Photograph: Winter scene of snow covered tree

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

Chairman: John Street, Calder Cottage. Tel. 01706 378043

Secretary: Barbara Daveron, 38 James Street, Dearnley Tel. 378664

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

Judith Schofield, 4, Bottoms, Crag Vale. 01422 885173
Michael Farrell, 41 Hollingworth Road. Tel. 370154
Don Pickis, Lightowlers. Tel. 378849.
Betty Pickis, Lightowlers. Tel. 378849.
Jill Roberts, 10 Townhouse Road. Tel. 377382
Rae Street, Calder Cottage. Tel. 378043
Joe Taylor, 136a Market Street, Whitworth. Tel. 344711

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

 

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Cartoon: Santa Claus

Welcome to the Autumn/Christmas edition of the Littleborough Civic Trust Newsletter. For those of you who are regular readers, apologies for the non-appearance of the usual Autumn edition. This was due to a substantially increased workload (of the non-Civic Trust variety !) for the Editor, whose only recourse was to amalgamate two editions to produce this one.

This time of the year is notoriously busy for most people, and slotting everything in in time for the Festive Season seems to become more and more difficult - in spite of the fact that the shops seem to be promoting Christmas earlier and earlier, which should allow us to be better organised and cope !! Nevertheless, the Trust has, as always, been active on a variety of fronts, with our concern for planning applications and the effects these might have on our locality at the fore.

We always welcome input from people with ideas or comments, not only on planning matters, but regarding anything that impacts on our environment. If you have any concerns or suggestions, please contact any member of the Committee as listed above.

Finally, may I, on behalf of the Civic Trust Committee, wish you all a very happy and peaceful Christmas, and all that you wish for yourselves for the New Year.

Editor.

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Dates for your Diary

Littleborough Christmas Festival, Wednesday 17th December from 6.00pm. Fun for all the family, with a variety of stalls, music, carol singers, Morris Dancers, and of course, Father Christmas. This is always a fun event for young and old alike.

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Recent Events

As part of National Tree Week, the Action Group initiated a special celebration of our own local roots with a "Lancashire Day". A tree-planting ceremony was organised, at which our MP and Euro-MP were both present, and a tree was planted either side of the new Super-loo in the Square. There was refreshment afterwards at Upstairs-Downstairs, and further celebrations followed in the evening. The whole event was informal and very pleasant, and enjoyed by all who attended.

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Taking the School to Court

We should like to welcome a "new" group of people to our area - the residents of the new Gordon Harvey Court, which is the development situated on the former Littleborough County Primary School site on Sale Street. In August, we circulated a welcome letter to the residents, with information regarding their new homes. Below is an edited version of that letter.

As a Trust we have a special interest in your area for a number of reasons . One major reason (is) that the area is immediately adjacent to the centre of Littleborough which is a designated Conservation Area, and as such is guarded by quite rigorous rules in terms of what is an appropriate development, the quality of the materials and the style of building. We wanted your area to be sympathetic with the Pennine Heritage. Thus, at the planning stage and the subsequent public meetings, we fought for a suitable style and layout for the area with the use of appropriate materials and sensible density of housing. You have chosen to live there; we welcome you warmly to your new home, especially if you should be a newcomer to Littleborough.

Photograph of Gordon Harvey MP

Gordon Harvey MP

The second reason for our interest is that the site itself has a historical interest. Your area was previously the site of the Littleborough Central Board School which was developed by and indeed financially supported by Mr Gordon Harvey (1858 - 1922) - who was probably the most distinguished business man and politician that Littleborough can claim for itself. He played a major part in building an international company which for a hundred years provided employment in a series of local cotton mills under the general title of Fothergill and Harvey. Not only did his company become a giant in the Lancashire area, it also served the world. Gordon Harvey went on to be a distinguished politician, a member of Parliament and a constant benefactor to his local area. He claimed that the provision of the Central Board School for local children gave him more pleasure than any other achievement. A visit to our bookshop in Littleborough will introduce you to books such as "Looking back on Littleborough" which was written locally by our own residents. There you will find pictures of what your site looked like at the beginning of the 20th century. Through photographs and text it will lead you into learning about the many interesting things there are to do and see close to hand. There is also a small biography available on Gordon Harvey.

