Photograph: Winter scene

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.

OFFICIALS OF LITTLEBOROUGH CIVIC TRUST

Chairwoman: Judith Schofield, 4, Bottoms, Crag Vale. 01422 885173

Vice Chairman: John Street, Calder Cottage. 01706 378043

Secretary: Michael Farrell, 41, Hollingworth Road, Littleborough. Tel. 01706 370154

Treasurer: Peter Jackson, 8 Chelburn View, Littleborough. Tel. 01706 373112

Membership Secretary: Lincoln Jackson, 1 Moorfield View, Shore. Tel. 01706 370542

Minutes Secretary: Chris Wilkinson, 3, Fair View, Littleborough. 01706 374020

Editor:Anne Lawson, 81, Todmorden Road. Tel. 01706 379604

COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Dan Docker, 93 Church Street, Littleborough. Tel. 01706 372001
Don Pickis, Lightowlers. 01706 378849.
Betty Pickis, Lightowlers. 01706 378849.
Jill Roberts, 10 Townhouse Road. 01706 377382
Rae Street, Calder Cottage. 01706 378043
Joe Taylor, 136a Market Street, Whitworth. 01706 344711

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

WELCOME to the Winter Edition of the Civic Trust Newsletter. It doesn't seem like two minutes since I was typing out the Autumn edition in lovely sunshine, in the season of "mellow fruitfulness", and watching the leaves on the trees turn to those beautiful autumn colours...

Now there are 36-mile tailbacks on the M25 because of snow !! and all the trimmings and trappings of Christmas greet us on every street corner, with the shops bracing themselves for a mad scramble from the hoards of shoppers that they have spent pounds enticing in to buy their goodies....

As the Holiday programme returns to remind us of warm summer skies and delight our minds with thoughts of fabulous sandy beaches in faraway places, now is the time to start planning for next year's activities and projects. Although the cold weather may not be conducive to a great deal of action, we can always plan... or deal with matters that can be dealt with from the warmth and comfort of our own homes.

This edition contains food for thought on a variety of topics : The Footpath Group have their programme planned for walks commencing in January for those crisp, cold days, right through until the end of March; in conjunction with this, there are to be new footpath signs and improvements ( see John Street's article).

For those of us not so energetic, we can join in with Judith Schofield's protest against the way in which Shell is dealing with its operations abroad - not only as Judith suggests, but perhaps by writing to the company, or to our MP, to voice our objections and Don Pickis' article on the Unitary Development Plan is a must for those of us who like to keep up with what is going on in the Borough regarding future development plans.

As you can see, the Trust has been very busy, and continues to be so, on your behalf. Please do not sit back, though, complacently in your cosy armchair, with the comforting thought that "someone is taking care of things". Without ideas, suggestions and people coming together with information they have heard, the Civic Trust cannot act effectively. So any ideas you have, or the wish to get more involved than simply read about it afterwards, please contact any member of the Committee for information.

Anne Lawson

Drawing: two holly leaves and a berry

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GOOD NEWS!

It is always a pleasure to bear good news, more so when it relates to an area where we work with an officer of our authority and the good result comes from the working relationship that has been built up.

Walking around Littleborough is important both to the local community but increasingly to a much wider audience. The Civic Trust has produced a book of walks and a number of pamphlets to help people enjoy the many interesting features and all grades of walk that we have on the doorstep. We do also organise regular walks which anyone may join where a knowledgeable leader takes the party out for a day or half-day walk.

It is a pleasure to announce two initiatives that our footpath officer, Tim Wood, has been arranging:

A number of footpath signs (in metal) have been ordered and they are currently with our authority Blacksmith (yes, we do have one!), who has the job of sealing the words/images to the signposts. Twelve of the new posts will be erected in the Calderbrook area, and it has been agreed to place an extra one at the Todmorden Road end of the Coronation Walk where the Civic Trust recently finished a project of cleaning up the area and planting hundreds of bulbs, in cooperation with Groundwork and the Mersey Basin Trust.

Following the identification of approximately 50 blockages of footpaths in our area, Tim has identified a budget and initiated two access programmes, which should result in al these blockages being cleared by February 1996. Congratulations to Tim, and remember, it is our members like Michael Farrell, Lincoln Jackson and John Hindley and many more who walk these paths in all weathers and continue to report when a blockage happens or a path deteriorates.

John Street

Line break

The Walks List is included in this edition of the Newsletter, covering 7 organised walks from January to the end of March. All are welcome to come along. The Civic Trust book of local walks is available from any member of the Committee, who are listed on the inside cover of the Newsletter. Editor.

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"Shell Better Britain" — (shame about Nigeria)

"The Shell Better Britain Campaign is a partnership between public and voluntary sector organisations with Shell UK, working together to support practical environmental action by local communities across the United Kingdom... It exists to encourage and support voluntary action by communities to care for and improve their local environment."

