New planning application: Link road between Pilsworth and J19 M62

A new planning application has been submitted for consultation by Rochdale Council, as it directly affects Unsworth residents and businesses. Details below:

Application Number: 16/01399/HYBR
Registration Date: 22/11/2016

Location: Land bounded by Manchester Road, Hareshill Road and Pilsworth Road; West of Junction 19 of the M62, Rochdale
Proposal:  Article 18 consultation from Rochdale Council (ref.16/01399/HYBR) for part full / part outline planning application for the redevelopment of land at South Heywood including demolition works. Full application includes new link road between junction 19 of M62 and Pilsworth Road, widening of Pilsworth Rd. and juction improvements. Outline application (all mattters reserved except access) includes mixed use development up to 1000 dwellings (Class C3), employment uses Classes B2/B8) up to 135,460m2, new primary school (Class D1), up to 2500 m2 Classes A1/A2/A3/A5 use (including up to 2500m2 Class A1 use) and associated works | Land bounded by Manchester Road, Hareshill Road and Pilsworth Road; West of Junction 19 of the M62, Rochdale

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you require further information or help with this. The details are on Rochdale Council’s website here.

Unsworth Liberal Democrats would be interested to know what local residents think about the proposal. Feel free to email or comment below.

The closing date for local residents to participate in the consultation is Thursday 15th December 2016 and the application is likely to be considered by Rochdale Council’s planning panel sometime in January.

Proposed development

Posted in Consultations, Environment, Housing, Roads, Unsworth | Leave a comment

New planning application: Unsworth Smile Clinic 57 Parr Lane

A new planning application has been received in Unsworth ward, as detailed below:

Application Number: 60845
Registration Date: 21/11/2016

Location: Unsworth Smile Clinic, 57 Parr Lane, Bury, BL9 8JR
Proposal: Second floor extension to form three storey building

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you require further information or help with these. The details are on the Council’s website here.

Unsworth Liberal Democrats would be interested to know what local residents think about the proposal to build a third storey on top of the existing Unsworth Smile Clinic. Feel free to email or comment below.

The closing date for local residents to participate in the consultation is Thursday 15th December 2016 and the application is likely to be considered by Bury Council’s planning panel sometime in January.

Proposed front elevation

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Massive plans to build on Bury Green Belt

Proposals have been published by Greater Manchester Councils for massive plans to build on green belt land in Bury.

Proposals include:
– the release of 255 hectares of green-belt land south of the M62 around Simister extending westwards towards Prestwich for 2,300 homes.
– the release of 62 hectares of green belt land around Pole Lane and Mode Hill Lane in Whitefield for 600 homes.
– the release of 500 hectares of green belt land to the east of the M60 as part of a massive industrial/employment site known as the ‘Northern Gateway’ (bigger in size that Trafford Park).
– 87 hectares on land around Elton Reservoir and to the east of Starling Road where there will be potential for 3,500 homes.
– land north and south of Walshaw Road where there will be space for 1,250 homes.
– Holcombe Brook will receive 100 new homes on 3.12 hectares to the south of the existing urban area in the village.
– 4.3 hectares by the existing residential development in the Seedfield area of Bury Sixty homes on a 1.7 hectare site to the south of Bentley Lane in Bevis Lane.

(Proposed housing in orange, industrial in purple, and other green belt in green.)

Greater Manchester Council Leaders, including the Leader of Bury Council, will ‘sign off’ the proposals for consultation at their meeting on 28 October 2016. The proposals will then be subject to public consultation.

The largest share  of the destruction of the Green Belt is in Bury. The Pillsworth industrial/employment site will be bigger in area than Trafford Park. The whole area around the M66 from Simister and Bowlee northwards towards Heywood will bigger than the existing built up areas of Prestwich and Whitefield combined.

This is a massive betrayal of Bury residents by the Bury Council’s Labour leadership. Year after year they have promised that the Green Belt is safe their hands – here’s what their 2014 Local Elections Manifesto said:
“Bury Labour Group will defend the greenbelt and do all we can to stop development of this precious resource.”
It is a disgrace that they have let down the people of Bury in this way.

