Fun, Friendship & Flowers! – Friday 31st March 2017 1pm – 3pm

Details: Flower arranging workshop Sweetbriar House 31-03-17

Fun, Friendship & Flowers!
Friday 31st March 2017
1pm – 3pm
Sweetbriar House
Glebe Street
Shaw OL2 7SF

Tea, coffee & biscuits

Come and join us for a free fun afternoon and make your own Easter display.

Ring Karen on 01706 397 940 to book your place.

You will need to bring a pair of scissors and any Easter bits and pieces (ribbon, chicks, etc.) you have lying around!

My two allowed questions at tonight’s council meeting – Illegal Dumping in Maple Mill and the Future of the University Technical College Building

Q1 Leaders Question – Illegal Dumping in Maple Mill

Mr Mayor, my first question tonight to the Leader relates to the recent fire at the Maple Mill in Hathershaw.

My understanding is that the firefighters on attending the fire, found that the building was a huge repository for the illegal dumping of waste and that the combustible nature of these materials contributed to the longevity and severity of the blaze?

Not only did this situation further jeopardise the lives of firefighters and other emergency service workers, as well as some of our own officers and staff from First Choice Homes Oldham, all courageously attending the incident, but there was the potential of toxic air pollution impacting on the lives and health of residents in the surrounding area.

My understanding is that the dumping of rubbish in Maple Mill was not a one-off and that there are reports of similar activity at many of the redundant industrial premises and old mills in our Borough.

Can the Leader please tell me what she knows about the extent of this problem and what is being done by our officers and those of other public agencies to stop it?

And would she like to tell Council how members of the public – as our eyes and ears in our communities – can help this effort?

And can she also give me any estimate as to the potential cost to this local authority, or to the emergency services, from clear-up operations and attending to further incidents of this nature involving this blight?

I would have thought the bill could run into hundreds of thousands of pounds if this illegal practice is a wide spread as I believe it could be.

Q2 Leaders Question – Future of the University Technical College Building

My next question, Mr Mayor, concerns the future of the Greater Manchester University Technical College building, which is on Middleton Road next to Oldham College.

Members will be aware of the recent fiasco that was the wholesale academic under-performance at this expensive white elephant.

Millions spent on a purpose built building and equipment and nothing to show for it, as not one of the initial cohort of forty six students achieved a Grade C in both English and Mathematics and the College is now scheduled for closure.

This is such a waste – such a waste of public money and such a waste of the promise and potential that these young students had – but with the College’s closure there must also be an opportunity.

For Oldham College sits right next door to this soon abandoned building and Oldham College is crying out for more new quality buildings in which to deliver tuition.

So can I tonight through you, Mr Mayor, make a plea to the Leader and to the Cabinet Member for Education that they make urgent representations to the key decision-makers in the Department for Education asking them to transfer this publically-funded asset to Oldham College?

This must be common-sense?  For at least then we will see something come out from this mess that will be of long-term benefit for the students of this Borough and a small vindication of the spending over £9 million pounds.

Traffic Lights Four Lane Ends – Beal Lane, Rochdale Road, Market Street and Milnrow Road

Following a recent request of mine I can now confirm that an order is to be placed with Transport for Greater Manchester for audible signals to be introduced at the above junction.

Hopefully this will make life easier for the blind or partially sighted members of our community.

It has been possible to fund the installation along with other cycle improvements proposed for the junction and the Council is currently working with Transport for Greater Manchester to establish a timescale for completing the work.

The cycle improvement works at the junction include the provision of advanced cycle stop lines and ‘trixi’ mirrors attached to the signal heads, which will enable HGV drivers to see cyclists’ waiting at the junction.

The advanced stop lines and mirrors will make the routes safer for cyclists where there are significant HGV movements.

Former Post Office building which was occupied by Abacus Baby Ltd

Copy letter about the above is below.  No answer has yet been received and a reminder has already been sent.

