Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Manchester Labour's Attack on the Pupil Premium raised in Parliament

At the last Manchester City Council meeting, the Labour Administration voted to scrap the pupil premium, describing it as a "sham" - even though it brings around £11 million extra to Manchester this year (over £500k to the Chorlton area alone) with the promise of yet more to follow. It is really depressing that our Labour Council which has for over 40 years had such a poor record of Education attainment and attendance, REJECTED huge levels of funding aimed directly at disadvantaged pupils!

The Labour Council's decision was critcised at Deputy Prime Minister's Questions yesterday. This is the transcript of the session:

[87269] Duncan Hames (Chippenham) (LD): Wiltshire schools have long felt short-changed by funding allocations for education, so they will welcome the doubling of pupil premium moneys for our schools in Wiltshire to more than £5 million next year. Now that Labour councillors in Manchester have voted for the pupil premium to be scrapped, will the Deputy Prime Minister consider giving our schools next year some of the more than £18 million of pupil premium that their council has rejected?

Nick Clegg, The Deputy Prime Minister: The pupil premium, which by the end of this Parliament will be £2.5 billion of extra money to help schools that are educating children from the most challenging backgrounds, is a very powerful, progressive policy, and I am very proud that we have delivered it, as a coalition Government. We have been searching in vain for months to find out what the Labour party would actually cut in public expenditure. Now, we have the answer: Labour councillors want to cut the pupil premium that benefits some of the most deprived children in this country. That is progressive politics for you!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Guest Blog: Happy Indie Christmas and New Year from Tag!

TAG! (Pass it on) is part of a growing ‘Shop Local’ movement which helps support local shops and services; a movement which is, in large part, rooted in a person’s attachment to where they live and their desire to see their area flourish.

In 2010 in the UK, £76 billion was spent on groceries; 80% in supermarkets. Supermarket ‘local’ shops are springing up everywhere as the major chains fight for an ever higher share of our spending in the current circumstances of higher grocery inflation and reduced disposable income. The result is an independent sector under siege.

Neither government legislation nor local issues such as increasing rents and parking price-hikes are doing anything to alter this situation. If we wish to save this vital part of our communities it’s up to us to make the necessary difference.
Independents are one-of-a kind, distinctive businesses; they’ve got character. It’s this character which helps attract other new businesses, residents, visitors and investment to the area.

Walk into a local Chorlton business and more often than not you are greeted and served by the owner, someone with a unique passion and knowledge of the products they are selling and the community they are serving.

When local community projects need support, our independents often come together to offer it and get things done. They are part of the very fabric of Chorlton and have a personal stake in its well being, guaranteeing that they act in the interests of the wider community.

On top of that, they bring disproportionate benefits to the local economy and job-creation. Simply put, money spent locally stays local: it will be used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers, local professionals and suppliers.

If we are to have any hope of creating a resilient, green economy – a ‘network of local sustainable economies, providing social contact and inclusion with responsible local production and exchange of goods and services’ we will need a strong independent sector, accountable to the local area.

TAG! (Pass it on) is a not-for-profit CIC (Community Interest Company) which aims to encourage us to change our spending habits. For all of the reasons given above we created the TAG! card; for £5 you are rewarded with a huge range of deals and discounts when you shop with independents.

The variety and quality of the 50 (and counting) local independents in our scheme – as well as the 300 or so to be found in other areas of South Manchester - is amazing and the savings on offer from using your card and supporting them are HUGE; from essentials such as groceries, eyecare and cakes to fine dining, fashion, furniture, party items, flowers, toys, plumbing and even (clay pigeon) shooting.

Chorlton’s charities and community groups can make use of the Tagpassiton scheme to sell cards to raise money for their own causes. It’s a fantastic hyperlocal and community-focused way of raising money. Groups such as the Big Green Festival and St John’s Primary keep 50% of the proceeds when they actively promote shopping locally and independently to their supporters.

For more details about what we do, how we help and what you get please visit the TAG! website at New TAG! cards can be bought online or locally at Village Dry Cleaners, A J Adams, Khawaja Bros, Chorlton Wholefoods and most other scheme members. If you register a new card before the end of the year you’ll be entered into our prize draw to win a bottle of fine wine from Village Dry Cleaners, a meal for 2 at Saray, and a fantastic Moroccan themed spa package from Creative Hairdressing. We hope you will want to join in, save money and show your support for all the local shops with your TAG! card.And since we’re entering the festive season let’s try and make this an Independent Christmas!

Carol Thompson is the Co-founder of TAG! You can follow her on Twitter at @tagpassiton or email her at Tagpassiton is a registered not-for-profit Community Interest Company that rewards for shopping smart, local and independent. More information can be found at . Image from Chorlton Community Index (

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Excel Parking's management of Chorlton Precinct under the spot light on BBC's Rip Off Britain

This morning BBC One's Rip off Britain programme had an item about Excel Parking's management of Chorlton Precinct Car Park. I was featured briefly discussing the action I have taken to support residents in fighting unfair parking charges and trying to get Manchester City Council to recognise the established right of way.

You can view the programme at the item about Chorlton is available from 09:18. You can watch it on BBC iPlayer until 23 December.

Please let me know if you are affected by the unfair parking charges or if you can support our campaign to reestablish the right of way.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Latest on Manchester's School Crossing Patrols

I have just spoken to Vicky Rosin, Manchester City Council's Deputy Chief Executive. She has told me that this morning an announcement was made that that the Council has found the money to save the High Risk (Red) School Crossing Patrols. This means 38 Crossings across Manchester are safe including the crossings on Manchester Road / Longford Road, Oswald Road / Nicolas Road, Longford Road / Oswald Road, and Oswald Road / Longford Road. Unfortunately the future of the crossing on St Clements Road/Vicars Road which primarily serves Chorlton CoE school is still in doubt. At Manchester's City Council meeting on Wednesday morning I will continue to press the Council to save all of Manchester's crossings including the one on St Clements Road corner. I have been told that further announcement would be made in the New Year regarding the Yellow and Green Crossings.

Today's news is thanks to the thousands of Parents, Guardians, Grandparents, Teachers and other residents that signed petitions to stop the cuts to this vital service. You can still sign the petition to Save ALL of Manchester's crossings at

I also understand that Chorlton MP John Leech has raised this issue in Parliament. He has put down an Early Day Motion ( and urged local government minister Andrew Stunell to bring forward plans to require local authorities to provide safety crossing patrols. The Minister said Manchester City Council should look very carefully at its spending priorities before it sought to offload duties onto others.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Chorlton Christmas Lights Switch On

Last night I attended the Chorlton Christmas lights 'switch on' at Chorlton Green with John Leech MP and Matt Gallagher. It was a really lovely event with hundreds of residents coming together to celebrate our community and the festive period. The Choir from St John's got everyone in a festive mood with their fantastic Carol Service. I would like to thank Mary Paul and the Beech Rd Traders for organizing a very successful event. Shops on Beech Rd will remain open late on every Thursday evening leading upto Christmas. Here's to a very Indie Christmas!
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Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Guest Blog from John Leech MP: We need a Minister for Older People

Yesterday I went to support the Anchor Grey Pride Campaign in Parliament, aimed at having a designated Minister for Older People. I’ve already signed an Early Day Motion calling for the same thing.

