Monday, 20 December 2010

Snowy Chorlton

Chorlton looks fantastic with all the snow and it's looking like we may have our first White Christmas in many years. However with the snow comes a lot of disruption and I know a lot of people have been finding it difficult driving and walking around Chorlton.

This is a map of all the gritted roads in Chorlton ward:

That's Barlow Moor Road, Manchester Road, Wilbraham Road, High Lane, Edge Lane, Egerton Road North, Buckingham Road, Brantingham Road, Oswald Road, Kensington Road, Longford Road, Beech Road, St Clements Road, Chorlton Green, Ivygreen Road, Kingshill Road, Brookburn Road and Claude Road.

There are also seven grit bins across Chorlton:

Oswald Road near the junction with Claridge Road
Brantingham Road / Buckingham Road
Beech Road near to sheltered accommodation.
Chorlton Green (on the path next to the cemetery)
Vicars Road / St Clements Road
Brundretts Road / Brahbam Close
Hampton Road / Wilbraham Road

I think this is woefully inadaquate for a ward of Chorlton's size. That one grit bin for every 2000 people! In the Summer the Labour Council prommised Chorlton an additional 11 grit bins. However they have only installed an additional four bins. Furthermore the Council has not ensured they are regularly topped up. I have been inspecting them regularly and have requested empty bins to be restocked. However if you come across an empty bin please let me know and I will get it refilled. I will also continue alongside Cllr Paul Ankers to press the Council to give us the 11 bins we were prommissed and ensure we are preppared for the Winter Weather.

Please also let me know if you are aware of anyone who may need additional support during the cold and icy weather.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Lib Dems saving our Post Offices

New Lib Dem plans will protect our local Post Offices after years of Labour cuts.
Your Focus Team is pleased that the Liberal Democrats in government are delivering on another one of their promises.
Under Labour 5,000 Post Offices were closed.
The Lib Dem plan will see the Post Office:
 Becoming a One-stop shop.
 A central point of our community life again.
 Investing £1.3 billion into the Post Office Network, protecting the 11,500 remaining Post Offices.
 Having more services.
 Offering information for jobseekers,
 Access to over 80% of bank accounts including RBS and NatWest.
 Longer opening hours.
 Post Office services being offered at the shop till.
 Small, local shops providing some Post Office services.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Age UK Mobility Shop

This morning I attended the grand opening of Chorlton's Age UK Mobility Shop by the Lord Mayor, Cllr Hackett.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Beech Rd Halloween Event

Friends of Beech Road Park are celebrating after over a hundred people turned up to celebrate Halloween at the Park last Saturday.

The Halloween event aimed at small children included traditional apple bobbing (with organic apples donated by the Unicorn), a scary story tent, face painting, drawing and competitions to find the best Halloween costume and Pumpkin.

Chorlton Lib Dem Councillor Victor Chamberlain said afterwards "This year's Halloween event was a great success and all the children looked like they had a lot of fun. I was delighted to judge the Pumpkin competition, I really liked Evie's wining Pumpkin [pictured] because of its eerie expression!"

Jenny Slee, a friend of Beech Rd Park said "All the organising was so worthwhile when so many turned up and had such a good time."

Monday, 4 October 2010

Council needs to support our Shops

Last week I wrote to the South Manchester Reporter's letter page about how I had invited Eric Pickles to come and visit Chorlton, so that he could assess the impact the Mega TESCO in Stretford would have on our shops. Unfortunately his Department have since written to inform me that there was " insufficient grounds for his intervention" and as a result Mr Pickles would not 'call in' the application.

I am deeply disappointed by this decision and do not agree with it. This development will have huge implications for district Centres and independent shops in areas like Chorlton and Whalley Range. Our shops our already under enormous financial pressure and need as much support as possible in these challenging times. I really hope the City Council take note of this decision and make sure they do all they can to ensure that Chorlton and other areas are able to continue to flourish despite this development.

The campaign against the development has at least shown that the majority of people in Chorlton are opposed to yet another supermarket in their area that we don't want another in the district centre. I will continue to work hard alongside my Lib Dem colleagues John Leech MP and Cllrs Ankers, Lewis, Ryan, Bethell and Grant to support Chorlton's independent shops.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Pickles invited to try Chorlton's Pickles

Following the announcement that the Mega TESCO in Stretford will be reviewed, Chorlton Liberal Democrat Councillor, Victor Chamberlain, has invited Eric Pickles MP the Communities Secretary to visit Chorlton to see the impact the proposed Mega TESCO would have.

Coun Chamberlain said "I sent Mr Pickles an invitation to visit Chorlton so that he can see how thriving and important our local independent shops really are. Local traders often tell me that this is a very difficult time for them and that the proposed Mega TESCO would just make things worse. Local businesses like the Barbakan Deli on Manchester Rd offer top quality produce including Pickles, which I'm sure the Minister will enjoy if he decides to visit us. I've also asked Mr Pickles to hold a Public Enquiry about the application so that local people can have their say and have their voices heard."

Stefan Najduch (Pictured with Coun Chamberlain), the Director of the Barbakan Delicatessen, added "TESCO represents the deterioration and killing off of independent shops. If we're not careful there will be nowhere like the Barbakan left. The decision made by Trafford Council does not seem right. I would love to have the opportunity to tell Eric Pickles what this TESCO would do to Chorlton; and I'm sure he would really appreciate what the Barbakan has to offer."

