Where are the humps going?

Question: what unites Climate Action Ilkley and Conservative councillors?  Answer: Concern about the amount of road engineering being planned for Ilkley that is neither “targeted” nor “where needed”.  What has the Council resolved to do?  Carry out the road engineering as planned.  A Labour councillor wrote to me a few days ago, supporting “minimal road engineering focussed on schools and where there is a high proportion of older/vulnerable residents”. 

While another non-Conservative, non-Labour councillor wrote: “I do support some traffic calming, particularly along roads near schools and other areas such as the health centre where vulnerable people may frequent.  But it may be possible to look at other methods.”

I note the similar use of language, and both suggested different voting than actually occurred?  

Something feels disquieting about this.

Derek Powell



Rude residents

(On Tuesday) I attended the extraordinary meeting of Ilkley Town Council at the Clarke Foley Centre, where the main subject for discussion was the response of the Town Council to Bradford MDCs proposals for a reduction in the speed limit across Ilkley and associated traffic calming measures.

Our elected town councillors, ably led by Mayor Karl Milner, were exemplary in conduct and courtesy and listened first to the views of Ilkley residents who had requested to speak. The Town Clerk had worked hard to ensure that a balance of views was represented and contributions from all perspectives were heartfelt, sometimes evidenced, sometimes clearly argued and always passionate.

The gravity of the meeting, however, was undermined by a considerable number of audience members who bayed and jeered throughout the meeting.  There were not only shouts at points with which they disagreed but also insults aimed directly at members of the Town Council and other speakers from the floor, despite the best efforts of the Mayor to maintain order, and in direct contravention of the rules issued before the meeting.

I have lived in Ilkley for fourteen years and have always been proud to say how courteous and considerate its residents are; not so yesterday.  The rudeness and vitriol of some audience members were shocking.  We are fortunate to live in a democratic country in which we have the right to think and speak as individuals, but with rights come responsibilities.  As citizens of this lovely town we owe it to each other to maintain our freedoms with courtesy and mutual respect.

My thanks to Ilkley Town Council for facilitating a fair exchange of views on such an important matter; I hope that in future you will be accorded the courtesy your hard work merits.

Lorraine Dowson
Chair, Ilkley Labour 

Should we abolish the town or district council?

On August 1, ilkley Town Council held a meeting at the Clarke Foley Centre to discuss road safety. They (if the scheme as planned goes ahead) are to impose a blanket 20 mph speed limit controlled by 143 speed humps at a cost of £200,000 of which ilkley residents are to pay £87,500.

It would have been more appropriate if this meeting had been scheduled on April 1. All fools day.

Speed limits without effective controls are useless and speed humps punish everyone Indiscriminately. Only those with large 4x4s designed for off road and high powered luxury cars are unaffected. But the disabled, emergency and utility services and cyclists are made to suffer.

Speed humps cost more than cameras. Speed cameras catch or deter offenders. And this is what the ilkley public are asking for. Cameras, not humps. But no. Ilkley Town Council knows better!

The performance of the town council was pathetic and were more afraid of Bradford Metropolitan District Council (BMDC) than the residents who elected them. Although the result of the pubic consultation, which has only just been released, showed overwhelming opposition to speed humps the council undemocratically approved.

This raises the old chestnut of democracy, separation and independence from BMDC or alternatively to abolish the town council altogether. Unfortunately having witnessed the appalling feebleness of the town council this, not an obvious choice, becomes a serious option. A vote of no confidence must now be held if democracy is to mean anything.

The town council's lack of vision on how to make the town safer and improve quality of life was palpable. Discussions were restricted to speed and humps alone. Nothing was said about alternative cheaper and more affective speed cameras, replacing zebra crossings with pelicans or pedestrianisation of the Grove.

This meeting was filled to capacity with an overflow of people standing outside the building in the street. A truly democratic sample of Ilkley.

Although public sentiment is for a comprehensive review, the ITC decided to proceed and accept Bradford Metropolitan District Council’s plans. The votes cast being decided by tribal politics rather than the interests of the public.

At this meeting, ITC dismissed democracy as a side issue and claimed, despite its attempts to cover up and delay releasing the result of the consultation that due process had been followed.

Democracy it seems, an irrelevance.

Clearly ITC, does not represent the people of ilkley and is a worthless expense we can well do without.

Instead of these amateur politicians, ilkley should “follow the money”, and hold Bradford Metropolitan District Council and the government to account. It is they to whom we pay our taxes and it is they who must be accountable.

On current performance Ilkley Town Council is nothing but an hindrance, and insult to democracy.

