Ramsbottom Library Review – Stage 2

Cllr Ian Bevan outside Ramsbottom Library

Cllr Ian Bevan outside Ramsbottom Library

Bury Council’s Cabinet have released the results of the first round of consultation into the review of the library service across the Borough of Bury, including Ramsbottom.

There are currently 14 libraries across the Borough.

The proposals are to close 10 libraries and keep open 3 libraries (Bury, Ramsbottom and Prestwich) and perhaps retain a fourth (Radcliffe).

The plans, which will go out for a 12 week consultation, are set to be approved for consultation by the Cabinet at its meeting on 25 January 2017.  Details can be found here:

results-of-the-public-consultation-on-the-key-principles-for-the-bury-library-service-and-next-steps

If the proposals go ahead, they would be implemented in July 2017.

To give your opinion, then please contact us, or visit the Bury Council website here: http://www.bury.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=12184

 

 

Bury Council – Budget Consultation 2017

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Bury Council’s annual budget currently amounts to £448 million.

Since 2010, local authorities along with other public bodies have been subject to funding reductions so that the Government’s budget deficit can be reduced.

In February 2017, Bury Council must produce its budget for the 2017/18 financial year.  The Council is seeking comments as part of a budget consultation.

It is estimated that Bury Council will have to make cuts of around £32 million over the next three years in order to set a legal, balanced, and sustainable budget.

To provide certainty and stability, Bury Council intend to set a 3 year budget in February 2017, recognising that many service reform measures cannot be implemented in a single financial year, and will need time to develop and bed in.

Gross Budget

Bury Council’s annual budget is £448 million. 

The large budgets are for schools, who receive £163 million; Housing Benefit accounts for £51 million; and Public Health £12 million.

Of the remaining budget, Social Care (for Adults & Children) accounts for up to 60%.

The Council delivers over 150 different services to a population of over 186,000 (approximately 80,000 households) across.

How is the Council’s budget spent?

Costs of key services are summarised below:

  • £2.4 million operating 17 Libraries
  • £460k on Museums, Galleries & Culture
  • £4.0 million collecting your bins;
  • £12.5 million on Waste Disposal
  • £46.8 million on Adult Social Care
  • £10.6 million on Looked After Children
  • £1.2 million supporting sport and leisure facilities
  • £2.2 million maintaining Parks & Open Spaces
  • £6.4 million maintaining the borough’s highways.

Proposed Cuts

Resources & Regulation Directorate – £20 million annual budget.

Services provided by this Department include:

  •  Finance, Human Resources, IT
  •  Housing Benefits / Council Tax / Business Rates
  •  Highways Assets Management
  •  Planning Department
  •  Trading Standards
  •  Property Services

How is it proposed this will be achieved?

  • Reconfiguration of back office services (£900k); the Council operate a range of back office services including Finance, HR, IT, etc – all will be reviewed to ensure that structures deliver increasingly efficient and resilient services making best use of technology.
  • Collaborative Working (£800k); the Council will examine areas where services can be provided collaboratively – working with other local authorities and partner organisations.
  • Rationalisation of Council Property (£500k); the Council will continue to rationalize properties, making further use of technology and agile working practices.
  • Income Generation (£600k); the Council will seek to provide services to Public Sector Partners, trading services inside & outside the Borough (e.g. Payroll & Legal Services).
  • Highways Asset Management (£500k); the Council will review its approach to managing highways, ensuring structures are efficient and resilient, and investment levels are appropriate and affordable.
  • Investment in the Digital Agenda (£400k); the Council will secure process savings through continued investment in new technology.
  • Facilities Management (£750k); the Council will develop a more corporate approach to facilities management, ensuring assets are managed in a more coordinated manner and statutory obligations continue to be fulfilled.
  • Enforcement Functions (£300k); the Council will review enforcement activity.
  • Treasury Management (£1.35m); the Council will continue to generate surpluses by actively managing day to day cash flow, and management of longer term debt / investment portfolio.
  • Other Initiatives (£1.2m); further cost reductions will be generated by reviewing all budget areas over the period to 2020.