Friday, 24 September 2010

Chorlton Lib Dems lobby Minister about Mega TESCO

At The Lib Dem Party Conference this weekend in Liverpool, Chorlton Councillors Victor Chamberlain and Paul Ankers raised the issue of the Mega TESCO in Stretford with Liberal Democrat Communities and Local Government Minister, Greater Manchester's Andrew Stunell MP (pictured).

Cllr Chamberlain said:

"I told Andrew Stunell how inappropriate and damaging the Mega TESCO could be for Chorlton's Independent shops. I welcomed the fact that Ministers in the Local Government Department have decided to review the application, and asked the Minister to hold a public enquiry so we can really see how much one of the UK's largest supermarkets could affect local communities like Chorlton. "

Cllr Paul Ankers added:

"Trafford Council just rubber stamped this development without considering how it would affect places like Chorlton and Stretford. We really need to hold a Public Enquiry so that Chorlton people, and others, can have their say and have their voices heard."

Monday, 13 September 2010

MegaTESCO decision to be reviewed

I am really encouraged to learn that the new Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, has decided to re-examine the proposed MegaTESCO in Stretford. This scheme, inappropriately linked to the redevelopment of Lancashire Cricket Club, is completely unacceptable and should be stopped. In my opinion the MegaTESCO will kill off nearby independent traders and seriously threaten the vitality and viability of local centres like Chorlton, Stretford, Whalley Range, Hulme and others. Before the election I joined other campaigners to hand in a petition to the Government Office North West asking for the planning decision to be "called in" (pictured). Unfortunately this request was refused. I wrote to Mr Pickles after the election urging him to reconsider the application. However recent developments ( have meant a review is now back on the cards. I would encourage as many people as possible to join me in writing again to ask for a public enquiry.

I seriously hope that the Communities Secretary has the sense to hold an enquiry so we can properly assess the impact one of the largest supermarkets in Britain could have. The relentless growth of TESCO has crushed small businesses and local shops. And it has turned many of our communities into Tescotowns. Eric Pickles needs to act now to stop Chorlton and Stretford from joining them!

Friday, 10 September 2010

Miner Victory over Chorton Library Plaque

An alliance of local people, LibDems and the Chorlton Civic Society are celebrating the restoration of a plaque commemorating Chorlton's part in the 1984/5 Miners strike and the support Chorlton people gave to them. The plaque was removed and placed in a quiet corner at the back of the Library early this year, but campaigners wanted it to remain in a more prominent spot and it has been restored to the foyer of the Library.

Chorlton has a fantastic local history which the Council should be proud of. I'm pleased they have finally seen sense and reinstated the plaque to a prominent location.

Chorlton Cllr Paul Ankers said,

"There was some logic to it being with the local studies books, but there was more sense to it being front and centre of people's thoughts."

Activists raised thousands of pounds collecting in the precinct area throughout the strike, one weekend Chorlton housed 200 miners on their way to pickets and had a football match fundraiser in Chorlton Park. Chorlton was twinned with four pits, Bold NUM, Erdington, Armthorpe & Walkden pits in the 1980's.

David Graham (pictured with his wife, Cllr Ankers and John Leech MP) was a key supporter of the miners in Chorlton in the 80's,

"Chorlton people raised many thousands of pounds to keep food on miners tables and the plaque celebrates a spirit that Chorlton hasn't lost and shouldn't forget."

The local Civic Society were supportive of the plaque and their Chair, Jenny Slee, commented

"We are keen for more of Chorlton's history to be known and seen. The plaque and knowledge of it needs to be clear for future generations.

The Civic Society, in conjunction with Library Manager David Green, have organised a small unveiling ceremony on 14th September at 7.30pm.

Local MP John Leech, grandson of a miner, said, "What Chorlton did was remarkable and we should be proud of its community spirit."

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Labour's Priorities "All Wrong" - Council Criticised for £150,000 Spend on Acrobat Statues

Manchester Liberal Democrats have questioned the Labour Council's priorities in tough times after it was revealed that they spent £150,000 of public money on statues of acrobats outside the new temporary town hall.

Around 1,500 staff and many Council services have transferred to a new building at "One First Street" near the Whitworth Street railway line. They will remain there for 3 years during Manchester's Town Hall revamp.

But Mancunians were surprised to see 5 statues of "stick people" being installed outside the new temporary facility. Manchester Liberal Democrats have discovered that these statues cost £150,000 of public money. Deputy Leader Councillor Paul Shannon said:

"You have to question the Council's priorities. Most people can think of better things to spend £150,000 of public money on. Only this week, the Council cancelled alleygating schemes across the City - yet they can find the money for these "stick people" of questionable artistic merit !"

It is understood that the Labour Council leader personally approved the statues. Manchester's Liberal Democrat Councillors believe that this funding should have been spent on improving Manchester's inadequate public services.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Manchester Labour can't be bothered to engage with young people

Labour Town Hall Chiefs have threatened to scrap an innovative Sub Group looking at engaging with Young People because they can't find enough Labour Councillors to volunteer. Labour's Mike Carmody, the Chairman of the Children and Young Person’s Scrutiny Committee told Tuesday’s meeting, (20/7/2010), “"the subgroup has to be ‘politically balanced’, and if it can’t maybe it should be scrapped”. He also called engagement with young people "dead issue".

Chorlton Lib Dem Councillor Victor Chamberlain, who is Manchester’s youngest Councillor, said,

"If some Labour Councillors can't be bothered to engage with young people they should let those of us that will get on with it. I for one think too many of Manchester’s children and teenagers feel excluded and as though their views don’t matter. This group could make a real difference for them and show that the Council does care and wants to include them.”

