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NEWS ROUNDUP: Tell Tracy consultation


08/10/21 | The online survey for responses to the Mayor of West Yorkshire’s consultation to inform her first Police and Crime Plan is closing soon.

Tracy Brabin is urging everyone in West Yorkshire to get involved and #TellTracy about your policing and community safety priorities.

The consultation will feed directly into the new Plan which sets the strategic direction for West Yorkshire Police, community safety partners and commissioned services over the next three years.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “We’ve worked really hard to make it as comprehensive and inclusive as we can with options to feedback including an online survey, over the phone, email, in person, social media and virtual events.

“Your views and the information collected will be crucial, not only in setting priorities but also to ensure I am focusing activity and funding on the areas of greatest need to the people of West Yorkshire.

“The Plan will be underpinned by some key principles that sit at the core of everything that my Deputy for Policing and Crime, Alison Lowe, and I do. These are, safety for women and girls, diversity, equality and inclusion, and early intervention and prevention.”

Alison Lowe, Deputy Mayor for Police and Crime, said: “The Police and Crime Plan is a really important document, it is far from just words on pages. It directly informs the actions of those working to keep us safe, on the frontline and on our streets.

“This is a Plan for everyone and that means we need everyone to get involved. You have a voice, and we really want to hear it.”

The consultation will run until 19th November with the online survey closing for responses on 17th October. To take part visit https://www.yourvoice.westyorks-ca.gov.uk/police-and-crime-plan-consultation.



Automated vehicles could be made more pedestrian-friendly thanks to new research which could help them predict when people will cross the road.

University of Leeds-led scientists investigating how to better understand human behaviour in traffic say that neuroscientific theories of how the brain makes decisions can be used in automated vehicle technology to improve safety and make them more human-friendly.

The researchers set out to determine whether a decision-making model called drift diffusion could predict when pedestrians would cross a road in front of approaching cars, and whether it could be used in scenarios where the car gives way to the pedestrian, either with or without explicit signals.

This prediction capability will allow the autonomous vehicle to communicate more effectively with pedestrians, in terms of its movements in traffic and any external signals such as flashing lights, to maximise traffic flow and decrease uncertainty.

Drift diffusion models assume that people reach decisions after accumulation of sensory evidence up to a threshold at which the decision is made.

Professor Gustav Markkula, from the University of Leeds’ Institute for Transport Studies and the senior author of the study, said: “When making the decision to cross, pedestrians seem to be adding up lots of different sources of evidence, not only relating to the vehicle’s distance and speed, but also using communicative cues from the vehicle in terms of deceleration and headlight flashes.

“When a vehicle is giving way, pedestrians will often feel quite uncertain about whether the car is actually yielding, and will often end up waiting until the car has almost come to a full stop before starting to cross. Our model clearly shows this state of uncertainty borne out, meaning it can be used to help design how automated vehicles behave around pedestrians in order to limit uncertainty, which in turn can improve both traffic safety and traffic flow.

“It is exciting to see that these theories from cognitive neuroscience can be brought into this type of real-world context and find an applied use.”

To test their model, the team used virtual reality to place trial participants in different road-crossing scenarios in the University of Leeds’ unique HIKER (Highly Immersive Kinematic Experimental Research) pedestrian simulator. Study participants’ movements were tracked in high detail while walking freely inside a stereoscopic 3D virtual scene, showing a road with oncoming vehicles.

The participants’ task was to cross the road as soon as they felt safe to do so. Different scenarios were tested, with the approaching vehicle either maintaining the same speed or decelerating to let the pedestrian cross, sometimes also flashing the headlights, representing a commonly used signal for yielding intentions in the UK.

As predicted by their model, the researchers found that participants behaved as if they were deciding on when to cross by adding up, over time, the sensory data from vehicle distance, speed, acceleration, as well as communicative cues.

This meant that their drift diffusion model could predict if, and when, pedestrians would be likely to begin crossing the road.

Professor Markkula said: “These findings can help provide a better understanding of human behaviour in traffic, which is needed both to improve traffic safety and to develop automated vehicles that can coexist with human road users.”



Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to become a pub landlord after helping thirsty residents raise £250,000 to buy and run a village's only boozer - despite the fact he's teetotal.

Campaigners in Skeeby, North Yorks., were backed by the chancellor, who is their local MP, after he bought shares in The Travellers Rest earlier this year.

Now they have reached the milestone figure and the sale is going through its final legalities, the Skeeby Community Pub Society said.

Speaking in June, when he bought shares in the pub, Mr Sunak said: “The group has done a tremendous job to get to this point and I’ve been pleased to offer my help in navigating the process of protecting the building from re-development.

"I admire their passion and I’m delighted to back their ambition to resurrect the Travellers Rest and put it back at the heart of the Skeeby community.”

The pub, which has stood since the 1800s and was the only one in the village, shut its doors in 2008, leaving residents without a local pub or community hub.

It has laid derelict for more than a decade after its owner's application to convert it into housing was refused.

Locals launched a fundraising campaign to save the boozer and have secured the funds to meet the owner's asking price.

Carol Wilkinson, chairwoman of the committee, said: “It’s always a pleasure to welcome new shareholders and thanks to our MP Rishi Sunak for offering his support to the SCPS.

"It was great to discuss the many benefits of community-owned ventures with him, and the social value of such projects for the community.”

Secretary Kay Richardson said the pub had failed by 2008 because the £30,000 per year rent demanded by the then-owners was too high.

Now independent of brewery control, the new tenant chosen by the committee will pay only £15,000 in the first year - rising to £16,500 in year two and £18,000 in year three.

Kay, who worked as a waitress in the pub as a teenager, said: "I think there will be people who thought this was all pie in the sky and weren't prepared to invest - but they might when they see this is really happening.

"We've had donors from all over the world, including investment from a woman in Australia who grew up in Skeeby."

Locals formed a Community Benefit Society in 2010 with the aim of re-opening the building under their own management.

They struggled to gather momentum until 2017 when the owner's plans for conversion lost a final appeal.

Since then, the group has raised a whopping £250,000 through sales of shares and grants.

The village had lost its shop, school and post office and the group hope the pub can become a local hub with services like a book exchange, cafe and parcel collection.

Kay added: "Since Covid, people have got to know their neighbours a bit better, and they want to do stuff in and around the village and support their local businesses.

"A lot of people think it would be nice to have a pub, and maybe it was taken for granted a bit before.

"We want to give people a place with a nice atmosphere that is welcoming to all, not boozy.

"We're going to have cafe facilities and support independent breweries like the Station Brewing Co in Richmond. It's a new model and it will be completely different to before.

"We want to be more sustainable, attract cyclists and walkers and make provisions for them.

"There is a big beer garden with plenty of space for kids to run around in.

"We are looking at solutions to the parking, as the situation before wasn't ideal and we want to address that concern.

"Other ideas include a shop stocked with local produce, a library and a parcel collection point - though the shop would likely need to be staffed by volunteers.

"The tenant will be free to negotiate other services and we will see what they will come up with.

"We want them to support a post office service, talks, club and group meetings, and a food takeaway so we can attract a mix of people.

"There are lots of local farms and meat companies that supply pubs and we will also display the work of local artists."

This is the second time the chancellor has invested in a pub. He has previously bought shares in the the community-owned Green Dragon pub in Exelby, North Yorks.

The Travellers Rest committee is seeking a further £60,000 to complete refurbishment work before they can open.

(SWNS | Grace Newton & Ashley Pemberton)

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