Bents Farm

National News

Late Night Licensed Premises
Preventing Noise and Other Nuisance
A Residents' and Neighbours' Guide

This is a summary of the main points of a document published by the Institute of Alcohol Studies and the Civic Trust:

The Licensing Act 2003

An Introduction - The Licensing Act 2003 introduces a totally new system of licensing. It is a very lengthy and complex Act and this short guide can only summarise the main points. However, in some ways it is clearer than the old system. All licences are now dealt with by your local council. There are now just two types:

A personal licence which licences a suitably qualified person over 18 to sell alcohol.

A premises licence which licences the place where 'licensable activities' take place. This is most commonly selling alcohol in pubs, bars and restaurants but also can include such things as putting on live music, dancing, 'adult entertainment' or a boxing match. For people living and working nearby, it is a premises licence that they are most likely to be concerned with. The building where licensable activities take place and the customers arriving and leaving is usually the main source of complaint. In future premises licences will not have to be renewed and will last for the life of the business so it is important that the person applying for the licence and the licensing authority get it right when the variation is first granted so that the premises does not cause problems to those who surround them.

You may also have heard talk of '24 hour licensing'. Under the Licensing Act 2003 there will no longer be any standard closing times and each premises can potentially apply to stay open for 24 hours. Indeed all existing licences are protected by what the Government calls 'grandfather rights' so that existing licences can be transferred to the new system with exactly the same hours and activities as they held before the date of transition.

Many places will want to trade longer, either for a few nights a week such as Friday and Saturday or perhaps every night or they may want to put on new activities – such as providing live music. This guide is to help you if you have concerns about such longer hours or activities and how to have your say.

Your local authority has produced a local licensing policy statement. Have a look at it because it will set out the policies of the council in respect of licensing. In making any complaint you may be able to quote some of the council's own policies to support your arguments. It may also help to explain the procedures you should follow. In some areas that already have a large number of licensed premises, it may have designated them as areas of cumulative impact. This allows the authority to have a policy to refuse all new licence applications (although each application that is made still has to be considered on its merits so even in an area of cumulative impact you may still need to lodge an objection). Local policies have to be reviewed every three years so you can always write in and suggest changes to the policies if you don't agree with them.

1. Making Representations

There are two ways in which you can make your views known.

Firstly, if a premises wishes to open longer or vary its activities from those it provides currently, it must apply for a variation of its licence. You can make objections (which are called representations) about the proposal to vary the licence. You can also do so if it is a new premises which is planned, being built or converted. This is an application for a provisional statement. If your representations are accepted by the council in relation to variations or provisional statements, it may mean the application is simply refused or that safeguards are put in place by way of conditions to the licence or the hours or activities are cut back.

Secondly, if the premises licence has been varied and starts causing you problems in the way it is being run (or even if an existing 'grandfather' licence starts to cause problems) you can also make representations and ask for a review of the premises licence. This can also result in a range of sanctions, from new conditions being imposed or the hours or activities being cut back to the licence being suspended for a period or even taken away for good. This is a new and potentially very effective power for residents and neighbours to get something done about a licensed premises that is causing problems. But the onus is on you to initiate the review.

All representations must be based on evidence - not prejudice, bias or unprovable fears. Representations that are not backed up by evidence are regarded as frivolous objections and will not be listened to. You also can't keep repeating objections to a license for the same premises on the same grounds if the council has heard your reasons and doesn't agree with them. If you do your objections will be regarded as repetitious objections and again they won't be listened to. You cannot object just because you are involved with another licensed premises and don't like the thought of new competition. Such representations would be called vexatious objections and also won't count.

Finally, you have to live or work within the vicinity of the premises, though this is not defined, so the key is to demonstrate a clear connection with the premises you are complaining about.

2. Relevant Representations

So it is important to make sure your representations are not frivolous, repetitious or vexatious and that you are someone in the vicinity of the licensed premises. But there is one more even more important thing you must think about. Your views must be relevant, relevant that is to the four licensing objectives of the Licensing Act 2003. These four licensing objectives are the only things that can be considered in deciding whether or not an applicant gets a licence and any representations you make must relate in some clear way to them.

They are:

These are key words and cannot be emphasised too highly.

If you need help in framing your objections contact your local authority and ask to speak to someone dealing with premises licences for alcohol and entertainment.

Also look up your local Citizens Advice Bureau and ask them for advice.

Compiled by Mathew Bennett on behalf of the 'Open All Hours?' network of civic societies and community organisations.


Off Road Motorbikes and Quadbikes

There have been many letters recently, some for, some against, the use of the above on our moors, paths, bridleways and canal towpaths. The following article taken from the "Civic Society Briefing, Number 36" may help to clarify some points.