What I found staggering was that today more people are over 65 than under 60, and in forty to fifty years half a million people will be over 100: yet there isn’t any – or any plans – to have a person specifically representing their needs in government.

The people I spoke to yesterday were very interesting and raised valid arguments for a Minister for Older People. They need a port of call to raise concerns with – non of this being passed from one department to the next. There should be someone there coordinating departments – this would end up saving the Government huge amounts of money. Finally, someone should be there to ask the Chancellor for money, and to fight their corner when needs be. If we can have a Minister for Equalities, a Minister for Women, and a Minister for Pubs, then we can surely have a Minister for Older People.

This is not an issue that I think anyone should let rest, and I personally will be bringing this up with the relevant Ministers.

John Leech is the Member of Parliament for Manchester Withington which includes Chorlton. You can read more from John at: and follow him on twitter at @johnleechmcr

Latest on Mega Traffic Jams in Chorlton

This afternoon I have spoken with the Highways Manager in charge of the Barlow Moor Rd and Mauldeth Rd West crossroads. I discussed the serious problems that occurred there yesterday and expressed the anger of many residents.

Further to my previous Blog post the transmitter was faulty and this had a serious impact on the temporary traffic lights. As a result people on site had to direct traffic themselves for 3-4 hours whilst the traffic light and transmitter problems were fixed. The Council's Highways Department have told me that they expect delays until 9 December because of the Chicane in operation. However all these problems combined led to mayhem yesterday.

I am told a Highways inspector has visited the site many times today and tested the equipment and impact for residents and motorists. He has informed me that in future someone will operate the traffic lights manually so that they are more responsive to traffic congestion. I expressed my concern that this was due to stop at 4.30 every day. the Highways Department have agreed to my request to operate the lights manually at this point until at least 6pm so that rush hour traffic is not as badly hit as it was yesterday. I have also checked that there are sufficient measures in place to report the problem if it occurs again.

The current restrictions will be in place until 9 December but hopefully the traffic jams and disruption will not be as horrendous as yesterday. Please let me know if I can be of any help. You can contact me on 07947383740 or at

Monday, 28 November 2011

Severe Traffic Jam at Barlow Moor Rd junction

This morning a number of residents contacted me after they experienced horrendous traffic jams at the Barlow Moor Rd, Hardy Lane and Mauldeth Rd W crossroad. Some reports were that the traffic jam was stretching as long as one mile in all directions. I, like hundreds of Chorlton residents had the misfortune of getting stuck in this traffic on the way to work. I reported this to the Council and asked them to investigate urgently why these delays had occurred and requested urgent action to ensure they did not recur.

I am told that the junction currently has temporary lights because of works to water and gas mains. Unfortunately, today the lights have suffered a failure caused by a faulty transmitter, I am told this has now been repaired. The agreement with the use of these lights is that they will be manually operated during both the AM and PM peak periods

This is the response I have received from the Council:

----- Original Message -----
From: Vicky Rosin
Sent: 28/11/2011 17:36 GMT
To: Councillor Victor Chamberlain
Cc: Councillor Bernie Ryan; Councillor Norman Lewis; "John Leech"
Subject: Re: Hardy Lane, Mauldeth Rd W, Barlow Moor Rd junction

Dear Councillor Chamberlain

I am advised by my officers that we are currently using 3-way temporary lights at this junction, until the 9th December 2011, during the installation of a new water main in the centre of the junction. In addition, to reduce the period works are being undertaken at this strategic junction, Enterprise Gas are also completing their diversion works. The temporary lights were switched on yesterday morning, our officers were on site during the switch on and the lights were operating as intended when they left site.

Unfortunately, today the lights have suffered a failure caused by a faulty transmitter, this has been repaired, ( the engineer is still on site monitoring the repair). The agreement with the use of these lights is that they are manually operated during both the AM and PM peak periods. Due to the nature of the diversions at this junction, there was always envisaged to be delays to motorists as a result of the works. To inform motorists of this, advanced warning signs have been erected at key junctions to encourage the use alternative routes. As you will appreciate the faulty transmitter has resulted in significant delays this morning that were not anticipated and I can only offer my apologies for the inconvenience this has caused.

We have developed close working relationships with bus operators through TfGM. This relationship enables bus drivers to highlight locations where significant delays are being experienced as a result of temporary works. We use this relationship to monitor the operation of the lights during the periods they are not manually operated as well as reports from our contractors on site.

Should there be any further problems with the signals a review of the Traffic Management against work completed will be undertaken to determine if the Traffic Management can be improved to the benefit of motorists.

Kind regards

Vicky Rosin

Deputy Chief Executive (Neighbourhoods)
Manchester City Council
Town Hall ( Room 219)
Manchester M60 2LA

I have told the Council that delays this long are not acceptable and have sought their reassurance that lessons will be learnt and this won’t happen again. Please let me know if you would like more information or if I can do anything to help.

UPDATE: Latest on Chorlton Mega Traffic Jam:

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Save our Crossings Petition

Please print off this petition, Sign it, ask friends and family to sign it, put it in an envelope and return for free (no stamp required) to Matt Gallagher, Chorlton Liberal Democrats, FREEPOST, RSHA-AKBC-UXTU, Manchester, M20 5NF.

You can also sign up the petition online at

It would be fantastic if we could get as many parents and suporters as possible to sign this petition to Save all the Crossing in Manchester as this would show the Council how strongly parents and local residents feel.

Thanks very much!


The safety of our children travelling to and from school is PARAMOUNT and school crossings are a vital road safety service.

I was appalled to learn recently that Manchester City Council plan to cut the School Crossing Patrol service. When my colleague Matt Gallagher and I learned about this we contacted the Manchester Evening News who have joined us in asking the City Council to think again. I’m joining the Manchester Liberal Democrats in calling on the Council to change their mind at the next City Council and I am proposing the motion that funding is found for this vital service.

Manchester City Council has cut the budget for the School Crossing Service by 80%; much higher than the City Council’s overall 15% budget reductions. They are now asking local schools to fund this service themselves. As you know schools are already under enormous financial pressure.

The Liberal Democrats in Government have obtained extra money through the Pupil Premium (over £500k for Chorlton alone) to ensure all children have an equally good start to their education. This money cannot be used to fund the School Crossing service. We are concerned that Heads may be forced to find the money by cutting other essential school programmes or staff. We don’t think this is acceptable and we believe there are other ways to fund this vital service.

We think there is so much Council waste and confused priorities that should be addressed in order to save our lollipop men and women. Just last week the Manchester Evening News reported that the City Council was paying almost £7,000 a WEEK to NCP to allow their staff to have free parking. £7000 would pay the salary of a crossing warden for MORE THAN A YEAR. The City Council has to decide what they feel is more important; the safety of our children or parking for their staff.

Please join me in calling on the City Council to drop this dreadful proposal. If you agree that the Council should think again please sign this petition ( or contact me ( for a hard copy of our freepost return petition.

Lib Dem Motion to Manchester City Council (proposed by Chorlton Lib Dem Cllr Victor Chamberlain):

This Council notes:
1. The safety of children travelling to and from school as paramount.
2. The good work done by school crossing patrol personnel in keeping the country’s children safe since 1954.
3. With regret the Council’s decision to cut the school crossing patrols budget.
4. The concerns of Parents, Head teachers, Governors and Crossing Patrol staff at the lack of consultation about changes to service provision.
5. That school crossing patrols are an important road safety service.
6. Its role as corporate parents and resolves to take all necessary measures to maintain the School Crossing Patrol at its current level of service.

