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

Referendum on Town’s Potholes

Bury and Ramsbottom Conservatives have outlined their four year plan to invest over £25million into urgent repairs to our town’s pothole-ridden roads.

Jamie Hoyle, Conservative Candidate for Ramsbottom in the May 3rd local elections said “Wherever you go in Ramsbottom, Shuttleworth and Holcombe, our roads are in a terrible state. Everyone is saying that they have never seen them this bad before. Residents have had enough.”

Bury Conservative Leader, Cllr James Daly, added “The Borough’s roads are in an appalling state as a result of inept management and chronic under-investment by the Labour-run Council.  If elected in May, a Conservative-run Council would deliver the funding needed to fix pothole and full re-surface more of our roads.”

Jamie added “The Labour Party say they are “investing” an extra £10million.  What they conveniently do not say is that this money is being borrowed, repayable over 40 years with an eye-watering £7million in interest, that we, as local tax payers, have to pay back. Furthermore, the borrowing facility was approved in early 2017 by Bury Labour but none of it has been drawn down yet – over a year later. It is simply outrageous and shows how incompetent this Council really is.”

The Conservative proposal to invest £25million over 4 years would come from a variety of sources.  Conservative Councillors would facilitate the building of 1,000 new homes, generating £2million from the sale of Council owned brownfield land. This will also generate a “new homes bonus” of £7.6million over the next 4 years for our roads. Further funding would come from the use of available capital receipts this financial year, future years savings from a plan to set up a Community Interest Company to manage the Borough’s leisure facilities and using £9 million previously agreed by the Council.

Bury and Ramsbottom Conservatives also pledge to maintain the general roads budget of £2million a year for the next 4 years.

Councillor Daly commented “It is pathetic that Bury Labour did not propose any new money for Bury’s road network at this year’s Council budget meeting. Labour have got us into this mess, but only the Conservatives have a plan to invest the monies needed to improve our crumbling road network.”

Jamie Hoyle said “The Labour Party running Bury Council has neglected this town for too long. It is time for us to change that on 3rd May by sending a strong message to the Town Hall that Ramsbottom residents will not stand for this neglect.”

Only by voting Conservative on 3rd May can residents be assured that Ramsbottom’s roads will be given priority. This really is a referendum on Bury Labour’s pothole crisis.”

Cllr Rob Hodkinson and Jamie Hoyle on Nuttall Lane, Ramsbottom

An Update on the Nuttall Lane Potholes Saga …

By Cllr Rob Hodkinson

For the past three months your local Councillors, along with residents of the Whittingham Drive and Nuttall Road estates, have been constantly complaining to Bury Council’s Highways Department to repair the numerous, dangerous, potholes on Nuttall Lane.

Nuttall Lane is the only access route to over 1,000 homes and cannot be avoided.

Drivers using Nuttall Lane are faced with a daily slalom trying to avoid pothole after pothole.

We were advised that repairs would commence on the week commencing 19th March.  This date came and went with no sight of the Council.

In desperation that nothing was being done, a well meaning resident recently took matters into their own hands and filled some of the potholes. Unfortunately the materials used were inadequate and are already starting to break down.

Residents’ repairs to Nuttall Lane

We contacted the Highways Department yet again only to be told that a date for the repairs could not be given due to the significant backlog of this type of work.

So, for the past three months, our Labour-run Council have taken no action to repair Nuttall Lane, despite the efforts of your local Councillors and local residents.

As a local Councillor and resident, I feel outraged that Bury Council have taken no action on ours, and local residents concerns about the repairs until those residents have taken matters into their own hands.

The Highways department have now said that the repair work to Nuttall Lane will commence the week of 9th April.

Let’s hope they fulfil their promise this time.

 

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

 

Councillors welcome increase in school funding

Your local Councillors have welcomed the news that schools budgets in the Borough of Bury, including Ramsbottom, are to increase significantly over the next 3 years, despite recent scaremongering in the media.

The Budget report considered by the full Council meeting of Bury Council on 21st February provided details of the schools budgets for 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21.

This highlighted overall schools funding will increase as follows;

2017/18 £170.5m
2018/19 £176.1m
2019/20 £178.6m
2020/21 £181.1m

The 2020/21 figures are based upon the introduction of a new National Funding Formula.   The 2018/19 and 2019/20 figures represent the transition to this formula.

Funding is therefore increasing overall, however there is a variation in terms of the impact on individual schools.  Some schools are seeing reduced pupil numbers over the next few years and this will therefore attract less funding.

All schools in Bury have now had a copy of the Department for Education’s proposed funding levels for the next 3 years which shows the increases in monetary and percentage terms that individual schools will receive.  Please contact us, or your school Headteacher or Chair of Governors for further details.

