Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Twenty's Plenty for Manchester finally starting to happen!

In February last year I put forward a successful Lib Dem Council motion to see 20mph limits introduced on all of Manchester's non-major residential roads. I am delighted that today the Council's Executive Committee has committed £500,000 of public health money to see this policy rolled out in three areas: parts of Hulme, Moss Side and Fallowfied, Miles Platting & Newton Heath and parts of Ancoats and Clayton, and Gorton North and South. Sadly Chorlton will not be included in this first rollout as the Council is focusing on areas of high deprivation and accidents where 20mph have been proven to be most effective.

This is a really good first step and will save lives and make our roads more useable for everyone. I'm pleased the Council is using the increased Public Health money the Government has given to Manchester to make this possible. Many communities are going to benefit from this first stage but we need to roll it out citywide so that ALL Mancunians can benefit! The Council shouldn't be playing a postcode lottery with road safety as this has a huge impact on people's lives. The Government is fully behind this initiative; Lib Dem Transport Minister Norman Baker MP has and is continuing to make it easier to introduce 20mph limits.

20mph limits work best where there is community ownership and establishment endorsement. This requires extensive community engagement and public education not just traffic calming. Where this is done well schemes are self-enforcing. I'm pleased that the Executive recognised this point but it is really important that we ensure the Council do this properly and citywide. My colleague Cllr Mary Di Mauro who spoke at the Executive suggested the Council should explore the option of putting 20mph stick-on-signs on wheelie bins as a way of repeating the limit and giving people ownership of Twenty's Plenty. I think this is a really good suggestion and there's potential to have these stickers sponsored which could cover the cost and even raise funds to roll 20mph limits out further.

A great first step but we must keep up the pressure to see 20mph limits on Chorlton's and the rest of Manchester's residential roads!

Tennis in Chorlton Park

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Marie Curie Cancer Care Fundraising Day - 22nd May

Chorlton Planning Applications from May '13

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.

102219/FO/2013/S1 2 Salisbury Road Chorlton Manchester M21 0SL Enlargement of basement lightwell.
  102339/FO/2013/S1 26 Attercliffe Road Chorlton Park Manchester M21 9FS Installation of 0.6m high railings to existing 1.8m high yard wall

102350/FO/2013/S1 435 Barlow Moor Road Chorlton Manchester M21 8AU
Installation of a new shop front

102400/FH/2013/S1 86 Claude Road Chorlton Manchester M218DF
Erection of first floor rear extension to form additional living accommodation
  102208/AO/2013/S1 Chorlton High School Nell Lane Manchester M21 7SL Installation of information boards to existing fencing
  102326/FH/2013/S1 10 - 12 Sark Road Chorlton Manchester M21 9NT Erection of part two-storey, part first floor rear extension and single storey side
extensions to both sides
  102324/FH/2013/S1 7 Judson Avenue Chorlton Manchester M21 7LW Erection of single-storey rear extension to form additional living accommodation

Guest Blog: Jeremy Browne MP: Crime down to lowest levels since records began.

Jeremy Browne is a Liberal Democrat Minister of State at the Home Office

Under the Coalition Government, crime is at its lowest level since independent records began. That’s fewer homes burgled and possessions stolen; fewer communities blighted by vandalism; and fewer people hurt, or killed in violent attacks.

Lots of people predicted that in tough economic conditions, crime would go up, as it always has done in the past. But it hasn’t and we should be proud of that fact. It has been achieved without excessive bureaucracy or increasing intrusion.

Keeping crime and the fear of crime down is a key part of the fairer society Liberal Democrats are in politics to build.

That’s why, in Government, Liberal Democrats have been at the forefront of a Rehabilitation Revolution.

For years, the Liberal Democrats have argued that you only truly break the cycle of crime when you cut re-offending. We are determined to reduce both its economic and social costs.

Labour talked tough on crime, but appeared to believe that a ballooning prison population was a good thing. Be tough on crime, yes. Be tough on the causes of crime, yes. But none of it matters unless you are tough on breaking the cycle of crime too.

That’s why, in our Offender Rehabilitation Bill, we are extending rehabilitation measures to the most frequent re-offenders – those who serve sentences of 12 months or less.

And today Nick Clegg announced that the small companies and organisations that we know are so effective at delivering rehabilitation services will have extra support and money from the Government to ensure they are able to get fully involved in this new system.

These are Liberal Democrat policies – debated at and approved by our Autumn conference in 2012 and being delivered in Government.

You can read Nick Clegg’s speech in full here.