This Council believes:
1. That school crossing patrols should be retained.

This Council instructs:
1. the Chief Executive, in consultation with the relevant Executive Members, to prepare a report for the Executive identifying funding to maintain school crossing patrols across the City.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Chorlton U Decide 2011 - Update

I've just got back from this year's fantastic Chorlton U Decide event. The event allowed Chorlton residents the opportunity to award £7500 of funding (upto £750 each) to local community groups and initiatives.

Very well done to the 11 successful Projects:

Chorlton Big Green Festival - £750 for workshops, sound system, toilets, staging

Cracking Good Food - £450 for group cooking sessions for affordable and healthy food

C4 (Chorlton Central Community Centre) Café Club - £700 for hall hire, workshops, mini-bus for cooking workshops for young people to cook for elderly

Digital Arts & Music - £750 for digital artworks workshops with young people & equipment (Part of the Chorlton Arts Festival)

Friends of Beech Road Park - £220.20 for the replacement of two cherry trees

Garden Share - £750 to pair up people with garden space with those who have none – posters, tools, plants, compost

Jump - £750 for free arts sessions for unemployed people at The Edge

Nam-Bee-Pam-Bee - £750 for a secure steel shed to hold and protect bee equipment (At the Community Allotments at the end of Scott Avenue)

Pop Up Farm - £750 for food growing projects with a local school and the launch event

Tag Pass It On - £750 for 400 Tag cards, publicity and promotion

Unity Toybox on Tour - £750 for transport and refreshments to showcase young peoples circus skills at residential care homes

Sadly the bids for £750 for Zumba classes, a new tea urn and a new sound system at Chorlton Leisure Centre and £643.20 for seven trees to be replanted in Chorltonville were unsuccessful this time around.

I thought one of the highlights was the fantastic rendition of Molly Malone performed by the Choir at Oswald Road Primary School.

Thanks very much to all those that attended, the Oswald Road School Choir and other performers, the projects that bid, and those that organised the event.

Please get in touch if you would like any more information about any of the above groups.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Chorlton U Decide 2011

Tomorrow Evening is the 2011 Chorlton U Decide event where local residents get the opportunity to vote on how £7500 of funding should benefit local community groups.

At the event fourteen Chorlton community groups will explain their projects to local residents in a two minute pitch. Residents who attend the U Decide event will then be able to vote on which of these projects they think should be given the thumbs up for up to £750 of funding.

The fourteen projects competing at this year's U Decide Event are:

1. Chorlton Big Green Festival - £750 for workshops, sound system, toilets, staging

2. Cracking Good Food - £450 for group cooking sessions for affordable and healthy food

3. C4 Café Club - £700 for hall hire, workshops, mini-bus for cooking workshops for young people to cook for elderly

4. Digital Arts & Music - £750 for digital artworks workshops with young people & equipment

5. Friends of Beech Road Park - £220.20 for the replacement of two cherry trees

6. Garden Share - £750 to pair up people with garden space with those who have none – posters, tools, plants, compost

7. Jump - £750 for free arts sessions for unemployed people at The Edge

8. Nam-Bee-Pam-Bee - £750 for a secure steel shed to hold and protect bee equipment

9. Pop Up Farm - £750 for food growing projects with a local school and the launch event

10. Speakers Corner - £750 to help create a space to allow people to voice their concerns

11. Sports & Leisure - £750 for Zumba classes, new tea urn and a new sound system

12. Tag Pass It On - £750 for 400 Tag cards, publicity and promotion

13. Tree Planting - £643.20 for seven trees to be replanted in Chorltonville

14. Unity Toybox on Tour - £750 for transport and refreshments to showcase young peoples circus skills at residential care homes

Residents will be asked to rank each presentation by putting projects in the order of what they think is the most important to least important.

Chorlton U Decide will be held at Chorlton Leisure Centre on Manchester Road at 6pm on Thursday November 17.

Look forward to seeing you there.


Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable has today announced a raft of new measures to build on a successful year for the national apprenticeship scheme.

Apprenticeships reached record highs in the academic year 2010/11, with Manchester seeing an 77% average increase in apprentice numbers over the previous year. In Manchester Withington constituency, 610 learners took on an apprenticeship in 2010/11, an increase of 75%. Manchester Central constituency saw a 72% increase and Manchester Gorton constituency a massive 97% increase, all substantially higher than the England average of 58%.

The Lib Dems are now looking to strengthen the apprenticeship scheme even further, with an £1,500 incentive to small businesses to take on apprentices amongst the range of proposals announced by Vince Cable.

The Liberal Democrats are determined to tackle youth unemployment and get our economy back on track. Apprenticeships make companies more productive and give young people the experience and skills they need.

Small businesses form the backbone of our economy and the announcements by Liberal Democrat Business Secretary, Vince Cable, are very welcome. Young people and local employers should be at the heart of the government’s economic policy and these measures are an important step in the right direction.

Commenting on the announcement, Chorlton's MP John Leech said:

“I have long been a supporter of apprenticeships, and have worked with the Manchester College to promote them. Apprenticeships benefit everyone involved and this record rise in learners taking them up is great news for Manchester and the economy as a whole.

Business secretary Vince Cable said, ““The apprenticeships programme is a success story, with record numbers of learners starting an apprenticeship this year. But I have listened to employers, and will go further to ensure that investment is targeted where impact is greatest, delivering the specific skills businesses need to drive growth. “

Thursday, 10 November 2011


During the 2010 General Election all three of the main parties accepted that there would have to be cuts. The Conservatives said that they would make cuts of £92 billion if they got a majority. Labour announced that they would halve the deficit by 2014 if they were re-elected* (Labour’s Fiscal Responsibility Act 2010 committed it to halve the overall budget deficit by 2013–14 from its 2009-10 levels). The Liberal Democrats campaigned for cuts of £80 billion.
After the election neither Labour nor the Conservatives were able to form a government on their own. The Lib Dems eventually formed a Coalition with the Conservatives. A key factor in the Coalition negotiations was Lib Dem insistance that children, the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our society would be protected from the worst of the cuts.
In the event cuts of £81 billion** were agreed, and every week measures are being announced by the Lib Dems that demonstrate that they are delivering on their promise to help those who cannot help themselves, such as The Pupil Premium, raising the tax threshold to help the lowest paid, restoring the link between wages and pensions, trebling cold weather payments and many, many more.
As a result of forming the Coalition the ‘cuts’ are 11 billion less than they would have been if the Tories governed alone, and 4 billion less than we would have experienced had Labour been re-elected***. And remember, Labour had no plans to cut taxes for the lowest paid, or to find EXTRA money for the poorest school children or pensioners.
When you hear Labour activists trying to denounce the Liberal Democrats for making ‘cuts’ you might want to point this out to them.
* (Labour will) Secure the recovery by supporting the economy now, and more than halve the deficit by 2014 through economic growth, fair taxes and cuts to lower priority spending. Labour Party Manifesto 2010
(**figures from the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies)
*** The deficit stood at 170.8 billion at the end of the 2009-10 financial year. Cutting it in half, as required by Labour’s Fiscal Responsibility Act, would have resulted in cuts of 85.4 billion.
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Friday, 4 November 2011

Hardy Farm Playing Fields

The above pictures shows the developer's plans for the Hardy Farm site.

