Town hall protesters slam 'bullish' Wood

A GROUP of around 50 people descended on Batley Town Hall at the weekend to ask MP Mike Wood to support the proposal for a new high school in Birkenshaw.

Following on from the car convoy last Wednesday, which brought morning rush hour traffic to a standstill, campaigning residents from Birkenshaw, Gomersal and East Bierley congregated outside the town hall for the Batley and Spen MP's surgery.

Mum of two Michelle Granger-Mead said: "We wanted to ask him if he would sign a letter to state where he stood on the Building Schools for the Future programme (BSF) but we were really taken aback by his bullish manner, he just brushed straight past us.

"This is someone we voted into power and he does not seem to want to know what Gomersal, Cleckheaton, Birkenshaw, East Bierley and Birstall parents have to say."

Michelle, who lives in Gomersal, added: "We were actually prevented from entering the open surgery at Batley Town Hall – a public building. It was appalling.

"He did eventually agree to see representatives from each area, but without actually saying it, he made it quite clear where he stood."

Darren Brookes, a dad of one from Birkenshaw, said: "We were disappointed because we wanted him to get involved and he just refused to. He seemed to be more concerned with Batley – which has two high schools already."

Mr Wood told the Guardian: "Fifty or so people did attend my surgery last Saturday. There was a demand that I sign a statement there in the street which of course I refused. If that appeared 'bullish' so be it.

"I understand the town hall staff told the delegation that they could not stop access to the town hall and especially to the 14 people who had, unlike themselves, notified me that they would be attending my surgery.

"Having seen those with appointments I did see four representatives of the group including the wife of the leader of the council, Mrs Light – the interview room only has space for four people. I was interested to hear the views they put to me. It convinced me more than ever that what ever the final form the BSF takes, it should not be based on those who shout loudest being the only ones who are heard.

"Of course, when I responded I raised Cleckheaton, Batley and even Dewsbury. This is because in spite of what these petitioners suggest, the eventual plan will have to look to the interests of children across north Kirklees and not just those in Birkenshaw."