Serving the communities of Pudsey in west Leeds,
Your councillors are available at their regular surgeries:
Sometimes we're asked what Pudsey's Labour Councillors have done for Pudsey, Swinnow and Tyersal. The answer is wide and varied. So as we approach the Leeds City Council elections on 3rd May, we're going to tell you about some more of our proudest achievements.
Pudsey Town Hall and Library
A couple of years ago, people had to go to the Town Hall to use Council services, such as the registrar's and housing offices. The Councillors were aware that the opening hours were too limited, and some people had difficulty accessing the Town Hall. Councillors wanted to have have Council services all in the same place, 'on the High Street', and were also very concerned that Pudsey Library (and every other library!) was under threat from Government cuts if it stayed as a 'single purpose' building. The Library is in the heart of the Town centre and conveniently placed for the bus station. By moving services to a one-stop-shop based in the Library, it is now easier for residents to access a full range of services in one place. As well as improved accessibility within the Library, these changes have provided additional computers and wifi availability for all residents, and secured the futures of both the Library and the Town Hall.
The Town Hall is a great part of Pudsey's heritage and was already a home to council staff working for the Social Services department. Moving the Community Hub into the Library freed up the Town Hall to become a major centre for Social Services, and 95% of the offices are now in use. A major refurbishment of the Town Hall is scheduled, with the windows being replaced soon and a full redecoration of the interior later this year.
The replacement of the windows was delayed for several years thanks to the Tory government's spending freeze, but is now is scheduled to start in June. The work should go out to tender in the middle of April, with returned tenders assessed by the middle of May.
Thornbury Barracks roundabout and beyond
Getting in and out of Pudsey from the Thornbury Barracks roundabout used to be hard work. Queues would build up in all directions and there were long delays. Additionally, crossing the road involved a poorly-lit subway. Labour arranged for the roundabout to be removed and replaced by a modern, signal-controlled junction that has significantly improved traffic flow and added level pedestrian crossings. Major improvements are now being planned for the Dawsonfs Corner roundabout.
Pudsey's Labour team are now pressing for top priority to be given to proposals to expand car parking places at New Pudsey station to provide an improved 'park and ride' offer for Outer West Leeds, tying in with the improved rail service which will be introduced next year. Pudsey Labour has also welcomed the Labour Council's commitment to upgrade Dawson's Corner junction, completing the major roundabout improvements that have already improved traffic flow at Rodley, Thornbury and Horsforth.Leeds City Council has started consultation with the public about proposals to improve major bus corridors into the city, including the A647 (Leeds-Bradford).
Decent affordable housing
It has been a difficult few years for renters. Government policies had already led to a loss of many of our council houses and the Conservative Government's expansion of the right to buy scheme has led to housing associations losing more of their available housing stock. As children leave home, they might want to stay within the community they grew up in, near their friends and family, but find that they can't afford to do so. It has become very difficult for younger people to buy homes.
Labour have been very aware of the need to provide affordable housing around the city and the Council has ensured that when developers have been building new developments, they have been required to provide some affordable housing alongside the more expensive and profitable housing that the developers prefer. Over the last few years over 300 affordable homes have been built in the Pudsey ward, for example on the old Waterloo Infant School site, on Waterloo Grove and Mount, and Chaucer Avenue, to name a few. These have primarily been homes to rent, and have helped keep rents down to reasonable rates.
Rycroft Towers fencing
The Councillors were aware that the fencing between all four Rycroft tower blocks and the busy by-pass was broken down. They arranged for it to be replaced and they also had new fencing installed for the first time on the Swinnow Lane boundary to give residents their 'own' space. This was the latest of a number of environmental initiatives round the tower blocks, complementing the internal upgrades funded by Housing Leeds.
Pudsey War Memorial full restoration
Pudseyfs War Memorial had gradually fallen into a bad state of repair and needed a significant amount of money for a full restoration. The Councillors worked with the Bereavement Services department at the Council to appoint specialists to do the refurbishment and provided £17,000 from the Ward Based Initiative fund. The Pudsey and Farsley Branch of the Royal British Legion raised £10,000 to support the renovation. The Cenotaph was cleaned from top to bottom, the stonework and the steps at the back were replaced, and the brass plaques and the statue at the top were restored. The work was planned to coincide with the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War.
