Ramsbottom Residents Face Council Tax Rise of 5.94%

Ramsbottom residents’ council tax bills are to rise by nearly six per cent.

The 5.94% increase was pushed through at last night’s council budget meeting at the Town Hall by Labour Party Councillors, despite fierce opposition from your local Conservative Councillors.

The plans mean that a Band C property would see an increase of nearly £100 a year on Council Tax Bills.

The Cabinet Member for Finance announced that the Council could not manage its budget and was heading for a £1.8 Million overspend for this financial year, eating into the Council’s emergency reserves.

In opposing the proposed Council Tax rise, the Leader of Bury’s Conservative Councillors, Cllr James Daly, said that the Labour Party’s budget lacked vision and aspiration.

He said: “There’s so much that can be done by a Council to influence the lives of people in this borough with imaginative thinking to increase revenue generation to raise funds for public services.”

He accused Labour of ‘abdicating responsibility’ and ‘managing the Council’s decline’.

He added “Bury Labour’s inability to balance a budget and manage the Council adequately means that front line serves are being cut due to their failures … the limit of their ambition is to manage decline, whereas ours is to transform service delivery, invest millions in front line services and improve the life chances of our residents.”

Alternative proposals put forward by the Conservative Councillors were cynically voted down by Labour.  These included:

  • A Freeze on the basic rate of Council Tax;
  • Inject £8.8 Million into Bury and Ramsbottom’s roads over the next 4 years;
  • Invest £4 Million into the borough’s leisure facilities, including state of the art upgrades for Ramsbottom Pool and Leisure Centre and extra funds for Ramsbottom Library and Ramsbottom Civic Hall;
  • Facilitate the building off 1,000 new homes on brownfield sites owned by the Council over the next 2 to 3 years;
  • Reverse the increase in the Chief Executive’s Salary (£175,000) voted through by Labour and cap it at £130,000;
  • Cap other senior officer pay at £100,000.

Councillor Ian Bevan said “The impact of this overspend and the rejection of significant savings by the Labour Party could well be very significant for Ramsbottom taxpayers. It is yet more evidence of the mismanagement of Bury Council’s finances by the Labour Party.”

Councillor Ian Schofield added “We know that budgets are tight at the minute, but our proposal to cut back on wasteful spending on excessive Councillors Allowances, Senior Salaries and cancelling schemes that are not needed are sensible and prudent”.

Councillor Rob Hodkinson said “We are very worried about the impact the overspending and mismanagement will have on services for residents in Ramsbottom. We have already lost our Children’s Centre, Skate Park, reduced hours at Ramsbottom Library and crumbling roads. In addition, our Council Tax is increasing. The Labour Party have no plan to manage and organise the way the Council works.”

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Consultation on the redesign of NHS Urgent Care in Bury

Patients and the public are being invited to share their views on a proposed future model for NHS Urgent Care in Bury.

NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has launched a consultation which runs until Sunday 11th March 2018 which aims to capture the views and feedback from local people, stakeholders and health care professionals alike.

The proposal for NHS urgent care includes two main elements:

1: Plans to develop an Urgent Treatment Centre based at Fairfield General Hospital in Bury, running alongside the A&E department aimed at treating minor injuries and illnesses.

  • The service will be open for 12 hours a day (specific hours to be determined locally).
  • The service will be led by primary care staff including GPs and nurses who will have access to patients’ medical records to help with their care.
  • Pre-booked and same day appointments will be available with referrals accepted from A&E, NHS 111, the Ambulance Service and GP surgeries. Walk-in appointments will also be available.
  • The Urgent Treatment Centre will be suitable for patients experiencing minor illnesses and injuries, including minor sprains and strains, cuts and grazes, minor burns and abdominal pain. Being located close to A&E, staff will have access to diagnostic tests such as blood tests, urine testing, ECG and X-rays (i.e. for suspected broken bones).
  • The proposal is for this service to be up and running by December 2019 and it will be available to all attending patients.

2: Plans to develop the two current nurse-led Walk-in Centre services (based in Bury and Prestwich), along with the three current GP evening and weekend appointment services (based in Bury, Prestwich and Radcliffe) to become Integrated Health and Social Care Hubs operating from the two current Walk-in Centre sites, with the addition of the Radcliffe site, to offer a range of services including GP led (including nurse) walk-in services.  It is the intention of creating further Integrated Health and Social Care Hubs, including here in Ramsbottom.

