April 2017
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Tunnel gates get a spring clean

Members of the Diggle Community Association and the Canal and River Trust working at the Diggle end of Standedge tunnel on Saturday morning.

Only two weeks left to register to vote

Andy Burnham (Lab)

Jane Brophy (Lib Dem)

Sean Anstee (Ind)

One month to go until election for first Greater Manchester Mayor

Today (Tuesday 4 April 2017) marks one month to go until the election to choose the first ever  – but there is now less than a fortnight left to make sure you are registered to vote.

The historic vote to choose who fills the post, created as part of Greater Manchester’s pioneering devolution deals, takes place on Thursday 4 May, with the count and result declaration taking place on Friday 5 May. The deadline for people to be on the electoral register is Thursday 13 April. Anyone who is already on the electoral register at their current address need take no further action to ensure they can have their say. But anyone who is not registered and wants to take part in encouraged to register as soon as possible.

Registration is a quick and easy process. You can visit www.gov.uk/register-to-vote to download a registration form. You will just need your date of birth and national insurance number. If you need to update your details (for example if you have moved house, or changed surname through marriage) you should contact your local council.

The deadline for anyone who is on the electoral register to request a postal vote is 5pm on Tuesday 18 April. Details of all confirmed candidates for the mayoral election will be published tomorrow, Wednesday 5 April.

Eamonn Boylan, Combined Authority Returning Officer for Greater Manchester, said: “The Mayor of Greater Manchester will be a significant figure in the political life of the region. Who it will be is up to the electors of Greater Manchester. We are keen to ensure that everyone who wants to have their say is in a position to do so – and that means making sure you’re registered.”

For more information about the Mayor’s role and powers, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the mayoral election visit www.gmelects.org.uk

Travellers warned of strike-day disruption

Travellers are being warned to plan ahead and expect disruption on Saturday 8 April as staff on Northern and Merseyrail services hold a new 24-hour strike.

Most Northern and Merseyrail services are not expected to run and any that do operate, working to a revised timetable, will be extremely busy.

The 24-hour strike runs between midnight Friday (7 April) to midnight Saturday (8 April). There will be no Northern and Merseyrail trains before 8am or after 7pm.
There are a number of major events taking place across the North West on 8 April, including the Grand National at Aintree Racecourse, Manchester City FC vs Hull City FC at the Etihad Stadium, and the World Boxing Organisation title fight between Liam Smith vs Liam Williams at Manchester Arena, as well as other local events.

Thousands of people will also be travelling across the region for shopping, entertainment and leisure, so all public transport and Greater Manchester’s roads are expected to be busier than usual.

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), which is helping to co-ordinate the region’s response, is urging people to carefully consider their travel arrangements.

Those attending the Grand National, in particular, are encouraged to plan ahead. Although train services are running to Aintree Racecourse they will be extremely busy, and people are warned not to rely on the last train service of the day to get home.

TfGM is working to support Northern and Merseyrail’s own customer communications effort and has created a special travel information page on its website to help keep Greater Manchester commuters on the move: tfgm.com/industrial-action.

TfGM’s Events and Operational Coordination Manager, John Fryer, said: “We are taking action to minimise the disruption to the transport network but we know there will still be problems, especially given the number of events taking place on Saturday. To help minimise disruption and ensure a smoother journey, our advice is simple: plan ahead, be prepared, and think about all your travel choices.

“There are numerous park and ride sites across Greater Manchester offering 100 or more spaces for public transport services, helping people to avoid congestion on the roads. Metrolink tram stops provide access to key destinations across Greater Manchester, including Manchester Arena and Etihad Stadium. We also strongly advise that people check the Northern and Merseyrail websites and social media channels for regular updates and information.”

You can see the locations of the park and ride sites and help to plan your journey here.

For information on public transport across Greater Manchester visit www.tfgm.com, call 0161 244 1000 (7am-8pm, Monday to Friday, and 8am-8pm at weekends and bank holidays) or follow @OfficialTfGM on Twitter.

3D Dynamos celebrate their 25th season at Boundary Park

Saturday 29th April from 09:30 to 14:30 at Boundary Park, home of Oldham Athletic

 

New vision for Oldham Coliseum Theatre

The latest vision for the new Oldham Coliseum Theatre is being released today ahead of the submission of a planning application.

Oldham Council and Oldham Coliseum Theatre have been working on a redesign with Mecanoo, the project architects, following the addition of plans for a studio theatre and feedback on the initial proposals.

The new theatre is part of a phased project designed to place it amongst the borough’s other cultural jewels just yards from the Oldham Central Metrolink stop.

It will be located alongside a new Heritage and Arts centre linked with Gallery Oldham, Library and Lifelong Learning Centre.
The facility will be built on the Southgate Street car park site next to the grade-II listed former library building, which will house the Heritage and Arts Centre.

The new Coliseum Theatre designs now incorporate a 170-seat studio theatre in addition to a main auditorium for 500 people.
The four images released today show how the proposed front elevation of the modern new-build facility could look from three viewpoints on Union Street, plus a side section from Waterloo Street showing the internal layout and uses.

