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.