Glossop poised for a new £2.3m library and an arts centre

Planning permission has been granted for a new public library in Glossop, bringing in over £2.3million of investment into the town.  The plans include the relocation of the library from the Victoria Hall, into a new purpose built extension on the Adult Education Centre building.  

Even more importantly, the decision now gives the Victoria Arts Centre, who’s plans are conditional on the library relocating, the opportunity to develop a financially viable model that would attract lottery funding. This funding would be used to bring Victoria Hall back in full use as a multi-use community art centre.

Cllrs Damien Greenhalgh, Ellie Wilcox and Dave Wilcox outside Glossop’s Adult Education Centre.

At a lively afternoon planning meeting on Monday, Cllr Ellie Wilcox urged councillors to support the new library proposal, as it would  ‘enable local people to have the use of a brand new public resource, co-located with the adult education centre, where the two services will work together in order to deliver the ambitions, aspirations and expectations of 21st century life.

 

Representatives from the Victoria Arts Centre Project, also spoke at the meeting, urging planning chiefs to support the proposal to move the library. Members of SOUL spoke against the proposal and asked that a decision be deferred.

 

Cllr Damien Greenhalgh hailed the committee’s decision as substantial progress in bringing much deserved investment into Glossop.  ‘The existing library is now tired and in need of development.  The joining of adult education services and the library will bring about new opportunities for Glossop people’ said Cllr Greenhalgh. 

 

We will now work with the High Peak Borough Council and Victoria Arts Centre Project in order to explore their new and alternative uses for the Victoria Hall. We will also ensure with our colleagues at the County Council that the work on the new library is carried out to a high standard.

 

Etherow Councillor, Dave Wilcox, added, ‘We understand that some people will be disappointed that the library will be leaving the Victoria Hall, especially organisations such as SOUL.  However, in times of reducing local authority funding, it’s incredibly positive that the County Council still values its library provision and recognises its importance within communities.’ 

 

There is now a tremendously positive opportunity to really develop the area around the Victoria Hall and Adult Education Centre and make it a new cultural and creative centre for residents and visitors’ said Councillor Greenhalgh

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Resident support for new school plan

Young people in Glossopdale’s towns are one step closer to having the state-of-the-art school they deserve following public consultation over the new single site building plans.

Over 200 locals attended the Newshaw Lane site of Glossopdale Community College recently to see the County Council’s plans and quiz the architect, builders and school and council staff.  96% of those surveyed at the event were in favour of the innovative new build which will replace the ageing buildings currently split over three sites in the valley.

Local residents, parents and current and future pupils heard how the £23million project will cater for 1200 students and an integrated community centre, which will replace the standalone centre at the school’s entrance once completed. Plans build in the ability to allow for future expansion if and when required.

20160121 Glossopdale Consultation

Local residents go through plans with the architect, councillors and building contractor

I am delighted that these plans have been met with such high approval from residents.” said Labour county councillor Dave Wilcox. “In particular I’m pleased that the plans under consideration for submission have been changed as a consequence of discussions the contractors have since held with residents of the school’s near neighbours at Oakford Court.

 Cllr Ellie Wilcox, who attended the school in the 1990s, said “Improvements in the facilities have been needed for as long as most can remember. I’m just so glad future generations will now benefit from such a wonderful new learning environment.

Cllr Damien Greenhalgh adding “As well as the investment into new buildings the school site will also encompass more sports pitches, car parking spaces and a bus drop off area to reduce the congestion on Newshaw Lane in the morning and afternoon peaks.

The proposals will now be submitted for formal planning approval, and if given the green light, would see building work commence in the summer of 2016 which a completion date of March 2018.

£30million cut to county’s budget

Council-Budget-CutsLabour led Derbyshire County Council today published its Budget proposals for the 2016/2017 municipal year. They show the authority will have to cut nearly £30 million from its services.

Sadly, but inevitably given the cut in Government grant it is enduring, the county council is consulting on closing or reducing much loved and needed services.

Proposals include cuts to community and public transport grants, home-to-school transport, respite breaks for disabled children and children’s centre services amongst the many others planned.