Francesco Veenstra, partner at project architects, Mecanoo said: “The design for the new Coliseum Theatre aims to provide Oldham with a platform for artistic expression – professional performers and community participants – that is welcoming to all.”

“We wanted to capture the ‘spirit of the Coliseum’ by creating an intimate and cosy atmosphere for theatregoers as well as state of the art facilities for performers, technicians and other Coliseum staff.

“Oldham’s rich history as a cotton weaving powerhouse is reflected in the building’s architecture, with the brick pattern referencing cotton designs that were created in Oldham.”

Jean Stretton, Oldham Council Leader, said: “It’s great to be able to share these latest designs with the public. The Cultural Quarter project is the next vital step in regenerating Oldham town centre and making it a destination that residents can be proud of with better facilities and preserved heritage.

“Building a new home for the Coliseum Theatre is absolutely central to these plans. It will secure their future prospects and new audiences, and also help us to attract a new type of visitor to town through a great arts, culture and leisure offer.”

Kevin Shaw, Oldham Coliseum Theatre’s Artistic Director and Chief Executive, said: “We’re delighted as this very exciting project takes a further step forward. This move, the second in our 132 year history, sees the Coliseum inhabit a purpose built theatre that will enable us to build on our strengths, realise our rich potential and make even more ambitious theatre for our audiences from Oldham and beyond.

“In our new home, we’ll continue to produce an enhanced range of excellent quality accessible theatre with a broad appeal. The new building’s specially created studio theatre, will enable us to introduce new activity, including producing home grown small scale theatre, attracting a wide range of visiting productions and providing increased opportunities to participate in the performing arts for the whole of Oldham.

“Our commitment to our existing and new audiences remains – we’ll continue to deliver our fantastic productions and there will be even more opportunities for participants to engage with the theatre. We will take our famous warm welcome with us and ensure that coming to the Coliseum is a rewarding experience for everyone.”

Ian Tabbron, Senior Relationship Manager at Arts Council England, said: “The Coliseum will form part of a cluster of new buildings that will provide an exceptional cultural offer for all the people of Oldham.”

“The Arts Council is pleased to be able support Oldham Council in investing in such an outstanding set of economic, educational and artistic assets for the town.”

Mecanoo are committed to prioritising the local supply chain throughout this project and – in support of Oldham Council’s Get Oldham Working campaign – are delivering an employment and skills strategy to focus on young people in the borough, improving links with local education providers and exploring the opportunity to create apprenticeships.

The project was given the green light after a successful joint funding bid by Oldham Council and Oldham Coliseum Theatre secured a £7.1m National Lottery-funded capital grant from Arts Council England towards the project.

Subject to planning approval, construction work is anticipated to start in April 2018 with the venue set to open in 2020.

 

A message from Greater Manchester Police

The following message from Greater Manchester Police.

Assistant Chief Constable Rob Potts of Greater Manchester Police, said: “Our thoughts remain with all those affected by the horrific events in London yesterday.

“The profound impact of these attacks has been felt across all our communities and I want to send out a strong message to everyone that we must stand together, remain vigilant and live our lives as normal.

“In light of the atrocities, we have been closely monitoring the situation to determine the appropriate response required here, in Greater Manchester. We are continuing to review our deployments and take all reasonable steps to keep people safe.

“I want be clear that there is no specific intelligence suggesting that an attack is imminent within Greater Manchester. I would also like to ask the public for their support and vigilance and want to stress that if you see anything that causes you concern or raises your suspicions do not hesitate to call the Anti-Terrorist Hotline – 0800 789 321 – or in an emergency 999.”

Report suspicious activity to the police by calling or visiting the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321 or gov.uk/ACT

Report online terrorist and extremist material online by clicking on gov.uk/ACT

Remain alert at home, work and when out and about, so we can all play our part in defeating terrorism and keeping everyone safe.

Action needed to help save our bees

The Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Cllr John McCann, is proposing a motion to the next meeting of Oldham Council (22 March 2017) calling on the local authority to establish an action plan to help save bees in the Borough.

Cllr McCann explained: “My parents kept bees and they were a common sight in our gardens and countryside. Many of us, however, will be all too aware that sadly their numbers are in decline and that there is a real danger they could become an endangered species or even become extinct. This is down to a number of factors such as disease, climate change, the destruction of habitat because of development or farming, and the use of bee-killing pesticides.”

“But this is not simply about preserving bee numbers for nature’s sake. It is surprising how much we as humans owe to bees for our economy and our health and well-being.”

“Bees play a vital role in our rural economy by pollinating our crops. Calculations made by the University of Reading show that £500 million of total annual crop sales in the UK result from pollination by bees and other insects. The price of many fruits and vegetables would go up without bees as farmers would be forced to hand pollinate crops; the price of British apples could double.”

