A brief history of Littleborough Civic Trust

Below is a brief account of the Trust's work and achievements since its formation.


Littleborough Civic Society is formed.
Footpath Group plans walks around Littleborough.
Concern expressed about Todmorden plans for industrial development at Bellholme, Warland.
Alerted to lakeside Fun-Fair proposals for Hollingworth Lake.


Littleborough Civic Society, now renamed as the Littleborough Civic Trust, carries out its first major project which results, in the October, in the publication of a Report on 'A Country Park and a Regional Park'. This report is based on 12 weeks research, study and surveys by Civic Trust members.


Toll House


Report adopted by the newly formed Greater Manchester Council. The main proposals are adapted to form the basis for its own proposals prior to taking up responsibility for leisure development in 1974. Follow up discussions, initiated by Littleborough Civic Trust, lead to the setting up of the Standing Conference of South Pennine Authorities (SCOSPA).

Civic Trust adopts derelict site at station to make a garden.
August 9th, Littleborough Civic Trust Joins Todmorden Antiquarians Society and Todmorden Conservation Group to set up Steanor Bottom Toll House Steering Group. Purpose, to restore and find use for the Toll House.


Rochdale Canal Society set up with considerable impetus from a nucleus of Civic Trust members. Purpose, to reopen the Rochdale Canal, to promote the canal for recreation and pleasure purposes and to integrate it into the proposed Pennine Park recreational area.
In September the appeal to restore Steanor Bottom Toll House launched. Aim to raise £5000. Leaflet produced with help of Civic Trust for the North West.


Logo adopted from competition

Civic Trust 'Logo' adopted from winning entry in Logo competition among local schools. The black shapes of mills and mill chimney outline the letters L.C.T.


Started a Local History Group the purpose of which was to find out more about our village by having speakers, doing research, and outings to places of historical interest.

Repair and reroofing of Steanor Bottom Toll House completed. Conversion of building with small extension begun (collecting money for!) to give it a new purpose as a dwelling house.

Hollingworth Lake Country Park Information Centre in the process of being built


The old Ealees tip finally obliterated and blossoming nicely in this year's summer.

Canal towpath survey of flowering plants from Summit to Littleborough

Steanor Bottom Society created, taking over from the Steanor Bottom Toll House Steering Group. A Civic Society in its own right it is also a charity.


£5000 loan offered from newly formed Architectural Heritage Fund towards restoration costs of the Steanor Bottom Toll House.
Around this time Littleborough Civic Trust publishes 'Proceedings of the Beautiful Littleborough Society' (two papers given by Fred Jackson to that Society in 1919/1920) and footpath leaflets for walkers.


Coach House


November 15th. Public meeting approves scheme to make semi-derelict Coach House, Lodge Street into a multipurpose community building. Greater Manchester Council's Draft Structure Plan leads to designation of Conservation Areas including Littleborough Town Centre.
Canal restoration begins with Youth Training and Community Projects schemes on both sides of the border!


Restoration and extension of Steanor Bottom Toll completed and advertised for private sale.


LCT sponsors area meeting to promote walking, deal with blockages and safeguard walkers' and landowners' /users' interests. NFU, Ramblers, North West Water Manor of Rochdale and interested individuals attend.


Littleborough Coach House Trust Ltd receives £15,000 loan from Architectural Heritage Fund - repayable in 2 years.


In October the Coach House Heritage Centre is opened by Rt. Hon. Lord Barnett.


Greater Manchester County Structure Plan approved Hollingworth Lake Country Park Visitor Centre, tree planting and improved car parking.


LCT arranges visit to Plysu's factory in Milton Keynes, a public meeting and an exhibition following their Littleborough planning application. Pennine Heritage sets up working party to restore Clegg Hall. Civic Trust Environment Week Quiz.


LCT creates garden on derelict land at the bottom of Barnes Meadows with help from Shell UK and Oldham and Rochdale Groundwork Trust.


LCT arranges well attended public meeting re proposed town centre supermarket.


After 10 years work the Coach House refurbishment is completed and officially opened by local MP Geoffrey Dickens on the 6th May.
Dinner dance held by LCT at Coach House, sponsored by Akzo and many local traders.


