As you may have heard, the owners of the former bowling green adjacent to the Grants Arms and Ramsbottom Civic Hall, applied for planning permission to build retirement flats on the site.
Residents may remember that the owners of the land took steps to increase rent which effectively saw the bowling club leave the green in 2011 at a time when the green and its surroundings were kept in prime condition.
The bowling green has been totally neglected since the bowlers were forced from the scene, no maintenance having been provided for the green, buildings or fencing.
Mature trees alongside the bowling green and within the Ramsbottom Conservation Area were felled without reference to the Council or local interested parties. The green’s owners pleaded guilty at Bury Magistrates Court to chopping down the trees and were fined a significant sum.
The land is “Protected Recreational Ground” in the Bury Unitary Development Plan. It is in the heart of the Ramsbottom Conservation Area.
Policy “OL3” in the Urban Development Plan provides that this type of land requires protection from development and is not regarded as being a reservoir for development. The Government attaches great importance to the retention of recreational and amenity spaces in urban areas. Once built on, open space is likely to be lost for ever.”
Whilst the applicants confirmed they would use some stone in the building, the majority would have been rendered blockwork with white upvc windows and a modern contemporary entrance. All the above are unsuitable in the Ramsbottom Conservation area.
In terms of parking, it was proposed that there would only be 13 car park spaces despite the fact that there will be 17 one bedroom and 11 two bedroom flats.
The site is accessed via a very steep hill consisting of stone setts in the town centre. Access in the winter is difficult—both for vehicular and pedestrian access. Unsuitable therefore for elderly residents who would have to negotiate the same.
The planning meeting last night was attended by many residents and representatives from various organisations including Ramsbottom Heritage Society, Friends of Ramsbottom Civic Hall and Friends of Nuttall Park.
John Ireland, representing these organisations gave an eloquent and passionate speech. Your local Councillors were also afforded the opportunity to address the committee.
Fortunately, the planning committee listened to our pleas and refused planning permission. We now have to liaise with the owners to find a long term solution for the site. I will keep you updated.