Date: 13 February 2017

Customer Services, BT Group plc, BT Centre, 81 Newgate Street,
London EC1A 7AJ

Dear Customer Services,

Re: 19 Rochdale Road, Shaw, OL2 8AD

This property was previously leased to Abacus Baby Ltd who have recently left the premises vacant.  Councillor for Shaw, Howard Sykes has asked me to contact you with regards to the property 19 Rochdale Road, which I believe is leased out by BT.

Councillors for Shaw are concerned about the future of this building and are eager not to have a vacant leasehold in the centre of Shaw.

With this in mind Councillors have asked if you could please advise what your future plans for the building are?

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

SUNDAY 19th MARCH, 2017 MEET IN BRUSHES CLOUGH CAR PARK AT 10:30 AM

COME ALONG AND JOIN US FOR OUR NEXT TASK…..

RESTORING HEATHLAND BY REMOVING BIRCH SAPLINGS

SUNDAY 19th MARCH, 2017 MEET IN BRUSHES CLOUGH CAR PARK AT 10:30 AM

Our next task is to remove more birch saplings, from within the heather, in the Brushes Clough Spoil Heap area.  We managed to move around a 100 on the 5th of March but we still have a long way to go.

 We made a wildlife hedge with the trees we took out, which will provide another habitat for birds and small mammals.

A question often asked is……Why do we remove trees from one area, and then plant more trees in different areas on the moor?

A brief answer is that moorland may look natural, but it’s a man-made and managed landscape, which, if not carefully managed would succumb to ecological succession.

What is ecological succession?  In this instance the birch trees will rapidly colonise the spoil heap area with their tiny wind-blown seeds, and eventually convert the area into woodland.

Crompton Moor is made up of many diverse habitats, which provide us with rich diverse wildlife, and to protect it we need to manage it to maintain the balance of each habitat it contains.

This is also an opportunity to have a go with a ‘Tree Popper’; a great tool which lifts the trees out of the ground with little disturbance to the vegetation around it.  This really does make it much easier to remove the trees.  Easy to use and no digging necessary!!

Clothing to suit the weather conditions, and sturdy boots for the uneven ground, are advised.

For further information please contact:

Marian Herod – Secretary – Friends of Crompton Moor

Tel: 07792 156295   Email: cromptonmoor@gmail.com

Oldham Liberal Democrats call to abandon plans to build on Green Belt and pull out of the Greater Manchester Special Framework (GMSF)

The Leader of the Opposition and Liberal Democrat Group on Oldham Council, Shaw Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, will propose a motion to the next meeting of Oldham Council (Wednesday 22 March) calling on the Council to withdraw from the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) and to instead develop a local plan for housing and commercial development in the Borough.

The motion is similar to those submitted by Liberal Democrat Councillors in Bury and Stockport.

Councillor Sykes explained: “This twenty year plan requires 13,700 new homes to be built and almost 700,000 square metres of land to be made available for new factories and warehouses in the Oldham Borough.  Of the 13,700 new homes, almost a quarter – almost 3,000 – will be located in sites in Shaw and Crompton, this is in addition to other vast tracts of land that are designated for industrial development.”

“We believe this is madness.  To Liberal Democrat Councillors representing Shaw and Crompton, this plan represents a massive and inequitable land grab in our area with the loss of our much-loved Green Belt and OPOL (Other Protected Open Land).  Our constituents are up-in-arms about it, they have marched to save their Green Belt and they rightly expect their elected representatives to stand by them on this vital issue. We will not let them down; the Liberal Democrat Group intends to fight these proposals tooth and nail!”

“I know that Labour colleagues representing Royton and Chadderton are also upset at plans to devastate Green Belt in their areas so we hope that they will support this motion.”

Within the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework it is proposed that new properties will be built at Cowlishaw, in the Beal Valley, at Rushcroft, on the Whitfield Farm site across to Newhey and around Gravel Hole and Low Crompton.

Adjacent sites at Broadbent Moss (Oldham), Hanging Chadder (Oldham) and land East and West of the A627M (Rochdale and Oldham) if developed would also see a significant removal of the Green Belt land in the so called “Northern Gateway”.

