East of Otley Elections Richard Davies

Re-elect Richard Davies

Richard Davies in a waterproof coat, field behind
Danefield ward – your Labour town council candidate
Re-elect Thursday 4 May Richard DAVIES For Otley Town Council Labour (white text on red background)

For the past two years, I have been an active and committed Otley Town Councillor for Danefield Ward, working together with residents, other councillors and officers, community groups and businesses to tackle things that needed doing.

This has not always been easy, but working collaboratively with other people and groups I have been able to progress a number of my priorities and resolve problems which have cropped up. Here are a few examples:

East of Otley: I am heavily involved in talks with Leeds City Council planners, the town council, and community groups, such as Otley 2030, to make a robust response to unsuitable development proposals. I submitted a 10-page detailed response and was also active in discussions with LCC Rights of Way staff about formally recognising footpaths around the Cambridge estate.

Anti-Social Behaviour: Drug-dealing and associated anti-social behaviour in the ward has upset nearby residents. I worked with the local police, LCC Housing and Anti-Social Behaviour Teams, and other councillors to address the issue of problem tenants being placed near vulnerable people. This led to a stronger response from the authorities, and the issues seem to have been resolved to the satisfaction of the residents.

Community Facilities: Otley needs more community facilities and has too many empty buildings. I’ve worked for two years with the Town Council and community groups to deliver the 3G Artificial sports pitch at Prince Henry’s. I help organise the Otley Live Music Festival. I’m also involved in developing a community bid to acquire the Methodist Church for community use.

Workers in orange hi-viz overalls operating vehicle-mounted drain clearing equipment, lowering a hose into the opened road drain

Street Cleansing: A number of areas in the ward haven’t had their gullies or drains cleaned for years due to on-street parking. I liaised with LCC to organise a day of action to sweep streets and pavements and jetwash blocked gullies around Cambridge Street.

Road Safety:I pushed for speed indicator devices (SIDs) to be used at speeding hotspots in Danefield Ward. The Leeds Road SID will be relocated, and one or two more may be set up on larger roads in the next two years, based on traffic surveys. There are also plans for 20mph zones in many parts of town.

Potholes: Various streets in the ward – such as Albion St, South View Terrace and Orchard Street – have poor road surfaces. Full resurfacing is not planned in the near future, so I liaised with LCC Highways to persuade them to patch surfaces and fill potholes in the meantime.

Richard’s priorities

for Danefield ward in the next 4 years

East of Otley Development: work with planners, city and town councillors and community groups to stop an inappropriate development and make sure the plans provide quality sustainable homes, affordable housing for young people, more green spaces and sites for sports clubs, and less traffic coming into the town.

Community Facilities: work with local groups and the Town Council to acquire a community hub to provide spaces for local groups to meet and widen the range of cultural events.

Cleaner Streets: work with senior Leeds councillors and officers to get better local services, especially pothole-filling, blocked drains and street cleaning.

Road Safety: lobby Town Council colleagues to prioritise speed indicator devices in and around Danefield Ward where speed limits are ignored.

Bus Services: keep working with West Yorkshire Combined Authority and bus companies to get more reliable bus services round the Cambridge Estate.

Access to the Chevin: work with Leeds to restart the Chevin Users Forum and look at ways to improve parking, signposting and access from the town, making the Chevin a better place for the community and the environment.

East of Otley Otley and Yeadon Branch News Otley town council Richard Davies

Labour Party objection to the East of Otley Planning Application – full text (10 pages)

Here you can download the full text of Otley and Yeadon Labour Party’s detailed 10-page objection to the East of Otley Hybrid Planning Application 21/01671/OT.

Download the full objection to the planning application

East of Otley Otley and Yeadon Branch News Otley town council Richard Davies

Labour Party Objects to the East of Otley Planning Application

John Richardson Chair of the branch says “The plans as they stand fail to give enough detail about the way it will be developed. They don’t say when the school will be built, they don’t give enough detail about how damage to the environment will be minimised and they don’t give enough detail about the quality, design and energy efficiency of the houses. If built I want this to be an exemplar development that demonstrates the very best in house building.”

The Labour Party’s detailed submission identifies many examples of where the plans fail to comply with planning guidance, including the requirements set out in the Otley Neighbourhood Plan which was agreed in a referendum by a huge majority in 2020.

Our submission raises concerns about the lack of detail available about the provision of affordable housing. It states that the Otley and Yeadon Labour Party is firmly committed to the provision of genuinely affordable housing: a significant proportion of which should be offered for rent and shared ownership. It points out that many children who grow up in Otley cannot afford to rent or buy here.

Our objection asks for much more transparency about the profits that the developers expect to make. It highlights the risk that, in order to make excessive profits, the developers are not being explicit about the amount of affordable housing that will be built.

It also challenges the plan to increase from 550 to over 700 the numbers of houses built. It points out that no justification has been provided for this. Increased numbers will put even more pressure on schools and health services and further damage local wildlife habitats.

Along with many other organisations in Otley, the Labour Party has serious reservations about the traffic analysis that has been carried. It has insufficient detail and minimises the impact of many more cars on the road. Our response point out that Otley centre is at least a 15 minute’s walk away and proposes that the development of community facilities such as a local shop/café in a “village hub”could reduce traffic and promote community cohesion.

Our objection also echoes the detailed criticisms of the plans to reduce damage to existing wildlife habitats and create new ones made by Wildlife Friendly Otley and others.

Labour Town Councillor Richard Davies says “The application as it stands is totally inadequate as the basis for the biggest development in Otley for a generation. It fails to comply with the Otley Neighbourhood Plan and will seriously damage our local environment. Local people have a right to expect better and the level and quality of their responses highlights the need for their concerns to be heard.”

Download the full 10 page objection here

East of Otley Otley and Yeadon Branch News Otley town council Richard Davies

Road safety in Danefield – major rethink needed for Otley’s roads

Richard Davies says changes are needed

As Labour’s candidate for Otley Town Council’s Danefield Ward, I believe that a major rethink is needed for some of the town’s roads in and around the ward.

Traffic levels and parking problems have continued to rise in Otley, but not enough is being done to ensure the safety of local people.

In recent years, our councillors have pushed for some well-intentioned changes, such as the one-way system on Walkergate and 20mph limits on residential streets, but these have been poorly thought through or enforced. 

Three particular issues stand out.

  • Firstly, speeds on main roads like Bondgate and Leeds Road are too high and cars regularly pull out of busy junctions into oncoming traffic.
  • Secondly, the 20 mph restrictions on streets like Cambridge Street are widely ignored.
  • Thirdly, crossing the junction of Charles Street with Bondgate has become a game of Russian Roulette for pedestrians and drivers. I am worried that there is going to be a serious accident if something doesn’t change.

I would like Otley Town Council to work with Leeds City Council and local residents to get changes made. There are some sensible things that could be done quickly.

I would like to see electronic speed indicator signs, like the one on Bradford Road, installed on roads like Bondgate, Leeds Road, and Cambridge Street to help drivers keep within speed limits. The Police also need to enforce these limits. I would like the City Council to address the on-going consequences of the one-way system, for example by removing the top parking space on Charles Street to provide space for cars turning in from Gay Lane.

‘Improved cycling and walking provision’ was a key policy in the Otley Neighbourhood Plan, but the Town Council seems to have lost interest in this. It’s time for the Town Council to show leadership and turn this policy into an action plan.  As a former member of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, I would like to help make this happen.