NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2014
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We apologise for the lack of newsletters so far this year and assure you that the committee is still working hard on Friends (FORCH) matters.
Following requests for improvements,
new sound equipment has been installed by Bury Council.
THE FORMER GRANT ARMS BOWLING GREEN
In February 2014 Paddle Ltd
resubmitted their 2013 planning application to erect a block
of flats for retirement housing on this piece of
land close behind the Civic Hall.
The FORCH committee objected formally
on behalf of our group to this proposal, which was for an almost identical development to the
one submitted in June 2013 This time over 150
objections, including those recorded as
petitions, were received. Just before the May meeting of
the planning committee, Paddle Ltd once again withdrew their
Ever since the illegal removal of
12 mature trees in January 2013 debris has remained on the
neglected green which is now infested with invasive weeds,
including ragwort. (You will remember that the owners pleaded
guilty at Bury Magistrates Court to chopping down the trees and were
fined.) Again, we urge FORCH members to ‘have their say’ if
there are any more planning proposals for the bowling
INCREDIBLE EDIBLE RAMSBOTTOM IN BLOOM
Our Civic Hall garden has been part ofthe entry by Incredible Edible Ramsbottom in the
Royal Horticultural Society’s competition
for a North West in Bloom award. Displays on view
included the ones at Ramsbottom Station,
Memorial Gardens and Market Place. Plots at The Eagle
and Child, The Hearth of the Ram, Nuttall Park and Ramsbottom Fire Station were also
judged. Our committee had been delighted when
Incredible Edible’s Chair Person (and member of
our Friends group) Lynn Leyland-Mather asked FORCH Vice-Chairman Eddie Jones to take part.
Judging would focus on the alpine garden which was
already looking well, but the invitation
provided an incentive to carry out some serious weeding, mainly on
the other Civic Hall plots.
On 29 July, as Chair of the
Alpine Garden Society’s East Lancashire group (Hall users),
Eddie was on hand in the Hall garden to welcome
the judges. One of the four key aims of the RHS competition is to encourage community involvement and
he was able to explain to the judges about FORCH and the different community inputs into the
garden. The judges gave no indication of how well things
went but, as Lynn said, it is
heartening to witness people getting together to make
Ramsbottom look so good.
PLANS FOR THE CIVIC HALL’S GARDEN
On the 14th July 2014 FORCH submitted an
application for external funding to build on the progress that has been made to provide an
attractive extra facility at the Hall. If the bid is
successful more hard landscaping and planting will hide an
ugly fence and make the high garden beds easier to manage.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING (20/2/14)
Eddie Jones welcomed 45 members, including our Honorary President, the Mayor of
Bury, Councillor Sharon Briggs and guests, thanking everybody for
attending. There were 15 apologies.
that, alongside official business, there would be contributions from
representatives of three hall user groups who had been invited to
speak, Eddie then introduced our first speaker:
LOMAS has been instructing line dance classes for 20 years at Bury’s
civic venues and has been trying out live country music events at
Ramsbottom Civic Hall. Also, she had recently chosen the Hall as the
venue for her 50th
birthday party. She confirmed that with its large dance floor and
car parking the venue has everything she needs for her classes.
(Squeezing bands on to the small stage was difficult and she
suggested that this could be remedied by making extra demountable
expressed her appreciation of the work of hall staff and council
officers, reserving the highest praise for the Hall Manager, Samantha
Williams. She also said she is grateful for the advice she had
received from Bury Venues staff about the use of social media
(Facebook, Twitter), now part of their own marketing strategy.
VICE CHAIRMAN’S REPORT
2013 the committee continued their work helping towards the success
of Ramsbottom Civic Hall. The FORCH
committee now has few members so it is not possible for social events
to be organised. However, a FORCH Seniors’ Christmas
Luncheon with nearly 100 guests from the local community had taken
place. The event was made possible by Charles Walton (Bury Venues),
the Rotary Club of Ramsbottom, Ramsbottom Soroptomists , Peel Lions
and the band Lite Music all playing important parts in the
arrangements and/or on the day.
the realities of financial and economic situation there are still
serious concerns about the Hall’s future. Another dilemma is what
will happen to the former bowling green close by. A planning
application for 34 flats on the site has been withdrawn so it is
hoped there will be a way forward that will not be detrimental to the
Eddie Jones reported FORCH’s
funds to be in a tolerable state. The statement of accounts was
presented to the meeting along with the properly audited balance
ELECTION OF COMMITTEE
to serve on the committee were: Steve Treadgold (Chairman), Eddie
Jones (Vice-chairman and Treasurer), Janet Smith (Secretary) and
committee members Sheila Magnall and Stuart Rothwell. Efforts to
increase committee membership will continue as there were no other
proposals. We are pleased to announce, however, that Dorothy Gunther
has now joined the FORCH
McLAREN (representing the staff of Ramsbottom Children’s Centre)
explained that the Centre, completed in 2011, is very important as a
hub for Ramsbottom’s young families to find support and activities.
Many families are new to our town and the Centre has been so
successful that activity sessions are now held in the Civic Hall.
Without the extra space Centre staff would have been in a quandary –
the previous week 34 young children and parents had attended the Hall
confident that the children, when they grow up, will want to continue
to use their beautiful Civic Hall.
ROTHWELL (FORCH committee member for Ramsbottom
Business Group now has 70 to 80 members and has been working with
Bury Council for the past 7 years. Earlier this year their efforts
were recognised when Ramsbottom was the runner up for the title of
Best High Street in the UK
and other boroughs have been approaching the group for advice and
help with events. The group recognise cuts in Council support have
had to be made but is keen to improve on the present level of
communication with Council officers.
has supported Ramsbottom Civic Hall which he has often used for
business functions. Other Business Group members also bring business
into the Hall, which is widely valued, so Stuart hopes that the
Business Group’s use of the venue will increase.
NEIL LONG (Bury Council’s
Director of Operations):
the momentum for the development of Ramsbottom Civic Hall shifted.
Previously the focus was on self-management but this had changed with
the appointment of Samantha Williams. As Hall Manager she is showing
100% commitment and along with Charles Walton (Head of Civic Halls
and Catering) and the Council and she will continue to build on
FORCH’s support and share information.
has also been a change in the Council’s management structure.
Management of the civic venues will stay with Neil Long and the team
but will be associated with the Department of Adult Care Services
which includes public health. Along with this change, in the
following months there will be opportunities.
February the Council budget was set for 2014 - 15 and the financial
situation at Ramsbottom Civic Hall is good but 2015 – 16 and 2016 –
17 will see significant cuts, much bigger than before. The Hall’s
management team are rising to this challenge and looking to invest,
especially in the marketing of the civic venues and also in creating
an image that will appeal to eg 18 to 30 year olds. Ramsbottom Civic
Hall’s joint marketing plan will be adopted soon, reaching out to
the whole community for regular events as well as weddings and
parties. Information about events at the Hall can be found online or
in Bury Council’s What’s on Guide
which is available at libraries, civic venues and elsewhere.
funding is to be sought by FORCH
in association with the Council’s External Funding and Projects
Officer. The proposed project is for the creation of a smart,
sustainable background and spill-out area in the garden which is
accessed from the Hall’s Holcombe Room through the existing French