Local Authority carries out work in Littleborough Town Centre Conservation Area. Trust expresses concern at lack of public consultation.


Local Authority publishes Unitary Development Plan proposals. LCT establishes Tree Nursery in field adjacent to Coronation Walk and receives an award from British Gas. "Walks Around Littleborough" Booklet published. Rochdale Canal Society and LCT through Mersey Basin Trust invite freelance consultant to draft outline plans for modest 'marina' development at Durn.


LCT is offered services of 'Business in the Community' to carry out commercial survey to supplement Local Authority Feasibility Study for the areas around the High School, Harehill House and the recreation grounds. Joint meetings with other local groups over destruction of paved road at Higher Calderbrook by North West Water. Meeting with National Grid Officials, Environmental Consultant and Local Authority Officers concerning reinstatement of access tracks over moorland. Environment Week Joint litter pick up with Stansfield School and the support of Local Authority and Groundwork. Screening of waste area at Walsden Printing. LCT awards Rif Raf for quality of work and choice of material on new extension and choice of logo.


Worked with the Groundwork Trust on the improvement of Shop Wood. Commented on the draft Rochdale UDP. Started work on text for new tourist information board at Littleborough station. (It was installed in 1996) Held clean-up at Barker's Wood. Campaigned to protect trees at Ferrand Lodge housing development. Held a public meeting on renewable energy.


Campaign to re-instate the tipped-on public footpath at Lydgate. Carried out shrub planting on station approach. Promoted the development of an Outdoor Pursuits Centre at the former High School. Campaigned to get a better redevelopment scheme for the old primary school site. Held a musical evening at the Coach House. Held a clean-up and bulb-plant at Coronation Walk. Conceived the idea of a book on the history of Littleborough.


Laid the hedge along Coronation Walk. Campaigned for better enforcement of Council's tree protection measures. Held clean up on the river by the station. Campaigned to get Shore War memorial tidied up. Held a Beer and Brass evening. Celebrated our 25th Anniversary with a social evening and tree planting at the Coach house. Campaigned for more Council resources to be given to public footpaths.


Took part in a clean-up at Shore Hurst. Organised a meeting on walking, riding and cycling at the Coach House. Arranged for the Aiggin Stone to be re-erected with the help of Construction Projects Ltd and Littleborough Lions. Campaigned against the development of housing on industrial land at Stubley Mill. Participated in a Regeneration Forum at the old High School.


Persuaded the Council to construct a footpath to Hare Hill play area. Held a clean up on land next to the cricket club. Took part in another clean up at Shore Hurst. Campaigned to have the community's views on regeneration priorities re-instated in the Regeneration Strategy. Carried out a survey of flagstone walls. Objected to the proposed diversion of footpath 123.


Involved in campaign to have Birch Hill hospital clock tower 'listed'. Commented on several Government discussion papers. Invited Council's Conservation officer to speak at a Trust Committee meeting. Launched 'The Story of Littleborough' book at the Coach House in the presence of the Trust's president, Lord Barnett.


Commented on Issues for the review of the Rochdale Unitary Development Plan. Took part in discussions about the future development of Hollingworth Lake Country Park.
Sought the 'listing' of buildings at Littleborough canal wharf.
Created and launched this website.
Organised a public meeting on the imminent restoration of the Rochdale Canal tp boating.


At the instigation of the then Chairman, John Street, funding was sought from a variety of sources to create a 'Town Design Statement for Littleborough'. Based upon a number of previously published 'Village Design Statements', this was the first attempt in the country to create a statement for a town the size of Littleborough.


Funding successfully gained from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Administered by the Countryside Agency, Phase 1 was begun, first by informing the town via a door by door mailshot of the project and inviting everyone to join in. (Don't know what we'd have done if they had!). There followed much legwork and discussion with various groups studying different aspects of the town and community. (Over a period of three years approximately 200 people from the town took part).

Tree planting ceremony at Pikehouse Lock

Tree planting ceremony in 2002 to celebrate the years of effort to reopen the canal with (from left to right) John Street (Chairman of Littleborough Civic Trust), Chris Davies M.E.P., Keith Parry (Littleborough Action Group), Lorna Fitzsimons M.P., and Councillor Irene Davidson the Mayor of Rochdale. This was at Pikehouse Lock where enthusiasts first began the epic work by removing rubbish from the lock back in the 70s


Work continues on Town Design Statement.


