Agenda and minutes

Venue: Middleton Library, Long Street, Middleton M24 1AF

Contact: Lauren Mason - Tel. 01706 923124 

Items
No. Item

1.

Welcome and Introductions

    Minutes:

    All were welcomed to the meeting by the Chair of the meeting, Councillor Donna Williams, and introductions took place.  It was requested that mobile phones were switched off and put on to silent.  Lauren gave a reminded for everyone to ensure they had signed in.

    Councillor Donna Williams also advised that the agenda would change, with Transport being moved to agenda item 4.

2.

Apologies

    Minutes:

    Apologies were noted as above.

3.

Minutes of the last meeting and matters arising

    Minutes:

    All items to be covered under the agenda.

7.

Transport Issues

    Minutes:

    Nick Roberts introduced himself and explained that TfGM is responsible for operational planning of transport, with accountability for school services, Ring & Ride and non-commercial services.  Nick explained that TfGM hold a £15 million budget, but advised that although this may sound a lot the service has received a 20% reduction in funding and find themselves facing many budget pressures.

    Nick explained that the majority of bus services in Greater Manchester (GM) is operated commercially, so providers are themselves responsible for fares, routes and timetables.  Nick advised that there is a regular meeting of the bus network committee, which Councillor Burke attends in his role as Transport Representative for Rochdale Borough Council.  This committee considers changes and reductions in services and the views of the public are represented at this meeting.

    Nick advised under the GM Mayor there are other options being looked at for the ‘buses bill’, which in London is a de-commercialised bus network.  Nick stated that there is also a decline in public transport use, and this situation is having an impact on bus services.

    Stey and John from First Bus introduced themselves, and they advised that the financial strain is also being felt by operators, with the current climate challenging and difficult.  Also there are lots of changes coming including the sale of the Queens Road depot to a new operator.  Over the last few years, First Bus have improved punctuality and safety of their bus services with lots of new technology being introduced, which is in part about speeding up the journey for customers resulting in less ‘loss’ journeys.

    John and Stey advised that some of the issues they face relate to buses becoming clogged up in city centre traffic.  This situation then creates a bottle-neck of buses which eventually are all ‘freed’ up at the same time, and causes issues for passengers.

    Stey advised that in this area there has been problems with vandalism, which then causes issues throughout the whole network.  Vandalism can result in a bus being withdrawn from the network, repair issues, loss of time whilst awaiting GMP, and dependant on the level of vandalism, can remove the bus from the network for around 24 hours.  Both officers advised that there are not a huge amount of problems, but when these do arise they can affect the whole system, and can be very time-consuming.

    Stey advised that if, for example, there is a problem in the city centre, which is going to cause a number of buses to be late, they have no way of relaying this information to customers on the ground quickly.  A question was raised regarding the use of digitalised bus stops as Members knew there was a pilot some years ago.  John and Stey advised that this never continued and any improvements to bus stops would come under the remit of TfGM.

    Councillor Burke advised that current cuts such as the 415 will leave whole communities cut off from the transport network, and it was felt that issues  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

4.

Street Cleaning, Clean & Green

    Minutes:

    No officer present and no items raised.

5.

Link4Life Update

    Minutes:

    A discussion took place about the Box Office at Middleton Arena.  Andrew advised that whilst this matter is still at trial phase, the majority of people are still booking tickets online.  As it is under review, it was agreed that Andrew would update further at the next meeting.

6.

Public Realm Officers

    Minutes:

    Diane Lodwig introduced herself and she advised that the Public Realm Inspector role no longer existed; the team have been split into Enforcement Officers working for Environmental Management and Crime & ASB Officers in the Community Safety Team.  The Crime & ASB Officer covering Middleton is Glyn Broady and he can be contacted via the Township Office.

    Councillor West raised concerns with Diane regarding fly tipping at All Saints and Martyrs Church on Wood Street.  Diane advised that unfortunately as this location is private land, Rochdale Council cannot remove the fly tipping as it is the responsibility of the landowner.  (After note: The fly tipping was removed the following day by Rochdale Council following a discussion with senior management).

