Agenda and minutes

Venue: Middleton Library, Long Street, Middleton M24 1AF. View directions

Contact: Lauren Mason - Tel. 01706 923124 

No. Item


Welcome, Apologies and Introductions


All were welcomed to the meeting by the Chair, introductions were announced and apologies were noted.  Councillor West requested that all turn off or put on to silent mobile phones.

Councillor West advised that there would be a slight change to the agenda:

a.      Youth Services & ‘In Bloom’ will be added to the top of the agenda, to follow minutes of the last meeting and matters arising.

b.      Link4Life will be moved up to item 2, after the above.


Minutes of the last meeting and matters arising


David Lappin advised that a meeting took place here at Middleton Library around two weeks ago to discuss public transport to Fairfield Hospital from Middleton.  First Bus attended the meeting and it is hoped that the bus service will resume.  Discussions also took place with First Bus regarding the timings of bus services from Oldham Hospital, particularly around visiting hours, as David advised that the bus from the hospital back to Middleton leaves at 7.55pm, when visiting doesn’t finish until 8pm.

David also explained that during this meeting, concerns were raised about the lack of public transport from Middleton to ‘Manchester Fort’ (shopping complex on Cheetham Hill Road), and David explained that this area is a popular ‘out-of-town’ shopping complex which also provides a number of jobs, and without direct transport such positions would be difficult for people from Middleton to access.

David was thanked, by the Chair, for his update.


In Bloom and Youth Services


In Bloom and Youth Services


Diane Higgins introduced herself and Jill Amos, and explained that they both work for Youth Services, who have been working with young people in Middleton to hopefully try and involve young people in organising and managing, with help from other services, the introduction of an ‘In Bloom’ scheme to Middleton.  Youth Services will work alongside other providers and partners to get Middleton involved in the scheme, as in other Townships.  Jill has met with volunteer organisers from other areas, who are also present at the meeting; Roy Down of Rochdale In Bloom and Ellen Yates of Heywood In Bloom to see what the scheme entails and hopefully receive support from the other Townships who have participated for the last few years.

Jill explained that in order to commence with the scheme, Youth Services will host a monthly meeting, on the first Monday of the month at 1pm and 6pm to try and progress the groups becoming a constituted formal group, to allow funds, etc. to be applied for.  In addition to the monthly meetings, there will also be monthly clean ups, on the first Saturday of the month (commencing on 4th March 2017) to take action in various areas.  Ian Trickett advised that he would use his channels to advertise the meetings and clean up days taking place.

Councillor Wardle explained that due to Middleton not participating in previous years, the borough as a whole has been unable to win the coveted ‘gold gilt’ award, and hopes that Middleton participating in the scheme will assist the wider borough winning more awards.

Roy and Helen both introduced themselves and offered support to Middleton participating in the scheme.  The groups were advised that it will be hard work, but all Townships have had to start somewhere, and with support from other areas, organisations and all sectors, it is do-able for Middleton to enter this year.  Ellen advised that the first year Heywood entered; they had been awarded the silver gilt award.  The group were advised that the main aim of the scheme is to link all the good work taking place together and then showcase it via a portfolio and ‘drive around’ to the judges.

Councillor Rowbotham queried what the costs of entering the scheme are, and both Roy and Ellen advised it was hard to quantify the costs as many of the smaller schemes provide their own equipment or do small scale fundraising to start with, although schools and allotments do sometimes require ‘seed’ funding, and need a small budget to start with for banners, publicity and the portfolio, etc.  Councillor Martin advised that she felt young people assisting with the organising of the scheme could be incredibly beneficial, and offered the group the opportunity to apply to the Middleton Devolved Funding Committee for ‘start up’ funds.  Jill advised that Youth Services will also look to see if there are any external funds available to apply for, once the group is formally constituted.  It was also suggested that the group  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.


Link4Life Update & Discussion


Gillian Bishop introduced herself and Andrew Entwistle, and explained that she is the Chief Executive of Link4 Life (L4L), whilst Andrew is the Community Facilities Manager at Middleton Arena, also with them is Eileen Hinson, a consultant working with L4L.

Gillian explained that L4L has been in operation since 2007, and is therefore coming up to celebrating its 10th year shortly.  The organisation manages 13 different facilities, including arts and heritage and is a registered charity, managed by a board of 16 trustees, of which a maximum of 3 are Local Authority members.  Currently there are 2 vacancies on the board of trustees and Gillian explained that if anyone is interested in joining the board, she is happy to offer support and information (contact details are available from Lauren).  Gillian explained that when L4L was originally set up, it was given a 15 year contract to manage centres such as Middleton Arena, and discussions are currently ongoing for this to be extended for 10 years, until 2027.

Gillian advised that in relation to Middleton Arena, the feedback is positive, there are some issues, but the centre is not looking negative or at any risk of closure, and the aim of consultants, such as Eileen, is about making the centre the best it can possibly be.  There are ongoing changes within the leisure industry as a whole, and the introduction of new providers in the area needs to be considered when looking at plans going forward, to ensure that external forces don’t impact negatively.