Come along and get your hands dirty down at the Grow For It Community Allotment in Chorlton.

Help out... Learn... Grow stuff... Make things... Meet people... Share...

Everyone welcome...

Find us on Manchester Rd on the bridge near the swimming baths and Unicorn Groceries.

Saturday 11am
Sunday 2pm
Wednesday 5pm

See poster for details or call... 07973139068

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

We should not allow fracking in our region

This is the column I wrote for the Manchester Evening News about Fracking which was published last week:

Do you think Manchester would be better with contaminated tap water, earthquakes and explosions? Sadly your Council thinks it is worth that risk to help big gas companies. Last week Greater Manchester Councils agreed a ‘Joint Minerals Strategy’ allowing these companies to use the controversial process of gas extraction called fracking.

Fracking involves pumping water and chemicals into coal beds (like those under Manchester, Salford and Wigan) to release gas. It has caused uproar in America where communities have evidence it has contaminated drinking water and land, caused earthquakes and fires, and keeps us trapped in reliance on harmful fossil fuels. Areas like Pittsburg and New York State have listened to the evidence and banned it. Manchester needs to do the same!

Greater Manchester Councils have made a short sighted mistake by agreeing this part of the Minerals Plan; one which future generations will regret. I am deeply troubled by the Plan’s lack of protection against the harmful effects of fracking - I believe it needs to ban fracking entirely.

In January, Professor Kevin Anderson, a globally respected climate scientist, showed Manchester Councillors the imminent threat climate change presents to Manchester and the planet. He reminded us that the Greater Manchester Climate Change Strategy calls for: “Radical action on carbon emissions… to pass a viable and safe climate onto future generations”.

Sadly the Minerals Plan conflicts with this objective. Fracking only increases our reliance on gas and so worsens our carbon emission problem. We cannot claim to be an environmentally sustainable city while we allow gas companies to pollute the environment we are trying to protect. The Committee on Climate Change has said fracking is “totally incompatible” with the UK’s carbon reduction targets. We should take note that allowing it to take place in Manchester would destroy our chances of matching our own carbon reduction targets.

Manchester Council won praise in the 1980s by taking radical action to declare itself a “Nuclear Free City”. That forward thinking move showed the Council cared about the city it was passing on to future generations. Sadly, that radical flair had died by last July, when the Council refused to accept the Liberal Democrat motion I put forward to declare the City a ‘Fracking Free Zone’ - despite many Labour Councillors promising to vote for the measure just two months earlier. Instead, the policy that has been agreed is weak and fundamentally fails to understand the threats fracking brings.

Fracking is still a relatively new form of gas production, so its effects are not fully understood yet. But you only have to look at the impact it has had in the US to see how damaging it can be for communities. Closer to home, fracking in Lancashire has led to earthquakes in Blackpool. There is evidence the chemicals and water used during fracking pollute the water table - we don’t know how to stop this. There has even been examples of gas coming out of water taps. While there are still so many question marks around this controversial process we need to declare Greater Manchester a ‘Fracking Free Zone’.

Most people agree that we need to cut carbon emissions to prevent climate change. Why then have our Council leaders agreed a weak policy that allows gas companies to keep us hooked on a harmful fossil fuel? If the millions of pounds that go into fracking were diverted to harvesting clean renewable energy we could make a real difference to tackling climate change. We need to get our Council chiefs to think again and use Manchester’s famous radical flair to help save our planet. Please write to your local Councillors to let them know your views.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Chorlton Coffee Festival - 28th-30th June

The weekend of 28 – 30th June sees the launch of Chorlton Coffee Festival. Brainchild of Canadian-born Lorelei Loveridge, she decided it was time to bring cafe culture to south Manchester suburb, Chorlton, when refused a cup of coffee after 9 pm. The festival will take place in cafes, bars and restaurants around Chorlton, and will also host a festival ‘hub’ in Chorlton Central Church on Saturday 29th June. The hub will feature various workshops and talks, such as ‘How to Become a Home Barista’ and ‘One Chemex, Five Coffees’.

Over thirty cafes, bars and restaurants in the Chorlton area are involved in the festival and will be participating through hosting various events over the weekend, as well as offering coffee-based drinks specials for festival attendees. Cafe events currently include a poetry workshop with Chorlton-based published author, Rosie Garland, intimate gig performance from the always fascinating Kirsty Almeida, and ‘Tour de Cafe South Manchester’, a cycle tour around the finest coffee haunts in Chorlton and beyond!

