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 and introductions were announced.  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.




Apologies were noted as above.


Minutes of the last meeting and matters arising


Councillor West requested that everyone stand for a minutes silence in honour of John Burton of Middleton Cricket Club who has recently passed away.  Following the silence, it was announced that the funeral of John would take place on Tuesday 30th January 2018 from 9.30am at St Peter’s RC Church, followed by Internment at the Crematorium at 11am.


·           Link4Life Updates

It was agreed that the update from Link4Life which currently sits under item 9 – Update, would be moved to 7A, and going forward would be included as a separate agenda item, further up the agenda.

·           Item 9F – Updates from Member Groups

David Lees advised that in the previous minutes of the meeting, it was noted that he had given an update on the Friends of Boarshaw Cemetery, this was not done by David and he requested that this be noted.

·           Item 3 - Minutes of the last meeting

David Lappin advised that the additional/larger bin has now been installed at Chisholm Court as discussed at previous meetings.

·           Lauren Mason updated the meeting with any outstanding items from the last meeting.

·           Terry Linden advised that he had raised a question in advance of this meeting.  The question Terry had asked was; “There were discussions late last year on a 6th form secondary free school.  Where will this be placed, as this was discussed in private at a cabinet meeting?  Has the decision yet been made and when will the public be told the outcome of this?  Terry is asking this at the above meeting due to the implications any such placing of a further education unit could have on transport, the environment and services.”  Lauren Mason read out a response from Alex Whittaker.

·           Terry Linden queried the Play Pitch Strategy and advised that he last raised this at the Middleton Township Committee in December 2017, where he was advised that the report was awaiting Overview & Scrunity comments, and understood the meeting had been cancelled.  Following a discussion, Nick Barton advised that he had some knowledge of this, and the PPS is still with Sport England, who have not yet signed it off due to some issues with the figures.  It was agreed that an update will be requested for the next Middleton Township Environment & Culture Forum meeting (Action: Lauren Mason to request an update in advance of the next meeting)


Street Cleaning, Waste, Clean and Green


Unfortunately, no officer had attended from Environment Management so no update was available.

Councillor Martin advised that she has raised a number of questions regarding the Public Realm Officers over the last few months, and requested that an Officer attend the next meeting to update this group on the work being undertaken by the Public Realm Inspectors.

Councillor Martin raised concerns about dog fouling and what is being done to prevent/deal with offenders?  Again this would be asked, and an Officer requested to attend the next meeting to update this group.  (Action: Lauren Mason to contact Stephen Pyke to request both his and the Public Realm Inspectors’ attendance at the next meeting)

It was reported that there are a number of CO2 canisters on the car park next to the Olde Boars Head.  This issue will be reported to the Council’s Environmental Management Department and GMP notified.  (Action: Lauren Mason to report)

Councillor Martin queried the installation of the bin on Kenyon Lane.  Agreed this matter will be chased up again by Lauren Mason.


Hopwood & Tonge Hall Update


Nick Barton passed around a written update on Hopwood and Tonge Hall.

Hopwood Hall

·           InDecember 2016,MiddletonTownshipauthorised theDirector ofEconomy ornominee inconsultation withthe Directorof Resourcesor nominee,to enterinto apartnership withMr HopwoodDePree,to developproposalsfor therestoration ofthe HopwoodHall, includingthe creationof anew bodywhichwould undertake therestoration.

·           MrDePree isa UScitizen, butisa descendentof theGregge-Hopwood'sof Hopwood Hall.  He has secured a visa to live and work in the UK, developing proposals for the restoration of Hopwood Hall and reuse as an arts and cultural venue, with accommodation.

·           Whilst the proposals are still very much in development, the commercial focus of the operation will be workshops and retreats on film, television, other visual arts, music and heritage, capitalising on the proximity to Manchester, connections to Lord Byron and the wider arts and heritage offer in the region.  This will be aimed at a predominantly international market.  The Hall would also host a range of facilities and activities aimed at a local market, on both a commercial and community basis.

