Saturday, 30 June 2012

Manchester Private Hire Taxis in Bus Lanes

There is currently a debate going on in Manchester about whether Private Hire Taxi Vehicles (PHVs) should be allowed to use Bus Lanes in the same way Hackney Carriages (Black Cabs) are permitted to.  

The City Council is unwilling to allow Private Hire Taxis in the Bus Lanes because they're concerned about how they could distinguish them from motorists and other Council's Private Taxis and what impact it would have on Buses. This is part of the reply I recently recieved from the Council's Deputy Chief Executive:

However the Manchester Private Hire Association argue that the reasons Private Hire Taxis should be allowed to use the Bus Lanes is because

A) PHVs can clearly be distinguished from a normal car
B) 64 Councils nationally allow PHVs in Bus Lanes (major cities are Liverpool/Glasgow)
C) Equality act 2010 is being broken against their customers who choose to use this form of transport over another
D) Unfair competition laws broken (EU articles 49,56,58) - allowing Black Cabs doing the same job to use Bus Lanes
E) Green Issues - Stuck in traffic adds pollution to the city
F) Stuck in traffic means PHVs customers will pay more as meter clocks up waiting time.
G) Stuck in traffic PHVs customers can miss Hospital/Doctors/Dentists appointments adding extra pressure to NHS waiting lists and appointments.

They also dispute the Councils concerns about not being able to distinguish PHVs:

What do you think? Should Private Hire Taxi Vehicles be allowed to use Bus Lanes?

Friday, 29 June 2012

Lib Dem Minister gives Manchester £32,460,000

Discussing Sustainable Transport with Norman Baker MP
at Liberal Democrat Conference
Yesterday Lib Dem Minister Norman Baker MP announced Government  funding worth £32,460,000 for Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) to fund the Let’s Get to Work scheme from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF). It is fantastic that the LSTF government initiative is continuing to allocate funds for projects that will stimulate economic growth whilst reducing carbon emissions throughout the country. A single Greater Manchester-wide bid was lodged and we have now received the funds, the second highest allocation in the country, which will be spent on making travel in Manchester greener and easier.
Sustainable Commuting
Let’s Get to Work has some great initiatives that can now get underway thanks to the money that the Lib Dem Transport Minister, Norman Baker MP, has allocated to Manchester. The scheme aims to take 26 million km of car journeys off the road and turn them into 10 million extra public transport journeys and 2 million extra cycling trips which could mean a potential reduction in carbon emissions of around 1,000 tonnes a year, which can only be a good thing. One of the core themes for Let’s Get to Work is ‘active travel’ that will involve different cycling initiatives including the Greater Manchester Commuter Cycle Project and projects to give people cycle training making Manchester greener and healthier.
The Economy
Now that the scheme can go ahead we can look forward to the prospect of a more mobile workforce therefore increasing the labour pool for employers and making it easier for employees to get to work. TfGM say the package has the potential to create the equivalent of 900 jobs, save businesses 1500 absentee days and save 1 million person hours of travel time each year. All this combined will help boost the competitiveness of Greater Manchester’s economy to the tune of £28 million according to Let’s Get to Work’s proposals.
Overall the Government funded scheme should have a very positive impact on our area making us healthier, helping the environment, boosting the economy and saving us time and money. A big “Thank you” to Lib Dem Transport Minister Norman Baker!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

