Village News



24 December 2009    -    Pillboxes get listed status

A campaign to save a rare Second World War pillbox near the site of a former Steeton munitions factory has gained the building official protection.

The two-storey brick structure — said to be one of only four in the country — has now been designated a Grade Two listed building by English Heritage. Two other pillboxes on the site, which are single-storey and technically known as “fire posts”, have also been listed, though they are more common nationally.

All three were built as defences for the village’s Royal Ordnance Factory and manned by a factory-based Home Guard unit.

The pillboxes are off Thornhill Road, where planning permission has been given to developer Skipton Properties to build 229 homes.

Since the building application was made public, Keighley and District Local History Society has campaigned to ensure the two-storey pillbox is retained.

On Sunday, Oakworth resident Andy Wade, who applied to English Heritage for listed status on behalf of the history society, confirmed the request had been granted.

He described the result as “wonderful news” adding that the protection became valid from December 16.

In their assessment, the English Heritage officers wrote that the larger pillbox was an “extremely rare variant” and was enhanced by the presence of the two smaller fortifications.

History society chairman Laurence Brocklesby said he was delighted adding the emphasis must now switch to finding a way of restoring and maintaining the pillboxes.

Skipton Properties had no comment to make to the Keighley News.

From the archive
© Newsquest Media Group 2009

19 December 2009    -    High hopes of getting £40,000 for work at railway station

A voluntary group set up to improve Steeton and Silsden Railway Station hopes to bag £40,000 of funding to provide much-needed access for the disabled to a platform.

In January 2008 the Keighley News reported on the difficulty disabled people faced trying to access the Bradford-Leeds bound platform of the railway station, with a flight of 40 steps and crash barriers standing in the way. Instead passengers with wheelchairs and prams are forced on a dangerous alternative route crossing busy traffic and a roundabout.

With no parking facilities on the Leeds-Bradford bound side of the station, disabled passengers currently have to park on the Skipton-bound side and tackle a railway bridge, Station Road and a roundabout before they can get down the disabled access route – a distance taking around half an hour. But for the past two years the Joint Transport Working Group has collected more than £30,000 in funding to improve disability access and it has just finished applying for a further £40,000 from the South Pennine LEADER fund to go ahead with the changes.

Working group chairman Craven ward councillor Andrew Mallinson, said: “We are confident in that the points we have raised fit the criteria so on those grounds we are very hopeful of obtaining the grant.

“It is important to provide disabled access for passengers, but also to reduce the risk of injury or fatality by having to cross a busy junction and deal with a roundabout.”

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4 December 2009    -    Campaign is on to save pillbox

A campaign has been launched to save a rare Second World War pillbox near the former site of a munitions factory used in the film Yanks.

The two-storey brick building, in Steeton, is thought to be one of only two of its kind in the country.

It is among three pillboxes linked to the former Royal Ordnance Factory. The other two are single-storey and considered less important as they are relatively common.

They were built as defences for the munitions plant and manned by a factory-based Home Guard unit.

English Heritage is considering an application to either list or schedule the two-storey structure and is preparing a report for the Department of Culture.

The munitions factory site was used by American director John Schlesinger to shoot scenes for his 1979 film charting life on a US army base.

The pillboxes are on land off Thornhill Road, where planning permission has been given to Skipton Properties to build 229 homes.

Peter Whitaker, a member of the Haworth Home Guard re-enactment group, said: “I think it’s important to save the building because it’s rare, but also it would be preserving what little is left of that factory.” He has personal links to the pillbox through the filming of Yanks. He was an extra in the production.

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3 December 2009    -    Hospital is best in England

A national report assessing patient safety has given Airedale Hospital the Small Trust of the Year award.

Monitoring body Dr Foster Hospital Guide has controversially named 12 hospital trusts in England as “significantly under performing”, despite eight recently being named as good or excellent by the Care Quality Commission.

The same report however has placed Airedale Hospital as one of 14 best hospitals in England and the only one in Yorkshire and Humberside to achieve a top band five rating for patient safety.

The guide has come up with the hierarchy by analysing a range of criteria for patient safety, such as readmission rates, scans and equipment, end of life care and — for the first time — mortality rates for low-risk conditions such as hernias and tonsillectomies.

This year each hospital was assessed across 13 categories taking in safety, efficiency and effectiveness, given a score from 0-100 and placed in one of five bands where one is the worst and five is the best. Airedale scored 91.78 and was put in band five.

Adam Cairns, chief executive of Airedale NHS Trust, described the rating as “fantastic news”.

