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!