4am opening at Dixy Chicken refused

In May, Dixy Chicken (450 Wilbraham Road) applied for Planning Permission to extend their opening hours to 11.00 am to 02.00 Monday to Tuesday, 11.00 am to 03.00 am Wednesday to Thursday, 11.00 am to 4.00am Friday to Saturday and 11.00 am to 03.00 am Sunday. A number of residents contacted me to complain about the impact this would have on them and on the centre of Chorlton. I raised my concerns and sent the following representation to the Planning Committee:
I wish to object to the above planning application.  The proposed opening hours are significantly later than comparable businesses in the area and I am deeply concerned about the impact these late opening hours could have on the local area. It is my view that these opening hours could potentially present a significant disamenity to local residents and threaten the licensing objectives.  Proposed opening hours until 4am have the potential to encourage and exacerbate crime and disorder; threaten Public Safety ; encourage anti social behaviour and public nuisance. Chorlton has recently experienced numerous raids on late night premises and these trading hours would make this premises susceptible to such a problem. The proposed opening hours could potentially encourage crowds tocongregate, late night fights and affrays and general vandalism which can also potentially pose a threat to public health. 
The proposed hours could potentially also create a public nuisance in a residential area as there will be excessive noise, light, unpleasant smells, litter and public urination in the early hours. There has recently been an issue of businesses leaving commercial waste in the alley behind Wilbraham Road and on Keppel Road and this application could exacerbate this problem.  I also believe that the proposed hours will encourage people to travel from further afield than they would otherwise for late night refreshments. As a result it may exacerbate existing parking problems and encourage inconsiderate and dangerous parking. There is already a serious problem of taxis and cars parking on double yellow lines along Wilbraham Road and I believe this application could make this situation worse.  
I am also concerned about the precedent such late Opening hours could present. I would like to request that when the Planning Committee consider this application they are made aware of the opening and trading hours of similar businesses in Chorlton District Centre.
I am pleased that we managed to convince the Planning Department to recommend this application was refused in their official report and that the Planning Committee refused the application this afternoon.

Vince Cable: Action on Executive Pay

Last week, Lib Dem Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Vince Cable announced sweeping changes to the way in which top-level executives have their pay and bonuses decided. This change, described by the government as the ‘most comprehensive reforms of the governance framework for directors’ remuneration in a decade’, will:
  • Give company shareholders binding votes on both executive-pay policy and exit payments (the amount of money an executive receives if they resign or leave their contract early)
  • Boost transparency – allowing the link between pay and performance to be clearly drawn
  • Ensure that the reforms have a lasting impact by keeping the shareholders in the driving seat and maintaining their recent boardroom activism
Vince said:
“At a time when the global economy remains fragile, it is neither sustainable nor justifiable to see directors’ pay rising at 10 per cent a year, while the performance of listed companies lags behind and many employees are having their pay cut or frozen.
“In January we kicked off a national debate aimed at encouraging shareholders to become more actively engaged as company owners in better aligning directors’ pay with performance. I have been greatly encouraged by the ‘shareholder spring’ and I want to see that momentum sustained. That is why I am bringing forward legislation to strengthen the powers of shareholders through a binding vote on pay.”
As Liberal Democrats, we believe that the success should run through UK business from top to bottom. We want to see the values of fairness and responsibility in the setting of top-level pay, and we want to see proportionality – no more rewards for failure, no huge executive increases at the expense of low-paid workers below – at the heart of British business.
You can find more information on the upcoming Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill here.

Chorlton Planning Applications for the week ending 15 June

Below are recently submitted Planning Applications in the Chorlton area. You can find out more information about any of the proposals on the City Council's Planning Portal at or by contacting the South Area Planning Group Manager - Roger Hall; Tel: (0161) 234 4536; email: . You can also make a Planning representation (in support or opposition) to Mr Hall or the designated planning officer for each application. Please feel free to contact me on (07947383740; if you wish to discuss any application and please also send me a copy of any representation you make.

099432/LE/2012/S1 4 Barway Road Chorlton Manchester M21 9JZ
Certificate of Lawful Development for existing single storey side and rear extension

099532/FH/2012/S1 7 South Drive Chorlton Manchester M21 8DX
Erection of ground floor Kitchen extension with balcony. Replacement of windows and internal alterations demolition of existing outbuildings,

099544/FO/2012/S1 35-37 St. Werburghs Road Chorlton Manchester M21 0TL
New pitched roof to incorporate additional bedroom (and en-suite bathroom) accommodation and to act as a visual link to connect both semi-detached houses.

Fix Parliament - Time for Reform

After more than a hundred years of debates, cross-party talks, Green Papers, White Papers, Command Papers and a Royal Commission an historic Bill to reform the House of Lords has finally been introduced into Parliament by the Liberal Democrats.

These reforms do not challenge the work or talent of the dedicated individuals in the House of Lords, but challenge a tainted system. That is not a controversial belief, it was a promise made by all three political parties at the last election.