Lib Dem Children's spokesperson Marc Ramsbottom added,

“Labour Councillors who are refusing to join this group should be ashamed of themselves. This Labour Council thinks it can ignore the views of our younger citizens but I think that is unacceptable. I hope Labour Councillors will reconsider their ‘busy schedules’ and allow this committee to go ahead.”

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Lets Fix Chorlton's Potholes!

Enough is enough with the decline of Chorlton roads. Potholes are everywhere and the situation only gets worse under our Labour Council. Lets get this mess sorted out once and for all! Add a blue place mark next to any potholes you know about to the map below. Or Report your potholes to either or or

Help us get Chorlton fixed,-2.274599&spn=0.035737,0.076818&z=14

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Floella Benjamin visits Chorlton

Today I was delighted to welcome Floella Benjamin OBE, amongst many other things the star of Children's television programme 'Playschool', to Chorlton. Floella joined John Leech and myself at 'Head over Heals' to meet local parents and children. Floella who is an advisor to Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems on on policies relating to children and early years provision, seemed to really enjoy her time in Chorlton and was very positive about this popular local business.

Floella said: "The Liberal Democrats are the only party who can provide long term ideas for real change. It is clear that this country is at a crucial time both politically and historically.

“The attitudes and behaviour of some have effected the many and the public have been let down for far too long. Change comes when people work together for a common goal and I am proud to support the Liberal Democrats, a party whose values reflect my own, especially when it comes to children.

“I have spent many years campaigning for a society that is based on integrity, trust and morality. And it is clear that this belief is at the very core of everything the Liberal Democrats do. We are tired of the stale ideas and empty words of the red/blue combination.

“The Liberal Democrats are the only party who can provide long term ideas for real change. This country is in dire need of a fresh start and that fresh start can only come with the Liberal Democrats, who for me are the only viable alternative.”

Friday, 23 April 2010

Manchester Lib Dems call for St George's Bank Holiday

Happy St George's Day to everyone in Chorlton!

Manchester Lib Dem Group Leader Cllr Simon Ashley has today called for St George's Day to be made into a Bank Holiday.

Cllr Ashley said today,

"Scotland and Northern Ireland have more Bank Holidays than England and Wales, and have a Bank Holiday for their patron saints. Why can't England do the same? Only by celebrating our diversity and collective achievements can we reclaim nationalism from those on the far-right who seek to subvert it."

Cllr Ashley added,

"St. George's Day is a brilliant opportunity for our country to come together and show the pride we have in our culture, society and history. Many Manchester businesses fly the English flag with pride and I think a new Bank Holiday for St. George's Day would be a great way to celebrate our wonderful country."

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Fairness - The Liberal Democrat Manifesto Launch

Nick Clegg has launched the Liberal Democrat General Election manifesto. The manifesto sets out four clear priorities of fair taxes, a fair chance for every child, a fair economy, and a fair deal by cleaning up politics.

At the launch, Nick Clegg said:

Every manifesto needs to have an idea at its heart. The basic idea that animates this manifesto is something I have always believed. I believe every single person is extraordinary.

The tragedy is that we have a society where too many people never get to fulfil that extraordinary potential.

My view - the liberal view - is that government's job is to help them to do it. Not to tell people how to live their lives. But to make their choices possible, to release their potential, no matter who they are.

The way to do that is to take power away from those who hoard it. To challenge vested interests. To break down privilege. To clear out the bottlenecks in our society that block opportunity and block progress. And so give everyone a chance to live the life they want.

There's a simple word for those ideas, and it's a word this manifesto is built on: fairness.

The Liberal Democrat manifesto outlines 4 steps to a fairer Britain:

Fair taxes that put money back in your pocket: The first £10,000 you earn tax-free: a tax cut of £700 for most people, 3.6 million low earners and pensioners freed from income tax completely, Paid for in full by closing loopholes that unfairly benefit the wealthy and polluters

A fair future creating jobs by making Britain greener: Break up the banks and get them lending again to protect real businesses, Honesty about the tough choices needed to cut the deficit, Green growth and jobs that last by investing in infrastructure

A fair chance for every child: Ensure children get the individual attention they need by cutting class sizes, Made possible by investing £2.5 billion in schools targeted to help struggling pupils, Give schools the freedom to make the right choices for their pupils

A fair deal by cleaning up politics: Put trust back into politics by giving you the right to sack corrupt MPs, Restore and protect hard-won British civil liberties with a Freedom Bill, Overhaul Westminster completely: fair votes, an elected House of Lords, all politicians to pay full British taxes

You can download the Liberal Democrat manifesto at along with summary documents and videos for each of the key areas, order a paper copy and find audio and easy read text versions.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Chorlton History Discussion Group

I've had a really long but very positive day of campaigning around Chorlton. But the highlight of my day was going along to the Chorlton History Group this afternoon at the Horse and Jockey. I was invited by Ida Bradshaw who I often enjoy chatting with about local history.

I learnt lots of facts and stories about Chorlton that I had never heard before. I partiality enjoyed Bernard Leach's talk about a short lived community newspaper from the mid-1980s called "Chorlton Green". Although 1980s Chorlton is only very recent history it marked a significant shift locally with Chorlton transforming from a very conservative area (both with a big and small 'c') towards a more alternative scene - and the 'Chorlton Green' newspaper embodied this transformation.

