Grant delay slammed by councillor
A COMMITTEE which approves grants to community groups has still not met since it was formed five months ago.
Batley, Birstall and Birkenshaw Town and Valley Committee was set up to replace area committees.
But the new arrangement has been slammed by local councillors and residents fed up with having to wait to get funds approved for projects.
In May Kirklees councillors voted to abolish the district's 12 area committees and replace them with six Town and Valley committees.
Each council ward will now hold regular neighbourhood forum meetings to keep locals updated with events and hear requests for funding - though they have no powers to approve grants.
Instead they can recommend requests to the town and valley committees, who will then approve or refuse them.
While five of the new committees have held their first meeting, the Batley, Birstall and Birkenshaw Town and Valley Committee is still to decide on a date to meet.
Speaking at Birstall's second neighbourhood forum meeting in three months, chairwoman Coun Liz Smaje (Con, Birstall and Birkenshaw) said it was appalling people would be left waiting six months before their grant requests were considered. She said the first committee meeting could be taking place later this month.
"Quite frankly I do not think it is fair on the people of Birstall and Birkenshaw that we will not have a public meeting until the end of September as we obviously have grant and funding requests that need approval," she added. "It means, as our last area committee meeting was the end of March, it has been six months since the last public meeting to decide grant requests."
Coun Smaje said she was going to submit a motion to the council asking for a review of the new system.
She said: "Public involvement has reduced, and staff have been left in turmoil. The changes to area committees were rushed through without involving members or considering the implications to the public."
The motion was expected to be made at last night's full council meeting.
Batley, Birstall and Birkenshaw Town and Valley committee chairwoman Coun Gwen Lowe (Lab, Batley West) said there had not yet been a meeting because councillors and council officers were still getting used to the new system.
She added: "Coun Smaje is aware there is a planning meeting and a public meeting already arranged. We have also arranged dates for more public meetings, but need confirmations from councillors to make sure the majority can be there."
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Thursday 20 June 2013
Temperature: 12 C to 18 C
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Wind direction: East
Temperature: 11 C to 18 C
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