Prosecution successful over former Bowling Green

Following an investigation into several complaints of felling of mature trees at the former Bowling Green site adjacent to Ramsbottom Civic Hall, the owners of the site, a Derek and Dominic Barnes, Directors of a firm called Astim Ltd, of Logistae House, 45 Preston New Road, Blackburn appeared at Bury Magistrates Court on Tuesday 24th September 2013, where they pleaded Guilty to felling 12 trees in the Ramsbottom Conservation Area. They were fined £8,000 and a total of £1,445 costs.

I would like to thank Bury Council’s Legal Team and Planning Enforcement Team for their work on pursuing the offenders.

The trees in question were protected by being in the Ramsbottom Conservation Area, but the level of protection this afforded them was not as high as a formal Tree Preservation Order, so when the felling of trees was first reported to the Council’s security team who visited the site with the Police, there was nothing they could do to stop the works. However, since then the Enforcement Team have been gathering evidence and I am pleased that a prosecution has been successful.

The former Bowling Green is designated as ‘Protected Recreational Land’ in the Bury Unitary Development Plan. A planning application to construct 32 flats for the elderly was recently withdrawn from the site. If another planning application came forward for the site to be redeveloped in the future, I would be asking Bury Council to seek compensation from the owners for the loss of the land.

We now need to turn our attention to what the site can be used for and hopefully the owners will see fit to using it for the good of the people of Ramsbottom.

The former Bowling Green is in the heart of Ramsbottom Conservation Area and I am aware from Ramsbottom Heritage Society that the bowling green first appeared on the Tithe map of 1842.

The Grants Arms Bowling Club operated for many years at the Bowling Green adjacent to Ramsbottom Civic Hall.

The current registered owners of the bowling green are Astim Limited and they have rights of access to this land across the Council’s adjacent land on Market Place. Astim also own The Grants Arms. The Council does not have any rights over the bowling green.