The newsletter editor is always pleased to receive articles 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 wishing to contrubute material to the newsletter will first seek the approval of the editor.
Chairman: John Street, Calder Cottage. Tel. 378043
Secretary: Barbara Daveron, 38 James Street, Dearnley Tel. 378664
Treasurer: Peter Jackson, 8 Chelburn View, Littleborough. Tel. 373112
Membership Secretary: Jill Roberts, 34 Brown Street, Littleborough. Tel. 375426
Minutes Secretary: Chris Wilkinson, 3, Fair View, Littleborough. 374020
Editor: Joanne Jackson, 8 Chelburn View, Littleborough. Tel. 373112
Judith Schofield, 4, Bottoms, Crag Vale. 01422 885173
Don Pickis, Lightowlers. Tel. 378849.
Betty Pickis, Lightowlers. Tel. 378849.
Anne Lawson, 81 Todmorden Road. Tel.379604.
Rae Street, Calder Cottage. Tel. 378043
Joe Taylor, 136a Market Street, Whitworth. Tel. 344711
Iain Gerrard, 2 Pikehouse Cottages.
Please pass on any suggestions that you have about the Trust and its work to any of the above.
Welcome to the summer edition of the Civic Trust Newsletter. The months seem to be passing by so quickly as another season is almost upon us. We have had some marvellous weather over the last few weeks which will hopefully continue through the summer. I know our garden is certainly ﬂourishing. Many thanks to those who contributed to the newsletter.
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This year's AGM was held at the Coach House on the 23rd April and was attended by eighteen Trust members.
As usual the meeting began by the Trust’s Chairman, John Street reviewing the events of the previous l2 months, noting that the three 'big issues’ talked about at the previous AGM, namely windfarms, access to the countryside and the restoration of the Canal, continue to be debated.
John noted the sad loss at the New Year of committee stalwart Lincoln Jackson and the happy event of the wedding of long term committee member, Michael Farrell.
During the year Rochdale Council had erected a ’superloo’ in the Square to a mixed response and had also begun charging for the use of Hare Hill House with the result that the Trust’s Committee now meets at John and Rae’s house. Apart from the Trust’s regular work (such as planning and footpaths) there had been good progress on the Shore Hurst project, the Millennium book and the restoration of the Aiggin Stone.
As treasurer, Peter Jackson reported that in 1997 the trust had spent more than it had earned but that our bank balance was still quite healthy.
On behalf of the footpaths group, Michael Farrell reported that the programme of fortnightly walks continued and that new walk leaders had come forward.
The following new ofﬁcers were elected; Jill Roberts as Membership Secretary and Joanne Jackson as Newsletter Editor (until she leaves for University). Michael Farrell had earlier resigned from the Committee and new member Iain Gerrard was elected. Other committee members remain as last year.
The main business of the AGM then being over, the rest of the meeting was devoted to a report by Don Pickis of the staged sale of the Birch Hill Hospital site and an amusing account by the Chairman of the AGM, Trevor Cryer, of the sequence of events which led to the Bellholme playing ﬁelds development, near Warland.
Who wants to pick up litter anyway; and if they do why?
Well in our Urban Areas every corner collects litter, we are not well disciplined not to drop, dump, hide or forget small things like chips or sweet papers at one end and armchairs, old rabbit hutches and endless bags of ’better not identiﬁed’ mess at the other. So once a year we go out encouraged by plastic vests supplied by a government quango to clean up some area.
You never know how many volunteers will turn up but somewhere between 8 and I0 people is the norm, we have had over 30 but only once! l suspect the attraction is partly because ’you might ﬁnd something valuable’. This like the Holy Grail is rather improbable, at best you might just ﬁnd something rather useful. What you will ﬁnd is piles of vegetation covering lots of human detritus. Lots of broken glass, bent wire, ﬁlthy plastic, old wood, bricks, paper and cloth.
