Roundhouse in The Square

Talking Points

Littleborough Civic Trust

The Civic Trust Committee would like to apologise for the error in the last Newsletter which increased its cost to 35pence. This has now been returned to 30pence.

At the Littleborough Civic Trust Annual General Meeting held on 19th April 2005 the members elected for the various posts on the Committee for the coming year are detailed inside the newsletter front cover.

I am sure that all the people who attended the AGM would like to thank George Kelsall for stepping in as the "Guest Chairman" for the evening and Mark Pearson, from the Littleborough Historical and Archaeological Society, for his fascinating talk on "The Changing Face of Littleborough", for which a small donation will be sent to the LHAS. But our special thanks go to Jill Roberts and Joan Smith who not only supplied tea, coffee and biscuits, at their own expense, but served them and washed up afterwards. They would like to thank those that helped with the clearing and washing up. Well done ladies.

The "Friends of Hare Hill Park" had asked the LCT if we would like a stall at the official opening of the Bandstand on Sunday 17th April. We did not require a stand though many members did attend and a lovely day it was too. A small donation has been sent to their group.

It has been said that, with all the new houses that have been built in Littleborough over the past few years we should be trying to inform the new incomers of the Civic Trust and its aims in an effort to recruit more members, "New Blood" as it were. So to this aim we are going to produce a leaflet about the LCT which will be delivered to all those new houses and more will be available from our usual outlets.

As you may have seen from the AGM Committee elections we at present do not have a Newsletter Editor. If anyone feels they can fill this role for us please contact the Secretary, I.S.Gerrard.

The Littleborough Civic Trust in the meantime has set up a small sub-committee to help produce the Newsletter so you may be seeing some changes/new ideas being added to the present format. Additionally we are always looking for articles to print on a wide range of subjects. Please do not worry if you have not got a computer or you need to write it out by hand. Our team can always edit, re-type and generally tidy it up before we commit it to print. Wewould also like to introduce a "Readers Letters" page dedicated to you, the readers, to air your views about what's been written, about what's not been written or just a personal observation concerning our town, whether you are a member or not. We want to know how you feel.

Send your observations/articles/letters to:
Tony Smith, 23 Shakespeare Close,
Littleborough. OL15 9QF


Keith Parry

People at the ceremony

There was a brief ceremony on Sunday, 8 May at Bent House Lock, to consign Keith Parry's ashes by the canal, as had been his wish. Attended by only about a dozen people, those present were asked by Gloria Warburton to tell of their memories of Keith. This became a pleasant reprise of some of Keith's life and the effects he had had on the community. He would be sadly missed.

Present, in addition to Gloria, where her husband Tom and Councillor Peter Evans who had all been intimately involved with Keith during what turned out to be his final illness.

His cousin's daughter, Janet, spread Keith's ashes to the wind and the water from Wild House Bridge with the red rose of Lancashire displayed from the parapet.


Akzo Nobel site

Although when you read this only two months will have passed since I last wrote on the subject of this site to you, it is concerning that our views over its disposal are likely to prove justified.

You will recall that we were unhappy about the ability of either Rochdale M.B.C. or the Rochdale Development Agency to substantially influence its future.

The only glimmer of hope lay with Akzo Nobel being generous, as they have been in the past, in its consideration of the effects on Littleborough of a bad decision for the future development of its site. Unhappily we now understand that they have begun relatively independent talks with a developer for the sale of the site; independent that is of the Rochdale Development Agency.

The cynic within me says that it was too much to expect a company to forego the difference in revenue, which could be achieved from the sale of the site, between a housing developer and any other kind.

Rochdale Development Agency will be kept informed of course but its input will be small because it has no powers in the existing system of planning controls to have any significant influence on the outcome.

The crazy situation we have in Littleborough will roll on; more and more housing with little or no improvement to the infrastructure.

With the problems for Milnrow High School, which it is rumoured will be unable to provide the minimum standards in the next three to four years, an obvious choice was to establish a brand new school on the Akzo site.

For once money would have been available; all we needed was the will. Some would argue that Milnrow children would have to commute in our direction; but Littleborough is a larger town and the nett effect on commuting would have been a reduction overall.

My mind simply cannot encompass the lack of thinking within the national government.

They wish us to reduce global warming by using less energy and yet so many of their policies lead to an increased use of the car or other forms of transport.

