Picture: Pecket Wells

The newsletter editor is always pleased to receive contributions to be considered for inclusion. The views expressed in the newsletter do not necessarily reflect official LCT policy or opinion.

It is expected that anyone who wishes to make use of any material from the newsletter will seek the approval of the editor.

OFFICIALS OF LITTLEBOROUGH CIVIC TRUST

Chairwoman: Judith Schofield, 4, Bottoms, Crag Vale. 0422 885173

Vice Chairman:John Street, Calder Cottage. 378043

Secretary: Michael Farrell, 41, Hollingworth Road, Littleborough. Tel. 370154

Treasurer: Peter Jackson, 8 Chelburn View, Littleborough. Tel. 373112

Membership Secretary: Lincoln Jackson, 1 Moorfield View, Shore. Tel. 370542

Minutes Secretary: Chris Wilkinson, 3, Fair View, Littleborough. 374020

COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Dan Docker, 93 Church Street, Littleborough. Tel. 372001
David Hall, 6 Nelson Street, Littleborough.
Don Pickis, Lightowlers. 378849.
Betty Pickis, Lightowlers. 378849.
Jill Roberts, 12 Whitfield Brow, Todmorden Road.74175
Rae Street, Calder Cottage. 378043
Joe Taylor, 136a Market Street, Whitworth. 344711

Please pass on any suggestions that you have about the Trust and its work to any of the above.

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Annual General Meeting

After Civic Trust members and visitors were welcomed to the meeting, Trevor Cryer who had agreed to chair the business of the AGM, called on Don Pickis, retiring Civic Trust Chairman, to make his report on the year's activities 1993/4.

Chairman's Report

The Trust had opened its previous year with detailed consideration of the Council's Unitary Development Plan. The Trust's comments had been in response to road proposals, the extension of the Green Belt and the protection of green corridors. In addition it had urged the Local Authority to upgrade its waste disposal incinerator, to press for a most stringent regulation of tipping and to make a clear statement in favour of the statutory protection of Common Land.

The retiring Chairman stressed the continuing importance of Partnership as a key to the success of worthwhile projects of enduring value. He cited the involvement of children from Stansfield Hall Primary School in a litter clean-up during Environment Week 1993, a project which had also involved Courtaulds and Walsden Printing in tidying their own premises.

Again the work of the Tree Nursery had benefited from the gift to the community, of land at Bent's Farm, by Mrs Barker for establishing a plantation. Rochdale M.B.C. , the Pennine Woodland Trust, pupils from three Littleborough Primary Schools, LCT and local families together planted eleven hundred "whips" on site in late Autumn 1993. A further planting of the first seedlings from the Tree Nursery, of oak and ash, was carried out in spring 1994. Pupils from yet another Primary School were assisted by Jon Lindsay, Managing Director of Courtaulds Plc who had provided the Tree Nursery site for the Civic Trust.

The Civic Trust's involvement with the Outdoor Pursuits and Leisure Centre proposed for the former High School Science Block, continued during the year. All major obstacles appeared to have been cleared leaving the way open for serious fund raising to begin.

Very recently the Trust had become involved in the debate about renewable sources of energy with particular regard to proposed Wind Turbines at Oxenhope, Hebden Bridge and Great Hill. The various effects, including the serious loss of landscape amenity, that these developments would have on open moorland, could be inferred from the schemes already in existence at Cliviger and Ovenden.

Looking to the future, there was clearly a need to widen the scope and age range of Civic Trust membership. The ready and enthusiastic work of local schools in helping with tree planting gave a strong indication of where amenity groups should took to encourage new growth and new ideas. Supporters and guardians of the environment who take a lead in future are increasingly likely to come from practitioners who have acquired practical experience from an early age.

Concluding, the Chairman thanked all committee members for their work and support during the year and mentioned specially Pauline Hopkinson also retiring, whose association with the Trust wen! back fifteen years and had involved work as Minutes Secretary1 and active support of the Tree Nursery.

Treasurer's Report

In taking members through the annual statement the Treasurer, Peter Jackson, explained that he had presented as full a picture as possible of (he Trust's financial position. This required that all its assets, actual or potential, should be shown; unsold publications, for instance, had been valued at their original price. A decision to write down their value would have to be made by the committee before a change could be shown in next year's accounts.

Footpath's Report

Michael Farrell reported on a year of progress and hopes for further progress with a new Definitive Footpath Map review and renewed co-operation from the Local Authority's Footpath Officer. For the record, the Civic Trust's Footpath Group had managed to average 26 walks per year for 20 years!!!

Officers Elected

As shown on inside cover.

Photograph: Barn owl

Barn Owl

At the conclusion of AGM business, the Trust welcomed Len Hadfield of the Three Owls Sanctuary, Norden. Len gave us a brief history of the Sanctuary and of the work of its Founder, Mrs Eileen Watkinson MBE.