Finally (Littleborough Civic Trust) owes a deep debt to Gordon Harvey. In 1919 he formed the Beautiful Littleborough Society which was the predecessor of our own Civic Trust. He did it as an act of faith since our area was terribly polluted and scarred by industrial development. He planted trees and vegetation everywhere and started us on the long way back to what had been in the 18th century, a really beautiful natural habitat of river, woods and moors.

John Street

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The Fred Jackson Millennium Project

Although somewhat tardy, (apologies as given above), here is an update on the project from John Street’s minutes from September:

Cartoon: figure at desk piled high with papers

. . . . . everything is progressing quite well; it really is a period when the work is piled up and waiting to be done. . . If you have an interest, or special knowledge, or old material of the familiar kind i.e. stories, photos, postcards, correspondence, cuttings, please alert us to their existence if you think it will interest all the other people who live in the Littleborough area. If you would enjoy a little rooting about - to update records - please let me know as we need much of that kind of effort in relation to the leisure activities that have developed in Littleborough, and in relation to the more recent history of our old houses, pubs etc.

It has been decided to produce two books:

Book 1 - A soft-backed, computer based copy of the original Fred Jackson work. After some discussion it was clarified that this book would be supplemented with an index, a calendar of the dates involved, a map showing the places Fred is discussing and a brief biography of Fred Jackson. This should be ready for the Millennium.

Book 2 - A history from the year 200,000 BC to 2000 AD to be published in hardback with ample illustration, diagrams and photographs. Seventeen chapters are currently in draft form covering all the proposed period. Chapters 1-7 are heavily dependent on what Fred Jackson wrote, supplemented by brief summaries of the context historically in Britain, for each chapter. From the 18th century onwards, Fred becomes increasingly diluted and we now have about 60 other contributors, large and small, to the text. With draft chapters, albeit incomplete, it was possible to identify a number of areas of layout and approach that needed review. It is proposed to circulate a list of key items where contributions would be welcome, through the Newsletter, and if possible, through the Observer. A typical need is to update the available history of the houses in the Littleborough area to the year 2000 and in light of current knowledge. A start has been made on organising all the maps, diagrams and photographs.

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The Aiggin Stone - Finale

We now have a professionally carved stone plaque to accompany the reinstated Aiggin Stone, which bears the following wording;

"The Aiggin Stone, a mediæval guide stone for travellers, some 600 years old. Please respect our heritage. Supported by the Littleborough and District Lions."

This is happy ending to a story that hit the local headlines with an act of sheer vandalism, and we thank everyone who has been involved in the rescue and reinstatement of the stone and the plaque. A great success!

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The Littleborough Loo - or Clochemerle Revisited

Cartoon: happy toilet roll

For those who remember the re-opening of the toilets in the Square in the summer of 1991, complete with a television camera crew filming the queue we were all asked to form, there is now a new chapter opened in the history of the Littleborough Facility.

It’s been a long wait, but we can now spend a hygienic penny (or ten) in the new Superloo. At first, folk said it was a loo-py idea, in fact some said it was sheer loo-nacy - to demolish our beloved stone toilet-block in the square and install one of those new-fangled, tardis-like, super-space-age things that might be alright on the Continent . . . but in Littleborough ???!!!! Well I must admit, that although I haven’t yet tried and tested our new facility, (nor have I found anyone else who admits to having seen the interior either), I personally think it looks pretty good, and not at all out of place. Are we all flushed with success now ?? Any comment??

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Still on Track Together? (continued)

In the last issue of the Newsletter, Judith Schofield contributed an article following a very useful and interesting meeting, between members of a variety of different groups who use footpaths, to investigate users’ needs and look to the future for ways to possibly integrate requirements. This article is here continued.