Children, Young People & Culture – £35 million annual budget

Services provided by this Department include:

  •  Schools
  •  Children’s Social Care
  •  Cleaning & Caretaking
  •  Culture
  •  Libraries

How is it proposed this will be achieved?

  • Optimisation of External Funding (£600k); proposed changes to external funding arrangements will enable some services currently directly funded by the Council to continue to be operable within these funding regimes.
  • Development of Early Years provision (£1.0m); restructure service provision currently available to all, to a targeted provision available to those in greatest need, mainly through an outreach service.
  • Looked After Children/Fostering (£1.2m); reducing costs of Looked After Children through investment initiatives, such as the Adolescent Support Unit, recruiting additional foster carers / adopters to reduce reliance on independent fostering agencies.
  • Service Reviews (£2.6m); reviews of many services within the department with a view to further cost reductions and service reorganisation.
  • Review of Management and Administrative structures (£730k); reduced costs through further restructuring of management and administrative functions.
  • Other Initiatives (£720k); includes changes in working practices/arrangements and further central relocation of services from outlying buildings.
  • Reduced Pension Liability (£500k); declining number of former employees eligible to belong to the teachers/lecturers’ national pension scheme.
  • Changes to school funding regime (£350k); the Government are devolving the funding for services such as the School Improvement service directly to schools and academies so they can make their own arrangements from their own school resources.

Communities & Wellbeing – £70 million annual budget

Services provided by this Department include:

  •  Adult Social Care
  •  Waste Management
  •  Highways Repairs
  •  Sport & Leisure
  •  Public Health
  •  Environmental Health
  •  Strategic Housing

How is it proposed this will be achieved?

  • Health & Social Care Integration (£5.7m); closer alignment with the NHS to jointly manage demand and future service costs.
  • Review of Operational Services (£2.1m); all operational services to undergo reviews, ensuring services are increasingly sustainable, affordable, and in line with the Council’s vision
  • Review of Leisure & Wellbeing Service (£900k); development of a Wellbeing Service, and working actively towards a significantly reduced reliance on Council support in respect of Leisure Services and Civic Halls.
  • Review of Transport Arrangements (£300k); reviewing the Council’s transport fleet requirements in light of service reviews. Ensuring the most economic approach to procurement and deployment of vehicles.
  • Public Protection & Enforcement (£500k); consolidation of public protection functions, e.g. Environmental Health, Public Health, and optimisation of external grants
  • Housing Related Services (£350k); review of the Council’s housing related services to reduce costs whilst still maintaining appropriate levels of service.
  • Review of Organisational Infrastructure (£2.3m); department-wide review of management structures in light of new service delivery models to reduce costs.
  • Devolution Transformation Funding (£4.0m); use of funding available from Greater Manchester to support delivery of new working models partnering with the NHS.
  • Other Initiatives (£850k); review of other service areas to reduce cost and maximise income generation opportunities.

Extra Income from Council Tax?

The ruling Labour Party on Bury Council anticipate that Council Tax will rise by 1.94% for each of the three financial years 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20.  In addition, there will be an extra 2% rise to fund Adult Social Care pressures; giving an assumed Council Tax increase of 3.94% per annum.

A 3.94% equates to an increase of £53 per year (roughly £1 per week) for an average “Band D” property.

How can you get involved in the consultation?

Attend a public meeting – Ramsbottom/North Manor/ Tottington Township Forum (Public Meeting) at 7pm on 10 January 2017. Tottington Methodist Church

More details can be found on the Council’s website where you can comment online: www.bury.gov.uk/Budget201720

Email – Budget201720@bury.gov.uk

Write – Budget201720, Bury Council, Knowsley Street, Bury, BL9 OSW.