The proposals open massive questions about the capacity of local services. Not only do we lose our countryside, but what roads will 25,000 extra people drive down? What trams will 25,000 extra people get on in the mornings? What schools will 20,000 extra children go to? What health services will they use?

The northern part of the M60 is already one of the most congested motorways in Europe, how will this cope with all this new industry and houses?

We support the need for extra housing, but Greater Manchester has one of the largest supplies of existing ‘brownfield sites’ anywhere in the region. Destruction of our countryside on this massive scale is just not necessary.

These proposals must be stopped. Please sign our petition to send the very clear message to Bury Council that they cannot destroy our countryside.

Posted in Bury, Community, Consultations, Environment | Comments Off on Massive plans to build on Bury Green Belt

Hands off our green belt – sign the petition

The local Lib Dem team across Bury are campaigning to save our ‘Green Belt’ land from development.

60% of Bury is green belt land. This is under threat because Greater Manchester Councils are considering proposals to provide the land to build up to 225,000 new houses over the next 25 years.


Proposed developments

Across Bury, developers have already proposed 70 sites with over 12,000 new homes. Most of these sites propose building on the green belt land that surrounds our towns and communities. More details of the proposals here.

We support the need for new homes, but NOT on the green belt. Greater Manchester has significant amounts of ‘brown field’ sites that should be used first for new housing. We particularly support the need the right types of new homes, such as more affordable homes.

On 28 October 2016 Greater Manchester Council Leaders will meet to decide which land they propose should be built on. Proposals should be published the week before.

Please help us send a clear message to the Council Leaders that Green Belt land should NOT be built on.

Sign our online petition to say HANDS OFF OUR GREEN BELT.

Posted in Bury, Community, Consultations, Environment | 1 Comment

Parking problems in Unsworth

There appears to have been a recent spike in reports of parking problems across Unsworth and Whitefield in the past few weeks. At Unsworth pole, problems continue with lack of spaces throughout the day and into the early evening, with significant problems around 8-9am. A few people have told me that they have received ‘fines’ aka parking fee demands as much as £100 as a result of parking in the car park behind the Bay Horse pub, which is run by Holts. That land does belong to the brewery, rather than the council and as much as we hate it, they do have the right to charge for parking there. I’ve seen more reports on Facebook and Streetlife about people being ‘fined’ for parking behind the pub. The website provides a lot of good advice for motorists who have received parking fee demands from private companies.

The problems continue on Parr Lane outside the Co-op, with shoppers and cash point users continuing to park on the double yellow lines in between the junctions of Randale Drive and Chadderton Drive.

I have been in contact with NSL Services Ltd who provide parking warden services on behalf of Bury Council and asked them to patrol these two areas, primarily to enforce the waiting restrictions in place at both those locations. With luck, we will see a parking attendant presence in both these locations, so I would suggest in order to avoid parking fines, please do not park on double yellow lines, beyond the two-hour limit at the Pole and avoid parking in the car park behind the Bay Horse pub (or pay the fee if you must park there).

I’d be interested to hear from anyone who has comments about parking issues in Unsworth.

I have also been contacted regarding the land grab by the Porada restaurant on Bury New Road/Church Lane, however there is not much to tell on that front at the moment. The council has made the restaurant owners an offer to resolve the land grab issue in a formal and legal way, however at the time of writing that offer has not been taken up. I will blog on this later as and when I know more.

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Library service consultation ends – thank you for your support

In the past few months I have blogged here, here and here about Bury Council’s review of our library services. The expectation was that some libraries would close and as Unsworth Library almost closed 3 years ago, local residents are worried that our library is likely to disappear.

The first stage of the consultation has now ended and I am pleased to report that almost 400 people signed my e-petition (398 to be exact) to save Unsworth Library. Compare that with the 50 who signed the Save Prestwich Library petition and it is clear that passions run high for our local library. The petition (along with comments submitted by the Bury public) will be put to the Council’s Cabinet in late October and then a second consultation on actual proposals will run from November 2016 until February 2017 (I will blog further once the second consultation begins).

A final report will be put before Bury Council’s Cabinet in March 2017 and following a library staff consultation, implementation of their proposals is expected to take place in July 2017.