After leaving this meeting I witnessed a car speeding the wrong way up the one way street Cunliffe Road at 50mph, cars racing along The Grove at 50mph and a 4x4 straight lining across the Cowpasture Road roundabout at 60mph. Perhaps this meeting should have taken place outside on the streets to make the councillors see and understand.

Malcolm Naylor

Cowpasture Road



'Defying Democracy'

Democracy is defined as “a form of government in which the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation.”

Although elected by residents of a particular ward, once elected, those councillors are duty bound to represent and act in the best interests of all the residents of the town.

During the democratic consultation period over whether the people of Ilkley wanted the proposed traffic calming measures, the people clearly illustrated that, by a ten to one majority, (845 to 82) they did not want the proposed measures to be adopted.

Democracy in action. A clear democratic mandate from the people of the town to their councillors - or so one would think!  All that was required was for the Town Council to respect that unequivocal democratic mandate.

At the extraordinary town council meeting on Tuesday 1st August, over 400 members of the Ilkley community attended.

If the town council was at all unequivocal about the feelings of the electorate, from the consultation response, it would have been correct and appropriate for the Mayor to gauge the consensus of those members of the public in attendance at the meeting, by asking for a show of hands of those for and against the proposals.  A clear and obvious democratic act.

The Mayor chose not to do this. Why?

In all but one of the motions upon which the councillors voted, the Mayor had the casting vote.  A man who only received only 406 votes at the local elections, to attain his position on the council.

406 votes in a town of a population of 15,000.  406 votes received due to a multi-faceted political manifesto, presented to the populous, prior to the local elections.  Yet, for some reason the Mayor believed that his 406 votes trumped the 842 signatories against his opinion on a single issue.

In an attempt to decry the public feeling at the meeting, some in support of the proposals stated that those members of the public at the meeting were not representative of the town, because the town had a population of 15,000 and there were only a few hundred at the meeting.  For that argument to be creditable, it is correct to state that a man who only received 406 votes to facilitate his position on the council was not representative of the 15,000 occupants of the town and thus his casting vote was not at all creditable.

At that meeting the town council had the opportunity to illustrate that it was fit for purpose, by individual councillors setting aside their political affinities and respecting the town and its populous. Instead, it chose to defy public opinion, it chose to defy the wishes of the majority, it chose to defy the goodwill of the assembled.

The arguments of many of those councillors who supported the policy were insipid, irrational, unsubstantiated by evidence, and mostly delivered with abject incompetence.

Last night town councillors you had the opportunity to galvanise a community, to show that you deserved the respect of the community by your actions, an opportunity for your community to see that you were worthy of your positions.  Sadly, you failed spectacularly to pick up on the mood of the town, and thus your positions are totally untenable.

“Town councillors, if you do not respect the community that you serve, how on earth do you expect the community to respect you for your service?”

Last night (Tuesday) the Mayor of Ilkley ensured that democracy is dead in Ilkley – Shame on you Sir, shame on you!

John Rees



'Meeting had similarities to Sheffield tree disaster'


What an utter waste of time the the "speed bump" meeting was.  I have always respected the work the local councillors do and the time and effort they put into it.  However, I must have suddenly got old and out of touch if the bunch of people at the meeting were anything to go by.

At the start there was an audience plea for common sense and for the councillors to vote with their heart not party lines.  What did they do?  Yup, party lines.  Leaving Chairman Two Votes to decide the outcome.  It got worse.  A lady from the audience said that the 250 odd people there were not representative of the 15,000 Ilkley population. Obviously never worked with statistics.  Something like 200 people against, 50 for.  We left the EU on a narrower majority than that.

A lady Labour councillor said she was "mandated" to support the proposed scheme because her election leaflet contained words about 20mph limits. I just hope she uses as much enthusiasm and fervour for all the other polices her alleged leaflet said she was going support.

Then a Bradford council officer was spoken about with reverence and fear to the point that any opposition to him could result in you waking up with a horses head nearby.  He is a very well paid ( by us ) employee who can be shifted.

As I see it 20mph everywhere is coming no matter what. The world is going that way. The whole of Ilkley including Leeds Road at 20mph. To administer it requires two police people ( remember them? ) in a radar van randomly visiting known areas and issuing fines to the half dozen speeding half wits. The fines will pay the wages. The rest of us can  then tootle along at 20 mph which is about the maximum speed we an do on our religious roads ( holy! ) lined with cars parked on the pavements.  

This scheme has similarities with the Sheffield tree disaster. The Council didn't listen then either.  It is wrong, the vast majority are saying that. It will affect all the residents, the businesses and any remaining visitors.

It was a kangaroo court, a waste of  three hours of my life and left me utterly disappointed at the lack of democracy being displayed. 

They should hang their heads in shame.

M Raynor