Festival producer, Lorelei, left Canada for the exotic and lived in Saudi Arabia for 11 years, travelling and sampling the teas, coffees and cafes of Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Oman and the UAE as well as India, Nepal and other parts of South and Southeast Asia. She came to Manchester and lived in the city from 2007-2010, was beckoned back to run a community service program in Qatar for two years and finally settled in Chorlton last July after relocating from the Middle East. Having lived for the most part in countries with an emphasis on cafe culture, Lorelei missed meeting up with friends in coffee houses in the evening. “When I moved to the UK, I would say ‘Let’s meet for a coffee’ and people would respond with ‘Or a drink’. Alcohol seemed to have a far greater importance than coffee here. I miss the cafe culture from Canada and Arabian peninsula: I don’t disapprove of alcohol consumption; in fact, I see a place for it to sit inside cafe culture, instead of the two being at polar ends of the spectrum.”

The festival is mostly free to attend, while entrance to the festival hub will cost £3 for adults and £1 for children. Chorlton Central Church hosts the festival ‘hub’ on Saturday 29th June from 10am – 7pm, and is located on Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, M21 8BF

Website –

Twitter - @chorltoncoffee

Facebook -

Trees going free...!

The Woodland Trust has free tree and hedgerow pack available for

community groups / schools. Apply before 13 September to be delivered in


Chorlton Good Neighbours Job advert

Chorlton Good Neighbours Care Group is looking to appoint two part-time  workers. Both posts are from 1st July 2013 until March 2015, but with  potential to continue. More details at


Chorlton Good Neighbours Care Group is looking to appoint two part-time  workers. Both posts are from 1st July 2013 until March 2015, but with potential to continue. Applicants must be car drivers.

We are seeking two flexible, committed and enthusiastic people who have  experience of working with older people to join our team of workers and volunteers in order to support the excellent work of this well established Neighbourhood Care Group.

1. Service Support worker post, part-time, 25 hours per week

To support the Co-ordinator in the running of the group and take on  responsibility for some of the group activities. In addition, to be responsible for regular weekly visiting of 10-12 older people, some with complex needs. This post will be based in the office, but with outreach work.

Actual Salary : £9360.00 per annum (subject to review)

2. Wheelchair Support Worker, part-time, 20 hours per week

To support vulnerable older adults with wheelchairs in the Chorlton/Whalley Range area to access the local shops & other community facilities.

Actual Salary : £7488.00 per annum ( subject to review )

Closing date for applications : 12 noon on Tuesday 29th May

For further information & application forms contact: elen Hibberd, Co-ordinator, Chorlton Good Neighbours, Wilbraham St Ninians Church, Egerton Road South, Chorlton, Manchester, M21 OXJ

Tel: 0161 881 2925 any week day morning, except Wednesday, o email helen@chorltongoodneighbours.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Chorlton Planning Applications from April '13

Photo from
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.

  102154/JO/2013/S1 WM Morrison Supermarkets Plc C/O Agent have submitted plans for Blockbuster Video Express 435 Barlow Moor Road Chorlton Manchester M21 8AU Variation of condition no.2 attached to planning permission ref: 046977/JO/SOUTH2/95 to allow increased opening hours: 0600 to 2300 hours seven days a week
  102223/TPO/2013/S1 538 Wilbraham Road Chorlton Manchester M21 9LD Works to tree
  102144/FH/2013/S1 51 Crimsworth Avenue Chorlton Manchester M16 0EB Part retrospective application for retention of single-storey rear extension with access ramp and 3.2 metre high wall with privacy screen
  102177/AO/2013/S1 Life & Style 553 Wilbraham Road Chorlton Park Manchester M21 0AE Installation of non-illuminated fascia sign and hanging/projecting sign
  101477/LO/2013/S1 Apartment 66 Didsbury Gate 1 Houseman Crescent Chorlton Manchester M20 2JB LISTED BUILDING CONSENT for the replacement of unglazed window frame to balcony with a fully glazed sash window.

102164/FO/2013/S1 61 Houghend Avenue Chorlton Manchester M21 7SE
Creation of driveway

Gardening in Beech Road Park

A group of gardners from the Friends of Beech Road Park will be in the park this Sat 11 May, 10.30-12.30 (followed by refreshments at Beech Road cafe). Plant donations always welcome.

Jobs this month include:

tidying rose bed, including edges

planting any donated plants

any other jobs you think need doing - come along and share your ideas.

No experience necessary, and you don't have to come for the full 2 hours - any time would be appreciated. Come along and enjoy the wonderful cherry blossom.