Joe Taylor is a member of Whitworth Footpath Group, Access for Rossendale and the Ramblers’ Association, amongst other groups.

Photograph: North Flank of Kinder Scout

North Flank of Kinder Scout
by David Appleyard - Own work

The Ramblers’ Association is pressing for the Right to Roam. There are 1.5 million acres of Common Land, and one fifth of this gives this right. However, there has been a spate of illegal fencing over the commons, possibly because trespass was made illegal under the recent Criminal Justices Act. Large landowners are a mixed bunch; the number of obstructions to footpaths has not reduced, but generally it is not the farmers who create these obstructions, but the newcomers.

Conflict can occur due to lack of a waymark - all it needs is a blob of white paint !! - or to a step-stile, which is no use to those with disability. Although £8 million has been spent on the Countryside Stewardship Scheme, the attempts to improve access has not been very effective. However, access is being made easier for Ramblers and Tourism - but are parts of rights of way being made into Theme Parks??

Sue Hogg - South Pennines Packhorse Trails Trust, founder, and research and projects officer.

Drawing: Packhorse

The Trust was set up in 1989 to tackle the problem of bridleways designated as footpaths - a short-sighted deed to save money. Lack of statutory designation led to decay and loss. Some routes have been there more than 1000 years, are a part of the history of the area, and are too good to be wasted.

Getting the status recognised involved a lot of historical research, but the Trust is able to attract funding not open to the Local Authority, and funding has been granted by the Countryside Commission and the Rural Development Commission. Work has been done to put the routes back in order, and this is much more cheaply done by the Trust than by the Highways Authority e.g. £40,000 of work has been done for £7 - 8,000. However, it was becoming increasingly difficult to achieve due to increased bureaucracy, so a bid was made to make research a legitimate expense for Lottery funding in 1995.

More research means more routes being opened, but these need to go on the Definitive Map, the LA’s map, and the OS maps with clear distinctions between these and footpaths for people to read correctly. The Trust is now dealing with the promotion of this idea to publications.

Increased use of ways is producing increased pressure and some resistance - something needs to be given back to the farmer eg new gates, and this can be achieved when tracks are opened up and improved in a way that will benefit all parties.

Les Morgan, Technical Co-ordinator for SCOSPA (Standing Conference of South Pennine Authorities).

Started in 1974 with the Pennine Park Association (a forerunner of the present South Pennines Association), SCOSPA works in a regional context - it aims to co-ordinate throughout the whole area without duplicity. It is not an Executive body, but servant to member Local Authorities, and only has one full time member of staff. It works by consensus and acts as consultative body for all levels of government, but is also a point of contact for non-government organisations.

The Golden Age of access was 1978-88, when a huge amount of work was done. More recently, the central core of the South Pennine area is now a proposed Special Protection Area, with designation imminent. The Pennine Way cost £8.5 million to repair, but it is better to prevent damage in the first place.

Co-operation is important - it pays off, as one-time adversarial groups are now working together and agreeing priorities. We do need a set of hard routes for people, horses and bikes, but care is needed as these must not stop access elsewhere. Access has its own problems - Tom Stephenson said that had he known the Pennine Way would become so eroded, he would never have started the access case for it - it is being spoilt by its own popularity.

The area must be properly managed, and money is the key - EU money has led to £400,000 from the Lottery due to the enthusiasm of officers and the community. We’ve never had such a good opportunity.