The History Group also has lots of interesting events coming up:

On 29 May there will be a Peterloo Masacre Walk. Meet at 1pm outside the Central Reference Library in St Peter's Square.

On 30 May there will be a historical walk around Hawthorn Lane. Contact Dave Bishop ( for details.

The group's next meeting will be on Monday 7 June at 1.30pm at the Horse and Jockey. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone interested in local history.

There will also be an historical walk along Beech Road to coincide with the festival on 4 July.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Beech Road Potholes

I was very pleased to see that these dangerous potholes I reported on the corner of Beech Road and Barlow Moor Road have finally been repaired. I initially reported them in December and have been chasing the Council for months to repair them. These potholes represent just one example of how the Labour run Council is failing to protect and invest in Chorlton's roads. I'm proud that Manchester Liberal Democrats are committed to spending an extra £420,000 on maintaining our crumbling roads and pavements; and I know that it would make a huge difference here in Chorlton.

I know that there are hundreds of potholes across Chorlton that need just the same attention as these ones on Beech Road and I will be continuing to push the Council to repair them. If you know of any potholes or poor roads near you, please let me know and I will get them repaired.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Handing in NO Mega TESCO petition

Yesterday I joined up with some other NO Mega TESCO campaigners to hand in a 500 strong petition to the Government Office of the North West. The petition against the proposed TESCO asked for the planning decision to be 'called in' by the Secretary of State. This would allow the Communities Secretary to hold a public inquiry to properly assess the impact of this proposed development on the surrounding communities and district centres such as Chorlton.

Because of the controvers and scle of the development the GONW has extended the deadline for submissions. As a result there is still time to write in to the Communities Secretary and GONW to ask for the decision to be called in. An excellent example letter with instructions and addresses is available to download from the No Mega-Tesco campaign’s website at: If you need any advice or help in writing your letter please get in touch with me.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Manchester Liberal Democrats' Manifesto

Today the Manchester Liberal Democrats released a manifesto of what a Lib Dem run Manchester City Council would do.

Manchester Liberal Democrats are making 5 key promises for the 2010 local elections:

1) Cut Council Tax by £51 for a Band D property.
2) Cut waste, including ending the Council Leader’s Chauffeur-driven car and claiming back £421,000 owed by other councils.
3) Lobby for the return of £82million GMP Funding, which would pay for over 500 more police on our streets.
4) Spend over £1million extra on gritting and improving our roads.
5) Reverse plans to close Ewing school; and cut truancy levels.

We want to change Manchester for the better, making it safer, greener, cleaner and more local. We will play our full part in the future of Manchester’s City Region. We’ll stand up for the people of Manchester, and give power back to the people.

I particularly liked the commitment to provide at least 5 new grit bins for each ward. During the recent Cold Spell this measure would have made a huge difference in Chorlton. The Manifesto also promises to spend an extra £420,000 improving the city’s drainage and roads. When Chorlton has the second worst drains in the City and numerous potholes and poor road surfaces - this investment would be hugely beneficial. I also really like the idea of increasing local community grants (CASH grants) to £66,000 per ward and devolving more decisions to communities.

The Manifesto shows how committed the Lib Dems are to green and environmental issues. Unlike Labour we would include Manchester Airport and aviation in the City's climate change plan. We would concentrate on improving recycling and reducing waste. Manchester's Lib Dems are committed to protecting our green open spaces from developers. I'm really pleased the Manifesto has encompassed one of the suggestions from the What Next? event to create a Smart Meter loan scheme from libraries.

The full Manifesto is available to view online at

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Message from the Digital Economy Bill Flashmob Protest

Is the government making fools out of us with the Digital Economy Bill?

Join us on Thursday evening in Manchester City Centre for a flashmob protest against this ill-conceived legislation!

Just bring yourself and some black tape to censor yourself with.

The exact location will be announced (at 5pm) just before we begin, sign up for a ticket and we'll let you know

What is the Digital Economy Bill?
The DEB is a new piece of legislation that's being forced through parliament without debate. The DEB's aim is to stop copyright infringement on the internet, but it does so at a horrific cost to our civil liberties. Under this legislation you will be assumed guilty and may be disconnect from the internet unless you pay to have an appeal in front of a tribunal - not a court.

Why are we protesting?
The DEB has been written at the behest of the media industry (some clauses were actually written by the BPI) with absolutely no regard for anybody else. Not only is this bill horrendously flawed, it is being rushed through parliament without debate using a process known as "wash up", which was intended for use on uncontroversial bills.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Chorlton's Big Green Festival

I spent a good few hours yesterday enjoying the return of the Big Green Festival at St Clement's Church. This year's event seemed to be slightly bigger and better attended than the first year and everyone seemed to be having a great time. The festival aims to promote environmental issues in a fun and friendly environment.

I spent the first hour or so collecting Village Green applications for Chorlton Meadows and trying to promote the Village Green application. It was great to get a chance to talk to people about the Meadows and keep them updated about the campaign. After that I spent a couple hours just wandering around and soaking up the atmosphere with my colleagues Cllr Paul Ankers and John Leech MP . I bought a bird box made from sustainable sources to help protect our sparrow population. I made my eco-confession! and I promised to become meat free one day a week. It was great to get a chance to talk to some architecture students about the proposed Chorlton Community Centre. The designs were brilliant and I really look forward to helping to get the centre built. I also really enjoyed the scarecrow competition and sampling some of the delicious Vegan food.

