Chair’s Annual Report: 5th September 2019
I have been Chair for 2 years; I have been an active committee member of Staybridge Town Team since the Town Teams were formed nationwide by Mary Portas. I was Vice Chair for 3 years before becoming Chair.
We have had a very busy 12 months promoting and making improvements to the town Centre. We have made some good progress with our plans.
As volunteers, the Town Team understands it is not easy to fit in periods of volunteering with our everyday lives. Seeking and retaining a high level of volunteer support is no easy task and, although we have a significant number of volunteers on our database, it is quite often the familiar faces that we see at our clear ups and other events. We are indebted to all of our volunteers who give so freely of their time for the benefit of everyone.
Our Town Team
Our Executive Committee (EC) currently comprises a group of dedicated volunteers. Their significant input is testament to the dedication of the whole team for the benefit of the Community, they work tirelessly in a great effort to improve the town Centre.
Our Current Members are
Andrew Watkins, Treasurer, Local Resident
Christopher Tyler, Local Resident
Councillor Adrian Pearce
Councillor Clive Patrick
Councillor David Sweeton, Communications Officer
Councillor Sam Gossling,
Jacqui Watkins, Faith Communities Representative
Nicola Buckley, Vice Chair Business Community
Ray Harrison, Chair, Business Community
Heather Burthom, Business Community
This is not an autocratic organization and members’ views are encouraged. All issues are debated thoroughly at our meetings which provides for a healthy, democratic and effective environment,
where we need to encourage new proactive committee members. We are always looking for new active members to join our team.
What the Town Team promotes
· Focused on things that will help build sustainable growth in the town Centre.
· Work closely with the local authority and Staybridge Town Centre Challenge and other partners to achieve the best possible outcome for the town.
· Look to foster closer ties with the business community and provide advice for new and existing businesses.
· Helped facilitate delivery of quality events which bring footfall and visitors to our town Centre.
· We regularly open the Civic Hall under STT’s name and work in partnership with event companies.
· We constantly promote to open and make public use of the Civic Hall.
· Making the town Centre a prettier and better place to shop-work-live S.W.L.
Our plans are progressed through the following sub-groups which are regularly reviewed and updated at our monthly meetings.
These groups are:
· Greenspace/In Bloom
· Fundraising/ Finance
· Schools Liaison
With changing times throughout the whole
Country means all self-employed traders and shopkeepers need to keep their business’s moving in a forward direction, blame is sometimes placed on the internet for consumers purchasing goods, but every small town is in the same position we must all think of new ideas and keep up with market trends.
In Stalybridge we have many good and ambitious traders who have been successful for many years as one shop may close there is always someone new wanting to be self-employed and take over the empty unit, if rents are kept fair which I think Stalybridge has realistic rents this will keep the premises occupied.
We also need the traders to help make the Centre a prettier place to shop they may have to help and be involved with the flower planters and Christmas lights if everyone does a little, we all create a lot.
There will be approximately 16 shops which will be open in Armentieres square during 2019/20 which will improve our retail shopping in the area and bring in more footfall.
We have good support from our town team representatives to the business’s, they can always rely on good advice from our team members.
Our new web site has recently become live and now hosts some exciting coverage, Nicola Buckley, our Vice Chair continues to carry out great work on inputting of events, notices and interesting items on the web site.
Also, our Facebook page is updated regular by our communications officer Councillor Dave Sweeton Facebook now has many followers, photos are constantly downloaded of news and events also of our volunteer’s clean up sessions.
We have Wi Fi in the town Centre which was introduced by TMBC this can be used in the main central streets of the town Centre it is hard to know how much usage is used by the public as there is little feedback in general, but this still must be a benefit for the customers who come to
Stalybridge. We have also had radio coverage by Tameside radio when certain events have been put on in Stalybridge this is aired to thousands of listeners to promote the town. Some of the events covered were The Craft Markets, Christmas lights switch on, Carnival Festival, Artisan markets.
Greenspace / In Bloom
During 2018 we had new hard wood box planters made and positioned around Armentieres Square. These planters are filled with different plants all year round to provide a beautiful colorful display of flowers. To be able to purchase these plants we rely on donations and our own fund raising. We would like to thank Mottram Road allotments for planting one of our planters this year.