He said: “This achievement reflects the continuous hard work of all the trust’s staff, whose commitment to our patients has made a real contribution to the quality and safety of healthcare we provide and acknowledges the excellent results we achieve for our patients.

“At Airedale Hospital we are determined to put patients at the heart of everything we do and nothing signifies overall care of the highest quality more than a consistently low hospital mortality ratio.

The part-private, part-NHS Dr Foster Hospital Guide was originally published to encourage greater transparency about healthcare performance. However some hospitals have responded to the report by branding it “extremely confusing” and “grossly misleading”.

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26 November 2009    -    Bulls help staff to healthy lives

A Bradford Bulls star has put staff at Damart’s Steeton warehouse through their paces to help the company achieve a bronze award in a healthy heart campaign.

Player Jamie Langer turned up with coach Stuart Barrow to teach staff 10-minute exercises in core strength, suitable to be practised while they are at work.

The exercise session was the last phase in a campaign to achieve recognition from Heart Research UK for encouraging staff to live healthy lifestyles and have fitter hearts.

Damart human resources manager Helen Taylor said: “We aim to go all the way and achieve a gold award, which will make us a Healthy Heart Company.

“So far, we have been encouraging staff to improve their health and wellbeing by doing health checks, running sessions in work time and paying for them to enter races like the Bradford 10k run and the Leeds Abbey Dash.

“We asked employees what they wanted to do and in the New Year we will be running pilates and bums and tums exercise classes during lunch breaks.

“It has been a great motivating and bonding experience, with staff from all sectors taking part, and will make for healthier employees with less absences in the future.”

In total 700 Damart employees are involved, with the company’s Bingley workforce also taking part in the campaign.

Lifestyle manager for the Leeds-based charity Heart Research UK Denise Armstrong said that achieving the healthy hearts gold award was a bit like an investors in people credit.

She said: “We work with companies for a year and there are about 10 companies that are participating at the moment.

“A lot of people who work do not find the time to exercise, so it is important that they are allowed to do it during work hours.”

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30 October 2009    -    Threat to pillbox on housing site

The chairman of a Keighley history group says he is concerned about the future of a defensive pillbox, dating from the Second World War.

Laurence Brocklesby, of Keighley and District Local History Society, has asked for an assurance that the structure in a field at Steeton will be retained.

It is located on a site where 229 homes are planned to be built by developer Skipton Properties. The firm won permission for the development off Thornhill Road earlier this month, despite strong objections from many Steeton residents.

Mr Brocklesby said: “I was told by a Skipton Properties representative that the largest of the three pillboxes on the site would be preserved, though it may be in one of the new house’s gardens. This is, as far as we know, the only two-storey pillbox in Yorkshire and possibly in England. It should be preserved as it is part of our country’s history.”

He said the brick and concrete pillbox dates from when Steeton was the home of a Second World War munitions factory. He said the fortification was built to defend the factory in the event of a German invasion.

He said he understood there were two other pillboxes in the area but noted these single-storey structures were much more common nationally.

He added: “We’d be disappointed if the two-storey one is knocked down.

“We’d like to get it listed if possible.”

One condition of the planning permission for the development is that Skipton Properties undertakes “archaeological recording” before any demolition of a pillbox. During the application process, the developer proposed retaining one pillbox that would be in a public, open space once the houses were built

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15 October 2009    -    Tenants will see their homes

A community housing firm is set to "regenerate" all its homes in Steeton and Eastburn to bring them up to government standards by 2010.

The refurbishments could mean that dozens of elderly people are uprooted from their homes while the work is in progress.

InCommunities’ neighbourhood officer, Tracey Laycock, told the parish council that each householder would receive a health check and house survey to determine what work should be done and if the occupant needed to be temporarily re-housed.

She said: "We are rewiring houses that need it, putting in new kitchens and bathrooms where needed and outside lighting and burglar alarms. People either usually go and stay with friends while the work is being done, go on holiday or we can get them into guest rooms in a sheltered complex."

All the work must be completed by June next year and would also be taking place in Utley, Silsden, Haworth and East Morton, the officer said.

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15 October 2009    -    Youths put forward their ideas to councillors

A gang of teenage youths descended on Steeton with Eastburn parish councillors last week to the delight of its members.

The large numbers reflected the growing success of the parish’s youth activity work, funded by the parish council after young people complained there was not enough to do in the area. The group also attended the meeting to show their support for using the parish council-owned bowling pavilion as an indoor venue during the cold winter months.

Youth worker Lesley Sargison said: “We wanted to come and show you just how enthusiastic everybody is. I have put to them that they can form their own committee so the group can be run by itself, with our support.

“We were wondering if we could paint the building inside and apply for funding to buy things like a sandwich toaster, a new kettle and things like that?”

