11th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING – 21st May 2019


Twenty four members were welcomed, including FORCH’s Honorary President, the Mayor of Bury, Councillor Trevor Holt, and guests, and were thanked for attending.  There were sixteen apologies for absence.

MINUTES OF THE 2018 AGM: accepted.  (Tony Mosedale was the proposer.)


From being under threat of closure about ten years ago Ramsbottom Civic Hall has now consolidated its position and moved forward to become valued as one of Bury Council’s assets.  The increased number and variety of events, and activities, which are all managed by Hall staff, now benefit more people from the local community and beyond.  With only a few committee members, FORCH no longer puts on its own events.

In the last twelve months there have been developments which affect the Hall’s environment.  Before the Grant Arms refurbishment began, along with the wider public, the FORCH committee had serious concerns, so an invitation from the owner to have an informal meeting was accepted.  With work on the Grants now well under way and the prospect of its renaissance we are relieved to know the appearance and security of the Hall’s neighbouring building will be much improved.

Some more of the funding which had been obtained by Neil Long, Bury Council’s Assistant Director (Operations) for FORCH has enabled the Alpine Garden Society to carry out further work on the garden area.  It has also been used to buy a new shed (because of its layout, the Hall has very limited usable storage space) and two garden benches have been provided.  Garden maintenance has been carried out and we will try to continue with the work.  However, ahead of us are what seem to be some heavier and more labour intensive tasks so we have looked into hiring a gardener.  One enquiry produced a quote of £50 per ½ day which on a regular basis would not be feasible for our group.

The new bar carpet, which FORCH members’ money and a generous donation from local manufacturer Cormar Carpets funded, was fitted soon after last year’s AGM.  For their part, Bury Council provided extra carpeting for the Hall’s front staircase and entrance.

FORCH also undertook the provision of a defibrillator for the Hall.  We have been offered help with this and expect it will soon be installed.  The plan is to have a system similar to ones used by the NHS.


The outgoing treasurer, Eddie Jones, presented to the meeting the statement of accounts and the properly audited balance sheet.  He had been elected to the post in 2012 replacing FORCH’s first treasurer, Bryan Farlow, who had done good work from 2007, especially when large sums of money were raised and spent on refurbishing the Hall’s interior.  Eddie reported that the balance FORCH has managed to maintain is a reasonable sum and that it will continue to give the group scope to carry out some initiatives.  If it is possible to go to funders, FORCH do aim to re-establish a sense of purpose regarding the upper floor of the Hall which initially needs two new means of access.

John Ireland proposed that the accounts statement be accepted.  The seconder was Bryan Farlow.


For the process of the election, the chairmanship was handed over to the Mayor, Worshipful Councillor Trevor Holt.

He introduced the election by thanking FORCH for inviting him to the meeting and congratulating our group on over 10 years of good work.  He was very pleased to be in Ramsbottom and pointed out that he was wearing the Ramsbottom UDC chain of office.  As Honorary President of FORCH, he voiced our appreciation to Hall staff and those at Bury Town Hall for all the hard work which is so important in the success of the venue.  He also expressed his personal respect for FORCH committee member Dorothy Gunther and his hope for her speedy recovery from her very recent injury.

Proposed Committee members:

Chairman -     Eddie Jones

Vice Chairman - Steven Treadgold

Secretary -        Janet Smith

Treasurer - Steven Treadgold

Committee members - Sheila Magnall, Stuart Rothwell, Dorothy Gunther, Julie Lomas

There were no other proposals. The proposals for the FORCH committee were accepted.  (Proposer: Nica Jones, seconder: John Ireland)



Mr Phillip Rose, the new owner of the Grant Arms, had been invited to attend the AGM and was asked to address the meeting.

He hopes to achieved his target date of 1st September for the completion of the renovation.  Mr Rose briefly described the work done so far, saying that it has been more extensive than he had anticipated.  After 20 to 30 years of poor maintenance and repairs, it has involved the removal of a large amount of material, including lots of beams and a large area of rotten wooden floor.  Mr Rose also reported on extra costs which had been caused by recent thefts of lead from the roof and vandalism.

A plan for a complete new replacement floor has been approved by the Council.  Electrics have been stripped out ready to be replaced and from the beginning of June windows would be taken out to be repaired and replaced as per Council specifications.  In two weeks, the building’s iconic clock will be taken to Cumbria for a full rebuild.  The finished interior of the building will be open plan.  The fittings in one of the rooms, such as radiators which have been sourced from a Scottish castle, are being chosen to harmonise with the style of the building.

Car Parking

Initially the offices will have 20 staff, later rising to 45.  There will be negotiations with Bury Council to lease back 28 spaces.

The former bowling green was confirmed by Mr Rose as still being in the ownership of Mr Barnes, the previous owner of the Grant Arms Hotel.

Mr Rose asked for feedback from the community on new signage.  The intention is for it to confirm that the building used to be the Grant Arms and have Ramsbottom connections.


After a recent finance meeting, David was able to tell FORCH that Ramsbottom Civic Hall has exceeded its sales target by £15K, which is thanks to Hall Manager Sam and her team who are being given the opportunity to initiate as wide a variety of bookings as possible.  David also expressed his appreciation to FORCH committee member Julie Lomas/Cornall for bringing a very significant amount of regular business to the venue.

Live music events are now attracting a good level of custom and the promising shift to wellness activities will continue in the coming year.


FORCH’s incoming Chairman, Eddie Jones thanked all the Hall’s staff, for whom nothing seems to be too much trouble, and emphasised how much our members and other Hall users appreciate their efforts.