Where then is the pleasure, except in stopping? Probably there is a little happiness in doing something different (once!) - which is madly approved of. You feel good giving the supermarket its trolley back from the river bed. Things really do look better when you have ﬁnished - only don’t go back two weeks later if there has been windy weather - you could get upset.
This year we cleared up the area along that part of Townhouse Road that runs from the front of the library up to the Cricket Club Pavilion. To the left of the line the area was circumscribed by a jolly little brook, (or it would be if you could see it for rubbish) and the Cricket Club car park at the top end. When we ﬁnished we had half ﬁlled a skip with material as described and had started (but could not ﬁnish) clearing the bed of the stream (which runs in an open stone drain) and had realised what a pleasant area it could be with some replanting and a greater clean up.
Beware, we may yet be asking for more volunteers: if we can ﬁnd who owns the land, give it a good name, and get the cooperation of our councillors and ofﬁcers. Cleaning, planting and a very low level of maintenance would make an immediate improvement into a permanent little bit of pleasure for Littleborough people.
Already our councillors have backed the idea, but ownership is the current question mark.
And by the way just when we thought we recognised all too well all who had come to help on this year’s pick two of our new members arrived and were still picking when our experienced lot retreated having been soaked in a fantastic half hour rainstorm.
A serious attempt is being mounted to analyse what problems exist in the Pennines Township and to positively try to attack them.
This activity is led by our Township Manager (Sue Thornton) and commenced with a Saturday event in July last year. Nearly a hundred local people spent many hours trying to remember what Littleborough used to be, how it is now and to express what they would like.
The outcome of this surprisingly interesting day was a report titled ’Pennines, Past, Present and Future.’ which became input to a panel of R.M.B.C ofﬁcers who combined the material with their background knowledge of funding, current activities and further analysis of what problems seemed most important. The result of this work was a plan that came out in December 1997 called ’Pennines : Fighting for the future.’
The major obvious local activities in the ﬁrst phase of the plan are:
1. A serious attempt to address the level of commercial activity in Littleborough. With such data to consider what is needed to keep Littleborough healthy and well. This is a formal procedure known as key ’Health Check’ indicators.
2. The progressing of the plan for a ’Community Multi-media and Arts Centre’ to be operated by the Workers Educational Association sited in the former 5th form block on the Littleborough Community Campus.
3. Research followed by action to link the Coach House more closely to the efforts to provide services to tourists visiting the Pennines area. Outside consultants are retained to help in this task.
4. Reinvigoration of the Hollingworth Lake Country Park area and the area usually referred to as ’the Arches and Canal Street site’ (No prize: but can anyone suggest a more appropriate name ?) A plum here could be a new museum to house our ﬁne local collection of artefacts, photographs etc. amassed primarily by the Littleborough Historical and Archæological Society.
In general the Civic Trust Committee applauds and supports these initiatives. However it is a fact that we have been very critical of many aspects of the broader ’Regeneration Plan’ our objections have centred round:
1. A lack of consultation with the voluntary sector. There still appears to be a real fear of opening up the whole issue to be scrutinised outside the official channels and we feel the plan could suffer very badly from this attitude.
2. The ’plan’ pays scant attention to the ‘possibly’ key concept of sustainability.
3. The plan is too limited in scope, choosing not to seriously address what, given current activities our area will look like within a few years in terms of real jobs, roads, schools and the infrastructure generally.
A general summary is that we do not believe people feel ’ownership’ or understanding of a general picture only their speciﬁc area of interest.
Our conclusion was to request, at the latest meeting of the Township Committee, a rethink of the consultation and decision making process. In addition we have written a report and letter to the Chief Executive of our Authority and opened communication with Mr J Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister who heads up a unit called ’ Sustainable Development Consultation Unit.’ We had felt rather alone with some of our objections until we gained access to a summary of their activity and found they were addressing such problems on a national scale.
This is a brief summary and therefore must to some extent distort the facts. For all the current activity please contact Sue Thornton (647474 ext. 2153), for copies of material or another view. For more details of your committees responses contact Don Pickis or John Street.