A brief video set the context for us clearly. Len's personal experience of work as a volunteer at the Reserve and his close observation of individual characters among the Sanctuary's 'residents' enabled him to communicate the enthusiasm he has for the natural world. It was very clear that social pressures among the birds changed under the care of the Sanctuary and created changes in habit, behaviour and relationships. The impact of the changes in social pressure is no less powerful than that which occurs as a result of similar pressures among human beings. The picture of five tawny owls perched side by side in an aviary shared with a pair of kestrels raises a host of questions.

We were very grateful for a fascinating insight into the work of the Sanctuary.

The Sanctuary is located at the end of Norden Village, signposted left, just before the main Edenfield Road takes a steep climb towards the moors. (Casualties accepted 9am - 5pm, 7 days a week. Tel: 42162. Visitors, Sunday 2pm - 5pm.)

Don Pickis

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* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Silhouette of man planting tree
Silhouette of man planting tree (picture reversed)

AND DON'T FORGET....

HELP needed please - just an hour (more if possible) - any first Saturday of any month at the Tree Nursery, Todmorden Road. Alternative dates can be arranged to suit individual requirements! EVERYONE welcome. Tel: 0422 885173 Judith Schofield, if further information needed.

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SHOP WOOD

The Shop Wood valley lies between Calderbrook Road, near the fisheries and the considerably lower Todmorden Road. For this article the summary given in our Civic Trust publication 'Walks in Littleborough' will serve as an historical introduction:

"Shop Wood gains its name from the 'workshop' at the head of the valley and to past and future vegetation. Planting originally took place in this area in 1919 to help regenerate land tipped with many tons of ashes taken from boilers of nearby mills. More recently the Local Authority again improved the valley under an M.S.C. scheme. Further tree and bulb planting has subsequently been carried out by the Civic Trust."

An unwelcome development has been the tipping of industrial and domestic waste into the valley recently. In summer the vegetation hides much of the waste but in winter and spring the extent of the dumping is all too apparent.

In 1994 the issue of cleaning up Shop Wood was raised again. The footpath down the valley has suffered much damage. A plan emerged in co-operation with Groundwork Trust to complete modest fencing repairs and re-channel the surface water away from the path; the Civic Trust volunteered to pick up the litter from the top end of the valley. Civic Trust members with help from local school children achieved the clean-up, the local Community Council found us a skip for the rubbish and now the Groundwork Trust are out there (complete with Portaloo!) doing the physical improvement.

So why am I telling you? The interesting thing is how a project can escalate with benefit to us all. On checking up progress of the Groundwork Trust, their worker allocated to the job explained to me his manful struggle against many odds to draw together money, people and resources. Plans were drawn, photographs taken - believe me. As we talked, it became clear that to clean the top half of the valley was good, to clean up the whole was better. Some fencing was fine but real demarcation between Jute Mill, the estate and the valley would have positive advantages. Then there are three paths and they all need repair.

Rapidly our April/June Clean up became a trial run and a plan was hatched. From a recent Civic Trust Committee meeting we had been advised of a Mersey Basin Campaign from 7 - 10 October 1994 when any environmental improvement by their members (us) would qualify for support and publicity. A quick look at a road atlas confirmed our little stream and drainage channel ended up in the mighty basin and we were half way to completing our application form. We formally approached Groundwork Trust and got whole-hearted support. They can sometimes get access to funds but the chance improves by quantum leaps if the client can find even modest sums.

Back to the Mersey Basin Trust and, hooray, we have a pledge for £100! Within a week a project plan comes through the letter box from Groundwork. Next step is our local Councillor, Allen Booth. Please could he find us a permanent (OK 6 months) loan of a skip to put between the estate and the valley? Could it also be cleared regularly and could we leaflet all the houses on the estate to ask their support for a cleaner Shop Wood? As a politician he can't say yes - he has to ask. As a Littleborough man his support is instant.

We are still building on the project but already some icing on the cake is visible. The Mersey Basin Campaign promises to leaflet libraries, countryside and information centres with 20.000 sheets. Publicity is their adrenalin and they are even threatening a social event for those taking part.

At the heart of this project is the serious business of following in the steps of Gordon Harvey and recognising what a good place Littleborough is to live in, and trying to do a bit more to make it better. Will any one who reads this piece please have a quick look in the diary and why not pencil in "see if they need any help 7 -10 October". Then contact us in August. You will meet lots of people and it is really quite fun in small amounts.

John Street, Vice Chairman.

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"AGGRAVATED TRESPASS"

Photograph: Keep out signs pinned to tree trunk

The Ramblers' Association has become very concerned about the possible implications of the sweeping new 'Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill' currently going through Parliament. Although the Bill appearaggrs to be primarily directed against squatters, new age travellers and hunt saboteurs, they feel that certain provisions could be used by landowners to call in the police against walkers on the grounds that they have committed the new offence of "aggravated trespass".