As Nick Clegg said: “There's a very simple principle at stake, which most people will agree with and Liberal Democrats have campaigned long and hard for; that the people who make the laws of the land should be elected by the people who have to obey the laws of the land.”

For more information go to the Fix Parliament Facebook Page.

Monday, 25 June 2012

20mph limits help people to reach their destination quicker

People wrongly assume that 20mph limits delay journey times. Yet, average city speeds are generally well below 20mph owing to congestion and queues. And traffic flows more freely at 20mph than 30mph: drivers make better use of road space by packing closer and junctions work more efficiently and at a higher capacity as its easier to merge. Because drivers feel safer, some leave their cars at home, further reducing congestion. 20mph limits mean quicker journeys.

Optimal speeds for maximum urban traffic flow have been mathematically modelled and 20mph is more efficient than 30mph.

· Drivers cut their spacing as braking distances contract. Shorter gaps mean more vehicles can use the available road space, reducing standing traffic.
· Filtering at junctions becomes easier too. It is far easier for motorists to pull into traffic travelling at 20mph than at 30mph. So junctions work more efficiently and queues reduce.
· Motor traffic volumes decrease since slower speeds encourage active, sustainable and shared travel. Walking and cycling levels rose by up to 12% after Bristol’s 20mph limit
· Buses operate more efficiently. The reduced length of queues means that bus journey times decrease, and become more reliable. Buses become a more attractive alternative to the car.

For more information visit

Guest Blog by John Leech MP: Still think the Lib Dems aren’t making a difference in Government?

The past few days have provided plenty of evidence that the Liberal Democrats are stopping the Government from being more right wing.

On Friday, Michael Gove talking about taking the exam system back to the 1950′s. Today, David Cameron is making a speech about scrapping Housing Benefits for the under 25′s. Kites flown, and quick vetoes by the Lib Dems, about Regional Pay and ”No fault” sackings.

All the press reports this morning have reiterated that David Cameron is making this speech as Conservative leader, to a Conservative audience, at a time when the Conservative Party feels under pressure. Proposals that might happen, after 2015, if the Tories win the next election. Proposals that can’t happen now because the Lib Dems aren’t happy with them.

That the PM wants to make a Tory speech for the next election campaign does not bother me. Sometimes we want Nick to differentiate us from them. I recognise that over recent weeks the Conservatives have had their own difficulties and need to reconnect with their core vote and some of their MPs. If they need the space to debate what should be in their manifesto, then I am relaxed about that.

For the record, I think that David Cameron is wrong on Housing Benefit. People should always be better off getting into work but there always needs to be a safety net for those who are unemployed.

But my priority, and the Liberal Democrats’ priority right now is to ensure that millionaires pay their fair share and stop short-changing the state whilst middle and low income tax payers pick up the bill.

John Leech is the Liberal Democrat MP for Chorlton and South Manchester. His blog is You can follow Jonh on Twitter: @johnleechmcr. You can contact John on (0161) 434 3334 or at

Free tennis coaching in Chorlton Park

For further information on Tennis opportunities please see the relevant websites below

Lawn Tennis Association :
Tennis Lancashire:
Find a Court or Club:

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Weekly list of planning applications week ending 8 Jun 12

Below are recently submitted Planning Applications in the Chorlton area. You can find out more information about any of the proposals on the City Council's Planning Portal at or by contacting the South Area Planning Group Manager - Roger Hall; Tel: (0161) 234 4536; email: . You can also make a Planning representation (in support or opposition) to Mr Hall or the designated planning officer for each application. Please feel free to contact me on (07947383740; if you wish to discuss any application and please also send me a copy of any representation you make.

