Saving the Civic Venues
The Conservative Group note Bury Labour Council are consulting to close three of Bury's civic venues in the same year we've been made Greater Manchester's inaugural Town of Culture. This amendment stops this potential, fully costed closure to safeguard Civic Venues and jobs.
The Elizabethan Suite, the Longfield Suite, and Ramsbottom Civic Hall are an important part of our communities. For years they have been used for weddings, entertainment, and local groups, who rely on these venues as a central meeting point at the heart of their communities. They have hosted events and welcomed people from across Bury, Greater Manchester, and people from across the country. They are a significant part of our town and the Bury Conservative Group believes that they should remain part of our town, especially in the year when Bury is Greater Manchester's inaugural Town of Culture.
We have seen the importance of our civic venues through Bury Council's fantastic efforts to use them as vaccination centres, with Ramsbottom Civic Hall becoming available as a vaccination site just last week. We need to retain these venues as community hubs and expand their usage from one-off events to all-year-round use at the heart of our community. This will mean ensuring that they have the investment necessary from Bury Council for them to make a positive return on public investment. By having the right plan in place, we can provide a fantastic destination for events and activities in our borough whilst simultaneously supporting the Council's finances to allow investment in other areas.
The Conservative Group believe This short-term approach to Bury's cultural heritage has been tried before. This is the same Bury Labour Party that authorised the sale of LS Lowry's "A Riverbank" in order to plug holes in public finances in 2007, a decision grossly offensive to both the public and the public purse. This consultation to shutter civic venues is expected to save the council £250,000 a year, whereas Bury Labour's newly-expanded Cabinet now costs taxpayers over £120,000 a year. As the Guardian said back in 2006: "wouldn't they be better auctioning off a councillor or two?"
We want these venues to stay part of our community and we are actively exploring proposals for how this can be achieved. We do not believe that the closures that Bury's Labour Council are proposing are necessary, and we shall detail our plans in due course.
To further support the Civic Venues there will be a strategy to improve the external sponsorship of the Civic Venues. 15% of the Civic Venues budget will be will be will be the target for external sponsorship to improve the overall running costs of the venues.
Ramsbottom Civic Hall will in part be used as a Armed Forces and Youth Unemployment Hub. The Hub will aim to improve the delivery of the Armed Forces Covenant by working Bury Council, ensuring the covenant is both understood and honoured. The Hub will take on a coordination role working closely with the Bury Council Armed Forces Champion as well as key stakeholders from the public and charity sectors.
The Hub will deliver support to education and employment to health, wellbeing and welfare support. As well as working to improve the delivery of the Armed Forces Covenant across the Borough the Hub will also increase sustainability and governance structures embedding the Covenant into the routine delivery of services from public agencies, private businesses and charitable bodies.
The Youth Unemployment Hub will support young people who are Not in Education, Employment, or Training and will be run from the Ramsbottom Civic Hall.
The amendment not only keeps the venues open but will invest £1.5 million for improvements. This is funding on top of the anticipated grants from BEIS.
Civic Hall for Radcliffe
The Conservative Group note the ongoing Radcliffe Strategic Regeneration Framework and a webinar on Radcliffe Regeneration planned for 11th March. The current plan for the regeneration includes a ‘Civic Hub’ which will be may be used in the town centre to house community space, council services, retail, leisure and workspace.
This amendment reprofiles the regeneration £10 million fund to build a Civic Hall. Radcliffe is in need for a Civic Hall and this funding will be used to build a modern Civic Hall for residents which will be incorporated into the overall Civic Hall strategy detailed in this paper.
Implementation of Town Centre Wi-Fi
Ramsbottom and Radcliffe will be the trail towns for WIFI offered by Bury Council as part of the Town Centre regeneration. This amendment proposes to install Wi-Fi hotspots on the central streets of Ramsbottom and the centre of Radcliffe.
The Wi-Fi will have a front interface to allow users to easily find shops, restaurants, attractions, events, offers and services in the town centre. This will help support local businesses.
The scheme will be a trial and will be reviewed after 18 months. £30,000 has been set aside for each town. Any income generated via the platform will be reinvested to ensure the pilot areas continue and the potential to expand to Prestwich, Bury Town Centre and the Whitefield.
£900,000 EXTRA support for our World Famous Bury Market
The Conservative Group note the importance of Bury Market to our town both from the visitors it attracts from across the UK and the revenue it generates for the Council. The pandemic has had a huge impact on the hardworking traders and this amendment acknowledges this and provides support.
£500,000 extra capital investment to the Market to ensure its future is safeguarded for years to come. All market traders will receive a 3-month 50% rent reduction followed by a 5% reduction in rent. This £420,000 package of support along with the national government grants will help market traders through the next year. Market fees will be frozen in the next financial year to continue the support of the Council to Market Traders.
£6 million for Whitefield Health and Wellbeing Hub
The Conservative Group note that the Council made the decision to close Whitefield Library in 2018. Since then, there has been promise of a health and wellbeing village for the Uplands area but nothing has materialised.
This amendment provides £6 million funding to redevelop the Whitefield Library site. A new Library, Health and wellbeing hub and community space will be developed.
The funding will be reprofiled from the current capital programme for a £6 million Investment Fund.
Whitefield Parking Strategy
Conservative Councillors for Pilkington Park have listened to business concerns regarding parking in the A56 corridor. A strategy will be formed working jointly with Whitefield Business Group and local businesses to review and improve parking in the to support business and the night-time economy.
Purchase Gigg Lane
The Conservative Group for many years has called on the Council to purchase Gigg Lane in order to safeguard the asset for future years. Through purchasing the ground, the asset will be secured for the community.
The council will be able to establish a community hub at the heart of our town, and use the ground for events, training, and other community engagement. This move will allow Bury Council to ensure the future of football in Bury, in whatever form that may be.
 Sold: one Lowry. For all the wrong reasons - https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/artblog/2006/nov/17/lowrytobesold
 Delivering the Armed Forces Covenant Locally - https://www.local.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/LGA%20Covenant%20report%20final%20May_0.pdf