Real-Time Bus Stop Signs – Greater Manchester needs to catch up!

At the last full meeting of Bury Council my colleague Councillor Tim Pickstone asked a question of Bury’s representatives to Transport for Greater Manchester about their plans for ‘Real-Time’ bus information at bus stops.

People might be familiar with the signs that we now have on Metrolink Platorms which show (after many years of them being unused) show what time the next trams are coming. People might also have seen the same thing at bus stops in other towns in this country, and also abroad.

Screenshot 2014-11-20 09.10.26


The answer seems to be that Greater Manchester has NO plans for real-time bus information displays at bus stops. It does have plans for a ‘smart phone’ app which would enable people to look on their phone when the next buses were coming to their stop. This is great, but obviously no use at all for people who do not have smart phones, which is probably includes quite a few people who use buses.

What people have found in other places is that bus stop information increases people’s confidence in the bus system, and is one of the ways that people can be encouraged to use public transport more.

So why not Greater Manchester? We invested the computer here, surely we can manage some automated signs on key bus stops (I don’t think anyone is suggesting every single bus stop, but at important/busy stops this could be very useful.)

The answer we were given is: “I take your point but we’ve got many thousands of bus stops in Greater Manchester so for example we might be able to have them in somewhere like Bournemouth but Greater Manchester is just too big.”

We asked friends from around the country and here are just some of the places – big and small – that already have real-time bus information at their bus stops.

London (all over, not just central London)
Milton Keynes
Abbots Langley

Greater Manchester needs to do better!

KFC Drive Through – ‘Minded to Approve’

The planning application for a ‘drive through’ KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) in Prestwich Village is on the agenda for the next meeting of the Planning Committee as with the officer report saying ‘minded to approve’.

This DOES NOT mean it has been approved, but it means that the ‘approve’ is what the report from the Planning Officers says, after their professional consideration of the issue. It remains up to members of the committee to make the decision, but it is fair to say that normally the opinions of the professional officers is listened carefully by the members of the Committee.

The ‘minded to approve’ comes with a number of conditions, some quite minor. The two which might be of interest to people are:

- opening hours – no later than 11pm Sunday-Thursday and Midnight on Friday-Saturday. (Some of these drive-through takeaways are 24 hours.)

- No right turns – there will be an extension to the current ‘island’ in Bury New Road, to prevent ‘right turns into, and right turns out of’ the KFC (i.e. – you will only be able to use the KFC is you are travelling north). From a traffic point of view this probably avoids making worse some of the existing congestion that we experience around the Post Office and M&S. However we worry about what people will do to get round this – the obvious things to do would be to drive round either Highfield/Fairfax Roads or Clifton/Dashwood/Kingswood Roads – probably not good news for residents there – OR using the Tesco roundabout to turn around – already busy with Prestwich’s two largest employers (Tescos and the hospital).

Screenshot 2014-11-20 08.44.06

The full papers for the Planning Committee are here – which includes some of the details of the many comments made by members of the public and others – are here.

Planning Committee is on Tuesday 25 November 2015, 7.00pm Bury Town Hall. Members of the public can attend.

Are you at risk of Flu?

Information from the NHS in Bury: If you have a long term health condition, even one that is well managed, you are eligible for the flu vaccination free of charge.

Flu can make the effects of existing health conditions worse, so if you have a long term condition, like diabetes, asthma or heart disease, it’s important to get vaccinated. 15.4million people, over a quarter of the UK population, have a long-term health condition; if you aren’t sure if you are eligible for a vaccine you should contact your GP practice

NHS Bury say: “People with long term conditions are one of the groups particularly vulnerable to flu, so it’s important to be well prepared and to take precautions against catching it. Flu can make existing conditions worse and can cause more serious illnesses, such as pneumonia”.

“We urge those who are eligible for the flu vaccine to visit their GP to receive the vaccination as early as possible in the flu season, November or earlier, before flu starts to circulate in the community.”

The flu jab is available free of charge on the NHS to eligible groups. People with long term conditions and other eligible patients should contact their GP practice to make an appointment to get the jab.

Other groups of people who are deemed ‘at risk’ to developing serious complications from flu, and who are urged to get vaccinated are pregnant women and people aged 65 and over. Carers, 2-4 years olds, and those living in nursing or residential homes are also offered the vaccine, as well as front line health and social care workers.

If you are at one of the ‘at risk’ categories for flu, arrange your free flu vaccination now by contacting your GP surgery.

Grants available: Active Communities

Forever Manchester are currently working with the People’s Health Trust to support groups who wish to apply in the current round of their Active Communities Programme.


Applications to the Active Communities programme opened in Bury, Bolton, Oldham, Rochdale, Tameside and Wigan on Wednesday 15 October, and the deadline for receipt of all applications is 1pm on Wednesday 26 November.

During past rounds in these areas, overall the Active Communities programme has been heavily oversubscribed by a ratio of approximately 6/7 unsuccessful applications to every successful one. With this in mind, Forever Manchester and People’s Health Trust are keen to ensure that only organisations with really relevant projects and appropriate capacity apply, and that these groups are given support to submit a good application. Ideally, the People’s Health Trust wish to see fewer, but higher quality applications.

The Awards Team can offer telephone and email support to applicants, including reviewing and feeding back on applications before submission. Prospective applicants can contact the Forever Manchester Awards Team on 0161 214 0940, or email <a href=””></a>.

<a href=””>Here is a FAQ sheet published by the People’s Health Trust</a>.

NHS Funding should be a priority in the Autumn Statement

Liberal Democrat health minister Norman Lamb is calling for the government to free up as much as £1.5bn to invest in the NHS in 2015/2016. Norman wants to see the government make NHS funding a priority in next month’s Autumn Statement.

