Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Editor’s letter: WLD’s trip to 10 Downing Street and bridges make headlines in Rodley and the Ring Road

By John Baron, editor

It’s not every day an invitation to attend 10 Downing Street drops silently into your inbox.

I must admit when it appeared I frowned and thought ‘this can’t be real’. But it was! As WLD editor I was invited to London yesterday to a reception celebrating ‘Local News Champions’ across the country.

A handful of other small independent publishers also attended, along with representatives from the BBC and some of the big regional publishers, to hear Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Lucy Frazer, praise attendees for their work in challenging times for the local news industry.

Ms Frazer spoke about the ongoing closures of local titles, which connect local communities to events and activities as well as hold politicians to account.

Downing Street hosted a Local News Champions reception. Photo: John Baron/westleedsdispatch.com

Although there were no firm commitments to support independent titles moving forward, we were able to put our case for more support from government. It was a useful networking meeting – and a great recognition of West Leeds Dispatch‘s work just a couple of weeks after we were commended at the Newspaper Awards in London.

Our community reporters and volunteer-led board work hard and I must say it’s nice for everyone be recognised.

As for number 10 itself, it’s a beautiful place, steeped in history. We went up the staircase with all the signed photos of the prime ministers over the years, which was quite something. We were then guided into one of the grand reception rooms overlooking the garden at number 10, which also had views of the Horse Guard’s parade.

We were invited to the event by Pudsey MP Stuart Andrew.

The new bridge in Rodley has caused much date and concern.

Otherwise, it’s been a busy couple of weeks on the WLD website. Unsurprisingly the two most read and commented-on stories we’ve been following in the past couple of weeks are the Outer Ring Road improvements (featuring the drawings of the new footbridge connecting Farsley with Calverley) and the ‘other’ bridge in Rodley.

I say the ‘other’ bridge as it’s a saga which has been running for almost 18 months, with the delayed installation of the new Moss Swing Bridge in Rodley facing delays and now ongoing technical issues. The bridge is crucial for access to Rodley Nature Reserve and the cricket club and will be essential should detailed plans for 76 houses be granted on the site the new bridge serves.

It’s time for this debacle to be resolved once and for all.

We’re already planning our local election results coverage for May 4 next printed edition next month, so please keep your eyes peeled for that.

If you have any news you’d like two share with us, or anything you think we should be covering, contact us on news@westleedsdispatch.com.

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