Green Lanes

Inappropriate use of public rights of way by mechanically propelled vehicles will be curtailed via legislation, Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael, confirmed on 20th January 2005. This follows a Defra consultation on proposals to address widespread concern about the use of ancient and often fragile tracks by motor bikes, quad bikes and 4x4s. It will put an end to the situation whereby modern mechanically propelled vehicles can claim to have rights because of the historic use by horse-drawn vehicles.
The full response, "The Government's Framework for Action", and the Defra research report which accompanies it, are published online at;


Local News of Littleborough Civic Trust

Littleborough Civic Trust is always keen to hear from people interested in getting involved in it's work to conserve and enhance the environment of Littleborough. To this end we have recently distributed 1000 leaflets entitled "Littleborough… is your Town," mainly to the newer houses in the town. If anyone, who has not received one, would like to read it, free copies are available from the Coach House or the Visitors Centre.


Housing, Planners & Developers

Hollingworth Lake

How lucky you are in Littleborough to have the canal and Hollingworth Lake in the town.
We're doing our best in Whitworth with the mills in the Spodden Valley, our end of Healey Dell (the best end, actually), the old railway line and Hallfold Lodge but, like you, we're constantly being knocked back by this Kow-towing to the developers.
What's so special about them, apart from their money?
Who asked them to run our lives?

We didn't elect them but somehow they've become synonymous with our Borough Councils. What is Local Government for if not to provide us with a reasonable way of life?
It's time to stand up and be counted. Our M.P's should be looking for a way by which we can turn down a rotten planning application without incurring damaging legal costs. The developers have a right of appeal but we have none. We just have to live with this abysmal planning system and its dire consequences.

Instead of splitting into so many practically indistinguishable political parties, let's all get together to fight for our villages, towns and the world. We'll have a new motto, "Watch out, John Prescott's about," or maybe what I heard a comedian singing on TV one night, "Whatever the government says, I'm against it."
What do you say? I'm all for it.

Betty H Taylor


Transport of the Future!!!

Being able to travel around the Borough is something many of us take for granted. Journeys to work, school or college, to see friends and family, to the shops, to health care appointments, or to leisure facilities are made by most people everyday. We have all experienced the congestion during school-run hours, the gridlock whenever there is an accident on the M62, the major congestion around Hollingworth Lake during summer weekends and the general congestion at other peak times.
Well now you can do something about it.

In the next few months the Council must decide where it wants to make improvements on a variety of transport and road issues in the Borough in the five years between 2006 - 2011.
The Council has its own ideas and plans, but transport officers actually want to hear yours.
Any plans will work only if they offer real solutions to the problems faced by people who regularly make local journeys.
The Council, along with the other nine local Councils in Greater Manchester, and the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport authority, is drawing up plans for spending on transport as they bid for Government money to pay for them.
Our plans, which could incorporate your ideas and suggestions, will be presented to the government in March 2006.

You can log on to their website at: (No longer accessible - Web Editor)

Alternately, you can apply for an information pack and send your comments to: Greater Manchester Joint Transport Team, GMPTE, 9 Portland Street, Piccadilly Gardens, or you can fax 0161-242-6082 or E-mail: (No longer accessible - Web Editor)

So do it!!!!

Article taken from free newspaper, Local Matters, Issue No 6, July 2005, and re-written by Tony Smith.


Littleborough Flower Meadow

Early September should see the beginning of the long awaited and greatly discussed Flower Meadow, transforming over a period, the old Gas Works field off Hare Hill Road.

Rochdale M.B.C. Environment Department are presently preparing fencing and gates of various sizes and shapes, all towards an effort to secure the field from motor cyclists and horse riders. Once this has been completed and funding secured, then B.T.C.V. (British Trust for Conservation Volunteers) staff and volunteers will undertake preparation of wildflower seeding sites. This could involve local groups and trust members in the planting activities along with providing training opportunity through B.T.C.V. Institute.

During the course of the first two years various procedures will have to be followed including numerous mowings to encourage good root development. There will be different seed mixes used in the appropriate sections of the field i.e. summer meadow, butterfly border and damp meadow. Woodland wildflower seeds, primrose plugs, snowdrop bulbs and wood anemones within the wooded areas.

The three main paths crossing the field will be improved with timber edging and gravel surfaces.

Procedures and progress will all be interesting and exciting to watch but it will be at least two years before any real flower meadow will be established.

We would like to appeal to anyone over-run with ENGLISH bluebells in their gardens. Would they be willing to donate a few plants?