Posted in Community, Consultations, Unsworth | Comments Off on Library service consultation ends – thank you for your support

Increase in Missed Bins across Bury

Figures obtained by Bury’s Lib Dem councillors have revealed a noticeable increase in the number of reported ‘missed bins’ in the last few years.

The figures identify the number of bins reported as not collected by bin type. This includes instances where it is not the Councils fault such as access problems due to parked cars, snow and floods etc, contaminated bins, bins not out and bins too heavy.

Missed bin collectionsMissed Bins 2013/2014
Grey 2230
Brown 1847
Green 1146 B
lue 799

Missed Bins 2014/2015
Grey 1829
Brown 1262
Green 503
Blue 552

Missed Bins 2015/2016
Grey 2227
Brown 1583
Green 816
Blue 869

Bury Lib Dem Group Leader Councillor Tim Pickstone said:
“Missed bins is one of most frequently reported problems to us as local councillors. The Council does provide additional bags in the event of a missed bin, but people are understandably concerned about their bin being missed when the collections are only every three weeks.”

“There has been a noticeable increase in 2015-16 and we’re hoping that the Council take whatever urgent action needs to be taken get this number down.”

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Bury and Prestwich NHS walk-in centres set to close

Last night I attended the Prestwich Township Forum in the mistaken belief that the presentation by the Bury Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG for short) was intending to consult the public on the drastic proposal to close the NHS walk-in centres, currently located in Bury town centre and Prestwich Longfield.

Silly me. As we were pointedly reminded by Dr Victoria Moyle (lead GP for urgent care at NHS Bury CCG and a practicing Bury GP herself), this was a public ‘engagement’ not a consultation. In other words, the senior management team of Bury CCG have recommended the closure of the walk-in centres and there is not a damn thing you, me or anyone else in Bury can do about it. The engagement is really about finding out how the CCG need to tailor the future service (dubbed the Bury Virtual Hub) so that the public are no longer ‘confused’ about which service to access.Prestwich NHS walk-in centre

Dr Moyle thinks that Bury residents don’t know where to go when they are ill and need educating – this will be a big part of the engagement and promotion of future services. But let’s roll back a little, what NHS services do we have at the moment? Well, if you are registered with a GP service in the Bury area, during normal working hours, you can telephone your GP surgery and make an appointment. If you are lucky enough to get through very early in the morning, you might get an appointment that day or if it is less urgent, probably in about 2 weeks time (certainly with my GP practice). If your need is more urgent, but not life threatening, then there are a couple of options: telephone BARDOC (for an out of hours GP visit), call 111 or visit one of the two walk-in centres. Finally, for life threatening and emergency cases, there is 999 and/or Accident and Emergency (A&E). Most people, I feel, know which one of these options is the most appropriate and make use of the right service they need at the right time. The walk-in centres fill in the gap nicely between overworked GPs who cannot fit you in within 24-48 hours and A&E which all admit, are under massive pressures like never before. Bury CCG admit that locally, A&E admissions are rising.

The current combined operating costs of the two NHS walk-in centres is said to be around £800,000 and figures released show that last year the centres received a total of 67,000 visits. I admit, maths is not one of my strengths, but even I can work out (with the aid of a calculator) that works out around £12 per patient, per visit. It is estimated (by those more in the know that I am), that a typical A&E visit costs around £150-200 per patient per visit. That is a massive difference and surely the walk-in centres represent fantastic value for money, as well as reducing Bury A&E pressures.

Bury CCG tell us that walk-in centre visits are falling year on year. They estimate this fall to be about 9,000 patients per year. I admit, this is a trend worth investigating. Where are these people going instead of a walk-in centre? With GP appointments harder than ever to secure and A&E admissions on the rise, it’s easy to guess.

The CCG wants to close your NHS walk-in centres and redirect the money to A&E services, while redirecting Bury-registered patients to their local GPS/medical centres or nearest hospital. The CCG seem to have forgotten the reason the walk-in centres were created in the first place.

