Town centre developers paid £25,000 cost of council’s South of France trip

06 April 2018 Rochdale online

The £25,000 cost of the recent trip to the South of France by Councillor Allen Brett, the Leader of Rochdale Borough Council, and Steve Rumbelow, Chief Executive, was paid for by Genr8, developers of the Rochdale Riverside shopping and leisure complex being built in the town centre.

Rochdale Online asked the Council the week before the trip who was the very generous sponsor and the Council’s Head of Communications promised to “come back” with the answer, but never did.

A Freedom of Information request for the sponsor’s name submitted on 10 March was finally answered on 5 April.

Councillor Andy Kelly has voiced his serious misgivings about the council accepting the £25,000 from Genr8, he said: “For councillors and council officers to accept this level of sponsorship from Genr8 at around £25,000 is a huge error of judgement in my opinion. What happens if something goes awry with the current building contract they have? It jeopardises future projects and could rule Genr8 out of future tenders, even if they are the best value for money.”

Other councils did not consider such sponsorhsip wise, Southampton Council said it did not consider it “appropriate to accept sponsorship from developers or private companies that we are in discussions with”.

Councillor Kelly also wants to know what the benefits of the trip were, he asked: “Ultimately, what did the trip achieve for Rochdale tax payers and the Borough’s reputation?”

Rochdale Online previously asked the Council, ‘What tangible benefits came from the council’s trip to the South of France?’ The Council CEO responded with a detailed reply, that was bereft of specifics. Asked if he would be more specific, he replied he would not be “adding to the previous statement”.

Rochdale Council had not responded to approach for comment about the £25,000 sponsorship at the time of publication.

This weeks Planning Applications in Balderstone and Kirkholt (April 2nd)

First floor side extension to dwelling Open for Comment

56 Craiglands Rochdale OL16 4RD

Ref. No: 18/00321/HOUS | Received: Tue 20 Mar 2018 | Validated: Tue 27 Mar 2018 | Status: Awaiting decision

Reserved matters application (pursuant to outline approval 15/01426/OUT) for access, appearance, landscaping, layout and scale relating to the erection of a new medical centre Open for Comment

Land Adjacent To The Strand, Daventry Road And Balderstone Road, Kirkholt, Rochdale

Ref. No: 18/00301/REM | Received: Wed 14 Mar 2018 | Validated: Thu 15 Mar 2018 | Status: Awaiting decision

This is simply WRONG!

Dear Editor,

It is now over a year since Rochdale councillors awarded themselves a 34% pay rise – with only the two Liberal Democrat members voting against.

With local election campaigning already in full swing, it is not surprising to see that this is still a big issue for the Rochdale electorate, especially in light of another council tax rise on the way.

At the time we were promised that action will be taken to reduce the size of our council to 40 members – we the public have heard nothing since, and my understanding is that just a single meeting has been held on the subject.

With the public still outraged by this decision, I thought it was their right to know which councillors have taken this increase, in light of some of those councillors now asking for our votes in just 10 weeks’ time.

However, this administration doesn’t want you to know this information, as my freedom of information request was rejected!

I continue to seek this information on a national basis.

I will be a candidate in the coming election in the Healey Ward, and it is a fair question to ask me what I would do if elected.

There are some who are saying that the decision to increase allowances has no bearing on newly elected members, I do not agree, at a time of financial restraint – councillors and candidates must send the right message.

I accept that the role of Councillor is largely a voluntary role, and that is what I am committing too.  So here is my pledge, any allowance I accept, if elected, will be LESS than the level paid to councillors BEFORE last year’s increases.  Furthermore, I will join like minded councillors in seeking for this money to instead be invested directly into our wards.

Now, for all candidates, from all parties, standing this May – I welcome you to join me in this pledge! It’s time for Rochdale people to see exactly what our motives are. A new rate, sending a new message from a new breed of councillor.

Rochdale never forgets.


Rob Mclean

Liberal Democrat Candidate for Healey

Antisocial behaviour still plagues local Metrolink

Date published: 27 March 2018 Rochdale online

The Rochdale Metrolink service has long been blighted by antisocial behaviour since it began servicing the town centre in 2014, with reports of such behaviour having been reported locally since 2015.

The Metrolink stop at Newbold has particularly drawn complaints about vandalism and antisocial behaviour since 2015 when then-MP Simon Danczuk and ward councillor Daalat Ali addressed residents’ concerns, and little seems to have changed since.

On Monday (26 March), bosses at Transport for Greater Manchester admitted they do have problems with anti-social behaviour on the Metrolink network, particularly at stops in the Oldham and Rochdale areas. working-hard-to-try-and-combat-antisocial-behaviour-as-third-incident-comes-to-light

Local resident Vicky Butler, who was waiting to collect her husband from the Newbold tram stop at Morrisons, told Rochdale Online about the recent issues at the stop, which is located near the Morrison’s supermarket.

Vicky said: “I collect my husband from the tram stop everyday at 6.50pm and these youths are there nearly every day. There’s between 10 and 20 all the time, mostly boys. One child, who stands out as the cocky one, can’t be older than 10 or 11.

