Newsletter, July 2020
A brief summary of what’s in our July 2020 newsletter..
Welcome back to SPC’s newsletter – it seems like an age since we last brought you news! Everyone at SPC hopes that you and your loved ones have avoided the Coronavirus and will continue to do so. Meanwhile we’ve been continuing our duties as Councillors as best we can during the crisis. This newsletter is really to bring you up to date with everything and now that SPC is “open for business”, albeit via online council meetings, we hope to get back to something resembling normality from this month onwards.
It seems like an age since we last published a newsletter but it was only back in March. Since then our lives have undergone huge upheavals due to the Coronavirus. We are thankful to say that everyone at Saddleworth Parish Council has remained well and we hope that you, your friends, family and neighbours have managed to avoid and continue to avoid the virus.
“Virtual” Parish Council meetings
It took us a while (due to having to wait for Government changes to the law that only permitted parish council meetings to be held in person), but earlier this month SPC was able to meet up online. As you would expect, we had a lot of catching up to do, although your parish councillors have been doing whatever they can to help the community during the crisis.
Better late than never, welcoming our new Chairman and Vice Chairman!
At our “virtual” meeting, our Chairman thanked everyone for their attendance, their hard work and diligence in the unprecedented times currently being faced. It was Cllr Curley’s final act as Chairman of SPC. Obviously, due to Covid, we’ve been unable to have council elections as we would normally do due to the 2020 Annual Meeting being cancelled due to the virus.
However we are now delighted to announce that Councillor Barbara Beeley has been appointed as the new Chairman of the Parish Council, with effect from 1st September. It was agreed that Cllr Beeley would remain Chairman for a period of 18 months ending on 23rd May 2020. Councillor Pam Byrne has been appointed as Vice Chairman for the same period.
Due to the virus, we are not yet able to arrange the formal hand over of the insignia of office, but it was agreed that this would be undertaken at the earliest opportunity but not later than next year’s Annual Meeting on Monday 24th May 2021.
Warm thanks to our outgoing Chairman and his Lady
Meanwhile Councillor Curley said that it had been both a pleasure and a privilege to have served as Chairman of the Parish Council over the extended year and gave Cllrs Beeley and Byrne his very best wishes for their forthcoming terms of office. Cllr Beeley thanked Cllr Curley and the Chairman’s Lady, his wife, Deborah, for all the hard work which they had undertaken during their slightly-longer-than-planned term of office.
He said that everyone had been very happy to see Cllrs Brian and Pat Lord this evening and were looking forward to seeing them in person in the near future. Finally he gave a vote of thanks to the retiring Clerk, Pam Bailey, for her years of service with the Parish Council and wished her the very best for the future.
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Farewell to Pam and a big welcome to Sharon!
Back in March we announced that, after five years of dedicated service to the Parish Council and the people of Saddleworth, Parish Clerk Pam Bailey had decided to move on. Pam will be missed terribly by all of us, not only for her expertise and calm manner but her wonderful humour and ability to make the most difficult of tasks seem easy.
Being the clerk of a Parish Council is not an easy job, particularly with Saddleworth as one of the largest Parish Councils in the country. Over the last five years Pam has managed the team and office with calm and efficiency and has even managed to put up with all the councillors!
However we are now delighted to welcome Pam’s replacement – Sharon Hibbert. Sharon says she’s looking forward to meeting and working the members of the Parish Council and their staff. Sharon starts work with us on 3rd August.
Everyone at SPC wishes Pam the very best for the future and we look forward to getting to know Sharon who we are certain will be an equally efficient Clerk to the Parish Council.
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Other news: security cameras in Dobcross
Escalating crime is an unfortunate sign of the times and recently Dobcross has experienced a high crime rate. We’ve been looking into getting funding for security cameras for the village. Although it may be possible to obtain funding for the installation, any ongoing maintenance and monitoring costs would need to be undertaken (and paid for) by Oldham Council’s security service. So please watch this space for developments.
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Dovestones – visitor parking problems
Visitors to Dovestones are causing a huge headache to local residents and road users. In June alone over 500 penalty charge notices were issued for illegal parking and it’s high time something was done about it.
Oldham Council’s Highways officers are looking at ways to alleviate traffic issues being caused on Manchester Road, Greenfield, by the number of visitors going to Dovestones and ignoring the double yellow lines.
Meanwhile here at SPC we’ve requested a meeting with United Utilities about the long term issues surrounding the management of the site which may result in a temporary closure to visitors.
Visitor parking can make it difficult for local residents and their visitors to find parking spaces. A solution might be resident parking permits. However this would need to be closely monitored to ensure that the problem isn’t simply pushed back into Greenfield.
A possible solution for visitor parking could be procuring the fields behind the toilet block for additional parking, something that Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, has explored.
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Civic Hall planters & more bad car parking
It seems that some elements of society can’t resist spoiling things for everyone else. Take the planters in front of the Civic Hall for example, filled with colourful flowers to brighten up the neighbourhood. On several occasions youths have been seen climbing onto the flat canopy over the front door of the Civic Hall using the planters to climb up, so it looks as if the planters will need to be moved.
However SPC have come up with a solution. People are parking cars on the grass verge in the cemetery car park, so it was agreed that we move the planters onto this verge solving both issues at once.
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A reminder of the Plant a Tree initiative
Before the virus put many issues on hold, we brought you news about our discussions with the Woodland Trust about planting new trees in Saddleworth. Over the winter, some local community groups had already made plans to do their own planting and the more trees that are planted, the merrier!
The Woodland Trust says that the best time to plant trees is in November, so that still gives all of us plenty of time to plan the planting and also to look at a variety of suitable sites where tree planting would enhance the landscape.
The Woodland Trust provides free tree packs to communities and is especially keen to involve schools and local community groups such as the Scouts.
Each pack comprises between 30 and 400 mixed variety whips that are around 12 months old. The whips can be easily planted but need protection from rabbits, deer and weeds. Guards are provided with the whips which are labelled to identify each species.
For landowners the Forestry Commission will meet up to 60% of both the cost of the trees and any planting costs if done by a contractor.
Oldham Council’s Street Trees scheme
Oldham Council is also keen to plant more trees and has committed £100,000 to creating greener streets across the borough which could mean over 400 new trees. So SPC is also looking at potential sites in the parish for this tree planting scheme.
You can find out more about Oldham Council’s Street Trees scheme at https://www.oldham.gov.uk/info/200964/street_trees_fund
Or if you’d like to find out how your community group can get hold of a free tree pack from the Woodland Trust, please visit their website: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/plant-trees/schools-and-communities/