Residential 20mph speed limits
Pudsey Labour Councillor Richard Lewis took a report through the recent Executive Board meeting to introduce a 20mph speed limit in the remaining residential areas of Leeds which are currently 30mph.
Most of Pudsey's residential areas are already 20mph thanks to the recommendations of your Labour Councillors.
The benefits to all communities are the reduction in the number of people who are killed and injured, and the huge impact on victims, their families and friends. There are also economic benefits to the NHS and other public services thanks to the reduction in calls for emergency services, and to the public purse as a whole, so it makes sense on both compassionate and monetary grounds.
Supporting local facilities and voluntary groups
We've already told you about a few of the wonderful voluntary groups in the area that Pudsey's Labour Councillors have provided financial and practical support to. Here are a few more examples of groups that we aid financially:
Pudsey councillors have supported Claremont, Crimble and Greenside sheltered housing facilities over many years with grants for residentsf Christmas meals and funding of buses/coaches for day trips.
Pudsey councillors' grants support two local swimming clubs - for learning to swim and synchronised swimming, as well as the Flower Club.
At the leisure centre Councillors have paid £5000 for recarpeting and also funded a new floor in the cycling room.
At Swinnow Community Centre, Pudsey councillors have funded the refurbishment of the kitchen including a new cooker and dishwasher. Next project will be to refurbish the toilets.
The Councillors are continuing to work with many different groups and are always open to requests for funding and assistance.
7th April 2018
Councillor Josie Jarosz is not seeking re-election in the upcoming all-out local Council election in May. She has served as a councillor for Pudsey Ward since September 1993, having first being elected in a by-election following the tragic and untimely death of Cllr. Ann Hickinson.
Councillor Josie Jarosz says:
"I am going to miss working with my colleagues Cllr. Richard Lewis and Cllr. Mick Coulson for the benefit of Pudsey residents. I have a growing family of grandchildren and great grandchildren and I want to be a part of their lives. The duties of a councillor are getting more time consuming in the effort involved trying to mitigate the damaging effect that austerity is having on public services."
Josie's ambition throughout her time in office has been to ensure that the voices of residents are heard and acted upon. She set up residents' forums in Tyersal, Pudsey and Swinnow. One achievement of the Pudsey forum was to make First Bus think again about the service they offered to Pudsey residents, with some improvements made to alleviate problems passengers were experiencing. Josie has also campaigned year in and year out for a Leeds Children's Hospital and there are indications that a Leeds Children's and Maternity Hospital is now finally in the pipeline. She brought this to the attention of full council to ensure all councillors support the project to go ahead.
Councillor Jarosz is pleased that Pudsey Branch Labour Party have selected Louisa (Lou) Cunningham to stand in the May elections in Josie's place as a Pudsey Councillor on Leeds City Council. Lou believes, as Josie does, that it is through working with communities that the most benefits can be gained. Lou feels very lucky to have such a dedicated, knowledgeable and committed councillor as Josie to provide mentorship into the role.
2nd April 2018
Sometimes we're asked what Pudsey's Labour Councillors have done for Pudsey, Swinnow and Tyersal. The answer is wide and varied. So as we approach the Leeds City Council elections on 3rd May, we're going to tell you about some more of our proudest achievements.
Post Hill Country Park
The councillors arranged funding of £14,000 from the Parks and Countryside department to develop Post Hill Country Park after its acquisition by Leeds City Council, preserving for the local community an area of outstanding natural beauty and historical interest as the local Prisoner of War camp. They have now agreed to provide the funding to provide pedestrian access from Pudsey Road, work which will be starting soon.
Extending Pudsey Cemetery: The Council's life time care - and beyond?
Pudsey residents will remember the old Public Works Depot on Lower Tofts Road, which was demolished some years ago. Knowing that the Pudsey Cemetery was rapidly running out of space, Councillor Lewis suggested that the land should be used to extend it, to let Pudsey residents continue to be buried in their own community.
Recently, an adjacent piece of land had become a haunt of poorly behaved teenagers. The councillors arranged for a large overgrown hedge to be cut down, and for the rampant undergrowth to be cleared. This land too will be used to provide extra space for the cemetery.
