July-December 2010

Farewell to SCA secretary Liz

THE Community Association extended a warm welcome to its new secretary Madge Flint when she succeeded Liz Caley who was moving to pastures new in Ireland. Les Goddard took over the job of treasurer from Sandra Rowland after she stood down due to personal and work commitments. Liz held a drop-in farewell party at her Sandal home where chair Gail Stephenson (left) presented farewell gifts to Liz (second from right) and her family.

Arson attack at Sandal farm

FIELDS at Castle Farm, Milnthorpe Lane, were set on fire in July in what tenant farmer Richard Wagstaff believed to be the latest deliberate attack on his land. He wanted more police support to stop the attacks happening again. Mr Wagstaff, whose family has worked the land close to Sandal Castle since the 1940s, said: "Something seems to trigger off these arsonists. We've been here for years and years and there's always someone who seems to want to burn it down. Two years ago they burned eight acres of standing corn - I don't know what's wrong with them. The last few years have been very dry - the crops are brittle and burn easily. The only answer is to have more police doing regular patrols." A police spokesperson confirmed that the incident was being treated as criminal damage.

Letter from Gail Stephenson, chair of Sandal Community Association, published in the Wakefield Express, 24 September 2010

WE ARE fortunate to have on our committee an expert in council planning protocols and he has spent many hours unravelling what is proving to be an extremely complex process. Based on this we would like to make the following comments. Firstly we support the positive policies Wakefield Council has recommended for protecting Sandal Castle, Sandal parish church and the three sites identified as being of historic importance to the Battle of Wakefield, creating a Conservation Class 1 site of Sandal’s historical area. We also support the proposal made for land off Walton Station Lane to be included in the green belt. However, with respect to the significant housing development site (Reference W91 Walton Lane), we feel that this lacks sufficient clarity for us to comment. Sandal residents will be aware that this had been a potential development area for over 16 years and there are many problems and concerns regarding the plans for this area, including drainage and access. Transport issues are the same and more likely to become worse with changes to personal transport and lifestyle choices. The LDF appears to have changed density standards, increasing the number of houses from 30 per hectare to 40 per hectare, potentially giving permission for 288 houses on the Walton Lane site. The site does not seem to be specifically mentioned in this LDF and there is no direct reference to the previous Unitary Development Plan that was adopted by the council on July 21, 2004. This is still in force and will have an impact in this LDF.

The online consultation opportunity - which is not available to all residents - has login issues and there are significant difficulties viewing and accessing the many documents, appendices and maps necessary to make an informed decision about the proposals relevant to our area. The downloadable comment form is complicated to complete and requires specific reference details from the website or consultation documents, which are not immediately available to all Sandal residents from a local access point. This has been pointed out to the council who expect residents to visit Kettlethorpe, Wakefield Town Hall or Eastmoor. Overall we feel let down by the council in this consultation process. We would ask for a simpler process and a more accessible way for ordinary residents, not only Sandal residents but residents of the whole of Wakefield, to come to a more informed decision. 

Was the Duke of York betrayed?

From the Wakefield Express, 17 September 2010: IT was one of the bloodiest periods of English history and saw thousands killed as armies clashed at Sandal Castle during the War of the Roses. And 550 years since the Battle of Wakefield changed the course of history, a new book reveals a fresh theory over Richard Duke of York’s ill-fated decision to go into battle that day. Months of painstaking research by author Helen Doggett, pen name Helen Cox, has found that the Duke was betrayed by a powerful ally. Her new book The Battle of Wakefield Revisited tells how Richard expected support from John, Lord Neville and his troops, but Neville sided with the Lancastrians, who subjected the White Rose army to a crushing defeat. Mrs Doggett said: “People have been talking about this for centuries. Some believe Richard went to battle because he was a silly old man, others think he underestimated the size of the opposing army. “It seems Lord Neville was playing a double game. The Lancastrians knew he had sided with them in the months prior to the battle.”

The Duke of York’s defeat led to the Battle of Towton, near Selby, which is believed to have been an even bloodier conflict. The Battle of Wakefield will be commemorated on Sunday with an anniversary event from 10am until 4pm at Sandal Castle. There will be battle re-enactments and a 15th century artillery demonstration, falconry shows and a production by the Yew Tree Theatre Group at the event. Mrs Doggett is holding a 15th century cooking demonstration, and her husband, Michael Doggett, is part of the Towton Battlefield Society Frei Compagnie Re-enactors, which will perform at the event. Artillery and knight’s armour demonstrations start at 10am and 11am. Mrs Doggett said: “This was an incredibly important period in our history, and we are still seeing the effects of it today because we probably would not have Queen Elizabeth on the throne.” David Dagger, the council’s portfolio holder for culture, sport and libraries, said: “The book comes up with details about the battle which I think were not known before. It was an important part of British history. And of course, whether it was fact or folklore, the old nursery rhyme The Grand Old Duke of York comes from it.”

Crops damaged by sledgers

HUNDREDS of people wrecked a valuable oilseed rape crop after sledging down the snow-covered slopes at Castle Farm fields off Milnthorpe Lane, close to Sandal Castle. Police were called by farmer Richard Wagstaff to help move people on and officers said they would be visiting schools to educate children about sledging on private land. Mr Wagstaff said: “There were around 200 people using the fields. We repeatedly asked them to stop sledging as they were damaging crops and they basically told us to clear off and leave them alone.”

Christmas tree lights switch-on

THE now-traditional switch-on of the Christmas tree lights on Barnsley Road, almost opposite the Castle Inn, took place at the end of November. The event is organised by the Community Association, which this year provided new LED lights for the tree through Community Chest funding. After the ceremony, there was a family social at Sandal Endowed School, where pupils sang carols. Santa made his usual appearance, too. 


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