Let us not forget that all the wind turbines in the world will have zero effect on CO² emissions from vehicles.

I understand that a decision on the sale of Akzo may well have been made, if not announced, before you read this.


Littleborough Flower Meadow

We contacted the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers for help on this site and Hannah Williams met Jill Roberts on site to discuss the problems. She subsequently came to our March Committee meeting with a number of proposals and the cost of these. They covered items such as what needed to be done to secure the site from unwanted visitors (motorcycles etc.), what sort of preparation would be needed on the site and recommendations for the type and position of the flowers.

It was obvious that the first priority was to secure the site and as the Council is responsible for the fencing, members of the Committee contacted and met Council Officers on site early in May.

As the Council always seemed strapped for cash this turned out to be a fruitful meeting. There was considerable agreement from the officers that they would arrange to carry out repair works to the existing fences and to install two 'kissing gates' at the most vulnerable entrances to the area. They also thought that once success had been achieved the site might become a 'show-case' for co-operation between the Council and local groups.

Once this work has been done we will then be faced with the task of raising money to pay for the remaining work. But one step at a time, eh?


Town Design Statement

After nearly four years of work we have now reached the final stage of this project.

It has taken nearly as long to get to the publication stage as it took to collect and collate all the information and write the documents.

Early this month I received a telephone call saying we had received approval from the Heritage Lottery Fund for phase two and just today as I write this the written confirmation popped through the letterbox.

This amounts to a total of nearly £16000, although that includes an amount for contingencies and some other important items.

We have now gone out to tender to a number of printers for a quotation for the work and should have these by our next Steering Group meeting on the 8th June.

There will be an official launch 'party' once the documents are ready for distribution to which everyone will be invited.


Shop on Halifax Road

Committee members were all agreed that the closure of the newly-opened sweet shop on Halifax Road was to be regretted.

Work had been carried out which was considered inappropriate in appearance and without applying for planning permission.

While we considered that the new window and door might have been handled with more sensitivity, and can not condone under any circumstances the carrying out of unauthorised work, it appeared somewhat heavy-handed of the Council to have pushed the perpetrators into closure of their business.

A more sympathetic approach might have been to, say, allow three years for the necessary alterations to be carried out.

While we can't know all the ins and outs of a case like this it seems ironic that the Authority could show such a lack of understanding when they (other departments) are guilty of the erection of a myriad of visually messy items without any such checks or balances.


Town Centre

We often complain over the poor and unsympathetic developments locally and so it is a pleasure to offer our congratulations for two recent ones, one not yet completed.

A small block of flats off Victoria Street (behind the Coach House) and the flats being built on Church Street on the old church site are both worthy newcomers to the Central Conservation Area.

Built largely in traditional material they fit in well with their surroundings and put to shame the appearance of many shop fronts and business premises along the main thoroughfares.


Housing in Littleborough

As related above this is a continuing and apparently unsolvable problem. After considerable discussion within the Committee it has been decided to see if we can attract enough interest from other local groups to get together and, under our aegis, decide on ways and means, if any, that we can use to achieve some real changes in policies which condone or exacerbate the situation.

If you are concerned over this don’t wait to be asked or invited. Contact me and join in.

There are no easy answers but just because we can't at present see any solutions doesn't mean they don't exist. Often when those in charge of administering bad policies say there is nothing they can do or that can be done, they display more about themselves than about their knowledge of the possibilities.


Iain S Gerrard

East Lancashire Railway

Littleborough Civic Trust would like to announce that an illustrated talk by Mr John Shelley on the Past, Present and Future of the East Lancashire Railway will be held at the Coach House, Lodge Street, Littleborough on Tuesday 12th July 2005.

Doors open at 7.15pm for 7.30pm. Coffee and Biscuits available. The event is free but a Coin in the Cup would be appreciated. All are welcome.


Farfield Community Group

The Community Group set up with the Groundwork Trust to improve and landscape the area off Hollingworth Road are now going ahead with applying for grants in the Community Group name and we wish them every success with that.

Picture is of a deer that has taken up residence on the site. The photographed is by Barbara Bush.

Editor's note: Unfortunately the original of this picture is no longer available and the quality in the hard copy of the newsletter was so poor that it wasn't transfarable to the website


Littleborough on the World Map

Littleborough on line is about to be launched and we are very excited. It is a voluntary funded organisation that has been brought about by a small group of volunteers who live and have their businesses in Littleborough.

