Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Getting in the paper...

I’ve written a letter to the local paper today. It is nothing to do with the election, rather a celebration of the New Pavilion re-opening as “Puccinos”. This is a letter I’ve been meaning to write for some time and has been hold whilst the building work has dragged on and on. The arrival of “Puccinos” will revitalise the east of the town centre in an otherwise static area and the owners are to be commended on such an enterprising venture.

He is the text of the letter; -

I was delighted to see that the new “Puccinos” café/bar has finally opened in the former New Pavilion this week and particularly pleased to be given a chance to see inside the smart new restaurant.

Morlieans of all ages will undoubtedly have very fond memories of the building, whether as a Theatre, a Cinema, a Bingo Hall or even in its last incarnation as an alternative night club.

With a personal interest in both architecture and entertainment history, I have been fascinated by this remarkable survivor for a long time and disappointed that no photos of the interior decoration appear to have been found, despite the determined efforts of Ronnie Barraclough and the late David Atkinson.

I continue to hope that somewhere in Morley, maybe in a shoebox up in a loft, there are some hidden treasures waiting to be discovered. Perhaps this letter might trigger a memory….

Now that the building is open to the public again, there is an opportunity to perhaps open it to visitors for a guided tour on heritage weekend (on September 11th/12th) if the owners and local historians are willing. Whilst most of the past has been sadly swept away, the memories of Morley Entertainers live on inside those walls.

When I decided to stand for the By-Election, I had to fill in a couple of forms and received a stack more of them to be going on with. I knew what to expect as I still had the paperwork from the May 2003 Election but it is still a fairly laborious process reading and understanding the paperwork.

Whilst Morley is a Town Council, Town Councils and Parish Councils are interchangeable other than in name, both being “Minor Authorities”. Morley Parish Council declared that it would henceforth become Morley Town Council during 2000 and it came to pass that it was so.

Firstly, I had to persuade two people who lived in the Ward to propose and second me. They then had to sign the form and be clearly identified by their “electoral number” which consists of three letters and a number. The first two letters are MS (for Morley South, the Leeds City Council Ward) and the third letter represents the polling district. There are nine districts in Morley South, lettered MSA to MSJ (missing out MSH for some reason). Elmfield Districts are MSC (1798 voters, to the west) and MSG (1564 voters, to the east) and each district has its own polling station, one at Cross Hall Junior, the other Elmfield Infants. There are actually 3368 voters, six more than shown in Parish paperwork but I have no desire to add them up in the electoral lists.

When being nominated, I am entitled to provide up to six words of description which, if acceptable to the Returning Officer, is printed on the ballot paper. Needless to say, I just chose the word “Independent”, resisting the temptation to prefix “fiercely” &/or suffix “and proud of it!”. Criteria for acceptability mainly relate to possible confusion with registered parties, although offensiveness might also be deemed unacceptable.

I also had to return a consent to nomination form which had to be witnessed by someone but that could be anybody so was actually Mrs. Grey, as she was there….

To qualify for nomination, in simple terms a candidate has to a) be a registered elector in the Parish, &/or b) live in the parish, &/or c) work in the parish, &/or reside within 4.8 kilometres of it. The candidate also has to be over 21, a British/EU/Commonwealth citizen and not disqualified due to bankruptcy or nefarious doings. Another exclusion is paid office under the local authority.

Meanwhile, back to the laminator….

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