Minutes of the LVRA monthly meeting Monday 13th November 2017

David Rhodes

Minutes if the LVRA Meeting: 20.00 hrs. On Monday 13 November 2017 at the Top Club

Present: Karen Hawden (Chair), David Hempsall (Secretary), Darryl Nugent (Treasurer), Bob Nicholas (Footpaths Officer), David Rhodes (Liaison and Social Media Officer); Barbara Ashworth, Julian Ashworth, Richard Ball, Ian Booth, David Cairns, John Clements, John Dawson, Michael Dop, Cllr Dorothy Farrington, Roger Fulton, Steve Glenholmes, Marie Hargreaves, Peter Holt, Michael Howard, Ken Iveson, Sandra Lawson, Lewis Pearson, Frank Pilkington, David Pilling, Jean Pilling, Neil Prestwich, Paul Spurr, Barbara St John, Barbara Walton, Eric Walton, Ann White and Chris Whiting.

Apologies: Cllr Alyson Barnes, Ann Corkin, David Corkin, Cllr David Foxcroft, Barbara Gerken and Margaret Rae.

1.        Opening Remarks – Apologies – Thanks

1.1 Karen welcomed all those attending.

1.2 Apologies were taken.

2.        Minutes of Last Meeting, 09 October 2017

2.1 Chris proposed and Richard seconded acceptance of the Minutes.

2.2 The Minutes were taken as a true record, nem. con..

3.        Matters Arising

3.4.6 Loveclough Park, update Steve said that drainage issues remained but, one by one, snagging issues were being addressed. A temporary fix for pooling had been simply to drill holes in te tarmac. Even so, the facilities were now being well used, which was very gratifying. Commercial Street/Loveclough Fold bridge, update It was AGREED that the matter be deferred until later in the meeting (cf. Item 4.2.3, infra). [By email, Alyson advised that the issue of refuse collection vehicles crossing the bridge was now under active discussion.]

4.        Reports
4.1      Chair

4.1.1 Karen said that such issues as she had to report on had been covered in her remarks to the preceding Annual General meeting.

4.2      Secretary

4.2.1 In addition to attending the Civic Pride event on which Bob would comment later (cf. Item 5, infra), the Secretary had two issues on which to report.

4.2.2 LVRA’s objections notwithstanding, RBC’s Development Control Committee had given approval for two dwellings to be built on the site adjacent to the CPA bowling green.

4.2.3 Conditions had been imposed on the development, including a weight restriction of heavy vehicles accessing the site but as these conditions were unenforceable, they were as pointless as they were ineffectual; the response of RBC officers to the concerns of residents of the Penny Lodge estate which were based on the findings of an independently commissioned bridge engineer – that residents have only one recourse, that is to judicial review – was unsatisfactory and unsound in law; given the DCC’s decisions set aside the findings of the independently commissioned report, then the liability of Penny Lodgers for the maintenance of the bridge could be called into question as there was no evidence of the planners’ having contacted either the owner of the bridge or the residents whose leases impose a liability for the bridge’s upkeep; due diligence had not been shown.

4.2.4 Work on the next issue of the Limey Leader was in hand; the issue would include the heart-warming story which flowed from Richard and Oden Ball’s discovery of a World War 1 medal in Loveclough Park.

4.3      Treasurer/Chairman LVAA

4.3.1 Darryl had nothing to add to his report to the AGM on the association’s finances.

4.3.2 On the allotments, Darryl said that a contractor had been engaged to widen the car-park and to lay a flagged slab for the community building: work would be done either over the winter or in the spring, weather conditions determining.

4.3.3 Eric suggested staging a car boot sale to raise funds.

4.4      Footpaths Officer

4.4.1 Bob said that he had two month-worth of catch-up on which to report.

4.4.2 His report is shown in full as Annex 1.

4.4.3 In response to Roger’s queries over Footpaths 102 and 104 on the Colebrand site, Bob said that matters now rested with LCC but that a footbridge of some sort was required across Gin Clough.