Queen's Park Improvements
Pudsey's Labour Councillors felt that Queen's Park was desperately in need of improvements to keep it as one of the jewels in Pudsey's crown for leisure activities. As the Council's budget has been cut so heavily by the government, they applied for grant funding from Sports England, and worked in partnership with them. Together with the Parks department in the Council, they put together a master plan to remodel the park, which involved demolishing the old changing rooms, building a new play area and multi-use games area. Their work is not finished, and the next stages will involve improving the drainage and re-siting of the pitches.
The Councillors also saved the avenue of trees which run between Meadowhurst Gardens and the Royal Gardens estate. A few were found to be diseased and dying some years back and the Parks & Countryside department decided they wanted to fell the lot. The Councillors stepped in to prevent this municipal vandalism and new saplings have been planted to fill the gaps.
Pudsey Wellbeing Centre
Pudsey's councillors have been heavily involved in supporting the creation and running of the excellent Wellbeing Centre and the linked Love Pudsey charity that were set up by Robin Lane Medical Centre which have become major assets for the community. Mick worked with the centre management to help acquire the building and has been a trustee of the centre since it was created. The councillors have continued to work closely with the charity and arranged ongoing funding for the Youth Café at Café Lux.
Pudsey Leisure Centre
Pudsey's Leisure Centre is a major asset to the community and provides a variety of activities to appeal to different interests and needs. As well as the obvious sport and leisure activities, it provides homes to youth and community groups. Having served the community for a long time, it was in need of refurbishment and modernisation of its facilities. Pudsey's Labour councillors have worked to obtain continuing council investment.
The Gym was refurbished last year with a new floor, equipment and decoration. An underused room was converted into a Spinning room with new bikes. The Dry Side changing rooms were refurbished in 2015 and new air-con units installed in the Spinning studio, fitness studio and the gym over the last couple of years. Last year, external painting was completed, and in the last week or two a new roof was completed on one side of the building.
We're not resting on our laurels though. Over the Easter weekend, the pool area is being improved through the provision of new circulation pumps and replacement pipework, and redecoration of the poolside and wet side corridor with new flooring.
The Vision for Leisure Centres in December 2016 identified the need to complete the wet side changing refurbishment, modernise the reception area and bring it closer to the front of the building and convert the old sunbed room in to a dedicated room with motorised fitness equipment which is designed to help older people and people with mobility issues. It also suggested exploring the option to recommission the front of the building overlooking the bus station and convert into a café area. We have completed a condition survey for the building and we are now currently working with NPS and our Leisure Specific partner Alliance Leisure to explore the options further and ensure that the business case for doing the changes will help fund the work.
Tidying Recreational Ground
Pudsey councillor Mick Coulson organised the tidying up of land between Waterloo Mount and Waterloo Grove for recreational use by residents. This was part funded by the housing department and by Pudsey Labour Councillors. The councillors consulted with the local community who decided that they wanted the land to be an open play area. The councillors arranged for council staff to help, along with volunteers from the community who provided their time and energy.
The Gables Medical Surgery
The Gables Medical Surgery wanted to expand the services they offered, but were limited by being in small premises with very little parking. Pudsey's Labour Councillors provided support to the surgery team with their bid to build a new surgery, helping them to acquire the land on the other side of the road, including the site of the bus turning circle. This enabled the new surgery to be built with modern facilities, an on-site pharmacy and plenty of parking space.
31st March 2018
Sometimes we're asked what Pudsey's Labour Councillors have done for Pudsey, Swinnow and Tyersal. The answer is wide and varied. So as we approach the Leeds City Council elections on 3rd May, we're going to tell you about some of our proudest achievements.
Swinnow Community Centre
In his role as Councillor, Mick Coulson has secured funding for Swinnow Community Centre and led a team of volunteers in developing the role of the centre into an active and successful hub for the community. Mick is chair of the Centre's Management committee, and has encouraged everyone who works at the centre. The centre is open seven days a week and provides a wide range of activities, from educational services to keep-fit activities; from support groups for Mums & Tots to a Luncheon club for the elderly; from a Garden club to bingo sessions.
As a result of this work, the centre won last year's award for the best Community Organisation at Leeds City Council's Compassionate City Awards. Mick is now working to ensure the Centre's independence through Community Asset status, making it the property of the community rather than the Council.