Close of Public Consultation – 31 January 2017

Library Consultation – Second Stage

Cllr Ian Bevan outside Ramsbottom Library

Cllr Ian Bevan outside Ramsbottom Library

The saga over the review by Bury Council of the Library Service continues.

At the recent meeting of Bury Council’s Cabinet, the main item of discussion was the ongoing consultation on the future of Bury’s Libraries.

Some 3,537 residents took part in the initial consultation and a significant number of people had concerns.

‘Phase 2’ of the consultation is now taking place.  It involves workshops at each library to discuss local priorities for Bury’s library service.  Community groups, regular library users and are invited to attend.

A report will then be prepared outlining a number of potential options which will be presented for discussion by Bury Council’s Cabinet on 18 January 2017 for further, final consultation.

Councillors’ Ian Bevan and Ian Schofield attended the workshop at Ramsbottom Library on Thursday 17th November 2016 with local groups and residents.  Some interesting suggestions were made on how to keep Ramsbottom Library open and fully used by local residents.

Update on Library Consultation

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The first stage of public consultation on the future of the Library Service in the Borough has now come to an end.  This took place between 13 June and 5 September 2016.   Bury Council received 3,536 responses which they are in the process of analysing.

However, in our opinion, this has been a pointless consultation and a complete waste of money.  Residents were asked if they agree with six principles on which to base the future of the library service.

Those six principles are listed below…but they don’t really mean anything to anyone. They are all ambiguous/obvious statements.

We fail to see how this Labour-run Council have spent £13,000 of council tax payers money on someone to lead a consultation which doesn’t tell us anything.

Principle 1 – To provide a Library Service across the borough which provide all residents with access to libraries and electronic services sufficient in number, range and quality to support reading for pleasure, lifelong learning, the development of new skills and the effective use of information.

Principle 2 – To ensure that the needs of more vulnerable residents and groups protected by Equalities legislation are taken fully into account in the provision of these services.

Principle 3 – To ensure that the resources committed to the library service are used as efficiently as possible by exploring options to reduce running and maintenance costs and to share premises with Council and other services. 

Principle 4 – To explore options for investing in technology to improve access to the library service for example by extending opening hours, increasing our digital services and enhancing provision for those with sensory impairments.

Principle 5 – To welcome the contribution that members of the community can make to the Library Service as volunteers, supporting both traditional and digital services.

Principle 6 – To meet local aspirations for a network of community spaces across the borough in which the council and local communities can work together as partners in meeting local needs.

We will let you know the outcome shortly.

The second stage of the public consultation will be on the actual detail of any planned closures or changes to the library service.  This will take place between November 2016 and February 2017.

A final decision will be taken in March 2017 by Bury Council’s Cabinet.

Is Ramsbottom Library under threat?

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Bury Council has started a 12 week consultation with residents on the future of Ramsbottom Library and other libraries across Bury.

The consultation will run until 5th September 2016 with final proposals being drawn up before going to a second round of consultations between November 2016 and February 2017.

A final decision will be taken in March 2017 by Bury Council’s Cabinet.

During the consultation period some public meetings will be arranged and residents views will be sought.

A Council spokeman said: “The Council remains fully committed to retaining a high quality Library Service in the Borough but anticipates that there will need to be changes, including the possibility of a reduction in the number of libraries.”

The Council say that technology now exists which allows the introduction of partially staffed libraries, extended opening times and on-line services.   They also invite members of the community to become Library Service volunteers.

Councillor Ian Bevan commented: “I am very concerned that this Labour-run Council kept details of a review of Ramsbottom Library under wraps during the recent local election. I have no doubt that it would have been an important election issue but they have, in my view, cynically waited for 4 weeks after the local elections before announcing it could be under threat of closure.”

“Bury Council have a duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964.  Ramsbottom Library is also home to the Heritage Gallery, Adult Education Classes and a variety of other activities for families and children.  As your local Councillors, we are strongly against losing such an important local asset in Ramsbottom and would urge local residents to have their say.