The Green festival is an excellent local event. It shows how important and feasible it is to live sustainably in Chorlton. Environmental issues are very important and need attention. The festival was able to make these issues relevant to everyone in a fun and friendly way. I would like to thank the organisers for pulling off such an excellent event.

Friday, 26 March 2010

What Next?

This evening I attended the What Next? Forum which involved talks and discussions about how to make Chorlton a greener and better place to live. Marc Hudson the editor of Manchester Climate Fortnightly ( gave a passionate and thought provoking introduction to the science and politics of Climate Change. Mark was followed by a lady from Ashton Hayes a village in Cheshire that is aiming to become England's first carbon neutral community. It was very interesting to see how they go about it and showed how the small changes ordinary people make can have extraordinary effects. After a quick break Andrew Leask from the Trafford Eco-House spoke. Andrew has made his average 1930s semi in Sale into a beacon of sustainability. Andrew gave lots of great advice about how we can all make small changes around our homes that will hugely benefit the environment.

Overall I found the evening truly inspirational and it has given me lots of ideas about how I can live a greener lifestlye and what we can do to make Chorlton a more sustainable area. It has also motivated me even more than before to push Manchester City Council to do all it can and should be doing to tackle climate change and promote sustainability.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Mega Tesco EDM

You can see the Early Day Motion I was helping John Leech MP with at: . The motion reads:


That this House notes with concern the decision by Trafford Council Planning Committee to approve plans for a giant Tesco store in Stretford; recognises the potential impact that this decision will have on the viability of local centres and in particular the viability of independent retailers in the surrounding areas of Chorlton district centre and Stretford Mall; and therefore urges the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to call in the decision.

Whilst out canvassing tonight a lot of people were very concerned about the impact a Mega Tesco would have on Chorlton. Please write in to the Secretary of State and Government Office North West by 1 April. If you need any help or advice about writing in please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Campaign Update

We've had a busy few weeks campaigning in Chorlton - and it's only going to get more intense between now and the election!

Tonight I went out campaigning with some local members on the streets off Egerton Road North in the pouring rain! The reception on the doorstep was very good. People are telling us that they appreciate the work we've been doing locally and they really want a change from Labour. I really enjoy getting a chance to talk to people about what they think and pick up any issues they have.

I've also been trying very hard to get the Mega Tesco decision called in by the Secretary of State. I've been working with John Leech MP to publicise the need for people to write in and have helped John to table a Parliamentary motion calling for the decision to be reviewed by the Communities Secretary.

If you would like to write and ask for the decision to be called in you can download a sample letter from:

Manchester Neighbours Day (MND) 2010

On the 28th May 2010 Manchester will once again join with people across Europe to celebrate European Neighbours' Day. Mancunians are being called upon to make this Neighbours' Day celebration even more successful than last year when Manchester City Council approved a record 159 applications from residents who wanted to get to know their neighbours better by holding street parties, barbecues, gardening events and other activities across the city.

Last years' Neighbours Day was a great opportunity for local residents in Chorlton to get to know their neighbours. In Chorltonville where I live we held a street party at the end of the summer. Even though it wasn't strictly part of the
MND it was a nice chance to catch up and socialise with neighbours and meet new ones. I also had a lot of fun listening and dancing to live bands!

To help residents celebrate Manchester Neighbours Day the Council is making grants of up to £200 available. This is for neighbourhood groups who want to organise events around the end of May which will encourage neighbours to get to know each other better and improve neighbourhoods by arranging street parties, environmental projects, fun days or any small local event that brings people together.

For an application form for Manchester Neighbours' Day please contact the Third Sector Team:

Telephone: 0161 234 3016 (Quote MND)


If there is anything I cna do to help you organise a MND event near ou please do not hecitate to get in touch.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Beannacht Lá Fhéile Pádraig

On behalf of the Chorlton Liberal Democrats I would like to wish everyone a Happy St Patrick's Day.

I know that the newly refurbished Chorlton Irish Club is having a family fun day with Irish music and games. In the evening there is the St Patrick's Dance with music from Pat Jordan & Finians Rainbow. The dance starts at 8:30 pm and admission is £5.

However you choose to celebrate St Patrick's Day I hope you have an enjoyable time.

To find out more about what's going on during the Manchester Irish Festival visit:

Mega Tesco and Sainsbury's Outcome

Unfortunately Trafford Council have voted to approve the Mega Tesco in Stretford application, but they rejected the Salisbury's at White City application. This will have an enormous impact on Chorlton district centre and we must do all we can to try prevent it going ahead.

This a message I have received from the No Mega Tesco Campaign this afternoon about trying to get the application called in by the Secretary of State. Please join me and the rest of the group in writing to the Government Office North West to ask for the decision to be called in.

Email from Debbie from the No Mega Tesco campaign:

I'm emailing round the link to a sample letter for getting the Mega Tesco application called in. Although the planning committee have said they want to allow the scheme it has to be referred to Government Office North West - who then decide whether to refer it to the Secretary of State (John Denham). This can only happen if the application ticks certain boxes so we have written a letter with key points for people to use.

If you email the letter you can send it to both people at the same time. If you want to do just one (not two) then the best target is John Denham.

I'll attach the letter here but the link to the document on the website is: - there is now just one letter there to select.

Hope that is clear. Please forward to any friends and family and urge them to write - and as soon as possible. The earlier we get hundreds of letters in the better - there are only 21 days from 11th March to do this.