We all love our Town and want to make it safe and clean and promote all that it has to offer, which, we believe is a great deal - "If only you know where to look".

Well all you have to do is "Click" and all the information you need will be there, whether its business, leisure or entertainment that you are looking for.

If you don't have a computer don't worry, Littleborough Library does, which offers internet access "free of charge." If you are not computer literate the staff there are always willing to help, so nobody needs to feel excluded.

The site will be made up of businesses and voluntary organisations and their events, clubs and classes will be able to tell you, Who, What and Where!

The site will be managed by Joe and Ian at Teamprint, Victoria Street, Littleborough and will be funded by donations from advertisers and web-page holders.

So if you would like to be part of this exciting venture and say "I was there when Littleborough went Worldwide" we would love you to join with us.

You can contact us by dropping in to Teamprint or E-mail our secretary Michelle: Or Carol Troy Tel: 01706371475



Littleborough - A Personal Glimpse

Above Littleborough at over 1100 feet above sea level lies Blackstone Edge reservoir, adjacent to the Pennine Way, and at approximately 16 acres in size it plays host to a variety of wildfowl, teal, tufted duck and golden eye are often seen.

Occasionally shelduck and common scooter are also recorded. At this altitude the vegetation comprises mainly heathers, cotton grass, rushes, bracken, blanket peat bogs with sphagnum moss in between.

The abundant rainfall keeps these boggy areas supplied with moisture. It is a landscape that alters markedly with changes in the weather and the seasons.

Many birds come to this area to nest in spring. Curlew, golden plover, snipe and redshank are amongst the waders, red grouse are resident on the heather moors here and across in nearby Yorkshire. Peregrine falcon hunt the roughs along with the smaller merlin, prey species are mainly meadow pipit, twite, wheatear or sky lark. Rocks and boulders provide shelter for red fox, stoat and little owl. Brown hare lie up during the day after feeding on the greens lower down.

What appears to be a fairly barren landscape turns out to hold a considerable number of birds and mammals.

Dropping down to 700 feet after crossing the Roman Road, red brook tumbles steeply between large stones to eventually join the River Roche, here kingfisher and dipper are often seen.

Whittaker woods below the golf course has a good number of mature trees, green woodpecker, jays and wood pigeon can be heard throughout the summer. Ealees lies between Hollingworth Lake Information Centre and Littleborough, this beautiful valley is planted with native woodland birch, beech, holly, hazel, oak and rowan are of particular importance. The whole area is rich in plants, animals and birds.

A great many visitors walk here at all times of the year. The area is well served with public footpaths enabling walkers and families to take advantage of the fields and woods in this lovely peaceful area of countryside.

Much of the area is Greenbelt and benefits residents and visitors alike, good management and best practice should ensure that it remains intact.

Material from "The Littleborough Town Design Statement"

Supplied by: Ken Pollard.


A New Member

For many years I came home from work driving round Hollingworth Lake down Hollingworth Road to Littleborough and to the T junction at Halifax Road at the railway bridge. To my constant and never ending disappointment the beautiful stone arches of the railway bridge were always in a state of utter chaos, full of clutter and rubbish of varying kinds, sometimes boarded up, piled high with debris, boulders, just constant eye straining junk. I hoped somehow that one day "things would change". I thought, "someone must be trying to do something about this".

Unfortunately, the years went by and little changed. Then, recently, changes, at least around the area of the bridge, did happen. The road was widened, new vistas happily appeared, the canal could be seen '( more clearly, animals and birds became more visible to passers by and to tired car drivers, but the bridge and the arches sadly remained untouched, uncleaned, unmended, still cluttered with rubbish. This is the reason I became a member of the Littleborough Civic Trust. Could I help in any way, rather than just complaining? I believe that harmonious surroundings, conservation, a visually uplifting environment, really matters.

If there is anyone reading this article who agrees with me, perhaps about the state of the bridge or some other part of the Littleborough environment, then please let the editor know your views, become a member of the Trust, or come along to one of our meetings. You could help, with other like minded people, to create a better environment in and around Littleborough.

I have learned since becoming a member of the Trust that many people work tirelessly with great patience and perseverance and that changing our environment for the better is possible to accomplish, but sometimes difficult. In any event, come and join us and find out!

