31 Mar 2020 10:23
Published by: Daniel Almond

Personal message from the Mayor of Horwich

DURING the past month numerous function requests came in to fill up the Mayor Diary. However, this all changed when it was realised that these functions would not being going ahead and has seen the cancellation of the Pike Race, the Festival of Racing, Bolton Music Services series of concerts, my Mayor’s Ball, the Mayor of Blackrod’s 60s Night and theatre productions.

March 22nd was the 30th anniversary of the twinning of Horwich with Crowborough in Sussex. We were hoping to visit Crowborough during our term of office but that is no longer possible, so we are just celebrating the fact with social media.

The recent Town Council meeting will be the last for a while as we are following national advice to suspend all meetings for the foreseeable future. We shall review on a monthly basis but it has meant that we will not be able to have the scheduled meeting to elect a new Mayor (or inauguration) and so I have been asked to continue in my role beyond the normal changeover date. Please note that any comparison with Vladimir Putin’s quest for continual power are totally unfounded.

Joking aside, it is a very serious situation for our community, as it is for the vast majority of the world. However, I have confidence that the people of Horwich can bring ourselves together to help each other through this crisis.

I have often been very critical of this Conservative government in the past but I am glad they are for once listening to the people who have the expertise and are independent of politics. I am concerned that the message is not getting across. Over the past few days we have seen behaviour which can cost lives. We are lucky at the moment that we have relatively few Covid-19 cases when compared to London and the South East, or even worse, Italy or Spain. The sight of people amassing around supermarkets panic-buying with the potential to spread the disease is very concerning. There is enough food to go round : we already have a culture which wastes too much food. Let’s stop making shopworkers’ lives worse than it is and further risking viral spread.

Another example is the photos of people selling unwrapped toilet rolls out the back of a white van, I expect for a very healthy profit. This is not sign of a good entrepreneur but racketeering and the practice should be illegal.

Many of our community will be facing self-isolation over the coming months, including possibly my wife who has asthma. At the time of writing, we are waiting for clarification on exactly how asthma sufferers need to proceed. Most people should have relatives or friends who can help them out whilst in self-isolation, keeping to the guidelines. However, there will be some cases where they do not have anyone close by who can help. We need to be good neighbours and ensure that everyone is helped.

Horwich Town Council

The Community Centre and Town Council Office is now closed with the town clerk and staff working remotely. Updates will be made using social media and all your councillors’ contact details are on the town council website. Please remember that Horwich Town Council has

very limited powers compared with Bolton Council. All Horwich Town councillors are unpaid volunteers.

We are consulted by Bolton Council on planning matters and at the last minute we were asked to consider and additional planning request - only hours before a recent planning meeting. This was the proposal to build houses on the “Llama Field” off Lever Park Avenue. We were very concerned that the proposers were trying to use underhand methods to sneak this through when restrictions mean that the public are unable to make full representation. I personally was very concerned that it referred to Bolton Core Strategy as a whole whilst failing to recognise that Horwich, purely with the Loco Works development, was contributing the equivalent over 30 years’ worth of new housing. The council unanimously declared that it was inappropriate to consider the planning request and it should be deferred until the public of Horwich could do proper due diligence to the proposal. There is a risk that the restrictions on being able to properly consider the request (including by Bolton Council) can be used by the developers to take advantage.

Keep active

Horwich Leisure Centre and other gyms are closed. Team games are banned but it is still very important for both physical and mental well-being to keep active. At Horwich RMI Harriers, we have instigated “isolated racing” with known routes, provided social distancing is practised – always be at least two metres from another person. The results can then be recorded using apps such as Strava. We also recommend that all kids with internet access make use of P.E with Joe which goes out every day at 9am. Just search “P.E with Joe”.

Physical activity is encouraged but I am concerned that the disregard that many people have had to social distancing may lead to the ultra-draconian measures that have been enforced in some countries.




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