PS If you remember, please cc your letter to this address ( so we can get an idea of how many have gone in (plus cc your local MP, councillors etc.)

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Fire Raiser on Chorlton Ees

A Message from Dave Bishop, Chair of the Friends of Chorlton Meadows:

In the last few days a large area of Chorlton Ees has gone up in smoke. Vegetation has been destroyed and ground nesting birds killed or put at risk.

This is becoming an annual problem and appears to be down to one man. A member of the local community, who uses the Ees regularly, has given the following useful description of this destructive and anti-social idiot:

He is in his late 40s to early 50s (hence old enough to know better!) and is dressed in outdoor clothing and a baseball cap. He also carries a black rucksack and a brown oil/gas cylinder (which is probably part of his fire lighting equipment).

If you see this man, please don't approach him, we don't know whether he's dangerous or not. Please, though, if you are able to get a good enough look without danger to yourself, make a note of any further details of his appearance and the date, time and place that you saw him. Please report these details to the Police on 0161 872 5050. Please also report him to the Mersey Valley Countryside Warden Service on 0161 881 5639 (Chorlton Water Park) or 0161 905 1100 (Sale Visitors' Centre).

Monday, 8 March 2010

Mega Tesco and Sainsury's decision

Trafford Council's decision on whether or not to approve the application for a Mega Tesco in Stretford and a Sainsburys at White City will be made this Thursday evening. Unfortunately Trafford Council have backed the plans for a Mega Tesco, but recommended refusal of the Sainsbury’s at White City.

A group from the No Mega TESCO campaign will be standing outside Old Trafford Town Hall on Talbot Road/corner of Warwick Road on Thursday 11th March from 6 pm. The application will be heard in the planning meeting at 6.30.

Apparently it is unlikely that many members of the public will be able to go into the meeting, but its important to be outside making our opposition to the Mega Tesco visible. If you have a banner/placard or have time to make one, please do bring it along. I'm hoping to be able to attend so hopefully I will see you there.

I will blog about the decision as soon as it is known.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Home Watch

Recently I have been trying to help local residents set up Home Watch schemes to help bring down crime in Chorlton.

Burglary is a big problem locally for residents and the Police. I uncovered figures showing 1 in 20 Chorlton people have been burgled in the last year. . There have also been spates of violent crime and anti social behaviour in parts of the ward. Therefore it’s extra important that we take as many precautions as possible to prevent more in the future and help bring down crime.

We need to be vigilant against any crimes and to report any suspicious behaviour immediately to the Police. Please also keep an eye out for any vulnerable neighbours and be careful when answering the door. Chorlton Police can be contacted on 856 4784 but in an emergency always ring 999.

Home Watch schemes are run by local residents with the help of the Police to protect your safety and property, and your neighbours’. Furthermore many home insurers offer discounts if you are part of a Home Watch scheme. At the moment there are not many schemes operating in Chorlton. But it would be great if we were able to increase the number of these schemes to help fight and prevent crime. I know that new schemes are being set up and I want to help set more up around Chorlton. After action from local Lib Dems Manchester council has agreed pay for Home Watch signs to be placed on lampposts in the area.

If you are interested in taking part in a Home Watch Scheme around your house, please get in touch with me.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

John Leech on Politics Show

I was very impressed by Withington MP John Leech's performance on the Politics Show this morning. John discussed the importance of online campaigning locally and highlighted the massive Save Chorlton Meadows online campaign and the Save Ewing School as two issues where the Internet has helped local Lib Dems join with residents to fight to preserve and promote public services. John also discussed the Lib Dems' commitment to abolish tuition fees.

The interview is available to watch online at: until 7 March.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Issues around Chorlton

Another day of successful campaigning and talking to lots of local people. Walking around Chorlton is a great way of picking up casework and things that need reporting to the Council. For example this morning I noticed this damaged litter bin on Ransfield Road. I've also noticed a great deal of potholes and poor road surfaces that the Council still needs to come and repair! I will make sure to follow these things up Monday morning.

If you know of anything that needs the Council's attention please let me know at or 881 4139.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Talking to local residents

I've had an excellent couple of days of campaigning in Chorlton. Yesterday we managed to deliver our leaflets to almost all of the ward in just one day. And today has been a very encouraging and rewarding day of canvassing. I'm especially grateful to the huge team of people who have come out to help us recently. More and more people are telling us that they're planning to support the Lib Dems this time around and are coming out to help us.

I have really enjoyed meeting lots of local residents and talking to them about local issues and their concerns; and I have picked up a lot of casework. I'm very happy to help you out with any issues you might have. Please email me at or ring me on 881 4139.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Fighting Precinct car park charges

I along with the Chorlton Lib Dem team have fought the car parking charges at Chorlton Precinct from the start. The charges have significantly hurt traders and
discouraged shoppers from coming to Chorlton. During an economic downturn we need to be helping our local shops and their customers - not making it even harder for them.

When I have been out talking to local people it is one of the big issues that keep reoccurring. The team recently delivered an 800 strong petition to Parliament. I will keep campaigning alongside my Lib Dem colleagues to abolish the charges.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year to everyone in Chorlton. On behalf of the Chorlton Liberal Democrat team I would like to wish that fortune and good luck be with you in the year of the Tiger!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Local MP welcomes Metrolink extension

Withington MP John Leech hailed the beginning of construction of the Metrolink extension to south Manchester as a welcome milestone.

