Update from Iain
December has been a very busy month for me so far. I’ve been working on a special scrutiny group that was set up last year to look at how Bury Council is coping with the safeguarding of children in our Borough. The good news is that the number of “Looked After Children” in care has been falling recently but this can easily increase again so we need to monitor it closely.
On December 2nd, I chaired the Council’s “Overview and Scrutiny Committee”. We received and scrutinised reports concerning rates of recycling and bin collections in the Borough, the latest financial outturn report, and the Civic Halls redesign update.
Whilst it was pleasing to note that rates of recycling are continuing to improve and now stand at 57% of all household waste being recycled, I am very concerned about the levels of fly-tipping increasing. Since the 3 weekly bin collections were introduced in the autumn of 2014, the amount of fly-tipping tonnage collected has increased by approximately a third.
On the financial monitoring report, there is currently a projected overspend by the Labour-run Council of £933,000.00 for this financial year. We need to keep our eye on this and make sure it is brought down by the end of the year. The overspend in social care services is over £700,000.00 which is a concern but the Government have recently offered to help councils with these demand pressures by allowing them to increase the Council Tax by 2% next year, if they need to. The explanations behind the overspend in this area in the report we received seemed quite optimistic that the overspend could be brought under control without the need to raise the CT by 2%.
Finally, the Civic Halls report stated that we as a Borough are still subsidising them to the tune of £400,000.00 per year. We have 4 in Bury (The Longfield in Prestwich, The Elizabethan in Bury, Ramsbottom Civic Hall and Radcliffe Civic Hall). There are now plans to demolish Radcliffe and build affordable housing on that site, whilst building a new Leisure centre on the old Radcliffe Swimming Pool site. You may have seen in the local press recently that some residents are unhappy with these plans and wish to invest in the Civic building and retain it instead. We were assured that a new marketing strategy should improve income levels and reduce the subsidy but we were not given any timescales or any aspirations that they will be self funding one day.
On Wednesday, I attending a “Full Council” meeting at the Town Hall and moved a motion to make provision for extra grey bin collections over the festive period when many households will be struggling to deal with non-recyclable packaging. In the winter months, Brown Bin collections are less frequent as there is less green waste to collect. Therefore, with more capacity in the collection system, I proposed that additional grey bin collections should take place. Unfortunately, the ruling Labour Group voted my motion down.
In a question I submitted, I asked if on and off-street parking charges could be waived after 3pm in the run up to Christmas? Many other Councils have implemented this in recent years and given that parking charges have recently been increased yet again, this should be the least that Council could do in order to help shoppers and local businesses. Did they agree and bring some festive cheer to our Town Centre in Bury?? Again no they refused to !!
The Labour Party then moved a pointless motion about supporting staying in the European Union. As we all know, there will be a referendum next year when the people will decide whether we should stay or leave so this was a complete waste of Bury Council time and business!
On a different matter, over the past few weeks, I have been delivering the latest Tottington In-Touch in the all weathers. If you haven’t received yours yet you should do in the next few weeks once I complete all my delivery routes.
This coming week, I’ll be supporting the residents of Victoria St at the Planning Control meeting on Tuesday, where the committee will hopefully turn down an application to build new houses on land at the back of their houses, and in some cases, in their back gardens! I’ll also be attending various Carol Services in the Tottington area, including the annual one in Affetside next Sunday at 3.30pm at the Millennium Green and at the newly refurbished St John’s Free Church at 5pm on the same day.
I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and all the best for The New Year!
Update From Yvonne
Ward cases continue to be like the rain, non stop ! I have been dealing with a variety of issues with some making progress and others at stalemate ! My constant haranguing for progress for the new signage for Turton Road is still in the hands of Council Officers of Bolton and Bury and no date as yet .
Residents of Bury Road have requested a roundabout at the junction of Scobell St which is now being considered by Council Officers. I have again requested pot holes are filled on Boothway. A new lockable barrier has now been fitted on the Kirklees Trial at the rear of Laburnum Ave to allow access for a disabled lady but will now stop the motor bikes getting through. A good result with a Housing Benefit claim for a young mum returning to education.
I received a complaint regarding commercial vehicles parked near junctions on Scobell St which is being investigated. The concerns raised from residents living near the new developments on Bury Road regarding vibrations to their homes due to inferior road surface is on-going.