Pudsey in Bloom
Pudsey in Bloom consists of a small number of brilliant volunteers who make a huge difference to the town centre. In 2016, Pudsey in Bloom won a Silver award from the annual Yorkshire in Bloom competition. An area that was highlighted for improvement were the flower beds around Lidget Hill and the lampposts around the old Grangefield building. The councillors have done a lot of work with Pudsey in Bloom and Mick Coulson persuaded the Highways Department to replace the raised beds with flagging (concrete was ultimately used instead, for stability reasons), and put money in from the councillors' budget to pay for new planters. The efforts were rewarded with a Gold award from Yorkshire in Bloom, and the judges said:
"The judges were stopped by enthusiastic members of the public who wanted to say how much the work of the group is appreciated! This strong community support is obviously matched by that from local businesses and councillors."
Mick, Lou and Richard want to continue this work after the election. Pudsey's Labour councillors have worked with many different partners around Pudsey, Swinnow and Tyersal to improve all aspects of the life of the area and are keen to work with any residents who have an ambition to change their neighbourhood.
Woodhall Playing Fields
Woodhall Playing Fields provide a vital green space around the Leeds-Bradford border and their existence was protected by their planning status and the fact that they were owned by Bradford University. Labour councillors for Pudsey were very concerned when the university put them up for sale, fearing that they could fall into the hands of an unscrupulous developer who might pose a threat to the area's continued use by the public and the impact on the number of football pitches available for Pudsey and West Leeds teams.
Pudsey's Richard Lewis got Leeds City Council's Executive Board to agree in principle to negotiating with the University to purchase the area. After long and protracted negotiations the sale was agreed last December, thus guaranteeing that this vital green space, along with Woodhall Lake and its surroundings, will continue to be enjoyed by the community for sport and leisure for generations to come.
Helping the Community
A lot of a councillor's day to day work involves dealing with problems that an individual or wider group might be having, from housing needs to a problem with the local environment. For example, when a resident on School Street spoke to Richard Lewis about a disused toilet block that was an eyesore on the street, Richard was able to make arrangements for the demolition of the toilet block.
The councillors' work to help the community when the unexpected happens. When workmen damaged a major water pipe at the end of Littlemoor Road, the councillors worked with Yorkshire Water to ensure that the repair work was prioritised and completed as quickly as possible, while agreeing that noisy work would only take place at times that minimised disturbance to residents. At the same time, as a result of the closure of Littlemoor Road, the buses that normally serve Fartown were being terminated at the bus station. The councillors persuaded Metro and First to run alternative routes for these buses so that people could get as close as possible to home.
Marauding Tyersal horses fenced out!
A couple of years ago, residents were plagued by horses from a nearby stables repeatedly escaping into the Tyersal Park and children's play area. The worst incident involved more than 50 animals.
Cllr Jarosz commented at the time: "This is Pudsey in the 21st century, not the Wild West in the 19th century. Residents should not find their park full of horses. It has happened too often before... we need to have concerted action to sort out the horse problem in this area."
The ward councillors found funding to put up sturdy fencing around the park to solve the problem.
Preserving Pudsey Green Belt Sites
Our Councillors fought to preserve Green Belt sites - Hough Side Road and Acres Hall Avenue sites now safe!
A few years ago the Home Builders' Federation persuaded the Conservative-led government that they would love to solve the country's housing crisis, but local councils were stopping them by not allocating enough development sites. This led to the National Planning Policy Framework, described by many as a developers' charter. Local authorities now had to base their housing targets on an Objective Assessment of Need, but had to follow government guidance to come up with that target figure. Then Tory minister Eric Pickles decreed that Leeds could not have a 'brownfield first' policy, thus guaranteeing that more sites in the Green Belt would have to go for housing.
The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England produced a report which made it quite clear that it was Government policy that forced Councils across the country to set higher housing targets than needed.
Richard Lewis believed that the target needed to be reduced and took a number of policy changes through the Council which led to a much-reduced housing target (down from 70,000 to less than 52,000). This meant that the number of Green Belt sites earmarked for housing could be drastically reduced - overall, a massive 55% of Green Belt land previously scheduled for future development were saved.
The two big Green Belt sites in Pudsey - around Hough Side Road and Acres Hall Avenue - are no longer allocated for housing. Pudsey's Labour team has always supported building on brownfield sites, including Wilkinson Warburton, the craneworks on Uppermoor, Lane End and Waterloo.
