Minutes of the LVRA Meeting: 20.00 hrs. on Monday 09 October 2017 at the Top Club
Present: Karen Hawden (Chair), David Hempsall (Secretary), Darryl Nugent (Treasurer), Bob Nicholas (Footpaths Officer)); Barbara Ashworth, Julian Ashworth, Richard Ball, Cllr Alyson Barnes, David Cairns, Ann Corkin, David Corkin, Tony Crag, Cllr David Foxcroft, Barbara Gerken, Steve Glenholmes, Marie Hargreaves, Peter Holt, Michael Howard, Ken Iveson, Derek Keeble, David Pilling, Jean Pilling, Jim Riley, Paul Spurr, Ann White and Chris Whiting.
Apologies: David Rhodes (Liaison and Social Media Officer), Marian Bent, Ian Booth, Lewis Pearson, Barbara Walton and Eric Walton.
1. Opening Remarks – Apologies – Thanks
1.1 Karen welcomed all those attending.
1.2 Apologies were taken.
1.3 The meeting wished its best wishes to be conveyed to Lewis who was unwell.
2. Minutes of Last Meeting, 11 September 2017
2.1 Bob proposed and Alyson acceptance of the Minutes.
2.2 The Minutes were taken as a true record, nem. con..
3. Matters Arising
1. Presentation on the Proposed Local Plan for Rossendale
1.1 Further to the presentation, Adrian Smith had been thanked and officers had met to concert a response to the proposed Local Plan, specifically Appendix E, the Site Assessment showing 26 sites offering the potential for 572 houses.
1.2 A formal response had been emailed on 4 October and a response received from Adrian Smith the following day.
1.3 Adrian’s email said that the site identified in the LVRA submission as Area B – land behind Kershaws and north of The Jester – would not be brought forward because of RBC (Rossendale Borough Council)’s commitment to trying to keep open the aspect to the A682 Burnley Road.
1.4 Similarly, Area C – land to the west of The Glory would not be allocated for the same reasons.
1.5 LVRA’s submission had stated the need to scale back the proposed development around Swinshaw Hall; it had also raised the issue of direct access to several proposed sites as being inappropriate and the totality of vehicles – estimated at over 500 – debouching on to the A682 Burnley road where there existed already issues of congestion to the south, passing through Crawshawbooth and the bottleneck which is Rawtenstall.
1.6 Alyson said that the response’s reference to press reports of Jake Berry MP’s claim to have effected a reduction in the number of houses being required of RBC was correct but as the government was consulting on the criteria to be applied, claims that a reduction had been achieved were premature.
4.6 Loveclough Park, update
4.6.1 Steve said that the issue of pooling on the tarmac area remained to be resolved and weeds were already pushing up through the surface.
4.6.2 RBC and Proffitts were aware of the situation and the contractor had been summoned to make good the defects but he was not optimistic that the issues could be resolved until early 2018, given that the weather had turned increasingly inclement.
4.6.3 £12,000 of the funds raised had been paid to RBC for the installation of swings and play equipment.
7.3.2 Commercial Street/Loveclough Fold bridge
220.127.116.11 There was nothing further to report on the provision by LCC (Lancashire County Council) of weight restriction signs.
4.1. Karen reported the concern of residents living at the top end of Hamer Avenue whose access at the turn-round was obstructed by non-residents’ parked vehicles.
4.2 In discussion, David F said there were similar issues in Rossendale and one proposed solution was to provide parking permits for locals (with a cost implication).
4.3 Alyson thought the issue more immediately soluble by putting down yellow lines.
4.2.1 David said that time and effort had been expended in putting together the LVRA’s response to the proposed Local Plan to which Adrian Smith had reacted very promptly (Item 3.1, supra).
4.2.2 He said that he had had extensive communication with Richard Ball over the discovery Richard and his son had made of a discarded World War 1 medal in Loveclough Park.
4.2.3 Richard recounted the tale behind the discovery and of how work was ongoing to establish the facts: the intention was to complete the research and – inter alia – identify the descendants of the recipient of the medal – Acting Corporal H (though to be either Herbert or Hubert: now confirmed as Hubert) Bridge – so as to return it to its rightful lodging.
4.2.4 David said that Richard, Steve and he were working on a feature which would be remitted to the Rossendale Free Press which would reflect well on LVEG, RBC and Proffitts for their involvement in the park project, as well as providing a relevant and timely item for Remembrance; a modified form of the story would appear in the next edition of the Limey Leader.
4.2.5 David reported an email from Bob Rishton, now residing in Bedfordshire; Bob has been co-opted as a parish councillor and had sought advice on how to deal with a planning appeal
4.3 Treasurer/Chairman LVAA
5.3.1 Darryl reported banked funds standing as they had in the previous month at £3,337.29 with a cheque issued (but not yet banked) for £121.52 to cover outgoings for work on footpaths; £45.00 in cash was to hand and a further £45.00 was expected as revenue from advertising in the recent issue of the Limey Leader.
