Thursday, 20 September 2012

Simple steps to slow our traffic down to 20

This column appeared in Monday’s Manchester Evening News:

Last year 174 people were killed or seriously injured on Manchester’s roads and there were nearly 2000 road casualties. These shocking statistics help explain why Manchester has the North West’s second highest rate of overall pedestrian casualties; and the UK has Europe’s highest proportion of pedestrian road deaths and lowest levels of children walking or cycling to school. Half of the people hit by a car at 30mph will die; in contrast 90% of those hit by a car at 20mph survive. In February I proposed a Lib Dem ‘Twenty’s Plenty’ Council Motion in favour of introducing 20mph on Manchester’s residential roads. I was delighted that is was unanimously supported by Councillors.
If this policy is introduced it means Manchester roads would be safer with far fewer needless road deaths and casualties and it would make our roads user-friendly for everyone. These proposals have been very warmly received because they not only make our roads safer but also encourage more people to walk and cycle thus reducing traffic noise, pollution and carbon emissions. In Lib Dem run Portsmouth (the UK’s first 20mph City) they have seen a 22% drop in road casualties and a healthier, cleaner and greener city.
Some people have been concerned that 20mph limits would delay journey times. However average speeds in Manchester are generally well below 20mph because of congestion and queues. In fact traffic flows more freely at 20mph than 30mph and reducing speed means quicker journeys. There have also been those that say you can’t enforce 20mph limits. Effective 20mph limits can be achieved with community ownership alongside establishment endorsement. Effective public information campaigns, and low cost entry and reminder signs have been proven to dramatically kill speed in many Cities and mean 20mph is self enforced.
Sadly despite unanimous support for 20mph limits the Labour Council have been putting bureaucracy and politics in the way of saving lives and getting more people walking and cycling. At first they came up with ridiculous suggestions of putting traffic calming on every road at a cost of £41million; thankfully they’ve now agreed that a £2.8 million scheme with an extensive consultation and education campaign and entry signs into 20mph areas and reminder 20mph signs every 500m would be more appropriate. However this figure is still way too high. 20′s Plenty For Us, the national campaign group for 20mph limits, estimates the cost of introducing the policy is £3 per head of population; about £1.5million for Manchester. It is so disappointing that the Council is not taking the lead on this issue and has confirmed nothing more will progress without a Government handout. Other Councils have got on with the job of saving lives rather than shifting the burden for Party Political reasons.
There are many ways the Council can look to pay for Twenty’s Plenty. Just in the last three years the Labour Council have written off over £1.7million of money owed to local taxpayers. This would have been more than enough to at least get the ball rolling. Over 8 million UK residents live in areas with blanket 20mph residential limits so Manchester City Council only needs to ask colleagues around the country for guidance. The Council should produce detailed financial and introduction plans so that we have a Twenty’s Plenty plan that is ‘shelf ready’ when money becomes available. Last year the Department for Transport could have offered help through their end of year budgets but because of Manchester Council bureaucracy we missed out!
Road safety is a local responsibility and it shouldn’t be left up to Government to pay for it. Manchester Liberal Democrats put forward an alternative budget that included some money for Twenty’s Plenty. Sadly this motion was voted down and the Labour budget included nothing for reducing the speed limit. In 2007 John Leech, the Lib Dem MP for Manchester Withington, introduced a Parliamentary bill to get the last Labour Government to reduce the default speed limit; sadly this was not supported. However thanks to changes the Liberal Democrats have made in Government it will be quicker, cheaper and simpler for Councils to introduce 20mph limits.
At the Liberal Democrats Conference in a couple of weeks the party will discuss making 20mph limits the default speed on UK residential roads. I fully support these proposals and hope they are successful so that we can start to change national attitudes towards speed. The Lib Dem proposals also deal with dawdling Councils like Manchester by calling for government to give appropriate financial support to Councils to ensure that upfront costs of conversion are no barrier to changing speed limits. I’m pleased that despite Labour’s obstructions the Liberal Democrats are taking the lead on this issue and helping to save lives and make our roads more useable for everyone

Matt Gallagher on Sky News discussing Gun Crime

Matt Gallagher, the Liberal Democrat Candidate to be Greater Manchester's Police and Crime Commissioner was on Sky News earlier today discussing Gun Crime: 

Video from

Monday, 17 September 2012

Weekly list of planning applications week ending 7 Sep 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.