Peter Rawson works closely with the Canal and River Trust (CRT) and the Huddersfield Canal Society to improve the environment and landscaped areas alongside the canal.
We are trying to prepare an area at the side of the new cabin as an area for Incredible Edible which allows plants to be grown to be shared with the community.
We have also planted large areas with bedding plants at the side of the cabin earlier this year which were kindly donated to us.
We would like to thank Ian Saxon and Nick Sayers, officers of TMBC for their continued help and support around the Town Centre. Nick Sayers arranged a full clean up around the town 27th February 2019 which proved to be a huge success with many volunteers arranging to help on this worthwhile project, over 2 skips were filled with local debris.
The town Centre is a totally alien environment for the Canada Geese, they are grazers, and feeding them with bread is not good for their health; encourages vermin and pollutes the water.
We continue to organize monthly clear up sessions primarily along the canal but also in parts of the town Centre. There are over 100 volunteers listed on our database and we regularly have 15 to 20 people attending. I believe the volunteers have made a real difference with this particularly along the canal where there is no publicly funded routine for the collection of litter.
Our volunteers’ cabin on Tesco’s car park has now been replaced with a new steel container. We are in the process of building a new apex roof to the cabin and installing a vinyl photographic wrap around on all sides of the cabin. The photographs will feature the canal and Armentieres Square, which will be on PVC vinyl. We have secured grants from the Canal and River Trust and Tesco’s bag for help to provide this work.
We will also be able to carry out a new fit out to the inside and provide new tools for our volunteers. The internal works and fit out is a donation from the High Street Funds.
We are trying to arrange secure mooring on the canal so canal barges can moor overnight in a safe confined area. 9 local councillors have donated their ward funds to help provide the funds for the secure moorings, the new moorings will be facing Tesco’s store, this project is in the early stages. The Huddersfield Canal Society and Stalybridge Town Team will also be contributing to make sure there is enough funds for the work to commence.
STT have now arranged events in the civic hall under our own name in relationship with craft markets and other event companies. There are about 7 events per year held in the Civic Hall which helps to bring an increased footfall into the town on Saturdays.
More needs to be done to open the civic hall more often and efforts to encourage are always ongoing our local town team councilors carry out good work in supporting us, we require more events we need organizers to contact us to help keep the doors open and are grateful to clubs like the motor bike club and the beer festival who use the hall every year.
The Christmas light switch on event in 2018 was a huge success in association with TMBC who donated the Christmas tree and lights. We helped to perform a very grand event with a full stage and performers taking a different dimension to the normal light switch on. We would like to thank Broadhurst transport for donating the stage to us which proved to be invaluable.
This year on November 16th we are to have a lantern parade around the town organized by TMBC and the professional team who will co-ordinate all the designs and outfits, this should turn into a full day of activities. This coming year the Christmas light switch on will be like no other event performed in Stalybridge.
We had a very sunny weekend this year for the Stalybridge weekend carnival festival 22nd and 23rd June, Ian Cochrane and the carnival committee arranged the weekend with help from the town team members which created a spectacular festival on the Saturday, we had some cars in Armentieres Square and a talent event. The Carnival Parade marched on the Sunday which helped to bring thousands of people into the town Centre there were also attractions in Cheetham Park. We also had free boat trips for the weekend, which was a delight for the children, sponsored by the Huddersfield Canal Society.
In the Civic Hall during August we have been fortunate to have Stalybridge chosen for the first town to host the ‘Den’. The Den is a temporary auditorium stage and was built inside the Civic Hall, the Den is a mobile touring theatre and is sponsored and supported by the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, £1 Million has been donated by Bruntwood Properties (Oglesby family) to take the theatre travelling around the North West.
Planning and management of events is extremely time consuming and whilst the Town Team is keen to see more high-quality events in town we will need to look at alternative ways of funding, organizing and managing these in future involving all parties who have an interest in the promotion of the town.
Our Treasurer has provided monthly financial updates and our governance, financial management and budgeting is a regular feature at Executive Committee meetings.
I would like to thank our Treasurer Andrew Watkins for his professional account skills and for stepping in to take the minutes of our meetings whilst we’ve been without a formal Secretary.