We are busy at present delivering a newspaper and calendar throughout the Ward. I noticed whilst in Holly Street the appalling state of the highway with again huge potholes which I have reported and asked for urgent attention.
I have received complaints from residents on Cotswold Crescent regarding the impact of the new school on their privacy and tv reception. This is now with the Governing Body to resolve.
Busy with voluntary work and had a terrific result on the Tombola I organised in the Millgate to raise funds for a day trip for residents of the borough with severe and enduring mental illness. With donations added the total is now at £1010 . The trip is to be organised in the new year. I co ordinated a Charity Christmas Fair last week with 7 charities taking part. I will be spending 4 days gift wrapping again on the run up to Christmas for the Blind Society, its our our tenth year of this service to shoppers. We are situated next to Yates and Suddel in a shop unit. Tottington Residents get extra special wrapping when I am on the stall so do mention this to me.
I have attended a Planning Control Meeting. The application for an ultra modern contemporary large home on the former Berry’s Garden Centre site on Turton Road was passed despite my objections that this design would be unsympathetic to the street scene, it looked more like a long low bunker plus it has some wood cladding and we all know how poorly that weathers in the rainy north west ! Despite Labour Cllrs stating they wish to protect Green Belt, ALL on the committee voted for this application.
I attended a meeting of Bury Rural Inequalities Forum and again the Local Link was discussed at length. This is the subsidised taxi service available from some parts of the Ward not well served by buses. The confusion with the charges continues despite me suggesting that every taxi has a laminated tariff in their cab.
A public meeting took place this week in Affetside regarding improved Broadband for the Village. A warning from the Police of an unusual garage burglary in the Ward, the burglar drilled a hole above the key hole to bypass the lock, be vigilant.
After complaints from elderly residents regarding the lack of leaf clearing around the Library and Memorial Gardens and concerns about slipping on leaves , I suggested that Tottington Cllrs would volunteer to clear them. We are informed we need a briefing /training session regarding Road Safety and yet we will not be near the highway ! I have requested this session or the leaves removed promptly.
Tis the season to be jolly , we are busy shopping and celebrating Christmas but rest assured your Tottington Cllrs are still working hard representing your interests in the Town Hall.
All The Best
Update From Greg
Since being elected on 22nd October I have continued to be busy around Tottington Ward . I have become a Governor at Tottington Primary School and hope to become involved in the running of the school . It was mentioned by the governors that previous councillors had contributed little to the running of the school . I assured them that this would not be the case with Councillor Keeley .
I recently attend my first Council meeting in the role of Councillor and was surprised at some of the insulting comments made by some of the Labour Councillors on a personal level . I felt that it was not appropriate given the business in hand . One of the matters passed by both the Labour and Liberal Democrat Councillors was that Bury Council supports the continued membership of the E.U. by the United Kingdom . Conservative Councillors objected to this as our Government will soon allow each individual to vote in a referendum on the E.U. It is not the place of local councillors to speak in this way for the entire population of Bury.
There have been a number of planning applications made which have caused concern for local residents . An application was passed to allow building work on a former garden centre off Turton Rd. despite objections from local residents . I attended the Planning Committee meeting with Iain and Yvonne in order to object but we were defeated. Another application is being heard on 15th December for permission to build on a narrow strip of land at the rear of Victoria St. The Tottington |Councillors will be attending this meeting to object to this application as it will take away the residents small rear gardens .
Following heavy rainfall there was an incident of flooding at Leemans Hill . A culvert did not operate properly and water collected on the surface to a depth of six to eight feet . After the water had receded a lot of mud and debris was left behind . I have attempted to get Bury Council to clear up some of the mess but was told that as the footpath is passable there is insufficient money to clear the area . The council’s reduced budget means that the available money must be used for paths which have been made impassable. Bury Council have money saved in bank accounts which could be used to alleviate some of the financing problems but the Labour Councillors like to blame the Government for cutting the budget .
At a recent Christmas themed fund raising event I was asked to sing some Christmas Carols . My wife and daughter accompanied me to this and my daughter’s solo of ” Away In A Manger” was very well received . I have also had a busy time helping organise and run the Christmas Fare at my daughter’s school and assist at a whole school outing to watch a pantomime in Manchester . In a few days time I will have a starring role in school as Father Christmas .
Ho! Ho! Ho! Happy Christmas Everyone !