(Excerpt from Shell campaign publicity)

Littleborough Civic Trust takes on various projects to improve the quality of the environment around Littleborough. All this costs money. Grants from campaigns such as Grassroots Action Campaign (British Gas), the Mersey Basin Trust Campaign and the Shell Better Britain Campaign are very often necessary to achieve funding for these projects.

We have received funding from the Shell Better Britain Campaign in the past .....

Drawing: Shell petrol icon

Meanwhile in Nigeria, the Niger River delta is in a lush region of mangrove swamps, rainforests and farmland, home to around 6 million people. In 1990 the communities arranged a peaceful demonstration against Shell as a result of the soil and water pollution, the legacy of rusting pipelines, thousands of oil wells and refineries — all with no material benefits from the oil profit. Instead of negotiation, Shell chose "police protection". This "protection" resulted in the massacre of 80 people and the destruction of 495 homes. Protests spread and were met by stone-walling from Shell and more massacres and destruction from the police.

Ken Saro-Wawi put aside his writing career to help lead a peaceful campaign against the pollution of the lands, but following the murder of 4 chiefs in 1994, he and 8 colleagues were put on trial and hanged. The hanging of Ken Saro-Wawi and 8 other environmentalists has shocked many writers and politicians, after what was termed by our own Prime Minister as "a fraudulent trial, a bad verdict ... now followed by judicial murder."

Lord Melchett, Chairman of Greenpeace UK said "Shell has blood on its hands. Ken Saro-Wawi was hanged for speaking out against Shell. He was trying to secure the most basic of human rights - the right to clean air, land and water."

Grants for environmental improvements are, or were, always welcome. The grants from these donating Campaigns do not come easily and inspiration is often needed to achieve the funding required for a scheme. Should we limit our choice of grant source if we do not agree with the actions of the donor, or does cash "need" override the donor's actions ??? Ken Saro-Wawi wrote from his prison cell "I believe that only a boycott of Shell products and the picketing of their garages can call Shell to their responsibilities to the Niger Delta."

On a personal level, I shall not be visiting a Shell petrol station again until Shell changes its present attitude to environments and communities affected by its projects abroad. This is the most direct action an individual can take.

Judith Schofield.

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FOOTPATH WALKS

To answer one or two queries raised on recent walks, the Carriage Drive footpath claim is on ice because the necessary user evidence has not been forthcoming in sufficient quantities to move things forward. We would need something like a dozen people ready to give oral evidence at a public enquiry. Because of the twenty year rule we are dependent on the older members of the community coming forward. I hope this clarifies matters.

You will notice that the walks for the Winter 1996 programme only go upto the end of March and not the end of April as usual. This is due to a shortage of leaders at the last footpaths meeting, a situation that will not resolve itself unless one or two of our regular walkers will "have a go" and put themselves forward as walks leaders. Details of the next meeting are below!

We have had reports that the local authority has earmarked £14,000 for spending on footpaths in Littleborough this year so we can look forward to some improvements. The Winter 1996 programme was decided at a meeting of the Footpaths Group in October. We would be delighted to have more menbers contributing walks and ideas. The Summer 1996 programme will be draen up at a meeting to be held at Harehill Park Council Offices on Tuesday, February 27th at 8pm. Please comm along with your ideas. Refreshments available.

Drawing: Fingerpost

WALKS PROGRAMME

Sunday DECEMBER 24th: No organised walk. Members interested may contact M. Farrell (370154) for possible walk.

Sunday JANUARY 7th: Meet Littleborough Square 1.30pm
Leader - Michael Farrellk
Gorsey Wood - Clough Bank - Grimes

5 miles

Sunday JANUARY 21st Meet Littleborough Square 1.45pm
Leader - Joe Taylor
Ealees - Owlet Hall - Lydgate

5 miles

Sunday FEBRUARY 4th: Meet Littleborough Square 1.30pm
Leader - Gepff Sutcliffe
Stubley Mill - Clegg Hall - Hollingworth Lake

5 miles

Sunday FEBRUARY 18th: Meet Littleborough Square 1.45pm
Leader - Michael Farrell
St. Barnabas' Church - Wood Bottom - Bent House

5 miles

Sunday MARCH 3rd: Meet Littleborough Square 1.30pm or Lumbutts 1.50pm
Leader - Geoff Sutcliffe
Lumbutts Circular

5 miles

Sunday MARCH 17th: Meet Littleborough Square 1.45pm
Leader - Michael Farrell
Canal Towpath - Reddyshore - Long Causeway

6 miles

Sunday MARCH 31st: Meet Littleborough Square 1.30pm
Leader - Joe Taylor
Rivington Circular

6 miles

 

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Littleborough Civic Trust and Mersey Basin Weekend

Once again Littleborough Civic Trust took part in the Mersey Basin Weekend, this time by carrying out the planting of approximately 700 bulbs and trees around Coronation Walk off Todmorden Road. Equipment was provided with help from a grant from the Mersey Basin Trust and British Gas. Many thanks to the various volunteers who helped.

It was no easy task. I think that most of the land around Littleborough comprises overgrown tips, and every time we take a spade or bulb planter to the earth, the job is so often more difficult than anticipated! Help is therefore always very welcome!

