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Paving the way for a brand new resident at Dove Stone

A new path at Dove Stone reservoir near Oldham has proved a hit with visitors and wildlife alike.

Following months of hard work by RSPB Site Wardens and a hardy gang of local volunteers, visitors to Dove Stone can now enjoy a walk off the beaten track through a woodland setting, taking in wildlife ponds and reservoir views.

The new path has been created through one of United Utilities’ mature conifer plantations (known as Pennyworth Plantation) and allows all visitors, including those with all terrain wheelchairs to experience a different setting to the main circular trail.

Staff and volunteers will next be planting trees such as oak, rowan and birch to create a wonderful mixed woodland of the sort that would naturally grow there.

RSPB Site Warden Kate Hanley said: “People often wonder why a conservation charity would cut trees down, but dense conifer plantations like this one are dark places making it hard for a variety of plants and wildlife to thrive. The conifers have been thinned out to allow more light in and we are already seeing tiny trees appearing.

“Of course some wildlife, such as goldcrests, like conifers so we are not removing them all. Dead wood is also an important aspect of woodland management, so we create habitat piles for insects, small mammals and birds like robins and wrens, and leave some tree stumps standing upright for a variety of insects and birds like woodpeckers.”

In fact leaving dead wood has proved to be especially important for one tiny creature – a brand new resident at Dove Stone which has appeared directly as a result of this work.

RSPB volunteer and local naturalist Ken Gartside suggested holes were drilled into some dead conifer stumps to create artificial rot holes which hoverflies breed in. The team at Dove Stone are very excited to report that Ken has already found the rare furry pine hoverfly for the first time ever at Dove Stone as a direct result of this work

This particular hoverfly is nationally scarce and is mainly found in pine forests in Scotland. There have been a small number recorded elsewhere in England but it is a new find for Dove Stone.

Dave O’Hara, RSPB Site Manager at Dove Stone commented: ‘I’d really like to thank the local volunteers, aided by United Utilities staff on their work parties, who have transformed the woodland habitat as well as creating the new path.  The hoverfly discovery is a great reminder of how quickly nature can respond if we create the right conditions, and was a fine example of well thought-out habitat creation by Ken.  The ponds created are also attracting dragonflies.”

Although many visitors have already found and enjoyed Pennyworth path, an official opening was held on Friday 11 August, following the installation of wooden way markers and interpretation by local artists Richard Dawson and Jacqui Symons from Woodend Artists.

With one of their members being a regular volunteer for the RSPB, Oldham Mountain Rescue also attended with one of their landrovers which was a great source of excitement to the children on the day.

As well as the new path through the plantation, staff and volunteers have also improved access at Binn Green with a new wheelchair friendly path to the viewpoint and bird feeding area.

Dove Stone reservoir is owned by United Utilities and the water company works in partnership with the RSPB, who manage the estate. The partnership aims to encourage public access and recreation, while protecting water quality and wildlife for future generations.

Furry pine hover fly

Eight months of improvement work on Trans-Pennine Rail Routes

Between September 2017 – May 2018, Network Rail will be undertaking essential work in preparation for the upgrading of the TransPennine railway, which will deliver faster and more frequent services and improve connections between key towns and cities across the North. Vegetation will be removed to a distance of 6.5 metres either side of the tracks or up to our boundary.
 
Network Rail will be holding public events, starting from next week, to communicate with residents about the work and allow them to ask any questions they may have about what is planned.
 
The events will all take place between 5:00pm and 7.00pm and will be held in the following locations:
 
Batley: Monday 14 August – Batley Library, Market Place, WF17 5DA
Deighton: Tuesday 15 August – Deighton Chestnut Centre, 2a Chestnut Street, HD2 1HJ
Mirfield: Thursday 17 August – The Salvation Army Hall, 106 Huddersfield Rd, WF14 8AF
Marsden: Tuesday 22 August – Marsden Mechanics Hall, Peel Street, HD7 6BW
Huddersfield: Wednesday 23 August – Huddersfield Town Hall, Corporation St, HD1 2TA
Mossley – Tuesday 29 August – George Lawton Hall, OL5 0HR
Stalybridge – Wednesday 30 August – Stalybridge Civic Hall, Trinity Street, SK15 2BN
Greenfield – Monday 4 September – Greenfield Methodist Church, 9 Chew Vale, Greenfield, OL3 7EQ
 
Whilst the majority of the work will be carried out during day time hours Monday to Fridays (the occasional Saturday) 07.00hrs-19.00hrs, there may be times when we will need to work during the night. If this is the case we will notify residents of the dates and times of any night time work.
 