The parish council chairman, Councillor David Mullen, asked the group to put its requests down in writing for it to be considered at the next meeting.

He added: “At least it shows what we as a parish council are doing is having a benefit to the community.”

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11 June 2009    -    Survey reveals commuters clog up car park

A survey of commuters who use Steeton and Silsden Railway Station car park has shown that passengers travel from as far away as Preston to use the station.

The Joint Transport Working Group conducted a questionnaire of station users in a bid to discover who is using the car park and why it gets congested so early in the day. The investigation began after complaints that railway users’ cars clogged up nearby residential streets and the car park was too full for locals who couldn’t walk to the station to use.

The results backed up the working group’s theory that people travelled from far and wide to use the station to commute to Leeds to take advantage of cheaper rail fares, because Metro classified the station in a different price zone.

Cllr Mullen said: “We began the survey at 6.45am, at which point there were about 42 cars parked there. By the time we left three hours later there were 240 cars parked - so it is morning commuters filling it up. Although they have brought out a new Metro card for commuters from Skipton and Harrogate, it is still twice the cost of a Metro card from Steeton. So for anybody going to Leeds or Bradford, it doesn’t make commercial sense to buy it and they will still come here.”

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11 June 2009    -    Police make appeal for Watch co-ordinators

Police have launched a desperate appeal for Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators due to a chronic lack of leaders in Steeton and Eastburn, the parish council heard.

PCSO Lawrence Walton called for volunteers to come forward at the Steeton-with-Eastburn Parish Council meeting last week.

He said: “From 12 in the area I am now down to just four, because all the rest have given up doing it.

“To be honest, the main reason for the decline in numbers is that the co-ordinators have just got too old to carry on.”

Neighbourhood Watch teams consist of volunteers who meet regularly to discuss low-level crime in their patch and are vigilant to any suspicious behaviour.

They often run campaigns promoting crime prevention advice and a Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator is the main point of contact with police and other members.

For more information, contact PCSO Walton at Craven Neighbourhood Policing Team on 01274 475301.

PCSO Walton stressed that he was keen to “push” the NPT’s new Police and Community Together initiative - PACT.

This involves giving residents, councillors and business people a chance to speak to officers and have a say in what they would like the police to do locally.

As part of the new scheme, Councillor Pamela Blagden agreed to join police on a patrol of the area l Steps are being taken to finally kick the Eastburn playing fields project into play.

For two years councillors have been planning to construct a park and activity area designed to occupy children and young people of all ages in the playing fields. But before work can take place, the fields’ drainage problems must be remedied.

The parish council clerk, Cheryl Brown, said she would begin to collate quotes for work on the field drainage. Cllr Mullen said: “We can only talk around it so long. We are two years down the line and we are still back where we were. So I move that we get some quotes and move forward.”

Cllr John Hargreaves expressed optimism for the recreational venture.

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21 May 2009    -    Sounds of 60s and 70s are returning

A Steeton pub is turning back the clock to raise cash for Manorlands.

A “Double Decade” celebration of the 60s and 70s - with karaoke and a disco - is being held at The Star next Friday, from 7.30pm.

There will be games and people are invited to wear fancy dress.

All proceeds will go to the Oxenhope Sue Ryder Care hospice, which recently launched a £1.3 million appeal.

Landlady Emma Feather said: “We wanted to do something to help the Manorlands appeal that would be fun for our customers.

“Manorlands relies on help from its local community, particularly at the moment during the appeal to raise funds towards the running costs and the refurbishment of the hospice and I’m more than happy to be helping.”

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14 May 2009    -    Strong opposition to 230 homes scheme

Steeton-with-Eastburn Parish Council has recommended that plans for 230 houses next to Thornhill Road should be refused on several counts.

After close scrutiny of the second set of controversial plans for the site submitted by Skipton Properties, councillors expressed grave concern about many aspects of its design.

Worries regarding traffic congestion, surface water and sewage - expressed in relation to the original plans - have been renewed in the revised ones.

A traffic survey conducted by the property developer on the already congested Skipton Road showed that by 2014, when the site is scheduled to be completed, there will be a major increase in the number of cars going to the junction of Thornhill Road and Skipton Road.

Chairman of the council, Councillor David Mullen, said the roads could not cope with that kind of increase in congestion.

He said: “The second survey shows that between 7.30-8.30am there are 1,450 cars going both ways on Skipton Road and by 2014 there will be 1,750 cars and it is already running at over capacity.

“If traffic lights are put up at the junction of Thornhill Road and Skipton Road, as suggested, it will turn Clough Avenue into a rat run.”

