Tag Archives: Kirklees

Meeting set for those affected by sports centre closure

WM Sports CentreJo Cox MP is holding a meeting this week for people who use Whitcliffe Mount Sports Centre, ahead of its closure and demolition next month.

The Batley & Spen MP is determined to make sure that all those groups who use the sports centre can be found a new home after it closes, as part of a scheme to redevelop the neighbouring high school.

Mrs Cox said: “Kirklees Council has taken the decision not to retain the sports centre when a new school is built at the site. The date for its closure has now been set as 20 May.

“In some cases, alternative facilities and locations have already been offered to users of the centre. In other cases, such as with indoor bowls, the council has decided it can no longer subsidise provision to the extent it has in the past.

“I want to know how the closure will affect those who use the sports centre and where they will go once it closes. Most importantly of all, if there is anything else the council and Kirklees Active Leisure (KAL) can do to help them, I want to make sure they do that.”

Mrs Cox has invited the leader of Kirklees Council, Cllr David Sheard, the chief executive of KAL, Alasdair Brown, and members of both Kirklees and KAL staff to attend the meeting.

They will be on hand to answer questions or concerns about future provision.

Mrs Cox added: “This is not a meeting of the council or the cabinet and it is not a meeting to consider the decision they have already taken to close the centre. It is a meeting organised by me so that users of the centre can discuss and ask questions about the alternative provision they have been offered.

“I hope this will be useful to those affected by the closure. I know Whitcliffe has been a valued facility, the loss of which will be felt by many.”

The meeting will be at the sports centre on Friday 15 April at 7pm.

Council urged to take on board residents’ views on Local Plan

IMG_5996Batley & Spen MP Jo Cox is urging Kirklees Council to take on board all the views of her constituents when taking forward the district’s Local Plan.

In her submission to the council’s consultation, Mrs Cox welcomes the Local Plan and its aim to create the jobs and homes that the district will need over the coming 15 years.

But she says councillors and officers must give serious thought to the points that have been raised by constituents and by groups such as Spen Valley Civic Society, which has made a detailed submission.

Mrs Cox said: “It is important that Kirklees takes the opportunity to accommodate the demand for future jobs and homes, and protect the borough from a planning free-for-all, which would be an undesirable alternative.

“The council must endeavour to do this while preserving the things that make Kirklees, and Batley & Spen in particular, desirable places to live in the first place. It can only do that by listening to local residents.”

The Labour MP said the correspondence she had received had been constructive and fair minded and showed constituents were concerned about how the Local Plan might affect their town, village or street.

“What comes across in these letters and emails is that local people care deeply about their area and have knowledge and perspective which the council must be careful not to ignore during this process.

“We should be careful to conserve and protect the strong identities our towns and villages have, but without fear of growing and enhancing what makes them so special.”


Kirklees MPs unite over threats to local A&E departments

Jo Cox speaking in the HRI debateJo Cox yesterday joined Kirklees’s other three MPs to debate the proposals to close the A&E at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and the consequences this will have across Kirklees.

In particular she raised the implications for her constituents in Batley & Spen.

The debate in Parliament, which you can watch here, was secured by Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney and included contributions from Dewsbury’s Paula Sherriff and Huddersfield’s Barry Sheerman.

Mrs Cox said: “The proposed reorganisation, which would leave Huddersfield without an A&E, is being done under the rationale that there will be no change of provision in the other half of Kirklees district.

“However, the diminution of services at Dewsbury & District hospital, which sits within my constituency, is a significant change—not least for the A&E, which is a key service for local constituents in neighbouring Dewsbury and elsewhere.”

She said this was an ’embarrassing oversight’ with the potential to leave the eleventh largest district in England without a fully functioning A&E and that this was not in the public interest.

Mrs Cox went on to add: “It seems as though there is a lack of regional oversight about the implications of both this public consultation and what is happening at Dewsbury & District hospital.

“We have raised that issue directly with the Minister, and I raised it with the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust last Friday to ask who holds responsibility for the pan-Kirklees, pan-Yorkshire, strategy, to make sure that none of our constituents loses out from these individual public consultations and reconfigurations. It would be very helpful if the Minister focused on that oversight.”

The Batley & Spen MP also raised the lack of a coherent, integrated transport assessment of all the reconfigurations across Kirklees.

“Many of our constituents are on low incomes and rely on public transport. With congested roads, moving people around is not easy. I am not reassured that either trust has looked fully at the transport implications of these reorganisations and what they will mean for our constituents.”

MP welcomes extension to Local Plan consultation

Batley & Spen MP Jo Cox has welcomed the decision by Kirklees cabinet to extend the public consultation into the Local Plan into the new year.

The Local Plan is the new development plan being produced for Kirklees. This involves working out how many new homes and jobs are needed in the future and for allocating land to meet these needs. When the Local Plan is agreed and in place, planning will be judged against what it says.

Comments will now be accepted until 1 February 2016, rather than the previously agreed date of 21 December 2015.

Jo Cox MP said:

“It’s fantastic that the council has had such a huge response. I am told that in the main these are very sensible, constructive comments. This echoes my own experiences; I am really impressed by the quality of letters and emails I get from constituents about the plan. I hope that continues.”

“I think over the last six months public opinion towards our council has changed and matured. People are by now well aware of the stresses the council faces in terms of budgets and the inevitable impact this will have on services. In that context it is absolutely vital to formulate a plan which makes the best of future development, promotes growth and jobs, offers affordable, good housing and also protects sites of importance or significance. The overall housing numbers are dictated to by the government but the council does have some powers to protect certain areas and prioritise others.”

“It is crucial that people contribute to the discussion and get involved. It only takes ten minutes to post your view on decisions which will impact us all for decades to come.”

“If residents of Batley & Spen would also like to forward me on their views I will be delighted to receive them, but it is crucial that people use the official channels too, so that their voice can be heard by the decision makers in Kirklees.”

For more information:

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MP makes Commons speech in defence of further education

Jo Cox speaks during the further education debate

Jo Cox speaks during the further education debate

Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox made a speech in Parliament yesterday in defence of further education.

The debate was brought forward by the Labour party, concerned that government cuts and underfunding of further education would impede productivity and the growth of the economy. Mrs Cox raised concerns about the government’s review into post 16 education and the impact that will have on her constituents and on the rest of Kirklees.

Mrs Cox told the House of Commons: “A thriving FE sector is directly linked to a higher-wage, higher-skilled and more productive economy, yet sadly, as the Secretary of State has admitted, post-16 education is in a fragile state.

“Following funding cuts in the last Parliament, colleges are being forced to survive on starvation rations. As I discussed with Yorkshire businesses just this week, these cuts mean young people are leaving further education without the qualifications employers desperately require, and firms are unable to develop, expand and grow.

“In Kirklees, our sixth-form colleges are doing some amazing work despite the funding constraints imposed on them. We have sixth-form colleges of high repute achieving great things academically and vocationally, and of course the FE sector also offers unique provision and is indeed sometimes a lifeline for some of the most vulnerable people in society—people who did not achieve their potential at school and for whom FE is a second or third chance.

“If we cut FE, these children and adults are in danger of being even more disengaged and excluded from education and society.”

Mrs Cox added: “FE provision has been disproportionately affected by Government cuts and has not been afforded the same protection offered to schools over the last six years.

“The Government’s decisions regarding further education are too often influenced solely by financial considerations, not on what really matters: providing our young people with the very best and most accessible form of academic or vocational education.

“This is what we want. This is what the FE sector wants. This is what students want. It is what parents want. It is also what universities and employers want.”

You can watch Mrs Cox’s speech by clicking here or read the full text here: