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.