 

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 Ripon Hall Avenue flooding

Ripon Hall Avenue

Residents living on the Whittingham Drive estate will be aware of the overflowing manhole cover on Ripon Hall Avenue which has been a problem for many years.

During periods of heavy rain, the amount of water flooding the road has made it dangerous for both traffic and pedestrians. One resident has told us that “the water level during one flooding event last year was up to 4 feet deep and impassable”.

Currently the flooding from the manhole is constant even during dry days. It is only the nearby road gullies that are taking away this flood water.

Apart from the flooding the tarmac around the manhole was breaking up making it dangerous for vehicles.

Over the years local residents have made numerous complaints to the Council however the problem has yet to be resolved.

Cllr Rob Hodkinson has worked closely with Bury Council’s Highways Department and kept residents informed of any progress made.

In June 2017 Highways advised that further investigations would be carried out but the issue was considered a ‘low priority’ by the Council as there was no risk of flooding to adjacent properties nor flooding of the highway in such a way that would cause a danger to road users.

However, it was obvious that the flooding was caused by a blockage to the discharge pipe but there were no plans showing the route of the pipe.

Inspections carried out by Highways late 2017 with cameras showed the discharge pipe route was under the adjacent privately-owned land.   The Highways Department asked the landowners for their proposals to clear the blockage.

In February 2018 the owner of the land met with Cllr Hodkinson and the Head of Highways to discuss the issue relating to the flooding where it was explained to the owner that the responsibility for the pipe maintenance under the owners land was that of the owner of the land.

The owner has since received further correspondence from Bury Council giving the statutory time to respond.

We will advise residents of further progress as soon as we have further information.

Highways Works affecting Bridge Street / Peel Brow / Bury New Road, Ramsbottom

What’s happening?

Bury Council are due to resurface the carriageway and carry out localised footway and drainage repairs between the level crossing at Bridge Street and the M66 bridge. A 50m stretch shall also be resurfaced at the junction of Bury New Road and Manchester Road to improve skid resistance on the approach to the signals.

When will the works begin, how long will they last and will there be any disruption?

It is anticipated that the works will commence on 12 March 2018 and should last for approximately 8 weeks.

Preliminary drainage and footway works will be carried out Monday to Friday using temporary traffic signals outside of peak periods (between 9:30 and 15:00). However, it will be necessary when undertaking the carriageway surfacing to extend the working period (7:00 to 20:00). Outside of normal working hours the Council will attempt to carry out low noise activities.

Unfortunately, when undertaking a scheme of this nature, some disruption is unavoidable; nevertheless Bury Council will endeavour to keep this to a minimum.

Who is going to control the works?

Both the design and construction of the works are being co-ordinated by Bury Council. The Engineering Services section of the Council will be responsible for the supervision of the works throughout the duration of the contract.

Who will be the point of contact for enquiries during and outside working hours?

If you have any enquiries about the works or would like to discuss the scheme further, please contact the Customer Services Team on 0161 253 5353 or email: engcon@bury.gov.uk. Outside working hours, an emergency out-of-hours number is available – 0161 253 6606.

Will access be maintained?

Obviously some sections of the road will need to be closed to vehicular traffic for periods during the resurfacing works and we would advise vehicle owners who will require the use of their vehicles during the day to make alternative parking arrangements; however we will endeavour to maintain limited access to all residential and business properties.

Pedestrian access will be maintained at all times.

 

Ramsbottom Residents Face Council Tax Rise of 5.94%

Ramsbottom residents’ council tax bills are to rise by nearly six per cent.

The 5.94% increase was pushed through at last night’s council budget meeting at the Town Hall by Labour Party Councillors, despite fierce opposition from your local Conservative Councillors.

The plans mean that a Band C property would see an increase of nearly £100 a year on Council Tax Bills.

The Cabinet Member for Finance announced that the Council could not manage its budget and was heading for a £1.8 Million overspend for this financial year, eating into the Council’s emergency reserves.

In opposing the proposed Council Tax rise, the Leader of Bury’s Conservative Councillors, Cllr James Daly, said that the Labour Party’s budget lacked vision and aspiration.

He said: “There’s so much that can be done by a Council to influence the lives of people in this borough with imaginative thinking to increase revenue generation to raise funds for public services.”

He accused Labour of ‘abdicating responsibility’ and ‘managing the Council’s decline’.

He added “Bury Labour’s inability to balance a budget and manage the Council adequately means that front line serves are being cut due to their failures … the limit of their ambition is to manage decline, whereas ours is to transform service delivery, invest millions in front line services and improve the life chances of our residents.”

