Wakefield Trinity fans secured a victory over developer Yorkcourt when plans to build a warehouse on the Newmarket site were rejected by the council last month. Back in December 2012, Yorkcourt were granted permission by the Secretary of State to build on green belt land by promising £12 million towards the development of a community sports facility in Wakefield. Ever since, they have exploited the weaknesses of the original planning application and used legal loopholes to avoid keeping the promise they made.
I spoke against the application at the meeting, saying the saga was the longest game of cat and mouse in the council’s history. Afterwards, Yorkcourt said they were “disappointed” with the result. I know Trinity’s fans, who are still waiting for the new stadium, are ‘disappointed’ too.
While British scientists warn that ocean heatwaves are devastating life under the sea, insect populations collapse, and schoolchildren protest against the lack of action on climate change, I spoke in Parliament last week on the Government’s slow progress on cutting greenhouse emissions.
We need more energy efficient homes, a rapid switch to electric vehicles and changes to the way we produce our food. With scientists warning we have just 12 years to tackle the climate crisis before we reach unpredictable tipping points, net-zero emissions is now a necessity.
That is why the government’s support for fracking is wrong. It locks us into a high carbon, high fossil fuel economy which is not compatible with our climate change targets. I am happy that government attempts to make fracking easier have been found to be unlawful by the High Court. The world’s largest offshore wind farm opened in Hornsea last month, we should be creating new green jobs in renewables, where we lead the world, not looking to the past for our energy.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling’s reverse Midas touch continues. After a ferry contract with no boats and a £33m payout to Eurotunnel last week for dodgy contracting, his latest blunder is that longer six-carriage trains on Northern trains, due to be introduced at the end of this year, won’t arrive at Leeds station until 2021. Northern and Network Rail are blaming each other, revealing the weaknesses in our fragmented rail infrastructure. This is bad news for passengers in Wakefield, who already suffer some of the worst train services in Britain.
Last Friday, Wakefield celebrated International Women’s Day. I went to Ossett Academy to talk about women in politics, and unveiled a plaque for two Wakefield women who made a lasting impact on our city. The first plaque celebrated Florence Beaumont, who led the Pilgrimage of Suffrage march through Wakefield in 1913, which culminated in votes for women five years later. The second was for Gertrude McCroben who, as Headmistress of Wakefield Girls’ High School from 1894 to 1921, introduced sport for girls locally and championed reforms to girls’ education nationally. Congratulations to Sarah Cobham and the Forgotten Women of Wakefield project who organised the event.
On Saturday 23rd of March, just six days before the Government aims to take Britain out of the EU, people will march on Parliament demanding a vote on the government’s deal which threatens living standards, businesses, and jobs. Polls show that two thirds of people in our district support a second vote. The Brexit that was promised has not been delivered. People’s Vote South West Yorkshire are organising buses down to London. Sign up here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/buses-to-london-for-march-23rd-march-tickets-56800367428.
As ever, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with my office if you need help: email@example.com.
This article was originally published in the Wakefield Express on Friday 15th March 2019.