Jill Roberts


Thoughts About Ellenroad Engine House

Sitting with my pen in my hand, the spirit was willing but nothing was getting down on paper.

Was the irritation because Ellenroad was somewhere I had never visited despite living in Littleborough for some 45 years. More irritation with the fact I spent an enormous amount of time, like four years, before the Millenium, compiling material for the "Story of Littleborough", book, and that did not make a connection which would say "drop everything and visit Ellenroad". This line of thought did not really help either. Things were getting serious so I thought "time for a good excuse". The reason was that I was telling the Story of Littleborough and the Engine House is in Milnrow. The pleasure was transient and within five minutes the idea appeared completely daft.

How could you write at length about Littleborough but leave out an example of so much that happened in what became known as the Industrial Revolution? So for anyone who remembers a song with the words:

"Shootin and Huntin and a fightin.
So many wrongs that need a rightin"

Humbled in spirit I looked at my diary to find a 1st Sunday in a month that was free to make a visit. For anyone who does not know, the Engine House and Chimney nestle on the south side of the M62 Motorway and is easily accessed by following the A640 out of Rochdale and, after passing under the M62, turn right down a road to a small industrial park and straight in front of you is the old engine house with its adjoining massive chimney.

The history that these remains illustrate is quite dramatic. The first Ellenroad Mill was built in 1892 and produced cotton yarn using Mule Spinning. The mill machinery was driven by belts which were in turn driven by a great engine which got its power from steam. In 1916 disaster struck when a fire destroyed the whole of the cotton mill except what you see today. It was decided that the mill should be rebuilt and this happened in 1921. It was powered by two great 3000 horse power engines called Victoria and Alexandra. The fly wheel weighs 80 tons and it powered line shafts through 44 ropes onto five floors of the newly built mill. The mill was electrified in 1975 and Lancashire's last great steam engines were closed down. The mill only lasted until 1985 when it was demolished.

The engine house, a boiler house and the 220ft high chimney were retained on the site. In 1985 the Elland Road Trust was formed and the original coal fire boilers were restarted to drive the 1842 Beam engine (which came originally from the Whitelees Mill in Littleborough).

The whole reason for all the above detail is to say what a fantastic job the volunteers have done to keep this mass of heritage in realistic working order and build around it features like a café, a bookshop, exhibition areas and displays, all in support of bringing two great historical engines back to life in a totally realistic atmosphere. As you walk through the various rooms you can sense the excitement of the people who created these enormous working tools. The pride of our Victorian predecessors can be felt when you wonder at people who happily sent an employee to China because that was the only source of the correct paint for one of the monitoring devices.

To help us grasp what was achieved, the walls of the engine rooms are covered with paintings, drawings, stories, all illustrating the ingenuity and sheer determination of our predecessors. They were conscious of the enormous growth in opportunity.

In Littleborough we are privileged to have such a quality site on our doorstep. The experience is invaluable for adults but perhaps even more for children and young people.

Just a few comments:
Access is easy by road – just off Junction 21 of the M62 and there are railway stations at Milnrow and Newhey. Telephone 01706 881952 for a recorded message for all events and a summary of facilities.

John Street.


A Further Tribute to Keith Parry

Like a lot of people in Littleborough I first became 'aware' of Keith Parry when he helped his brother in their shoe shop on Hare Hill Road, and possibly the occasional article in the 'Observer'. At some point a series of plays, written by Keith began to appear on BBC, Radio 4, with names like Bogart Hole Clough and Dr. Baterchargee making an appearance, I tried to listen to as many of these as I could.

Keith was ever ready to extol the history, and significance, of the area around Littleborough in general, and the canal in particular. Never was this brought home to me so much as on one particular day when I turned up at the 'Square' to join Keith on one of his lecture tours. He, along with Richard Evans, often did these history walks which were always very interesting and informative. I turned up at the appointed time, met Keith, and we waited, and waited, but no one else appeared, so Keith and I set off, and he told me almost the whole story of Littleborough on that walk around the Borough. He did explain to someone we met on the way, that he would rather pass his knowledge on to just one person, than to no one at all.

Then, of course there were the Christmas lights. Rochdale (Scrooge) MBC would not put lights up in Littleborough so the Action group, of which Keith was Chairman, decided that they would buy some lights, and put them up themselves, and that is just what they did.

Littleborough owes a lot to Keith Parry, possibly more than most of the people living here will ever know.

Russell Johnson.



Having deviated from the Pennine Way while out walking, taking the back path around Warland Reservoir, I came to rejoin the main path at the southerly end of the reservoir.

Two men and a dog. Jed Stone is on the right.

