Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Lauren Mason - Tel. 01706 923124 

No. Item


Welcome and Introductions


All were welcomed to the meeting by the Chair, introductions were announced and apologies were noted as above.  Councillor West requested that all turn off or put on to silent mobile phones, and a reminder was given out for everyone to ensure they had signed in.

Due to the length of the minutes for this meeting, and the actions that are created it was agreed that the minutes of future meetings would be produced as an actions list with bullet points of the discussions.  This will be reviewed and opinions sought at the next meeting.




Apologies were noted as above.


Minutes of the last meeting and matters arising


The Present & Apologies List at the last meeting was not correct, and it was noted that the attendance of Gary Leigh be added – noted.

Item 3 - Minutes of the last meeting
David Lappin advised that at the previous meeting in August it had been agreed that an officer would attend the sheltered accommodation about the lack of bins and suitable recycling facilities.  This action had not happened and it was agreed that this matter would be chased up by Nick O’Neill (Action: NON to discuss with Paul Bowerman)

Item 3 – Boroughwide Supervisors
Terry Linden requested that an amendment be made to the minutes of the last meeting regarding both leaves and twigs blocking drains, not just leaves as is minuted.

Item 9 – Transport issues
David Lappin raised concerns about the number 17 and 163 bus service at the last meeting, and Lauren explained that a written reply had been provided to David.

Item 9 – Updates from groups
A concern was raised about the report made at the last meeting regarding the dumping of knotweed into Wince Brook.  Mike Cummings advised that this is an issue for the landowner and explained that where there is evidence of knotweed it is very unlikely that a mortgage can be secured for a property purchase.

Item 9 – Updates from groups
Concerning the issue raised by Keeley O’Mara at the last meeting in relation to dumping at Hopwood Woods, it was advised that a site visit will take place with the Public Realm Officers and Michelle Ball (Environmental Enforcement Warden).

Item 9 – Updates from groups
Terry Linden queried what could be done regarding the pigeons in Middleton Town Centre, and people feeding them.  This issue will be picked up by the Public Realm and Environmental Enforcement Wardens.

Item 10 – AOB
At the last meeting Terry Linden advised that historically planning applications were brought to this meeting, and queried since the changes in Planning Meetings could this be re-started.  Lauren advised that she discussed this with other Officers and was informed that as Township Officers are not trained in Planning matters it wouldn’t be possible for the applications to be brought to the MEC meeting.  All information on planning applications is available on the Council’s website, and support is available at Libraries across the Borough on using the Council’s website to access such information.

Item 10 – AOB
Paving issues - At the MEC meeting a number of residents raised concerns about pavements in Middleton:

·         Rear of the Dusty Miller, near to the pelican crossing, is in a state of disrepair and needs works carrying out.

·         Edward Street needs to be reported to Highways as it is in a state of disrepair

·         New Lane


All of the above issues were reported to Highways, and colleagues in Highways had informed Lauren that ‘’I can confirm that I inspected the above areas, New Lane, also the Dusty Miller Public House including the entrance to the disabled car park  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Irwell River's Trust - Environment Agency


Mike Duddy introduced himself and explained the works with the Mersey Basin Rivers Trust.  The project is to upgrade the water quality, and includes £50,000 of investment for the wider scheme, and will work to rebuild the river bank, downstream from Lever Bridge, regrade the river bank and rebuild the footpath.  Images of the scheme were passed around to the meeting.  There will also be the installation of small pipes which will allow the floodplain on the left, which is meadow side, to drain.  There is a second phase of the works which will reconnect the dried out mill lodges and re-release water downstream.

Part of this work has been happening due to United Utilities closing down their Royton plant, and transferring works to Chadderton, and once the transfer is complete not only should there be changes in water quality, but water will flow through Wince Brook rather than Chadderton Park.

Mike Duddy explained that during testing, it has been discovered that fish numbers are just 5% of what they should be.  Mike Cummings advised the works will improve bio-diversity and increase the ecology.  The meeting was also advised that during bad weather, the river currently uses the footpaths, and the works will reduce these flooding issues.  From his point of view, Mike explained that he feels there is no downside to the scheme.  Gary Leigh echoed this, following his meetings with the team.