·           In September 2017, Mr DePree hosted an open day at Hopwood Hall, part of the Historic England Heritage Open Days programme.  He was successful in attracting widespread publicity, including coverage on BBC North West Tonightand afeature articlein theTelegraph newspaper. Attendance at theopen daywas limitedto 100people,but wasover-subscribed andaround 500people attemptedto booka placeon the tour.  Thismailing listhas formedthe basisof settingup theFriendsof HopwoodHall Estate,a community based organisationthat ishoped willhelp restorethe Halland ensurethat thefuture ofthe Hallproperly balancesto theneed togenerate commercialincome andprovideaccess toimportantlocalheritage.

·           In October 2017, Mr DePree entered in to an Option Agreement with the Council, which will allow him to acquire Hopwood Hall, if he can develop a business case for the repair and restoration of the building, securing the funding needed and future revenues, whilst guaranteeing public access.  The exact nature of the acquisition will be dependent on the requirements of external funding bodies and subject to approval by Elected Members.  In October 2017, Mr DePree secured funding from the Architectural Heritage Fund to carry out a feasibility study, including investigating appropriate legal structures.

·           In November 2018, the Council in partnership with Mr DePree submitted an application to Historic England for a Heritage at Risk Building Repair Grant, after a visit to the Hall by officers from Historic England in October.  This is progressing well and it is hoped that the Hall will be awarded the grant in thenext fewweeks.  This  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Taxi & Private Hire Licensing Update


Bev and Jay were welcomed to the meeting, and explained that following the reports of private hire and taxi vehicles using the Long Street continuation as a cut through from Barclays Bank to Wood Street, a letter was sent out by Licensing, which was then followed up with visits and compliance checks.   The outcome was that 19 vehicles were seen using this area as a short cut and following this letters were sent to the proprietors threatening action.   Bev advised that on subsequent checks there have been no repeat offenders.  One thing that was noted during the checks was a large number of private vehicles using this area.  Following a discussion it was agreed that this issue will be raised with the Police Inspector as it is classed as a moving traffic offence, and therefore cannot be enforced by Rochdale Council’s Parking Enforcement Officers.   Lauren Mason also advised that as discussed previously there will be a temporary camera installed at this location, unfortunately this is still awaiting the Section 178 license being signed by TfGM.  This matter is being managed by colleagues in Street Lighting and updates are requested on a regular basis.  They have also been asked to liaise where appropriate with Rochdale Council’s Transport representative).

Terry Linden thanked Bev and her team for their ongoing work and queried if the awards system was still in places, as he advised he was unsure how a private hire vehicle can receive a ‘Gold Award’ when drivers are breaking the law.  Concerns were also raised regarding the ‘roadworthiness’ of vehicles used by the taxi company above Barbeque takeaway.  This concern was also raised by others around the table and Bev assured the members that ‘spot checks’ are undertaken by the Licensing Team to ensure that all vehicles meet minimum standards.  Concerns were also raised about ‘unregistered’ drivers, and Bev again reassured the members that Licensing take any such reports very serious, and any reports can be made in confidence to the Licensing Team, where they will be fully investigated.

Councillor Martin agreed to send a complaint she had received in relation to a private hire/taxi driver not accepting a fare with an assistance dog.  Bev requested that the complaint be sent on to her as all private hire and taxis must accept assistance dogs.


Transport Issues


The following issues were raised and will be passed on to Rochdale Council’s Transport representative appropriately:

·           Wood Street – Buses only signage – this continuation of Wood Street, passed Aldi is used by all vehicles.  Again a request will be made to GMP as this is a moving traffic offence.

·           The disabled parking area outside the Dusty Miller is continually used by other drivers to drop off/pick up and wait.  Jay advised that he will look into this matter from a licensing perspective, and Lauren Mason will pass to AW to request additional visits from the Parking Enforcement Officers.




Friends of Middleton View


Christine and Geoff Grime advised that there are regular litter picks undertaken, and on the last clean up a wheelie bin was filled.  There is an issue at the bottom of William Street near to the pub and youth club, with litter being dropped.  This problem is thought to be mainly taxi/private hire drivers using the area during breaks/quiet times, etc.  It was agreed that Lauren Mason would raise this issue with the Public Realm Inspectors and see what action could be undertaken to resolve this matter.


