Whitefield Ambulance Station is to Close

It has now been confirmed that Whitefield Ambulance Station is closing.

As we understand the ‘HQ function’ (offices) that have been there are going to Bolton. One ambulance will be based at to Whitefield Fire Station, in Bury New Road, while the other will now be based at Bury Ambulance Station in Birch Street.

The changes will happen in the next few weeks. There are plans by North West Ambulance Station to close the building by the end of the year and sell it. They say: “Whitefield Ambulance Station is a 1950s building and the structure is showing extensive signs of age and needs significant investment to bring it up to a modern and acceptable standard.Both NWAS and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service agree that these proposals are a positive demonstration of partnership and responsible financial management by two publicly funded organisations.”

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NWAS claim that there will be no impact on response times, but we certainly want more information on this. It seems illogical that the response time from an ambulance based in Bury not be less than an ambulance based in Whitefield.

The NHS in Greater Manchester has recently published its ‘Healthier Together’ review which means that in the future emergency surgery provision will ONLY be at four hospitals in Greater Manchester (Oldham, Manchester Royal Infirmary, Salford and Stepping Hill in Stockport). This means that emergency surgery will not longer take place at our two local hospitals: North Manchester and Fairfield.

We believe there are serious questions to be asked about the impact of this on ambulance provision. Many serious ‘blue light ambulance’ incidents will in the future need to be taken to one of the four specialist hospitals – which are clearly further away than North Manchester of Fairfield.

We would be really interested to hear residents views on these issues.

Recycling Up – but where is the missing rubbish?

Bury Council has been celebrating this week that in the last six months the amount of rubbish we are putting in our grey bins has reduced by 3,923 tonnes.

On the face of it, this is great news: less waste to landfill or incineration is VERY good for the environment; less rubbish in our grey bins means less charges the Council has to pay to dispose of the rubbish (the Council has to pay £308 a tonne to dispose of grey bin waste.)

Bury’s recycling rate is now 57.5% of waste. Interestingly this is significantly below Lib-Dem run Stockport who achieve the best in Greater Manchester with 61% recycling – but this is with FORTNIGHTLY bin collections AND a weekly food collection.

The figures for other bins are interesting:

Over the period October 2014 to May 2015 (compared to the same period in the previous year):
* Green bin waste (paper/cardboard) has increased by 454 tonnes
* Blue bin waste (metal tins, plastic bottles) is up by 466 tonnes
* Brown bin waste (food and garden) is up by 644 tonnes

`That’s TOTAL recycling bins increase of 1,564 tonnes
* Grey bin waste (non-recyclable) is down by 3,923 tonnes

So where is the missing 2,359 tonnes of waste that is no longer in grey bins but isn’t in the recycling bins??

A few possibilities:
* all of a sudden people in Bury are producing less waste – it would be great if we’re all composting or re-using, or somehow supermarkets and Amazon had stopped giving us unnecessary packaging, but we doubt it….

It would be really interesting to know who much extra waste is being taken to Household Waste Recycling Centres (the tip) that before. Waste taken here is not included in Bury’s recycling or waste figures (not that we have a tip in Prestwich any more…)

It would also be interesting to know what increase there has been in flytipping. Anecdotally we know that there are more complaints to us about flytipping – either serious large incidents, but also cases of things cluttering back alleys spare bits of land in residential areas.

We would be interested to know your views!

Rochdale Council Consults on Three Weekly Bins

Bury Council was the first Council in England to introduce three-weekly bin collections 18 months ago. Now next-door Rochdale are consulting on a three-weekly bin proposal. Interestingly their proposal is the same for Bury EXCEPT the collection of food waste will be WEEKLY, not fortnightly like Bury.

Residents may remember that Bury introduced the change without any consultation with the public.

The Manchester Evening News conducted an online poll of Rochdale residents who found that 83% of residents oppose the plan. More information here.

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Farmers Market Update

A number of residents have been in touch about the Prestwich Farmers (or ‘Artisan’) markets that have, for a number of years, taken place quarterly in the Longfield area.

The most recent market was held on 22 February 2015. The market was to be held in conjunction with the newly appointed Vintage Market but disappointingly this market at short notice.

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Bury Council is now tendering for a Prestwich market provided who will be expected to hold a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 10 markets in the year. The franchise opportunity is looking for a food and craft operator as it is felt this will offer a diverse range of products.

If anyone knows of anyone who is interested then the tender information is here and an appellation form is here.

As we understand the fastest that a new operator could be up and running is the late autumn. It seems a shame that there will be this gap as the markets have become a good part of the ‘calendar’ in Prestwich.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you require any further information.