Elizabeth Birkett.


Education and the Youth Environment

The work started with interviews with authority officers with direct responsibility for educational services, along with a series of meetings with local groups which focus on young people. The conclusion was that the young people are not happy with either the facilities on offer or in many cases they are not aware that the opportunities exist.

A second line of enquiry was the state of school provision given the apparent increase recently in new residents - evidenced by the local house building. It transpired that, based on the school reorganisation plan' the authority claimed that the Pennine District had "No Problems". A detailed study of the material has left our team unconvinced by the evidence or the figures: In a word all is not well.

The core of the concern is that at best a whole block of new residents, whose children will be educated outside Littleborough, will not integrate with Littleborough nor will their children.

It is also clear that although the authority has denied it more than once: the major traffic congestion in Littleborough simple disappears during school holidays. The only conclusion must be that we must have an effective, reliable school bus service, with priority for that service on our roads. This works in many parts of the world - so the solution is in our hands.

The Old School

Former Central Board School

Finally a last major contribution to our community health would be the re-establishment of a senior school in Littleborough. The evidence of many grown ups who served on the management committee of our old school was that the reason for closing was "falling rolls" of pupils. It was closed in the face of strong opposition: despite the recognition locally that there were weaknesses that needed attention.

These are serious issues that need both input from the community and attention from everyone.

Interest Group No: 5; (Littleborough Town Design Statement).

Now here we are three years on and the youth of today have no more facilities than they did then and now there are a lot more of them.

Many more houses have been built, plus there are two major housing developments in progress and several others in the pipeline yet the Education Authority still insist that there are "Falling Rolls", of pupils, and therefore no justification for toe re-establishment of a Senior School in Littleborough.

Well guess what! I for one still do not believe them.


Tony Smith.


Friends of Hare Hill Park - Our Jewel in the Crown returns

The 17th April, 2005 was a momentous day for both the Friends group and the community of Littleborough when our bandstand was "Officially" opened by the mayor, Councillor Angela Coric.

The bandstand in use

The bandstand in early use December 2004
(Christmas Carol Concert)

The day started for the Friends group very early. There were gazebos to be erected, parking signs to be put up, stalls, bouncy castle, dog obedience arena, refreshments stall and all to be organised before 12 noon. At least the weather was fine and sunny.

By 11.00am things were starting to take place, castle was up, quad bikes out, dog obedience well under way, and our local groups setting up their stalls and joining in the fun. (I think that's what they call it).

Todmorden Community Band struck up at 12 noon and at this point this is where all five years of hard work "came together". It was a very proud moment for the group to have been able to "achieve" their main objective set out in our constitution previously.

Rochdale Youth Band were next at 12.45pm. We have asked this band to many of our events due to community requests. They are a credit to "Rochdale" and "Youth" in general.

The crowds started to congregate around our bandstand at 1.00pm to see the mayor cut the ribbon. We had thought of "cracking" a bottle of champagne but apart from the Health & Safety aspect the committee agreed that this was a waste of funding and would be more appropriately drunk; besides ribbon was much less expensive.

The mayor gave a short speech followed by Malcolm McCormick our vice-chair giving thanks to all sponsors of our events, support from other voluntary groups and of course to our community for coming to our events in all weathers.

It was again the turn of Rochdale Youth Band to entertain us and they did not let us down with their quality of music and professionalism.

Just when we were wondering how you can follow the youth band we were not disappointed by a local rock band "Layered", again a joy to see such young people committed to bringing good quality music, some of which was written by members of the group, with such professionalism for their age . It will not come as too much of a surprise when I tell you that they are all members of the youth band.

We have received wonderful feedback from people who attended the opening saying how much they enjoyed the event. Is this an annual event? Will it be bigger and better next year? Keep up the good work!! Lots of thanks for not only the work on the bandstand but improvements in the park in general.

This success has only been achieved through the commitment of the group, the fantastic support of other local voluntary groups and our strong community in supporting our events and activities in the park. WE ARE ONLY AS SUCCESSFUL AS THE SUPPORT WE RECEIVE AND THANK YOU ALL...

We hope you will also have seen the "Proms in the Park" concert on 6th June, 2005 around our "Jewel in the Crown" of course.