The amended Site Allocations Plan has been submitted today to the government for examination.
23rd March 2018
Yesterday Labour's parliamentary candidate Ian McCargo was delighted to host Jeremy Corbyn in Swinnow. They spoke together at a campaign event just a few hours after Jeremy had launched the excellent Labour manifesto in Bradford.
Hundreds of people turned up to see them and Swinnow community centre was bursting with enthusiastic supporters.
Pudsey Labour parliamentary candidate Ian McCargo said:
"Labour's highly anticipated manifesto was making waves even before its release. We now have a fully costed vision to transform Britain for the many, not just the few.
"This election comes at a critical time for local people in Pudsey, Horsforth and Aireborough. Our schools are in crisis. Our hospitals, social care and mental health services are creaking. Our young people are struggling with increasing debt and housing costs. This is Tory Britain. I've worked and lived in this constituency for many years with my wife, daughter and young sons. I understand the struggles facing local families.
"The election here is a contest between the Tories and Labour. Our area won great improvements to the NHS, schools, police and transport when we had a Labour MP. Labour and Co-operative action rather than Tory cuts and slogans can once again address the challenges confronting our community."
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said:
"It was great to visit Swinnow community centre in Pudsey and hear our candidate Ian McCargo @PudseyLabour talk so passionately about our manifesto #ForTheMany. It was inspiring to see so many people turning out to back the Labour Party's campaign including improving education for all, scrapping tuition fees, inceasing childcare and providing free school meals for all primary school children."
17th May 2017
The discovery of a dangerous sinkhole caused by a collapsed sewer led to the immediate closure of Littlemoor Road. The 14 and X14 buses could no longer use their usual route. This led to residents having to walk long distances in order to catch the bus and has impacted traffic as cars were diverted to alternative routes.
Pudsey Labour Councillors quickly took up the issue with Highways and West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) to find a temporary solution - which saw buses diverted along Carlisle Road and back onto Fartown and Greenside. This allowed traffic to pass through in both directions (with traffic signals so that the work could be completed) and enabled the buses to visit parts of the area, making a significant difference to local residents.
The repairs to the sewer along with filling the sinkhole and making the ground safe again have now all been completed successfully, with full access and services once more all in action.
Thanks to rapid intervention by Pudsey Labour Councillors, Yorkshire Water and the Highways Authority, the disruption to locals was minimised as effectively as it could have been, and no future recurrence of the problem is anticipated.
Councillor Richard Lewis said:
"This is the sort of perfect storm that you cannot prepare for - whilst collapsed sewers and sinkholes are thankfully rare they need to be responded to quickly. So there was no choice but to close Littlemoor Road for the section where it joins Roker Lane. We've worked with Yorkshire Water and Highways to make it usable again as quickly as possible whilst minimising any dangers and risks to residents, pedestrians and road users."
31st March 2017
Campaigning by Pudsey Labour Party councillors and activists has resulted in First Bus improving the services in Pudsey and reversing many of the unpopular changes introduced in the autumn.
Following recent consultation drop-in sessions held in the Pudsey area, First Bus will be making the following changes with effect from 19th February:
6th January 2017
The Boundary Commission has been looking at the local City Council boundaries and has recommended some minor changes to the boundaries of Pudsey and Calverley & Farsley wards.
A number of Leeds residents have complained that Rodley is split between Bramley and Calverley/Farsley wards, so the Commission is proposing to put all Rodley into Calverley/Farsley. As this makes Calverley too big a ward, the suggestion is that the streets between Richardshaw Lane and Lodge Road (the building fields) move into Pudsey ward.
The Pudsey councillors think the ward boundary changes make some sense, as there is a huge amount of confusion amongst residents who identify themselves as Pudsey folk and who live close to the town centre, but vote in Calverley & Farsley, despite not living anywhere near.
You can comment on the Boundary Commission proposals via the website.
5th December 2016
Your three Labour councillors battling hard for Pudsey ward in Leeds
Click on them to visit their councillor pages on the Leeds City Council website
Promoted by Chris Dunford-Kelk on behalf of Pudsey Branch Labour Party, all at 10A
Greenside, Pudsey LS28 8PU.