Victory on Votes for 16 and 17 Year olds in EU Referendum

Members of the House of Lords have backed calls to give 16- and 17-year-olds the right to take part in the UK’s EU referendum when it takes place in 2016 or 2017.

The House of Lords voted to amend the European Referendum Bill and was something proposed very strongly by Liberal Democrat members of the House of Lords.

Our view is that the result of the EU referendum will affect everyone in the UK for many years to come. It will affect jobs, and our ability to trade with our international partners. It will change the way that we see ourselves and our attitudes towards our closest neighbours.

16- and 17- year olds were allowed to vote in the Scottish Independence Referendum in 2014 and it has been a long standing Lib Dem policy to extend this to all elections. 16- and 17- year olds can be taxed, can work, can get married and can be sent to serve their country in the armed forces, so it seems right that they have a say in who runs their country and their local areas.


Lib Dem Peer Alison Suttie led on the proposals and said:
“Young people will have to live with the consequences of the referendum far longer than any of the peers who voted on extending the franchise in the House of Lords last night.”

“No-one who saw the energy that 16 and 17-year-olds brought to the independence referendum in Scotland would agree with those who argue that young people should not get involved in politics. My niece was one of 17-year-olds who took the chance to have their say on the future of her Scotland in the referendum last year. She was informed, passionate and committed to her preferred side of the argument. No one will ever persuade me that Liberal Democrats were wrong to support the extension of the franchise and give her the vote at that poll.” (See her full article here.)

The government has said it was wrong to change the franchise “by the back door” and it would seek to reverse it when the bill returns to the Commons.

Six Town Housing Start Upgrades to homes on Polefield

Six Town Housing just started work on upgrades to many properties in the Polefield area. The work is to replace kitchens and bathrooms and heating works to include (some) gas central heating works, re-wiring kitchens and bathrooms. Work will vary in each property as appropriate.

The work started yesterday, 23 November 2015 and will be completed by 28 February 2016 and is being undertaken by Emmanuel Whittaker Ltd.

Work on two ‘pilot properties’ (one on Polefield Hall Road and one on Bury Old Road) started a few weeks ago.
Any queries regarding the above please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if there are any queries that you would like us to raise with Six Town Housing, or to put you in touch with the right people.


Solidarity with France and Paris

As a mark of solidarity with France and the victims of this weekend’s atrocities in Paris the French flag was flown at half-mast outside the town hall on Monday, alongside the Union flag, as the borough shows its support for our near neighbours.

(c) Bury Council

The Leader of Bury Council said:
“Our hearts go out to the people of France following these attacks, and our deepest sympathies go to the families and friends of those who died.

We’ve had close links with France for decades with twin towns in Angouleme and Tulle, and I will be sending a message of sympathy to their residents expressing our sorrow and our wish to stand with them at this terrible time.”

These atrocities were indiscriminate, and carried out by cold-blooded murderers, pure and simple,”

Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron said:
“We are shocked and saddened by the attacks in Paris on Friday. It is clear that these acts of terror were targeted and coordinated, and I support the Prime Minister in his pledge to aid the French police in ensuring that all the perpetrators are caught.

Our thoughts are with all of the victims and their families, and with the people of Paris, who have suffered at the hands of those whose aim is to fuel hatred, division and intolerance.

Europe cannot allow these terrorists to succeed, and only by working together can we ensure that liberalism, democracy and tolerance triumph.”

Bury New Road Proposals

As you may be aware Bury Council has just started a six week consultation on proposals to make significant changes to Bury New Road as it passes through Prestwich Village. Consultation ends on 23 December 2015.

Some (Labour) councillors have been developing the plans for the couple of years, but this is the first time that the plans have been made public in any way and the first consultation with members of the public.

The proposals are for either:

– single lane traffic, together with bus lay-bys, parking bays, cycle lanes and improved wider pavements
– single lane traffic, a northbound bus lane with some parking, cycling and pavement changes, but less than above.

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A plan of the two schemes is here.

The work to do this would take place from summer 2016 for seven months.

The scheme costs £2,000,000, some of which would come from Transport for Greater Manchester, but the bulk from Bury Councils reserves or borrowing.

Our view is that it is really important that the Council LISTENS to Prestwich residents on this proposal – hopefully this time they will. Please do have your say in the consultation here.

Please do also let me and the local Lib Dem team know what you think about the scheme. We are here to represent you, and stand up for our local area, so please let us know what your views are so we can represent you to the best of our ability.

Obviously the scheme needs to be studied in detail, but our biggest initial concerns are:

The scheme does not solve the traffic proplems we currently have on Bury New Road. All of us know about the traffic jams that Prestwich suffers for much of the day on the main road, and people who live on streets off the main road (e.g. Highfield Road, Nursery Road, Heywood Road, Poppythorn Lane, etc.) suffer as a ‘rat run’.

Regenerating Prestwich is meant to be the core objective of the scheme, but if people are to live, work and visit Prestwich, then we need to be able to get in, get out and get about. Most people in Prestwich who work do not work in Prestwich, and many people rely on the A56 to get us to Manchester, Bury or the M60.

We would have hoped that the investment could have helped with this, but the traffic modelling that has been done does not show any significant improvement and in some cases and times of the day would make the journey longer. (Scheme 1 shows a longer travel time at the evening rush hour, and scheme 2 shows longer travel time in general, we guess this is except for buses travelling north).

We are concerned about the Fairfax Road / Chester Road junction. A very large amount of traffic relies on this junction to access the ‘rest of the world’, and at the moment we cannot see how the scheme will make the junction better or safer.