A discussion took place about the role that Mike Duddy holds, and he explained he is also part of Salford Anglers, but confirmed that the group have no links or aspirations in this area.  Mike advised that the works carried out by Gary Leigh and the Absolute Angling Team is excellent, and they as a group have his full support.

Terry Linden queried land ownership and he was advised that all the land is owned by Rochdale Borough Council.

Concerns were raised about any leaks or mismanagement from nearby businesses and the effect this could have if contaminated waste got into the river.  Mike Cummings explained that there have been major changes around legislation, in this respect, and during a previous incident a business was fined £10,000.  Due to the changes, a more recent incident in Haslingden has seen a business fined £3 million, so the penalties are much greater than they were previously.  The changes have also seen a system brought in whereby a fine levied is not given to the Home Office, but is now used for remediation and restoration of the affected area.

Mike Duddy advised that the Mersey Basin Trust do sampling monthly at both Alkrington and Blackley to detect any possible issues.

Bob Magee queried if Wince Brook is big enough to take the new flow, and was advised that flow modelling is being carried out by United Utilities, who Mike Duddy will speak to and reply directly to Bob.  Bob advised that Bridge 2 has issues with the water being contaminated by ammonia.


Street Cleaning, Waste, Clean and Green


Nick advised that grass cutting is ongoing until the end of October, when the season ends.  There are discussions ongoing for the equipment to be used next year with the team looking at various machinery options including a remote controlled mower.

Paula Hickey requested that a manual clean, similar to the one recently done on Durnford Street, be carried out around Hanson Street.  Paula advised that the In Bloom team are happy to support if a full clean can be done by the Clean & Green Team.

A discussion took place about the cleaning of Stakehill roundabout and which team undertakes the maintenance.  Nick advised that he thought this was carried out by the Middleton team, but he would check and report back at the next meeting. (Action: NON to investigate and report back at the next meeting)

Christine Grime queried if anything can be done to deter/catch vans dumping waste near to the tip site.  This is a regular occurrence, especially if they cannot fit under the barrier or the tip site is closed.  It was agreed that Lauren would speak to Viridor about this issue and see if they have CCTV or another management system available.  (Action: LM to liaise with Viridor about this issue).  Councillor Furlong advised that this issue is ongoing throughout Greater Manchester.

A discussion took place about the patch of land on the corner of Long Street and King Street, which is overgrown and looking very messy.  Lauren advised that the land has changed ownership, and as such the issue will be passed to the Public Realm Officers to investigate this issue and report back to a future meeting.  (Action: LM to report to the Public Realm Officers)


Heritage Buildings Update


Lauren Mason provided a written update to the group from Nick Barton.

Tonge Hall
Following the completion of an extensive study by conservation Architects, Purcell, which identified the costs of repair and restoration of Tonge Hall, possible future uses and potential ways of funding these works, a report was submitted to Middleton Township in December 2016.

This report sought authorisation for the Assistant Director for Planning and Development to explore, in partnership with Historic England, the potential of developing land around the Hall to fund the repair and restoration of the Hall.

In February 2017, Officers met with Historic England, who asked the Council to prepare a landscape significance statement to aid the understanding of which areas of the landscape around the Hall could be developed and which should be preserved or improved.  The possibility of repair grants from Historic England was also discussed, both as a means of meeting the gap between funds raised by development and the cost of repair and to assist in carrying out works in the short term to minimise further damage to the Hall through exposure to the elements.  During the spring and summer, the Architectural History Practice carried out a landscape significance study and Ramboll, a specialist structural engineering practice, provided a schedule of works required to further stabilise and protect the building.

Officers have over several months raised the potential of the site informally with a number of developers who have shown interest in the site.  Following the completion of the landscape assessment study, Officers met with Historic England last week to share the results of this work and seek their approval of the study, the principles of development and priorities for works to the building.

Once we have firm proposals we will share this information, including how it will relate to repairs to Tonge Hall.  Any final decision to release land for development will be a decision for Middleton Township.