It is considering closing 32 children’s centres with the loss of 116 full time equivalent jobs and cutting other services back to the statutory minimum. In High Peak, it is proposed that Fairfield, Glossop and Hadfield Children’s Centre remain open, with Gamesley becoming part of the Early Excellence Centre.  Harpur Hill, New Mills and Chapel-en-le-frith are recommended for closure.

These plans are put forward with a very heavy heart, in the full knowledge that we will be losing excellent services which do a lot of good work, are highly valued and help many Derbyshire families,

On Tuesday 26 January, DCC’s Cabinet will meet to consider how the Council can make cuts of almost £70m over the next two years, on top of the £170m of cuts it has made since 2010.

As DCC Council Leader Anne Western says: “Dealing with cuts on this scale isn’t simply about a bit of budget trimming and doing things even more efficiently.

The harsh reality is that by 2020 the funding we get from Government will be more than a third lower than the amount we would need to provide services to the same level as in 2010 − so it’s inevitable that more and more people will see changes to the services they use.

You can read the full details here: http://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/council/news_events/news-updates/2016/january/news_items/council_to_consider_more_proposals_towards_cutting_its_budget.asp

All the proposals are subject to a full public consultation.

 

Stepping Hill Decision welcomed

HealthierTogetherChallengeDerbyshire County Councillors Ellie Wilcox, Damien Greenhalgh and Dave Wilcox have welcomed the recent High Court decision which confirmed that the 12 Greater Manchester Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) acted lawfully by including Stepping Hill as a designated hospital in the Healthier Together programme.

The proposal that Stepping Hill would become the fourth specialist hospital site in Greater Manchester was legally challenged by a company called ‘Keep Wythenshawe Special ‘. Wythenshawe Hospital was not chosen as one of the four specialist hospitals.

Derbyshire County Council submitted evidence that the CCGs were entitled to take into account the population of North Derbyshire in the manner that they did.

Derbyshire residents were likely to be users of the service and therefore their travel time to receive specialist medical care should be factored into the decision making process.

The County Council and the North Derbyshire CCG thought it appropriate to be joined as interested parties in the litigation” said County Councillor Greenhalgh. “Taking part cost money, but on such an important issue hopefully local residents will see this as a sound investment for such a positive outcome.

County Councillor Dave Wilcox said that the consultation meetings held in Glossop and other parts of High Peak had given the Clinicians and Administrators a clear message that the interests of High Peak residents need to be taken into account when dealing with critically ill people. Adding “In the acute sector, just a few minutes could mean the difference between life and death.

Councillor Ellie Wilcox introduced a note of caution. “As with all legal decisions there’s always a chance that litigants can mount an appeal. However we’ve been advised that the judgement is very thorough which hopefully limits the likelihood of this.

Mr Justice Dove’s full judgement can be read here:  Wythenshawe – Final Judgement

 

 

£23m new school plans to go public

Glossopdale New School

The new schools backer Glossopdale’s three County Councillors and Caitlin Bisknell (left),Deputy Cabinet Member for Children’s Services.

Draft plans for the new 11 to 18 school proposed by Derbyshire County Council are to be revealed to the public next week on Thursday 21st January at the Hadfield site of Glossopdale Community College.

The consultation represents the next stage of the development of the new school which will replace the present buildings located on three sites in Hadfield and Glossop.

County Councillor Ellie Wilcox, who attended the school in the 1990s, says that she welcomes the proposals and the opportunity for people to comment before any formal planning application is made.

We are at a stage where the resources are identified, the starter is raising his gun and a replacement single site school is just about to leave the starting blocks. It’s further evidence of the County Council’s commitment to improve education County wide and demonstrate to parents that we mean it.

According to County Councillor Damien Greenhalgh the school will be built on the “green” parts of the Hadfield site and although there will necessarily be some demolition work at the start of the building process, interruptions to children’s education should not be necessary.

We are conscious that for many students their education is a one-off opportunity, and though a single site school offers greater options and efficiency in the future, those who are in school at present need to be assured of minimal disruption to their education.

County Councillor Dave Wilcox confirmed that although there will be disruption to non-school community activities on the Hadfield site over the next couple of years, the new building will be designed to enhance community access and engagement when the premises are not needed for school activities.

People who live close to the site are anxious to see how traffic is likely to be handled, that their lives are not too disrupted by the building work and that the investment promises positive benefits to the local community once it is completed.

