Thursday, 29 March 2012

Panic! and buy petrol!

The precious liquid of life without which civilisation cannot operate was in great demand on forecourts across Huddersfield today.  I wandered into the local petrol station and the woman next to me in the checkout turned to me and said 'I bet you're laughing at all this aren't you?' She was pointing at the Green Party badge on my lapel. I was a bit flummoxed. 'Well no not really' I said. I didn't get chance to talk about how fragile our whole western civilisation is and how our reliance on fossil fuels makes us less resilient to price rises and the threat of its withdrawal or rationing becomes a matter of immediate concern. Renewable energies, electric cars and public transport all come into their own at times when fossil fuels are under threat. During the last fuel crisis a number of years ago people were running out of fuel and public transport use rose with a number of people using it for the first time. The immediate crisis ended and people went back to their old routines. It reminded me of the old story of putting the frog in the boiling water where it immediately jumps out or slowly raising the temperature of the water to boiling point so the frog doesn't realise whats happening till its too late. Stick with me on this one! We have a 'boiling crisis' which we have been thrown into and people have reacted by running to the forecourts to fill up their vehicles but the real crisis is happening all the time with ever rising fuel prices eating away at peoples disposable income. Ultimately price rises will be related more and more to geology and the increasing expense of finding oil reserves will continue to work its way through to the prices on  petrol pumps. This is the everyday crisis, the ever rising temperature.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Green Leader Caroline Lucas MP visits Huddersfield

Caroline Lucas MP visited Huddersfield today to see some of the projects local Green Party Councillors on Kirklees and on Kirkburton Parish are involved in and supporting. It was great to take Caroline round to meet some of the gang and a shame I didn't get any pics of her visit to Hillside Primary School in Newsome which she was very impressed with.

Caroline with some of our Kirkburton Parish Cllrs at one of the guidestoops used in the walks project.

With Robert Barraclough talking about the Kirkburton Parish Council 1000 Fruit tree project

With workers at Stirley Farm at one of the Veg growing beds

With Kim Warren Food Education Officer. A posed photo for the benefit of the Huddersfield Examiner.
Highlighting the need for greater investment on the Penistone Line.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Waterpark or Kingsgate 2

I've always admired Cllr Eduardo Rodriguez for his insightful comments on Kirklees Council. Here he outlines the waterpark proposals. The video below that is a spoof by some character who goes by the name of Cllr Mehboob Khan !

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Greens proposes Shepley Library rescue plan

Shepley Parish Cllr Michelle Atkinson, Robert Barraclough and Cllr Derek Hardcastle at Shepley Library

Shepley Library is one of a number of libraries threatened with closure or a reduced service under Kirklees Council’s review following cuts to council budgets, despite it being well used by the local community. Figures provided by Kirklees have indicated that the current Shepley Library staffed costs are around £24,000 a year. Coincidentally the funding for 2011/12 that is allocated to the Kirkburton area through the Area Committee is underspent by a similar amount.

Green Party Councillor Derek Hardcastle said,

“ This funding is not allocated to any projects and I will propose at Area Committee on Wednesday 21st March, (which is the final Area Committee meeting in this financial year) to allocate these unutilised funds, to the libraries budget and to specifically earmarked those funds to retain a fully staffed service at Shepley Library. No changes to the library service are due to occur in 2012/13 so this funding would be allocated for the 2013/14 financial year. This would give us 2 years to plan a secure funded future for the library when the funding outlook may be more optimistic. Our proposal would be at no additional cost to the Council Tax payer and would give us the breathing space we need to produce a plan for a sustainable future for this vital community facility. All Shepley Library needs now is the support of my 2 Kirkburton Ward Councillors (colleagues from the Conservative Party) to agree this proposal at Wednesday’s Joint Area Committee Meeting, and then we can put this proposal forward to the Council.”

Furthermore Green Party Councillors on Kirkburton Parish Council are calling for a dialogue with Kirklees Council to secure existing library services across the Kirkburton Parish. The Parish area has Kirklees Libraries in Shepley, Kirkburton, Kirkheaton and Lepton plus mobile library services covering other villages.

“ We do not want our Library facilities to be picked off one by one. We want a secure future for libraries which are some of Kirklees Councils only contact point in many communities”. said Councillor Robert Barraclough who is a Kirkburton Parish Councillor.

“ If we lose those services we will lose them forever so this is a crucial time to ensure buildings, services and staff are retained. We believe we have a very positive proposal here where Area Committee funding for Shepley Library and a Parish wide approach to address the wider issue is the best way forward.”

Sunday, 18 March 2012

50p Tax Rate cut obscene

The proposal by Conservatives to cut the 50p tax rate for high earners can only be described as obscene. While public services are slashed and benefits for the vulnerable are cut we now have the 'we're all in it together' government considering making the rich, richer. Quite unbelievable. At what point does a Liberal Democrat with an ounce of decency say, 'Enough is Enough' and quits the Party/Government. What is the point of a Party which has claims to be progressive being part of a government which allows this sort of blatant injustice which further divides society. If the goverment were trying to create the conditions for more social unrest this is exactly the sort of policy you would promote. Utterly bonkers.