A number of local residents have recently contacted me after the grass on the Hardy Farm site turned brown. I asked the City Council’s Environmental Protection Group to look into the issue urgently.

I have since learnt that this is part of plans to convert the meadow into playing fields and carry out other works to the site. The grass has been recently sprayed to deter grass growth and will be ploughed shortly. The land will be left to aerate over the winter. Next spring the plans are for laser levelling and pitch cultivation to take place. We also understand that a new see-through steel fence will replace the existing concrete ‘post and panel’ fence along the WDCAFC football club boundary in the next few months. The Sites of Biological Importance (SBI) will also be managed by a plan set out by the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit. I understand that the developers are planning to inform local residents of these plans in the near future.

This is the email I recieved from the Council's Environmental Protection Group:

Hello Councillor Chamberlain,

I have also recently received a similar request for information from Councillor Lewis and sent the following response:

With regard to your request for information about the Brown Meadows / Hardy Farm Landfill, I can respond as follows:

The Contaminated Land Section (CLS) of MCC are aware of the developments taking place on the area of land known as Hardy Farm. There is a planning application for the buildings (former sports centre) and contaminated land conditions are attached to the application. We are also in regular communication with the owners of the land and the developers and they are complying with the attached conditions.

The lands to the rear of the buildings are covered by a permitted development and therefore do not require planning permission. This allows the owners of the land to develop them for playing fields. The owners of the land recently sent an e-mail (see attachments) supplying plans and photographs.

The owners have also consulted various stakeholders including the Friends of Chorlton Meadow (Mr Bishop) and they are in the process of producing a leaflet to be distributed to local residents explaining the development.

Officers from the CLS undertake regular visits to sites of potential concern across Manchester and Hardy Farm has been on our visiting schedule for some time and has received numerous site visits.

In response to your specific questions, ‘Is the owner of this land breaking the law, if chemicals have been used the effect on the wildlife / bio diversity could be Catastrophic’? The owner has taken advice from the Greater Manchester Ecological Unit (Mr Derek Richardson) and is working to a plan agreed with them.

Why has Hardy Farm meadow gone brown? The owner is removing the shrubs and grasses with the application of plant retardants; this has been undertaken by Complete Weed Control (Manchester).

What are the implications on the landfill site soil cap? The CLS have discussed with the owner about the proposals and the integrity of the cap. Plans and details of the cap are to be supplied to us for review. It has also been stated that the overall depth / thickness of the cap will be increased, not decreased.

Continual destruction of the vegetation will eventually lead to erosion of the top soil end expose the underlying and potentially harmful landfill contents. Please review the attached photographs showing the proposals for the end use and the grassed areas.

The following questions can be answered with a single answer below.

I am concerned that the proprietor may have treated it with some kind of chemical?
If so what are the implications of this on the natural habitat for insects, bats, and pets?
What are the likely effects on general public health depending on what chemicals, if any, have been used?
What is the potential for any chemicals leaching into the river and surrounding environment?

The owner of the land has hired a specialist contractor to undertake the works on site. The contractors use ‘best practice’, sustainable techniques, approved herbicides (see attachment), are fully qualified and apply all relevant health and safety protocols. With the works being part of a permitted development the Planning Department and the Contaminated Land Section can only act if the law is being broken and we receive proof of this.

The CLS and Planning Department have been in correspondence and had meetings with the owners of the land and have been assured that the development will undertaken in a professional manner and all reasonable requests will be undertaken. The CLS will closely monitor the situation within our permitted remit.

With regard to planning information and applications the case officer for the site is Paula McGovern.

I hope this answers your questions. If you need any further information regarding Contaminated Land issues for this site please feel free to get in touch.

Kind regards,

Simon Rogers
Environmental Protection Specialist - Contaminated Land

Manchester City Council
Environmental Protection Group

Please let me know what you think about the plans. I will bring your views to the attention of the relevant agencies and the developer.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Manchester's Labour Leader Celebrates Money-Saving Staff Appointment by Inviting 270 "Great and Good" to £4,000 Town Hall banquet

Manchester's Labour Council Leader Sir Richard Leese has been slammed as a "hypocrite" for celebrating a new staff appointment by personally inviting 270 people to a £4,000 Town Hall banquet, just days before implementing cuts to services for Manchester's vulnerable older people.

Those invited to the freebie included 4 Labour MPs, 9 Labour Councillors, a Labour peer, 20 University staff, and numerous Council and quango staff. The Leader of the Opposition was invited but declined to attend. The banquet took place a week before Labour agreed to cut services for older people. Earlier this year, with Lib Dem support, the City Council appointed the University's Art Gallery Director to run the City Council's Art Gallery too. This innovative cost-saving measure was widely welcomed as a sensible step, reflecting the nationwide recession. But Manchester Lib Dems believe most people will be sickened by yet another example of Labour's town hall extravagance.

Senior Manchester Liberal Democrat Councillor Paul Shannon said:"Manchester Lib Dems fully support our excellent museums, galleries and the City's vibrant cultural life. But this is a gross error of judgement from Labour's leadership.""In these hard-pressed times, when every penny counts, it's incredible that Labour still haven't got the message. The Leader of the Council should know better. There is much deprivation in Manchester. It's wrong to spend public money wining and dining the cultural elite when ordinary people are suffering. "

"One day everyone else is to blame for cuts Sir Richard is implementing, and the next his snout is deep in the trough hosting this lavish banquet. Sir Richard has failed to lead by example. These are the actions of a hypocrite. Lib Dems want to see him working for growth, jobs and investment, not wasting public money on excessive hospitality."
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Tuesday, 1 November 2011

More than £0.5million for Chorlton Schools thanks to Pupil Premium

Building on the record high settlement for Manchester schools, the government have announced yet more money going towards pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds through the pupil premium this year. Manchester is set to receive almost £11million extra for its schools through the pupil premium this year which is £1,292,704 more than originally expected.

This year’s Manchester School spending has gone up 5.8% compared to last year with additional money from the pupil premium meaning the difference in budgets for 2010/11 to 2011/12 is an additional £18,346,306.

Manchester local authority will receive the fourth largest pupil premium in the country and this will have a lasting effect on the 155 schools primary and secondary schools in the area. The money will be allocated to Manchester’s schools to help the poorest pupils. The money works out as £488 per pupil who receive free school meals. The cash will not be ring fenced and the schools have the choice what to spend the money on.

Whalley Range 11-18 High School and Business and Enterprise College was amongst one of the biggest winners receiving a staggering £259,128.

Even in these tough times the government are still managing to direct money to schools in areas like Manchester that need it the most. Education is the best way to end the underachievement of disadvantaged pupils through supporting children comprehensively from early years straight through to secondary school

The extra money for Manchester schools is yet another boost for the city with levels at record levels with school budgets ring fenced under the coalition government.

The funding to Manchester schools is now at record levels and now pupils in Manchester will have a fairer start in life because Liberal Democrats fought and delivered for extra cash and in Government we have made it happen

In a letter to Manchester Liberal Democrats Children and Families Minister, Sarah Teather said:

“The Pupil Premium will benefit poorer pupils, providing extra money directly for those pupils who need it the most.

“This extra funding will help tackle inequality and enable schools to provide the extra support their pupils need to reach their full potential.”

The amounts allocated to each School in the Chorlton area are listed below.