Friends of Jubilee Park


Thanks were noted for the work being undertaken by the Community Pay Back Team in the Old Burial Ground; this was organised by Geoff Wellens and St. Leonards.


Friends of Wince Brook


David McKail queried the Irwell Rivers Trust works, which were discussed at the last meeting.  Following a discussion, it was agreed that Lauren Mason will put David McKail in contact with Mike Duddy from Irwell Rivers Trust (Action: Lauren Mason to request that Mike Duddy make contact with David McKail)

On Saturday 3rd February 2018 from 10am there will be an activity to plant 500 trees in Wince Brook.  David advised that over the last 3 years over 1500 trees have been planted.


Green Volunteers


Work is ongoing as normal, with the group concentrating on Myrtle Lodges, working to remove self-seeded trees.  The group have also been undertaking works to plant bulbs on the island at the lake in Queens Park, Heywood.


Friends of Alkrington Woods


Jerry Stokes advised, as discussed at the last meeting, work has been approved and paid for by Township, and is being undertaken by Groundwork on the area known as McBride’s Wood.  Jerry thanked everyone for their help in getting this project up and running, and advised that in two weeks there has been major improvements, including works to the pathway, sorting of the foliage, etc.

Jerry stated he has been in contact with Mike Cummings as a large tree has fallen on the east side pathway on the River Irk.  The tree has fell across the Irk creating a dam effect, and following a discussion it was agreed that Lauren Mason would speak to Neil O’Neill to see if any support could be offered to ensure the timely removal (Action: Lauren Mason to liaise with Neil O’Neill)

Jerry thanked Councillor West for ensuring that a large amount of waste fly tipped in McBride’s Wood was cleared.

Councillor Martin advised that she has recently requested additional bins around the entrances and pathways in Alkrington Woods.  As this area comes under South Middleton Ward Members, a formal request has been made to see if they can fund additional bins.  (Action: Lauren Mason to chase up with South Middleton Ward Members)


Friends of Boarshaw Cemetery


Lauren Mason read out a written update from Brenda Stringer:

·           Yet again flooding /drainage on the new section (right hand side when you go through the main gates just past the map).

·           CCTV is going to be amended.

·           Japanese Knot weed and Himalayan Balsam going to be treated in the near future.

·           Cedars and conifers going to be attended to.

·           Plaques are going to be remedied.

·           The next meeting of the Friends of Boarshaw Cemetery is Tuesday 20th March 2018 from 2pm at the Old Boars Head.


Terry Linden advised that following previous meetings he still wasn’t happy with the reply regarding the sound system at the Chapel in the Cemetery.  Councillor West advised that she had asked Ian Trickett to investigate, and will chase this up with him.


Friends of Hopwood Woods Nature Reserve


Keeley O’Mara advised, as discussed at the last meeting, an application was made for Township funds which was successful, and she noted her thanks to the Township.  The funding secured will be used to improve the pathways in the Woods enabling disabled access.

Concerns were raised about flooding and drainage issues where the new cycle paths have been installed.  Lauren Mason suggested that this problem be raised with Alex Whittaker who led on this project.

There are still ongoing issues with college students congregating in the Woods.  It was agreed that Lauren Mason would raise this issue with PC Tracey Lowe.


Absolute Angling


Gary Leigh thanked the Green Volunteers for the recent works undertaken on Myrtle Lodges, as discussed earlier, the team have been working to remove the self-seeded trees from around the Lodges.

Gary advised that as in other areas, there is an ongoing issue with dog fouling; not only are people leaving the poo on the floor, but in some cases they are collecting it in a bag and then just dumping it.

Gary also advised that he is concerned about the amount of ‘dog-walking’ businesses using both Myrtle Lodges and Rhodes Lodges.  These people often access the open spaces with upwards of four dogs and don’t appear to have dog fouling bags with them and the dogs aren’t always under control.  Councillor Martin advised that she has previously raised this issue with the Public Realm Inspectors.  A discussion took place regarding the use of ‘By-Laws’ and if one could be brought in to ensure that people keep their dogs on leads.  It was agreed that this issue will again be raised with the Public Realm Inspectors, as it seems, following discussion, to be affecting most of the open spaces in Middleton.  (Action: Lauren Mason to report to Public Realm Inspectors)


Friends of Bowlee Community Park


Eric provided a written update:

·           Workshave recentlybeen carriedout onlifesafety featureswithinthe pavilion.