  • It is proposed that the following services will be available in a phased approach: GP led (including nurse) walk-in services; urgent GP appointments; evening and weekend appointments; wound care services; signposting advice to other services and social care advice and services.
  • The Integrated Hubs will be developed in a phased approach, starting with one pilot site during 2018/19, before a roll out across the three initial proposed sites.
  • The health aspects of the Integrated Hubs will be clinically led by GPs and nurses who will have access to patients’ medical records.
  • The proposed GP led (including nurse) walk-in services will as a minimum mirror the opening hours of Bury’s two nurse led Walk-in Centres.
  • The two current nurse led Walk-in Centre services will continue to be available until the Integrated Health and Social Care Hubs are established.
  • The health aspects of the Integrated Hubs would be suitable for patients requiring access to routine extended hours GP care, urgent GP care and for minor injuries.
  • Whilst the health services will be accessible to patients registered with a Bury GP practice, they would deal with any patients requiring immediate treatment, and where appropriate direct patients to other local services.

 

The format of the consultation is as follows:

  • An online survey is available here LINK (also available via the CCG website homepage buryccg.nhs.uk )
  • A paper copy of the survey can be obtained by calling 0161 762 3106 or by e-mail: to this email address
  • A public meeting will be held as follows: Wednesday 7th March 2018, 7pm, in The Minden Suite of the Fusilier Museum, Moss Street, Bury, BL9 0DF
  • By letter to: NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group, Communications and Engagement Team (Urgent Care Redesign), 21 Silver Street, Bury, BL9 0EN
  • By e-mail: to this email address

Grants available for local Groups and Projects

As your elected representatives, we have grants available up to the sum of £1,500 for local projects, groups or initiatives that can, or are making a difference to the health and wellbeing of those living within Ramsbottom, Holcombe or Shuttleworth.

If you run, or are part of, a local organisation, project or group and are in need of funds, then please contact us, explaining how your organisation and the people that use your organisation or group will benefit from an injection of funds.

As Councillors, we may use these discretionary funds in any of the following ways:

  1. to spend on a community purpose
  2. to allocate for capital works that are for a community purpose
  3. to allocate to a community organisation.

The three Councillors will work together on a single scheme of funding, or split the funds between different groups.  We want to make sure there is a fair and open process that everyone can see is beneficial to our community.

Please contact us using the link below and we will then obtain further details from you to consider your application for funding.

The deadline for applications is 31 March 2018.

Jamie’s Bid to be Bury’s Youngest Councillor

Jamie Hoyle being congratulated on his selection as Conservative Candidate for Ramsbottom by Cllrs Ian Bevan, Rob Hodkinson and Ian Schofield

Ramsbottom Conservatives have unanimously chosen young entrepreneur, Jamie Hoyle, as the Conservative candidate for Ramsbottom Ward at the forthcoming local elections to be held in May 2018.

Jamie, aged 20, lives on Springwood Street, in the centre of Ramsbottom, is well-known in Ramsbottom, having been brought up in the town.

Jamie attended Emmanuel Holcombe Primary School followed by Bacup & Rawtenstall Grammar School before setting up his own software business in Summerseat as a freelance web developer. He currently works at a Manchester-based social media and internet archiving company.

Outside of politics, Jamie has represented the North West in the sport of orienteering including competing at international-level events.

Locally, Jamie was involved with Bury Youth Orchestra for a number of years, and remains a keen musician.

Jamie is also a lifelong Bury FC fan.

On the wider political stage, Jamie spoke at Conservative Party Conference this year about education, a passion that he wishes to carry forward onto the campaign trail.

Jamie gave the following comment:-

I am delighted to have been selected by the Conservatives to stand in the elections this year for Ramsbottom. I have been brought up in the town and I am truly passionate about it. I would like to be a strong voice for Ramsbottom, Shuttleworth and Holcombe Village on Bury Council.

I have the commitment and energy needed to fight for the issues that matter to the residents of Ramsbottom. In particular, the issues of housing, protecting our greenbelt, public transport, and crime prevention.

If elected I will work hard with the current Conservative Councillor’s and put Ramsbottom first at Bury Town Hall.”

Jamie Hoyle campaigning in Ramsbottom this weekend

Councillor Ian Bevan said “Jamie will be a fantastic Councillor if elected this May. I know that he will work hard for our town and villages.  He has the fully support of myself, Cllr Rob Hodkinson and Cllr Ian Schofield.”

