New Planning Application: Holyrood Grove

Posted July 25, 2014

A new planning application has been received within Holyrood Ward as below:

Application Number: 57773
Registration Date: 14/07/2014

Location: 7 Holyrood Grove, Prestwich, Manchester, M25 1PG
Proposal: Garage conversion with extension to front elevation

More details are avialable on the Council’s planning site here. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you require any further information.


Reporting back: Full Council July 2014

Posted July 23, 2014

Earlier in the month was the regular meeting of Bury’s Full Council – the opportunity five times a year all Councillors get to meet together.

The meeting interestingly too place the night before the announcement the press and on TV about the three-weekly bin collections, however no mention was made at Full Council (TV interviews had clearly already been recorded). Papers for the Cabinet meeting which contained the proposal seemed to be handed out as people left the meeting.

This was my first normal Full Council meeting as a ‘single’ Liberal Democrat. Although it has its advantages (easy to decide how the Liberal Democrats will vote), it also has significant disadvantages. We’re can’t propose motions, and – for the time being at least – any questions to the Leader get put at the very bottom of the list and then don’t get answered! (I understand this might be reviewed, as hopefully it fairly clear that this isn’t a fair way of doing things…)

Public Question Time
Two main issues were raised:
- the speed limit of the unrestricted section of Turton Road, which I understand will be reduced to 50mph, and the possibility of 40mph is being investigated.
- a second issue was the proposal for the withdrawal of the (commercially run) bus service which serves Affetside. Thankfully Transport for Greater Manchester have stepped in and a solution for a subsidised service has been found.

Questions to the Leader
I submitted two questions – which were only answered in writing.

Councillor Pickstone
Could the Leader say what proportion of staff who are currently employed by the Authority at levels below the ‘living wage’ are employed in schools? The Council is currently proposing to increase the pay of staff on the minimum wage to somerthink a little higher, but still below the recommended ‘Living Wage’. I would have asked about how the Council was addressing the issue of schools budgets that would have been affected by this.

A. There are 646 schools-based employees who currently earn an
hourly rate of pay that is below the Living Wage of £7.65 per hour.
This amounts to just under 56% of the total number of employees
who earn less than the Living Wage. This Labour administration is
very clear that it aspires to pay all staff at or above the Living Wage
and the simple reason that we cannot do this at the present time is
the sheer scale of the cuts imposed on us by the coalition
Government which Councillor Pickstone’s party plays a full role in.
However, despite this, the proposals on terms and conditions that
we have just begun to consult on provide for a move towards the
Living Wage for the lowest paid of our employees.

Councillor Pickstone
Will the Leader join me in welcoming the £245,000 extra money for potholes for Bury from the Government? How will the funding be split between townships?

A. As I said in an earlier answer, I am pleased that we have qualified
for this funding because it shows that the Government recognize that
Bury Council delivers best practice when it comes to highway
maintenance. However this money only goes a fraction of the way to
making up for the savage cuts that the Government has previously
made to our highways funding and so it is clear to everyone that the
blame for potholes on our roads lies firmly at their door.We intend to
spend the money in the areas of most need and so it is not possible to
provide a township split at this stage.

A Labour motion on a ‘Fair Deal for Bury’ proposed calling for all-parties to lobby Government for a review of the ‘funding formula’ which (for many years) has been viewed as unfairly underfunding Bury compared to other councils. There was a long debate, including an amendments from the Conservatives. Ultimately I support this motion.

A Conservative motion addressed the issue of Bury’s ‘Core Stratey’. The consideration of this issue has been suspended by the Planning Inspector, as there are issues around the supply of land for future housing. The Conservative motion also included opposition to all wind farms, which I don’t support.
In the end a Labour amendment was adopted which I was able to support.

Any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Grants for up to £1000 I Will if You Will

Posted July 23, 2014

Local Groups are being urged to apply for grants from the ‘I Will if You Will’ project which Bury Council is running to promote the involvement of women and girls (over 14) in sport and physical activity.

More information and an application from from:

image001 (2)

Bury Council Agrees 3 Weekly Bin Collections

Posted July 22, 2014

As residents will probably have seen in the press Bury Council have agreed to go ahead with three-weekly collections of the main ‘grey’ bins from October 2014.

The decision was made by the Council’s ‘Cabinet’ – a group of six Labour councillors with no opposition members.