We are really worried about some of the detail about cycle lanes and bus lanes. We should have roads that are safe for cyclists, but the proposal is for cycle lanes that are squeezed between the traffic and parking bays and bus lay-bys, which evidence says is actually not going to make for a good cycling provision. (Cyclists tend to avoid cycling in a lane which is right next to parked cars to avoid car doors opening, and cycling between traffic and parking bays and bus lay-bys does not seem very safe.)

Bus Lane
Bury Council has recently reviewed its bus lanes and has closed the bus lane on Rochdale Road going into Bury so it seems odd that it is proposing a new bus lane in Prestwich!

The lane is advertised as a bus and cycle lane. We have real concerns about cyclists safely sharing a lane with buses. Although this might work for an experienced cyclist, I suspect most people would not be happy with their children cycling up a bus lane on Bury New Road.

Please let us know about your views either by commenting below or emailing me (

Reporting Back: Bailey Street Play Area

We wanted to update residents about the play are on Bailey Street (Heaton Street).

As you may be aware the Council has identified a limited amount of money to upgrade some of the children’s play areas in the Borough, and Bailey Street is one of those to be updated.

Together with Councillor Tim Pickstone, I met with the appropriate Council Officer at the play area to discuss the refurbishment and any issues that local people and/or users of the play area might have.


As we understand some of the equipment is in good condition and does not need to be replaced. Other pieces, the swings in particular, do need to be replaced and are included within the budget.

The park is very close to houses, and one concern that people do have is around older children playing ball games, particularly given the quite large open area in the middle of the play area.

One suggestion is to put some limited seating (e.g. like a picnic table) in the middle of the play area which would be a deterrent against older children’s ball games, and also provide space for adults to sit when children are using the play equipment.

If anyone has any views on the play area, now is the time to let us know before the work starts in the new year.


Reporting Back: Simister Wetlands and Horses Meeting

A meeting took place on Wednesday 11th November at Wilton Hall in Simister, which I attended attended on our behalf. The meeting was called by the local horse riders/owners.

The meeting was attended by a large number of local residents (the village has a very good community spirit and all events in and around the village are always well supported). The aim of the meeting was to discuss the plan to allow horses to be ridden on the wetlands, which is something they cannot do at the moment.

This is a complex subject, with many different and valued opinions.

The history is that before the wetlands were created everybody used the area for mixed use recreation – as young trees were planted, horse riders were asked to stay away from the area to allow them to mature.
As many years have passed, and the number of accessible bridle paths has reduced, the riders would like to be allowed to ride on the wetlands.

The bridle group have had a meeting with the council, the council have put restrictions on what and where riders will be able to go. The view is that dogs and horses cannot be in the same area, they need to be separated for safety reason.

The plan involves building a fenced in area – which can be only be used by the horse riders.
Many local residents understood the need for the horse riders to have access, but were unhappy that they would lose access to the centre of the wetlands.

A number of compromises were suggested, the favoured option is that a double fence around 3 meters wide would be built for the horse riders. This would keep them apart from the dog walkers / children etc.
A further meeting is planned with the council to put forward the revised plan(s).


Bury Remembers …. the First World War

On the eve of Remembrance Day, it seems appropriate to highlight the work of the ‘Bury Remembers the First World War’ project.

Back in November 2014 the Centre for Cultural Collections (Bury Archives & Family History Service) received a Heritage Lottery Grant of £60,800 for a project called ‘Bury Remembers the First World War’. Led by staff and volunteers from the local community, the project focuses on the extensive historical content held within several local newspapers which were in print during the time of the First World War.

Up to now they have managed to extract over 10,000 articles from 1914-1916 including local poetry, soldiers letters, adverts, photographs, and much more. They have also gathered around 1,400 soldiers’ face images and obituaries which will all be available online next year. Next year they will be focussing on the content from 1917-1918.

There is presently an exhibition at the Bury Met of some of the work so far, open until next March.



The Charge – Bury Remembers the First World War


Lines form the Dardanelles – Bury Remembers the First World War

This is a time in our history that we forget at our peril and it is great this work is going in Bury for current generations to appreciate.

There is more information on the project and its work at these two websites:


New Website for Victims of Crime

A new website has been provided for victims and survivors of crime in Greater Manchester. You can find the site at:

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The site brings together information about victims’ services and the criminal justice system under one roof. People can call a helpline, read practical advice and information, or search an online directory to find details of a local support service. All at a time that suits them and regardless of when the crime took place or whether it was reported to police.

According to the organisers this is just the first version of the site. They will be taking feedback from people who have been a victim of crime and other key stakeholders such as yourself, to make improvements in the coming weeks and months.

Hope this is useful.

Dogs on Metrolink – Decision on Friday

Last week we reported on the upcoming decision at a Sub-Committee of Transport for Greater Manchester on the carriage of dogs on Metrolink.

Although this is an issue that people have very different views on, the clear public opinion from T4GM’s own consultation is that most people want to allow dogs on trams with sensible restricitons (e.g. on on a lead, some people said ‘off peak’ etc). Dogs are already allowed on our buses, on all trains and on the London Underground.


Transport for Greater Manchester’s sub-committee met last Friday to consider the issue.
The proposal from T4GM Officers at this meeting was to have a limited, six-month trial of dogs in secure carry cases. Obviously this was a very limited proposal, perhaps only of use to owners of smaller dogs on their way to the vets, but was at least something for people who do support the idea.

Before voting on this, Councillors on the sub-committee were asked first to vote ‘in principle’ whether dogs should be allowed in any form on Metrolink* – most Labour and all Conservative councillors voted to maintain the ban on all dogs.

(* sight and hearing guide dogs are allowed on trams).

The final decision is made this Friday at the full meeting of T4GM, but we suspect that the campaign won’t end there even if they vote no.

If you do support the campaign please do ask as many of your friends to sign the petition before Friday.

Sign the petition here.