    A discussion took place regarding concerns raised by Councillor Martin about ongoing fly tipping issues.  Diane advised that wherever possible Environmental Management will look to identify the offender who has dumped the rubbish.  All fly tipping incidents attended are checked for evidence of who has dumped the waste, and where evidence is available a prosecution will be investigated and where possible pursued.  If a prosecution is successful then wherever possible the team will arrange a press release as this serves as a reminder to people that fly tipping can carry a hefty consequence.

    The large amount of fly tipping which recently took place at Warwick Mill was discussed.  Diane stated that this issue was investigated by Stephen Pyke and she isn’t able to provide an update.  It was agreed that Diane would ask Stephen for an update.

    Concerns were raised about ongoing issues in the Town Centre, particularly in relation to people feeding pigeons.  It was agreed that Diane would meet with Victoria Davies from Town Centre Management to look at the various ongoing issues in the Town Centre.

    Councillor Martin advised that she had a great deal of praise for officers from Environmental Management and it was agreed that her comments would be fed back to the team via Diane.  Diane was thanked for attending the meeting.

8.

Updates

    Minutes:

    Middleton Town Centre Management Company
    Victoria advised that she has developed a great working relationship with Diane Lodwig and visits will be arranged on a regular basis to deal with any issues in relation to the Town Centre.

    Councillor Martin queried how Middleton Market is performing and she was advised by Victoria that December and January are always difficult months for markets, but it is continuing to grow.

    Victoria stated new backing sheets for the market have been ordered and these will update the markets and also serve to protect the traders from poor weather conditions.

    Friends of Middleton View
    The Friends of Middleton View advised that their application to Township for funding to repair the knee rail fence was successful, and the grant should be paid within the next few days.  Works will be undertaken by the Green Volunteers.

    The Friends of group stated that there are ongoing issues at Tonge Fields regarding fly-grazing, which they have previously discussed with Lauren.  Unfortunately, without knowing who the owner is/having an address for the owners there is very little that Rochdale Council can do.  The Estates Team have written to the last known tenant’s address with no success.  The group have been advised that they should contact the RSPCA if the horses are in danger.  It was agreed that if anyone is able to provide information regarding the horses’ owner and their address, this information can be passed to Lauren confidently to be shared with the Estates Team.

    Friends of Jubilee Park
    All works to the Exedra are now complete and look fantastic.  The group were thanked for their ongoing work in keeping the park looking as good as it does.

    Friends of Wince Brook
    The Friends of Wince Brook advised that during the very heavy rains on Saturday 16 March 2019, Wince Brook did flood and all four bridges within the brook were submerged in water.

    A grant application to Township was successful and £7,100 was approved to create new pathways.  These paths won’t be situated near to the river as Wince Brook is a flood plain.

    The group have also applied to Tesco Bags of Help, and they will be in stores in March and April.  Everyone was asked to use their tokens to help the group receive funding as these funds will be used with the Township grant towards the pathways.

    A discussion took place regarding what will be used to create the pathways, as the recent heavy rain washed away some of the cinder pathways.  The group advised that some of the boardwalks will be removed and replaced.

    Green Volunteers
    The Green Volunteers usually meet on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, and this morning was spent repairing pathways in Alkrington Woods.

    Friends of Alkrington Woods
    Since re-launching the group, the Friends of Alkrington Woods have now got a bank account and constitution in place.

    One of the first schemes the group are looking to develop is a scheme around the McBride’s Wood area, which is the nearest  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Any other business (not already discussed on the agenda)

    Minutes:

    Some of the groups asked if they could share email addresses with each other, and they were advised that at the next meeting a sheet will be provided on the table which groups can complete if they wish to share their contact details with other groups.

10.

Dates of future meetings to be confirmed via email

    Minutes:

    Future meeting dates to be advised.