“Bees provide honey, and bee-pollinated crops are also important sources of Vitamins A and C and minerals like calcium, so their work is vital to our physical health. Many of us also delight in the colours and smells of the flowers that are pollinated by bees, so they play an important role in our mental well-being and our enjoyment of the great outdoors.”

The motion is supported by Cllr Julia Turner: “In recognition of our debt to bees, the last Coalition Government published a National Pollinator Strategy. In our motion, we call on the Council to establish a local bees and pollinators action plan for our Borough which identifies the practical steps we can take as a local authority to help support and increase our local bee population.”

“Our motion lists some of these practical steps such as promoting bee-keeping; establishing more wildflower meadows that bees love; and planting pollinator-friendly plants as recommended by the Royal Horticultural Society, but we also want to engage schools and colleges, social housing providers, other public bodies and the residents of this Borough to support this work by encouraging them to also grow the right plants on the land that they own.”

“One action that our motion specifically identifies is the need to cease using bee-killing insecticides, the neonicotinoids and glyphosate-based products, on our land wherever possible and to encourage the public and our partners to do likewise. Their use has been a significant factor in the decline of bee numbers and there are also real fears that such products are also detrimental to human health so we are calling on the Government to maintain the temporary ban on the use of neonicotinoids and to fund proper research into the hazards of neonicotinoids and glyphosate on human health and the environment.”

Gallery Oldham Announces ‘The Oldham Open 2017’

Gallery Oldham is inviting local artists to submit work to the ever popular ‘Oldham Open’.

The exhibition – which will run from 22 September to 18 November – promises to be a visual feast, with the gallery welcoming work from local talent in a variety of media including drawing, painting, photography, ceramics, jewellery, sculpture, film and video.

Councillor Barbara Brownridge, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Co-operatives, said: “Pick up your paintbrush, get out your sketchbook and start snapping with that camera.

“If you live, work or study in Oldham then this is your chance to show your work as part of an exciting exhibition at Gallery Oldham.

“It’s all about celebrating the creativity and talents of the borough, by showcasing work by a wide range of artists with different interests.”

Local artists should submit work – along with a completed entry form – between 6-9 September at the Gallery Oldham reception desk (between 10am and 4pm daily). Entry forms can be downloaded at www.galleryoldham.org.uk/oldham-open-returns

Anyone wanting to submit work that may have special requirements, such as a large, heavy sculpture or a video installation, should contact the gallery by September 7 at the latest to discuss installation at galleryoldham@oldham.gov.uk

Only artists who live, study or work in the borough are eligible to take part in the exhibition.

Spring has arrived in Diggle

A lovely display of purple crocus are on show opposite Wharf Mill. The bulbs were planted last year by children from Diggle Primary School, members of the Diggle Community Association and Saddleworth Rotary Club.

Commuters warned of strike-day disruption

Commuters are being warned to plan ahead and expect disruption on Monday (13 March) as staff on Northern rail services hold a one-day strike.

Most Northern services are not expected to run and any that do operate, working to a revised timetable, will be extremely busy.

All public transport and Greater Manchester’s roads are expected to be busier, especially at peak morning and evening times, with key commuter routes forecast to face the most pressure as people affected by the strike make alternative arrangements.

Transport for Greater Manchester, which is helping to co-ordinate the region’s response, is urging people to plan ahead and consider carefully their travel arrangements.

It is working to support Northern’s own customer communications effort and has created a special travel information page on its website to help keep Greater Manchester commuters on the move: tfgm.com/industrial-action.

TfGM’s Events and Operational Coordination Manager, John Fryer, said: “We are taking action to minimise the disruption to the transport network but we know there will still be problems.

“Commuters can play their part to minimise these and our advice is simple: plan ahead, be prepared, and think about all your travel choices.

“Can you travel at a different time or does your employer allow you to work from home? If you can travel at a quieter time, or in a different way – by bus, tram, bike, foot or a mixture – it can make a massive improvement not just to your journey but to people who simply don’t have a choice.

“Make a difference: make a choice,” he said.

As well as working with other transport authorities across the North, TfGM has taken action locally to help people who have to travel on the day of the strike.

As well as creating the travel information page, other TfGM actions include:

· Adding more capacity to the Metrolink network where it can – an extra 1,600 seats per hour in the peak – on the Eccles-Ashton and East Didsbury-Rochdale lines

· Additional staff on Metrolink and at key bus stations to help commuters

· Working with bus and other train operators to maximise capacity across the network, particularly on the busiest commuter corridors

· Enhanced monitoring at its network control centre so traffic flows can be optimised by altering signal timing

· Working with local highway authorities to temporarily suspend roadworks where possible on the region’s main commuter routes

John added: “Our control room will open earlier and work later on the day of the strike and we’ll have additional customer service support on the phones and online to help people who have to travel, but our strongest advice is: expect disruption and plan ahead now.”

For information on public transport across Greater Manchester visit www.tfgm.com, call 0161 244 1000 (7am-8pm, Monday to Friday, and 8am-8pm at weekends and bank holidays) or follow @OfficialTfGM on Twitter.