Vice-chairman of the council, Cllr Su Thompson, added: “In most houses with two adults there will also be two cars, which is nearly 500 more cars coming out of Thornhill Road and it cannot take the amount it has as it is.”

It was announced that Skipton Properties planned to employ a “travel plan co-ordinator” to start work from this year until the last house is sold, whose job it would be to knock on doors and persuade people to use alternative modes of transport.

The travel co-ordinator will produce a walking route map to show new residents how to get to various places, such as the doctor’s surgery in Silsden.

But the idea met with some scepticism from councillors.

Cllr Mullen said: “They seem to have forgotten Airedale bypass, which has to be crossed first.”

His concerns were echoed by Cllr John Hargreaves, who said: “That is absolutely ridiculous.”

Cllr Thompson raised issues regarding drainage of surface water and overloading the already bursting sewer pipes in Steeton.

She said: “He has not proposed any treatment for the surface run off.

“At the moment these plans say it is running into the beck but Yorkshire Water has said it cannot go into the beck.”

Councillors also questioned why the plans showed that over 6.2 hectares of land would be built on when the Unitary Development Plan for the area specified that only 4.9 hectares had actually been allocated.

There is also no mention of where section 106 “amenities” money would be used and Cllr Thompson said the plans were not “secured by design”. She said: “The schools are full, I don’t know how many more the doctors can take - there is not infrastructure to cope with a development of this size.

“In 20 years time all this will be a complete nightmare. We are supposed to be developing ‘sustainable communities’ and this is not sustainable.”

Apart from Cllr Roger Lambert, who expressed a prejudicial interest in the development, the councillors were unanimous in recommending its refusal.

Cllr Mullen also asked the clerk to request that the deciding planning panel meeting should be held in Steeton to make it easier for local people to attend.

The annual meeting of the parish council saw Cllr David Mullen re-appointed as chairman and Cllr Su Thompson vice chairman. It will be their second terms in the posts.

Sgt Jo Beecroft, from Craven Neighbourhood Policing Team, reiterated the “police pledge” that consistent issues in the area would become a “policing priority”.

In Steeton, she said this included patrolling Robyn Drive for anti-social behaviour and the bowling pavilion after one of its windows was recently smashed.

A youth services representative, Abina Dorgan-Smith, told the council that an “outreach vehicle” would be at Steeton recreational ground every Wednesday evening.

She was also planning to liaise with the bowling club to see if the pavilion could be used for young people to meet during the winter months.

“We also plan to do South Craven School lunchtime sessions to see what the pupils would want to get involved in,” she said.

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14 May 2009    -    ‘Artist at heart’ dies, aged 81

Art, poetry and song enthusiast Derrick Green has died, aged 81.

Mr Green, who lived with his wife Mary in Upper School Street, Steeton, was known by many in the area for his involvement in societies, such as Keighley Art Club, the Third Age Group and Keighley Music Club.

He was born on June 28, 1927, to Elsie and Joe Green in the same Steeton home he and his wife had shared for the last 40 years.

He was officially educated at Steeton Primary School before attending Keighley Technical College, but a genetic polio condition meant he spent a lot of time being cared for out of school.

Described as an “artist at heart”, Derrick worked in Fletcher’s Mill, Silsden, designing textiles before he set out to make his fortune in London.

Once in the capital he joined the civil service and freelanced for many well-respected art and textile companies.

His funeral service was held at Our Lady Mount Carmel, in Silsden, yesterday.

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April 2009    -    Parish Council Newsletter

30 April 2009    -    New ticket may ease parking problems

A new Metro season ticket allowing cheaper rail travel from Skipton to Leeds could diffuse car-parking problems in Steeton, it is hoped.

Members of the Steeton and Silsden Joint Transport Working Group have long suspected that commuters from Skipton were parking at Steeton railway station to take advantage of a Metrocard deal.

The boundary for the cheaper Metrocard travel is currently Steeton station.

Residents have long complained about commuters parking in the village’s streets and station car park from morning rush hour, to the detriment of others wanting to park during the day.

A new Metro trial season ticket offer, beginning on May 17, has made Skipton a “Zone 7”, meaning rail passengers can travel from Skipton to Leeds at a cheaper rate.

The move comes after years of political pressure to extend the boundaries of the popular Metrocard scheme.

Commuters will be given the option of paying slightly extra to upgrade their point-to-point ticket from Skipton to Leeds to one allowing them to travel between their town and anywhere in the Metro region.

Craven ward district councillor Andrew Mallinson, who chairs the Joint Transport Working Group, said: “Only time will tell if this new Metro ticket will ease the car parking system.”