Gill Brierley
Friends of Hare Hill Park


Littleborough Canalside Development Group - the story so far

In eariy spring 2004, I noticed an article headed "public meeting" in the Littlebcrcugh section of the Rochdale Observer which detailed the plight of Durn Lock and Ealees Dock, intrigued by what I read 1 decided to attend. That was the first ever meeting of the Littleborough Canalside Development Group (LCDG) attended by at least 20 individuals some of whom I knew but most I didn't.

The group, it was said, contained some of the "usual suspects" but some new blood was there and had to be brought into the mix to keep the whole thing honest. "So let's have some volunteers" came the cry and before I knew it I had become the half secretary of the LCDG and I didn't even know what "half secretary" meant. Well over a year and some thirteen meetings later I find myself full secretary and still hooked to a vibrant active and effective group whose task is still as always the protection of the Canalside in Littleborough from whatever dilemmas it may face now and in the future.

Over the past year we have deliberated many issues, raised funds and campaigned tirelessly. Our main areas for concern still remain Durn and Ealees but plans to upgrade the towpath to comply with the National Cycle Network and the possible residential development due to the closure of Akzo Nobel Chemicals are at the top of our agenda at present. We hope that our efforts will gain more support from the people of Littleborough so that the canalside will remain intact for the enjoyment of generations to come.

Under the chairmanship firstly of Ashley Dearnley (our new Mayor) and now Iain Gerrard we have grown into a relaxed but determined group with new members joining nearly every month as the issues which are of our concern increase in number and effect more local people.

Ted Devereux LCDG Secretary.


Friends of Littleborough Railway Station

It happened by chance - as these things do. We were at the joint Civic Trusts' meeting in Todmorden Town Hall on 30th April 2005, when we saw a leaflet for "Adopt a Station". So we picked it up to read more. By the time we had reached home, we had decided this might be the way forward to improve Littleborough's rail station and its facilities. We got in touch with Sophie Rajraji with whom we had already been working on a petition.

The petition, which had already gained a few hundred signatures, was started by Sophie from the Littleborough Families' Association. The petition focuses on access for those in wheel chairs and those with prams and, of course those who just couldn't manage steps. But all of us felt strongly about other station facilities, especially the lack of shelter.

So we had a meeting on a fine Sunday morning and surveyed the scene. We showed Sophie where at least a ramp could be put in. Then we looked at the material from the Adopt a Station group and thought that might help us forward. "Let us do it", we said. "Let us launch a 'Friends of Littleborough Station.'

The station has a long history starting with Stephenson and could, surely, just on heritage grounds alone, merit a face-lift, as well as improved facilities.

We decided to hold a public open meeting for the launch to which anyone who was interested could come along. At the same meeting we will be presenting the petition signatures, probably showing a display and having a report back from the Association of Community-Rail Partnerships Conference which is being held on 23rd June in Manchester.

This Conference is a powerful group with a real success story in terms of the restoration of stations by joint public and rail partnerships. We told the conference organisers the bare bones of our local situation and within an hour they confirmed we could have a free entry to the conference. At our own meeting we can see if what we have learnt from the conference can be applied in our area and talk about how we can really attack the problems.

Public launch of, 'Friends of Littleborough Rail Station,' will be held on Tuesday 28th June 2005, at 8.00pm. Room 7/8, Littleborough Community Campus, Calderbrook Road.

Rae & John Street


A Little on the Lighter Side

A man was very ill and his son went to visit him in hospital. Suddenly, the father began to struggle for breath and grabbed a pen and paper at the side of his bed. With his last ounce of breath, he wrote a note, dropped it then died. The son was so overcome with grief, he didn't remember slipping the note into his pocket.

At the funeral, he put his hand in his pocket and felt the note. He immediately read it thinking it might be something he could recite during the service.

The note said: You Idiot! Get Off My Oxygen Pipe.

Peter Jackson.

* * *

A man took his dog to the vets saying, "He seems to be cross-eyed. Can you help him?" The vet says, "Well let me pick him up and have a good look at him."

After a few seconds the vet says, "H'MMM... I'm going to have to put him down."

"OH my god," the man exclaims, "What will my wife say," she adores the dog,... "Are you sure you will have to put him down just for being cross-eyed."

"No," replies the vet. "I'll have to put him down because he's heavy."



Editor: Tony Smith