 

Plans to build Retirement Home at Grants Arms, Ramsbottom

Astim Ltd, the company that owns and tried to develop the Grants Arms Bowling Green, has applied for outline planning permission to demolish the rear part of the Grants Arms in Market Place and erect sheltered housing in its place.

The company had previously applied for permission to erection 24 flats on the former bowling green area but this was refused by Bury Council and again refused on appeal.

The company now owns the Grants Arms together with the bowling green and car park.  The company leases some of the car park to Bury Council.

The proposals are to retain the front facade (which is a Grade II listed building) but to build a retirement home at the rear with 28 bedrooms, communal lounges etc.

The site lies within the Ramsbottom Town Centre Conservation Area and the impact of the development on the Conservation Area is a matter of concern to local residents and community groups.

The deadline for objections and comments is Thursday 15 February 2018.

Details and Objections can be filed online here: https://planning.bury.gov.uk/online-applications/simpleSearchResults.do?action=firstPage

Alternatively, you can email:  development.control@bury.gov.uk quoting reference 61827.

You can also write to: Bury Council, Planning Control, 3 Knowsley Place, Duke Street, Bury, BL9 0EJ.  Please quote the reference: 61827.

 

 

Plans for 16 new homes in Shuttleworth

Residents may be aware that a planning application has been lodged for permission to build 16 homes in Shuttleworth, off Spring Street.

I know that residents do have concerns about the proposals and have asked what can be done. The site already has planning permission for existing farm buildings to be converted into homes. This application is to replace all buildings with new homes.

Concerns have been raised that the proposed houses are not in keeping with other local stone built buildings; the proposed access road cuts across the fields (in the Green Belt) and creates a new dangerous junction onto Whalley Road, near the Garic building. Residents are also concerned that if this planning application is approved then further applications could follow for further houses in the future.

Of particular concern will be the removal of parking bays between 181 and 193 Whalley Road, with those properties expected to use a new, unlit, car parking area.

I am now urging Shuttleworth residents to make their views known to the Planning Department at Bury Council – whether you are in support of the application or against it. The deadline for comments is 4th January 2018.

The link can be found on the Bury Council website here: https://planning.bury.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=externalDocuments&keyVal=_BURY_DCAPR_52393

The planning application number is 62081

Alternatively, you can email the Planning Department Case Officer, Helen Longworth:

planning.control@bury.gov.uk

You can also write to: Bury Council, Planning Control, 3 Knowsley Place, Duke Street, Bury, BL9 0EJ.  Please quote the reference: 62081.

If you do have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact Cllr Ian Bevan at i.bevan@bury.gov.uk.

 

Update on Policing in Ramsbottom

On Monday 4 December, your local Councillors had a meeting with Police Inspector Russell Magnall, who is responsible for the Ramsbottom, Tottington and North Manor township, and local beat officers. The meeting followed concerns expressed by residents about crime in our town.

By way of background, the Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, is now responsible for Policing in our area including setting the Police and Crime Plan for GMP officers to follow.

He took over responsibility for policing and crime from Tony Lloyd, the Labour Police and Crime Commissioner, who was in office from December 2012 to May 2017.  Prior to that date, the Greater Manchester Police Authority was responsible.

Residents will recall that the Labour-run Greater Manchester Police Authority decided to close Ramsbottom Police Station back in July 2011 after consultation, as there were on average just 3 people visiting the Station each day and it was considered uneconomical to keep it open at significant cost.  The Police Station was empty for 5 years, having been sold at auction in 2016. Officers now work out of Bury Police Station and Ramsbottom Fire Station but tend to be mobile with the use of new IT and hand-held devices to save having to go into the Station to complete paperwork.

We asked about reported crime rates for Ramsbottom over the last few years – which record the following number of offences in our town by year:

2011 – 902

2012 – 879

2013 – 704

2014 – 647

2015 – 775

2016 – 880

The figures show that whilst recorded crime fell for 4 years (despite the Police Station closing), it has increased over the last two years back to 2011/12 levels.

The number of offences in Ramsbottom Ward runs at an average of 70 or so a month.  For the month of October 2017, the latest available, there were 46 offences.

GMP Officers reassured us that recorded crime continues to be at very low levels and that the bulk of the increase in recorded crime from 2014 onwards is predominantly due to a change in how crime is recorded by GMP.