Eileen thanked the meeting for the opportunity to attend, and explained that she is part of a muIti-disciplinary team, made up of architects, industry specialists, engineers, etc. and therefore has a lot of experience to support L4L going forward.  As part of the work Eileen is doing, she explained that she has looked at many factors:

What is Middleton Arena?
What is on offer in the locality?
What are the risks?
What are the opportunities?
How can new activities be blended in?

A discussion took place, and Councillor Martin explained, that currently there is no representative from Middleton on the board of trustees.  Gillian explained that she is happy to look into this and support any applications from Middleton residents, and will also ensure that a representative from L4L attends this meeting in future, as there is a wealth of experience around this room.  Andrew advised that going forward he will be the L4L representative for this meeting.

David Lappin explained that as an older resident he doesn’t feel welcome in Middleton Arena.  He advised that previously before the Arena was built, and when Middleton had a civic centre, which the Arena was supposed to replace, there were 1940’s tea dances held, and for many years now, he felt there had not been support to re-start these from L4L.  David also raised concerns about tickets, purchased for shows in Middleton, having to be collected/bought from Heywood Civic Centre.  A number of concerns were raised about  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Greater Manchester Spatial Framework Discussion


Members advised that the recent consultation is the start of the process, which will be long term consultation with many more rounds expected and explained that as yet nothing has been decided.  There are a lot of groups, petitions and information available online, and during the first round of consultation documents were available to view in addition to drop in sessions.  All were advised that if they have concerns it is best to put this in writing to the consultation address and email/write with views.

The deadline, which was originally before Christmas, was extended until mid-January, and it is now closed, but results will be coordinated and some areas removed/added/changed, subject to the outcome of the first round of consultation.


Township Environmental Schemes


Ian Trickett explained that a number of schemes were discussed at the last Middleton Township Committee, with some suggestions being removed and others added, and an updated copy of this document was handed out for discussion.

Ian suggested that contact be made with JW Lees, to see if they are willing to sponsor a scheme, and Councillor West suggested that a mock-up picture be produced to show to Members before any approach is made.

Ian explained that the work taking place as part of this, is not just around ‘In Bloom’ as discussed under agenda item 1, but will also look to increase residents pride in Middleton.  A discussion took place about the opportunity for people to feedback on any comments they have regarding this document, and it was agreed that all feedback should go via the Township Office.

Councillor Rowbotham advised that she would suggest a mixed age group become involved in exploring the mural at the underpass on Long Street.  Ian Trickett will look into this alongside colleagues from Youth Services.

Eric Larmett queried what planting scheme was proposed for Bowlee.  Ian explained that it would be similar to last year.


Street Cleaning, Waste, Clean and Green


Unfortunately, apologies were received from the Officer representing this part of the agenda, just before the meeting, and it was advised that any issues would be passed on to Environmental Management.

Thanks were passed on for the installation of the bin near to the Lancashire Fold.

A request for additional bins in Jubilee Park was received, and this will be looked into, to see if funding can be secured to provide a further bin in the area.

A discussion took place regarding the working hours of the Street Cleaning Team, and it was agreed that comments will be passed on to the Management Team at Environmental Management regarding the issues raised.


THI (Townscape Heritage Initiative) Update


Sue Oakley was unable to attend the meeting, but had provided a written update, in advance of the meeting, which was read out:


·           The THI is now in the extension period and we hope to get an extension until the end of 2017.

·           La MinHaz on Market Place is almost complete, with just the bespoke terracotta copings on order.

·           Restoration work to 51 and 53 Rochdale Road is now going well after a slow start while material samples were approved.

·           Dismantling and major repairs to the exedra and staircase in Jubilee Park will start in March when temperatures will start to rise.  Initial works such as cleaning the stonework and sourcing stone samples will start this month.

·           We’re hoping that the THI will be extended to progress the grant at Long Street School.  This is the most important project within the THI and it has suffered numerous delays but we are optimistic that work will start in the summer.

·           We are in contact with the new owners of the Assheton Arms and subject to a grant extension some repairs should be possible.

·           The THI continues to fund other initiatives such as the Golden Cluster events and we are working with the Edgar Wood Society, the Middleton Archaeological Society, Friends of Jubilee Park and various other groups.  Thanks to THI funding and the hard work of the volunteers the heritage of Middleton is becoming more high profile than ever.


Following the verbal update, which was read out by Lauren Mason, a number of questions were raised:

1)    What type of machinery will be used for the works to the Exedra, to ensure that the park is not damaged?

2)    What kind of planting scheme will be put in near to the recently re-done boundary wall?


Transport Issues


Transport issues from David Lappin, which were raised under matters arising, will be sent to Councillor Burke.




Friends of Middleton View


Geoff Grime advised that there is damage to some of the knee rail fencing around Tonge Field, and pictures/maps have been passed to Lauren Mason for this to be looked into.


Friends of Jubilee Park


David Lees advised that the Management Plan for the park has now been agreed.  Councillor West requested a copy of the Plan be sent to her and a version be printed for access at Middleton Township Office.