Nursery Road / Lilac Grove Parking Restrictions

A number of residents have been in touch over many months around parking restrictions at the ‘top’ end of Nursery Road (and round into Lilac Grove) with concerns around safety issues since the ‘Kid’s Planet’ nursery was built on Bury Old Road.

The planning permission for the nursery included a condition of no waiting restrictions, but it has clearly taken some time for this to be implemented.

The Council has now received and considered the necessary application and the work has now been scheduled.

Please get in touch if you require any further information.

Mary and Tim

Creative Living Centre wins Queens Award for Voluntary Service

One of our local charities, The Creative Living Centre has been awarded the Queens Award for Voluntary Service.

A group of staff, trustees, volunteers and members from the charity, which is based at the front of the Prestwich Hospital Site near Tescos, will attend a ceremony at Gorton Monastery to receive the award from the Lord Lieutenant of the Duchy of Lancaster on August 3rd.

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The Charity say:
“We wish to highlight how crucial to the life of the centre our volunteers are. They include the trustees, the many tutors who provide a range of creative learning opportunities, therapists, cooks for our lunches, gardeners, the hugely supportive people who help with reception and admin tasks, those who provide a listening ear to our members and the members themselves who work to keep the centre looking good, and helping each other stay well. We also owe much to the staff who provide training for the volunteers and supervise and support them throughout.”

“If anyone is interested in volunteering with us please contact the centre for an initial look around, we offer a range of opportunities with some training and on-going supervision (0161 772 3524 or admin@creativelivingcentre.org.uk)”

Heywood Road / Rectory Lane Junction Roadworks

Residents will have noticed the roadworks (and traffic lights) at the junction of Heywood Road and Rectory Lane.

The works are a further stage of the Cycling City Ambition Grant funded project (funded by the previous Government) to improve safety between Prestwich Metrolink station, right through to the Heaton Park gates.

The roundabout, which has had some terrible safety issues in the past, is one of the main pieces of work, with a new traffic light junction at the end of Whittaker Lane to follow.

This is the scheme below:

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Barbeerian Kickstarter Campaign

One of the many new businesses in Holyrood Ward area is Barbarian, on Bury Old Road near to the Motorway. Barbeerian is a specialist bottle shop with its own  tap room upstairs.

The venue currently have a ‘Kickstarter’ campaign to help raise funds to take the business further which anyone can get involved in.

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They say:

“We want to be able to open up 2 extra seating areas, one located at shop level and the other on the first floor. This will not only allow more people to be able to come and enjoy themselves, but it will also mean are able to attract more people to Barbeerian with a ground floor seating area.

The additional space will also be used to organise a local home brewers group once a month, where people can come & share their tips and sample fellow home brewers wares.

Some of the money we raise through this campaign will also be re-invested into local causes where we will be looking to advertise and build stronger links within the surrounding local communities.”

More information of the Kickstarter campaign is here.

Consultation on Closure: Bury Magistrates and County Courts

The Ministry of Justice is consulting on the future of courts services in the North West of England. (Similar consultations are happening throughout the country.)

The proposals as they stand are that a large number of courts would close, with their work transferred to a smaller number of courts (e.g. Manchester). Courts proposed for closure include both Bury Magistrates and County Courts, and also the County Court at Bolton, and both Courts in Oldham.

We are being invited to have our say on this consultation by 18 November 2015. Details of how members of the public can have their say are at the bottom of this post. The Lib Dem team of councillors will also make a submission on this consultation, based on your views.

I suspect all of us understand that public services are being asked to make significant ‘savings’ (more announced by the Chancellor yesterday). Our view is that it is important to balance this with the need for people to be able to fairly access justice and the justice system.

The below information is from the Ministry of Justice. The full document is here.

Proposals for Bury Courts

Bury Magistrates’ Court and County Court are located in one building at Bury Courthouse. They are one of eight magistrates’ and eight county courts in Greater Manchester. The magistrates’ court deals with criminal court business in adult and youth courts and the county court deals with civil work and some family work. The court has ten hearing rooms and courtroom use is low.

It is proposed that Bury Magistrates’ Court and County Court are closed and that the workload of Bury Magistrates’ Court be transferred to Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court, where enabling works will be required to extend accommodation for witnesses. Bury Magistrates’ Court is the only court in the Bury and Rochdale local justice area. Should this proposal go ahead the Judicial Business Group (JBG) would undertake local stakeholder engagement to consider the need for the merger of Local Justice Areas.
It is proposed that the workload of Bury County Court be transferred to Manchester County Court, located within the Manchester Civil Justice Centre. Enabling works will be required to provide additional hearing rooms and judicial and staff accommodation.