The Littleborough Town Design Statement, started by Littleborough Civic Trust but created by the people of Littleborough, was completed satisfactorily in the Autumn and received approval and acceptance by the Cabinet of Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council. Part of this became a Supplementary Planning Guide to the Rochdale Unitary Development Plan. Work begun in the Spring, in anticipation of a successful conclusion to the project, was continued to gain a further grant for Phase 2 which would cover the publishing and printing costs.


After much further work, checking, proof-reading etc. the document is published along with its sister publication 'The Heritage of Littleborough' (prepared in its entirety by the Littleborough Historical & Archæogical Society) and a CD disc containing both. The documents in their entirety can be read on this website if you go back to the menu page and click on Littleborough Town Design Statement or the Heritage Statement


Following discussions with the Planning Design and Conservation Officer we began to create an assessment document to enable an extension to the Central Conservation Area to be considered. Initial work concentrated on the immediate area around Littleborough Square within the existing conservation area; this work needed to be done but was also in the way of a pilot scheme to give experience in the process.

The work was approved by the Conservation Officer and it was agreed to expand this exercise northwards up Hare Hill Road.


An internal survey of Hare Hill House was carried out at the behest of the MoorEnd Development Trust. This was to facilitate the intention to take over the House from the Local Authority for the benefit of the community. A gazeteer was produced showing the many original items of design which remained, despite it being over a century since the House was last used as a home by the Newall family. It is hoped that the House will be able to be substantially returned to its former glory while being used successfully for other community beneficial purposes.


An approach was made to Rochdale Council to ask what procedure should be followed to begin the process of forming a Neighbourhood Forum for Littleborough. The response was very positive.


Work began on the formation of a Neighbourhood Forum. The designation of the 'Area of Interest' i.e. the area which would be covered by the Forum, was agreed by Pennines Township in May, as the area which had originally been that covered by the Urban District of Littleborough up to 1973 and which was also our Area of Interest. The Forum, comprising 30 people at this point, and its consititution was submitted to the Pennines Township for final approval in November.

A grant was applied for and received from the Community Development Fund to aid the work of the Forum.


Following a town-wide poll based on a questionnaire and held in December 2014, asking the residents what they wanted from the Forum and what they felt the future of Littleborough should be, work was carried out to draw all the received information together in a comprehensive report.

Late in the year the Littleborough Neighbourhood Forum separated formally from the Trust, beginning its own meetings rather than as an adjunct to the Trust's.

Following a loss of membership the Littleborough Civic Trust was saved from its demise and resurrected following a public meeting in November.

Before a new structure could be properly established, the Boxing Day floods somewhat overtook proceedings. However, Littleborough Civic Trust was very actively involved in the aftermath, with the new committee members providing various functions and services for those evacuated from their homes.


The first (January) meeting was ‘flood specific’, reviewing what had been provided and could more be done in the way of prevention etc. LCT requested that the findings of Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council be made public.

A Flood Resilience Group was formed, working in partnership with the National Flood Forum.

A new constitution was compiled and eventually accepted by the Charities Commission after a very lengthy process running into 2017.

All local planning applications began to be monitored by all committee members, so that issues could be raised, for or against, at future meetings.

Interest was taken in the former Co-op Dance Hall, as it had been acquired by a developer. Interesting artefacts existed in the premises and needed preserving.

It was recognised that the car parking facilities are sadly lacking in Littleborough and affect both business and tourism.

The local Canalside Development Group was incorporated into LCT and a sub-committee formed. This brought with it a 22ft. narrowboat, with the idea being suggested to turn it into a canal-side floating café.


Littleborough Neighbourhood Forum was officially discontinued, having served a very useful purpose in the past.

Barkers Wood; a local small wooded area was obtained by agreement from RMBC and the former Rochdale Civic Society.

Links were forged with Greater Manchester Resilience Forum and also the Environment Agency, including participation with the latter, assisting them to enhance the flood forecasting capability of their website.