4.3.2 On allotments, activity was winding down at the end of the growing season; two rats had been spotted together with a stoat; efforts to train the stoat to deal with the rats were ongoing.
4.4 Footpaths Officer
4.4.1 Bob’s report is shown in full as Annex 1.
4.5 Social Media & Liaison Officer
4.5.1 In David’s absence, Karen read his report in full.
4.5.2 David’s report is shown as Annex 2.
4.6.1 Steve G confirmed that all issues had been covered in his earlier remarks (cf. Item 4.6, supra).
5. Folly Clough/CAST
5.1 Bob reported on developments affecting Folly Clough bridge; he thought that the bridge might be a suitable focus for the project launched by CAST (Community Assets Standing Tall); details are shown in full as Annex 3.
5.2 Alyson commended CAST’s activity, explaining that the organisation was made up entirely of volunteers; it had money to undertake the project to identify assets in the borough; whilst LCC was unable to take on responsibility for the bridge as there was no clearly identifiable owner, some progress had been made with the Environment Agency, so work was ongoing.
6. Fund-raising activities
6.1 There were no offers to run fund-raising activities.
7. St John’s
7.1 Richard felt there was merit in putting together a community group to save the church; this was a landmark building and it was his duty to raise the possibility.
7.2 There was discussion: Chris pointed out the building’s being Grade 2 listed; Darryl said the diocese had imposed restrictions as to future use; David F said the erosion issue on the perimeter of the site would incur huge expense to remediate; Alyson said that the war memorial had been moved to the opposite side of the road because of the site’s instability, the church having been built on the an old lodge.
7.3 The cost of remediation was likely to exceed by far the purchase price (quoted as £75,000) and there was little prospect of a community use, given the existence of the community centre.
7.4 It was AGREED that the issue was one worthy of consideration by the CAST project which Bob had outlined (cf. Item 5, supra, and Annex 3).
8.1 Darryl reminded the meeting that the case which had been installed originally had proved to be of poor quality; First Responders proposed to replace it and had suggested LVRA make a contribution.
8.2 The likely cost being of the order of £1,500, the meeting seemed disinclined to make any contribution.
9. Celebrating Community: 11.00-15.00 hrs. on 21 October 2017 at Kay Street Baptist Church Hall
9.1 Alyson reiterated the significance of the Queen’s Award to Civic Pride.
9.2 LVRA had been invited to be a presence with a stand, an offer which would be taken up if at all possible.
10. Any other business
10.1 Planning issues
10.1.1 Alyson commended Richard Elliott whose enforcement work was ongoing.
10.1.2 Work at The Glory was continuing to establish by reference to historic documentation that the west line of the plateau at to the rear of the building had been restored to its original line: David H suggested the appropriate datum line.
10.1.3 On Colebrand, the developer had engaged a planning agent; it was agreed that the work done on the site had not been permitted; an agreement with RBC was being sought.
11. Next meetings and close
11.1 20.00 hrs. on Monday, 13 November 2017 at the Top Club (to include the Annual General Meeting).
11.2 Thereafter, the next meeting will be held at 20.00 hrs on Monday, 11 December 2017 at the Top Club.
11.3 The meeting closed at 20.49 hrs.
Annex 1 Footpath Officer’s Report
On the 25th of September I contacted Lancashire County Council’s Legal Department to enquire if there was any progress with the Modification Orders I had submitted on Footpath No4 in Loveclough Fold. The last contact I had had regarding the orders was in March informing me of the County Council’s Regulatory Committee decision to accept the orders. I received a very polite reply informing me that the work on the MOs had been held up due to staff shortages since September 2016 and which had only been filled in the past few months. I have been advised that these MOs are on track to be made up and advertised in the next two months.
The making up of a MO requires LCC to follow strict legal guidelines for the whole process. This includes how the order is worded and how long to display notices on site and a notice will also be placed in local newspapers. Alongside this LCC will contact everyone I served with a notice of intent.
The notices will give a specified period for anyone wishing to make an objection or representation to the proposed orders (usually 28 days). Once this period has expired, and if no objections have been received, then the orders will be confirmed. If objections are received, and LCC are unable to secure the withdrawal of any of the objections, then the orders will be sent to the Planning Inspectorate and a decision will then be made on how to progress the orders. This may be by holding a local Public Inquiry or hearing or possibly by written representations.
I fully expect Dwell Developments to make a representation against the orders. When I initially placed a notice on the path asking for anyone using the path if they would fill in an evidence of use on foot form it was disfigured and shortly afterwards a substantial fence was placed across the path which remains to this day. Hopefully any objections will be sorted by LCC. I actually cannot see what Dwell can object to as the line of the path crosses hard standing and does not interfere with gardens, buildings or walls and has been recorded in existence for over a century, and possibly has existed a lot longer with recorded use from 1934 . Whatever happens it looks like the situation will continue into 2018 and as I stated at the beginning of the process will no doubt take up two full years.