This area was tidied up by Groundwork Trust before our work commenced and will be cmmplete with a new Public Footpath sign, which is to be provided shortly. So all in all, a good combined effort - hopefully to be followed by more positive management at this site, all at present under negotiation!

Two weeks after the hard work came the reward. This was in the form of a free Social Event organised by the Mersey Basin Trust. Two bands, Irish dancing and an EXCELLENT buffet helped us forget the blisters !!

Judith Schofield

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South Pennines Packhorse Trails Trust

Drawing: Packhorses with drovers

Following the enjoyable evening provided earlier this year at the Coach House by Sue Hogg's talk on the South Pennines Packhorse Trails Trust, I have now been sent a copy of the Trust's Supporters newsletter, "Making Tracks". It certainly makes an interesting read. It outlines the work of the Trust, its members and recent achievements, which are quite impressive and include the establishment of various new routes around the South Pennines, together with a modification order across Rochdale, and work with North West Water.

Further information and newsletters are available from Maggie Jones, The Lock House, Lobb Mill, Todmorden OL1h 6BT.

Judith Schofield

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UNITARY DEVELOPMENT PLAN for Rochdale Metropolitan Borough

This is the form of development plan required of a Metropolitan Borough by the Town and Country Planning Act of 1990. The plan deals primarily with the release of land for a range of proposed future uses: by far the largest allocations concern housing and industrial/commercial developments. The public consultation phase including the public enquiry has just closed (November 1995).

The inspector appointed to review the local development plan is expected to issue his report next May 1996. The Secretary of State for the Environment MAY call in those parts of the UDP which raise particularly sensitive or controversial issues of regional or national significance. When finally "agreed", the UDP will set the pattern of development for the borough for a further 5 years.

As can be envisaged, manœuvring for advantage in the next UDP will start immediately following the publication of the final version of the current plan in 1996/7

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Policies Supported by Littleborough Civic Trust

Support for improvements to the rail system Manchester/ Leeds/York proposed. Stations/halts at Summit, Littleborough and Hopwood, Middleton would be welcomed by users and could be expected to lead to an increase in passengers.

In general, support for the local authority's proposed "Green Corridors" policy. This would protect the undeveloped Roch Valley between Smithy Bridge Road and Albert Royds Street recognised over the last 24 years as a strip of open land essential to separating the settlements of Smithy Bridge and Littleborough.

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Concerns

Cartoon of massive traffic jam

Littleborough traffic 2015

Concerns are expressed over the traffic impact that would follow the release of land for housing in the Pennine Township area, particularly in Littleborough, that are currently allowed for and further envisaged in the Development Plan. The extreme traffic generated must have a profound effect on the local road system. This in turn would put pressure on the Roch Valley "Green Corridor", giving rise to renewed calls to be expected for a parallel A58 route from Littleborough to Albert Royds Street.

Concern is also expressed over the "plan" for an "area of opportunity" development at Canal Street, Littleborough. This is proposed in conjunction with a re-alignment of Canal Street to remove the existing "dog—leg". Conflicting elements in the Council's reasoned justification would make the project fall between two stools. On one hand it is claimed that "the tourism and leisure—related development which might include a restaurant/pub or craft workshops" would not be expected to be a "primary trip generator", but would be more likely "to be served by pass-by trips". On the other hand an agreement used in favour of the development refers to the success of tourist attractions , like "the Wigan Pier complex, the East Lancashire Railway and the Granada Studios Tour" in "adding to the regeneration of an area in general".

It is clear that if the site were to generate the sort of traffic in proportion to its size that has resulted from the attractions referred to, there will be a major traffic problem at times at the junction of the A58/A6033 with the B6225. If the site attracts only a modest volume of visitors the "area of opportunity" is unlikely to be successful.

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Waste Disposal 'Policies'

Photograph: old garden waste bin incinerator

Locals design their own

Probably the most worryingly inadequate aspect of the Unitary Development Plan is its inability to address the growing problems of waste disposal. The Rochdale Bulk Incinerator closed down in 1993 at the time of the Draft Development Plan proposals that the incinerator would close, and that despite the contribution to bulk reduction, Rochdale was exporting some of the waste to adjoining authorities for disposal. In response to urgings to consider re—opening a facility which would meet the most stringent emission requirements, the local authority can claim that "the upgrading of the Rochdale Incinerator, the provision of bulk reduction facilities and the use of other means of waste treatment are commercial matters to be evaluated by the Waste Disposal Authority and Greater Manchester Waste. They are not within the remit of the Council."!!!

When every type of development that a local authority seeks to encourage, allow control or restrict results sooner or later in the generation of waste, the severely restricted value of the Unitary Development Plan process in this respect, becomes apparent.

Don Pickis.

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ITEMS FOR INCLUSION IN THE WINTER EDITION OF THE NEWSLETTER MUST BE WITH THE EDITOR BY THE LAST DAY OF NOVEMBER PLEASE.


Editor: Anne Lawson

 

 

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