Water bill figures revealed for Leeds City Council

By Jon Cronshaw

Bottled water and water for coolers has cost Leeds City Council about £200,000 in the last five years.

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Guiseley’s bid to make little Wesley’s wish to walk come true

Wesley and big sister Amelie Knight

Wesley and big sister Amelie Knight

by Shaun Moloney

MEET WESLEY – a little boy who with help from his local community could achieve his wish to live a normal life.

20-month-old Wesley Knight , from Guiseley, has cerebral palsy which has caused diplegia, a condition that affects his legs and means he is unlikely to walk without specific surgery.

Wesley’s family are trying to raise £50,000 to pay for a Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) operation, which involves neurosurgery to reduce the muscle stiffness that prevents cerebral palsy sufferers from walking.

They then need a further £45,000 to support with two to three years of specialist intensive physiotherapy.

His cause has been taken up by Guiseley Lions and they are holding a six-a-side football tournament in conjunction with the Guiseley AFC Community Foundation in July.

Wesley’s mum Catherine Knight,41,said: “When we approached the Guiseley Lions with our plight they were more than eager to help us. The money raised from the tournament could make a big difference as we strive to reach our total for Wes.

“Because of SDR, it is now possible for children with Wesley’s condition to achieve full mobility and independence.”

The Guiseley Lions are looking for local people to enter teams or come along as spectators.

Guiseley Lions Treasurer Bob Banks said: “It is a lovely cause and we are delighted to support it.

“We took up a similar cause when Eve Williams from Menston was able to be sent to Missouri to get SDR, so we know that the operation can be very successful. Eve has made major improvements and is now able to walk with the assistance of walking stick.”

The tournament registration will be on Sunday July 21 from 9.30am, with the first matches starting at 10am.

All money raised will be divided equally between Wesley’s Wish charity and Guiseley AFC Community foundation.

The event is open to non-professionals over 16-years and the cost to enter is £5 per player, with a £10 deposit payable with each entry.

An application form can be found for the tournament on the Guiseley AFC website.

More information about Wesley’s cause can be found at http://www.wesleyswish.org.

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Guiseley AFC to begin rebuilding for next season

Danny Ellis recieves a new two year deal with Guiseley AFC

Danny Ellis recieves a new two year deal with Guiseley AFC

by Shaun Moloney

GUISELEY AFC staff is working diligently to retain the squad that came so close to achieving promotion last season – despite losing a significant amount of firepower.

20-goal Josh Wilson has left the club in favour of FC Halifax Town – the side that ended Guiseley’s promotion hopes in May.

The Lions also parted ways with striker James Walshaw, who made the decision to join Altrincham when he claimed the club failed to contact him about a new deal.

Guiseley AFC General Manager Adrian Towers said: “Both strikers leave with our blessing. Josh made it perfectly clear he was only going to ever sign a one year contract, as he believes he has the potential to be a full-time footballer, and we agreed with him.

“We told him that we wouldn’t stand in his way if he wanted to make the move. It wasn’t about money and I believe that had we gone up he would have stayed with us.”

The Lions have managed to retain 17 of the squad that finished with 91 points in the Blue Square Bet North.

The club were extremely pleased to retain the services of last season’s player of the year Danny Ellis, who signed a two-year deal.

Mr Towers said: “Danny is a stalwart player for us and an extremely accomplished centre-half.  At such a young age he has played an incredible amount of games for us

“He is looking to become more heavily involved in the coaching of the club’s Academy side and will will be persuing coaching qualifications from UEFA in the next couple of years.”

Moves have been made to bring in fresh faces, which include striker Craig Hobson from Stockport County, Michael Burns from Vauxhall Motors and Jameel Ible from York City.

Mr Towers said: “Hobson is an extremely prolific striker who we have been watching since his time at Stalybridge Celtic. At 6ft 4in he puts himself about and we believe he will score a hell of a lot of goals at this level.

“Burns is a player who had a spell with us previously and we are pleased to welcome back from Vauxhall Motors and Ible is an extremely promising young full-back and we are looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

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Horsforth teen fundraiser in running for yet another national award

Teen fundraiser Bethany Hare

Teen fundraiser Bethany Hare

by Andreas Mullings

A remarkable schoolgirl has been shortlisted into a group of three for a national charity award.

Bethany Hare, 14, from Horsforth High has made her way into the finals for the Institution of Fundraising’s child fundraiser of the year award.

The young teen has so far raised £43,000  for Martin House Hospice which looks after children with progressive life limiting illnesses.