The 50p rate applies to those earning £150,000 or more. Green Party policy would lower the threshold to earners over £100,000/year.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Kirkburton Parish Council 1000 Fruit Tree Project hits Grange Moor

Cllr Ben Wightman amongst some of the fruit trees. We had several varieties of apple, pear, plum and cherry trees

Unloading fruit trees at Grange Moor allotments

Councillor Robert Barraclough helping set up the new Orchard

Cllr Derek Hardcastle in the foreground looking dangerous with a sledgehammer

A good turnout of local allotment holders meant the work was done relatively quickly. The hazel whips, gooseberry bushes, redcurrant and blackcurrant bushes will help maintain the banking next to the new drainage ditch

Cllrs Whittingham and Cunnington helping set up a boundary planting near the football pitch

Yours truly, Robert Barraclough and Derek Hardcastle posing now the latest batch of planting is done.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Greens plan new video jobs projects

One of the issues that has been raised with Green Party Councillors is the number of people who are trying to find work but are finding it difficult to get interviews or can’t find a way of making their job applications stand out amongst the many that land on employers desks.

Councillor Andrew Cooper said,

“We want to give people the best shot at getting into employment and I thought that if they can’t get an interview with an employer why not give them a video interview to help them show their abilities and personality and put it up on Youtube. By establishing a ‘Huddersfield Jobs’ Youtube Channel employers will be able to look for potential employees and get additional information about them that they wouldn’t get from a simple CV. People looking for work will also be able to email a link to their Youtube Interview to local companies so they can get themselves, their character and their skills noticed. In this way we can help people get back into employment quicker.”

Andrew has identified some funding to support this project through the Huddersfield Area Committee and is working with council officers to get it up and running and off the ground. He said,

“I think this initiative has real potential. We have got to come up with fresh ways to use the new media to help get people into work. If we get this right I believe this idea could be taken up by other Councils and have national significance.”

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Kirkburton Parish Councils 1000 Fruit Tree Project begins

Parish Cllr Robert Barraclough with the first tree. 999 to go!

It's started. 25 fruit trees in (well 6 Pear very shortly) and 975 to go. This morning myself, Parish Cllrs Richard Burton, Robert Barraclough and Alison Munro joined residents from the Stocksmoor Village Association to plant the firs trees. It was a beautiful morning, spirits were high and there was a good turnout to tidy the area of brambles and dig the holes ready for the first plantings. We had a good mixture of cherry, apple and plum trees with pear to go in early next week. We've found a good supplier for the initial trees so we are hopeful we should be able to complete the project well under budget. It is a win, win project  that ticks many boxes. Growing local food, helping bee populations and wildlife generally, involving local people, helping local businesses all of these are helped by this project. It is a 4 year project to boldly plant fruit trees all across the Kirkburton Parish to leave a lasting and valued benefit to local people. Engaging community groups is a must with schemes such as this to make sure they are planted in the right places and that the community has stake in the project over time. There was talk of jam and wine making using the produce when the trees mature and start fruiting. All really good stuff and exactly the sort of thing the Parish Council should be doing.

We're producing a google map of the scheme to map progress as we go along and here's a link

Local residents get stuck in planting
Yours truly wih members of the Stocksmoor Village Association

Drains News update!

For all of you who have been wondering the new drain cover is now in place on the land at Hart Street in Newsome. Stand easy! Hopefully this should alleviate the drainage issues on Ingleton Road. I wonder whether Kirklees are picking up the bill for this or the leaseholders Benjamin Bentley. I'll ask.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

PRESS RELEASE - Kirklees Greens to vote against Local Development Framework

Kirklees Greens Councillors confirmed today that they will be voting against the Kirklees Local Development Framework proposals at the Extraordinary Council meeting on Tuesday,

Councillor Andrew Cooper, Leader of the Green Party group on Kirklees said,

"We proposed the lowest allocation of houses to be developed at the November Council meeting at 16,200 when the Local Development Framework was last considered. By opposing the Local Development Framework on Tuesday we will be calling the Conservatives bluff as the supposed protectors of our green spaces. It would be ironical indeed if the Conservatives got away with styling themselves as the “Green Saviours” of Kirklees. The Coalition Government's National Planning Policy Framework and the Conservative Chancellor George Osborne’s desire to use the planning system as an engine of economic growth is what is behind the threat to all our green spaces. The Green Party has a responsibility not to let the Kirklees Conservatives off the hook and have a free ride on Tuesday. We will be calling on them not just to vote against the Kirklees LDF but to condemn their own government for their assault on green spaces just as organisations like the National Trust and the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England have  done already. As such we will be voting against the LDF prposals on Tuesday. What ever figure for the number of houses is finally agreed on Tuesday the Conservatives should be challenged to give a cast iron guarantee that their Government will not try to increase the number of houses agreed for Kirklees by regarding locally determined decisions as 'unsound'."

Saturday, 3 March 2012


Seed potatoes very nearly a sell out except for........
............Kestrel seed potatoes - slug and customer resistant

The Seed Swap and Potato Day at Newsome Scout Hut was a tremendous success for the Growing Newsome gang. Nearly a thousand seed potatoes were sold for the bargain price of 10p each. There were around a dozen varieties covering the first early, second early and maincrop categories. The event started at 10.00am and by 1.00pm they we were down to around one variety of second earlies which didn't seem to sell for some strange reason. They were 'slug resistant' which I think people took to mean 'even the slugs won't eat these!' There were seeds to swap, homemade cakes, jams and chutneys to purchase, cut price fleece to protect plants from frost and I was outside helping flog our bargain £5 fruit trees as part of the Newsome Thousand Fruit Tree project. We shifted about 40 fruit trees and we were had more exotic fruits this year, including greengage, quince, plums, pears as well as eating and cooking apples. It was certainly buzzing in the morning and a good number of folks stayed on for lunch of baked potato and beans which sold out. The Stirley Farm crew were also busy that day planting around 15 fruit trees in their new orchard. All in all a cracking day