4.5      Social Media & Liaison Officer

4.5.1 David R had nothing to add to his report to the AGM.

4.6 LVEG

4.6.1 Steve advertised the next litter-pick, commencing at 10.00 hrs. on Sunday, 19 November at Loveclough Park.

4.6.2 In response to Lewis, Steve said that enquiries made with a view to holding litter-picking on other days of the week suggested that the third Sunday of the month was best suited to those engaged in the activity.

5. Celebrating Community, 21 October 2017/CAST (Bob)

5.1 Bob rolled his reports on these two events into one.

5.2 His report is shown in full as Annex 2.

6. St John’s

6.1 There was nothing further to report on the future of St John’s.

6.2 David H said that, in the context of the CAST exercise, it was inevitable that some buildings forming part of local heritage would be lost as a schedule of priority needed to be devised to guarantee the survival of the best buildings: he wondered whether – with all the issues affecting it (resting on a former lodge, instability on the site including the margins, et al.) – St John’s fell into that category.

6.3 Chris reported suspicion of squatters occupying the building; Roger confirmed the rumour of adult presences; David R said the agents were known to have shown prospective purchasers around the site.

6.4 In response to Sandra, David R said responsibility for the building’s security rested with the current owners and/or agents; the police could (and would) only respond to a live incident.

7. Any Other Business

7.1 Recent flooding in Crawshawbooth

7.1.1 John C wondered whether recent flooding was attributable to leaves not having been swept up.

7.1.2 Chris though it would be worthwhile to advertise in the Limey Leader the obligation on residents to report leaf-drop to LCC to avoid grates becoming clogged.

7.1.3 Richard B thought that the problem had been an overnight one, rather than the result of long-term neglect.

7.1.4 Lewis thought the issue was, in part, caused by trees being planted in inappropriate places; future planting should be encouraged on the margins of settlements to minimise the problem in future.

7.2 Ullswater Way

7.2.1 Sandra commented at length on anti-social behaviour at a block of flats administered by Together Housing, adding that whilst the police had been up several times, problems were exacerbated by the miscreants gaining access with a key; the solution appeared to lie in changing the locks.

7.2.2 Barbara St J posed the question: who should local residents contact in the event of an issue on a Saturday night to get help and support?

7.2.3 In response, Karen said that issues of littering would necessarily involve Environmental Health; David R (with the benefit of experience in the constabulary) said that the police could respond only to a complaint received from the owners of the building, adding that residents would need to prove a connection between littering and illegal entry; he recommended contacting Inspector David Clark at Waterfoot and Environmental Health.

7.3 Break-ins

7.3.1 Lewis reported intrusion at the Mason’s Arms; the Craven Heifer too had been targeted.

7.3.2 There were accounts of exterior door handles being tried.

7.3.3 Karen urged all residents to be vigilant on behalf of themselves and neighbours.

7.3.4 John C noted instances of vandalism at bus shelters over Bonfire weekend; Karen agreed that there appeared to have been a spate of such incidents.

7.4 Anti-social behaviour

7.4.1 David R had fielded a number of complaints about inconsiderate parking which should be referred to RBC and LCC.

7.4.2 What appeared to be fly-tipping of green waste on Goodshaw Lane adjacent to Footpath No. 18 appeared, according to Dorothy, to be attributable to clippings from the hedge opposite.

8. Next Meeting and Close

9.1 The next meeting was scheduled for 20.00 hrs. on Monday, 11 December 2017 at the Top Club.

9.2 The meeting closed at 21.17 hrs.

Annex 1 Footpaths Officer

This report is a catch-up report covering two months of work on the local footpaths. In September I over optimistically suggested a footpath working weekend. This of course went down like the proverbial lead balloon! The fact that no one turned up was not a disappointment – it was as expected. However I managed the work myself and Footpath No113 now has two refurbished gates and the sign post has been straightened, although the footpath bed has yet to be strimmed out. The land owner adjoining this footpath has been advised about the state of the hedge which is starting to obstruct the path, and they have stated it will be trimmed back. Also chippings have been laid around the Loveclough Goodshaw stone sign.

