Friday, 6 December 2013

Thanks to Craig Trafford

I would like to thank Craig Trafford for his kind words on today's Manchester Evening News Viewpoints page:

You can watch Wednesday's Full Council meeting online:

November/December Planing 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.

104206/FH/2013/S1 24 Vicars Road Chorlton Manchester M21 9GY
Erection of first floor side extension and single-storey rear extension and elevational alterations

104270/LP/2013/S1 32 Meadow Bank Chorlton-cum-Hardy Manchester M21 8EECertificate of Lawful Proposed Development for erection of single-storey rear extension

104282/TCA/2013/S1 29 South Drive Chorlton Manchester M21 8DZWorks to tree - proposed felling of Ash tree in rear garden

103875/FO/2013/S1 Lloyds Hotel Wilbraham Road Chorlton Manchester M21 9ANConstruction of boundary wall with columns and railings to a maximum height of 1.5 metres and installation of 3no. jumbrellas top existing outside seating area

103970/FH/2013/S1 6 Hackness Road Chorlton Manchester M21 9HBErection of two-storey side extension and single-storey rear extension to form additional living accommodation

104172/FH/2013/S1 73 Claude Road Chorlton Manchester M21 8DEErection of detached garage and garden room following demolition of existing garage

104202/LO/2013/S1 Lloyds Hotel 617 Wilbraham Road Chorlton Manchester M21 9ANListed Building Consent for erection of boundary wall, installation of 3no. jumbrellas and alterations to internal layout including removal of stud walls and formation of new opening

103860/FH/2013/S1 9 Kingshill Road Chorlton Manchester M21 9EZPart Retrospective Application for the erection of single storey rear extension to form additional living accommodation following demolition of existing extension

104024/AO/2013/S1 Life & Style 553 Wilbraham Road Chorlton Manchester M21 0AEInstallation of a non illuminated projecting box sign

Christmas Bin collections

What changes apply?
•    Residents with a normal collection day of Monday or Tuesday will have no changes to their collections.
•    In the Christmas week, residents with a normal collection day of Wednesday, Thursday or Friday will have their bins emptied two days later.
•    In the New Year week, residents with a normal collection day of Wednesday, Thursday or Friday will have their bins emptied one day later.
•    All collections will return to their normal day as of Monday 6 January

To remind residents about the changes to their bin collection days over Christmas and New Year, and to give them details of how they can recycle their real Christmas Tree, the Council will be attaching a sticker to their wheelie bins during the weeks leading up to Christmas.

ASPIRE to create and learn

The Edge, Chorlton’s professional little Theatre and Arts Centre, presents and produces professional theatre in its 70-seat theatre space. They have been open since 2011 and audiences are growing as the community of Chorlton learn more about what goes on in the former Sunday School behind the Methodist Church on Manchester Road. The Edge also hosts and runs Workshops, Classes and Courses for all ages in all sorts of creative disciplines.

One of these is ASPIRE, a theatre project for young people with Down’s Syndrome. Supported by Hilton in the Community Foundation, ASPIRE is an opportunity for young people to learn how to perform, how to engage with new people, to concentrate and learn in a friendly, supportive environment. This is an exceptional opportunity for young people with disabilities who would not normally be able to access mainstream after-school activities.

The project has been running since September 2013 and there are 12 young people with ages ranging from 9 to 11. Each young person has individual needs and the drama practitioner works alongside volunteers with specialist skills who nurture each individual so they make the most of this opportunity. Session explore theatre games, imaginative play and singing activities designed to improve focus, group working
skills, speaking and listening skills, problem solving, perseverance, conīŦdence, self-esteem and creativity.

In December, the group will perform a short outcome to family and friends to show how they have progressed. The outcome will be a piece devised by the group and promises to show their new skills and interests.

The parents of Luke, one of the ASPIRE participants, has recently written this inspiring Case Study.

"Luke is 9 years old and a very sociable little boy who loves to entertain. He is never happier than when he has an audience and is encouraging others to participate in his merriment. He is very confident and gregarious, and has a knack for making people laugh. He always manages to lighten a heavy atmosphere or lift a mood and never seems to run out of energy.

“Luke also has Down Syndrome. He attends the same mainstream school that his two older sisters did but although he is incredibly well included in most aspects of school life and accesses all of the learning opportunities that his peers do during school time, he has been unable to benefit as well as they have from the extensive list of extra-curricular activities or enrichment clubs provided at the school on a daily basis after lessons have finished. During school time, Luke is supported by his dedicated teaching assistant to enable him to keep on task and access the same curriculum as his peers but at a level that suits his pace and style of learning and therefore facilitates his progress and development. He studies either along with his entire class or in a smaller group, without appearing to be singled out for special attention whilst also learning to work alongside them without distracting them from their studies or dominating the teacher’s time and attention. 

“This support understandably does not continue after school hours and those of Luke’s friends who are lucky enough to enjoy the many after school activities, do so unaided and at a similar pace to each other. They listen and concentrate well when given instructions by their activity leader who is able to use the children’s age group as a guide when pitching the level of the session they are delivering. Without the right support in these situations and if activities are set at a level beyond his current reach, Luke’s excitement and enthusiasm would become a challenge for the facilitator and would inevitably have a detrimental effect on the experience for the other children.