There, sat on one of the discarded stones, was this guy with a large backpack which he had temporarily relieved himself of. I didn't know him from Adam and nodded and said 'Good morning', as you do when you're in the countryside, meaning to then walk on.

My two dogs had other ideas!

He also had a dog and they conversed together for a few seconds and then my two went to Jed and he made a fuss of them. I stopped and we exchanged a few comments about this and that and the weather. That's when I found out his name and the fact that he was walking from John O' Groats to Lands End. It was no wonder he needed a rest!

He got up and heaved his load back onto his shoulders and we set off together heading for the White House where I'd left my car. It turned out he had begun his walk on the 1st of May and was then about six weeks into his epic journey it then being mid-June.

After a few minutes walking we met a chap coming the other way equally burdened and we stopped to talk. I could hardly believe it when he told us he was walking from Land's End to John O' Groats and he also had started out on the 1st of May! They decided they must be half way to meet at that point considering their starting dates were the same. I recorded the event with a photograph but unfortunately never found out the other man's name.

So now you know. Littleborough is half way between Land's End and John O' Groats.

Iain S Gerrard


Friends of Littleborough Station

Report following the launch meeting held on 28th June at the Littleborough Campus.
It was agreed unanimously that the Group be formed.

The first main objectives would be:

There was a most constructive open forum in which members pointed out:

  1. That an improved station would attract more passengers thus helping the local traffic problem and the environment.
  2. A welcoming, well kept and interesting station would contribute to increasing tourism and regeneration for not only Littleborough but the whole Borough of Rochdale.

(Association of Communities of Rail Partnership)
John Street gave a report back on the recent first national conference of the above.
After he outlined the benefits that would come from membership, it was agreed that the group, when registered, would join. There are more than 70 member groups working within a Government framework/White Paper released in December 2004.

Access to Platforms.
There were several suggestions on where to start (which has been a thorny problem for years). However, Councillor Rosemary Jones has struggled with this issue for some time. Once more she had made several enquiries on this and finally received a response from an R.M.B.C Engineer and design drawings illustrating two proposed ramps/walkways to each platform. Our Councillor said she hoped she would be able to access funding "at least for the easier one" to the Manchester Platform.

(Note: This whole positive approach may well only come with the White Paper mentioned above and the new-found government enthusiasm and the practical support they are giving to the A.C.O.R.P. structure and interested local support groups. A well structured request may well have a good chance of being financially authorized for the whole job).
The second meeting was held on Tuesday 23rd August at 7.30pm at Littleborough Community Campus, when a simple constitution was adopted and the following officers elected to the committee:

Chairman: John Stanley
Secretary: Sophie Rajraji
Treasurer: Dilys Pearson

Sophie Rajraji: tel. no. 01706 377843
Rae Street: tel. no. 01706 378043


A Little on the Lighter Side

How to Give your Cat a Pill
Pick up cat and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat's mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth, pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.

Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.
Retrieve cat from bedroom, and throw soggy pill away.

Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm, holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of ten.
Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe. Call spouse from garden.

Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, hold front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat's throat vigorously.
Retrieve cat from curtain rail, get another pill from foil wrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered figurines and vases from hearth and set to one side for gluing later.

Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to lie on cat with head just visible from below armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw. Check label to make sure pill is not harmful to humans, drink 1 beer to take taste away. Apply Band-Aid to spouse's forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap. Retrieve cat from neighbour's shed. Get another pill. Open another beer.

Place cat in cupboard, and close door on to neck, to leave head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with elastic band.

Fetch screwdriver from garage and put cupboard door back on hinges. Drink beer. Fetch bottle of scotch. Pour shot, drink. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus shot. Apply whisky compress to cheek to disinfect. Toss back another shot. Throw Tee shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.
Call fire department to retrieve the damn cat from across the road. Apologise to neighbour who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take last pill from foil wrap.

Tie the little **!&**/*!'s front paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table, find heavy-duty pruning gloves from shed. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of fillet steak. Be rough about it. Hold head vertically and pour 2 pints of water down throat to wash pill down.

Consume remainder of scotch. Get spouse to drive you to the emergency room, sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Call furniture shop on way home to order new table.

Arrange for R.S.P.C.A. to collect cat-from-hell and call local pet shop to see if they have any hamsters.

How to Give a Dog a Pill
Wrap it in bacon. Toss it in the air.



Winning is not a sometime thing; it's an all-time thing. You don't win once in a while, you don't do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.
Vince Lombardi

First you forget names, then you forget faces, then you forget to pull your zipper up, then you forget to pull your zipper down.
Leo Rosenburg

Editor: Brian Walker