Councillor Sykes added: “It is the view of the Liberal Democrat Group that there is no justification for the construction of a large number of properties (or indeed any properties) on Green Belt or OPOL land before new homes are first built on Brownfield sites, on sites where planning permission for housing development has already been granted and upon the many derelict and the unloved sites in our town centres and districts.”

“We also believe that every empty mill and factory should be converted and used for housing and that the large number of empty homes in our Borough should be brought back into use.”

“We are calling on Oldham Council to abandon their involvement with the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework and to instead meet our legal obligations by creating a fifteen year local plan, which apportions housing and commercial development across the Borough rather than in a few areas; meet our local requirements rather than those of others; and which emphasises development on Brownfield sites first.”

The Liberal Democrats have also objected to the GMSF plans as they believe that Shaw and Crompton simply does not have the necessary infrastructure in place to meet the needs of the residents of 3,000 new homes.

Seconding the motion will be Crompton Councillor Dave Murphy.  Commenting, Councillor Murphy said: “We have primary schools that are already overcrowded and full; a secondary school that is falling apart; a dilapidated Health Centre that is near cardiac arrest; no swimming facilities or dry leisure provision; precious few youth facilities and no municipal tip.”

“Under the proposals, 3,000 homes will be built in Shaw and Crompton for growing families.  These new residents will need more primary and secondary school places; more GPs and dentists; leisure and shopping facilities; and new highways and more buses and trams to get them there.”

“Oldham Council’s decision to close and not replace the Crompton Pool and Gym now looks a little short-sighted given the number of new young residents that will need to learn to swim and the number of adults that will want to keep fit.”

“A local plan would not overload any one part of the Borough with excessive development.  We can instead properly and fairly apportion new developments across the Borough and make our own plans to ensure the infrastructure needs of new residents are met in an effective and timely manner.”

A copy of the motion:

Council 22 March 2017 – Notice of Opposition Business

Motion 1 – Withdrawal from the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework

This Council notes that:

  • all councils are required by government to have a Local Plan which identifies land for housing, offices and industry;
  • the proposed Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) is one approach to fulfilling this requirement; however other local authorities have fulfilled this requirement by developing their own Local Plan;
  • the GMSF is a twenty year plan, requiring a third more housing land to be identified than would be required by typical fifteen year Local Plans produced by many other local authorities, and is based upon pre-Brexit growth assumptions over such a long period, which cannot be verified;
  • the GMSF proposals include significant releases of green-belt in the Borough of Oldham, particularly in Shaw, Crompton, Chadderton, Royton and Saddleworth;

Council further notes that:

  • these early proposals were developed without sufficient involvement of residents or ward members;
  • many residents and local politicians, particularly in Shaw, Crompton, Chadderton, Royton and Saddleworth, are strongly opposed to many of these proposals;

Council firmly believes that new housing development should first take place on brownfield or derelict sites, on sites with existing planning permission; and by converting long-term empty mills, shops and offices into homes; and that existing long-term empty homes should also be brought back into use, before any consideration is given to allocating green-belt or other protected open land for housing.

Consequently, Council condemns the current GMSF proposals as they fail to identify such sites that are available for development and are instead predicated upon developing new housing on green-belt land in the Borough of Oldham.

Council therefore resolves to:

  1. Formally withdraw from the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework process and make arrangements to ensure that the GMSF does not apply to the Borough of Oldham;
  1. Pursue Oldham’s own local plan. This should be a fifteen year Local Plan for the Borough which identifies that new housing development should first take place on brownfield or derelict sites, on sites with existing planning permission; and by converting long-term empty mills, shops and offices into homes; and that existing long-term empty homes should also be brought back into use, before any consideration is given to allocating green-belt or other protected open land for housing.
  1. Make arrangements to comply with the duty to cooperate with other planning authorities;
  1. Review existing development plan documents and build in a review process every five years.