This year’s accounts are summarized separately in the Treasurer’s report.
To raise more funds the introduction of the new Stalybridge Town Team 100 club was established, we are now in our 2nd year of the 100 Club and this has helped to bring in substantial funds we have offered prizes for the 100 club members hopefully this will continue to be successful as we attract more members the cost is £12.00 per year with a cash prize and voucher prizes donated by Tesco Store and The Candolim Indian Restaurant.
Christopher Tyler is the leader of the school group and has managed to establish good links with both of our Secondary schools, Copley Academy and West Hill. We now have comprehensive feedback from both institutions of what young people would like to see in town and which will help formulate a more in-depth planning response when engaging with Town Centre development consultations. Whilst this is still a work in progress it is essential to the town for our future residents to be engaged in the development of a community where they would like to live and work and bring up their own families. We are also encouraging pupils to get involved in community activities i.e.: to help with our clear ups and landscaping work; to hold a stall in the Artisan Market and we’d also like to see more of their musical talents on display in the town Centre.
This is a very important area of our work and is a time-consuming task, so I would like to thank Chris for all his efforts to date and for persevering with the reports.
Planning was introduced to the sub group, so we could keep a breast with the planning applications in the town Centre this is so we can voice our opinions to help protect the buildings and conservations area for the standard our market town requires we only advise back to TMBC our thoughts of the application and our suggestions.
Building New Homes in the Town Centre
In 2018 we saw the derelict site of Casablanca turn into an attractive 67 apartment building with retail/commercial outlets on the ground floor overlooking the canal in Armentieres Square, this building is the new Summers Quay.
We also have a new apartment block on Castle Street, with 38 apartments currently being constructed ready for completion in the new year which will be occupied by residents of Moss Care Housing Association.
These new and future buildings will help add more footfall to our retail shops.
With these new apartment’s potentially we may have an extra 200 people carrying out their weekly shopping in the town Centre.
(STCC) Stalybridge Town Centre Challenge
Over the last year STCC has moved forward for what may become a great development opportunity to the area known as the West End for residential and business retail. The scheme is still in draft stages but should prove positive in 2020. Like the Summer Quays building development they are a long time in the process of developing the full project. Through the Andy Burnham original scheme when Stalybridge was nominated as the town in Tameside which TMBC put forward trying to capture central government grants, this project has turned out to be a great opportunity for Stalybridge.
Our Non-Political organization
At the May 2018 and 2019 local election there was a new political party which stood called the Stalybridge Town Party this has proved somewhat confusing as we have been associated with this party and some of our good efforts of work within the town might have had the voters believe that the Stalybridge Town Party are the same as our Stalybridge Town Team they are NOT.
We and our volunteers have worked hard to establish a community ethos within the town which is frequently complimented on by the public and various organizations and it is not correct to mislead the public into believing that we are affiliated with this political organization. We are an unbiased nonpolitical voluntary group.
Stalybridge Town Team has been established for over 8 years originally formed from the Mary Portas innovation scheme, the Town Teams are nationwide and are very well respected in every borough all over the country.
We continue to work closely with TMBC local authority, Tesco Store and other traders who help to contribute to make Stalybridge Town Team a success. We strive to keep our town Centre as busy and attractive as possible.
We still need to attract new members to the meetings your help in asking people you know who may have interest and something to contribute in joining would be of great benefit.,
I would like to thank everyone of our town team members and all the volunteers who work so hard carrying our duties within the town, I appreciate the time they give up making our community a solid unit.
Our proposed projects during 2019/20 are:
· To build a façade and roof around the new cabin and complete the internal and the landscaped area around the cabin.
· Refurbish the benches in Armentieres Square with new slatted seating and repainting the cast iron.
· Proceed with the structure for the new secure moorings on the canal for which will accommodate 2/3 barges.
· Introduce an area for the Incredible Edible scheme.
The team have made great strides and improvements this year I look forward to working with all the town team committee and the volunteers in the coming year we still have so much to do our volunteering enthusiasm continues.
I have been proud to be Chair for the last 2 years
If you have any comments regarding the report, I would appreciate your feedback.
Email address: STT20@outlook.com
Ray Harrison Chair STT