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16 April 2009    -    Massive housing scheme in village

A plan for 230 houses near a congested road in Steeton has been slammed.

Craven ward district councillor Andrew Mallinson criticised the Skipton Properties’ designs for the Thornhill Road site as “yet another council estate with no imagination or character”.

He also expressed his disappointment that criticisms made by residents during a public consultation seemed to have been ignored.

It is the second time the plans have been submitted after Bradford Council asked the company to withdraw its first application for 181 houses, reportedly because of a lack of public consultation.

Cllr Mallinson said: “At the public consultation there were issues around terrace properties at the centre of the proposed housing estate being inappropriate and those issues have been ignored.

“Residents said the houses on Thornhill Road were detached and semi-detached so terrace houses were not in keeping but the designs still show terrace houses.

“They are also planning to put traffic lights at the junction of Thornhill Road and Skipton Road. It is common local knowledge that is an extremely busy junction and what will need to be looked at is the congestion on Skipton Road as the main route to the hospital.”

But Cllr David Mullen, chairman of Steeton with Eastburn Parish Council, said the site had been designated for housing under the Unitary Development Plan for last 30 years.

He said: “We know we are going to get those houses, they are going to be built, it is not a question of if but when — it is just a case of getting the best we can for the parish.

“In Steeton and Eastburn there are 1,800 properties so it is a big increase to our size. I think it will have a big impact on the area. If you take the average two point four children per family that is 500 children and where will they all go to school? Both primary schools in the area are full to capacity.

“Where will they go to the doctors? The practices we have are very busy at certain times of the day — everything needs to be thought out very carefully.”

Cllr Mallinson added that he hoped to call a public meeting about the new plans and said he would be requesting that the planning meeting would take place in Steeton.

The planning meeting is not expected until June or July.

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9 April 2009    -    Badly parked cars danger

A resident from Thornhill Road attended Steeton-with-Eastburn Parish Council meeting to call for action over badly parked cars on the road, which created an obstruction for other drivers and were a potential danger, he said.

He added: “Cars are parked on Thornhill Road both left and right and there is not enough room for our cars because they are parked on both sides.”

Cllr Mallinson said the issue had been raised before and added that police used the “fire engine test” to judge if parking restrictions should be imposed on the road.

He said: “If a fire engine can get down the road then it is not a problem. Perhaps something can be done to stop cars parking on the corner.”

PCSO Lawrence Walton, who was at the meeting, agreed to investigate.

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8 April 2009    -    Frowning over ‘smiley’ faces

Speeding motorists and badly parked cars were controversial topics among residents and councillors at last week’s Steeton-with-Eastburn Parish Council meeting.

Villager Mike Harris attended to request flashing “smiley face” speed signs in Keighley Road, near Aireburn Avenue, where the 30mph speed limit has been extended.

He said speeding vehicles on the road, which used to be a 60mph zone, had resulted in several near crashes, one including him.

He said: “The problem I have found is that drivers leaving the traffic lights and the school, travelling out towards Keighley, do not see the 30mph sign and they go at 40-50mph.

“I think the way forward here is to consider, instead of a speed camera, a smiley face, so that when you go through at 30mph it smiles at you.

“This brings out the best in people, I certainly believe that.

“And if you go over 30mph it frowns at you, which is wonderful. “I am putting this forward so you can consider it, or perhaps offer support for it - perhaps a series of smiley faces will put Steeton on the map as the 'smiley face village'.”

But later, Craven Ward councillor Andrew Mallinson said that under the law, one sign indicating the speed was sufficient.

He said: “I am not prepared to support any additional signs on that road.

“Those smiley face signs cost around £3,000. Why should we spend more and more taxpayers’ money putting more signs up?”

Chairman of the council, Cllr David Mullen, said the best option was for the police to do more speed checks in the area.

He said: “One of the problems is that until last year that road was 60mph and I think people still think that applies.”

Cllr Mallinson added: “For ten years I have lived there and there must have been about ten accidents. If people drove at 30mph, there would not be a problem.”

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8 April 2009    -    Leisure land will not be leased to residents

Land left in trust to the villagers of Steeton when an elderly woman died will not be leased to residents who live next to it.

In 1991 Dorothy Clough, whose family had long standing links with the village, left land near St Stephen’s Road - north of the memorial garden - to the care of the parish council, in her will. She directed that the land should only be used for leisure or recreation purposes but so far it has been untouched.

Residents living next to the land have asked if it can be leased to them for their own use, but Steeton-with-Eastburn Parish Council refused. Cllr Mullen said: “It cannot be leased because it clearly states in the legal document that it is for all the residents of Steeton and Eastburn, so to make it just for three residents cannot be done.”