A discussion took place regarding the trees which are in the park, and Ian Trickett advised the group that it is the wrong time of year to undertake a tree survey, but this will be done later in the year, and once a date had been agreed this will be circulated by the Township Office.


Friends of Wince Brook - Anti-social Behaviour Issues


David McKail advised that a large quantity of bottles of urine have been found, on a number of occasions, in Wince Brook.  It is thought that these bottles are being left by taxi drivers, etc. and both the Police and Licensing are involved in addressing the problem, but without evidence it is difficult to prove.

Planning permission for four detached properties has been granted, and a footpath, which is on the definitive map runs through the development.  This footpath will therefore be moved by the developer.

A new volunteer is working with the group, to improve social media, and this is already having a massive impact on the work of the group, with both of the above points now on Rochdale Online.


Green Volunteers


The Green Volunteers have been undertaking various pieces of work throughout the winter months, including covering the pathways in Wince Brook with a mesh to improve the walkways and access.

Work has been ongoing to plant bulbs in the layby near to Rhodes Lodges (opposite the golf club entrance), and a number of self-seeded trees have also been removed from this area.

The Chair thanked the Green Volunteers for their continued work.


Friends of Alkrington Woods


Jerry Stokes explained that much of the work of the Friends of Group quietens down during the winter months and advised that work will start up again soon.


Friends of Boarshaw Cemetery


No report was provided and no representative was present to give an update.


Friends of Hopwood Woods Nature Reserve


Keeley O’Mara advised that a start date of Monday 30 January 2017 has been given for works to commence on the cycle path, and this is expected to be ongoing until July, but no confirmed date has yet been given for the tarmac to be laid.

Mike Cummings is working over the coming months on putting two ponds into the Oaken Bank Woods area, one of which will be of quite a substantial size.

Keeley explained that there is an ongoing issue with Hopwood Hall College, who are using the woods as part of their pre-uniformed services training.  Unfortunately, the college are not being considerate to the woods or other users, and Keeley has arranged a meeting with the college and Mike Cummings to discuss the concerns over the misuse of the area with the College Principal.  Keeley advised that dependent on how the meeting goes, she may come back to Township for support.  It was agreed that Ian Trickett would report the outcome of the meeting to Township.  Councillor Martin offered support, as she is meeting with the college in early February and is happy to raise concerns at that meeting, should it be necessary.


Absolute Angling


No report was provided and no representative was present to give an update.


Friends of Bowlee Community Park


Eric Larmett advised that the park is currently experiencing the ongoing issue of motorbikes/quad bikes accessing the park.  Eric Holliday advised that he would contact Eric separately to discuss these issues, as this is not solely happening at Bowlee, but is an ongoing issue throughout Middleton, with very little options available to RBC/GMP to deal with offenders, whilst they are on moving vehicles.

Eric advised that 500 daffodils have been planted at Bowlee, and a bid has been prepared to secure funding for fruiting hedges and fruit trees.  Over the coming months, litter picks and spring cleans will also take place throughout the park.




No report was provided and no representative was present to give an update.


Middleton Lads & Girls Football Club


Councillor Martin advised that she was here on behalf of Middleton Lads and Girls, and explained that the group have been assisting her with work at Junction Community Centre.

Councillor Martin advised that the group have informed her they have still not received a response regarding the lease, and she asked that this be looked at, and information fed back to the group.  Councillor West explained that she has been in discussion with the group, and would contact them again to offer any assistance required.

Unfortunately over Christmas, the park was targeted by vandals and was victim to arson, etc. and the group are working hard to ensure that the park remains clean and useable for all visitors.


Middleton Civic Association


David Lees advised that the association is still in operation, and at the moment is specifically concerned about the future of the Old Rectory on Mellalieu Street, and the risk of a developer buying the building/plot.


Middleton Roundtable


No report was provided and no representative was present to give an update.


Friends of Mellalieu Street


No report was provided and no representative was present to give an update.


Middleton Cricket Club


No report was provided and no representative was present to give an update.


Any other business


·           Farmway Stocks was discussed, as currently due to the washing away of the pathway it is near impossible to get a pram or wheelchair down the pathway. Councillor Martin advised that work will be undertaken over the coming months to install a new pathway with gradient steps to ensure that all users are able to access the pathway.

·           A concern was raised about pollution in Middleton Town Centre and the group asked if Highways could be contacted to see if air sample monitoring was ever undertaken in Middleton?  This issue will be passed to Highways and a response brought back to the next meeting.

·           A discussion took place regarding the ‘City of Trees’, which is a Greater Manchester project to ‘re-invigorate Greater Manchester’s landscape by transforming underused, unloved woodland and planting a tree for every man, woman and child who lives there, within a generation’.  Ian Trickett advised that any questions regarding this need to be raised with Carey Robinson, who is the RBC tree person for urban spaces.


Date of future meetings


All meetings commence at 6.15pm and take place on First Floor, Middleton Library.

·      Thursday 6 April 2017