We are calling for extra funding to focus on improving mental health care, particularly for children and young people, which is a key priority for the Liberal Democrats.

Add YOUR support to the campaign for extra NHS funding by signing up here.

We believe that delaying funding issues for 2015/2016 until after the General Election would betray patients and politicians should instead secure the money needed now.

The funding would be in place from April 2015. After next year, Liberal Democrats want to invest at least £1bn extra each year of the next Parliament into the NHS.

Norman Lamb said:
“Extra money for the NHS must be a high priority for the whole Government in next month’s Autumn Statement. And we want at least an extra billion pounds put in every year in the next Parliament too.

“A significant amount of that needs to go on improving mental health services, especially for children and young people. For too long mental health has been seen as a second class issue in the NHS and the Liberal Democrats are determined that changes.”

Feedback Request: Bonfire Night

A number of residents have already been in touch around traffic and parking issues around the bonfire night events in Heaton Park last week.

There are a number of issues to feed back already, but could people let me know if there are issues that I need to raise with Heaton Park?

Either comment to this post or email me: <a href=""

Bonfire Night Heaton Park – Residents Information

Some information which has been provided by Heaton Park on tonight’s bonfire. (Apologies for the lateness on this, but it has only just been received!)

Heaton Park’s Bonfire Event will be held on Wednesday, 5th November 2014, from 5pm – 9.30pm. The Bonfire will be lit at 7.30pm, followed by fireworks.

The event will comprise of Bonfire, Fireworks Display, catering concessions, craft, bar, funfair and fire performers.

There is increased toilet provision this year by adding 2 x 4-way urinals.

Over 6km of festoon lighting is being erected through the site to ensure that the main routes into the parks are well lit.

The Papal Field is being fenced off and entry onto the site will be through 3 main entry marquees at Gate 3, 5 and 6 where conditions of entry will be enforced. Conditions of entry are:

• No fireworks
• No sparklers
• No alcohol
• No glass
• No dogs
• No bicycles

For everyone’s safety and enjoyment Heaton Park will be encouraging people to return to their cars with fireworks and sparklers, otherwise these will be confiscated on entry into the event.

Egress will be back through the 3 main entry points.

A full traffic management plan is in place around the site.

The following traffic management will be in place:
• No Waiting Restrictions on Sheepfoot Lane and 15m into each adjoining road, with Residents only signs.
• No Waiting Restrictions on St Margaret’s Road and Resident’s only signs on Church/Park side of the road.
• No Waiting Restrictions on Old Hall Lane
• No waiting Restrictions on Scholes Lane, between Bury Old Road and Hereford Drive
• No Waiting Restriction on Middleton Road, north of Junction 19 on both sides
• No Waiting Restrictions on Middleton Road, south of Junction 19, between Sheepfoot Lane and Meade Hill Road
• Road closure on Bury Old Road, between Newtown Street and Sheepfoot Lane from 6.30pm – 10pm.
• Road closure on Whittaker Lane, between Bury Old Road and Infant Street.

Residents on Bury Old Road and Whittaker Lane will be permitted access into the road closure, on production of a utility bill. The road closure will be stewarded at the closure points. Consideration is being given to signposting residents on Bury Old Road to access closure via Ostrich Lane.

Additional cones and signs will be placed at bottom of Whittaker Plane to try and deter access.

KFC Planning Application – Consultation Deadline

The deadline for making a comment on the application for a drive through KFC in Prestwich Village is next Wednesday (12 November 2014).

Many residents have been in touch with the local team, and all comments you have made to us (negative and positive) have been submitted as a general submission. However, if people do feel strongly, it may be appropriate to make your own online contribution to the consultation.

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 08.32.04

The link to make an online comment is here. Click on ‘Neighbour comments’.

Cost of the new Bin Collection System

At the last Full Council meeting of Bury Council my colleague Cllr Tim Pickstone asked about the ‘start-up’ costs of the new three-weekly bin collection system. We know a lot of us experienced extra bin collections at the weekend, and a number of people had asked how much this was costing:

Councillor T Pickstone
Could the Leader please provide members with a breakdown of the estimated set up costs for the new three-weekly bin collection service? Could this include:
- additional costs of communications with residents
- set up costs of the new texting service
- addition staff and related costs as a result of the additional weekend collections – provision of additional and replacement larger bins to residents
- capital and other costs associated with the new service.

The costs to set up the new bin collection service were approved by Cabinet in July 2014 when it considered the Zero Waste Strategy. A budget of £213,400 was approved for the capital costs of new bins and caddies to meet estimated demand for additional bins for larger families and extra recycling bins. One-off implementation costs of £189,700 were approved to cover information packs for residents and one-off tasks such as delivering extra bins, missed bin collections, recycling promotions and extra contact centre staff to answer residents’ queries.

On top of this extra collections were organised for some residents to ensure that there wasn’t an excessive delay between the collections on the old and new bin rounds. This incurred a one-off cost of around £55,000 for staff, fuel, supervision and printing and distribution of leaflets. The set up of the new alert system was done in-house by staff in our ICT section so this has not cost us any extra money. As the alerts are sent by email (not by text) there are no ongoing costs.

Whilst the implementation costs appear to be substantial the savings on payments for waste disposal from the increased recycling which we expect to achieve are estimated to be £890,000 per annum, giving a pay back period of just 6 months.

As a follow on he asked how many people who had small grey bins, had already asked for them to be replaced by a larger bin – the answer was 700 households so far.

In summary that is £458,100 set up costs + 700 replacement bins so far.