In March Bury Council appointed consultants to draw up plans to ensure Ramsbottom continues to flourish as a main visitor destination over the next 10 to 15 years.

“The plan will provide a strategy to guide a series of town centre initiatives aimed at maintaining its vibrancy and attractiveness.”

I have been briefed on phase one of the plan and remain concerned Bury Council’s ambitions are limited and do not reflect the transformative vision for change being seen with the successful Levelling Up Fund bids for Bury and Radcliffe. At present the plan proposes potential changes to parking and green spaces, amendments to street layouts and pedestrian zones but does not go far enough.

We must prioritise the purchase and renovation of the Co-op Theatre, a heritage asset. As chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Northern Culture, we are producing a report highlighting how historic institutions can be a catalyst, not only as fantastic arts venues, but creating jobs, encouraging tourism, supporting business and delivering services for the most vulnerable.

Members of the Ramsbottom Co-op Hall Heritage Trust are doing a fantastic job, working tirelessly to bring this historic gem back to life and I will continue to support them.

Ramsbottom has obvious challenges related to traffic and parking but we must be ambitious and invest for the long term. Bury Council should provide sufficient funding to support the Civic Hall and have a plan to maximise this community asset, working closely with the Friends of Ramsbottom Civic Hall. We must upgrade civic owned sporting facilities and look at measures to support independent traders on the high street and rejuvenate the market.

I will continue to lobby the Theatres Trust and English Heritage to financially support residents’ vision for their town and utilise government funding, working with Bury Council to improve facilities for young people and those who need frontline services brought closer to where they live.

I have rarely been to a place where civic pride shines as brightly as it does in Ramsbottom. In the spirit of co-operation, I agree with Cllr O’Brien when he says, “The centres that remain successful will be those that have a diverse range of visitor and leisure attractions, modern workplaces and a reconfigured and varied retail experience.”

It is our duty to deliver, and the Ramsbottom Place Management Plan will be a crucial part of this.