Immediately after the decision my colleague Cllr Tim Pickstone wrote and asked for the decision to be ‘called-in for Scrutiny’. This is where the decision of the Cabinet is reviewed by the Scrutiny Committee which is made up of ‘back-bench’ councillors.

Although this is an important step it is almost unheard of for Scrutiny to change a decision of the Cabinet, particularly because the balance on the Committee is more representative of the Council’s political makeup – so there are 9 Labour councillors, 3 Conservatives and for this particular committee no Lib Dems or Independents.

Lack of Public Consultation
We are extremely concerned about the way that this decision has been made. The Council could and should have consulted members of the public, to see what ideas people had about recycling and bin collections.

Instead the decision has been rushed through with only six days between the publication on the report and the final decision being made.

Over 3,500 people signed a petition on the website against the three weekly collection. Local Lib Dems undertook our own online survey of local residents and despite the short timescale over 800 people took part.

91% did not agree with the change to 3 weeks, 6% agreed.


bins graph

Good idea, but wrong way to do it!
Bury Council’s idea of ‘zero waste’ is a good principle to have.

Liberal Democrats have always been huge supporters of recycling. The world’s population is growing every day and we cannot continue to exploit and throw away the earth’s precious resources.

The Council estimates that it will save £800,000 a year in landfill charges. But, as many residents have pointed out, this assumes that we will all recycle MORE rubbish with a three-weekly bin collection than we do now. Many people are telling us that they already recycle everything that they can.

Every Household is Different
We’re all different and we all produce slightly different amounts of rubbish! There will be different ways that work for different households to reduce their waste. Many people have enthusiastically taken up the Council’s offer of having a smaller Grey Bin – which is a great way to reduce recycling if you can keep your rubbish down to this level. Now the Council is saying that it will replace smaller bins with bigger bins if people need to with the three-weekly collections (how much is that going to cost?).

Three weekly collections will be fine for some households. But many people with larger families, with babies, with pets and some people with medical conditions are very concerned about how they will cope with a collection every three weeks.

What can’t we recycle
There are many things that we CANNOT recycle in our bins at present. Most are ‘soft plastics’ such as yogurt pots, margarine tubs and crucially all that packaging we get from supermarkets such as plastic food trays. There are medium sized items that can be taken to a tip or a mini-recycling centre – but guess what? – the Council has closed our Tip, and all three mini-recycling centres in Prestwich have been closed (Tescos, Longfield, Upper Wilton Street). In Government the Lib Dems have introduced a small charge on plastic bags to help reduce plastic waste, encourage recycling and protect our environment. When a similar charge was introduced in Wales, the number of plastic bags used fell by nearly 80%.

Reducing our Rubbish
The best way to reduce the amount we send to landfill or incinerator and save money is to reduce the amount of rubbish in total. Thirty years ago a households’ rubbish fitted easily into ONE small bin (that the dustbin man/woman normally carried on their back!). What has changed is the amount we buy and throw away and crucially the amount of packaging that everything comes in. Some things will need to be done by Government, but there are many things that local councils can do – either on their own or working together (for example across Greater Manchester) to work with supermarkets to reduce their packaging, or help people reduce waste.

What happens now?
Unless something happens to change the Council’s mind, the changes will happen at the beginning of October 2014.

The Council has produced this list of FAQs for people. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if there are issues that you would like me to raise.






Kenilworth Avenue: No Waiting Restriction

Posted July 22, 2014

Following a consultation with residents (previously reported by email and on the blog) a ‘No Waiting at Any Time’ restriction is to be introduced at the ‘top’ of Kenilworth Avenue at its junction with Bury Old Road.

The restriction will run for 15 metres on the north side of the road, and will hopefully go some way to alleviate what is often reported by residents to be dangerous conditions with traffic turning into the road at speed from Bury Old Road.

The restriction will be in effect from 8 August 2014.

Screenshot 2014-06-05 10.57.43



New Planning Application: Old Hall Lane

Posted July 22, 2014

A new planning application has been received within Holyrood Ward as below:

Application Number: 57712
Registration Date: 11/07/2014

Location: 9 Parkwood Cottages, Old Hall Lane, Prestwich, Manchester, M25 5SL
Proposal: Change of use from ‘granny flat’ to separate dwelling and installation of decking area and 2 no. conservation roof lights.

More details are avialable on the Council’s planning site here. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you require any further information.


