Tomorrow is Polling Day … our Positive Vision for Ramsbottom

Cllr Ian Schofield, Cllr Ian Bevan and Cllr Rob Hodkinson

By Councillor Ian Bevan

It seems a long time ago since I was first elected to represent Ramsbottom on Bury Council. In fact, it was 8 years ago – in May 2010.

My first official ‘event’ was ‘cutting the ribbon’ at the opening of Ramsbottom’s new Children’s Centre opposite the Library. An awful lot has happened since then – both in Ramsbottom and on Bury Council.

Cllr Ian Bevan with parents campaigning to save the crèche at Ramsbottom Leisure Centre

I have introduced proposals – adopted by the Council – to improve transparency and accountability – by publishing online council spending to encourage financial responsibility, improve accountability, and be of substantial benefit to Bury and Ramsbottom residents.

I have consistently asked questions about our town in the Council Chamber, helped fight off the planned fourth supermarket in the town centre, and helped fight numerous planning applications to protect our green spaces and green belt.

The most high-profile of these was the two-year fight against the proposed Anaerobic Digestion Waste Plant planned for Fletcher Bank in Ramsbottom with residents group Ramsbottom Against the Waste Site (“RAWS”).  I would like to personally thank all those involved in that battle with Peel Holdings and Marshalls. It was worth all the hard work.

Residents at the Town Hall Planning Committee Meeting

Ian Bevan being interviewed by TV reporters at the AD Planning Meeting at Bury Town Hall

I have worked with local residents groups and volunteer groups who strive to enhance our town and I would like to take the opportunity to express my sincere thanks to all those volunteers who give up their spare time, week after week, to benefit our town and villages.

Cllr Ian Bevan (centre) with residents and members of the Tanners Area Residents Association

I have helped hundreds of people with local casework – housing issues, planning, neighbour disputes, parking etc.

I have thoroughly enjoyed working with everyone in the Ramsbottom Business Group, Ramsbottom Markets and would like to thank them for their hard work and dedication to the town – organising events such as the Chocolate Festival and 1940s weekend.

Cllrs Ian Bevan (l) and Rob Hodkinson (r) at Ramsbottom Chocolate Festival

In my spare time, apart from my full time job and my young family, I have spent as much time as possible undertaking residents’ surveys, street surgeries and knocking on the doors of people in Ramsbottom with my colleagues, Cllr Rob Hodkinson and Cllr Ian Schofield so that we can take your views back to the Council.

We have had tens of thousands of “hits” on our blog, and thank everyone that has taken the time to read it.

Street Surgery in Morrisons

I have tried to listen, to talk and to engage with as many Ramsbottom residents as possible. That is the real reason why I have thoroughly enjoyed being one of your local Councillors for Ramsbottom.   I have been immensely proud to have done so.

Turning to the local elections tomorrow, you will have the chance to decide who is going to replace me as one of your local Councillors here in Ramsbottom, Shuttleworth and Holcombe.

I always encourage people to spend those few minutes putting their “X” in the box on their ballot paper – whoever they choose to vote for.

Jamie Hoyle, your Conservative Candidate, lives here in Ramsbottom, the town that he grew up in.  Jamie is standing for election because he loves this area.

I, along with my fellow Ramsbottom Councillors, and Ian Schofield are proud to endorse him at this election.

Jamie Hoyle with local Councillors

We have always had a positive vision for Ramsbottom, Shuttleworth and Holcombe.  Quite rightly, Ramsbottom has become one of the best places to live in the country.

It really does disappoint me that the Labour Party, and their candidate in this election, try to run down our town.  They say that it needs “regenerating”.  Towns always adapt to change and Ramsbottom has done better than most in attracting new investment into the town centre.  It has built a solid reputation as a food destination of choice. This is down to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved in our town, from residents, retailers and volunteers.

I am fully supporting Jamie Hoyle in this election.  If you elect Jamie Hoyle this Thursday, he pledges to work tirelessly with Cllr Rob Hodkinson and Cllr Ian Schofield to:

Get our crumbling potholed roads repaired.  Residents have said that they have never seen the roads this bad – caused by neglect from our Labour-run Council in Bury;

Protect our Green Belt from development, whilst securing additional homes on our brownfield sites.  The Labour Candidate says that in his opinion, “building on the Green Belt is not the end of the world”.  Our view is that it should be protected at all costs, not just for us, but for future generations;

Promote a long term solution for the Mondi Paper Mill site on Bridge Street, including  a long stay car park.  We have had extensive meetings with the site owners to bring about a mixed development of housing and much needed additional car parking spaces;

Secure a new, state of the art Pool and Leisure Centre in Ramsbottom through the development of a Community Interest Company that can attract investment and re-develop the facilities; and

Promote a vibrant town centre with a long term future.