Having added his voice lobbying the Government to fund extensions to the Metrolink network since his election in 2005. While visiting a site where construction has begun in Chorlton, he restated his strong support for the extension of the Metrolink to south Manchester, adding:

"I am so pleased that extension of the Metrolink is finally under way. It will help tackle congestion across the area and bring new economic opportunities."

I'm delighted Metrolink is coming to Chorlton. It will be a big boost to Chorlton as it will massively improve people's choice in public transport, reduce traffic and help tackle air quality problems. I really hope it will also benefit our local independent shops by bringing more people to Chorlton and reducing leakage. Metrolink will also greatly improve Chorlton's connections to the rest of South Manchester.

Further extensions to Metrolink are currently in the planning stages.

Monday, 8 February 2010

"No Council Tax rise" victory for Manchester Liberal Democrats

Manchester Lib Dems have successfully campaigned to freeze Council Tax next Year, despite Labour previously opposing plans.

I think this is excellent news, I believe Manchester residents should not have to worry about a rise in their Council Tax next year whilst we continue to fight the effects of the recession in the city. This move will put more money back into local people’s pockets.

My colleague Cllr Paul Ankers said: “This is great news, the Council needs to be much more careful about how they spend tax payers’ money”

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Manchester Councillor Simon Ashley commented: "Britain is the last of the major economies to come out of recession. Liberal Democrats have argued nationally that the income tax threshold should be raised to make the tax system fairer at this testing time. Not raising the Council Tax in Manchester, as Manchester Liberal Democrats have campaigned for throughout last year and into this year, represents a fairer deal for our residents and we will campaign now to see it implemented."

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Chorlton has some one the worst Gullies in Manchester

The report to the Communities and Neighbourhoods Committee yesterday revealed that Chorlton has the second highest number of defective gullies in the City! Out of the 3,200 gullies in Chorlton, 560 are defective and 237 have not been attended to by the Council.

Many Chorlton residents have complained to me about the atrocious state of gullies along their Road. The Council simply isn’t doing enough to prevent blockages which cause problems for local residents. Many gullies have not been properly cleared or jetted by the Council; as a result they have become blocked and consequently can flood. This makes it hard for people to walk along the pavement and for cyclists and motorists. During the recent cold spell the flooding has frozen over and made huge ice puddles which are very dangerous to walk across. The Council hasn’t inspected Chorlton’s gullies since last February and isn’t planning to inspect them again until next November! Which makes it easy to see why our gullies are so bad.

Manchester City Council needs to do a lot more to help clear these gullies and prevent blockages in the future. I will be working hard for local residents to make sure this happens. I have already reported the defective gullies along High Lane, but if you know of any others please let me know and I will get them sorted out.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

District Auditor Alerted Over Manchester's Missing £421,000

I was shocked to read the story in Today's MEN ( that Manchester City Council has overpaid £421,000 of local taxpayers money due to 'an accounting blunder'. But what shocked me the most was how the Labour Deputy Leader of the Council seemed to shrug it off as insignificant and not worth claiming back.

Why is the Council happy to "waive the overpayment"? Manchester has one of the highest levels of poverty, deprivation and social exclusion in the Country. This money could be used to really benefit citizens, but Labour's incompetence means it has just been squandered. In Chorlton this money would have made a huge difference to help improve the poor Leisure Centre or to try and clear our drains which are the second worst in the City.

I am very pleased that the Manchester Liberal Democrats do not think this is acceptable behaviour and have asked the District Auditor to investigate this scandalous loss.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Government confusion over policy for aviation expansion and our carbon budget targets

Local Lib Dems have been looking into how much aviation contributes to our total Co2 output.

In 2003 the government published its Air Transport White Paper, which encouraged the UK's aviation industry to continuously expand its capacity to 2030 and beyond.

In 2008 the government passed its Climate Change Act, which included international aviation and shipping into its calculations of reducing our Co2 output by 80% of 1990 levels.

A study, commissioned by the Government and conducted by Manchester Metropolitan University calculated two projections for the UK's international aviation emissions (

It concluded that if we allow our airports to expand in line with the 2003 white paper, then by 2050 international aviation will contribute between 86% and 128% of our total carbon budget. If we were to take the average between these two projections, we would arrive at 107%.

If we were to continue on our present course of airport expansion, aviation alone would bust our carbon budget, leaving nothing left for the rest of the economy!

I want the Prime Minister to explain how we hope to achieve our targets of Co2 reductions if we continue to expand airports such as Manchester, so my colleague, Cllr Martin Eakins, has created an 'e-petition' on the number 10 website calling for this.

We need 500 signatures by the 6th February to provoke an official response - so please join me in signing it and let other know:

Sunday, 31 January 2010


I had an action packed day today. My colleague Cllr Paul Ankers and I were joined by John Leech MP, Cllrs Norman Lewis and Lianne Williams and others for some residents surveying in the morning. We got a very good reception on the doorstep and I was able to pick up some important casework to do with gullies and traffic calming.

In the afternoon I went along to the Swap Shop at St John's RC Primary School. This was a really well run event that promoted recycling and was a great chance to talk to local parents and environmental activists. I especially enjoyed talking to the organisers of the Chorlton Plant Swap and some coordinators from the Action for Sustainable Living group. The ASL group gave me a survey to help assess how environmental sustainable my lifestyle was. They said they would send me the result in an email, I will be interested to see what it comes back with! I kept a copy of the survey and I will post it up onto this blog soon, in case you want to send off a survey too.