The plan is bonkers. No-one at the Prestwich Township Forum meeting bought into the CCG’s plan (including me). I tried to go into the meeting with an open mind, but I just cannot see the sense in this. It does not save the CCG/NHS money (in fact, it costs them more) and simply puts pressure on an already overloaded emergency department. And what about the patients who do not have Bury GPs or are merely visiting Bury when they need non-emergency care?

I urge everyone reading this to have your say using the Bury CCG survey here

A paper copy of the survey can be obtained by calling 0161 762 3166 or by emailing
Views can be sent in via the CCG website feedback facility; by e-mail (as above) or by letter to NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group, Communications and Engagement Team (Urgent Care Redesign), 21 Silver Street, Bury, BL9 0EN

Publicly, both Bury Liberal Democrats and Bury Labour have stated they are against the closures of the walk-in centres and both parties have launched petitions against their closure. As far as I can see, only Bury Liberal Democrats and Labour are doing anything about this.

The Bury Liberal Democrat petition can be signed here:

Posted in Bury, Health | Comments Off on Bury and Prestwich NHS walk-in centres set to close

Greater Manchester Councils ‘Call for Sites’ – update

In March of this year, I blogged here about the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework strategy, in particular, that the combined authorities of Greater Manchester had put out a ‘Call for Sites’. The spatial strategy will be a joint plan that identifies land to provide the new houses, jobs, infrastructure for the future – an estimated 225,000 new houses are proposed for the next 25 years.

The call for sites has been asking landowners, developers, interest groups and others to identify sites that they think may be suitable for development in the future.

All of the sites received through the call for sites are promoted by their owners or developers. They have no endorsement as sites for future development by Greater Manchester and its constituent 10 districts. Decisions on whether such sites will, or will not, be supported will be made when the draft GMSF is produced for public consultation in October this year.

More information has been released on the individual applications. For data protection reasons, GMSG have redacted personal information, such as personal names and email addresses.

hollins greenbelt land

For Unsworth, there is the rather obvious greenbelt area around Hollins (see map). The Bury Times ran the story this week, but seemed to exclude the Unsworth area completely (which is odd considering the proposed area is a huge amount of greenbelt). PWA Planning of Preston have suggested that almost 15 hectares of land could supply a mix of semi-detached and detached homes and would be an “obvious extension to the Unsworth settlement.” Their words, not mine.

The Bury Times did also mention the other areas across Bury that had been suggested, and Unsworth residents might be interested to know about the ones near us in Whitefield that have come to light:-

– HOW Planning said 164 homes could be built on land at Park Lane Farm to the north of Philips Park Road and the west of Parkstone Road. The company said in the document that the majority of the site is located within the greenbelt.

– The owner of land south east of Mode Hill Lane, who has not been named, said 400 homes could be built there, alongside leisure facilities.

– An unnamed agent acting for the Cornell Group said an unstated number of homes could be built south of Mode Hill Lane.

– Representatives of Stand Golf Club said an unstated number of homes could be built on vacant farmland off Ringley Road.

The full zoomable and scrollable interactive map can be viewed here. The details of all proposals are on this spreadsheet.

Bury Liberal Democrats very clear view is that although we do need to ensure that we have the houses that we need, the priority should be to use ‘brownfield sites’, rather than building on the greenbelt land that surrounds us. All our local Liberal Democrat councillors and campaigners will give 100% support to residents campaigning to save our greenbelt land.

We will know more when the first recommendations are published in October.

Posted in Environment, Housing, Unsworth | Comments Off on Greater Manchester Councils ‘Call for Sites’ – update

Bury Council Highways department in resurfacing mess

The council has got itself into an awful mess due to a failed road repair in Bleasdale Close, Unsworth. While residents were initially pleased that the council’s highways department was finally filling in the numerous potholes in the small cul-de-sac, that pleasure soon turned to horror when highways had finished the work.

A couple of years ago the Council purchased new road surfacing machines at a cost of £100,000 unfortunately it seems like they forgot to purchase the user manuals (or at least sort out some training for their highways staff) as the spray injection patching machines (also known as ‘jetpatchers’) that were used to fill in the potholes on Bleasdale Close have a specific operating temperature, a fact that appears to have been lost on the Council.

