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Letters to the Editor
4:17pm Thursday 24th May 2012 in Letters
Council must take time for reflection
Ilkley is a beautiful place in which to live and enjoys a thriving level of active community support. It provides a wide range of opportunities for residents to co-operate in maintaining and developing the many facets that make this a really attractive place for residents, workers and visitors.
There seems no end of useful causes to espouse from protecting our man-made and natural heritage sites, the needs of the young and the elderly, local business and professional interests and a multitude of charities supporting many single focus requirements together with organisations established simply to help those less fortunate in Ilkley and beyond.
Possibly the most taxing local service that can be undertaken is as a parish councillor. The work, if done assiduously, is demanding and frustrating. There are many different interests to consider.
I make no bones. Parish councillor is not a task I could do. My personal and selfish choice is to stick with community projects where I can make a difference and get some personal satisfaction. Therefore, I have great respect for those individuals who can take up the cause of voluntary service as Ilkley parish councillors. I am sure that most strive to maintain the high aim of selfless service.
Heathcliffe Bowen has impressed me as a courteous and pleasant individual. But I am disappointed that he should take to task in your columns firstly, an elderly man who had the discourtesy to share his concerns about the council precept with this newspaper. Councillor Bowen’s response might have been better received if he had been able to inform you that he had already written to Mr Edwin Schirn without reading about his concerns in this newspaper. Without knowing these and other relevant local issues, how can the council fulfil its role of service to the community?
I am also disappointed that he should dismiss as “daft” my own letter that took issue with the Ilkley Parish Council newsletter of April 2012 in which it was stated: “Councillor Bowen has missed the opportunity to be aware of local concerns and to set out his case or defence for the council’s decision. Instead he has given support to the view previously expressed in these columns that the parish council is paternalistic and undemocratic. I support the view that we need a council that will be responsive to the needs of the electorate and not those we have put in office.”
Ilkley needs a good council to inform and bring together and to serve the interests of our community. I hope the council chairman and members will reflect most seriously on how the council can access relevant issues by encouraging dialogue through this newspaper’s letters page and learning from the exchange of correspondence.
Philip Chinque, Parish Ghyll Drive, Ilkley.
We have every right to check on councillors
I see that Heathcliffe Bowen thinks me to be discourteous (Letters, May 17). He needs to understand that we have an absolute right and duty to question what councillors are up to.
He needs to understand that, by law, members of the public are not to be kept out of parish council meetings, as happened under his chairmanship. Nor may the press be kept out. The press acts as our eyes and ears when we are not actually there. That exclusion was absolutely wrong.
Heathcliffe Bowen’s letter (May 10) still does not show that there is an agenda in the Localism Act which obliges Ilkley Parish Council to take even more money from us. His claim is that a “General Power of Competence gives parish councils the chance to deliver more for their communities based on residents’ needs”.
He is wrong. He should read the Act further down in Part 1 Local Government – Chapter 1-General powers of authorities-8- Interpretation of Chapter. For parish councils, “local authority” refers only to : “(f) an eligible parish council”. It does not refer to ‘all parish councils’. Further on, the Act defines an “eligible parish council” as one “where the council meets the conditions prescribed by the Secretary of State by order for the purposes of this section”.
There is no Order by Secretary of State that relates to Ilkley Parish Council. Ilkley Parish Council is not an ‘eligible parish council’.
It is high time to rein in Heathcliffe Bowen and those parish councillors who think like him. That reserve money should be spent before there is any further increase in the Parish Precept.
Edwin Schirn, Victoria Grove, Ilkley
Thanks to all who helped the show go on
Can I, through your paper, take this opportunity to thank all the many stewards and volunteers who so willingly gave up their time before, during and after Otley Show, as without their help the show could not have been held.
In the final week of preparations, many changes had to be implemented in view of the wet ground, and everyone did a fantastic job. I cannot thank the landowners enough for all their assistance and tolerance in staging the show. Also can I thank my friends and family for their help support and patience over the past two months.
Janet Raw, Otley Show Secretary
Walk the Bay and help sight-impaired people
At sight airedale we support a total of 534 local registered blind and sight-impaired people, including 31 in the Ilkley area.
As previously mentioned in this newspaper, as part of our 105th year celebrations we have arranged with Cedric Robinson CBE (the Queen’s Guide to the Sands) to undertake a challenge to walk across Morecambe Bay on Saturday, July 14, 2012, at 2 15pm.
We still have places available to help us to raise much-needed funds for our work with our local sight-impaired community.
For an information pack, for which a £5 donation is requested, please contact our helpline on (01535) 602354.
For further details on all our services, please click on “What we do” on our website at sightairedale.org.uk. For registration and sponsorship forms, please visit walkmorecambebay.org.uk.
Steve Ayton, Executive Assistant, sight airedale, 1 Albert Street, Keighley