Hopwood Old Hall
A report to Middleton Township in December 2016 approved the signing of a partnership agreement with Hopwood DePree, a successful American film producer and descendant of the Hopwood family.  This allows Mr DePree a three year period to develop a business case and funding package for restoration and re-use of Hopwood Old Hall.

Mr DePree held a number of ticketed events at the Hall as part of Heritage Open Days and managed to attract media coverage from the BBC, Daily Telegraph and The Guardian as well as local media and various online media globally.  He will work with the Council and Historic England to ensure that the building is kept wind and watertight and does not deteriorate whilst his plans are developed and he is working in partnership with Hopwood Hall College to restore the formal gardens as a shorter term project.

An emergency works report was carried out by Ramboll earlier in the year and the Council is meeting with Mr DePree and Historic England next week to discuss priorities.


·         David Lees queried consultation  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


THI (Townscape Heritage Initiative) Update


Lauren read out a written update from Sue Oakley, which advised that; “All of the THI grant projects are now complete except for the Long Street School restoration.  We’re waiting for approval from the Heritage Lottery Fund to start this project and we hope that contractors will be on site by early November.  During this project the Greater Manchester Building Preservation Trust and Council hope to hold more community events and heritage training days”.

Christine Grime advised that there had been a number of issues with the Long Street School restoration, and the Trust managing the restoration had been let down on a number of occasions.  There have also been a number of delays with the scheme being approved, etc.  Councillor West thanked Christine and Geoff for their ongoing work with this project.


Transport Issues


Lauren read out updates related to transport:

a)      Licensing Presentation - In relation to an update from Licensing about Uber and other issues related to Private Hire Vehicles, Lauren advised that she had spoken to Licensing colleagues and she has been advised that there are currently discussions ongoing regarding Uber, etc. at AGMA level and as such they are not yet in a position to provide an update, but have offered to come to a future meeting.

b)      CCTV Cameras – Lauren advised that as mentioned at previous meetings, discussions have been held with colleagues in TfGM about the temporary CCTV cameras at Manchester New Road (bus lane) and Long Street continuation (no access other than buses and taxis).  She has chased this matter on a number of occasions with colleagues at Street Lighting Partnership who are leading on this issue with TfGM.  E.ON are awaiting a Section 178 Notice being signed by colleagues in TfGM and this is continuing to be pushed and pressure applied to get this issue resolved as soon as possible.


Concerns were raised about the hole which has appeared at the junction of Springvale and Townley Street.  This situation seems to be getting worse and measures to close the road have been implemented, but vehicles are still trying to drive around.  There is also a lack of signage on Oldham Road and Springvale junction (Action: LM to request an update from colleagues in Highways)




Friends of Middleton View


Christine and Geoff Grime advised that the Green Volunteers were working in the area on 13 September 2017 cleaning out the compound around Tonge Hall, and raking the meadow.


Friends of Jubilee Park


Sharron Stevens advised that the flag pole for the green flag has now been erected, and the railings that are on the wall on Long Street have now been completed and look great.

Unfortunately, there does seem to have been a rise in anti-social use of the park, and an increase in drug use.  A discussion took place about a person sleeping rough in the park, and it was agreed that Sharron will forward the details to Lauren to be passed to the Homelessness Team for intervention (Action: LM to report issues to colleague in Homelessness).  There has also been a further theft of plants in the park.

Work has been completed in the Old Burial Ground, which has uncovered the grave of Brewster.


Friends of Wince Brook


Bob Magee advised that a walk took place on 15 September 2017 which was led by Mike Cummings and it was very well attended and successful.  There does seem to have been an increase in people using the area, which is very positive.

Concerns were raised about some recently erected signage for a dog walking company, and other groups echoed that they have seen similar signs and companies using areas throughout Middleton.

The group have had a considerable amount of trees donated by the Woodland Trust, and Phil Traynor is working to get schools involved in the planting of the trees in Wince Brook.

Bob advised that the material for the new pathway arrived last week, and discussions are ongoing about who will undertake the works.


Green Volunteers


The team visited Alkrington Woods on 5 and 6 September 2017 to thin out overgrowth around the ‘education area’, in addition to a lot of other works done around the Town including the cutting of hedges on Manchester Old Road.


