lane (from Grange Moor), the other approaching Hardcastle Lane, from the M1, also classified the vehicles travelling over them, and identified their direction of travel.

From this information we know that average of 419 HGV’s (7.8% of the overall traffic volume) travelled Westbound* towards the M1 (in 24 hrs), in contravention of the existing weight limit order. Whilst some of those may have been legitimately delivering to the village, it is likely that some are not. We will now be sharing the count information with the Police, so they can target enforcement, once they feel confident that the weight limit order is written in a way that allows them to prosecute without challenge. I know Joe Walker has been in touch with you regarding this.

The team have used all this info to score a scheme to reduce the speed limit through the village, against the Policy and the agreed criteria. They will be contacting you with draft proposals for a 20mph speed limit next week, along with the full count summary for each site.

The hope is that you and your ward colleagues will be able to sense check the limits of the proposed 20mph limit, and then advise on the best methods of consultation with the village residents.

The 20mph limit will be supported by a refresh of all the lining, 20mph repeater signs, both on sign posts, but also in roundels on the carriageway, and features on the ground, on approach to the new 20 limit, to slow traffic down.

The Road Safety team will also be contacting the school this month to discuss working with them on a competition to design some road signs to go at the entrance to the 20mph limit, and also on what additional education and training we can do with them, including refreshing their travel plan, and what we can do to help encourage more of their children to walk to school.

If we start the ball rolling with them now, then they have time to plan time for the sign designs to be worked on when the children return to school after the summer.

That will coincide with, hopefully, the completed consultation with the village, the formal advertising of a scheme through Sept, to allow a scheme on the ground in Oct, assuming no objections are received to the formal advertising.”

John concludes by saying: “Clearly there is a lot to do and with my ward Colleagues we will work with you on the detail regarding this. As I say, this is hot news, from an email I just received and hopefully we can flesh this out a little at the public meeting [held in the Church, on Friday 15 June at 6:30 pm] and I will share more on here as and when I get more detail.”

*Should be Eastbound