The charity set up by Bethany and her mother Yvonne, first started with their “Bethany’s Smile” video, and has rocketed since then.

The charity is now just £7,000 off of its target.

And she has just been sent a cheque for £3,000 from Rawdon Fun Day, contributing towards the goal of creating a holiday cottage for Martin House Hospice children to visit.

 Mrs Hare said: “I am extremely proud of Bethany as she works very hard with her fundraising and really does want to make a difference. And on top of this her school reports are all always exceptional.”

Bethany has previously been named Just Giving’s Young Fundraiser of the Year award 2011 and given the Princess Diana fundraising award 2012.

The award ceremony is set to be in the London Hilton Metropole Hotel, presented by Helen Skelton on July, 1.

For more information or to get involved with Bethany’s work you can visit her website on www.bethanyssmile.org/ or follow her twitter on @WalkOfSmiles

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Call for action to stop giant turbine in Menston

Campaigners: Left to Right: Jill Bateson, Anton Elsborg, Belinda King, Dan King,, Helen Dyer, , Rachel King,

Campaigners: Left to Right: Jill Bateson, Anton Elsborg,
Belinda King, Dan King, Helen Dyer, Rachel King,

by Shaun Moloney

Campaigners are calling on local residents to act quickly and save green-belt land from a  giant wind turbine.

Action group SOFFIT formed to oppose the plans, submitted by John Ogden, to build a 74-metre turbine on the land north of Hawksworth Quarry.

And Wharfedale and Airedale Review Development (WARD)  claim it will “destroy the heart of the community”.

SOFFIT representative Anton Elsborg, 62, from Guiseley said: “We’re objecting to one inappropriate wind turbine. If there was a 74m high block of flats or radio mast we’d be objecting to that. It will tower above the landscape and be visible for miles around.

“I have done extensive research into the amount of noise it will produce and found they can still be heard by people living as far away as 2km.“

The site is recognised as a special landscape area (SLA) and is close to a designated site of special scientific interest (SSSI).

SOFFIT representative Jill Bateson, 60, from Rawdon said: “We have been offered support by our local councillors and MPs, and received much support from WARD. The local SSSI is designated because of the bird life it supports but all animals are terrified of wind turbines.”

WARD held a meeting on Monday in which they discussed the environmental impact of the turbine.

WARD Chairman Dr David Ingham said: “As far as we are concerned we are saving the environment, and preventing the desecration and vandalism of it. This includes the destroying of the heart of communities in rural areas by filling in their green spaces.

“We only have to say yes to building of this turbine and that sets a precedent to the building of more. Wind turbines are not efficient, with figures collated suggesting only 27% efficiency.

Since the turbine will near the footpaths that criss-cross the area, on snowy days it will become hazardous to walkers.”

WARD Secretary Alan Elsegood said: “They have chosen almost the highest point in lower Wharfedale for the plans. It is our job to oppose any significant visual disruption in any way.”

The views of WARD have been contested by the Leeds branch of Friends of the Earth.

Simon Bowens, spokesperson for Friends of the Earth said: “For the UK to play its part in tackling climate change, we need to develop a clean, renewable energy system. Wind power is an essential and major component of this future mix.”

“Suitably located turbines, like the one at Hawksworth Quarry, play a vital role in ensuring we wean ourselves of fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas and ensure that we leave a good environment and quality of life for future generations.”

Mr Elsborg said: “There have been recent changes in the government guidelines for developers. Previously it has been biased towards the developers , but the planners now have instructions to take into account community responses, and we’re encouraging as many people as we can to put in objections.”

Deadline for objections is  Friday July 5

Mr Ogden was not available for comment.

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Horsforth residents angry over £50 home parking plan

by Samantha Hepworth

A Horsforth couple are in uproar over the possibility of paying £50 to park outside their own home.

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Battle of the next generation consoles

With the unveiling of the next generation of consoles at this month’s E3 conference, Jon Cronshaw compares the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 to see which system offers the best deal for consumers.

It’s been a long time since console giants went head-to-head with a new generation of machines in the same year, but 2013 looks to be one of the most exciting Christmases for gamers in recent memory.

But away from the glitz and glamour of the flashy trailers and inspirational speeches of E3’s biggest players, many consumers are a little confused.

Xbox One is being positioned as kind of multimedia hub that incorporates on-demand films, TV and music. But with its focus on the complete media experience, it’s easy to forget that the Xbox One will
also be used to play video games.

The PlayStation 4 by contrast wears its gaming credentials on its sleeve. In the current climate of consumers wanting electronic devices to be fantastic at everything, this is quite the gamble by Sony.

