The Council is making some rapid changes to this year’s plans for winter gritting to respond to concerns about the new pilot policy.
There were three things that led the Council to review the winter gritting policy (that’s the rules that set out which roads are going to be gritted, and how frequently)
There was new national guidance issued earlier this year which provides criteria for all local authorities, so that they provide a service based upon fairness and clear principles. Previously, the Council’s gritting programme was based upon custom and practice with no clear rules for the selection of routes;
The previous policy was costing a lot more than had been allowed for in the budget – and the costs are going up, so savings were having to be made on other parts of the highway maintenance budget to cover the difference – this at a time when Government cuts have forced the council to find savings of over £100 million since 2010; and
The previous contract the council had with Amey has come to an end, so winter gritting is now being done by a mix of in-house teams and smaller private contractors.
The new policy had been looked at by both council officers and councillors from all parties, but seeing something written down is not the same as putting into practice. That’s why it was only introduced as a pilot this year.
Some parts of it are working really well. The priority routes – the busiest roads, main bus routes and roads which give access to hospitals, emergency services and community facilities such as schools and shopping centres – are being gritted very quickly.
But as it soon as it became clear that there were problems in some areas with some urban and rural roads which were not being gritted, the Council agreed to suspend that part of the policy and restore secondary gritting to them.
It’s not possible to restore gritting for every road immediately, as the Council needs to obtain some new gritters for the in-house team. These should be in place very shortly. In addition, the Council also has 200 more grit bins on order and these will be here very shortly.
Labour leader Cllr Tim Swift, in his latest column in the local press, sets out his views on the next stages in developing the Local Plan for Calderdale
Getting the right plan for future housing and employment land in Calderdale is a huge challenge. We are a victims of our past success – for many years, most new homes have been built on brownfield sites – that’s land that has previously been developed. So when Government guidance required us to provide for 17,000 new homes in the next fifteen years, it’s not surprising officers had no choice but to bring forward many green belt sites.
So the Labour group has welcomed the opportunity given by changing guidance to call for a redrafted plan that proposes a major reduction in the number of homes required. This will mean a much reduced need for sites to be found within the green belt. Continue Reading
Calderdale Council should be cutting the number of sites for new homes planned over the next fifteen years to under 10,000. That’s the view of Calderdale Labour Group, who have today announced that they will be calling for a new version of the controversial Local Plan based on this new target.
The council has originally faced with a Government target of finding land for 16,871 houses. As the recent consultation document revealed, this would have resulted in an extensive use of Green Belt, which the Labour Group’s proposal would dramatically reduce, requiring land for 40% fewer homes. Continue Reading
Illingworth and Mixenden councillor Dan Sutherland is warning that North Halifax residents are facing increasing financial hardship as a result of the roll out of the Government’s controversial Universal Credit.
Universal Credit replaces six existing benefits, and affects people in work on low pay as well as those out of pay. But the system has been hit by problems that are causing real hardship for people with low incomes, including many who are in jobs. Continue Reading
Calderdale Council leader Tim Swift has written to Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, pressing the Government to publish revised proposals for how local councils should calculate the need for future housing. Continue Reading
Councils across the north of England were shocked and dismayed by announcements from Chris Grayling MP, the Conservative Transport Secretary, which seem to backtrack on pledges to electrify the rail service across the North and in other parts of the UK. He then added insult to injury by choosing to announce the day after that… Continue Reading
Everyone has been shocked by the events in Westminster today. As a sign of our respect for those killed and injured, we will be flying the Union flag at half-mast over Halifax Town Hall from tomorrow morning. On behalf of the people of Calderdale, I want to offer our deepest condolences to the families of… Continue Reading
Labour have issued a ‘Danger’ warning about Conservative budget plans for Calderdale, arguing that they would have a devastating impact on many low-paid working families. Labour leader Cllr Tim Swift said:- “By publishing their plans just a few days before the budget council meeting, the Conservatives are hoping people won’t have time to read the… Continue Reading