The reception we have had on the doorstep during this election campaign has been fantastic.  Residents share our positive vision for our town.  On Thursday, you have a clear choice.

Don’t just hope for a better Council. Vote for it on Thursday. Vote for Jamie Hoyle.

Conservative Campaigners on Whittingham Drive

Finally, I would like to thank my ward colleagues and our volunteers for their invaluable help over the last 8 years – for their pounding the streets, delivering newsletters, and obviously for their kind donations to our campaigns; to everyone in Ramsbottom that kindly voted for me and have supported me during my two terms of office, and most importantly to my family for their support.

Thank You.

Ian

 

 

Promoted by Ian Bevan on behalf of Jamie Hoyle, both of 438 Whalley Road, Ramsbottom, BL0 0EG.

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Councillors welcome the Transport Secretary to the East Lancs Railway

Rt Hon Chris Grayling with Cllr Rob Hodkinson and Jamie Hoyle

Ramsbottom Councillors, Rob Hodkinson and Ian Schofield, welcomed the Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, on his visit to the East Lancashire Railway today.

Councillor Hodkinson said:  “Ramsbottom has regularly been named as one of the best towns to visit and live in the country. It has become one of the top tourist destinations in recent years. Our town’s regeneration began several years ago with the opening of the East Lancashire Heritage Railway.

We were delighted to welcome Chris Grayling to the ELR today where we had the opportunity of discussing how the heritage railway has helped transform our town centre.

We also stressed the need for towns such as Ramsbottom to have additional transport infrastructure, including much needed extra parking, and highway repairs.

Mr Grayling was very receptive to our discussions and we hope that this will help inform the Government about how strong transport links and infrastructure can help small towns, such as Ramsbottom, prosper in the future.”

Chris Grayling with local Conservative Councillors

Referendum on Town’s Potholes

Bury and Ramsbottom Conservatives have outlined their four year plan to invest over £25million into urgent repairs to our town’s pothole-ridden roads.

Jamie Hoyle, Conservative Candidate for Ramsbottom in the May 3rd local elections said “Wherever you go in Ramsbottom, Shuttleworth and Holcombe, our roads are in a terrible state. Everyone is saying that they have never seen them this bad before. Residents have had enough.”

Bury Conservative Leader, Cllr James Daly, added “The Borough’s roads are in an appalling state as a result of inept management and chronic under-investment by the Labour-run Council.  If elected in May, a Conservative-run Council would deliver the funding needed to fix pothole and full re-surface more of our roads.”

Jamie added “The Labour Party say they are “investing” an extra £10million.  What they conveniently do not say is that this money is being borrowed, repayable over 40 years with an eye-watering £7million in interest, that we, as local tax payers, have to pay back. Furthermore, the borrowing facility was approved in early 2017 by Bury Labour but none of it has been drawn down yet – over a year later. It is simply outrageous and shows how incompetent this Council really is.”

The Conservative proposal to invest £25million over 4 years would come from a variety of sources.  Conservative Councillors would facilitate the building of 1,000 new homes, generating £2million from the sale of Council owned brownfield land. This will also generate a “new homes bonus” of £7.6million over the next 4 years for our roads. Further funding would come from the use of available capital receipts this financial year, future years savings from a plan to set up a Community Interest Company to manage the Borough’s leisure facilities and using £9 million previously agreed by the Council.

Bury and Ramsbottom Conservatives also pledge to maintain the general roads budget of £2million a year for the next 4 years.

Councillor Daly commented “It is pathetic that Bury Labour did not propose any new money for Bury’s road network at this year’s Council budget meeting. Labour have got us into this mess, but only the Conservatives have a plan to invest the monies needed to improve our crumbling road network.”

Jamie Hoyle said “The Labour Party running Bury Council has neglected this town for too long. It is time for us to change that on 3rd May by sending a strong message to the Town Hall that Ramsbottom residents will not stand for this neglect.”

Only by voting Conservative on 3rd May can residents be assured that Ramsbottom’s roads will be given priority. This really is a referendum on Bury Labour’s pothole crisis.”

Cllr Rob Hodkinson and Jamie Hoyle on Nuttall Lane, Ramsbottom

An Update on the Nuttall Lane Potholes Saga …

By Cllr Rob Hodkinson

For the past three months your local Councillors, along with residents of the Whittingham Drive and Nuttall Road estates, have been constantly complaining to Bury Council’s Highways Department to repair the numerous, dangerous, potholes on Nuttall Lane.

Nuttall Lane is the only access route to over 1,000 homes and cannot be avoided.

Drivers using Nuttall Lane are faced with a daily slalom trying to avoid pothole after pothole.

We were advised that repairs would commence on the week commencing 19th March.  This date came and went with no sight of the Council.