Readers will remember a recent article in our newsletter about the activities of your society in relation to this area of open land on the left hand side of Shore Road. Opening the ﬁle and looking at piles of photographs, leaﬂets, letters and meetings I start to marvel at the amount of voluntary time and effort that goes into these affairs. The secret is, of course, that when you get it right it really is rewarding.
Something like eighteen months ago Marilyn Aldred contacted our committee about an opportunity on this piece of land.
We really had no name for it so we gave it one with a good Saxon pedigree. It seems a good augur that everyone uses it as if it was always described that way ! By March last year people had been all over the site, plans were drawn and meetings were ’breaking out’ at regular intervals. Our plan always was to try to obtain total support of the community living round the area to improve it in ways they would welcome and leave them with ’ownership’ and a plan which they could develop.
From the beginning it was a pleasure to work on the project and in fact on the 12th of May we had the best (in my experience) 'litter pick’ ever, with Marilyn emerging with many neighbours and even more of their children. From then on it became the responsibility of the Shore residents to progress with it, which they have done methodically agreeing what gates, stiles, paths etc. they would like. Working with officers to see the opportunities to build ’a nature reserve’, talking to the Forestry Commission and agreeing planting plans for bulbs and bushes. By March 1998 they were out doing more cleaning up and planting and yet another public meeting.
It is a joy in the world when something progresses in this way rather than one step forward and then slither back twice that distance ! And there are opportunities: at the May I998 township meeting there was one (of many) anonymous headings in the piles of paper. I quote:
Landﬁll Tax Credits.
Environment Committee recently considered applications from all the townships . . . . . . 24 applications were considered totalling £375 000. The amount available was £95 000. THE ONLY PENNINE APPLICATION WHICH WILL GO FORWARD FOR CONSIDERATION BY GREENING GREATER MANCHESTER’ IS THE SHORE HURST PROJECT. They are seeking £1930 to create a wildlife haven and community facility on waste ground currently used for ﬂy tipping.
Caution is necessary - this has not yet been accepted but our congratulations must go to the Shore residents for achieving this recommendation. We all know the cost and real difﬁculties of doing these voluntary things and can only wish their application the best of luck.
Please note that no dogs are allowed on the walks.
Summer 1998 Walks.
Sunday 21st June- Meet Littleborough Square 1.20pm Cars to Wycoller Car Park.
Leader - D. Costa.
Distance - 6 miles
Sunday 5th July - Meet Littleborough Square 1.45pm Cars to Baiting’s Car Park.
Round Baiting’s Dam
Leader - H. Ratcliffe.
Distance - 5/6 miles
Sunday 19th July - Meet King Bill, Shore 2.00pm
Shore Moor Circular
Leader - M. Farrell.
Distance - 5/6 miles
Sunday 2nd August - Meet Littleborough Square 1.30pm. Cars to Todmorden Market Car Park
Leader - G. Sutcliffe.
Distance - 5/6 miles
Sunday 16th August - Meet Littleborough Square 1.20pm Cars to Witton Park, Blackburn.
Witton Park Circular
Leader - Julie Farrell
Distance - 6 miles
Sunday 30th August - Meet Littleborough Square 2.00pm
Stubley - Starring Hill - Law Flat - Knowl Syke Lane - Wardle Fold - Shore - Heights Farm - Clough Road - Townhouse.
Distance - 5½ miles
Sunday 13th September - Meet Littleborough Square 9.15am
Walk in the Dark Peak, Derbyshire
Leader - G. Sutcliffe.
Distance - 10 miles
Sunday 27th September - Meet Littleborough Square 2.00pm
Leader - H. Ratcliffe.
Distance - 5/6 miles
Thanks to those people who contributed to this edition and a special thanks to those who assemble and distribute the newsletter and to Keith Parry who designed the cover
Editor: Joanne Jackson
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