Chorlton High School £213,256
Loreto High School Chorlton £125,416
Oswald Road Primary School £27,328
St John’s RC Primary School £18,544
Brookburn Community School £12,688
Chorlton CofE Primary School £10,736
Chorlton Park Primary School £64,416
Barlow Hall Primary School £60,512
St Ambrose RC Primary School £42,944

TOTAL £575,840

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John Leech MP calls on Government to take those on National Minimum Wage out of Income Tax altogether

Manchester Withington MP John Leech has put down the following Early Day Motion in Parliament;

That this House welcomes the commitment of the Coalition Government to increase the personal allowance to £10,000 by 2015; recognises that increases in the personal allowance have already taken hundreds of thousands of the lowest paid tax payers out of paying income tax altogether and that further increases in the personal allowance will benefit all taxpayers, but benefit the poorest taxpayers more as a proportion of their income; welcomes the recent increase in the minimum wage to £6.08 for adults over 21, which translates into a £228 weekly wage based on a 37.5 hour week, or £11,856 per year; believes that any future reductions in direct taxation should be targeted at the poorest taxpayers rather than the rich; and therefore believes that any further reductions in direct taxation should be further increases in the personal allowance with the aim of taking those on the national minimum wage out of paying income tax altogether.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Oswald Road Community Garden Mosaic

Anyone living or walking near Oswald Road is likely to have seen this new community mosaic which has been installed on public land next to Fielden Avenue. The mosaic, along with other improvements to the land were funded by a Manchester Cash Grant awarded to Oswald Road Community Gardening Group. The mosaic project involved work with local artist Tracey Cartledge and children from Oswald Road School and is now a permanent feature on the land.

You can read more about the Mosaic at:

Congratulations and thanks to everyone involved. I think it looks fantastic and is a real asset for the area.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

"[GMP] have no intention to reduce policing levels at neighbourhood level” in Chorlton – GM Police Chief Constable

A number of residents have contacted me about the closure of the Chorlton Police Station. I understand that this is because the Old Moat ward has joined the Chorlton neighborhood policing team; and unfortunately as Chorlton Police Station is not suitable to deal with a larger policing team and requires significant investment to modernise it had to close. Chorlton Police Station had not been open to the public for a number of years. However the Police will continue to have a presence in Chorlton ward in the form of a Police Post in the Chorlton District Office. It was also mentioned that Policing in Chorlton would not suffer as a result of the move and hopefully would improve, as there are more Police officers available to deal with incidents.

I wrote to the Chief Constable to seek his reassurance that although the Police Station is set to close that Policing levels in Chorlton will remain the same. Please find attached the reply I have received (click on the picture to enlarge the image) which states: “At this time we have no intention to reduce policing levels at neighbourhood level”.

Coalition Riot Recovery fund helps Manchester generate nearly £1m of free Media

Manchester Liberal Democrats are pleased to announce that the ‘I ♥[Love] MCR’ campaign generated over £900k of free media for the city (eighteen times more than the cost of the campaign). The campaign cost Mancunians just £50k to set up and that money is now being reimbursed from the Coalition Government’s Recovery Scheme.

Chorlton Lib Dem Councillor Victor Chamberlain who uncovered these figures said: “The ‘I ♥ [Love] MCR’ campaign helped to unite the city following August’s riots. Thanks to the Government’s support the campaign has had a positive economic impact for our city too. I am pleased that Liberal Democrats in Government have helped Manchester following these riots; I know Nick Clegg was really impressed with the campaign when he visited Manchester just after the riots took place.”

Lib Dems tell Council to listen to Sure Start parents and stop wasting £251k on Temps

At Yesterday’s meeting of Manchester City Council, the Lib Dem Group put Labour’s handling of the future of Sure Start in the spotlight. The Lib Dems also raised concerns about the £251k currently being spent employing temporary staff for the service.

Councillor Mary Di Mauro, Northenden Lib Dem Councillor and Shadow Executive Member for Children’s Services, told Councillor Afzal Khan, the Executive Member for Children’s Services that the Council must make every effort possible to ensure that the Consultation on Sure Start’s future is transparent, accessible and accountable and parents are listened to. Coun Di Mauro also sought assurances that families will not be adversely affected by the changes and that future service providers will offer the same extensive range of Sure Start services.

Coun Di Mauro said “Under Labour’s plans there are real concerns that people will leave employment because they cannot afford childcare. I remember paying more on my childcare than I spent on my mortgage. Sure Start is so much more than day care; new providers must offer Sure Start’s extensive services.”

At the Council the Lib Dems also raised concerns about wastage in the current Sure Start system. Figures exposed by Chorlton Lib Dem Councillor Victor Chamberlain show that the Council is employing 51 agency or temporary workers on Manchester’s Sure Start Service (nearly 10% of the total work force) at a cost of £251,000.

Coun Chamberlain added: “When the Labour Council have let 1600 people go, and are putting Sure Start at risk I am appalled to find that they are spending a quarter of a million pounds on temporary staff. This is a scandalous waste of money and just shows once again that Labour are letting down Manchester's young people.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Manchester Labour Council shame as £43m taxes left uncollected

Recently released information shows Manchester’s Labour Council has failed to collect nearly £43million in Council Tax arrears since Council Taxes were introduced. The equivalent of £255 per household with residents.

Manchester City Council has consistently been amongst the worst Councils in the whole country for collecting Council Tax; last year nearly one pound in every ten owed in Council Tax was not collected – depriving the City of nearly £11million. In March this year the Labour Council voted to cut their budget by £109million, resulting in the loss of 1500 jobs, the closure of Libraries and public toilets and putting the future of Sure Start services in the City at risk.

At the time Councillor Bernard Priest, executive member for finance said: "Last year [was] the fourth year in a row that we've improved our collection rate.” Newly obtained figures for the last five years show that uncollected Council Tax arrears for 2010/11 are more than double those of 2006/07. Over £8.75million of council tax from last year still remains uncollected.

Chorlton Lib Dem Councillor Victor Chamberlain who uncovered the information said: “Many Manchester Residents and Families have to make sacrifices to pay their Council Tax. They will be appalled by the Labour Council’s unacceptable incompetence in reclaiming the money it is owed and failure to chase up tax avoiders. “

“Labour's failure to collect what we are owed undermines their argument about the need to make such harsh front line cuts earlier this year. This is money that should have been collected and spent on public services in Manchester."

I obtained this Information through the Freedom of Information Act:

----- Original Message -----
From: Charles Metcalfe
Sent: 23/09/2011 09:44 GDT
To: Councillor Victor Chamberlain
Subject: FOI request
Good morning Councillor Chamberlain.

You made a request under the Freedom of Information Act for the following figures:

How much Council Tax has remained uncollected by MCC for each of the last five years

As at 1 September 2011 the figures are

2010/11 £8,767,108
2009/10 £7,178,939
2008/9 £5,857,014
2007/8 £4,699,788
2006/7 £4,016,915

What is the Council's total arrears going back to 1993


Group Assistant post at Chorlton Good Neighbours

Chorlton Good Neighbours Care Group wishes to appoint a part-time worker based in their office with some outreach work.

This post is temporary until 31st March 2012, but with potential to continue.

They are seeking a person who has experience of working with older people to join their team of staff and volunteers, and support the work of this well established Neighbourhood Care Group. Car driver/owner preferred.