100368/TCA/2012/S1 63 South Drive Chorlton Manchester M21 8DZ
Works to tree

100374/TCA/2012/S1 560 Wilbraham Road Manchester M21 9LB
Works to trees

099435/FH/2012/S1 48 Hartington Road Chorlton Cum Hardy Manchester M21 8UY 
Installation of 1.8 metre high close boarded fence

100207/FO/2012/S1 Yakisoba  360 Barlow Moor Road Manchester M21 8AZ

Erection of single storey rear extension following demolition of existing wall

100373/FH/2012/S1 304 Darley Avenue Chorlton Manchester M21 7HS

Erection of two storey rear extension, including a juliet balcony and canopy to front elevation

100403/LO/2012/S1 Chorlton Golf Club Barlow Hall Barlow Hall Road Manchester M21 7JJ 

LISTED BUILDING CONSENT for the removal of an internal wall and erection of stud partition wall

Friday, 14 September 2012

Manchester Green Corridor

Please find attached a flyer outlining the activities that will be going on during the week beginning the 29th October, to mark the launch of the Manchester Green Corridor walking circuit.
As outlined on the flyer, the Green Corridor is made up of 14 linked routes each averaging 4 miles in length, that link green spaces and parks around the city. All routes are clearly signposted and detailed information about each route is available on or

For the week of the launch, people are being invited to join one of the led walks that will be completed relay style, passing the Green Corridor baton onto the next walking group doing the next leg of the circuit.

The relay will end on Saturday 3rd November at around 1.30 in Fletcher Moss Park at the visitors centre where there will be a celebration which will include some tree planting.

Chorlton Enterprise Club

Take Part In Rosa Barbas New Film

Manchester Cornerhouse and artist Rosa Barba are making a film in September and they are looking for people to share stories with them around two topics:

*Did you meet a partner at, or have significant memories of, the Albert Hall in Manchester when it was in use?

*Have you never been on an international flight or have you never been abroad?

You can tell your story in as few or as many words as you like, for more information about this exhibition visit:

Weekly list of 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.

100303/FH/2012/S1 9 Brooklyn Avenue Manchester M16 0BY
Erection of two-storey side extension, single-storey rear extension, front porch and dormer window to rear

100190/FU/2012/S1 5 Warwick Road Chorlton Cum Hardy Manchester M21 0AU Change of use of dwelling house into 3 no.self contained flats and second floor rear extension

100238/FH/2012/S1 31 Grange Road Chorlton Manchester M21 9NZ
Erection of two-storey rear extension to form additional living accommodation

100319/FO/2012/S1 25 And 25A York Road Chorlton Manchester M21 9HP
Works to both hips to form gable ends and erection of rear facing dormer.

100333/TCA/2012/S1 7 Meadow Bank Chorlton Manchester M21 8EF
Works to tree  

100279/TPO/2012/S1 Paupers Wood Nell Lane Manchester M20 2LR
Works to tree

100295/FH/2012/S1 4 Chelsfield Grove Chorlton Manchester M21 7SU
Erection of part single, part two-storey side extension and part single, part two-storey rear extension together with front porch

100277/FO/2012/S1 British Muslim Heritage Centre, College Road Manchester M16 8BP Erection of 1035 square metre temporary marquee for functions to infill courtyard for a period of 5 years.

100278/LO/2012/S1 British Muslim Heritage Centre, College Road Manchester M16 8BP
LISTED BUILDING CONSENT for the erection of 1035 square metre temporary marquee for functions to infill courtyard for a period of 5 years.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Former copper Matt Gallagher selected as Lib Dem candidate for Police Commissioner for Greater Manchester

Matt is a big supporter of improving road safety. He has joined me in successfully campaigning to stop Labour's School Crossing cuts and calling for 20mph limits.