Friends of Alkrington Woods


Jerry Stokes advised that the tree trunk reported at the last meeting, which had been moved and was causing access issues was removed.  He thanked Lauren and Mike Cummings for getting this sorted out.

A commissioning form has been completed in association with Groundwork for the works around McBride’s Wood area, and this is due to be considered at Committee on 18 October 2017.  Subject to approval, works will hopefully start in the New Year.  Jerry thanked Lauren and Councillor West for liaising with colleagues in Groundwork and getting the scheme designed.

Remedial works have now taken place to the broken bridge, and there have been discussions with the company who supplied the bridge regarding the durability of the structure.


Friends of Boarshaw Cemetery


David Lees advised that there is an ongoing health and safety issue regarding staff, and in particular grave diggers at the cemetery lone working.  The Friends of group will be formally writing to Rochdale Council about this concern.

Flooding at the newest area of the cemetery is still ongoing, and discussions are taking place about what could be done to alleviate this issue.

Terry Linden queried if an update had been received following the point he raised, at the last meeting, directly with Gwen Coulthurst in relation to the PA system.  Lauren advised that she will again chase up Gwen for an update regarding this issue (Action: LM to chase up GC again).


Friends of Hopwood Woods Nature Reserve


Keeley O’Mara advised that the group have submitted a funding bid to the Rotary Club, and have also applied for Township funds for the pathway works needed to facilitate disabled access into the Woods.


Absolute Angling


Gary Leigh advised that there was nothing to update on.


Friends of Bowlee Community Park


No representative present to provide an update.


Friends of Mellalieu Street


Sharron Stevens advised that there are ongoing issues with speeding vehicles.  Lauren stated that there are ongoing discussions about the Durnford and Mellalieu Street areas, and as such this is being looked into.

Concerns were raised that the windows on the old Milton Street school have been replaced with plastic style windows, despite the school being a listed building.  This matter will be passed to Sue Oakey.  (Action: LM to report this matter to Sue Oakley)




No representative present to provide an update.


Middleton Lads & Girls Football Club


No representative present to provide an update.


Middleton Civic Association


A discussion took place in relation to Warwick Mill, and concerns were raised about the ongoing issues of youths accessing the Mill.  Councillor West advised that Officers in RDA and Planning are in discussion with the owners and GMP to ensure that the building is secure.


Middleton Roundtable


No representative present to provide an update.


Middleton Cricket Club


John explained that he had resigned as Chairman at the beginning of 2017, and Roger Whitworth took over, and did an amazing job and was a truly terrific person.  Unfortunately, Roger unexpectedly died recently, and John advised that this is a great loss to the club and Middleton as a whole.

John advised that until the club hold elections for the role, Alison, the Vice President, will take over the Chair role, and John stated that the amazing work done by Roger will be continued.

John explained that the club is a member of the Lancashire League, as the Central Lancashire League has gone.  John advised that the 1st and 2nd teams have both won their respective divisions.


Middleton In Bloom


Paula Hickey offered the condolences of the Middleton in Bloom group, who had done some work with Roger and Middleton Cricket Club.

The group have been undertaking their regular litter picks, and have recently met with David McKail and Mark Frazer and are working to push the ‘plant the town red’ as part of the WW1 Centenary year.

Work is ongoing to replant where appropriate with winter bedding.


Link4Life Update


Concerns were raised by Terry Linden about the lack of attendance at the last two meetings.  A request was made that a formal email be sent to Link4Life to request their attendance at the next meeting, and update on the recent consultation.


Any other groups/events


Nothing to report.


Any other business


·           Terry Linden queried what is happening with the buildings at the bottom of Wood Street (old Hings building).  Councillor West advised that there is a new buyer who is undertaking works and a Planning Officer will meet and advise the new owners accordingly.

·           A barrier is currently around the steps which jut out on to the pavement near Igoo’s.  (Action: LM to report to Building Control).  Christine Grime advised that she has also previously reported this matter.


Dates of future meetings


All meetings commence at 6.15pm in Middleton Library, First Floor, Long Street, Middleton

Tuesday 23 January 2018
Wednesday 14 March 2018