While it is not clear which jetpatcher system has been purchased and operated by Bury Council’s highways department, a quick google search and perusal of the different systems show that they can only be used within a strict surface temperature range. The council decided that the hottest day of the year would be the perfect time to do the repairs on Bleasdale Close, a decision that meant the repair was doomed to fail.

As a result of the failure, the bitumen and aggregate failed to set and local residents on the cul-de-sac soon found bits of the hot, sticky tarmac on the shoes, on their cars, on their driveways, in their houses and in one case, in the cot of a young baby. All of the residents have complained to the council, who have not so far acknowledge their error, have not said sorry and have so far only invited Bleasdale Close residents to fill in claim forms.

Bleasdale close Bleasdale close Bleasdale close

The story has been featured in this week’s Bury Times and I’ve called on Bury Council to apologise to residents, and then quickly resolve the situation by putting the road right and compensating those affected quickly, without fuss and in full. Instead of this, all we have had so far is a rather vague statement from Councillor Alan Quinn in which he neither acknowledged the errors or state how the council was going to rectify the situation. Instead, Councillor Quinn used the opportunity to talk about how many potholes they had fixed with their new machines, something which will be of small comfort to those still living with the loose chippings and damaged carpets, driveways and vehicles.

As usual, the three Unsworth ward Councillors are AWOL and have not engaged with residents at all over this matter. I’ve taken this matter up on behalf of some of the residents on Bleasdale Close and will be ensuring the council adequately compensate those affected. A full apology would be gratefully received by all.

If you have been affected by this issue and have no contacted either the council or me, feel free to give me a call on 07870 444 235.

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Planning application update: re-submitted application for 247 Sunny Bank Road

It will come as a great relief to many Unsworth residents, especially those that live around the Sunny Bank Road and Pole Lane areas that, once again, the planning application to relocate the dentist to 247 Sunny Bank Road has been REFUSED.

Despite the applicant’s attempt to appease the planners with a car parking solution (use of the car park behind the pub), the application did not address the ‘over intensification of the site’ and more crucially the fact that their planning application was contrary to the UDP (or as it is more commonly known, the local plan).

Basically, some years ago, Bury Council agreed in their local plan that commercial premises would not replace much needed housing.

While it is possible the applicants could appeal, or modify their plans further and submit again, the costs in doing so would hardly represent a good investment – so I think it unlikely we will see further applications from either the Unsworth Smile Clinic or indeed any other business wishing to take over residential accommodation in the immediate area.

I’m pleased with the outcome, as I think the Council has re-affirmed its commitment made in the UDP that residential accommodation in Unsworth is a priority. The refusal can be used as a benchmark for future planning applications.

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Sunny Bank Road Post Office move and planning application

Few people in Unsworth will be surprised to learn that the Post Office currently located at 66 Sunny Bank Road is due to close. The Post Office is actually moving not far away to Manchester Road (the current Bargain Booze shop) which will leave the former post office empty. Many local residents have asked me what is to become of the shop once the Post Office move out and I now have the details.

A planning application has been submitted by the owners of the premises as follows:

Change of use from post office (A1) to hot food takeaway (A5) with extractor flue at rear – 66 Sunny Bank Road, Bury, BL9 8HJ

Ref. No: 60408 | Received date: Tue 26 Jul 2016 | Status: Application registered | Case Type: Planning Application

The planning application does not indicate what type of hot food takeaway is proposed.

Local residents should take a close look at the application by clicking on the blue underlined link above. You may submit comments (for, against or neutral) against the planning application either online, via email or via post to the council’s planning department. Online comments are by far the easiest way to submit comments (both anonymous and named) and if you do not know how to do this, or have good internet access, the excellent facilities at Sunny Bank Library are available for this purpose. The library staff will be happy to show you how to access the online planning portal.

Alternatively, simply drop me and email or call me on 07870 444 235 and I’ll help as best I can.