In desperation that nothing was being done, a well meaning resident recently took matters into their own hands and filled some of the potholes. Unfortunately the materials used were inadequate and are already starting to break down.

Residents’ repairs to Nuttall Lane

We contacted the Highways Department yet again only to be told that a date for the repairs could not be given due to the significant backlog of this type of work.

So, for the past three months, our Labour-run Council have taken no action to repair Nuttall Lane, despite the efforts of your local Councillors and local residents.

As a local Councillor and resident, I feel outraged that Bury Council have taken no action on ours, and local residents concerns about the repairs until those residents have taken matters into their own hands.

The Highways department have now said that the repair work to Nuttall Lane will commence the week of 9th April.

Let’s hope they fulfil their promise this time.

 

Figures show dramatic 50% fall in recorded crime in Ramsbottom

The latest crime figures published for Ramsbottom (February 2018) show a dramatic fall compared to last month.

The figures show that there were 43 recorded crimes in Ramsbottom, a fall of 50% on the month before.

Of note, is a large fall in the number of burglaries and vehicle crime. GM Police have had much success in recent months in that several people have been caught and convicted for burglaries in the Ramsbottom area.

The number of reported crimes for February 2018 are broken down as follows:

  • Anti-Social Behaviour – 7
  • Violent / Sexual Offences – 16
  • Burglaries – 1
  • Vehicle Crimes – 2
  • Thefts – 2
  • Criminal Damage – 2
  • Public Order – 8
  • Bike Thefts – 0
  • Drug offences – 0
  • Shoplifting – 3
  • Robbery – 1
  • Weapons – 0
  • Other crime – 1

Over the last 2 years, crime has remained fairly static so the fall last month is certainly welcome.

We will continue to hold regular meetings with Inspector Russell Magnall, Sgt Simon Ward and other beat officers for Ramsbottom, Shuttleworth and Holcombe.

If you have any concerns or issues, then please contact us, or Greater Manchester Police at burynorth@gmp.police.uk or alternatively contact the Greater Manchester Deputy Mayor for Policing who is the elected representative responsible for crime and policing at police,enquiries@greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk

 

Councillors welcome increase in school funding

Your local Councillors have welcomed the news that schools budgets in the Borough of Bury, including Ramsbottom, are to increase significantly over the next 3 years, despite recent scaremongering in the media.

The Budget report considered by the full Council meeting of Bury Council on 21st February provided details of the schools budgets for 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21.

This highlighted overall schools funding will increase as follows;

2017/18 £170.5m
2018/19 £176.1m
2019/20 £178.6m
2020/21 £181.1m

The 2020/21 figures are based upon the introduction of a new National Funding Formula.   The 2018/19 and 2019/20 figures represent the transition to this formula.

Funding is therefore increasing overall, however there is a variation in terms of the impact on individual schools.  Some schools are seeing reduced pupil numbers over the next few years and this will therefore attract less funding.

All schools in Bury have now had a copy of the Department for Education’s proposed funding levels for the next 3 years which shows the increases in monetary and percentage terms that individual schools will receive.  Please contact us, or your school Headteacher or Chair of Governors for further details.

 

Update on Rawsons Rake

As we know from recent reports, vehicles are still travelling along Rawsons Rake in these wintry conditions.

There have been several accidents and near-misses over the last few weeks alone.

Residents, who had previously agreed to put out warning signs and cones, only to see motorists move them and still use the Rake, are obviously concerned about potential serious injuries and risk to life.

Discussions have taken place with residents and the Head of Highway Engineering about different possible solutions, including possible snow gates to prevent vehicular access in poor weather.

The latest traffic count survey available for the Rake shows that it is used on average 1,365 times a day by vehicles.

Unfortunately, any physical measures used to close the Rake in poor weather conditions would have to be activated by Greater Manchester Police. Highway Authorities do not have the legal power to temporarily close a road in bad weather – only if there is something structurally wrong with the road such as a road collapse/sink hole etc.

Discussions with GM Police have indicated that resources would be an issue for them and they could not guarantee that an officer would be available to operate any snow gates or close the road on a regular basis.

Furthermore, physically blocking off the Rake could lead to a scenario where one snow gate is opened and the other left closed leading to drivers finding their way barred and having to reverse along the Rake.

Unfortunately, there is no easy solution here.

The Council is now looking at the possible installation of amber flashing lights  supported by “Road closed when lights flash” signs at the top and bottom of the Rake to support the existing signage.

Drivers accessing the Rake in poor weather conditions especially after driving past the existing signage are clearly risking serious injury to themselves and any pedestrians.

Greater Manchester Police have confirmed that they will follow up any drivers who ignore the current warning signs and attempt to negotiate the Rake and run into difficulties.

We will keep residents updated as soon as we have some more news.