Further details can be seen here:  Libraries Consultation Final Report

Residents should visit the Council’s website to make a comment here: http://www.bury.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=12184

Alternatively, please let us have your views here and we, as your local elected representatives, will pass them on to the consultation team:

Local Elections – Thursday 5 May 2016

Ian Schofield (centre) with Cllr Rob Hodkinson and Cllr Ian Bevan

Ian Schofield (centre) with Cllr Rob Hodkinson and Cllr Ian Bevan

We are absolutely delighted to support Ian Schofield as the Conservative Candidate for Ramsbottom in the local elections on 5th May 2016.

On Thursday 5th May, you will have a vote to decide who is going to be one of your three local Councillors – joining Ian Bevan and Rob Hodkinson representing Ramsbottom Ward on Bury Council – after Luise Fitzwalter announced that she is standing down from her seat on the Council.

Ian lives on Cheshire Court, off Peel Brow, in Ramsbottom.  He is married to Ann, and semi-retired after a long career in the Automobile Association (AA).

He is active in the community and many in our town will know him as a Committee Member at Ramsbottom Cricket Club.

Ian is particularly pleased to have the support of many members of our town’s sporting clubs and associations, including Harry Williams, Chairman of Ramsbottom United Football Club.

Ian Schofield and Harry Williams, Chairman of Rammy United FC

Ian Schofield and Harry Williams, Chairman of Rammy United FC

Commenting on the recent floods that affected the town centre, community and sporting facilities such as the Football Ground, Cricket Club, Bowling Club and Nuttall Park, Ian said:

The flood water of the River Irwell deposited tonnes of mud and silt all over the centre of town. At Ramsbottom Cricket Club, damage to the cricket square has devastated the club. Substantial damage occurred to the club’s ground maintenance machinery and the road at the far side of the ground was almost washed away, leaving a £70,000 repair bill.  As a Committee Member at the Cricket Club, I have worked hard to ensure that the Club is restored to its former glory. It was heartbreaking to see the damage sustained, but very encouraging to see the community coming together to clear the mess.”

Ian Schofield, residents and Club Members cleaning up the Cricket Ground

Ian Schofield, residents and Club Members cleaning up the Cricket Ground

On tackling Ramsbottom’s crumbling roads, Ian has worked with local Councillors to ensure that potholes are reported and repaired.  Ramsbottom has been plagued with deep, dangerous potholes and crumbling roads for some time now.  As your local representatives, we have been demanding that our town has its fair share of highway resources and put forward a proposal for an additional £2million to be invested into the Borough’s roads over the next 12 months – a proposal rejected by the Labour Party on Bury Council.

Ian is also opposed to development in our Green Belt, including at Fletcher Bank, Church Fields and other sites around our town which are under threat from developers.

Ian Schofield (centre) with Cllrs Ian Bevan & Rob Hodkinson at Church Fields

Ian Schofield (centre) with Cllrs Ian Bevan & Rob Hodkinson at Church Fields

Ian said: “It has been wonderful to have had such a warm reception from residents who have said they agree with our local campaigns; for our fair share of resources for Ramsbottom’s crumbling roads; protecting our Green Belt from development; promoting a long term solution for the Mondi Paper Mill site on Bridge Street, supporting our local businesses, and tackling anti-social behaviour.”  

“I do hope that you will support me on Thursday 5th May to help maintain our town as one of the top places to live in the country. I pledge to always put Ramsbottom first.”

 

Residents win victory over AD Waste Plant Planning Appeal Refusal

Residents at Bury Town Hall last year protesting about the proposed AD Plant

Residents at Bury Town Hall last year protesting about the proposed AD Plant

I am delighted to report that the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has today turned down an appeal by Peel Environmental and Marshalls against Bury Council’s refusal of planning permission for the construction of an Anaerobic Digestion Plant at Fletcher Bank in Ramsbottom.