Posted in Unsworth | Comments Off on Sunny Bank Road Post Office move and planning application

Parr Lane road survey results from GMP

In May of this year (following a number of road traffic accidents on Parr Lane, outside the Co-op store), I asked Greater Manchester Police to conduct a road survey to see if we could determine how serious the speeding traffic had become. During June and July local residents may have noticed the survey box and cables appeared at the junction of Parr Lane and Chadderton Drive (see picture) and this has subsequently been removed, once the survey came to an end.

Greater Manchester Police’s Territorial Support Section – Specialist Operation Branch have now written back to me with the results and I am very grateful to PCSO Angela Jarvis for taking the time to do this.

Results of the survey

The survey results showed an 85th percentile of 31.3 mph and a Mean speed of 26.4 mph.

Conclusions of GMP

These results are very low with the 85th percentile only just above the posted speed limit but below the enforcement speed and the Mean speed is below both.

GMP have to prioritise all speed enforcement work so that we are where we are needed the most, due to the results of the survey Parr Lane would not fall into our priority for enforcement at this time.

My thoughts

Unfortunately, the results mean that GMP will not be enforcing the current 30mph speed limit on Parr Lane, in or around the area of the Co-op. This is disappointing since the results clearly show that 15% of all traffic is travelling at a speed greater than 31.3mph.

Further, I was disappointed with the siting of the survey equipment. By positioning the equipment so close to the junction with Chadderton Drive, inevitably the survey is skewed by those cars that have slowed down to make the turn into, or those pulling out of Chadderton Drive (which by the very nature of the turn, means it can only be achieved at speeds lower than 30mph).

Ultimately, I feel this is an issue not worth pursuing further at this point in time. Should the 20mph streetsafe zone scheme be resurrected, it may well be worth making further submissions to the council. I am very disappointed that none of Unsworth’s three Labour councillors have become involved in this issue, nor even expressed concern at our local traffic problems.

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Have your say on new powers for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority

Have your say on new powers for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority

 Greater Manchester is seeking your views on the powers that the City Region needs to drive forward its ambitious programme of growth and reform.


 We’re living through the most exciting changes to how England is governed for generations.

 Greater Manchester has led the way on ‘devolution agreements’ that move decision-making on crucial public services like local transport, housing, health and skills training closer to local people.

Please tell us whether you agree or disagree with the powers proposed for the GMCA and let us know why you agree or disagree.

 The closing date for this consultation is 15 August 2016.
Go to for more information about devolution powers and the consultation form.

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Re-submitted planning application: 247 Sunny Bank Road

247 Sunny Bank Road, Unsworth

247 Sunny Bank Road, Unsworth

A planning application previously refused in April 2016 has been re-submitted by the owners of the Unsworth Smile Clinic Dentists (currently located on Parr Lane) to convert the house at 247 Sunny Bank Road. The previous application proved particularly unpopular with local residents and saw 30 members of the public submit comments to Bury Council’s planning portal, none of which were in favour of the proposed development.

The new planning application is detailed on the Bury Council planning portal as follows:

Application number: 60320
Application Received:     Fri 01 Jul 2016
Application Validated:     Fri 01 Jul 2016
Address:     247 Sunny Bank Road, Bury, BL9 8JU
Proposal:     Change of use from dwelling (Class C3) to dental surgery (Class D1) (relocation of existing dental practice from 57 Parr Lane); Single storey extension at front with new entrance, two storey extension at side, single storey extension at rear and gate to existing vehicular entrance.

The application can be viewed online here:

Change of use from dwelling (Class C3) to dental surgery (Class D1) (relocation of existing denta… – 247 Sunny Bank Road, Bury, BL9 8JU

There are a number of important differences between the new application and the one that was refused in April 2016, which appears on the face of it, genuine attempts to address the reasons for refusal given by the council’s planning committee previously.

The new application removes all parking facilities on-site and closes off the existing vehicle access off Sunny Bank Road, leaving only a pedestrian access remaining. In theory, this makes the parking situation worse than before, as the Dental Surgery staff now have no on-site parking (as opposed to the previous application, which did provide for staff parking only on-site). The new application attempts to address the parking concerns raised by both local residents and the planning officers by offering to refund patients the costs associated with parking in the pay and display car park behind the Bay Horse public house at the pole.

