“Pennypinching” savings will hit Silsden and Haworth the hardest

Politicians representing Keighley villages have blasted the ongoing cuts to Bradford Council-owned amenities in their wards.

The district councillors claim the forced savings on public halls, toilets, tourist centres and bowling greens are unnecessary attacks on life in rural communities.

They believe it is unfair of City Hall to expect hard-pressed village residents to take on the running of many services facing the axe.

The councillors, who represent Worth Valley and Craven wards, have called on Bradford’s Labour rulers to protect village life by targeting spending cuts on items Bradford city centre.

The rural councillors spoke out this week after Bradford Council voted for the latest round of cuts, which will see savings of £32 million in the 2017/18 financial year.

Councillor Rebecca Poulsen, who represents the Worth Valley ward, said local people and groups were already looking at the feasibility of taking over Holden Hall, the Haworth toilets and the visitor centre.

But she warned that not all facilities were suitable to be managed by the public.

She said: “I think it’s absolutely shocking to expect someone will magically come in and fund things. How can volunteers pay the lease on a tourist centre?

“Holden Hall can be run very well by the public, but how can they run the toilets? It’s crucial that we have toilets in Haworth, it’s something visitors rely on.”

Cllr Adrian Naylor, who represents Craven ward, branded spending on such items as solar-powered bins and heritage flags as an “incredible waste of money” when rural areas were being hit.

 

 

He said: “The council has sold the old Silsden library building, the public toilet block and strips of land above the park. It’s clear that assets are being sold in rural areas and the funding used elsewhere.

“There’s a lot of money being taken out of Silsden, so why don’t we see a proportion being brought back to Silsden to run these community facilities? We are getting rid of the assets at a time when we need them more than ever due to new housing.”

Andrew Mallinson, another Craven ward councillor, said council leaders had failed to listen to the concerns of councillors about facilities in outlying areas.

 

 

He said: “The rural communities are being hardest-hit at the expense of mainly leisure developments for the middle of Bradford.

“There are other savings that could still be made by the council that would safeguard the small amounts it takes for public toilets, public halls and bowling greens. In many cases it’s penny-pinching.”

 

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