There appear to be no grounds for concern for walkers who stick to public rights of way on the Definitive Map, common land or agreed access areas but landowners might have a case where a right of way was being claimed but had not yet been proved or where walkers were on a Mass Trespass (a la Kinder Scout 1932) to highlight closed access. It is also of particular concern in Scotland where rights of way are not so tightly defined. As far as Littleborough is concerned, the Bill would be unlikely to cause problems, the Savile Moors above Hebden Bridge being the likely stage for controversy.

The Association have therefore decided to press the Home Secretary, Michael Howard for amendments to the Bill which they feel would give some protection to walkers against criminal prosecution for aggravated trespass. These have been carefully drafted and the R.A. is looking for support from other organisations and individuals, urging them to write to the Home Secretary and/or their MP in support of the amendments. Accordingly the Civic Trust Committee has decided to write to Michael Howard and Geoffrey Dickens.

The amendments themselves are highly technical and legalistic so I won't reproduce them here but I would be pleased to supply copies to anyone interested. Please contact me on 370154.

Michael Farrell, Secretary.

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Symposium on Alternative and Renewable Energy - Public Meeting 24th May 1994

If the 'Energy Scene’ and the debate about sources, resources and methods induces a craving for information on which to base a balanced judgement, Crispin Aubrey's contribution to the process on 24th May must have been welcome. Set in the present context of controversy, propaganda, extravagant claims and perhaps most disturbing of all, rapid change, a patient review of recent trials, experiments and schemes, helped his audience establish a perspective.

Photograph: Turbines on moorland

The basic power resources of wind, sun, water and geothermal were all referred to, as well as the fossil fuel resources of gas, oil and coal. Using slide illustrations to explain how both new and well-tried technologies were being employed in an attempt to enhance efficiency, Crispin Aubrey helped us appreciate the range of resources available to us and the variety of attempts being made to harness them.

Our failure to avoid wasting electricity stood out as one of the most important issues in the current debate. Ironically, several people complained at this point about the excessive heat in the meeting room. This, it was pointed out by the chairman arose because we were benefiting from the extra heat generated by the aerobics class who had used the hall before our meeting!

In the matter of energy conservation, it appears Britain 'lags' behind - trails behind, is ‘left out in the cold', in comparison with other northern hemisphere countries in Europe and North America.

Our standards of insulation are generally quite inadequate for serious energy conservation which, it is estimated, might cut household fuel bills by 20% if thorough saving schemes were adopted. (All domestic fuel costs will be vatable at 17.5% from the 1st May 1995!).

We were told that currently the U.K. has a 30% surplus of energy generating capacity.

If conservation were made to work, where would be the need to rush into heavily subsidised innovations, some of which are of doubtful long-term value or earn hidden costs for which future generations may pay dearly?

The undoubted need to conserve finite resources was made clear: the need to develop cost effective new technologies based on renewable resources was likewise established. Comments and questions from members of the audience confirmed deep-rooted concern over the long-term penalties of a nuclear generating system as well as its more spectacular operating disasters.

Our other speaker, Mark Tyrer, made the case for clean coal technology in energy generation, clearly and eloquently. With the efficient use of waste heat from clean generation schemes, an 80% conversion rate of energy from coal is claimed.

In thanking both speakers for their contribution to the symposium, the Chairman, Don Pickis, referred to the particular issue currently causing much concern in the South Pennines area: that of proposed Wind Turbine developments. Excluding all other controversial aspects of these schemes, he suggested the most harmful effect locally would be to undermine drastically the growing potential of the region for Tourism.

The meeting was attended by some fifty people among whom seven amenity groups were represented.

Don Pickis.

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FOOTPATH WALKS

Details of the Footpath Walks for July and August were given in the last edition of the Newsletter, for those who may have misplaced their last copy or are new members, a summary of these walks is provided on the inside back cover.

Sunday, JUNE 26th: Meet Littleborough Square at 9.30am
Leader: Michael Farrell
Route: Otley Circular

Distance: 5 – 6 miles

Sunday, JULY 10th: Meet Littleborough Square at 1.30pm
Leader: Geoff Sutcliffe
Route: Heptonstall – Hebden Wood – Colden


Distance: 5½ miles

Cartoon silhouette of walker

Sunday, JULY 24th: Meet Littleborough Square at 1.30pm
Leader: Joe Taylor
Route: Irwell Valley Circular

Distance: 5 miles

Sunday, AUGUST 7th: Meet Littleborough Square at 1.30pm
Leader: John Hindle
Route: Fernhill – Mount Etna – Forsyth Brow

Distance: 5 miles

Sunday, AUGUST 21st: Meet Littleborough Square at 10.00am
Leader: Geoff Sutcliffe
Route: Mytholmroyd – Luddenden Dean Circular

Distance: 8 miles

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Acknowledgements

The Editor and Staff wish to thank all those people who have contributed to this edition of the Newsletter with a special thanks to those who assemble and distribute the Newsletter.

Special acknowledgement also to Keith Parry who designed the Cover for use on LCT Newsletters in the mid 1970's.

Editor: Judith Schofield

 

 

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