Alternative proposals put forward by the Conservative Councillors were cynically voted down by Labour.  These included:

  • A Freeze on the basic rate of Council Tax;
  • Inject £8.8 Million into Bury and Ramsbottom’s roads over the next 4 years;
  • Invest £4 Million into the borough’s leisure facilities, including state of the art upgrades for Ramsbottom Pool and Leisure Centre and extra funds for Ramsbottom Library and Ramsbottom Civic Hall;
  • Facilitate the building off 1,000 new homes on brownfield sites owned by the Council over the next 2 to 3 years;
  • Reverse the increase in the Chief Executive’s Salary (£175,000) voted through by Labour and cap it at £130,000;
  • Cap other senior officer pay at £100,000.

Councillor Ian Bevan said “The impact of this overspend and the rejection of significant savings by the Labour Party could well be very significant for Ramsbottom taxpayers. It is yet more evidence of the mismanagement of Bury Council’s finances by the Labour Party.”

Councillor Ian Schofield added “We know that budgets are tight at the minute, but our proposal to cut back on wasteful spending on excessive Councillors Allowances, Senior Salaries and cancelling schemes that are not needed are sensible and prudent”.

Councillor Rob Hodkinson said “We are very worried about the impact the overspending and mismanagement will have on services for residents in Ramsbottom. We have already lost our Children’s Centre, Skate Park, reduced hours at Ramsbottom Library and crumbling roads. In addition, our Council Tax is increasing. The Labour Party have no plan to manage and organise the way the Council works.”

Consultation on the redesign of NHS Urgent Care in Bury

Patients and the public are being invited to share their views on a proposed future model for NHS Urgent Care in Bury.

NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has launched a consultation which runs until Sunday 11th March 2018 which aims to capture the views and feedback from local people, stakeholders and health care professionals alike.

The proposal for NHS urgent care includes two main elements:

1: Plans to develop an Urgent Treatment Centre based at Fairfield General Hospital in Bury, running alongside the A&E department aimed at treating minor injuries and illnesses.

  • The service will be open for 12 hours a day (specific hours to be determined locally).
  • The service will be led by primary care staff including GPs and nurses who will have access to patients’ medical records to help with their care.
  • Pre-booked and same day appointments will be available with referrals accepted from A&E, NHS 111, the Ambulance Service and GP surgeries. Walk-in appointments will also be available.
  • The Urgent Treatment Centre will be suitable for patients experiencing minor illnesses and injuries, including minor sprains and strains, cuts and grazes, minor burns and abdominal pain. Being located close to A&E, staff will have access to diagnostic tests such as blood tests, urine testing, ECG and X-rays (i.e. for suspected broken bones).
  • The proposal is for this service to be up and running by December 2019 and it will be available to all attending patients.

2: Plans to develop the two current nurse-led Walk-in Centre services (based in Bury and Prestwich), along with the three current GP evening and weekend appointment services (based in Bury, Prestwich and Radcliffe) to become Integrated Health and Social Care Hubs operating from the two current Walk-in Centre sites, with the addition of the Radcliffe site, to offer a range of services including GP led (including nurse) walk-in services.  It is the intention of creating further Integrated Health and Social Care Hubs, including here in Ramsbottom.

  • It is proposed that the following services will be available in a phased approach: GP led (including nurse) walk-in services; urgent GP appointments; evening and weekend appointments; wound care services; signposting advice to other services and social care advice and services.
  • The Integrated Hubs will be developed in a phased approach, starting with one pilot site during 2018/19, before a roll out across the three initial proposed sites.
  • The health aspects of the Integrated Hubs will be clinically led by GPs and nurses who will have access to patients’ medical records.
  • The proposed GP led (including nurse) walk-in services will as a minimum mirror the opening hours of Bury’s two nurse led Walk-in Centres.
  • The two current nurse led Walk-in Centre services will continue to be available until the Integrated Health and Social Care Hubs are established.
  • The health aspects of the Integrated Hubs would be suitable for patients requiring access to routine extended hours GP care, urgent GP care and for minor injuries.
  • Whilst the health services will be accessible to patients registered with a Bury GP practice, they would deal with any patients requiring immediate treatment, and where appropriate direct patients to other local services.

 

The format of the consultation is as follows:

  • An online survey is available here LINK (also available via the CCG website homepage buryccg.nhs.uk )
  • A paper copy of the survey can be obtained by calling 0161 762 3106 or by e-mail: to this email address
  • A public meeting will be held as follows: Wednesday 7th March 2018, 7pm, in The Minden Suite of the Fusilier Museum, Moss Street, Bury, BL9 0DF
  • By letter to: NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group, Communications and Engagement Team (Urgent Care Redesign), 21 Silver Street, Bury, BL9 0EN
  • By e-mail: to this email address