CLA meets with Keighley and Ilkley’s Labour candidate John Grogan

CLA Acting Director North Henk Geertsema met with John Grogan, Labour prospective parliamentary candidate for the Keighley and Ilkley constituency.

The purpose of the meeting was for the CLA to raise various farming and concerns of those living and working in the constituency’s rural areas, in addition to government policy matters impacting the rural economy. The meeting also afforded John an opportunity to set out his vision for the constituency with a view to the next General Election.

Henk provided John with information about the CLA’s key ‘asks’ or ‘missions’ for prospective parliamentary candidates in the run-up to the next General Election. The CLA ‘missions’ can be accessed via this link.

Discussions specifically covered related issues and included:

The CLA’s call for a simplified planning process, including a specific ‘ask’ related to frustrations with the planning process and under-resourced planning functions at local council level. John reflected on his own plans to help regenerate towns and villages of the Worth, Wharfe and Aire Valleys.

Obstacles to economic growth in rural areas locally, and more generally, with a specific focus on planning issues relating to affordable housing and key infrastructure such as digital connectivity and public transport links running through the villages and countryside. John reiterated his firm view that the villages and the surrounding farmland are intertwined in the local economy.

Improving water quality, and flood mitigation measures in the area.

‘Responsible Access’ to the countryside by balancing the needs of farming and the environment with general principles as stated in the Countryside Code.

Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Keighley and Ilkley, John Grogan, said: “It was great to meet with Henk to discuss the work the CLA are doing in championing the rural economy, especially on farming and the environment. I was also interested to see the recommendations in the All-Party Parliamentary Group ‘levelling up’ report, published in 2022, for the rural economy and will be sure to review these to see how they may benefit Keighley and Ilkley.”

“I think Labour is getting a fresh hearing amongst voters in the Yorkshire countryside. According to a recent CLA poll, undertaken by Survation, more than a 1,000 voters in England’s 100 most rural constituencies, Labour’s vote has climbed to 37% - 17 points up on the 2029 General Election result, with the Conservatives falling to 34%, down 25 points.”

Acting CLA Director North Henk Geertsema said: “Meeting with John was constructive with the recognition that farmers, landowners and rural businesses contribute and provide many employment opportunities and are an integral part of the constituency.

“Most of the issues discussed centred around land use, particularly considering the balance between farming, producing food to feed the nation and looking after the environment. Part of this also considered the inherent obstacles presented by the planning system.”

“Enhancing farming support, infrastructure and policies conducive to rural economic development should be front and centre in the run-up to the next General Election, and any party that comes up with a genuinely ambitious plan for rural areas would win a great deal of support.”

Key contact:

Henk Geertsema
Henk Geertsema Acting Regional Director, CLA North