You would be very welcome to attend one of these events, or alternatively you can find out more information on the TransPennine Route Upgrade Programme here and specifically on the process involved in managing lineside vegetation here.

DEAR OLDHAM…

Oldham Council is asking young people to help shape Oldham’s future.

As part of the Your Oldham campaign we are encouraging children from across the borough to write a ‘Dear Oldham’ letter to the town, or, if they prefer, they can submit a drawing or a collage instead showing their ideas.

The letter, or drawing, could include what activities children want in the town, what they want Oldham to look like, or just simply what they want to do in the future.The best and most creative submissions will be made into a special booklet and showcased at the Your Oldham Festival, which runs from Sunday, September 3 until September 9. Just grab a piece of paper, start the letter with ‘Dear Oldham’ and get the little ones to write or draw what they want to see.

Councillor Barbara Brownridge, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Co-operatives, said: “We want the younger generations to help shape the future of Oldham and ensure we include the views of everyone.

“This campaign will hopefully give children a chance to be creative and express what they want from their home town later in life. Dear Oldham is part of the wider Your Oldham campaign and festival in September. The festival will give everyone a chance to showcase the brilliant co-operative work that’s been going on over the past year.”

Once your submission is completed, write the name, age of the child, your contact details and send it to: Dear Oldham, Room 317, Oldham Civic Centre, West Street, Oldham OL1 1UG Or alternatively, take a picture and email it to: dearoldham@oldham.gov.uk The deadline to enter is Friday 26 August.

The Your Oldham Festival aims to celebrate and showcase the fantastic co-operative activities happening across Oldham. We have a number of family friendly events taking place across the borough for you to discover over the week-long celebration. From the Castleshaw Centre Outdoor Adventure Day, to our EPIC Talks series and Your Future day, there’s something for everyone to enjoy and it’s all free.

As part of the campaign we are also encouraging residents to organise their own street party with neighbours or the local community. Organise your party before Monday 14 August and you could win a bespoke party hamper from Oldham Tesco stores.

For more information about the festival, campaign, or street parties, visit: www.oldham.gov.uk/youroldham

Travel gets smarter in Greater Manchester

Photography – Nick Harrison

Travelling in Greater Manchester just got smarter.

Thousands of passengers can now, for the first time, use a single smart card for all their journeys on any Greater Manchester tram and bus.

This latest development is the next phase of Transport for Greater Manchester’s (TfGM) get me there smart card system, working with operators through Greater Manchester Travelcards Ltd (GMTL), and is a further step forward towards delivering a fully integrated smart system across the city region.

The get me there smart card system makes it easy for users with a get me there account to view and purchase a range of products online, making travel easier and more flexible, with no need to carry cash or queue at ticket machines.

Season ticket holders will benefit from added security as any lost or stolen tickets and travelcards that have more than 7 days left to run will be replaced, with customers able to order new cards online.

As well as being able to buy a new range of multi-modal bus and tram products, new 16 – 18 and corporate smart cards have also been introduced.

The 16 – 18 card will allow almost 100,000 young people to enjoy half price bus travel, as announced by Greater Manchester’s Mayor Andy Burnham last month after a new offer was agreed with bus operators and GMTL – the industry body which manages multi-operator and multi-modal ticketing in Greater Manchester, with a half price 1-day ticket launching in September.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “The expansion of get me there will certainly help make travel easier and, for the first time, enable people across Greater Manchester to hop on and off trams and buses with their smartcard.

“Significantly, the 16 – 18 card will see the cost of a bus day ticket cut in half – reducing the cost of journeys and enabling our young people to more easily access work and leisure opportunities, training, education and skills.

“All this can only be good news and will, I hope, encourage more people than ever before to get on board with public transport, which will help to tackle congestion and air quality issues.”

Trevor Roberts, Chair of GMTL – which operates under the brand name System One – said: “We are pleased to work with our partners TfGM to deliver more products onto the smart platform. We have been working hard to get growth and encourage our current customers to make the switch and that is being delivered with more and more buying via get me there and other compatible smart cards.”

TfGM, with GMTL supporting multi-modal developments, remain committed to delivering the best possible fares and ticketing to the region’s public transport users and continues to work towards contactless account-based ticketing, where passengers use their bank card to touch in and touch out instead of a smart card.

Chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee (TfGMC), Councillor Andrew Fender, said: “I’m delighted that today we’re launching a smart ticket that allows truly flexible, multi-modal travel on Greater Manchester’s trams and buses for the first time.

