As always, the local team of Liberal Democrat councillors asked our full quota of questions at the last full Council meeting of Bury Council. Here are some of the highlights:
Councillor Michael Powell asked: “We understand the Council are going to make it easier to apply for a street party to celebrate HRH’s Platinum Jubilee in June. Would the Leader consider waiving the application fee to close streets for the Jubilee, to encourage more applications to enable more opportunities for residents to celebrate the Jubilee.”
“I thank the member for his question, and as he will recall, we made financial provisions available to support Jubilee celebrations in our February budget. Part of that funding will indeed be used to fund the waiver of road closure fees for those community groups who want to host street parties. The Community Hubs are working with resident and community groups to encourage and support planning for street parties, including advice on accessing funding.
There have been 14 road closure enquiries in relation to the Jubilee. At present the enquiries are requesting more information on the process and how to apply for a closure. I suspect most if not all will result in closures if the roads are suitable.
We now have an online application process and I will be requesting those that have made an initial enquiry to complete the formal application providing the relevant information.”
Lights Simister Lane Bridge
Councillor Steve Wright asked: “The street lights on the Motorway bridge on Simister Lane have not been working for a number of years now and the council position on this is that they will try to move the lights up the priority list but it may not be practical to do anything until the new financial year. Can the Leader assure us that these lights are a priority and can he give us any assurance that they will be fixed?”
“The repair of these street lights has been delayed because of the need to liaise with National Highways (formerly known as Highways England) due to the potential impact of the work on the motorway.
Officers have now completed the design for the work, and we expect to have replacement lights installed and working by the end of April.”
St Mary’s Park Paths
Councillor Steve Wright asked: “
In October of last year, I reported that the footpaths in St Mary’s flower park needed repair and were dangerous. This was agreed by the department, however I was told the area would be cordoned off whilst financial resources were sourced for the repair. Can the Leader update us on the repair to the path and whether the necessary resources have been sourced?”
“Officers are developing a masterplan for St. Mary’s Flower Park. This masterplan will look at options to improve the park, including the paths, in conjunction with key stakeholders such as the volunteer gardening group and volunteers in Prestwich Clough.
£50,000 fromourGreenspacesManifestofundsfor22/23willbeallocatedtomake improvements to St. Mary’s Flower Park and Prestwich Clough. Other funding sources such as Section 106 are also being explored.”
Councillors Delegated Budgets
Councillor Cristina Tegolo asked: “What amount of the £51,000 allocated to Councillors via the discretionary grants scheme went unspent this year and how many Councillors did not spend their full £1,000 allocation?”
Oversight of the Discretionary Grant Scheme was transferred to Democratic Services in September 2020.
Members were encouraged to consider ways in which their spend could support the 10pointrecoveryplanfortheBorough. Includinghowspendcouldcovertackling poverty, developing a Bury Opportunity guarantee, promoting community voice and supporting community wellbeing.
The Community Hub network, developed in response to the pandemic, has been central to the emerging place-based neighbourhood model in Bury. The Hubs have taken responsibility for understanding issues and needs in a place. This information has been used to prioritise the use of participatory budgets for neighbourhoods and has been made available to Members to help them determine the use of their discretionary fund and thus better placed to respond to local need.
Of the £51000 allocated to Discretionary Grants in 2021/22, £1215.30 has not been spent with 4 Councillors not spending their full allocation.
Following agreement at Budget Council, the discretionary grant scheme has been extended for a further 12 months.”