Greenbelt Walk

It might be the New Year Bank Holiday but if my alarm does the business I will be up in time to do an interview in the morning on BBC Radio Manchester on the subject of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework. Local residents protesting against the plans to allow development on Bury’s Greenbelt are planning to walk from Elton High School to Elton Reservoir starting at 11am in order to raise awareness of what is being planned. Hopefully my interview on BBC Radio Manchester will help raise awareness too!

GM Plan Consultation

Despite the original plan to close the consultation period on the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework before Christmas the powers that be in Manchester have extended the period to 16th January 2017.

Understandably, this is a major cause of concern for many local residents as I can tell from the number of emails I receive about it. As the consultation period has been extended it is very important for as many members of the public as possible to submit their views – for or against.

The Website for the consultation can be found here:


Future Dates

Following the public meeting on the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework last week I am informed another public meeting will be held this time at the Elizabethan Suite on Friday 6th January starting at 7.30pm.

On the national scene the Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced the date of his first budget. It will take place on Wednesday 8th March.

Another Shakers Loss

With Christmas one week away I decided I would definitely go to watch  ‘The Mighty Shakers’ yesterday play against Oxford United? Always  the optimist I predicted a 2-1 win. Unfortunately although Bury were indeed winning 2-1 for a brief period in the first half they were pegged back to 2-2 at the interval and sadly conceded another goal to lose the game 3-2. With my home team Rotherham on a run of bad results as bad as Bury it is not a good year for me on the footy front but hope springs eternal and I am hopeful both Rotherham and Bury have better results in 2017!

As Christmas approaches I am attending a Nine Lessons and Carols service this afternoon and I have accepted an invitation to attend a special Christmas service at St John’s Free Church in Tottington after that.

Small Business Saturday

Today is Small Business Saturday. A day to celebrate the importance of small businesses. Having run a small business I know the difficulties and challenges they face. Most people are employed in small businesses. Whilst the big companies may be household names it is the small often family owned businesses which provide the backbone of our economy especially here in Bury. I will be joining the Tottington Councillors to help launch the Best Small Business 2017 Competition. Tottington is lucky to be home to dozens of small businesses. Everyone can vote for their favourite local business and one lucky resident will win £50 to spend locally.

Voice Box at Old Hall Primary School

I was delighted to be able to start yesterday by visiting Old Hall Primary School in Brandlesholme to take part in the final of their Voice Box competition. This is a annual national joke competition designed to raise awareness of the importance of communication in a light hearted way, it is a joint initiative of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists and The Communication Trust. Each pupil had entered a joke and the best three or four from each class were put through to the final. All the teachers entered into the spirit by going on stage and telling their own joke. I then said a few words and had my own attempt at telling a joke. The highlight of the final was when each pupil whose joke had made it through to the final came up and read out their own joke. I then announced Kaycie-Leigh Olive a budding comedienne as the overall winner.

Woodhey Celebration Evening

It was a great pleasure to be able to attend the Celebration Evening at Woodhey High School in Ramsbottom last night. The evening marked the successes of the Class of 2016 – the pupils who left this year and have now moved on to College and Apprenticeships. The guest speaker was Woodhey’s former Headteacher Martin Braidley. It certainly does not seem three years since he left to be replaced by his Deputy Brian Roadnight. Our schools play such a crucial role in shaping the next generation on whom we will all rely on to work hard and produce the wealth our nation needs to continue to prosper. On the evidence of the success of the pupils at Woodhey there is much to be optimistic about!