The Ramsbottom Town Centre Plan is our Council’s vision for the future, identifying a series of potential projects that seek to create a “more attractive and usable town centre for local residents, businesses and visitors.”
The Plan is currently subject to a public consultation that concludes on the 15th February, and I would urge everyone to read the document and give their views.
It is for us all to influence the Council in its choice of priority projects, but we must be bold and ambitious to ensure Ramsbottom is part of the levelling up agenda and not forgotten behind Bury, Radcliffe and Prestwich. We have seen millions of pounds of direct and proposed government investment in each of these fantastic towns, but the Labour Party seem strangely reluctant to show anywhere near this level of commitment to Ramsbottom.
The Plan should be the blueprint to drive regeneration and economic growth, but many established Ramsbottom businesses are seriously concerned that some of the draft proposals relating to highway infrastructure will seriously impact their ability to trade, and I urge Bury Council to take these representations very seriously. We simply can not have a Plan that is a threat to jobs and the very existence of businesses that have been here in the town for many, many years.
Why is there no detailed proposal to support the community who wish to bring the Co-op Theatre back to life? A unique, nationally significant building from the 1870s that could enhance the cultural and heritage offering in the town. Celebrating and linking the generations who have contributed and been part of the town’s story over many generations, this community space could be used not only as a theatre but provide an important community space for everyone to share.
Levelling Up is about equality of opportunity and access to support services. Family hubs should be opened in each township, including Ramsbottom providing educational, health, employment, mental health and SEN support in one location. We can no longer ignore the paucity of help available in Bury for young people and their families, especially the lack of support for those facing any or all of these challenges. In my view, the Plan should address this and bring services closer to the people of Ramsbottom.
I have no doubt that we can work together to upgrade the Leisure Centre and ensure young people have access locally to facilities such as a 3G pitch for local footballers, something I am currently working on with the Football Foundation.
It is fundamental that the Town Centre retains its character, environment and attractiveness as a place to live, work and visit. Still, Ramsbottom’s future will be defined by its residents. Any vision for its future must concentrate on equality of opportunity to thrive and support every person and business within this brilliant, proud, historic town.