Wharfedale councillor hits out a Bradford Council after resignation

Matt Palmer

Matt Palmer

First published in Local news Wharfedale Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Ilkley/Otley Reporter

A Conservative councillor has resigned to take up a new job – and hit out at Bradford Council on his departure.

Coun Matt Palmer, who has represented the Wharfedale ward on Bradford Council since May 2003, is moving to Jersey with his family and says he cannot continue to serve people living in Burley-in-Wharfedale and Menston.

But in an open letter to residents in his ward, Coun Palmer said the council is “not a very good council, and has not been for a very long time”.

He said the authority “means well”, but needs reorganising to serve all areas of the district properly. He added: “Bradford Council means well and has much to commend it, but its size and the complexity of its catchment make it all but impossible to design policies that suit all parts of the district and address their very distinct problems.

“The difference in life expectancy between residents of different parts of the district can be more than a decade.

“Crime, health inequalities and other issues vary in extreme. The needs and expectations of populations are so different as to be irreconcilable.

“Wharfedale should seek a new, more locally accountable and more democratic model, as should the City of Bradford. That would give both the chance to make their own way.”

Coun Palmer thanked people in Burley and Menston who had helped him during his time in office. He added that the area needed a new secondary school, as Ilkley Grammar was beyond capacity and he had concerns about the scale of growth of district villages.

Coun Glen Miller, leader of the Conservatives on the council, praised Coun Palmer, above, as an “invaluable” member of the group.

He said businesswoman Jackie Whiteley, who stood in the by-election for a new MP in Bradford West won by George Galloway earlier this year, will contest the seat for the party. An election to choose a new councillor for Wharfedale is expected to take place next month.

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