Faster internet plan has 'ignored' Hawkshaw

Faster internet plan has 'ignored' Hawkshaw

Faster internet plan has 'ignored' Hawkshaw

First published in News Bury Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A councillor has hit out after Hawkshaw was “ignored” in a plan to bring high speed broadband to rural communities.

Bury Council recently announced a number of “key areas” which were to be targeted in a new push to ensure nearly 100 per cent of the borough receives high-speed internet access.

The areas covered by the Greater Manchester broadband programme include Bradley Fold, Bury Freetown, Bury town centre, Pilsworth, Radcliffe town centre, Affetside and Ainsworth.

However North Manor Cllr James Daly, pictured, said he was “astonished” that Hawkshaw had been omitted from the list.

Conservative councillors previously moved a motion at the October full council meeting, which was unanimously passed, to ask for high-speed broadband to be introduced in rural areas.

Nangreaves previously gained high-speed broadband, with residents able to access speeds of up to 75 megabits per second, after the landlord of the Mason Arms, in Walmersley Old Road, allowed the new cabinet to be installed on his land.

Cllr Daly said: “After the motion was unanimously carried, I was therefore astonished to hear that Hawkshaw was not included in the areas that the council had, or have set funding for.

“It is worrying that Hawkshaw is being ignored by the Labour Party in Bury and was not put forward as a priority area, whereas small rural areas such as Affetside have been. It is unacceptable that taxpayers in Hawkshaw are disadvantaged.”

Bury Council has said that to receive match-funding from the European Union, there must be a small or medium-sized business in the postcode, excluding farms or pubs.

Cllr Mike Connolly, leader of the council, said: “The rural element focus of the GM Broadband programme has shifted over time. The programme still incorporates traditional rural areas but now also focuses on connectivity issues within town centres and employment sites.

“Although Hawkshaw was not put forward as a priority area, parts of Hawkshaw may benefit from broadband coming to Affetside and neighbouring Bolton postcode areas.”

Cllr Connolly added: “The next step for the Greater Manchester project is for the successful bidder (BT) to carry out a planning and survey phase.

“It is during this phase that council officers will be able to discuss in greater detail the roll-out of faster broadband speeds across the borough, and we can assess which parts of Hawkshaw will be benefit from broadband.

“Overall, 94 per cent of our priority areas will benefit under this project — which is the highest potential coverage across the eight districts of Greater Manchester involved in the scheme.”

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