Friends of Ramsbottom Civic Hall (FORCH)

Safeguarding the future of Ramsbottom Civic Hall

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Eddie Jones welcomed 65 members, including our Honorary President, the Mayor of Bury, Councillor Stella Smith, Mr John Smith, members and guests, thanking everybody for attending.  (He commented that the level of attendance demonstrated that people value the Hall and care about its future.)  There were 18 apologies for absence.  

     The meeting was combined with the launch of the recently completed Civic Hall garden so, in a brief introduction, guests were made aware of the Hall’s recent history and about those involved in supporting Bury Council’s work since the setting up of the Friends group.  The East Lancashire Alpine Garden Society had agreed to support the development of the Hall’s garden.  Funding was provided from the Society, some of its individual members and Bury Council  while Marshalls kindly agreed to supply stone.  The efforts of the Society then produced further benefit from the Council.  The completed project now provides a valuable extra facility for users of the Hall and gives much pleasure to all.

MINUTES OF THE 2015 AGM: accepted (Proposed – Nica Jones, Seconded – Tony Mosedale)


During 2015 Friends members and others from the local community, had attended Bury Council’s planning committee meetings on two occasions to object to similar proposals to build a block of flats on the former bowling green immediately behind the Civic Hall.  Both applications were refused by the planning committee and an appeal was dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate.

     In another response to these applications FORCH has been working with Ramsbottom Heritage Society on the Society’s nomination of the bowling green site to be listed as an Asset of Community Value.  Bury Council’s approval of the listing was confirmed in an internal review but the site’s owner has appealed against the Council’s listing decision to a First Tier Tribunal.

     Having been closely connected to this process we have come to recognise the need for facilities in the town centre and listened to ideas which local people have put forward. We will be considering what it might be possible to achieve in the long term and what our group could do. Unfortunately, the effect of the ACV designation is very limited even if the owner decides to sell the site.

     The committee has been encouraging the provision of Wi Fi at the Hall.  In a January 2016 update to FORCH on Ramsbottom Business Group’s project to install a Wi Fi system in Ramsbottom town centre, their Chairman reported that the Civic Hall will be within the range of the service.


Treasurer, Eddie Jones reported FORCH’s funds to be in a relatively comfortable condition with a balance similar to that of the previous year.  A Council bursary, which covered administration costs had been received.  The statement of accounts was presented to the meeting along with the properly audited balance sheet.

The accounts were accepted. (Proposed – Cyril Formby, Seconded – Kate Slingsby)


Proposed Committee members:

Chairman                                          Steve Treadgold

Vice-chairman and Treasurer         Eddie Jones

Secretary                                          Janet Smith

Committee members                       Sheila Magnall

Stuart Rothwell

Dorothy Gunther

The proposals for the FORCH committee were accepted unanimously.  (Proposed – Cyril Formby, Seconded – Pam Woosey)


Nica and (Vice Chairman) Eddie Jones’s Golden Wedding celebration had been held at the Hall.  Nica told the meeting that she had been proud of the high standard of everything, including the Civic Hall itself, the service provided by Hall staff and the catering by Bury Venues.  She praised Samantha, the Hall Manager for her hard work and mentioned particularly the excellent standard of cleanliness.  Several people among Golden Wedding guests who came from far afield had remarked that Ramsbottom is very lucky to have such a wonderful venue.


Mrs Kay Caren, who has supported our group since it was set up in 2007, commented that all at the AGM/Garden launch event were pensioners.  She wondered where the younger people who use the Hall were and suggested there is a need for young committee members.

   Mrs Caren was reassured that there are young regular Hall users and also that younger people attend family celebrations such as weddings (seven weddings this year plus other wedding receptions where people may provide their own food). At present, during the refurbishment of Bury Met, young people come to Ramsbottom Civic Hall from there.  FORCH is keen to welcome younger committee members.


Bryan Farlow, also a long standing member and ex-treasurer of FORCH, pointed out that although the large “Ramsbottom Civic Hall” sign is only five years old paint is peeling off in four different places.  The Hall Manager told the meeting that progress is being made, either to repaint the sign or replace it.

At the end of AGM business FORCH Chairman Steve Treadgold thanked the other members of the committee who had been “holding the fort” during the time that he had been working in London and only able to attend certain meetings.

Before she carried out the official launch of Ramsbottom Civic Hall’s courtyard and garden the Mayor had kind and helpful words for everyone: our group, gardeners and non-gardeners, the Hall staff, and our other friends and guests.  She particularly thanked all those involved in the development of the garden (2011- 2015) and also the Hall staff for their hard work to ensure the success of the venue.  This was her first visit since the refurbishment of the Hall and she was most impressed with the transformation.  

The FORCH AGM will be held on Thursday 15th June 2017 at 6.30 p.m.

See invitation on the news page

The minutes of last year's AGM are below