Cllr Megan Swift is warning that Conservative budget proposals could force the closure of the day care at Calderdale’s Children’s Centres. And she is accusing local Conservative councillors of going back on previous campaigns to save the service. Cllr Swift said: “Hidden away in the small print of their budget, the Conservatives have a plan… Continue Reading
Labour group leader Cllr Tim Swift has slammed Calderdale Conservatives for targeting people on low incomes in their budget proposals, warning that their proposals include changes that are worse than Mrs Thatcher’s hated Poll Tax. Continue Reading
Along with the claim that austerity was unavoidable, one of the myths of the previous coalition government was that we were ‘all in this together’ – implying that the pain of their policies was ‘equally shared’ across different parts of the population. And the same rhetoric has continued under the Conservative government since 2015. The… Continue Reading
After Labour’s criticism of them yesterday, the leader of Calderdale Conservative group has now said that they will be publishing their budget amendment tomorrow – just one week before the Council votes to agree a budget. Labour council leader Tim Swift said, “Calderdale is facing massive challenges as a result of the Conservative Government’s cuts.… Continue Reading
Calderdale Labour leader Tim Swift has slammed the local Conservative group for failing to publish their budget proposals in time to allow any genuine public consultation. Cllr Swift said:- “As a Labour administration, we published our budget proposals in early January. There has been a four week open consultation, and we have made some changes… Continue Reading
The Government are giving a rotten Christmas present to almost 900 children in Calderdale and their families, Labour councillors Susan Press and Megan Swift have warned today. Figures produced by Calderdale Council show that 882 children in Calderdale will be affected by the Benefits Cap. On average, the families affected by the cap will lose… Continue Reading
By failing to address the issues in social care and the NHS, Philip Hammond has betrayed the most vulnerable in our society. Calderdale Council leader Tim Swift has criticised the Chancellor for failing to provide any extra funding for social care or the NHS in the spending review – and warned that the Council will… Continue Reading
The programme to provide a new teaching block at Todmorden High School has taken an important step forward after planning permission was granted last week. Todmorden ward councillor Susan Press said the news was welcomed by her and fellow ward councillors Jayne Booth and Steve Sweeney. Continue Reading
Labour councillor Megan Swift today welcomed news that the Government has withdrawn their planned Education Bill. When this was introduced in March, it included proposals to force all schools to become academies. Although this was dropped from the Bill after national and local protests, the Bill continued to undermine the role of local councils in… Continue Reading
Labour leader Tim Swift has welcomed news that the Rochdale Canal through Calderdale is now fully reopened after repairs to the huge damage caused by the devastating Boxing Day floods. The Canal and Rivers Trust have spent more than three million pounds on repairing damage throughout the length of Calderdale, including repairing 15m of damaged… Continue Reading
The decision by Todmorden school governors that they cannot continue to provide a sixth form is a direct result of government policy, Labour councillors in Calderdale said today. Cllr Megan Swift, Labour’s spokesperson for Children and Young People said changes in funding by central Government left governors with little choice – despite every effort being… Continue Reading
Calderdale Labour have slammed an attempt by Conservative leader Scott Benton to halt the roll out of residential 20 mph schemes in Calderdale. Labour’s Public Health spokesperson, Faisal Shoukat, said: “Cllr Benton’s call for a block on further 20 mph schemes is misinformed and would be a massive backward step for Calderdale. “Introducing 20 mph… Continue Reading
Calderdale Labour are calling on the Council to take a stand against the Government’s plans to extend selection. Thursday’s full Council will be asked to back a motion opposing the plans, which will undermine the track record of progress and achievement of many of Calderdale’s existing comprehensive schools. Continue Reading
Calderdale labour leader Tim Swift today sets out a strong case for the Conservative Government to rethink their policies of repeated cuts to local government spending, warning that they are putting at risk the local services that residents expect and depend upon. Cllr Swift sets out his case in a letter to the Chancellor Philip… Continue Reading
Back in January, then Cabinet Minister Oliver Letwin was put in charge of the national resilience review.This was established to assess how the country can be better protected from future flooding and increasingly extreme weather events Since the change of Government, the future of this review seems to be doubt – yet adequate preparation for… Continue Reading
Calderdale Labour leader Tim Swift is urging the new Secretary of State for Defra, Andrea Leadsom MP, to visit Calderdale as soon as possible. Tim said: “With all the changes in Government personnel, we now have a situation where none of the Ministers who visited Calderdale after the December floods are still in the same… Continue Reading
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