1. Part Time Group Assistant, 20 hours per week
The post holder will work for:
6 hours per day on Tuesdays and Fridays
4 hours per day on Wednesdays and Thursdays

• To provide administrative support to the Co-ordinator and assist with on site activity
• To take responsibility for the development of specific projects relating to older male service users
• To visit a small number of isolated older men and support them in getting engaged in social activities

For further information / application forms contact:
Mrs Helen Hibberd, Co-ordinator
Chorlton Good Neighbours
Wilbraham St Ninians Church
Egerton Road South, Chorlton, M21 OXJ
Tel: 0161 881 2925 any week day morning, except Wednesday

Closing date for applications : Friday 28th October 2011

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Manchester Labour Council accused of Twitter Bias

Chorlton Lib Dem Councillor Victor Chamberlain has accused Manchester’s Labour Council of showing inappropriate and blatant party political bias through their use of the official twitter account (@ManCityCouncil). The 'official' account follows 168 people; which include six Labour City Councillors, the account for Manchester Labour (@ManchesterRose) and Manchester’s Labour MEP, Arlene McCarthy. The official account does not follow a single Liberal Democrat Councillor or politician despite many having twitter accounts.

Last year Manchester’s Liberal Democrat opposition criticised the Labour Council for hiring a £38k Twitter tsar while axing 1500 jobs.

Councillor Chamberlain said: “The City Council is legally required to be neutral and non-partisan; however their ‘public face’ on twitter has been anything but. The Council’s resources should be used to benefit all Mancunians and not to promote the Labour Party. ”

“I have suggested the Council either adopt a policy of not following any politicians or follow all Manchester Councillors and elected representatives on twitter. I have also asked the Council to follow the new Chorton Civic Society blog."
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Friday, 23 September 2011

Friends of Beech Rd Park Gardening Event

Congratulations to Paul Ankers (@citizenankers) who has recently taken over as yhe Chair of the Friends of Beech Rd Park
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Thursday, 15 September 2011

Chorltonville Centenary

I really enjoyed the Chorltonville Centenary last Saturday. I invited the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Cllr Harry Lyons, to attend and I think he had a fantastic time. Chorltonville is a shining example of the garden village movement. The party organised by local residents was a great way to celebrate the Ville’s 100 years. Thanks to all those residents that organsied the party and attended.

Chorlton Civic Society

Chorlton Civic Society has just set up a new Blog to help advertise the Society and the work they do. It will also be an opportunity for Guest Bloggers to contribute about things going on in the Chorlton Area. You can view the new Blog at:
to contribute content please send it to

You can also follow the group on Twitter at @chorltoncivic

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Footpath 181

The Council recently informed Chorlton residents that they are planning to reopen Footpath 181 which runs from Claude Road (at the side of Meade Manor), behind South Drive and alongside Chorlton Brook onto Oakhouse Drive. This historic path has not been in use for many decades, however following pressure from the Ramblers Association, Manchester City Council have made it a top priority to reopen the route. I am deeply concerned by this action and am encouraging the Council to consider more options. I'm opposed to the path reopening because:

· It would be a disgraceful waste of public money. The Council estimates reopening the path would cost £40,000 to £50,000 (and potentially even more).
· I'm concerned that a reopened path could result in more criminal activity particularly burglaries, vandalism, anti social behaviour and gangs loitering.
· The pathway has been closed for more than 20 years. Even the Ramblers say the path has been obstructed for 65 years!
· Many people have told me they don’t want to see the path reopened.

I would like to gauge local opinion on this plan, so please get in touch to let me know what you think.

Monday, 5 September 2011

John Leech MP calls for resignation of Labour Health Scrutiny Chair

Manchester Withington MP John Leech has today called for the immediate resignation of Cllr Eddy Newman as Chair of the Health and Well Being scrutiny Committee following his back door deal with NHS Manchester to close Withington Walk-in Centre.

In the June meeting of the scrutiny committee it was agreed by a majority vote that the Withington Walk-in Centre should be kept open and that Cllr Newman was to be tasked with writing to Secretary of State for Health to see what could have been done to reverse the closure of Withington Walk-in Centre.
Astonishingly Cllr Newman went back on his promise to contact Andrew Lansley and made a deal with NHS Manchester to go along with the closure of Withington Walk-in Centre if the closure of Ancoats and Wythenshawe Forum walk-in centres are put on hold.

John Leech MP commented, “Eddy Newman has sold Withington down the river, I think it is more than just coincidence that the Wythenshawe walk-in centre happens to be in his own ward of Woodhouse Park. The decision on the walk-in centre closures made by NHS Manchester came as a result of the £20bn that NHS Manchester had been told to find in savings under the previous Labour government.”

Didsbury East Cllr David Sandiford said, “Before the General election in May 2010, the Manchester PCT's finances were measured as poor and the recommendation was made to make 20% cuts across the board regardless of who was in government after May. Labour have been scaremongering even since trying to blame the closure of walk-in centres on the coalition government and this is simply not the case. I will be asking Cllr Newman for a full explanation on why he has taken this decision on Withington Walk-in centre at this Thursday’s Health scrutiny committee.”

John Leech MP went on to say, “I have written to all the Labour cllrs in south Manchester asking them to publicly disown Cllr Newman and join me in calling for his resignation.”

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Sports-based training for young people - Chance to meet an England player - Chorlton Leisure Centre

I've recently been informed of a programme Youth On Solid Ground ( are running for young people in conjunction with FC Utd, a semi professional football team. The purpose of the project is to provide an opportunity for young people to get a qualification in a supportive context in an activity which engages them. Youth On Solid Ground hope that young people will, on completion of the course, move onto employment, an apprenticeship or more formal and demanding training courses.

Youth On Solid Ground are now recruiting young people to the programme. The programme is aimed at young people who are 16-18 and not in training, employment or education. However, Youth On Solid Ground may be able to accept young people outside this age group and category if;

1. They will benefit from the course
2. They can contribute to the project
3. We can get a contribution towards the funding for the project

The programme entails;

· Monday afternoon training session with FC United coaches 1-3pm. Youngsters will receive football coaching and also have a go at coaching each other.
· Thursday afternoon training session 1-3pm with Greater Sport and FC United coaches leading to a Level 2 Sports Leaders award
· An FA Level 1 coaching course during the October half-term and one Sunday in November
· An opportunity to do a small amount of paid work during the October half-term holiday helping our coaches to deliver sessions to young children.
· Additional and optional drop in sessions in a variety of sports
· One to one mentoring from Youth on Solid Ground

Young people have an opportunity to achieve accredited outcomes as follows;

· A Level 2 Sports Leaders Award
· A FA Level 1 coaching badge
· A PEARL Employability Skills Award

The project starts on Thursday 22nd September. On Monday 26th September Youth On Solid Ground are expecting a visit from a member of the England Football Squad (name of player to be confirmed).

Most of the sessions will be delivered at Chorlton Leisure Centre and the ones which are not will be delivered nearby.

If you have a young person who may be interested please contact me and I will pass your details on or contact the Youth On Solid Ground office on:
Tel: 0161 862 0955. Mob. 07966 882856

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Come and have your say on the future of Policing in our area.

Just a short note to let people know that the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police will be in Chorlton next Thursday, August 25th, for a question and answer session on the ‘Future Delivery of Policing Services’.