099439/JO/2012/S1 Sports Pavillion Hardy Lane Chorlton Manchester M21 8DP
Variation of condition no.2 attached to planning permission ref:095071/FO/2010/S1 to allow elevational alterations and alterations to roof
099340/FO/2012/S1 14 Plover Terrace Chorlton Manchester M21 7UJ
Creation of contractors compound in connection with major environmental improvement works, for a temporary period until March 2013
099435/FH/2012/S1 48 Hartington Road Chorlton Cum Hardy Manchester M21 8UY
Installation of 1.8 metre high close boarded fence
099603/FO/2012/S1 182 Manley Road Whalley Range Manchester M16 8NE
Erection of 2 storey, four bedroom detached dwelling house (Class C3) with associated landscaping

NB. There were no applications submitted within Chorlton Ward. The first three applications lie within Chorlton Park ward and the fourth in Whalley Range Ward.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Update on Kansas Fried Chicken

Yesterday I posted an email I received which suggested that the License for Kansas Fried Chicken lapsed over 3.5 years ago. I asked the Council to explain how this situation had occurred. Please see the response I have received below:

This issue came to our attention as the annual fee for 2011was not paid. The licence was held by Waterford Services Ltd and when we checked on Companies House it transpired that the company became insolvent in 2008. The fees for previous years had been paid and as there has been no other issues with the premises (so far as I am aware) there was no reason to check on the status of the licence holder.

The Neighbourhood team are aware that the licence has lapsed and that the premises cannot trade between 11.00pm and 5.00am. The current owners of the business are also aware of the situation and I understand intend to apply for a new licence.

When I drove past the premises at about 23.30 last night it appeared they were still serving customers. I will continue to monitor the situation and post anything more I receive.

Grand Day Out in Chorlton

Both Chorlton Leisure Centre and Chorlton Library are pleased to be able to bring you ‘A Grand Day Out’; two opportunities each week for older people to take part in a range of different activities.

From 26th June, every Tuesday morning there will be indoor bowling and other physical activity opportunities at Chorlton Leisure Centre.

From the 29th June, every Friday afternoon at Chorlton Library there will be a chance to get involved in a range of activities, including ‘Silver Surfing’ (which I'm pleased to say I suggested!). Just pop along to either venue to get involved.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Kansas Fried Chicken, 424 Wilbraham Road, Manchester, M21 0AS - Licence Lapsed

I have been informed by the Council that the License at Kansas Fried Chicken has now lapsed. The Council recently sent me the following email:

Our Ref: 052667
Licence Type: Premises Licence (new)
Premises: Kansas Fried Chicken, 424 Wilbraham Road, Manchester, M21 0AS

Ward: Chorlton

It has come to our attention that the licence holder at the above premises, (Waterford Services Ltd), became insolvent on (05/12/2008).

Please be advised that, as per Section 27 of the Licensing Act 2003, a premises licence lapses if the holder of the licence -

becomes mentally incapable,
becomes insolvent,
is dissolved, or
if it is a club, ceases to be a recognised club.

Therefore the licence has now lapsed in accordance with the Licensing Act 2003 and no licensable activities can be conducted at the premises.

Please note, the licence may be reinstated if -

an application to transfer the licence is received by the Licensing Authority no later than twenty-eight days after the day the licence lapsed; or,
an Interim Authority Notice is received by the Licensing Authority no later than twenty-eight days after the day the licence lapsed.

This email suggests that the above License lapsed over 3.5 years ago. I have asked the Council to explain why this is only being brought to attention now. Licenses are there to protect the Public and is unacceptable for unlicensed premises to be allowed to continue operating. I have asked the Council to outline what measures it is taking to prevent this from reoccurring. If you wish to be kept informed please do not hesitate to contact me.

Family Canoeing Day

Metrolink Airport Line - Mersey Valley update

The following email has been sent by Metrolink to local Councillors about the work currently underway in the Mersey Valley:

As you are aware, work is underway to build the Metrolink extension to Manchester Airport. The line will extend from the South Manchester line at Chorlton and run on 14.5km (9 miles) of new track over the Mersey Valley and into Wythenshawe crossing the M60 and M56 motorways, continuing through to the town centre and on to Manchester Airport. I am writing to provide you with an update on the construction work in the Mersey Valley area.

Mersey Valley Viaduct
The works have progressed well with the completion of both the piling works and the construction of the supporting pillars. The construction of the viaduct bridge deck is due to start shortly. The viaduct bridge deck work will involve lifting steel beams onto the previously constructed support pillars with a large crane and the casting of the concrete deck.

During these works, the footpaths on either side of the Mersey River have been temporarily diverted as indicated on the attached plan by the dotted red line, the purple line and the green line. The solid red lines highlight the section of the footpath that will remain closed for the duration of the bridge works. Please ensure that you adhere to these diversion routes for your own safety.