This evening I went to the premiere of a documentary film made by a local man, called 'Glocal'. It was a fascinating and inspirational film about an American family who have moved to Chorlton and seek to live in an environmentally friendly way. They have moved to Chorlton from Phoenix, Arizona and gave up their home, most of their belongings and their car! I though the film raised some very important questions, in a clever way. But what I enjoyed the most was seeing that it was perfectly possible to live a sustainable lifestyle in Chorlton. I certainly came out of the film thinking of ways I could make my lifestyle more sutainable. The film is available to watch online at: and I would certainly recommend you take the time to watch it.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Chorlton District Centre under threat

Given the latest threats to independent retailers in Chorlton, with 2 very large supermarket proposals submitted to Trafford Council - with an estimated combined impact on Chorlton District Centre trade of around 22% (from their figures) it seems important to press the government to take action.

The relentless growth of Tesco has crushed small businesses and local shops. And it has turned many of our communities into Tescotowns. In response, the Competition Commission has recommended a new competition test for town planning.

This would stop supermarkets opening new stores in places where they already control the majority of the local market. Chorlton is already well served with TESCOs; with 3 stores within 2kms of Chorlton Cross and other stores in Fallowfield and Didsbury. Furthermore Chorlton already has three Co-op supermarkets and Morrisons, and the Council wants another supermarket! The new test is in danger because of the fierce lobbying of Tesco. They want to scrap the test and risk the future of vibrant, environmentally-friendly communities and town centres. Chorlton would really suffer if the two applications in Stretford go through.

That is why it is so important for us to demand the Government stands up to Tesco. Please join me in writting to the Minister for Planning at

Monday, 25 January 2010

Potholes in Chorlton

Chorlton's roads have really suffered as a result of the recent cold spell. I have noticed a number of potholes that have appeared or have become considerably worse recently (like this one on Buckingham Road). If you know of any potholes please let me know and I will get them repaired.

Sir Richard Leese, Labour Leader of the Council, has admitted the "total... cost of the freeze is likely to be well over a £1M". This just shows how important it is for the Council to keep our roads in a good state all year round, so that they do not become vulnerable to this sort of damage.

In the last three months I have reported over 30 potholes around Chorlton and asked the Council to inspect numerous roads.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Last chance to object to Mega TESCO

Today is the last opertunity to put in an objection to the propposed Mega TESCO in Stretford. If you have not done so, please do it now.

The NO Mega Tesco campaign's website has some briliant draft letters of objection and outlines how to object:

Tesco and Sainsbury’s are planning to unleash a supermarket war on Chorlton’s doorstep, with developments close to Lancashire Cricket Ground. Chorlton Lib Dems are campaigning against both, fearful that Chorlton could be the real loser in their battle.

I believe these developments could severely affect the vitality of Chorlton centre and could be disastrous for local businesses. That is why I have asked Manchester City Council to put in formal objections.

The final decision should be made by Trafford Council on 11 February.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Chorlton Meadows application withdrawn!

Local residents are celebrating today after plans to build on Chorlton Meadows were withdrawn by the developers.

In the face of huge local opposition, the developers withdrew the plans halfway through Thursday's meeting of the planning committee after members of the committee made it clear that the plans would be rejected. Local Lib Dems oppossed the plans from the start.

I am delighted that the committee members listened to local residents and were planning to throw out the application before it was withdrawn. We all want to see improvements in local amenities, but these plans were just not right for Chorlton Meadows.

I was disappointed when the Council backed the plans originally. However this has proven to be a great result for Chorlton and is thanks to the outstanding efforts of the Save Chorlton Meadows group who worked tirelessly to oppose the plans.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Decision on Chorlton Meadows to be made tommorow.

Tommorow the Council's planning committee will make the decision on whether the development of Chorlton Meadows at Hardy Farm goes ahead.

Please join me and other supporters of the Save Chorlton Meadows campaign at 10am on the meadow for the committee's site visit. The decision will be made in the afternoon at 2pm in the Council Chamber at the Town Hall.

I hope to see you at one or both of these events.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Get the Tesco application called in by the Secretary of State

If the Government Office for the North West receives enough requests, they may call in the Lancashire CCC/Tesco planning application for a 166,000 sq ft store in Gorse Hill, so the Secretary of State can make the decision instead of Trafford Council, which might result in a Public Inquiry which would be very good news indeed if the results of the last Public Inquiry is anything to go by.

Please email GONW and ask them to recommend the application is called in. For help with your letter/email, follow this link: and open the document called 'sample call in letter'.

You can 'Cc' your email to John Leech MP - - if you're in Chorlton.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Labour closes Ewing

Labour Councillors today voted to close Ewing School, ignoring the pleas of local campaigners from Parents against the Closure of Ewing (PACE), Lib Dem Councillors and campaigners and an 11,000 name petition. The Lib Dem have campaigned with parents from the start, argued against the closure, and have done everything in their power to stop it happening. However, there is a Labour majority on the Council.

I think the Labour Councillors clearly don't know about the excellent work Ewing currently does on inclusion. This is the wrong decision for local people who will see an excellent school close without any guarantees that what replaces it will be better. Labour have ignored the views of parents and pupils. Closing Ewing reduces choice for Manchester children. It is the wrong decision.

The Manchester Lib Dems have guaranteed to reverse the decision if they take power in May.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Happy New Year!

I would like to wish everyone in Chorlton a happy and healthy 2010!