Bury County Court was proposed for closure in 2010 as part of the Court Estate Reform Programme. The decision to retain Bury County Court was made on the basis that the Bury Courthouse was remaining open and there was sufficient space to accommodate the county court at that time. The current proposal is to release under used court buildings and to close the courthouse in Bury.

Greater Manchester is a compact conurbation with the majority of its courts being located within nine miles of Manchester city centre. Greater Manchester benefits from an excellent public transport infrastructure comprising an extensive modern tram system (Metrolink), bus and rail services.
The proposed closure of Altrincham, Bolton, Bury, Macclesfield, Oldham, Stockport, Tameside and Warrington County Courts would enable the Manchester Civil Justice Centre to be fully used. The closure of Bury, Stockport and Trafford Magistrates’ Courts will enable the purpose built Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court to be fully used. This will enable the release of under used court buildings in Greater Manchester.

Manchester County Court and Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court are both located in the centre of the city. They are modern and purpose built buildings with excellent facilities.
Should Bury Magistrates’ Court and County Court close it will enable the work to be moved to larger venues and allow the receiving courts to be more responsive and flexible with the listing of cases, meeting user and workflow demands more effectively. An improved service will be delivered with courts being used more efficiently.

Accommodation
Bury Magistrates’ Court and County Court is located in one building. The building was constructed as a purpose built magistrates’ court and complies with the Equality Act 2010. There are ten courtrooms, of which, eight are magistrates’ courtrooms and two county court hearing rooms.

Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court and Manchester Civil Justice Centre are both centrally located and are modern, purpose built venues with excellent facilities including interview rooms for private consultations, disabled access and toilets, baby changing rooms, video conferencing and prison video link equipment, a loop hearing system, wireless internet access and a coffee shop.
Workload

During the 2014/15 financial year, Bury Courthouse was utilised at approximately 51% of its capacity.

Location
Bury Courthouse is located nine miles from both Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court and Manchester Civil Justice Centre. Bury is well served by public transport. There is a frequent local bus service and the Metrolink has a direct route to Manchester city centre.

Travel by Metrolink takes approximately 25 minutes and costs £6.10 for a peak time return. Travel by bus takes approximately one hour and costs £4.20 for a day ticket. The journey time by car is approximately 35 minutes.

Staff implications
There are 55 members of staff based at Bury Magistrates’ Court and County Court.

Other information
Bury Courthouse is a freehold building.
The 2014/15 operating costs of this venue was approximately £528,000.
Bury Courthouse is used one day per week to accommodate tribunal hearings. Should Bury Courthouse close arrangements will be made for this work to be heard elsewhere.

Responding to the Consultation

Questionnaire
We would welcome responses to the following questions.

Question 1. Do you agree with the proposals? What overall comments would you like to make on the proposals?

Question 2. Will the proposals for the provision of court and tribunal services have a direct impact on you? If yes, please provide further details.

Question 3. Are there other particular impacts of the proposals that HM Courts & Tribunals Service should take into account when making a decision? Please provide details.

Question 4. Our assessment of the likely impacts and supporting analysis is set out in the Impact Assessment accompanying this consultation. Do you have any comments on the evidence used or conclusions reached? Please provide any additional evidence that you believe could be helpful.

Question 5. Are there alternatives to travelling to a physical building that would be a benefit to some users? These could include using technology to engage remotely or the use of other, civic or public buildings for hearings as demand requires. Please explain your answer, with specific examples and evidence of the potential demand for the service where possible.

Question 6. Please provide any additional comments that you have.

About you

Please use this section to tell us about yourself

Full name

Job title or capacity in which you are responding to this consultation exercise (e.g. member of the public etc.)

Date

Company name/organisation (if applicable):

Address

Postcode
If you would like us to acknowledge receipt of your response, please tick this box 0
(please tick box)
Address to which the acknowledgement should be sent, if different from above

If you are a representative of a group, please tell us the name of the group and give a summary of the people or organisations that you represent.

Contact details/How to respond
Please send your response by 8 October 2015 to:
HMCTS Consultation
Ministry of Justice
Post point 1.13
102 Petty France
London
SW1H 9AJ

Fax: 0870 761 7768
Email: estatesconsultation@hmcts.gov.uk

Rugby World Cup in Bury 28 July 2015

Bury is being graced with a visit by the William Webb Ellis trophy (the Rugby World Cup) as part of its national tour in the run up to the Rugby World Cup. Bury is one of only four locations in the north west that the Cup will be visiting.

The Cup will be on display at the Rock Shopping Centre (outside Costa Coffee near M&S) on 28 July between 8am and 10am. It promises to be a great event.

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