Village News


29 October 2010    -    Naked truth is the council made bid

Steeton's "naked gardener" is angry that Bradford Council is behind plans to build houses on adjacent land.

The council itself applied for planning permission in advance of selling off the Coppy Road site – and one of its officers approved the application.

Leslie Howard has for 19 years walked nude around the garden of his home in Coppy Road.

He fears that occupants of three proposed two-storey houses will be able to see him from the bedroom windows.

Mr Howard's recent campaign against the new buildings attracted coverage in newspapers and websites around the world after it was featured in the Keighley News.

He claimed the council had breached his human rights by giving planning permission to the applicant.

Mr Howard's anger was renewed when he discovered this month that the council was the applicant.

The land, currently occupied by garages, belongs to the council and is due to be sold at auction in December.

The council's asset management department hopes to attract a larger price because it has permission for housing attached.

Mr Howard said he and his neighbours had to "dig deep2 to discover who the applicant was, because the council was not named on the application.

He said: "With planning permission the land is worth four times as much."

Ian Wilson, Bradford Council's planning casework manager, told the Keighley News: "The planning application was decided by a senior officer using delegated powers following an appraisal of all material planning considerations. The ownership of the land was not material in deciding whether or not to grant permission."

The council later admitted it was the owner of the garage site at Coppy Road.

A spokesman said: "It has been declared surplus to its requirements.

"Asset management is selling the site at auction in December which, in order to maximise the price achieved, is being sold with the benefit of planning consent for residential development.

"Money generated from the sale will be used to improve the delivery of council services through improvements to the council's retained buildings."

From the archive

© Newsquest Media Group 2010

28 October 2010    -    Test switch plan runs into protest

The possibility of a new "super test centre" at Steeton has been mooted following the disclosure that Keighley Driving Test Centre will close next month.

Last week the Keighley News revealed that the town's test centre is to shut on November 19 and tests temporarily moved to Skipton.

The decision has not been well received by Keighley driving instructors, who have expressed their concerns about an increase in costs for themselves and drivers.

"Our concern is the cost to our business by having to travel over to Skipton," said James McGrath, chairman of Keighley and District Driving Instructors Association. "We don't always want to pass any increase in prices on to our pupils.

"A lot of these poor learners are young and will only be earning a minimum wage. And then there's the issue of learners having to get time off from work to accommodate potentially longer lessons."

Local driving instructors have also complained about "horrendous" parking problems outside the Keighley test centre.

Frank Parkin, chief observer with Skipton and Craven Institute of Advanced Motorists, said he couldn't see a major problem with a temporary move to Skipton.

"The Skipton test centre has been completely refurbished and it has a decent car park, though I suspect it will be busier when Keighley closes," he said.

"It's a bit inconvenient having to drive 15 to 20 minutes to Skipton, but it's not the end of the world."

The Driving Standards Agency has confirmed that the move to Skipton is temporary, with the agency's long-term ambition being to relocate the Keighley test centre to a heavy goods vehicle testing site at Steeton.

Mr Parkin believes the Steeton site could eventually become a "super test centre" that would incorporate testing for cars, HGVs and motorbikes.

He thinks it would not take too much work to open a new test centre at the Steeton site.

From the archive

© Newsquest Media Group 2010

22 October 2010    -    Couple marry for the third time to the delight of their family and friends

A world-travelled chef - originally from Steeton - brought his bride back to Skipton to marry her for the third time.

Trevor Hambley met and married Thai girl Ying for the first time two years ago while globetrotting the world cooking for Formula One racing teams.

And now, the couple have married for the third time - at Skipton Register Office - in front of family and friends.

Trevor was executive chef for the Honda Formula One team before moving on to chef for the Red Bull team.

The couple were first married on November 10, 2008, in a Buddhist ceremony, in front of 300 guests, in a small village in northern Thailand. But then Trevor landed a job as head chef in one of Northern Ireland’s leading hotels, Beech Hill Country House, in Londonderry.

Ying was barred from entering the country, because the UK authorities did not recognise the Buddhist marriage as legally binding and would not grant her a visa. So Trevor flew back to Thailand where wedding number two was held on September 10, 2009, at a register office in the Thai capital, Bangkok.

Ying, 30, quickly received her visa and has now joined her husband in Londonderry.

But Trevor, 37, felt that his family back in Steeton - mum and dad, Christine and Richard Hambley, of Parkway, sister, Debbie, and his many friends - had missed an important part of his life. So, he arranged for a third ceremony to take place at Skipton Register Office.

From the archive

© Newsquest Media Group 2010