AN act of ‘wanton vandalism’ has left a junior football club in Otley reeling.

Weston Lane Juniors Sports and Social Club’s training area is unusable after a car repeatedly drove over it, cutting deep ruts all over the grass.

The incident happened at the Weston Drive site between 10pm and 11pm last Wednesday.

The police were called out to a confusing scene - with one-four-wheel-drive vehicle still on the boggy field, in need of help, which apparently had been flagged down to tow out another car.

The driver of the first car, believed to have caused the damage, fled after it was pulled out.

Club coach Bhupendra Patel had to cancel all of Saturday’s training sessions and is now searching for alternative sites.

The attack thankfully missed the playing pitch itself - unlike a similar incident that rocked the club four years ago. But Mr Patel is deeply shocked that a community-focused facility has been targeted again.

He said: “I just don’t understand why they did this - children use these fields."


BRADFORD Council has come under fire after felling two trees on leafy Ilkley shopping street The Grove.

Reports were made to Ilkley Parish Council about the local authority cutting down the two trees in Ilkley town centre, resulting in criticism from parish councillors.

Councillors have questioned the decision to cut down the trees and asked what is being done to replace them and protect other trees, which are part of the character of the street.

They have also called on Bradford Council to notify the Parish Council before cutting down trees in future.

Parish councillors were angered by a written response from a council officer, and argued that the trees were not dead or dying.

One of the trees was a very mature specimen which stood outside Christchurch, said Councillor Stephen Butler, while another was a young tree which had only been planted about two years ago.

“I’m most unhappy that they’ve disappeared, and I’m astonished the trees disappeared without notice or warning,” he told last week’s Ilkley Parish Council meeting.

“They’ve left holes in The Grove where the trees had been and filled them with compost and leaf mould. It’s ridiculous that this was allowed to happen.”

A report that the trees had “failed” was labelled “tosh” by parish and ward councillor, Mike Gibbons.



“A KICK in the teeth” for the town and local volunteers.

That is how the decision to press on with the closure of Otley’s Citizens Advice Bureau has been described.

Leeds CAB has confirmed it will proceed this year with “the closure of drop-in advice sessions at the four Bureaux in Crossgates, Morley, Otley and Pudsey”.

The organisation says the change, first mooted last November, is part of a shake-up that is needed to meet rising demands while coping with less funding.

But local politicians and volunteers have pointed out that the assistance currently offered in Otley represents outstanding value for money.

Otley Town Council’s controlling Labour group is vowing to do all it can, despite the bleak outlook, to keep the local service going.

Council leader Councillor John Eveleigh (Lab, Ashfield) said: “While I understand the financial pressures which led Leeds to reduce its annual grant of £1.6 million to Leeds CAB by about ten per cent this coming year, the closure of the drop-in sessions in Otley is really disappointing, especially given the long, close and effective relationship the town council has had with Otley CAB including help with their funding, particularly over the last four years, when an additional £12,000 was provided.

“I have asked Dianne Lyons, the CEO at Leeds CAB, to meet us again as there are some issues which need clarification and we wish to discuss further the possibility of retaining an Otley CAB service.”


BEER connoisseurs streamed through the doors of the King’s Hall and Winter Gardens last Friday and Saturday to sample real ale, cider and perry at the annual Ilkley Beer Festival.

The sold-out event, organised by Ilkley Round Table, saw around 18,000 pints pulled across three sessions, over two days.

The town centre venue was packed on Friday afternoon for a sponsor session which was followed by the first public session from 5.30pm to 11pm. Doors opened again on Saturday between 11am and 4pm and 5pm to 11pm.

Entertainment was provided on both days by Emley Brass Band, with crowds on Saturdays afternoon being entertained by Leeds Male Voice Choir.

Brewery bars included Old Spot, Wharfedale, Ilkley, Goose Eye and Northern Monk. As ever, food was provided by Ilkley-based butcher Lishman’s.

Ilkley Round Table is hoping to raise thousands of pounds for charity through the sold-out beer festival, which becomes more popular every year.

Proceeds from previous events have been distributed to a number of clubs and organisations, including Ilkley Rugby Club, 1st Ben Rhydding Scout Troop, Ilkley Stroke Club, Friends of the King’s Hall, Ilkley Town AFC, Otley Riding for the Disabled, All Saints School and Yorkshire Air Ambulance.



TWO cannabis farms have been raided in Yeadon in the space of three days.

Police dismantled a sophisticated small factory being run in the specially converted bedroom of a house on Enfield last Friday.

Then on Monday officers uncovered another farm on Raywood Close after a member of the public had raised concerns.

Two vehicles had driven off from the address but were stopped by traffic police, who then found a 60-plant set-up back at the property.

Two occupants from the Enfield house have been arrested and charged with cannabis production, while four men have been arrested in connection with the Raywood Close operation.

Inspector Richard Coldwell, who heads the Otley-based Outer North West Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “These were both quite significant cannabis growing operations.

“We had somewhere in the region of 60 plants being grown at Raywood Close, while at the Enfield address we’re looking at a probable yield of between £7,000 and £10,000 each time the crop was ready.

“They were both quite sophisticated farms with light tents, specialised lighting systems and hydroponics set up.

“The Raywood Close raid was thanks to community intelligence, while the Enfield one was down to some good police work.”


A HISTORIC hotel and former “hydro” is set to clash with councillors over plans to open a new spa to members of the public.

Craiglands was granted permission last year to build nine houses in its grounds, in a move designed to generate funds for improvements, including a new spa in the basement of Craiglands Hotel in Cowpasture Road, Ilkley.

Conditions attached to Bradford Council planning approval included a ban on future occupants of the homes keeping dogs or cats, and a restriction stipulating that the spa was to be used only by hotel guests.

Bradford Council later agreed to vary conditions, saying the pet ban was “unenforcible”.

The hotel, one of Ilkley’s key hydropathic establishments in the Victorian era, has now applied for the removal of the planning condition relating to the use of the spa.

But two of Ilkley’s ward councillors have objected, claiming it would exacerbate problems with parking and nearby roads.

Councillor Martin Smith (Con, Ilkley) says the full planning application for houses – which will take up parking space in the grounds - should go before the Council again.

He believes any change to the planning consent would be “more than a minor change” which would affect the overall site, and have an impact on the nearby community.