In July, the diversion route of the Trans Pennine Trail will alter to allow the bridge deck to be installed. Advance notice of the alterations to the diversion routes will be posted in prominent locations. During the deck installation work residents will need to follow either the orange or purple diversion route, as shown on the attached plan. The dotted red or green diversion routes will be open during weekends and most evenings. However, there will be a small number of closures required in the evenings, these will be kept to a minimum and dates will be confirmed in the advanced notices.

Rifle Road area
Construction work along the Rifle Road area is also progressing well and our contractor, MPT, are expected to start piling works on the Sale Water Park tram stop in the next few weeks. The works are likely to create some noise and vibration. MPT, will be monitoring the levels of vibration during the works. This is to ensure the work stays within the predetermined guidelines.

If you should require any further information please do not hesitate to contact me on 0161 244 1555 or via

Please feel free to contact me if you wish to discuss it or have any concerns, comments or suggestions. Thanks

Friday, 15 June 2012

Weekly list of Chorlton planning applications received week ending 01 June

Below are recently submitted Planning Applications in the Chorlton area. You can find out more information about any of the proposals on the City Council's Planning Portal at or by contacting the South Area Planning Group Manager - Roger Hall; Tel: (0161) 234 4536; email: . You can also make a Planning representation (in support or opposition) to Mr Hall or the designated planning officer for each application. Please feel free to contact me on (07947383740; if you wish to discuss any application and please also send me a copy of any representation you make.

099156/FH/2012/S1 11 South Meade Chorlton Manchester M21 8EB
Erection of single storey rear extension, a rear dormer and elevational alterations to provide additional living accommodation

099448/FO/2012/S1 Horse & Jockey PH 9 Chorlton Green Chorlton Park Manchester M21 9HS
Retention and cladding of existing kitchen extract duct and re-alignment of log burning stove flue

099505/TPO/2012/S1 16 Oswald Road Chorlton Manchester M21 9LH
Works to trees

099534/FH/2012/S1 116 Newport Road Chorlton Manchester M21 9WN
Erection of part single, part two storey side extension and single storey rear extension to form additional living accommodation

099394/AOH/2012/S1 Bus Stop Adjacent To Chorlton Park Adult Learning Centre Mauldeth Road West
Chorlton Manchester
Installation of double-sided, internally illuminated advertising panel to bus shelter

099508/TPO/2012/S1 57 Manor Drive Chorlton Manchester M21 7QG
Works to tree

099519/LP/2012/S1 12 Fitton Avenue Chorlton Manchester M21 7HU
Certificate of Lawful Development for the erection of a single storey rear extension to form additional living accommodation

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

MP delivers for Withington!

Manchester MP John Leech is well used to delivering leaflets but on Friday he will join local Royal Mail postal deliverers on their delivery rounds to deliver post direct to the door of his constituents.

Manchester MP John Leech has accepted an offer to experience life as a postman in his constituency of Manchester Withington.

He will accompany one of the Postal Workers on their delivery round this Friday 15 th June 2012.

John Leech was enthusiastic about the opportunity to gain a unique insight into the challenges of delivering mail in his constituency. He went on to say;

“I’m used to delivering when I’m out campaigning in the area but this opportunity will allow me to see firsthand what a good job our local postmen and women do for the local community.”

MPs across the country are being invited to go out with postmen and women across Great Britain to see the lengths Royal Mail goes to deliver the post.

The purpose of the visits over the summer is to give each MP a unique insight into the challenges of delivering mail to every house and business in their constituency, six days a week.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Library works belong to people of Manchester

You may have seen an article in the Evening News about Manchester City Council’s decision to dump 300,000 of Central Library’s works as part of their £170m refurbishment. Last week I raised my concerns with the Head of Libraries and I am pleased Chorlton MP John Leech has joined me in slamming this decision.

Manchester City Council have made the move to dispose of 300,000 works, almost a third of its collection, stating that they are no longer needed.

The items will be given to an outside company which will sell, give away or pulp the works.

