Littleborough Civic Trust
Chairman's Report 2018
Littleborough Civic Trust has continued with the theme of protecting Littleborough’s heritage and history by working with other groups/agencies in an attempt to conserve the village we currently have, in a state of equilibrium amenable to all concerned.
Under the Chairmanship of Peter Hook, concerns were still being voiced about the future of the former Proofings site. However, the matter was resolved in 2018 by the significant fire which led to the demolition.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly scheme was discussed with an anticipation that ‘judging’ would be made in January 2018.
Civic Day was also discussed with various options for an event or competition, to raise the profile of Littleborough Civic Trust. No further action was taken due to varying circumstances.
Local tourist information signage was a concern and a working party was set up via Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council to rectify anomalies etc. Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council's Conservation Officer position is currently vacant; causing a pause in proceedings.
However, progress has been made and the group hope to submit proposals to Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council by December to extend the area.
Littleborough Civic Trust began working with the Remembrance Day committee consisting of various groups and a significant role of ‘timings’ was carried out by Littleborough Civic Trust during the service.
The Homes and Communities Agency (now known as Homes England) purchased the former Akzo Nobel site on Hollingworth Road and Littleborough Civic Trust at the time had intentions to become involved.
Littleborough Civic Trust’s floating café boat project unfortunately met with little assistance from Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council in securing a storage in the former council yard building at Schofield Street despite enquiries by local councillors.
By mutual consent it was decided that Littleborough Neighbourhood Forum had run its course and achieved its objectives and moves were made to officially close it down.
A planning application submitted for the building of 58 properties on New Road, Dearnley: Littleborough Civic Trust had concerns regarding this build due to the possibility of increasing the flooding risks in the area. However, a local residents group exists which is opposed to this development.
Littleborough Civic Trust’s local signage group looked at establishing a Littleborough Tourist Trail with associated signage, as a priority they envisaged designing an events board to be situated in Littleborough Centre for use by all groups.
It was agreed that we should celebrate Civic Day in June. The main proposal was for ‘Rock in the Park’ on Saturday 16th June 2018. However, later in the year it was discovered that many events take place in Hare Hill Park and that another was not really necessary.
The Conservation Area Group met with Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council’s Conservation Officer with a view to extending the Central conservation area to include the Co-op housing on Bare Hill Street, Hare Hill House and Hare Hill Park.
Littleborough Civic Trust’s Flood Resilience Group began more involvement with National Flood Forum and the Environment Agency.
A grant was applied for from the Crook Hill Funding Scheme to develop a Children’s Play Area on land by Barker’s Wood.
A ‘Tourist Trail’ map was completed by the local signage group. Discussions are under way to explore the possibilities of acquiring S106 monies to fund appropriate signage.
Local councillors presented with concerns regarding gritting/snow ploughing etc., following the ‘Beast from The East’ storm.
An opportunity was identified of the possibility to work with Manchester University on projects which benefited the local community and this was taken up.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly scheme winners and losers were announced.
The Canalside Development Group planning application was submitted to Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council for the siting of the Cafe Boat on the Canal. An objection to this application was lodged but the application was eventually approved. There was still nowhere to store the boat during restoration. Acquired some parts that are needed for the restoration.
Taylor Wimpey distributed leaflets regarding a proposed development of 250 houses on land at Smithybridge Road, which would seriously congest an already gridlocked Littleborough. Littleborough Civic Trust would be opposed to the development on that basis and a letter was sent to this effect.
A grant of £665 was allocated to take the project forward working with Manchester Metropolitan University to gather data regarding flooding in the Littleborough area with a view to recommendations for flood alleviation.
Some Littleborough Civic Trust members met with Homes England regarding the Akzo Nobel site to explore any strategy Homes England might have.
Homes England intends to arrange a public meeting for the community to discuss resident’s issues. Homes England were given a copy of the Township Design Statement for them to peruse. They stated they may put the site out to tender sometime in July and obviously at some point will have to recoup the £11 million they paid for the site. No tender was issued.
Unfortunately, Peter Hook resigned his position as Chairman due to personal reasons and the following were unanimously elected to interim positions until November’s Annual General Meeting
A proposal emerged regarding the possible building of a new school on playing fields situated adjacent to Littleborough Cricket Club/ Littleborough Community School. It was felt that any discussion on the proposed new school development recently approved by Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council, should wait until more constructive public discussions could take within the Borough.
An attempt was made to contact Homes England and there was cause for concern that a brick wall is put up at every attempt to contact their representative.
Julian Farnell and a local farmer have attempted to move the boat on its trailer to the farmer’s premises for fitting out. Due to the fact that it has sat on the trailer for a considerable period of time, without any movement, difficulties were encountered with the brakes seized on. However, it was eventually moved.
Littleborough Civic Trust had been in contact with the Highways department for a number of months trying to get them to improve the mini roundabout in the centre of Littleborough and other anomalies regarding road safety. Now completed.
A planning application was submitted by Network Rail to remove the steps at Littleborough Railway Station to facilitate the lengthening of Platform 2. It was suggested that we get a copy of the planning application and discuss at the next meeting as to whether Littleborough Civic Trust should become involved.
Some concern regarding the approval of planning permission for houses to be built at New Road but various agencies have been informed and are aware of the flood risk.
There were suspicions that Taylor Wimpey already own land at the proposed development site off Smithybridge Road. Unconfirmed.
Railway Station – Network Rail‘s prior approval to works’ regarding the lengthening of the platform and change of steps access to the station: Littleborough Civic Trust had no objection to the improvement of the station but feel that the proposed position of the new steps is unacceptable. A suggestion for a different position will be put to Network Rail.
Discussion took place regards banners and posters being displayed in the centre of Littleborough that are inappropriate in size and colour. A careful eye will be kept on the situation and Littleborough Civic Trust will inform Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council if necessary regarding contraventions of the Conservation Area.
Network Rail came to address the committee regarding the proposed changes to Littleborough Railway Station as Littleborough Civic Trust had raised concerns regarding the moving of the access steps. They informed the meeting that Network Rail had an obligation to increase its train size to six carriages by December.
To achieve this the platforms on both sides of the track needed extending and in doing so meant the steps on the Manchester to Leeds platform would need moving. Network Rail submitted a Prior Approval Application to Rochdale Council which was approved. They discussed the rationale behind this application and assured the meeting all would be done to keep the look of the station as they were aware in was within a Conservation Area. It would seem that as permission has been granted the work will go ahead. Littleborough Civic Trust still has concerns that Network Rail will use various Railway Acts of Parliament to achieve their objective regardless of local concerns.
Members of the Flood Resilience Group attended a workshop with the National Flood Forum and Manchester Metropolitan University. This meeting was to discuss the application for funding to pursue various activities regarding flooding in the Littleborough area. Updates will be given on progress and the project is looking productive.
The Café Boat. Refurbishment is now under way.
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