New Planning Application: Glebelands Road

Posted July 22, 2014

A new planning application has been received within Holyrood Ward as below:

Application Number: 57751
Registration Date: 08/07/2014

Location: 57 Glebelands Road, Prestwich, Manchester, M25 1WF
Proposal: First floor extension at side

More details are avialable on the Council’s planning site here. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you require any further information.


New Planning Application: Ferndene Road

Posted July 22, 2014

A new planning application has been received within Holyrood Ward as below:

Application Number: 57752
Registration Date: 08/07/2014

Location: 27 Ferndene Road, Prestwich, Manchester, M25 2RB
Proposal: Demolition of existing garage and erection of two/single storey extension at side; Dormer roof extension at rear; Front porch

More details are avialable on the Council’s planning site here. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you require any further information.


Three Weekly Bin Collections – Update

Posted July 15, 2014

As people will be aware from the media Bury Council has announced that it intends to become the ONLY council in the country to undertake three-weekly collections of the the ‘normal’ grey bins.

The change would also meant that our green and blue bins move to three weekly (currently they are every four weeks). Brown bins and food ‘caddys’ would stay at 2 weekly. Some flats would stay at two-weekly collections for grey bins as 3 weekly is apparently impractical. The change would take place in October this year.

Screenshot 2014-07-10 08.43.47

Just so people know the announcement came as much as a surprise to opposition (i.e. non-Labour) councillors as it did to the general public. The first time many councillors found out about this was watching BBC North West last Thursday!

The report should have been published during the day of Wednesday 9 July; its publication was delayed until after newspaper and media deadlines for the following day had passed meaning there was only ‘one side’ of the story on radio, TV and the Bury Times the next day.

I even had to ASK for opposition councillors to be given a briefing note so we could respond to local residents who were contacting us – this finally arrived 5 days after the announcement. There is no consultation with local residents. You will not remember the Labour candidates proposing this before the election six weeks ago (they didn’t mention it in their leaflets…..)

There are two reasons why the Council is proposing to do this:

- increase recycling rates
In Bury at the moment 47.6% of our household waste is recycled. This is already one of the highest levels in Greater Manchester (3rd highest), but the Council believes that this figure can increase to over 60% by 2016.

- save money
All public services are having to save money and local government is no exception. the Council believes it will save £862,000 a year by moving to a three weekly bin collection.

The full report to Cabinet is here.

What will happen now

The decision will be taken by the Council’s Cabinet on Wednesday (16 July 2014). This Committee is made up of six Labour councillors.

There is the potential for this decision to be ‘called in’ for scrutiny which we will support if the decision goes ahead.

Over the weekend Lib Dems in Bury have been consulting with local residents to find out your views on this important issue. We’ve had a brilliant response and will letting people know the outcome before the meeting tomorrow night.

I am really interested to know your views on this subject and we have set up a quick online survey to gather people’s views and ideas on this subject.

Please take a minute to fill in the survey here.

What would we do differently?

Liberal Democrats have always been huge supporters of recycling but we are opposed to three-weekly bin collections.

Every household is different but three weeks is a long time for waste to be left lying in our bins. We all know what a bin can smell like after two weeks in the summer. If you’re away when the bin gets collected then its going to be SIX weeks between bin collections….

Instead we would like to look at other options to increase recycling:
- The Council has been hugely successful in encouraging people to have smaller grey bins (its been free to have a smaller grey bin for a couple of years). For some households – particularly where there is just one or two people – this works really well. What can we do to encourage more people to do this?

- having a slightly smaller grey bin for everyone collected very two weeks would be estimated to save almost the same amount of money (£720,000 a year) – but it would mean the Council having to borrow the buy the bins in the first place BUT some larger households might not be able accommodate all their waste?

- What more could be done to encourage households to recycle more: more education?, some form of incentives? work with our local supermarkets to reduce the amount of packaging that we take home?

- Some Councils have done things to encourage garden composting – some even give people a free composter to reduce the amount of garden (and vegetable) waste that ends up in the brown bins or food caddies (obviously only works if you’ve got a garden!)

There will be other ideas so please let us know your views.

Two additional local diary dates

Posted July 15, 2014

Two more useful diary dates to add to the previous list:

18 July, 8.30pm- 1am
Shangri La! alternative cabaret night: the Carlton Club, Prestwich ,

19 September 8.30pm- 1am
Shangri La! alternative cabaret night: the Carlton Club, Prestwich ,