Following the refusal of planning permission by Bury Council, Peel and Marshalls lodged a planning appeal. As a result of a formal request by David Nuttall, MP for Ramsbottom, the Secretary of State for Local Government “called-in” or “recovered” the Planning Appeal so that a decision would be made by the Secretary of State himself given its importance to local residents and the threat of a substantial development in the Green Belt.

A planning inquiry took place at Bury Town Hall throughout March 2015. Oral representations to the inquiry were made by RAWS, Bury Council and the site owners, Marshalls Mono and Peel Environmental. A site visit also took place.

Dr Peter Jackson of Ramsbottom Against the Waste Site (RAWS) said: “We made strong representations to the Planning Inspector on behalf of RAWS at the planning inquiry. It became clear to us over the course of the past couple of years fighting these plans that there is something seriously wrong with the AD industry in this country in that every AD plant built and operated results in complaints by nearby residents of foul smells, odour and noise pollution. We simply could allow that to happen here in Ramsbottom and we are so pleased that the Secretary of State agrees with us.”

Councillor Ian Bevan said: “On of our main arguments has been that the proposed development is inappropriate in this Green Belt setting overlooking our town. In our opinion, neither Marshalls nor Peel demonstrated any circumstances during the planning inquiry that would outweigh the harm that would be caused to the Green Belt by an industrial plant being built at Fletcher Bank in Ramsbottom.”

David Nuttall, MP for Ramsbottom, said “Having spoken to RAWS, we decided very quickly after the planning appeal was launched to ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to determine the application himself. We thought that it was the most effective way of trying to stop the construction of an Anaerobic Digestion Waste Plant in Ramsbottom. I am delighted that the Government have backed up the views of local people. This is a completely inappropriate site for such a development.”

Ramsbottom MP, David Nuttall and Cllr Ian Bevan

Ramsbottom MP, David Nuttall and Cllr Ian Bevan

Councillor Bevan concluded: “It seems a long time ago that we first heard from Peel Holdings of their proposal for an Anaerobic Digestion Plant in Ramsbottom. Within hours, we had organised a residents meeting and met to form a group which we named “Ramsbottom Against the Waste Site”. That was back in February 2013. The proposal at Fletcher Bank in Ramsbottom was a substantial and complex application in a very sensitive location in the Green Belt on the edge of Ramsbottom town centre. As a residents group, we have spent literally hundreds and hundreds of hours volunteering our time on campaigning against this planning application. We have now reached the position where Peel’s plans have been resoundingly rejected by Bury Council, the Planning Inspector and now the Secretary of State. I appreciate that Peel and Marshalls have a right to appeal to the High Court but we would urge them to now abandon their plans and build any AD facilities on brownfield locations and not on our green belt land.

I would like to take the opportunity of thanking my colleagues in the RAWS committee, local Councillors, residents and our MP. We have all worked so hard on this, and it really has taken up every minute of our spare time over the last 2 years. Having to go through a 4 week public inquiry, fitting it in around our own jobs, businesses and family lives, has been very difficult, but we have tried to do our best for residents of Ramsbottom.

The decision can be found here:  Fletcher Bank Sec of State Decision

The decision may be challenged by making an application for permission to the High Court under section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (the TCP Act). This new requirement for permission to bring a challenge applies to decisions made on or after 26 October 2015.  Application for leave to make a challenge must be received by the Administrative Court within 28 days of the decision, unless the Court extends this period.

 

Ramsbottom Car Parking Survey

Your Ramsbottom Conservative Councillors - Ian Bevan and Rob Hodkinson

Your Ramsbottom Conservative Councillors – Ian Bevan and Rob Hodkinson

Over the last few months, as Ramsbottom Councillors, we have been discussing with Council officers how car parking can be improved for local residents and visitors alike.