Chorlton MP John Leech has written to Manchester city council urging them to reconsider their decision,

“First and foremost these books belong to the people of Manchester and should not be given away to a private company”

He went on to say,

“The city of Manchester has a vast literary history and with the libraries of Manchester’s three universities under stocked, it just seems like a massive travesty to see so many works going to waste.

The works should be offered up to Manchester Libraries like the struggling Barlow Moor Library in my constituency, the Universities and above all the people of Manchester who own these books”

I am waiting for a reply from the Head of Libraries about whether the Council have offered the surplus stock to other Manchester Libraries.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Recent Chorlton Planning Applications

Below are recently submitted Planning Applications in the Chorlton area. You can find out more information about any of the proposals on the City Council's Planning Portal at or by contacting the South Area Planning Group Manager - Roger Hall; Tel: (0161) 234 4536; email: . You can also make a Planning representation (in support or opposition) to Mr Hall or the designated planning officer for each application. Please feel free to contact me on (07947383740; if you wish to discuss any application and please also send me a copy of any representation you make.

099403/FH/2012/S1 22 Patterson Avenue Chorlton Manchester M21 9NB 
Erection of a part single/part 2 storey side extension and a 2 storey rear extension to form additional living accommodation

099409/FO/2012/S1 10 York Road Chorlton Manchester M21 9HP
Creation of a self contained flat in  basement making 7 flats in total, including alterations to elevations, provision of lightwells and alterations to the car parking and landscaping

099445/TPO/2012/S1 Jackson Court  Ryebank Road Chorlton Cum Hardy Manchester M21 9LX
Works to various trees

099356/FO/2012/S1 Arrowfield Road Estate Chorlton Park Manchester M21 7UP
Environmental improvement works to the Arrowfield Road housing estate including multiple boundary fences, communal spaces, footpaths and green spaces

099447/AO/2012/S1 529 Wilbraham Road Chorlton Manchester M21 0UE 
Installation of non-illuminated high level banner advertisement to front elevation

098949/FO/2012/S1 South West Manchester Cricket Club Ellesmere Road Chorlton Manchester M21 0SG 
Erection of 6.1m high ball-stop mesh  fencing at the rear of 267a to 269e Brantingham Road

099363/FH/2012/S1 24 White Moss Avenue Chorlton Manchester M21 0XT
Erection of single storey conservatory to rear

099044/FH/2012/S1 17 Manor Drive Chorlton Park Manchester M21 7QG 
Erection of a single-storey side and rear extension

099358/AO/2012/S1 Siemens Plc C/o Agent  The REEC Building  Princess Road/Barlow Moor Road Manchester M20 2UR
Installation of two non-illuminated Siemens logos to the Renewable Energy Engineering Centre

099359/FO/2012/S1 St. Ambrose RC Primary School  Princess Road Chorlton Park Manchester M21 7QA
Erection of single storey extension to existing primary school

Only one Council apprentice out of 231 comes from Chorlton

This article in today's Manchester Evening News focuses on a document I requested in March outlining where Manchester Council's "Manchester People into Construction" (MPIC) apprentices reside. The MPIC Scheme was developed in 2008 to place young Manchester residents into employment opportunities with contractors "that sit on the City Council’s construction framework". The figures from South Manchester are well below their fair share. Out of 231 apprentices just 15 (6.5%) are from South Manchester:

Just one of the 231 apprentices comes from Chorlton Ward, Chorlton Park (1), Burnage (3), Didsbury East (0), Didsbury West  (2), Fallowfield (1), Levenshulme (1), Northenden (0), Old Moat (3), Rusholme (1), Whalley Range (0), Withington (2)

Manchester Council has said that its construction projects like the £170million refurbishment of the Town Hall and Central Library will create jobs for Manchester People. However the figures show that the jobs on offer are not benefiting people across Manchester. It is wrong that only 15 apprentices out of 231 come from South Manchester and only one comes from Chorlton.

The apprenticeships on offer should benefit people from across the City more equally and I'm concerned that potential apprentices are not hearing about the opportunities available. The Government is doing a huge amount to promote and create apprenticeships and the Council needs to ensure that it is doing its share. I've asked the Council to look at this anomaly and at how it can better promote the apprenticeships on offer to South Manchester Residents.