“We are on a journey with get me there and smart ticketing. We know the travelling public wants a world-class, integrated, pan-Northern smart ticketing system, and this latest development brings us a step closer towards realising this ambition.”

For information about the scheme visit www.getmethere.com, 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.

Sam Road, Diggle closed for 1 week for resurfacing work

Notice issued by Unity Partnership 

Please be advised that essential carriageway resurfacing works are programmed to start on 7th August 2017 for 1 week on Sam Road, Diggle.

To enable Unity Partnership to safely carry out the carriageway resurfacing works both safely and in a timely manner a road closure will be in place.  A signed diversion route will be in place for the duration of the closure.

During this closure period Unity Partnership will provide access to properties  within the closure outside of working hours.

Working Hours 08:30 – 16:30 Monday to Friday

Full access will be given to emergency vehicles throughout the works.

Should you have any queries or require further information please do not hesitate to contact Nigel Molden, Unity Partnership, Henshaw House, Cheapside, Oldham OL1 1NY

M: 07481102914 | T: 0161 770 1952 | W: www.unitypartnership.com

Unity Partnership apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause but please be assured that these works are essential to maintain the safety of road users.

Diversion in blue. Closure in red.

Road closure in red

Mountain Rescue Charity Box Stolen

by Ken Bennett

From: www.saddleworthfm.com

A FURIOUS ex-council chair lashed a sneak thief who stole a charity box from the counter of a village pub.

Neil Allsopp (65), was caught up in the real life drama when the thief tore the box from its chains and made off into the night chased by pub staff and irate customers.

The incident happened at The Railway Inn Greenfield, famed for its country and folk music and a favourite watering hole for travellers on the Rail Ale Trail from the nearby station.

Cllr Allsopp was sitting in the pub when the thief raced in snatching a box dedicated to raising cash for the heroes of the snows, Oldham Mountain Rescue Team, who are based in Saddleworth.

Outraged pub staff and customers chased the raider across the road, into the station and along the main train line towards Mossley before losing him in bushes at the side of the track.

Speaking today, Cllr Allsopp, former chair of Saddleworth Parish Council, said:”The Railway has CCTV as does the station.

‘I hope this helps the police catch this piece of human excrement. When they do, can we all petition the court to ban them from anywhere in Saddleworth for five years and ensure their photograph is displayed around Saddleworth.”

The irate councillor continued:” Stealing from a charity is not in the gutter. It’s in the sewers.

“All Saddleworth shops and pubs need be extra vigilant and keep watch on your charity boxes.

“The Mountain Rescue box was stolen in front of customers — even though it was chained to the bar!”

And he urged businesses: “Watch your counter-top charity boxes and ensure your CCTV is working. We need to stop this before the scum think Saddleworth businesses are “easy pickings” once again.

“Moutain Rescue do a truly marvellous job for the community and stealing the box is a really deep cut.”

Barmaid Toni Boswell was cleaning the pubs drip trays when the raider struck.

She said:” We have four charity boxes chained to the bar and it wasn’t until the box vanished we realised it belonged to moutain rescue.

“It all happened very quickly but customers and staff all rushed out and gave chase through the station.

‘It’s just so sad when people steal money given to charity in good faith by kindly folk,” she added.

A man who lives near the pub but did not want to be named said:”I saw a man loitering near the pub and the next thing a pile of folk were chasing after him.”

There was outrage in the community a few years ago when charity boxes were stolen from Diggle Chippy and kind-hearted well wishers replenished the stolen money.

STATEMENT RE ESFA ANNOUNCEMENT ON SADDLEWORTH SCHOOL

Councillor Amanda Chadderton, Cabinet Member Education and Skills, said: “Oldham Council welcomes the announcement from the ESFA that they want to move forward with work to build Saddleworth School on the site they have identified.

“We expect a planning application will be submitted in due course and this will be decided in accordance with our normal planning procedures.

“I wish to also confirm our focus has been, and will continue to be, achieving the best outcome for the children attending the school now and in future years and we will ensure the building of a new school remains a priority for Oldham Council.”

South Pennines’ Walk and Ride Festival 2017

Pennine Prospects Holmfirth area

The South Pennines is the perfect place to enjoy the great outdoors, from the unspoilt beauty of the moorlands to the fascinating heritage of the industrial revolution, there’s so much choice, for families, cyclists, horse riders and walkers.