The period from 4pm – 7pm has been set aside on Thursday 21st January for Glossopdale residents to examine draft plans and take the opportunity to discuss the proposal. Local County Councillors will be present.

Deputy Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, County Councillor Caitlin Bisknell added that a formal planning application will follow the local discussions.

Given the need for a planning consent, a starting date for commencing the building process is still to be negotiated,” she said, “with a likely completion date of 2018.

Governors at the school have already had access to the plans and have given a general thumbs up to the proposals.

Positive response to Learning Library plans

BooksGlossopdale’s three County Councillors held the first three of their consultative surgeries on the future of Glossopdale Learning Library on Monday of this week.

According to Councillor Damien Greenhalgh the exercise was positive and the public were able to express their views and concerns

We realise that this second round of surgeries were called at short notice and that some people may not have been able to attend.” he said. “However, on balance the comments we received were positive and people seemed to understand the reality of the situation and encouraging about the idea of locating the adult education and library services on a common campus and particularly in a single building with a common reception area for instance.”

There were some questions raised to which answers are needed, they include:

  • What has the cost of scaffolding been during the repair and investigatory period, effectively between the erection of the scaffolding and its removal?
  • Would a new proposal of a learning library mean greater utilization of the adult education part of the building in future compared with today?
  • Were there plans to better use parking facilities on the site to mitigate the impact of congestion on the immediate areas surrounding the library?
  • What were the possibilities for the land opposite the library to be used as additional parking space?

County Councillor Dave Wilcox said “These are legitimate questions requiring answers, which we are undertaking to get addressed.”

In terms of the options on offer from the County Council for the future of library services, the preference was for the option where the library is sympathetically attached to the present adult education centre.

We realise that there are three further consultative surgeries to be held at the Library on Saturday at 10.00, 11.00 and 12.00 noon” added Cllr Ellie Wilcox “and that the views expressed there may be different than those which have been put so far. So we’d encourage people to attend whatever their views maybe or simply if they want to learn more about the proposals.

Councillors support a Learning Library for Glossopdale

Library Street Sign - SquaredGlossopdale’s three county councillors plan to engage the public further on the way forward for library services in the town after finding the four public surgeries they held earlier this month “very helpful”.

The councillors say their well-attended meetings heard residents expressing their interest and sharing their concerns around the two options to re-house the town’s library services into new buildings on the present Adult Education Centre’s grounds.

Support for there to be a third option to keep these services in Victoria Hall was proposed by the SOUL group. They said they regretted that the County Council wasn’t able to offer this option.

We have great sympathy for the people supporting an option 3” said Cllr Dave Wilcox “but unfortunately the reality is no-one knows what it is, where the money would come from or that a deliverable plan for the hall’s sustainable use can even be put together.

Whilst SOUL have been an effective group in promoting a Victoria Hall option, they have had more than three years to bring a credible, costed and funded plan forward and library users cannot wait another three years for nothing to come forward again whilst there is £1.9million set aside for a new library not being used”.

Cllr Damien Greenhalgh said local people shared concerns around the design of the proposed buildings on the former Glossop Grammar School site and the difficulties with parking in this area – particularly that the standalone building in the centre’s car park (option 1) would remove too many car parking spaces exacerbating the situation.

After exhausting all the options to retain library services in Victoria Hall, it’s certainly not our intention to build an unsightly aircraft hangar or spaceship like the 2013 plans for the former St Luke’s building car park proposal, but to offer a viable option that is in keeping with the heritage of the surrounding area.

Gaining planning consent for either option will take considerable time, due to the adult education centre being grade II listed and being a conservation area.” he added.

The design and planning process must get under-way to deliver improvement for people, but if High Peak Borough Council or another credible organisation can come forward with a workable, sustainable and fully funded proposal then of course the County Council would be prepared to listen and examine it.

Attendee’s also expressed interest over the adult learning and library services coming together with a sympathetic extension of the adult education building (option 2). The councillors, who say they much prefer this option, feel that this option offers the greatest potential for services including increased usage, increased collaboration and greater efficiencies.

Cllr Ellie Wilcox said that the recommendation for the creation of a ‘Glossopdale Learning Library’ was one which the County Council had confidence it could provide.