The new application does not fundamentally differ from the original application, in terms of the addition of extensions to existing building. This was an area of concern to both local residents and the planning committee.

As it stands, the new application certainly addresses two of the refusal points (parking and access problems). There are two points, I feel, the new application does not address. One is, the “undue intensification of the site and commercialisation  of the residential property”. The other is that the development still does not comply with the local plan, also known as the UDP.

It is important to note that the original application’s refusal notice stated the following “There were[are] no amendments to the scheme, or conditions which could reasonably have been imposed, which could have made the development acceptable and it was therefore not possible to approve the application.”

It seems reasonable to assume that the planning committee would be of the same view as just 3 months ago and recommend refusal once.

I would encourage all local residents to, once again, comment on the newly submitted application, as previous comments recorded on the original application will not likely be taken into account by the planning committee. I will attempt to contact those who commented before over the next couple of weeks to invite them to comment again.

I will keep you all advised as and when the application comes before planning for consideration.

As always, if there is anything else in Unsworth ward I can help with, please do not hesitate to ask – my contact details are below.

Steve Middleton
Unsworth community campaigner
Bury Liberal Democrats
36 Chadderton Drive, Unsworth
tel: 07870 444 235

Posted in Consultations, Unsworth | 2 Comments

Public Meeting: Whitefield & Unsworth Township Forum 5 July, 6.30pm – plus PACT at 5.30pm

The next Whitefield & Unsworth Township Forum takes place on Tuesday 5 July, 6.30pm at Elms Community Centre.

Agenda items include:

·         Appointment of Chair and Vice Chair

·         Advisory Board membership

·         New Health and Care Centre for Whitefield – update on progress (Mike Woodhead, Acting Chief Finance Officer – NHS Bury CCG)

·         Police Update

·         Shaping your town plan (roundtable discussions to identify key local issues)

·         Updates – Uplands, Former Town Hall, Hickory Grange, Porada, Pilsworth

·         Public Open Question Time

·         Funding

·         Any Urgent Business

Whitefield/Unsworth Township Forum agendas and minutes of meetings can be found at:

Please note: The PACT (Police and Communities Together) meeting will start at 5.30pm before the Forum. Meet your neighbourhood policing team and discuss issues one to one. For more details about Whitefield & Unsworth PACT meeting please contact GMP Bury South team on 0161 856 8204

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You can sign the petition to call on Bury Council to save Unsworth Library on the Council’s website by following this link:

Click on the button titled “Sign the petition – Save our library (Sunny Bank, Unsworth).

Here is the text of the petition:

Bury Council is undertaking a comprehensive review of the borough’s library service. The council has said that they remain fully committed to retaining a high quality library service, but anticipate that there will need to be changes, including the possibility of a reduction in the number of libraries.

Unsworth Library at Sunny Bank was almost closed in 2013, but saved at the last minute by a campaign involving residents and local councillors.

We the undersigned, petition Bury council to consider carefully the need and support that Unsworth Library gives to the residents of Unsworth and surrounding areas. Residents may not have access to books, internet and social clubs without this much needed resource. This Library is well supported by our residents young and old alike. Please do not close this much needed resource.

Please sign this petition to save Unsworth Library, otherwise existing users will be forced to travel to Prestwich or Bury.

Save our library

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Last Chance to Register to Vote – EU Referendum

If you want to have your say at the EU Referendum, you must be registered to vote.The final deadline is 7 June 2016.


You can register to vote online anytime at

Anyone who was already registered to vote (or recently registered) before the 18 April deadline for the elections taking place across the UK on 5 May will also be registered to vote at the EU Referendum and will be able to cast their vote. You do not need to re-register.

If your circumstances change, for example you move home between now and the EU Referendum registration deadline on 7 June, then you will need to re-register at your new property.

If you’re going to be away, or just want to vote by post, the deadline to apply is 8 June 2016. Apply here.

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Unsworth Library – the campaign to save it starts here

Save our library

Save our library

Just a quick note to say that I am starting a petition to Save Unsworth Library. As soon as the petition application has been accepted by Bury Council, I will post a link here so that residents can sign it electronically. I will also be collecting as many signatures as I can in person, so you may see me on your doorsteps or out and about around Unsworth.