Bob Nicholas e:firstname.lastname@example.org
Annex 2 Liaison and Social Media Officer’s Report
There was a boost in Facebook followers to  seemingly in response to a single post.
On 27th September 2017, I was working from home when a male knocked on my door to offer his services to clear my gutters, which he stated were getting very full – not only could he not see them from the ground – they are also already relatively clear. I waited until he had returned to the street and then photographed the vehicle 10/9/2017 he got into where another male was waiting, a dark blue Vauxhall Astra estate car registered number SH10 RCX, with a set of ladders in the roof. I then posted the photo together with a description of the males to the LVRA Facebook page. Within 36 hours the post had been viewed 11 thousand times. Within 48 hours the post had been viewed 12, 205 times and shared 109 times. It transpired from comments left by those who had viewed, that these males had been responsible for conning people around Rossendale out of money without providing any services.
A further post I made a few days later was in response to information received from a resident with regards to another two suspicious males purporting to be from the council disturbed behind a premise. The post attracted 2,049 views.
The minutes of the last meeting were viewed 915 times Additionally I promoted a Woodland Trust event in Skipton, as the WT have supported the LVRA / LVAA in the past through the gifting of hundreds of trees which are used as a border around the LVAA site.
The upcoming meeting details and resulting minutes are uploaded to the website and where appropriate new pages are created and links published through our Facebook page.
One such website page which I had created reported the fantastic work undertaken by the residents of Goodshawfold in restoring the flow of water to ‘The Spewing Duck’. The Facebook post was very well liked (and shared) and received 3,499 views. I also changed the Facebook cover photo to the three men who had worked hard to achieve this, Roger, Nick and Peter.
Annex 3 Folly Clough Bridge / CAST Update
At the last meeting of the Friends of Folly Clough Bridge, we were informed of some disquieting news. First that the bridge had recently had two independent engineering assessments and the verdict of both was that the bridge is in imminent danger of collapse. How imminent is a guestimate: it could be next week, ten years’ time or fifty. One thing is very clear, that the structure is deteriorating and work on the bridge to stabilise it should not be left too long. The actual structure itself is an extremely fine piece of Victorian engineering with the outer walls all being built without mortar. One engineer likened it “to a wonderful structure full of character”. The damage to the bridge has in a large part been caused by trees not only growing near to and undermining the bridge but also growing on it as well!
At this point Lancashire County Council raised its head above the parapet and came up with a stupendous way of solving all the problems with the bridge – that is to demolish it! This really is incredulous. And an option that should only come into play as a very final measure. It goes without saying that it would greatly inconvenience the residents of Folly Clough Terrace left with only a virtually unusable track for entrance and egress from their properties and which I believe they would have to fund any improvements themselves. A valuable footpath would also be lost causing a great deal of inconvenience to many walkers, cyclists, and horse riders. This scenario must be avoided at all cost. And one way could be through CAST (of which I will speak shortly). The main sticking point with the bridge is that no owner has been found and as yet no one is willing to take responsibility for it.
However one potentially good piece of news that did come out of the meeting was that Rachael Gilders from Proffitts gave details of a new scheme called CAST (Community Assets Standing Tall). CAST is a regeneration charity dedicated to the wellbeing of communities and preservation of heritage in Rossendale and will undertake a two year listing project of Rossendale’s Heritage assets. Rossendale will be split into 10 areas of which Crawshawbooth, Goodshaw and Loveclough are included as one. The actual project is to be launched this month but fortunately this area has till 16th April to the 26th May 2018 for nomination to be placed with the Crawshawbooth judging panel being on 29th May to 1st June 2018. The aim of the project is to identify and list heritage assets throughout Rossendale from plaques and windows to walls and buildings (and hopefully with regard to Folly Clough Bridge – bridges as well!) with Valley Heritage supporting buildings at risk. CAST will create a list of Rossendale’s heritage assets which will be registered with Rossendale Borough Council so helping to preserve them for future generations. There are considerably more amounts of information on line at www.communityasset.org than I can give in this report. If the bridge is nominated it would offer some level of protection, and it could prevent LCC from demolishing the bridge without more investigations.
Besides the bridge another number of candidates in this area come to mind that could be put on the assets register: for example The Friends Meeting House Crawshawbooth, Dunkirk and the Old White Horse Pub Goodshaw, The Spewing Duck Goodshawfold and Swinshaw Hall and the Bottom Club Loveclough. All could be added to the assets register. But not without some serious work to build up a case for each (and don’t expect me to do it all). If anyone is interested you know how to get in touch with me and I will send you more details.
CAST will be officially launching the project on Wednesday October 26th on Rawtenstall Town Square between 17.30 and 19.30. This is an excellent chance to get more information on this worthwhile project. With regard to the FFCB at the next meeting this needs to be the number one subject along with the eminently good idea of starting to combine FFCB and LVRA meetings if any progress on this is to be really effective.
Bob Nicholas e: email@example.com