But the council decided that converting the land into a leisure or recreation facility might attract more youths and create an added concern to police.

Cllr Roger Lambert said: “There are serious concerns about public safety and there has been concern expressed by residents about it attracting anti-social behaviour.”

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12 March 2009    -    Woman robbed by boys with knife

A woman was robbed at knifepoint at Steeton and Silsden railway station.

The 28-year-old woman, a doctor, was looking at the information screen on platform one at around 6.15pm last Thursday when she was approached by two youths.

British Transport Police detective constable Jason Ridgway said: “The two teenagers confronted the victim with a knife and demanded that she hand over her money.

“The woman handed over £30 to the youths who then ran out of the station towards Station Road.

“We are working to trace any other witnesses to this robbery, which left the victim very shaken and frightened.

“This was right in the middle of rush hour and it’s likely that other people saw the robbery or saw the youths run off and I encourage anyone who did see anything that could help our investigation to contact us.”

Both offenders are described as white, around 15, of slim build and around 5ft 6ins tall. The first is described as wearing black jogging bottoms with a black hoodie pulled over his face.

The second youth is described as wearing a white hoodie with a blue logo printed on it.

Anyone who has information should contact British Transport Police free on 0800 40 50 40 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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19 February 2009    -    Parishes differ on taking planning powers

Two councils have clashed over proposals which could pass the power for deciding minor planning applications to them.

Silsden Town Council thinks the power should reside with town and parish councils at the lowest tier of local government, but neighbouring Steeton-with-Eastburn Parish Council sees the responsibility riddled with potential problems.

Currently decisions on small-scale applications and amendments, such as conservatories and balconies, are made by Bradford Council’s planning department.

The idea of shifting the responsibility is in the discussion phases and must be passed by the Yorkshire Local Councils Association before it goes to the National Association of Local Councils, which can take it to the Government. Silsden councillor Michael Elsmore believes the move would give local councils more credibility and relieve the responsibility from already heavily-burdened planning officers.

He said: “In some places people say ‘what is the point of the parish or town council, what do they do?’ And I think this will give the authority more status.

“I do think if councillors receive training it could work well.”

But the chairman of Steeton-with-Eastburn council, Cllr David Mullen, said: “I understand where Mike is coming from but I really do think it is a can of worms.

“I think it needs to be decided by people who have the training and we do not have the training.

“I also think it needs to be decided by someone detached from the environment who lives away from the village.

“I can envisage somebody whose application has been turned down knocking on the door and saying ‘why have you done this?’ “I would be interested to know more about it and welcome the information, such as who would be responsible for enforcing the decision, but at the moment we do not know.”

Town and parish councils in the Taunton Deane borough in Somerset have had the responsibility since the mid 1990s. They notify neighbours of planning applications and put the requisite notices up to save planning officers’ time and resources.

A spokeswoman for the Taunton Dean Borough Council said that it had the power to overrule the parish’s decision but that situation was rare

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12 February 2009    -    Youths and drivers causing concern

Councillor John Weller reported to PC Peter Merrifield and PCSO Andrew Blood that a car had recently been travelling at speed down Elmsley Street and doing handbrake turns at the bottom.

He also told Steeton-with-Eastburn Parish Council a group of youngsters had been knocking on doors down the street and scaring residents.

Cllr Hargreaves reported cars travelling too fast down Barrows Lane around teatime and in the morning.

The police representatives said they could conduct speed checks in the area.

Cllr Roger Lambert added that he had also spotted youths and a young man running around on the roof of Kadughli House, at the bottom of Elmsley Street.

PC Merrifield said councillors and the public could have special screws put on their car number plates to prevent them being stolen. Police will be fitting the screws to plates for free in the car park at Airedale Hospital, between 10am-noon, on Saturday, February 21.

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12 February 2009    -    Gritting levels ‘simply wrong’

A district councillor faced tough questioning over the lack of gritting on Steeton’s roads.

Steeton with Eastburn parish councillor John Hargreaves told Craven Ward councillor Adrian Naylor that the main road running through Steeton had been left icy in last week’s snowy weather and that this was “wrong”.

He said: “There were lots of people walking on the main road — there are mothers taking their children to school. They could slip and anything could happen.

“I do not believe there is anything right about that. It is wrong and dangerous.”

Cllr Naylor — who is Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for regeneration and economy and not directly responsible for gritting — said it was impossible to grit all the roads in a short space of time, especially when the weather had been particularly troublesome.

He said: “As far as I know, 700 miles of road were gritted in Bradford every single day.

