General Election campaign gets underway …

The General Election campaign here in Ramsbottom got under way with a week of intense campaigning including door knocking and leaflet delivery for James Daly, the Conservative Candidate for Bury North, which includes Ramsbottom, Shuttleworth, Holcombe and Hawkshaw

Conservative Campaigners on the Whittingham Drive estate

Conservative Campaigners on Peel Brow

James Daly is the local Councillor for Holcombe Brook, Greenmount, Summerseat and Hawkshaw.  He is a partner in a business in Bury and Chair of Governors at Hoyle Nursery School.

He is seeking to win the seat back for the Conservatives from James Frith, who took the seat from the Conservatives in 2017.

You can find out more on his facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/jamesdalyforburynorth

Conservative Campaigners off Nuttall Lane

Should residents require a postal vote or proxy vote for the General Election on December 12th, then they should contact Bury Council’s election office hotline on 0161 253 5252 or by email to: electionservices@bury.gov.uk

Leaflet delivery in Shuttleworth

Vote Gregg Fletcher on Thursday 2nd May

By Gregg Fletcher, Conservative Candidate for Ramsbottom Ward

We are now in the closing stages of the local election campaign here in Ramsbottom.

I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting so many people across our area with my campaign team.  We have been out in all weathers – wind, rain and sun – but it has always been a pleasure to speak to local residents on the doorstep about issues of concern and also our positive campaign.

Gregg and his campaign team

Part way through the campaign, I had to break away from electioneering to devote my time to the Ramsbottom Chocolate Festival, which I organise along with my wife Terri.

We were so pleased that this year’s festival was such a success and brought thousands of people to our fantastic town.

Gregg and Terri Fletcher, organising at the Chocolate Festival

Quite rightly, Ramsbottom has become one of the best places to live in the country and I am proud to have had a helping hand in my role as Chairman of Ramsbottom Business Group for many years, and lately as the organiser of the Ramsbottom Chocolate Festival, Farmers Markets and other events.

I am standing for election because I love this area and have a positive vision for Ramsbottom and our villages.  I have lived here in Ramsbottom with my wife, Terri, and young family on the Whittingham Drive estate for many years.

When the Polling Stations open this Thursday, residents of Ramsbottom, Holcombe, Shuttleworth and Hawkshaw will have the chance to decide who is going to be one of their local Councillors.

If you elect me this Thursday, I pledge to work tirelessly to:

■ Stop a 4th Supermarket being built in the town centre;

■ Find a long-term solution for the old Mondi Paper Mill site on Bridge Street with affordable housing, extra car parking and a new, state of the art Pool and Leisure complex;

■ Protect the Green Belt and green spaces in Ramsbottom, Holcombe, Hawkshaw and Shuttleworth from being developed and concreted over;

■ Secure CCTV and extra lighting for our town centre to ensure it is safe for visitors at night.

Gregg with Councillor Rob Hodkinson and Councillor Ian Schofield

Bury has a Labour Council and we need a strong opposition.  Residents have a clear choice between our positive vision for our area or more years of Labour neglect.

Don’t just hope for a better Council. Vote for it.

Don’t sit this election out. Make certain your voice is heard by either completing your postal vote and returning it to Bury Town Hall or taking a few minutes to call in at the Polling Station on Thursday.

Best Wishes.

Gregg Fletcher, Conservative Candidate

Published by Dene Vernon on behalf of Gregg Fletcher both of Conservative Campaign Headquarters, 1 Manchester Road, Bury, BL9 0DR.

Chocolate Festival organiser selected to fight election

Coun Rob Hodkinson with Gregg Fletcher

We can announce today that Councillor Robert Hodkinson has decided to retire from Bury Council at the local elections in May 2019 for family reasons.

Coun Hodkinson has served Ramsbottom since 2014 and has been a strong advocate for the town.

Coun Rob Hodkinson has given the following comment: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a Councillor and it has been an honour to serve the residents of Ramsbottom. I have consistently asked questions about our town in the Council Chamber and helped fight to protect our green spaces and green belt.

I have been active within Ramsbottom Business Group, helping to organise events such as the Chocolate Festival and 1940s weekend and have helped hundreds of people with local casework – housing issues, planning, neighbour disputes, parking etc..”

As a result, at a meeting of the Bury Conservative Association, Ramsbottom businessman, Gregg Fletcher, has been unanimously chosen as the Conservative candidate for Ramsbottom Ward at the forthcoming local elections to be held in May 2019.

Gregg, who lives on Stanford Hall Crescent, on the Whittingham Drive estate in Ramsbottom, is a well-known resident of Ramsbottom, having established his business in the town many years ago.

Gregg was for many years Chairman of Ramsbottom Business Group and now devotes his spare time to organising the Ramsbottom Chocolate Festival, Farmers Markets and other events in the town.

Gregg is married to Terri, and has two daughters.

He gave the following comment: “I am delighted to have been selected by the Conservatives to stand in the elections next year for Ramsbottom. I have lived in the town for 18 years and have run a local business here during that whole time.

Rob Hodkinson will be a hard act to follow, but I know that I can be a strong voice for Ramsbottom. I have the commitment and energy needed to fight for the issues that matter to the residents of Ramsbottom.

I 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 and I am proud to have had a helping hand in my role as Chairman of Ramsbottom Business Group for many years, and lately as the organiser of the Ramsbottom Chocolate Festival, Farmers Markets and other events.

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 looking forward to the campaign. Residents I believe share my positive vision for our town. If elected, I will work hard with Councillor Ian Schofield to ensure Ramsbottom has a strong voice on Bury Council.”

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.

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

 

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.

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