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Prestwich Township Forum 16 November 2011

by timpickstone on 17 November, 2011

Last night was the regular meeting of Prestwich Township Forum. This is the (relatively new format) meeting of Coucnillors and other community reps at a local level in Prestwich.

Chair, Vice-Chair and Advisory Board
We elected my colleagues Cllr Vic D’Albert and Cllr Donal O’Hanlon as Chair and Vice-Chair respectively of the Township Forum for the current municipal year. Vic was chair of the old Prestwich Local Area Partnership throughout its existence so it seems like a logical choice. We also welcomed three new members of the public as members of the ‘advisory group’ to the Forum.

Plan for Change – Savings
The Labour-run Council’s plans for cuts over the next three years were brought for consultation as part of a tour of Township Forum’s throughout Bury. As reported elsewhere on this site, the Council news to save around £17 million over the next three years. What surprised me was that the presentation we were given didn’t mention the cuts that the council are planing to make to a whole host of essential services: libraries, road repairs, road cleaning, park rangers, youth services, graffiti removal….. etc.

The Council has undertaken a consultation exercise to help ‘inform’ these cuts (interestingly more people took were consulted who didn’t live in the Borough, than people who lived in Prestwich!) The priority of ordinary people was support for vulnerable people – so, as one member of the public who was there last night pointed out to me, it seems odd that the biggest cuts will be in this area. So much for consultation.

The Council also wants to consult on the Council Tax rise for next April. The Coalition Government is offering to give Bury well over £1 million to freeze our Council Tax in April 2012 – obviously the Labour Council is thinking about turning down this free money.

Bury’s Unitary Development Plan
The Council is also consulting on its Unitary Development Plan – this is the framework which sets out how land should be used in the Borough over the coming decades.

I asked a question about retail. The UDP suggests that Prestwich has no further demand for extra food retail (which I understand), but that also that we have no further demand for non-food retail. Bury town centre is expected to have significant extra demand for non-food retail, and I don’t understand why we can’t have more in Prestwich? Presumably we’re all expected to go to Manchester, Bury or the Trafford Centre, for our non-food, whereas it would be great to have more options in Prestwich.

Consultation on Stroke and Cardiology Services
Despite the fact that the proposed service change didn’t really affect Prestwich (it was about moving cardiology and stroke rehabilitation services from Rochdale to Fairfield), we had a presentation on this.

David Curtis
David Curtis, long service Chair of Prestwich Carnival Committee, and former manager of the Longfield Sutie in Prestwich announced that the Prestwich Christmas Lights switch on on 4th December 2011 would be his last, and he was standing down from being chair of the Carnal Committee. The Forum gave David a spontaneous round of applause and warmly thanked him for all his years of work improving our community.

The Forum also received an update on Heaton Park and crime, which are going to be the subject of separate posts. Any questions please ask.


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