This will be a great opportunity for local residents living in the South Manchester area to ask questions and discuss a whole range of issues concerning local policing in our area.

I strongly encourage people to take part and I look forward to seeing you there.

The meeting will take place at:
Chorlton Irish Club, 17 High Lane, Chorlton, M21 9DJ.

Date: August 25th

Time: 5.00-7.00 PM.

Map & Directions to the event:

For further information you can also 
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Monday, 22 August 2011

Visit to Sellafield with John Leech MP

Last wednesday I was delighted to join John Leech MP on a visit to Sellafield. John had been invited to attend by a constituent who works as a contractor at Sellafield to see first hand the Nuclear Industry at work. Both John and myself set off at 6am deeply sceptical about the Nuclear Industry and the Nuclear Power alternative.

The three hour drive from Chorlton to Sellafield was made slightly more bearable by the breathtaking Lake District National Park and winding country lanes, although I’m not sure if John’s taste in music really helped! The drive certainly brought Sellafield’s remoteness into perspective, and the reasons it was built away from large population centres because of the catastrophic nature of any potential problems. On arrival the entrance looked more like a Cold War border crossing than former energy plant; complete with road blocks and substantial security. This brought home to both of us the vulnerability of the site to terrorist attacks and the need to ensure continuous high level security because of the nature of the site. When we eventually met our guides we were given a brief history of the site; and learnt about the site’s secretive origins as a manufacturer of weapons grade uranium. We also learnt more about the Windscale Fire ( and the impact this had on the development of the Nuclear Power industry as well as the problems this has created in the decommissioning of the site. At this point our guides were then able to show us the massive Greenfield site that would be used if permission is given for a new nuclear power station.

We were then taken on a tour of the site. Initially to the viewing deck of the Nuclear Fuel reprocessing plant. The blue-lit pools, radioactive signs, lifts and wenches made it feel like the lair of a James Bond villain! This is was where spent fuel from Sellafield, other Nuclear sites across the country and from abroad are brought in, stored for up to five years and finally recycled. We were impressed to learn that spent fuel is reprocessed to separate the 96% Uranium and 1% plutonium (which can then be reused as fuel) from the 3% radioactive waste, which then has to be stored on site. We also learnt more about how other less hazardous radioactive waste is processed and recycled. What was alarming was how although some of the spent fuel can be reused so much of the waste (which varies from the containers that hold the nuclear fuel to the clothes worn by employees) has to be processed and stored for millennia whilst it remains radioactive.

After this we were taken on a walk around of the site. This involved having to change into overalls, hard hats and put on radiation monitoring badges. Whilst we were changing into our new outfits there were loads of people coming and going amongst the hundreds of lockers and we got an idea of just how many people work on site. Sellafield directly employs 10,000 people so you can see how important it is to the local economy. Once changed we were taken on a tour of the site to see the decommissioning process. It was alarming how little thought had been given in the 1950s and 60s to the decommissioning process and we got to see how complicated it now is. We passed by a building called B30 (informally know as Dirty Thirty) which is one of the most radioactive buildings in Europe. It is the store of spent fuel from the 1960s and 70s, yet because of the way the spent fuel was stored at this time the containers have corroded in the pools and fuel has leaked out into the water. As a result it will take decades to clear up an billions of pounds of public money to make it safe. We were shown how complicated it is to decommission radioactive sites and the need to construct many new buildings to process the debris from the decommissioning process. This also made me realise that despite the Industry’s claims to being ‘green’, the decommissioning process is enormously carbon intensive and ultimately harmful for the environment. After we had changed we had to leave via a full body scan to ensure we weren’t radioactive. At this point I really did worry what they would do to us if we were! Thankfully all was fine and we had only picked up minute traces of radioactivity.

Over lunch afterwards we got a chance to discuss what we had seen and the industry as a whole. Our hosts were very frank and honest and took our criticism very well. They felt that although the decommissioning and storage process is very timely and costly, they have learnt and are learning lessons for the future which will mean that new generation power stations would be cleaner, safer and more efficient. I said I understood what they had said but felt the significant investment a new generation of nuclear powers stations would require would be better spent on finding reliable renewable sources; and that Cumbria was a prime example of a place where the UK with abundant natural energy resources that could be exploited to a much greater level.

On the drive home John and I discussed what we had seen. We came away even more sceptical and concerned than we had arrived. For me the Nuclear Power Industry was an experiment that should not be repeated. The events at Fukushima show just how damaging and unsafe Nuclear Power can be. However my largest objection remains to be the radioactive waste the industry creates and the legacy we are passing onto future generations. I hope the Coalition Government comes to its senses and realises that Nuclear is not the environmental, progressive energy the Conservatives claim it is!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Manchester Riot Clean Up and update from GM Police

This morning I joined hundreds of other Mancunians in Picadilly Gardens to help clean up the City Centre after last night's disturbances. I was really impressed with how quickly the Council managed to clear the debris, by the huge number of people who came out to help and by the local shops, who determined not to let a tiny minority of idiots win, had clearly adopted a "business as usual" policy! Sadly a large number of businesses had seen their premises damaged and there was evidence of looting. I felt very sorry for one family Jewellers shop on Shudehill that John Leech MP and I helped clear broken glass and debris from; they had seen their shutters broken, windows smashed, stock looted and fixtures and fittings destroyed. It is these small independent businesses and their employees that will suffer
most from the mindless violence.

I have just returned from a Greater Manchester Police (South Division) briefing on the disturbances that occurred last night in parts of Manchester. Outside the city centre, the most local trouble seemed to be at the following points:

a) Wythenshawe FORUM (right next to Wythenshawe Police Station). Some people threw bricks at police officers, they were arrested

b) 'Snow and Rock'; and the Carphone Warehouse on Princess Road. Those involved were from Bury and one person was from the local area. They damaged these premises, but they were arrested before they could loot them.

c) Tree of Life centre (a charity: was also targeted. The police arrived within 9 minutes of being alerted and quickly dealt with the

The vast majority of Mancunians take pride in our city and neighbourhoods and don't want to see a repeat of last night's violence and destruction. You can report any signs of trouble to the police using the following email address: and of course on 999. The overall message from the Police was that they also are operating a 'business as usual' policy. They plan to step up Policing in the City Centre and the Chorlton neighbourhood policing team has been and will continue to be very visible around Chorlton. The Police are asking Parents to know where their children are and in the event of further disturbances they are asking residents not to go and spectate.

Please feel free to contact me if there is anything you would like me to inform the Police or Council about.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Beech Rd Festival Update

As you may have read in the South Manchester Reporter there were a few problems at the Beech Rd Festival this year ( Within 48 Hours of the festival John Leech MP and I sent out a street letter asking for feedback and inviting residents to a street surgery. Since then a large number of residents have contacted us to give us their opinions on the festival. Most people said they really enjoyed the Festival; but there was also a significant amount of people that experienced some problems. The main concerns highlighted by residents have been regarding the litter and clean up afterwards, the amount of drunkenness, the gridlocked traffic and parking problems, the lack of a visible Police presence, the lack of toilets and the results this had, the noise and music in the park, and the general impact the festival has on local residents and its future viability. It is clear that these issues affected what was otherwise an enjoyable and well-attended festival.