We have had meetings with the Chief Executive and senior officers and various suggestions have been made, including making the current market smaller to release some of the car parking spaces on the market car park; a one-way system near the supermarkets; and suggestions around the use of the car park and land at Ramsbottom Leisure Centre for long stay parking.

The Council now need some feedback on what it is that you want from car parking in our town centre so that final decisions can be made.

It would really assist if you could complete the car parking survey here: Ramsbottom Car Park Survey

It will only take you a few seconds, or you can spend longer to add your thoughts.

If you have any other queries, please feel free to contact us at:  rammycouncillors@aol.com

Many thanks.

Ian & Rob

 

Public Meeting arranged for Wind Farm Debate

Next month Rossendale Council will decide to approve or refuse the planning application to take the number of wind turbines overlooking Bury/Ramsbottom from 26 to 42.

The turbines will be taller than the present ones, up to 115m high (similar height to the CIS tower in Manchester).

Whilst Bury Council is a ‘consultee’ to this process, the views of local residents are very important given the impact the proposals have and need to be lodged with Rossendale Council by 21 July – either in favour or against.

The address is: Mr A Metcalfe, Business Directorate – Planning, Rossendale Council, The Business Centre, Futures Park, Newchurch Road, Bacup, OL13 0BB

Email is: caseofficer@enplan.net

Reference number is: 2015/0112

A public meeting has been arranged by the Holcombe Society on Thursday 18th June at Ramsbottom Civic Hall at 7pm – see poster below – to find out more about the proposals. The meeting will be chaired by former BBC presenter and Ramsbottom resident, Martin Henfield.

The Holcombe Soc. Wind Poster-JPEG

Proposals for more wind turbines at Scout Moor Wind Farm

Scout Moor Wind Farm

Scout Moor Wind Farm

By Cllr Ian Bevan:

A planning application has now been lodged for the extension of the Scout Moor Wind Farm in Edenfield by Scout Moor Wind Farm Extension Ltd (a joint venture between Peel Group and United Utilities).

A further 16 wind turbines up to 115m are proposed – 14 of which are just over the border in Rossendale.

Scout Moor Wind Farm Extension Ltd said if the proposals were given the green light, it would bring a number of benefits including a long term moorland restoration management plan, new paths for pedestrians and horse riders linking wind farm access tracks to public rights of way and up to £750,000 a year for local authorities in business rate retention.

The joint venture are also proposing a Community Benefit fund for local projects worth up to £200,000 a year.

Scout Moor, which opened in 2007 is already the second-biggest on-shore windfarm in the country.

The plans and associated documents can be viewed at http://www.rossendale.gov.uk by following the link to the planning register and typing in the case number 2015/0112 or by going to http://www.bury.gov.uk and following the link to Planning Applications and typing in the case number 58685.

Alternatively, you can view the company website at:  http://www.scoutmoorwindfarm.co.uk

Jake Berry, the MP for Rossendale is calling on local residents to support his campaign to stop the building of more wind turbines at Scout Moor.

He has launched the ‘Not on our Hills’ campaign after constituents and community groups contacted him with concerns over the plans.

Jake said:

The Rossendale Valley is a beautiful part of the country to live in. With its windswept moors and rugged hills, we attract visitors from across the UK for sport, walking and other activities. I don’t want it to become the windfarm capital of the UK.

“We’ve already got turbines on Scout Moor, the Grane Road, Todmorden Moor, Reaps Moss and they want to build even more! There are now plans for even more wind turbines at Scout Moor, Rooley Moor to the west of Whitworth and between Bacup and Todmorden.

“I‘m not opposed to renewable energy, but this many turbines in one place will fundamentally change the face of the Rossendale Valley forever.

“Enough is enough. Please support my “Not on our Hills” campaign to protect the Rossendale Valley.

The last day for comments or objections to the planning applications is Thursday 21 May 2015.

Please do give us your comments so that we can form a view as to what the residents of Ramsbottom, Shuttleworth and Holcombe think about this issue.