“They are doing the bus routes and have GPS systems in the gritters so it is possible to get a route of where they went.

“The grit is very small so often you can’t see it and people think it hasn’t been done.”

Cllr Karen Pickard asked why Bradford Council employees responsible for clearing the roads of leaves couldn’t do the same with the snow. She said: “They clear the leaves so people don’t slip on them so surely they have the same duty of care with ice, what is the difference?”

Cllr Naylor said he would find out the answer to the question.

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5 February 2009    -    Woman, 20, was throwing wide punches

A 20-year-old Steeton woman lost her temper after being thrown out of a Skipton club, a court heard.

Rachel Sellars threw punches at the door staff after being carried out of The Strata, Keighley Road, on December 20.

Skipton Magistrates heard last Wednesday that Sellars, who hopes to join the army, was “merry drunk” after drinking five pints of lager.

She had been at the club after recently returning from a job in Gran Canaria and had got into a scuffle with another woman after bumping into her.

Prosecuting, Hilary Reece said bouncers had removed her from the club but that once outside she had taken four or five wide punches at them.

A passing police patrol had got involved and had restrained her with arm entanglements and handcuffs, arrested her and taken her to the police station.

Sellars, who admitted using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, was already banned from pubs in the town, the court heard.

In mitigation, Glen Chivers said Sellars, of Whitley Head, had been at the club with friends and family and had got into a scuffle with another woman after mistakenly bumping into her.

He said she had been physically lifted out of the club and had become agitated because all her belongings were still inside.

Mr Chivers added that Sellars recognised she behaved badly after drinking and had not been out since December.

Sellars was given a three-month community order, including a three-month supervision order.

The order includes a curfew, requiring her to return to her home address on Fridays and Saturdays between 7pm and 7am. She was also ordered to pay £43 costs.

A police application for an ASBO to be imposed on Sellars was adjourned until Friday, February 13.

From the archive
© Newsquest Media Group 2009

30 January 2009    -    Heavy vehicle test station is to close

Steeton’s vehicle testing station is to close as part of a modernisation programme.

It will shut — along with others in Cornwall and Manchester - by the summer and staff will be transferred to other stations.

The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) said its modernisation agenda would lead to the creation of a more efficient and customer-focused service for the testing of buses, coaches and lorries operating in the 21st century.

It said: “VOSA’s long-term plan is to replace its ageing test stations, many of which predate the development of motorways in the UK, with new authorised testing facilities under contract from the agency.

“The local test station at Steeton will close and staff will transfer to stations where we believe the majority of customers will take their vehicles to be tested.

“Our aim is to achieve this as soon as possible but before we do we will be working with the transport industry locally to identify potential authorised facilities to offer customers a choice of test location.

“VOSA will ensure that customers affected by the closures are kept informed and will assist them in making future test bookings at alternative locations.”

Members of the Prospect union fear the closures are the start of a wider programme.

On behalf of Prospect’s 580 VOSA members, negotiator Helen Stevens said: “While we welcome assurances that the 45 jobs affected by this decision will be transferred rather than lost, we fear this is the thin end of the wedge.

“Our members readily acknowledge that VOSA’s existing network needs to be upgraded and better located, but fear that this is the start of a cost-saving exercise designed to shed VOSA estate rather than improve access to facilities. These plans could ultimately damage the agency’s strategic capacity to test.

“Increased reliance on privately-owned testing facilities will force heavy vehicle operators to travel greater distances to find an approved site or use those owned by their competitors, both of which could act as deterrents.

“Given the current economic climate and the increasing number of businesses going to the wall, you also have to question whether now is the right time to look to private premises to provide the facilities for essential safety testing.”

From the archive
© Newsquest Media Group 2009

15 January 2009    -    Probe after claims of youths running riot

Youths are "running riot" on the bowling pavilion roof in Steeton, it has been reported.

Resident Roy Finn attended a meeting of Steeton-with-Eastburn Parish Council and expressed his concerns about young people repeatedly climbing on the roof.

He told councillors: "There has been a lot of trouble with this. They are youths aged between five and 14 years old.

"It has been reported many times but nothing seems to be done about it.

"One of these days somebody is going to go through that roof."

PCSO Lawrence Walton, who attended the meeting on behalf of the neighbourhood police team, said he did not know anything about the complaints but would look into them.

He said: "We need to be informed exactly when it is happening. We cannot be everywhere.

"At the moment we are having a lot of trouble with the kids hanging around Hothfield School, in Silsden.

"If you are walking past and there is a problem, then you have to let us know."

Council chairman Councillor David Mullen said he had not been informed of the problem and so could not comment.