After 30 months of investigation, negotiation and promise we are unfortunately no further forward with a Victoria Hall proposal than in May 2013 when we halted the hastily draw up alternative plans and instigated investigatory works.” she claimed. “We have a preferred option of the two that we can deliver and more importantly which provides library users the great improvement in service. We want to speak to local people about it, so we’re holding another six surgeries over two days in Glossop Library to allow as many people as possible to share their view with us.

The councillors’ surgeries are to be held at the Glossop Library at 4pm, 5pm and 6pm on Monday 2nd November and 10am, 11am and 12noon on Saturday 7th November.

Police give green-light to 20mph limits

20mphPolice in Derbyshire have removed their automatic objection to 20mph limits in the county to the delight of 20mph limit supporters.

Derbyshire Constabulary have confirmed that their longstanding policy to object to the introduction of 20mph limited areas has been changed. Historically the force has be resistance on the basis of the need to install traffic calming for a 20mph to work.

Local county councillors and 20mph limit supporters, Cllrs Ellie Wilcox and Damien Greenhalgh have welcomed the news.

Cllr Greenhalgh said: “This is welcome news for communities, such as Padfield, who have campaigned to claim back the streets of their village from speeding vehicles. 20mph limits are in operation up and down the country in appropriate, mainly residential, areas including near by Manchester and Stockport and this change brings Derbyshire into line with them.”

Cllr Ellie Wilcox added: “We have been working with the community in Padfield introduce 20mph zones due to the increasing evidence of the value they can in terms of speed reduction, injury prevention and enhance wellbeing of those that live in the areas”. 

 

Photo Caption: County Cllrs Ellie Wilcox and Damien Greenhalgh and Padfield Borough Cllr Nick Longos (R) welcoming the news with Derbyshire’s Deputy PCC Hardyal Dhindsa (C)

Photo Caption: County Cllrs Ellie Wilcox and Damien Greenhalgh and Padfield Borough Cllr Nick Longos (R) welcoming the news with Derbyshire’s Deputy PCC Hardyal Dhindsa (C)

Earlier this year, the Constabulary raised concerns over the lack of physical measures such as speedbumps and over the enforcements as Derbyshire County Council consulted on the introduction of the reduced limited in Padfield.

Confirming this change in stance and police enforcement of the new limits Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa added: “20mph limits used where appropriated have great benefits to the communities in which they are placed and have had the Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents’ backing. I am delighted that the force has agreed to proportionate enforcement by its local policing sections, and very much sees working closely with Police Support Volunteers moving forward. To this end the constabulary has requested funding for more handheld detection units.

 

Councillors’ surgeries over future of Glossop Library

Below is the open letter to the people of Glossop about Victoria Hall and the future of the library service. This letter is from Cllrs Dave Wilcox, Ellie Wilcox and myself as the three local county councillors for Glossopdale.

This is awful news for those, like us, who have supported and fought for the library to remain within Victoria Hall over many years. But we are trying as hard as possible to be upfront about the decisions we are being reluctantly made to take.

If you would like to come and discuss through this with us in person are holding four surgeries throughout the day on Monday 12th October.

  • Glossop Adult Community Education Centre at:
    • 10.30am
    • 12.30pm
    • 3.30pm
  • Bradbury Community House at:
    • 6.30pm

Letter: Our open letter to residents regarding the future of Glossop library.

What Labour achieved, lest we forget

We must defend our Party’s fine record of achievement too when pointing out where we got it wrong or didn’t go far enough!

Politics and Insights

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1. Longest period of sustained low inflation since the 60s.
2. Low mortgage rates.
3. Introduced the National Minimum Wage and raised it to £5.52 per hour.
4. Over 14,000 more police in England and Wales.
5. Cut overall crime by 32 per cent.
6. Record levels of literacy and numeracy in schools.
7. Young people achieving some of the best ever results at 14, 16, and 18.
8. Funding for every pupil in England has doubled.
9. Employment is at its highest level ever.
10. 3,700 rebuilt and significantly refurbished schools; including new and improved classrooms, laboratories and kitchens. 
11. 85,000 more nurses.
12. 32,000 more doctors.
13. Brought back matrons to hospital wards.
14. Devolved power to the Scottish Parliament.
15. Devolved power to the Welsh Assembly.
16. Dads now get paternity leave of 2 weeks for the first time.
17. NHS Direct offering free convenient patient advice.
18…

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