A Question and Answer session followed:

* All speakers have been very sensible - but we do have a problem
* Problems of kids/bikes - bike traps are sometimes possible
* Possibility of allocating moor on specific days for bike use
* Education needed, not only for general public, but also users and police
* Everything costs money!
* Problems of walkers and cyclists
* Anglers’ representative thought the talks were "brilliant" - showed co-operation
* Towpath is not usable in present state for dual use - always "half-wit" element misuses it. Problem will get worse as Calderdale improve their canal corridor over next two years.
* Licence system does not give effective control
* Cllr Evans spoke of resurgence of will to put proposals for improving the canal corridor in place, but it must be ensured that all applications get grant funding. Pennine Township and new manager are in place to achieve this.
* Any group can go on the Authority’s Access Group circulation list.
* Ideas to Gez Wood regarding footpaths and multi-use
* A Code of Conduct Booklet would be helpful

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Will the children ever play?

It has been many months - indeed we are running into years (plural) now - since a group of concerned Littleborough mums got together to try to push for better playing facilities in the park for our youngsters. As ever, money - or lack of it - was the big stopper, but eventually, a way of finding the necessary funding was found, which involved the proposed development of the old school site in Sale Street.

It was difficult when the first planning application was put in for the construction of housing on the site, as on the one hand, the mums were anxious to have a better playground, and the speedy granting of the plans would give us the playground sooner. On the other hand, however, the plans had to be rejected on grounds of too high a density of housing and a totally unacceptable design for such a sensitive area. It took many long months before a sensible and sympathetic application was accepted, and work on the site commenced in February this year.

Disappointingly however, the funding for the playground was not immediately forthcoming, and despite 'phone calls to the Council to check up on progress, work has still not yet started. The developer is responsible for arranging the contract with a playground firm, and has only until February 1998 to get the contracted company to commence the project. Time is fast running out, but that should mean that very soon, the children of Littleborough should have a decent playground with some purpose built equipment. Here’s to 1998!

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Footpath Walks List

Since the last Newsletter we have had some communication from Rochdale MBC regarding footpath 123, but it is ambiguously worded, and we are seeking clarification. We were also disturbed recently to find a number of blockages on the path between Townhouse and Middle Newgate, which has previously been trouble-free. While we believe them to be the result of poor workmanship rather than malice, this is a popular and useful path requiring speedy attention.

The Winter 97/98 programme was drawn up at a meeting of the Footpaths Group in September. We would be delighted to have further contributions of walks and ideas for the Group. The next meeting will be at Harehill Park Council Offices on 27th January at 8.00pm to decide the Spring 1998 Programme. Everyone is very welcome to attend.

Leaders' 'phone numbers: Harry 378368; David 370050; Michael 0120459568; Joe 344711.

Sunday 9th NOVEMBER - Meet Littleborough Square 1.35pm.
Leader - Harry Ratcliffe
Ealees - Rakewood - Flash House

Distance - 5 miles

Sunday 23rd NOVEMBER - Meet Littleborough Square 1.35pm
Leader - David Costa
Snoddle Hill

Distance - 5 miles

Sunday 7th DECEMBER - Meet Littleborough Square 1.35pm
Leader - David Costa
Ealees - Whittaker - Rakewood

Distance - 5 miles

Sunday 21st DECEMBER - Meet Littleborough Square 1.35pm
Leader - Michael Farrell
Canal Towpath - Clegg Hall - Dyehouse Lane - Greengate

Distance - 5 miles

Sunday 4th JANUARY - Meet Littleborough Square 1.30pm or Lawflats 1.45pm
Leader - Geoff Sutcliffe
Rydings - Syke - Healey Stones

Distance - 5 miles

Sunday 18th JANUARY - Meet Littleborough Square 1.35pm
Leader - Joe Taylor
Local Walk

Distance - 5 miles

Sunday 1st FEBRUARY - Meet Wildhouse Lane Picnic Site 1.35pm
Leader - Michael Farrell
Birchinley - Butterworth Hall - Flash House

Distance - 5 miles

Sunday 15th FEBRUARY - Meet Littleborough Square 1.35pm or Todmorden Market 2.00pm
Leader - Geoff Sutcliffe
Stones Farm - Higher Woodfield - Ewood Hall

Distance - 5 miles

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Editor: Anne Lawson

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