“Earlier this year we were delighted to discover Aspire, a locally based, weekly drama group that is provided specifically for children with Down Syndrome at The Edge in Chorlton. We always knew that Luke would flourish in an environment where he was encouraged to be imaginative, where he was able to share his love of performing and where he could channel some of his incredible energy. He now looks forward to attending the group every week, where volunteers work alongside the drama teacher to keep the children focused and to encourage their participation in the sessions which are delivered with great skill and warmth, at a level accessible across the varied age groups and developmental stages of its members. As well as learning to harness his energy appropriately, Luke is becoming more attentive within a group situation and responding well to the tasks he is set. This in turn will have a positive effect on his concentration and learning at school. He is also enjoying the social aspects of pursuing an interest and making friends which are so important for living a full and rich life. Aspire has made an enormous difference to Luke in a short space of time and we look forward to him being able to benefit from this project for a long time to come!”

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Take lowest earners out of tax

Manchester City Council will consider today whether the lowest paid workers should be paying income tax. I seconding a Manchester Liberal Democrats motion at full Council calling the for the Government to change the tax rules so that those on the minimum wage would pay no income tax.

Increasing the personal income tax allowance to £10,000 was a key Lib Dem election pledge at the last general election. From next April the single person’s tax allowance will rise to £10,000. Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem Leader and Deputy Prime Minister recently said this should rise further to £10,500 by 2015. As a result over 133,000 Mancunians and 24.5 million average workers across the country will receive a £700 tax cut before the next general election. Over 14,300 of the lowest earning Mancunians will be taken out of paying income tax altogether.  But the Manchester Lib Dem motion is calling for the threshold to rise even further. They want the Council to lobby the Government so that in future a full time worker on the minimum wage will not pay any Income Tax.

It is only thanks to the Lib Dems in Government that over a hundred thousand Manchester residents are receiving a £700 tax cut and thousands have been taken out of paying income tax altogether. However this is only the start and those on the lowest wages are still paying more than they should; thousands more workers should be taken out of the tax system altogether.

South Manchester Lib Dem MP John Leech tabled a Parliamentary motion on the issue in 2011.
John said: “I was disappointed that no other Manchester or Labour MP signed my motion and backed this idea. However I’m pleased that Nick Clegg is the only party leader to say that people on minimum wage should not pay any income tax at all. He has made it clear that this is central to what the Lib Dems would be pushing for if they are in the next Government."

The Liberal Democrat motion is available as Item 11 on the Council’s agenda:

John Leech’s Early Day Motion is available here:

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Stop unsightly Letting Boards

Too many Manchester neighborhoods are covered by forests of unsightly ‘To Let’ boards say local Lib Dems. They are calling on the City Council to follow Leeds Council who have banned the boards in favour of smaller more discrete signs pinned flush to houses. They are calling for the Council to introduce a new code of practice trialing a similar scheme in Levenshulme, Withington and Fallowfield before it’s rolled out across the City.

If successful the code of practice would mean that only one ‘To Let’ Board would be allowed per building, the boards would be no larger than 13ins by 19ins with a white background and black text including a small logo.  Landlords and agents would not be allowed to have ‘To Let’ signs up longer than two weeks after the property had been let.  It would also mean a complete ban on ‘Let By’ boards in the trial areas.

These signs are a major eyesore, there are some streets in Manchester that have these boards up all year round regardless of whether a property is vacant or not.

To Let and Let by signs are also a Burglar’s dream by highlighting shared properties with expensive items to steal. With so many local letting agents, local newspapers and the internet there’s no need for these boards.

The Liberal Democrat motion is Item 13 on the Council’s Agenda:

Monday, 2 December 2013

Shop local and protect our high streets says Lib Dems

Manchester needs a huge boost to promote small businesses ahead of Christmas and stop the decline of our high streets. Manchester Liberal Democrats are calling on the City Council to get behind the first ever Small Business Saturday campaign on 7 December. Small Business Saturday has been massively successful in America where it has encouraged people to shop and eat local on the busiest shopping day of the year.

On Wednesday Manchester Liberal Democrats are putting forward a Council Motion asking the Council to back and promote the campaign, support local businesses and learn lessons from the day. The motion also asks for a report on how the Council can ease the pressures high streets face from pay day loan companies, bookmakers, pawnbrokers and businesses too reliant on the night time economy.

Chorlton Lib Dem Councillor Victor Chamberlain, who is putting forward the motion, says: “Small Business Saturday is a fantastic way of supporting Manchester’s small businesses and recognising the massive benefit they bring to our communities and the thousands of Mancunians they employ.

Many of our small businesses are facing huge pressures and we’re seeing the impact on the high street. Too many high streets are blighted by pay day loan companies, bookies and excessive takeaways and licensed premises. Our motion is calling for the Council to learn the lessons from Small Business Saturday so it can continue to support local shops and business people.”

The Liberal Democrat motion is Item 10 on the Council’s Agenda:

For more information on Small Business Saturday see: and