Friends of Ramsbottom Civic Hall (FORCH)

Safeguarding the future of Ramsbottom Civic Hall

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 9th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING – 15th June 2017


Steve Treadgold welcomed 38 members, including the Mayor of Bury, Councillor Dorothy Gunther, Mr Michael Gunther and guests, thanking everybody for attending.  There were 21 apologies for absence.

MINUTES OF THE 2016 AGM: accepted (Proposed David Johnson, Seconded John Ireland)


It is ten years since the Friends of Ramsbottom Civic Hall was set up in 2007 and we have now become a monitoring rather than a pressure group.  Throughout this time FORCH has overseen and participated in a considerable amount of work at the Hall, most recently during the development of the garden.  The East Lancashire Alpine Garden Society’s project was key with important work by Bury Council, Speakeasy and the Hawkshaw Flower Club and the support of Marshalls, who supplied materials.  Bury Council completed the whole project at the end of 2015 so all the planting is now flourishing and the garden is ready for business and it is hoped that it will help to attract wedding bookings.  

     Our opposition to the proposal for a development on the adjoining bowling green was a joint venture with the Ramsbottom Heritage Society.  It involved raising awareness of the application, gathering material for our submissions and attendance at planning meetings by the committee and our members.  During the course of a series of refusals and dismissed appeals we enjoyed the support from a number of other local groups and individuals. In the meantime, the bowling green was listed by Bury Council as an Asset of Community Value, which restricts the owner’s choices.  This was a Heritage Society achievement with help from FORCH.  

     In the future we hope the town will benefit from a degree of cooperation between FORCH and other local community groups.   At present we are becoming involved with a tidy-up of Market Place and the large sign on the front of the Hall is to be replaced by the Council with FORCH support.  Within the Hall we are looking at how the stage steps can be improved and keeping in mind the vacant upper floor.  It is important not to let the impetus go and to continue to monitor events.


Treasurer, Eddie Jones, presented the statement of accounts and the properly audited balance sheet to the meeting.  

     Commenting on the good work being carried out by council officers and colleagues in relation to the Hall, he mentioned a small FORCH contribution to the cost of a new Civic Hall brochure as an example of the collaboration between staff and our group.  FORCH will also help with the cost of the new “Ramsbottom Civic Hall” sign.


For the process of the election, the chairmanship was handed over to the Mayor, Worshipful Councillor Dorothy Gunther.

Cllr Gunther introduced the election by speaking briefly of her feeling of “coming back home” to Ramsbottom Civic Hall with her memories of it being very unlike the beautiful venue of today, the result of its recent substantial improvements.  (The Mayor had originally represented Ramsbottom itself before becoming one of the North Manor councillors and had supported the Hall through many “ups and downs”.)


Proposed Committee members

Chairman   -          Steven Treadgold

Vice Chairman  -  Eddie Jones

Secretary    -        Janet Smith

Treasurer   - Eddie Jones

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

The proposals for the FORCH committee were accepted unaminously.


Following an invitation to members to address the meeting, ask questions or make

suggestions,  the meeting closed with a report from David Catterall, Interim Service Manager, Bury Council’s Civic Venues.

The FORCH AGM will be held soon

The minutes of last year's AGM are below