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.”

Update on ‘Greater Manchester Spacial Framework’

Ramsbottom Conservatives campaigning to protect our Green Belt

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority has been continuing work on a rewritten draft of Greater Manchester’s plan for Homes, Jobs and the Environment, ready for it to go out to public consultation.

This follows public outrage when areas of greenbelt across Greater Manchester were due to be stripped of their greenbelt status and allocated as building land.

Known as ‘The Greater Manchester Spatial Framework’ or “GMSF” for short, the aim of the plan is to ensure that enough land is secured in the right places across Greater Manchester, including here in Ramsbottom, to deliver the homes and jobs needed to create sustainable communities over the next 20 years.

Your local Conservative Councillors made representations on your behalf when the initial draft GMSF was published about protecting and strengthening our greenbelt and green spaces.

The rewritten version of the GMSF has now been published following a review of the representations made.  The document can be found here:

https://www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/gmsf

An eight-week consultation period has now been triggered.

Across Greater Manchester, land is set aside to build 201,000 new homes including thousands of new homes and acres of business space created around the M60, M66 and M62 at Pilsworth, Simister and Bowlee.  Much of that would be on green belt land.  The proposed “Northern Gateway” is set to become the northern of Greater Manchester’s answer to Trafford Park.  There would be improvements to the motorways to take into account the additional traffic.

Here in Bury and Ramsbottom, the notable issues include:

  • Prioritising regeneration of brownfield land
  • A 12% reduction in Green Belt land identified for development
  • Plans for 100 homes in Holcombe Brook on the edge of Ramsbottom, as well as for 150 on the old Gin Hall site at Walmersley have now been dropped
  • Additional Green Belt land is to be created around Nuttall Park and at Church Fields off Nuttall Lane
  • Two new major housing sites in the north of Bury including 1,250 new homes in Walshaw (Tottington) and 3,500 at Elton Reservoir
  • The Northern Gateway site at Pilsworth for thousands of new homes and industrial units with potential new jobs
  • New roads, public transport, public spaces, schools and healthcare.

The new Green Belt land in Ramsbottom can be seen here:

additions to green belt in ramsbottom

The previous draft Greater Manchester Spatial Framework back in 2016 attracted 27,000 responses from across Greater Manchester. These were taken into account when the GMSF was rewritten.

Get involved – have your say

You will be able to take part in the online consultation – https://www.gmconsult.org/ – from 14 January 2019 .

The “Bury Folk Keep It Green” residents group have organised a public meeting on Wednesday 23 January 2019 at 7.30pm in the Elizabethan Suite of Bury Town Hall to discuss the loss of Greenbelt land in our Borough.

In addition, six drop-in sessions are being held for residents to view the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework plans and talk to Council officers about them.

They are as follows:

  • Wednesday 30 January – Elizabethan Suite, Bury (12-8pm)
  • Monday 4 February – Elton High School, Bury (4-8pm)
  • Wednesday 6 February – Longfield Centre, Prestwich (2-8pm)
  • Monday 11 February – Radcliffe Market Hall (2-8pm)
  • Tuesday 12 February – Castlebrook High School (4-8pm)
  • Wednesday 6 March – Elizabethan Suite (12-8pm)

If you have any queries or questions of your Councillors, please complete the contact form below:

New Long Stay Car Parking announced for Ramsbottom Town Centre

Ramsbottom’s Conservative Councillors, Rob Hodkinson and Ian Schofield have welcomed the announcement today by Bury Council of plans for a 200 space long stay car park next to Ramsbottom Leisure Centre and Swimming Pool.

Ramsbottom Councillors undertaking Parking Survey in 2016

Coun Hodkinson said “I am very pleased that Bury Council have finally agreed to our request for additional long term parking in Ramsbottom.

We have spent over three years lobbying senior officers and politicians at the Council, having meetings and drafting plans to use the spare land adjacent to the Swimming Pool and Leisure Centre.

In February 2016, we met with the then Chief Executive, Mike Owen, and formulated plans for a 200 space car park at Ramsbottom Leisure Centre and Pool.

Ramsbottom Long Stay Car Park

In January 2017, we announced the results of our surveys of local residents and businesses in the town undertaken during 2016 to see what they thought about the lack of parking in the centre of town.

Businesses and visitors alike had been complaining about the restricted number of parking spaces in the town and that it was forcing residents and visitors to seek alternative locations for shopping and leisure.

The survey that we undertook of local businesses (70% responded) in Ramsbottom town centre revealed that at least 280 employees required all-day car parking during the week. 190 required car parking at weekend. In addition, residents were parking in the town centre for free and getting the bus into Manchester or Bury.  Tourists had been parking up and leaving their cars in the town centre all day.  This has been forcing shoppers and many visitors out of the town centre. The lack of parking results in the lack of footfall in the town centre.

We continued to lobby the Council throughout 2017 and 2018.

Whilst we are delighted that the plans are now moving forward, It is obviously disappointing that it has taken three years for these plans to be approved by our Labour-run Council.  During that time, businesses have gone under due to the lack of parking, residents have suffered due to the lack of on-street residents parking and events such as the Chocolate Festival suffered due to parking problems.”

Coun Schofield added “The current retail offer of our town has been in decline as a result of the lack of suitable parking.  Visitors are simply put off by the lack of suitable places to park. Retailers and traders also complain of the lack of parking, and residents of town centre properties also find parking difficult and regularly request “residents only” parking.

We now need the Council to confirm the precise details of how this will work including provision of pedestrian access from the car park to the town centre, perhaps with a dedicated footpath alongside the East Lancashire Railway onto Bridge Street.

Ramsbottom town centre requires a comprehensive rethink of its parking provision – with perhaps short stay parking in the town centre, residents-only parking, and long stay parking at the Leisure Centre site.

We can assure residents that we will work closely with them, and the Council, to ensure that these plans benefit businesses, residents and visitors alike, securing the long term prosperity of our town.”

Consultation on ‘Bury Local Plan’

Autumn Intouch 8

Bury Council are currently in the process of preparing a new ‘Local Plan’ that will guide future development in the Borough, including here in Ramsbottom.

What is the Bury Local Plan?

The Bury Local Plan will be used as the basis for determining future planning applications for the next 20 years or so. It is one of the most important documents to be produced by the Council.

Bury’s Local Plan will contain a range of local planning policies and will identify local sites where development should be built as well as areas where development should be restricted or controlled.

It will also cover flooding issues, housing, Green Belt, employment and the town centre.

Details of the Bury Local Plan can be seen at: bury.gov.uk/localplan

Bury Council now want your views.  Emails with your comments should be sent to planning.policy@bury.gov.uk

Alternatively, responses can be returned by post to the following address:

Development Plans Unit, Strategic Planning and Economic Development, Department for Resources and Regulation, 3 Knowsley Place, Duke Street, Bury, BL9 0EJ.

Bury Council are seeking your views until Friday 30 November 2018.

Latest Autumn ‘In Touch’ Newsletter

No doubt you will have seen us out and about around Ramsbottom, Holcombe and Shuttleworth over the last week, delivering our latest Autumn In Touch newsletter, and speaking to as many residents as we could about issues here in our town and villages.

If you have not seen a copy, then here is a link to the latest edition: Ramsbottom Autumn Intouch 2018

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.

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