“Sometimes it’s difficult to know where to begin,” explained Adele Adams, festival co-ordinator. “That’s why the South Pennines’ Walk and Ride Festival is the best place to start. With over 130 events taking place between Saturday, September 9th and Sunday, September 24th, you will find an event for you; in fact you may find many.

“Look out for our brochure in visitor centres, libraries, shops and many other places throughout the South Pennines for more details or visit the festival website,” suggested Adele.

“Cyclists can learn new skills on the Get Dirty MTB half-day course designed to build confidence for those new to off road biking, or they can learn how to lead or supervise cycle rides during a full day of theory and practical training. For those cyclists wishing to just cycle there’s so many different rides to choose from; there’s the Holme Valley MTB Challenge, with three routes of varying difficulties and duration, or a more moderate cycle in Shibden Valley, or even the challenging 47-mile Mary Towneley Loop Endurance ride,” Adele added.

Walkers also have an array of events from which to choose, from gently health walks to strenuous hikes. Why not explore the Calder Woodland Way, as featured in Christopher Goddard’s recently published book. This linear walk from Brighouse to Walsden taking in some of the finest woodland landscapes in the Calder Valley can be completed in four separate circular walks or in one day for those who enjoy a challenge.

Whilst enjoying the scenery there are many walks that will also introduce you to the area’s rich history, such as the Halifax Music Heritage Trail, the Chartists’ Way, or the Archaeological Nordic Walk on Crompton Moor. Families can learn about fungi in Hardcastle Crags and there’s an opportunity to learn how to rock climb in Littleborough. You can even find out how the Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team train their dogs.

Horse riders can meet at South Crosland Airfield, Huddersfield and choose from several led rides with Kirklees Bridleways Group to enjoy the stunning South Pennines’ countryside along bridleways and quiet roads. For those who may not have any equine experience but who would like to ‘give it a go’ there’s the Ponies for People open day at Peers Clough Packhorses in Rossendale. Meet these native breed fell ponies and have a taster ride.

For disabled outdoor enthusiasts there’s the opportunity to join the Huddersfield Narrow Canal Mountain Trike Ramble, organised by Experience Community. Suitable for everyone including those using mountain trike off-road wheelchairs people can also hire mountain trikes if they don’t have their own.

Events are taking place throughout the South Pennines from Ilkley to Marsden and from Saddleworth to Keighley. Many of the events are listed in the printed brochure, which will be available from shops, tourist information centres and other outlets across the region this summer. For the most up-to-date information and all events’ listings please visit the website at www.walkandridefestival.co.uk

To help fund this year’s South Pennines Walk and Ride Festival and ensure its future a Just Giving page has been created. Please donate to secure the festival’s future at:

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/southpennineswalkandridefestival

A new vision to redevelop Oldham town centre

New Cinema

An ambitious new vision to deliver the Oldham town centre of the future is set to go to public consultation before being marketed to potential development partners.

Oldham Council has been developing a masterplan looking ahead to 2035 with key schemes across five strategic town centre sites totalling 21 acres. The benefits would be the provision of new homes, 55,000 sq metres of new and refurbished employment space, and economic activity worth an additional £50m per annum to Oldham’s economy.

To see a PDF of the master plan click here.

The masterplan seeks to remodel Oldham town centre to match the local authority’s aspirations for it to be a vibrant place with high-quality attractions, an excellent cultural and shopping offer and a night-time economy that make it stand out as a destination within Greater Manchester. Key to that is transforming the area into a thriving place where more residents want to live and spend leisure time. This is to be supported by housing and schools better reflecting communities’ needs and producing high-skilled residents working in a stronger local economy where businesses want to invest.  If every masterplan element is delivered it could be worth an estimated 560 full-time jobs during construction, plus up to 700 new operational jobs in Oldham.

The plan is the first step towards creating a town centre that works better and is aspirational for everyone – from residents to families, public sector partners and businesses/traders of all sizes. A priority proposal in this plan is to deliver a new Tommyfield Market on the existing site with a new 600-capacity multi-storey car park adjacent to attract additional footfall, plus complementary new retail/leisure units and quality public spaces.

A new Civic Hub is also proposed using land including the former Oldham Sports Centre to host a multi-agency public sector centre providing more effective accommodation and cost sharing, plus new commercial office space. The current Civic Centre, Magistrates Court and Oldham Police Station sites could be the location for a refurbished QE Hall with a new hotel, plus offices and homes. Additional homes could go at the current Rock Street car park site and the surrounding area. Subject to Cabinet approval on July 10, work would begin to present these opportunities to market and share risks/costs with the private sector.