I have also reported to Lancashire County Council that the pedestrian gate on FP No 24 (Gibb Hill Lane) which was outlined in my December 2016 report as being deliberately fastened has now been freed up and a chain with a simple hook fastening is now in place. LCC reported they had not contacted the land owner as yet so the work must have been done by some public spirited walker!

October saw the start of work to excavate three footpaths from a forest of willow herb that has overgrown on the land to the east of Loveclough Park. This small piece of land which is triangular in shape measures some 68mt long by 48mt at its widest by 6mt at the narrow end and has three public footpaths, No 31, 32 and 34respectively, crossing it; No 31 being the most used as it is a direct link to the Broading. After an initial 2 hours of intensive strimming and raking by Steve and myself footpaths Nos 32 and 34 showed their faces to the world for the first time in possibly 10 years or more, with most of this work being done on the LVEG clean-up day (which for future reference is the Sunday the week after the LVRA meeting) and other work being done when time allows. This is a long term project with the intention to turn this land into a wild flower meadow and wildlife habitat which will complement the work being done on the park.

Back in June the destruction of FP No102 was included in the serious situation that enveloped the Colebrand site in Goodshaw Fold. But this path does not stop at the junction with FP No104: it crosses Gin Clough and continues through the wood beyond to the ruins of Cranberry Height Farm and on towards Crawshawbooth where it meets FP No 92. It is indeed a very pleasant walk only marred by the somewhat precarious crossing of Gin Clough. This will be the subject of a forthcoming PROW report stating that at very least a ditch crossing be installed but preferably due to the topography of where the path crosses Gin Clough a bridge would be more suitable for less able walkers. It will of course be some time before this is acted on but it will be on record and for LCC to act on as and when.

Annex 2 Civic Pride/CAST

On Saturday 21st October, I was joined by our Secretary and Social Media Officer at the Civic Pride Queen’s Award presentation at Rawtenstall. This achievement recognised the terrific work Civic Pride has put in over the seventeen years it has been in existence. It was heartening to see so many enthusiastic volunteers who give some of their free time to transform Rawtenstall. Civic Pride’s achievements did not stop there. On 8th November at the Royal Horticultural Society awards in Southport they achieved four top level outstanding awards and one next-to-top Thriving Award with no other voluntary group in the North West matching this standard. Other Civic Pride groups from across the valley also received awards. This is an excellent endorsement of the work Civic Pride has done and they have every right to be proud of what they have achieved.

The event itself was slightly marred by the weather which on the day was windy and wet, deterring people from an excellent event in which a number of organisations from around the valley were present. The LVRA’s stand was visited by a number of people who showed a genuine interest in finding out more about the LVRA and our purpose and activities. This event was covered by live streaming by our Social Media Officer and I’m sure Facebook followers will have seen the coverage presented. I would like through the Minutes to offer the LVRA’s congratulations to Civic Pride on some very well earned achievements.

In stark contrast on 26th October the inaugural event of the CAST initiative was a definite disappointment. I am sorry to report that what should have been a crowd-pulling event was ruined by simple bad planning. I’m still at a loss to understand why an enterprise of undoubted importance was launched in a marquee in the centre of Rawtenstall on a cold damp Thursday tea-time in the rush hour. The attendance as can be imagined was on the low side with only a smattering of people attending. Understandably for the various contributors to the event it was largely a waste of time with just one person taking notice of the LVRA/Friends of Folly Clough Bridge stand, that is besides the Mayor and Mayoress with whom I had a very pleasant chat before they got hypothermia and left for a warmer function!

On a local level. I did try to make members aware of the CAST project through my report to the last meeting which went down again like a second proverbial lead balloon with hardly a whisper of interest being shown. However on 2nd of November the FFCB (Friends of Folly Clough Bridge) posted off their nomination for the bridge and CAST has put the nomination forward to be included in the Community Assets Register. Along with other members of the FFCB, I am going to attend a ‘Community Asset Training’ training session at Bacup on Saturday 25th November to be prepared to take on the bridge as a community asset, should we need to go down that road. I will report back on progress made to the December meeting. The CAST project will be returning to the Limey Valley in April next year and hopefully there will be more interest shown in the project by then.