There is no doubt that the PlayStation 4 will be able to play high definition movies, and give you access to on-demand media, but its position in the marketplace has already been established: this is a games console – everything else is surplus.

Many of the old arguments over which system has better graphics or faster loading times are now irrelevant. Realistically, 90 per cent of games will be produced to the limitations of the weaker system’s hardware, meaning for the most part that the gaming experience will be almost identical on both systems.

Where both systems will have the opportunity shine is with their in-house or exclusively licensed games. With the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, the difference in hardware capabilities was quickly
established with Sony’s console offering more power and more physical memory for larger games with its championing of Blu-Ray technology – but each system worked to its strengths, and that is where seemingly clear choices suddenly looked all the more opaque.

The PlayStation 3’s hardware meant that it could produce visually-stunning titles like Heavy Rain, and interact online in a ways that the Xbox 360 could not with games like Little Big Planet which drew on the interactions of thousands of individual players from around the world in ways hitherto seen on a games console.

But the Xbox 360 embraced, and moreover celebrated independent developers. Exceptional and innovative games like Braid, Super Meat Boy and FEZ would never have found the critical and commercial success they did were it not for Microsoft making it easy for indie developers to distribute their creations.

But things aren’t all rosy for indie developers. Last month Microsoft announced that they are retiring their vaunted XNA software. This may mean very little to the average gamer, but for developers it has been a cheap and relatively simple method for unknown game developers to create new titles and get them to market. Abandoning XNA software could strike a blow to innovation and entrepreneurship.

Of course, Sony have responded to this by announcing that they have been courting indie developers in an effort to secure the next generation of innovative games for their system. But with the
corporatisation of any cottage industry, the bottom line comes into play and what often starts as a creative passion can turn into another risk adverse business.

With the next generation of consoles, things are still uncertain. Microsoft have been in crisis management mode for the last few months after it was revealed that the gaming experience would be more restrictive than any system before – its core focus seemingly to be to control the distribution of content by imposing a charge on second-hand games, creating a convoluted process for lending games to friends, and making it necessary for the system to be online at least once a day.

The backlash on social media and by the gaming press over the restrictive regulations saw Microsoft announce a dramatic U-turn at the end of last week. A spokesperson for Microsoft said: “An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games – after a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24-hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360.

“Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today – there will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360.”

Though the change in policy has been touted as a victory for the consumer, Microsoft have engaged in the corporate equivalent of taking your ball home in a temper after a missing a goal.

Although the headline announcement seems favourable to consumers, in actual fact Microsoft have pulled the plug on the reselling of digital games.

Originally, Microsoft had planned to incorporate a digital trading platform into the Xbox One whereby the owner of a digital title could offer it for sale to another customer.

Throughout the controversy Sony have come across in the press as the older brother laughing at the gaffes of his younger sibling – but below their relaxed, “aw, isn’t Microsoft naïve and adorable” rhetoric, it’s clear that Sony have been biding their time.

Sony hasn’t taken the fight for the consumer (they were after all one the earliest champions of Digital Rights Management), they simply waited to see how the market would respond.

When Microsoft first announced that they intended to issue a fee to those installing second-hand games, Sony simply watched.

When asked if they would be imposing such restrictions, Sony refused to commit. Once they knew where gamers’ attitudes fell, it was simply a case of jumping on the bandwagon.

It was a cynical move – but it seems to have worked.

What could swing things for many gamers are the exclusive titles available on each system. The PlayStation 4 will boast new sequels in the Killzone and Gran Turismo franchises. Xbox One have already confirmed new titles in the Forza Motorsports and Dead Rising series.

Already confirmed for both systems are some rather uninspiring and ultimately unsurprising launch titles: Assassin’s Creed IV, Call of Duty Ghosts, Fifa 14, Madden 14 and Lego Marvel Super Heroes are just the tip of a rather underwhelming iceberg.

Perhaps, more than anything else, consumers buy things based on a perception of value for money. With the release prices confirmed as £429 for the Xbox One and £349 for the PlayStation 4, it doesn’t take a mathematical genius to work out which system is the most attractive prospect.

What became evident following E3 is that Sony has definitely won the PR war, with Microsoft having a lot of work to do to win back the consumer. But of course, there are other marketing strategies beyond
short-term PR that will come into force.

Not only will both systems have worldwide, multi-platform advertising and viral marketing campaigns, there will be bundles offered by retailers, and consoles bolted on to mobile phone contracts. As most
purchases are made by a gut decision, perhaps the victor is not so clear after all.

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