The masterplan identifies a large number of publicly-owned sites that are under-used or no longer fit for purpose. These include Tommyfield Market, the Civic Centre, Oldham Police Station, the former Oldham Sports Centre and Oldham Magistrates Court, and the current Oldham Coliseum Theatre. Existing movement and footfall in Oldham town centre has been analysed and anticipated future pressures on housing, school places, public services and infrastructure are also factored in.

Jean Stretton, Oldham Council Leader, said: “This is the biggest forward planning exercise we’ve ever had for Oldham town centre – it’s exciting and it’s about the kind of place we want it to be in the future. Many positive regeneration schemes are already improving our town centre – like the Old Town Hall, the Cultural Quarter with a new Coliseum Theatre, and the Independent Quarter – but we cannot make the mistake of standing still.

“This is about agreeing the type of place we want Oldham to be and having a clear plan to achieve it. The plan will be shaped and refined further as residents, partners, business and traders have their say in extensive consultation over the coming year. The plan looks to improve connections in and between different sites so that footfall and movement works better. It also strives to increase town centre resident, visitor and user numbers to make it a place that thrives round the clock. We have the opportunity to do what other local authorities have done and look to share assets and cut costs with public sector partners to benefit everyone.

“We also have a fantastic opportunity to attract private sector development partners into a joint venture to deliver this scheme, or specific elements of it, and we’re confident this will be attractive to them.  It is one of the biggest and most ambitious town centre schemes in Greater Manchester. Due to the amount of land that is publicly owned, there are relatively few issues around site assembly, and these plans can deliver a return on our investment back to the public purse. When consultation gets underway I would urge everyone to do your bit, get involved and give us your views and ideas. We all have a stake in Oldham town centre’s future and this is a fantastic opportunity transform its prospects over the next two decades.”

Subject to Cabinet approval, Oldham Council would take this opportunity to market by the end of 2017 with a view to appointing a preferred delivery partner(s) by summer 2018.

A Curious Turn at Oldham Art Gallery: Moving Mechanical Sculpture

A new touring exhibition curated by the Crafts Council comes to Gallery Oldham from July 8 to September 2.

A Curious Turn features 30 pieces of extraordinary automata, and is the first major review of its kind since 1992.

Automata are moving mechanical sculptures that are brought magically to life by sequences of cogs, cams, and levers. They have delighted and bewitched people for centuries. Visitors will be able to turn, push and crank to see many of the pieces in action, while newly commissioned films will show other pieces in motion.

A Curious Turn presents automata by leading makers of the last 40 years that range from the humorous to the macabre and from the playful to the satirical. Works on show take a look at key automata makers such as Rowland Emett, famous for creating the elaborate inventions of Caractacus Potts in the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968).

Pieces and makers on show include;

  • Sam Smith, widely seen as the grandfather of contemporary automata, has influenced generations of automata makers. His beautifully painted colourful ‘toys’ at first glance look playful and harmless, but on closer inspection they explore the darker side of human life.
  • Paul Spooner, an automata maker who has been perfecting his making process for over 30 years. As well as being a skilled carver, Spooner is an accomplished illustrator and some of his drawings from the Crafts Council Collection will be revealed in the exhibition for the first time.
  • Melanie Tomlinson, whose automata are printed with beautifully intricate drawings of folklore and fairy tales, which are brought to life when the sculptures move. Tomlinson works hard to keep secret the mechanisms that make her characters come to life, making her decorative work even more intriguing.

A Curious Turn also looks at the central role that Cabaret Mechanical Theatre and its founder, Sue Jackson, have played in the revival of automata from the 1970s onwards. Recognising the potential popularity of moving sculptures, Jackson actively encouraged a group of makers in Falmouth, including Peter Markey, Paul Spooner and Ron Fuller to make automata to sell in her local craft shop, Cabaret. She often actively guided their creative direction, looking for wit and entertainment in the automata that she collected.

Councillor Barbara Brownridge, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Co-operatives, said: “This is a fascinating exhibition and something a little bit different. I’m delighted that these unique objects will be on display at the Gallery and the interactive element will allow visitors to get a real hands on experience.”

Sarah Alexander, Director, Cabaret Mechanical Theatre said: “The appeal of automata is now truly international, and this timely exhibition gives us a chance to show the very best of British creativity in this field. It is also a fitting tribute to my mother, Sue Jackson, who sadly died suddenly earlier this year. She left a wonderful legacy.”