“On Thursday (22 March), I saw a lady pacing next to my car. I asked her if she was ok, and she told me she was too scared to go to the stop to catch her tram because of the big gang of youths. When is this going to stop? There is not one person there to protect people and make sure these people are ok.

“My three-year-old son likes to go and wait on the platform for his dad. I don’t want to stop him going because of mindless yobs. A few months ago, we were waiting at the stop with about 10 other people and a group of boys smashed all the glass in the shelter whilst we were stood there. They didn’t care; I confronted them and all of them put the blame on the others.

“So many people are fearful of going to the tram stop and it’s ridiculous. How grown adults can be scared of young kids is beyond me. Society has gone mad. Children used to have respect for their elders, but not now. I want to do something, like set up a neighbourhood group, but I don’t know what.

“About six months ago, I was also a victim of another crime at the stop when three young boys dressed in black with masks on threw bricks at my car whilst I was driving. I had my husband and son in the car at the time. The police did nothing; I found out who two of the children were, and one parent couldn’t apologise enough, but the other was just as bad as the child.”

In 2015, the impact of vandalism, crime and antisocial behaviour on Metrolink led to a repairs bill of nearly £73,000. In all, Metrolink are responsible for 97 kilometres of track, along with 93 tram stops, with around 41 million people using the service every year.

Speaking in 2017, Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: “We know the majority of antisocial behaviour around the network is linked to young people. We need schools and parents to ensure their young people are aware of the potential implications if they cause criminal damage. They could cause serious injury as well as distress for passengers.

“The incidents that we have seen on the Metrolink service show the challenges that we face in policing the transport network. Since 2014 we have seen an increase in crime on the bus and Metrolink network which is why we established the Travelsafe team with Transport for Greater Manchester in April 2015.”

The Travelsafe Unit ran 11 operations in two weekends in 2016 on the Rochdale and Ashton-under-Lyne via Oldham Metrolink lines in response to complaints about antisocial behaviour, dispersing groups of youths that were causing problems at stops, seizing and disposing of alcohol from those caught underage drinking and have using body-worn cameras to identify repeat offenders and visit their homes.

Another local resident, Andrew Knight, recently posted a poll asking, “Should it be acceptable for members of the public to deal with the rising problem of youths causing mayhem at tram stops?”

Despite numerous crackdowns on antisocial behaviour over the years, antisocial behaviour stills appears to be a problem that needs addressing.

TfGM and British Transport Police have been contacted for comment.

Violent armed burglar repeatedly targets Kingsway area

Date published: 29 March 2018 Rochdale online

A brazen, violent armed burglar has repeatedly targeted streets in the Kingsway area and local residents are now urging others to be extremely vigilant.

A local woman has been targeted by the burglar twice in a number of weeks after he broke into her home. She fears she may be targeted again if she is identified.

She explained: “He was in my house for 40 minutes the first time, and he heard us whilst we were calling the police.

“There’s been other residents who have been targeted who haven’t reported it to the police for various reasons. From the CCTV I’ve been shown, he’s very blasé. He’s tried shops on Woodbine Street East, and homes on Buersil Avenue, Kings Road and Percy Street.

“He seems to be an opportunist. He came back last Friday and my neighbour heard him. He came out to investigate and came face-to-face with the criminal, who didn’t seem bothered. He threatened to kill my neighbour, who got a good look at him.

“We’ve all been struggling to sleep since.”

Resident Nathan Tordoff said: “We have had problems in the Kingsway area for weeks now and no police presence at all; let’s start communicating with those that work all week and pay our taxes.”

Speaking after a police warning to be vigilant was issued in Healey, Kingsway resident Daniel Hodgkinson said: “It would be nice if the police also issued a warning to the residents of Kingsway on the huge amount of break ins and attempted break ins by the same suspect who is armed with a knife.”

The woman added: “The lack of communication within the station is staggering, let alone the failure to communicate with the front response officers during briefing before each shift. The officers attending had no idea that Kingsway is a hotspot right now, and there’s a growing number of victims. I would like to point out though that the officers dealing with the case have been exemplary; they want to see this man caught and genuinely care.

“This dangerous man is still at large and I witnessed him slash a neighbour’s coat on one of the two occasions when we were close to apprehending him.

“Many of the residents here are awake at night, scared to sleep. My girls are petrified. Our work and home lives are disrupted and we are suffering extreme tiredness. Since I have seen him, I’m scared he’ll recognise me and come back.

“The residents of Kingsway are distributing information about as many breaks or attempted breaks as possible, and the officers have mentioned it’s the same offender, after looking at the CCTV. Residents in our area haven’t even had a warning and we can’t knock on every single door.

“If I can stop this brazen criminal targeting one more person, then it’s worth it.”



Friends of Crompton Moor are looking for volunteers to help assist with the maintenance and protection of Crompton Moor and the surrounding area.

Here is an extract from their website:

The Friends of Crompton Moor are a conservation group with an interest in the welfare of the environment, flora and fauna of the area generally known as ‘Crompton Moor’, that lies between Shaw and Saddleworth, in the borough of Oldham.

In short, we are a volunteer group, prepared to work with the local council or any other party who have influence over, or interest in the future and well-being of Crompton Moor and its immediate surrounding area.


Email – [email protected]

Phone – 07792 156295