Please sign the petition and tell your friend and relatives about it too. If we receive a certain number of signatures on the petition, the council has to take action as detailed below:

  • Petitions to hold an officer to account – 1500 signatures
  • Petitions to be considered by a Cabinet Member at Council – 2500 signatures

Just a few interesting figures to leave you with regarding Bury’s library service, from the council’s own consultation paper:



190,159 BOOKS





This is all, potentially, threatened by changes the Council may make once the consultation periods have ended.

Make your voice heard.

Posted in Consultations, Unsworth | Comments Off on Unsworth Library – the campaign to save it starts here

Save our Library

It looks like Library closures are a distinct possibility, with Unsworth Library possibly a victim of library services cutbacks that were originally proposed a number of years ago. At 5.20pm this evening Bury Council sneaked out the following press release:

The council must think we have very short memories! They made cutbacks to Bury’s library services in 2011 (see here) then made further, sweeping cutback proposals in 2013, which were mostly abandoned at the last minute (although 20 council library employees lost their jobs). Now the council is at it again – we are about to start a 3 month consultation, but it is quite likely that the plans from 2013 will be the cutbacks proposed for next year.

As a reminder, the proposals in 2013 were to close Unsworth Library on Sunny Bank Road and move the services to Sunnybank Community Centre, just down the road. Anyone can tell you that there is no way that the entire contents of Unsworth Library are going to fit into the Community Centre, so what kind of service would Unsworth be left with afterwards?

The new 2016 consultation is set to run from the 13th June until 5th September 2016 and following this, the consultation results and proposed changes will be sent to the Bury Council Cabinet for a decision. Once the lead councillors have made their decision, there will then be another consultation from November 2016 until February 2017. A staff consultation is also scheduled to take place April – May 2017.

Implementation of the changes, including any library closures will take place from 1st July 2017 onwards.

I will be fully participating in all aspects of both the first and second consultation in order to save our Library. I urge all Unsworth residents to do the same. You will be able to participate in the consultations on-line via the Bury Council website (I will post full links and further blog posts once those links are available) and also the Council intends to bring the consultation to community meeting and township forums. It will be essential to have a good attendance at all these meetings to ensure our voices are heard.

Set to close?

Unsworth Library – Set to close?

The council is also employing a firm of consultants to help them with the first consultation (at a cost of £13,000 which is coming straight from the Department for Children, Young People and Culture budget!). The consultants will engage with residents by conducting telephone surveys with current library users and non-library users.

While we are waiting for the consultation to start, I am asking everyone reading this to start thinking about how you or people you know have used Unsworth Library. What stories can you share? Has the library helped you find a job? Locate long lost relatives? Made a positive contribution to you or your children’s learning and development? What couldn’t you have done without the library?

Be thinking about the six principles that the council will consult on, which are:

1.   To provide a library service across the borough which provides all residents with access to libraries and electronic services sufficient in number, range and quality to support reading for pleasure, lifelong learning, the development of new skills and the effective use of information.

2.   To ensure that the needs of more vulnerable residents and groups are taken fully into account in the provision of these services.

3.    To ensure that the resources committed to the library service are used as efficiently as possible by exploring options to reduce running and maintenance costs and to share premises with council and other services.

4.   To explore options for investing in technology to improve access to the library service, for example by extending opening hours, increasing our digital services and enhancing provision for those with sensory impairments.

5.   To welcome the contribution that members of the community can make to the library service as volunteers, supporting both traditional and digital services.

6.   To meet local aspirations for a network of community spaces across the borough in which the council and local communities can work together as partners in meeting local needs.

Apologies for the long post, but this is something that I feel passionately about and I am very worried about losing something we will never be able to get back. I also think about what could become of the library building should it close – how soon will it be vandalised or worse?

I’d really appreciate your thoughts – please do comment on the blog post at or feel free to telephone me on 07870 444 235, email me at or you can post me a letter 36 Chadderton Drive, Unsworth. If we start now, we can save our library.

Posted in Community, Consultations, Council, Unsworth | Comments Off on Save our Library
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