·           Newpathway beingformed tothe rearof thefenced footballfield.

·           Repairsare aboutto take placeon thetimberfootbridge.

·           Securityfencingproject isongoingand seemsto bereducingthe incidentsof nuisance motor bikers.

·           Thefriendsrecently planteda further400 nativetrees, thanksto theWoodlandTrust.  More willbe appliedfor!  Locationof plantingagreed withRBC.

·     Just arrivedare 4x LordSuffield appletrees forthe communityorchard.  LordSuffield applevarietywas developed inRhodes in 1836 by ThomasThorpe a Weaver.

·           Shortlyto beplantedisa poppyborder (circa1.5mx 250m).

·           Shortlyto beplantedisa perennialwildflower area (circa200m x70m).

·           Daffodils are just poking their heads up - 2nd year

·           The Friends group have been approached by a Hedgehog Rescue group with a view to releasing Hedgehog's on Bowlee.  More when I know more!

·           A newt count is scheduled for the summer once hibernation is over.

·           Roe Deer are once again in the park.  A family group of a stag, doe and fawn.

·           Plenty of family activity in the park, particularly over the festive season.  Children being taught to ride push bikes, etc, great to see.

·           Up and coming - Spring litter pick on 3 March 2018 at 10am, meet at the pavilion.  Mike Cummings and the Green Volunteers are also helping.


A discussion took place about Bowlee Playing Fields.


Friends of Mellalieu Street


The Friends had to leave prior to this item, and as such no update was provided.




No representative present to provide an update.


Middleton Lads & Girls Football Club


Councillor Martin advised that Middleton Lads and Girls FC continue to work tirelessly to attract new players to the site.  In the absence of a ‘Friends of Group’ the club also continue to look after the site and regularly pick up litter, etc.


Middleton Civic Association


David Lees advised that Middleton Civic Association host talks on the 2nd Wednesday of every month at the Old Boars Head from 7.45pm.


Middleton Roundtable


No representative present to provide an update.


Middleton Cricket Club


No representative present to provide an update.


Middleton In Bloom


The group have worked to secure funding from Middleton Rotary Club and the Tesco Bags of Life Funding.

Keeley advised that talks have been taking place with Lees Brewery, who owns the land near to the Ship Inn pub at Stakehill, and they have agreed that a feature can be placed on the land.

A planting event will take place in March with Middleton Scouts volunteering their time to assist.




Andrew Entwistle advised that there is a meeting scheduled with Councillors in February to discuss in more detail the issues at Middleton Arena.

The building is currently undergoing some renovations, including installation of a new boiler, etc.  This issue followed a complaint from a member of the public regarding the temperature of both the changing rooms and the swimming pool.

Terry Linden queried ticket purchases and was informed by Andrew that tickets can be bought online or at the box office at Heywood Civic.  Andrew advised that the whole process of ticket sales, etc will be looked at in the near future as a priority by the new CEO, Andy King.  Andrew also stated that work is ongoing regarding events at Middleton Arena, and there is work taking place to develop the events programme further.

A discussion took place about the lack of membership on the Board of Link4Life from Middleton, and Andrew advised that again this will be looked at as part of the meeting Andy King is having with Middleton Councillors in February.


Any other groups/events


Nothing to report.


Any other business (not already discussed on the agenda)


·           A discussion took place about banners placed on railings, in particular outside Jerry Amusements in the Town Centre and near to the Old Boars Head.  These items can be reported to Highways who will arrange for their removal.  (Action: Lauren Mason to report to Highways/Public Realm Inspectors to request removal)

·           Mike White advised that an event will take place on Saturday 27th January 2018, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the opening of Alkrington Library.  All are welcome to attend the event and flyers were provided at the meeting.

·           Christine Grime advised that there will be a ‘Film Showing’ of a new film made by Anthony Dolan to celebrate Edgar Wood.  The event takes place at the Long Street Methodist Church on Thursday 15th March 2018, no pre-booking is required.


Dates of future meetings


To be advised.