Anger as Morley leaders accused of trying to "hush up" town hall meet

Morley town leaders have been accused of trying to "hush up" a town hall meeting to discuss a town improvement scheme.

Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 12:01 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 4:01 pm

Recent months have seen works to Morley Bottoms begin in an attempt to reduce air pollution in the area.

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The plan which has seen a main road in Morley closed and pedestrianised was rushed through during lockdown and council leaders now face the prospect of explaining the decision in retrospect at a Morley Town Hall meeting this Thursday.

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Morley Bottoms has been pedestrianised in an attempt to reduce pollution build-up in the area. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

"I don't think they want criticism and they definitely don't want some big large meeting," said Morley resident Nigel Bywater. "Apparently they have sent out all these letters to residents but no one who I have spoken to seems to have received one."

Nigel has been centre to a campaign protesting the change with a recent Facebook poll reporting 529 against the change with only 190 for it.

The project, which has involved closing the lower end of Queen Street to general traffic, and increasing pedestrian crossings was aimed at reducing pollution in an area of high build-up.

Explaining the change Coun Andrew Hutchinson said: "People don't like change and we completely understand that but in order for towns to grow and adapt to changing commercial elements you have to have change. We have to promote that night time economy, café culture and those against the change don't understand that this is part of a bigger picture and a bigger ambition that we have for Morley."

Coun Hutchinson, who is leading the project, admitted that the project was rushed through: "The consultation could have been better but because we were doing everything during the pandemic it was hard to get out and do the face-to-face consultations to let people know." he said.

Much of the public criticism has been centred around the closure leading to congestion and traffic build-up elsewhere in the town but Morley's town centre manager Rachael Kennedy explained: "Whilst we have been doing the works the traffic has been displaced elsewhere which hasn't increased pollution just moved it." she said "We are working very closely with Leeds City Council highways department to look at ways to combat that as part of the bigger picture."

Morley residents will have the chance to voice their opinions as part of a meeting to be held at Morley Town Hall, this Thursday (November 11) at 6pm.

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