Greater Manchester Liberal Democrats have selected retired former police Inspector and Chorlton resident Matt Gallagher to be their candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner.
Matt Gallagher said today,
“I have 30 years police experience, and a detailed knowledge of the Greater Manchester Police. That is why I am best candidate to work with police officers and cut crime across Greater Manchester.”
He added,
Matt served as a GMP officer for 30 years
“Survey after survey shows that the public would prefer to see a former copper as Police Commissioner than a failed former politician. The people of Greater Manchester now have that choice.”
Matt has a strong public service record. His grandfather was a police officer, his wife and daughter are mobile carers and his son is a Royal Marine Commando.
Mr Gallagher served for thirty years with GMP, six as a front line inspector in the force’s elite Tactical Aid Unit, where he confronted the city’s drugs gangs and organised football hooligan’s, and targeted anti-social behaviour and gun crime.
South Manchester MP John Leech added,
“I supported Matt because he was made for this job. 30 years a copper, six years in the Tactical Aid Unit. Better a copper with an understanding of the job than a failed former minister.”
He beat former Councillors Jackie Pearcey and Qassim Afzal polling over half of the first preference votes.
Matt grew up in Chorlton and knows our area inside out. He will make an excellent candidate because he knows what local people's priorities are and also how the Police work. Matt will stand up for Chorlton and other Greater Manchester residents.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Faith on the Green

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Chorlton Eco Show Home Open Day

Chorlton Eco Show Home opens doors this weekend showcases world first solar installation as part of the SuperHomes network

The hundred year old Arts and Crafts property in the South Manchester conservation area is owned by Kit Knowles, who refurbished the property to test and showcase over 100 sustainable technologies and design techniques including three world firsts. Without using any renewable electricity generation he has reduced its carbon footprint by 62% with energy bills tumbling from £2,500 to £500.

Kit will now exceed 85% carbon reduction with the installation of a ground breaking new hybrid Photovoltaic Thermal (PVT) system that combines electricity and hot water production in one panel, with a new technology to preheat air coming into the house and provide cooling in the summer time.

The Achilles heel of normal photovoltaics is the drop in efficiency occurring at the height of the day due to the panels overheating. By running cool water though the panels a lower temperature is maintained, greatly increasing electrical output and providing hot water as a by-product. Battery storage and energy management then enables the property to store excess energy and distribute it at times it would otherwise be required to pull from the national grid.

The system, commissioned through a partnership between Ecospheric and Newform Energy, also connects to the ventilation network and uses naturally occurring minerals known as zeolites that give off heat when exposed to humid conditions. This will mean the outgoing moisture laden air will heat the incoming air without any extra fuel cost.

“We love working together with companies to test emerging technologies in the energy efficiency market” says Kit Knowles, owner of Ecospheric who lives and runs the business out of the show home. “This is a very exciting new system that will allow us to harness more potential energy from the sun than any other type of domestic solar array.”

The installation has the potential to earn £1,400 from the FIT and RHI and, due to the electrical storage and energy management system, will utilise over 80% of the electricity generated on site (up from a typical 15%). With anticipated combined annual gas and electric charges of just £200, this means that overall the house will net circa £1,200 - almost taking care of the council tax!

SuperHomes is a nationwide charity initiative run by the award winning Sustainable Energy Academy. It currently consists of 135 refurbished houses, 40 of which are opening their doors to the public this week. Celebrated for being the first network to make exemplar refurbished older homes open to the public, it enables people to have a touch and feel experience and be inspired to take action in their own dwellings.

The Chorlton Eco Show Home will be open 7th-9th September, 10am-5pm and is free to attend with Ecospheric sustainability consultants on hand to answer any questions you may have relating to your own property.

To register your interest in the open days please visit:

For more information, visit or call 0161 881 4173