Last Thursday a review meeting was convened of the organisers, Beech Rd traders, the Police, and Council Officials. I ensured that all residents’ representations were heard at the meeting and gave a summary of comments to the Organisers, the Police and the Chair, Maria Boylan, the Council’s Ward Coordinator for Chorlton. At the Meeting it was agreed that Maria Boylan will write to local residents about what is going to happen in the future. The meeting paid tribute to the Organisers for running this event successfully for fifteen years, but noted that the numbers have grown significantly in the last few years. The meeting discussed residents’ concerns and in particular the nature and atmosphere of this year’s Festival and the amount of drinking. The meeting heard that there was the same amount of preparation for the Festival and Policing levels as previous years, but agreed that more was needed last Sunday given the pleasant weather and unauthorised Facebook publicity which helped to draw record crowds. The Police have told us they were not as prominent as previous years because they were wearing black T-Shirts rather than their High Visibility Jackets. There was a general consensus that in the future the Festival should be more considerate of resident’s needs and wishes, particularly those of families. I’m pleased that the meeting adopted and developed my idea for a Festival Organising Committee made up of local residents, the Beech Rd Traders Association, the Friends of Beech Rd Park and others which will organise the festival and make arrangements with the Police and Council. Hopefully this way any potential problems can be anticipated and resolved prior to the Festival. It will also ensure that the festival is sympathetic to local needs and wishes.

I’m delighted that so many residents turned up to our Street Surgery (pictured) in Beech Rd Park on Sunday; and I would like to thank those that attended. It gave us another opportunity to listen to local residents and to hear from different sections of our community. Because it was so well attended not everyone got a chance to have their say and some people couldn’t make it; but there is still a lot yet to be decided. As a result I’m conducting a survey so as many local people as possible have their views taken into account. Please let me know if you would like me to send you a Survey to complete. The survey asks your opinions on a range of suggestions that have been proposed. I will present your observations to the organisers and city authorities as a matter of urgency. This survey will help any future Organising Committee to understand the views of local residents and make decisions about the nature and logistics of future Festivals. If you would like to be part of the Organising Committee for future Festivals, please let me know as I am collating a list.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Chorlton Metrolink Open!

I'm pleased to say that the South Manchester Metrolink line is finally open! This morning I woke up at 5.30am to make sure I got on the first tram from Chorlton.

I was one of a few early birds at the St Werburgh's Road stop when the first tram arrived at 05.56. It was great to see the line close up and it was a really enjoyable and memorable experience. 15 minutes later I was in St Peter's Square!

The opening marks the culmination of years of campaigning to bring the Metrolink to Chorlton. The Metrolink will be a fantastic asset for Chorlton. It will help boost our local shops, bars and cafes and provide clean sustainable transport for local residents. The only let down has been the Council's complete failure to address the problem of parking around the Chorlton stop. Promises have been made that
the problem will be monitored but this is little comfort to the residents who face problem parking outside their homes. Please let me know if you experience any problems.

I hope you also enjoy travelling on the Tram soon!

Monday, 4 July 2011

Beech Road Festival

I really enjoyed the Beech Rd Festival Yesterday. The weather was absolutely fantastic which helped to attract record numbers. I understand there were about 10,000 - 15,000 people there yesterday.

I really enjoyed the music in the park, having a chat with lots of friends and neighbors like Ida Bradshaw (pictured) from the Chorlton Civic Society; browsing and supporting the local stalls (I bought a present for a friend from the Belly Button stall), and the delicious Samosas on offer from the Village Tandoori.

This morning I have been contacted about a few small problems. I've reported an isolated incident of anti social behaviour and have asked the Council to ensure Beech Rd and the Park are cleared of litter and rubbish urgently; as it appears that unlike previous years the Council did not do this immediately following the end of the festival. I've let the organisers know and hopefuly next year these problems can be prevented.

I really hope the success of the Festival translated into sales for the local shops and stalls as many of them are finding it very difficult at the moment. If you attended yesterday I hope you also had a great time!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Can I take this opportunity to wish all residents in Chorlton a ‘Happy St Patrick’s Day’ for Thursday. I know many residents here are Irish or like me have Irish connections. Whatever your connection – have a great time.

St John's Church is holding a number of masses throughout the day including one at St John's School at 9am. There will also be a social event at St John's Parish Centre at 8pm.

The Chorlton Irish Association Club is hosting a free St. Patrick’s Day celebration with Children’s Activities, GAA Club final games live, Live Music and Irish Stew for all; from 12:00 pm. Get there quick at there is a free drink for the first 25 to arrive!

Check out the Manchester Irish Festival website for details of what else is on today across the City

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Chorlton Meadows Village Green Application

Yesterday the application to grant Village Green status to the Hardy Farm Playing Fields was rejected by Labour Councillors.

The Application which would have preserved the Meadows for future generations; and which was supported by hundreds of local residents, was thrown out by just 5 Labour Councillors.

Earlier this year I supported local residents who submitted the application to grant Village Green status to the Hardy Farm playing fields because I recognise how valued this land is by local people and its importance to the environment. I’m proud to have fought to preserve these Meadows for the future alongside hundreds of local residents and my Lib Dem colleagues, John Leech MP and Cllr Paul Ankers. Unfortunately yet again the Manchester Labour Party has ignored Chorlton’s residents and failed to take steps to protect our environment from development.

At the Committee I spoke up in favour of the village green application. I told the Committee that by rejecting the application they would be disregarding the views of hundreds of Chorlton Residents. Unfortunately despite a strong Application and widespread support, the Application was rejected by Labour Councillors 5 votes to 3. We are pleased to say that all the Lib Dems at the Committee voted in favour of the application. I feel this judgement echoes the Labour decision last August to grant permission for harmful floodlights at WDCAFC Grounds, which is next to the Meadows.

Whilst my colleagues and I are incredibly saddened by the decision Labour councillors have made we will continue to fight to protect Chorltonville Conservation Area, Chorlton Meadows and the Mersey Valley from development. I would also like to thank the local residents who put so much time and energy into producing the Application; and all those residents who supported it.

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss this matter further or if I can be of any assistance with another issue.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

How Will Chorlton be Affected by the Council Cuts?

Many of you will have followed stories about the Council’s cuts, which go to the Executive committee next Wednesday.

There is some good news for Chorlton. Both the Leisure Centre and the Library stay open. In the past Chorlton Liberal Democrats have fought for Sunday opening at the Library and improved facilities at the Leisure Centre and it is good to see local services being protected at this difficult time. I lobbied the City Treasurer Richard Paver on these alongside my colleague Cllr Paul Ankers. We emphasised how good these facilities are and how needed and valued they were for the Chorlton community.

However, we are likely to see the toilets at the Bus Station close and possibly lose the extra parking attendant we fought for lost. Parking is already a massive issue in Chorlton and this could be a real blow. Local people often raise concerns about parking when the Metrolink starts, so this could make it worse. Unfortunately the Council has also announced that it intends to shut the Barlow Moor Library on the Merseybank Estate.

Interesting news about Surestart & Youth service - both are being outsourced. Surestart works well so I am most worried about that. It is popular and providers need to be as good as currently on offer. There are options, grounds for optimism, but it will require hard work to ensure Chorlton gets the best. Manchester's Youth Service is not currently upto standard so outsourcing may actually provide a better serivce for the CIty's young people.

These are difficult times and we need to continue to fight to protect our public services; but I am confident that the Chorlton Lib Dem team will be able to do this. If you have any questions or comments to make about the Council's cuts feel free to send me an email at