The council’s budget for 2009/10 has been finalised and the parish council precept for a Band D property has gone up by 36p. The owner of a Band D property will now have to pay £16.84, compared to £16.48 last year. Council chairman Cllr Mullen said: "We have been prudent."

Designs for Eastburn playing fields may finally be completed in time for next month’s meeting, reported Cllr Karen Pickard.

The chairman of the Eastburn playing fields steering group met with park designer Bradford Community Environment Project to call for the plans to be completed after months of waiting. The project, to create new walkways and facilities in the playing fields, was originally meant to be completed during the summer.

Cllr Pickard said: "They are hoping to come back with a plan on January 29.

"I told them we did not want the plan to be done on a shoestring and that we would rather make it a good investment than be penny pinching."

The council adopted the redevelopment of Eastburn playing fields as part if its parish plan.

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15 January 2009    -    Call for more speed watches

A second resident alerted the parish council to speeding motorists on the old Skipton Road, where the speed limit has recently been reduced from 60 to 30mph.

He said: "Can anything be done about it? It is highly dangerous, people do not slow down."

PCSO Lawrence Walton said: "We have done speed watches on that area but cars coming the opposite way flash motorists to warn them we are there and they slow down.

"In one way that slows motorists down, which is what we are there for in a sense, but it makes it harder to catch people speeding.

"If everyone was an advanced driver then we would not have this problem but unfortunately they are not."

Cllr Pam Blagden, who attends meetings with the police, said she would request more speed watches on that stretch of road.

From the archive

© Newsquest Media Group 2009

15 January 2009    -    New moves on railway station

Craven Ward district councillor Andrew Mallinson said he felt progress was finally being made regarding the improvement of Steeton and Silsden Railway Station.

A joint transport working group was formed after residents had complained of lack of off-peak parking and disabled access to the station.

He told the parish council: "Sometimes it feels like nothing is getting done but we had a meeting in December and it was a very positive one, but it was disappointing that no one from Network Rail could attend. This is the second meeting they haven’t attended."

Later, he added: "I have secured £20,000 of airport money and that will be matched.

"But we have got to be realistic - to increase the car park size will cost millions of pounds but if you do not chip away at it, it never gets done."

From the archive

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15 January 2009    -    Mystery as dry-stone wall is demolished

Police are investigating after a dry-stone wall near a church diocese office was partly demolished.

A ladder belonging to the Bradford diocese office, at Kadugli House, in Steeton, was also found left next to the wall, which separates the property and a cemetery in Elmsley Street.

Insp Sue Sanderson, of the Craven Neighbourhood Police Team, said youths were believed to be responsible.

She said: “A large section of the wall has been pushed down but we do not know who is responsible at this time. It is potentially youths.

“We will be conducting patrols of the area.”

Kadugli House is an administrative office for the Bradford diocese but it has not yet been confirmed if the wall belongs to it or the cemetery. Malcolm Halliday, diocesan secretary, said the vandalism was an “irritation”.

He said: “We don’t know who has done it - it is somebody up to no good and it is a nuisance, but these things happen. The timing is a bit strange because things like this usually happen when it is summer and people are looking for something to do, not when it is the middle of winter and freezing outside.”

Anyone with information should contact the neighbourhood police team on 01274 475301.

From the archive

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8 January 2009    -    Drunken woman hit out at bouncers

A young Steeton woman attacked nightclub bouncers after drinking five pints of lager, Skipton Magistrates heard.

Rachel Sellars, 20, had been thrown out of Skipton’s Strata Club on December 12 after getting into a fight with another woman, the court heard.

She believed she had been wrongly singled out and had thrown several punches at the club staff.

Passing police had seen the scuffle outside the Keighley Road club and arrested Sellars, who spent the night in the police station.

Prosecutor Alison Whiteley said Sellars had taken four or five wide punches at bouncers which did not make contact but were seen by passers-by.

Sellars told police that in her drunken state she had accidentally bumped into another woman, which had set off a scuffle.

Mrs Whiteley said Sellars, who had previous convictions for violence and assault, had felt angry and believed she had been picked on unfairly by the club’s bouncers.

Sellars, of Whitley Head, who had recently returned from a temporary job in Gran Canaria, accepted that she had a drink problem and was currently living with her aunt, the court heard.

In mitigation, Glen Maude said the majority of Sellars’s trouble was caused by her over-drinking.

“Her parents have said to her because of her drinking they are not prepared for her to live with them,” said Miss Maude.

She said Sellars had now stopped drinking and was seeking help.

Sellars admitted using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour.

Her case was adjourned until January 28 for reports.

From the archive

© Newsquest Media Group 2009