In 2014 the National Crime Recording Standards were introduced and many incidents which had not previously been recorded as crimes, now had an automatic registration as a crime as soon as a report is made to 999. The changes have been made to try to bring Police recorded crime more in line with the Crime Survey of England and Wales.

GMP remind us that crime levels generally in Ramsbottom are very low compared to other areas around Bury and indeed, they tell us that Bury is the safest borough to live in Greater Manchester.   Radcliffe, for example, had approaching 4,000 crimes reported in 2016 – well over 4 times that of Ramsbottom.

GMP Officers are using more forms of technology (hand-held IT devices) and are much more mobile – being more innovative despite funding pressures.

Firstly burglary.  After last year’s issues the figures are lower this year. They had much success in that some 10 people were convicted for burglaries in the Ramsbottom area. Some of those individuals are now being released from prison and GMP are monitoring them as they are on licence. Last year it was apparent that most offenders were visiting from areas outside of Bury so we don’t have many local offenders where burglaries are concerned.

In addition, from the 1st April this year a decision was taken nationally that all shed and garage break ins would be recorded together along with dwelling burglaries under the category of ‘Residential Burglary’. Previously shed/garages were recorded as burglary other.

As far as Ramsbottom is concerned since 1st April two thirds of recorded Residential Burglaries were subsequently identified as sheds and garages and not houses.

GMP are fully aware that the issue of burglaries and property crime still features high on resident’s concerns – as seen on the ‘What’s on in Ramsbottom’ facebook page.

Regarding offenders identified for burglaries this year, again so far, none of them are local.

Secondly, we discussed violent crimes. Ramsbottom Town Centre and the presence of a night time economy explains some of the figures but the figures are still very low.  The numbers include domestic violence so it is not fair to point any fingers at the pubs.  GMP have been running a pub watch scheme which all the licensees are encouraged to attend. The purpose is to discuss incidents, remind the licensees of their responsibilities and possible measures they can adopt to reduce incidents. For the most part the licensees are receptive. There were 2 spikes for assault figures since April of this year. One occurred end of May bank Holiday week and the second was weekend of the Ramsbottom Music Festival. The Festival weekend featured a number of assaults involving children on children.

Thirdly, shoplifting. The GMP neighbourhood team covering Ramsbottom are looking at our most prolific offenders with regards to shoplifting as they recognise they are active in other criminal activity and creating demand. Recently they have started working more closely with some individuals trying to break their cycle of offending helping them with accommodation and employment and working with partner agencies.

Fourthly, we discussed some of the work that GMP have been doing in Ramsbottom to reduce demand at a local care home. The work is intended to reduce the number of incidents being reported as they were having a significant impact on Police resources which were then not available to deal with other issues across the borough.

GMP advised that they are focusing on incidents with the greatest threat, risk, harm and vulnerability.

Last year GMP dealt with over 33,000 reports of missing persons.  There were 60,000 domestic incidents which resulted in further referrals and investigations.  There are 2,000-2,500 incidents logged as crimes – from road collisions to missing persons or concerns for welfare – recorded each day.

GMP assure us that there is a plan to manage the demand. GMP’s priorities are investing in staff (welfare, training etc.); technology (use of mobile technology to enable officers to record crime while still out on patrol) and a new IT system; concentration on the areas where there is the greatest risk harm threat and vulnerability; working with partner agencies more closely to ensure better integrated working and the right organisation deals with the issues identified; and place-based working which means there is still a focus on community policing to solve the problems.

Some of this involves working with those who need the most help, as well as asking those who can look after themselves to take greater personal responsibility.

If you do have any concerns, then you can contribute to the Mayor of Greater Manchester’s policing and criminal justice plan by saying what you think their priorities should be.

The total Budget for this financial year (2017/18) under the control of Andy Burnham, Greater Manchester Mayor, for policing and crime is £760,948,000 (£760 million).

Of this, £499 million is spent on employees, £120 million on pensions, £31 million on premises, £56 million on supplies & services, £24 million on agency payments, £6 million on transport and £23 million on capital financing.

You can complete Andy Burnham’s short survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/PoliceSurveyGM

They don’t ask for your name, so all responses are confidential. The survey will close at midnight on 14 January 2018.

All the responses will be used to finalise the policing and crime plan for Greater Manchester, which will be published later in January 2018.

If you have any questions regarding Policing, then please contact us or email police.enquiries@greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk