Thursday, 20 December 2018

SMBC Consultation on Street Cleaning, Highway Grass Verge Maintenance and Parks

Stockport Council is planning more budget savings in areas of Street Cleaning, Greenspace and Traffic and Infrastructure. The proposals include:

Streets and public areas:
- reducing frequency of street cleaning
- removing litter bins from streets
- mowing grass verges less often
- converting lawned land to natural habitat

Park Areas:
- reducing the number of bowling greens
- removing litter bins
- removing horticultural beds
- reduced maintenance to play areas
- mowing grass less frequently
- reduced maintenance of shrubs and hedges

For further information see The Marple Website HERE

To have your say, respond to the consultation HERE

The consultation closes 11 January 2019

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Marple Wharf - Planning Permission refused

The Marple Wharf planning application was heard at Marple Area Committee last night. We are delighted to report that our local councillors refused the applicatioin to develop the site. Five councillors voted to refuse the application and one claimed prejudicial interest. 
Marple Wharf
Planning Permission refused by Marple Local Councillors

Of course, the wharf cannot be left as it is - it needs to be developed and cared for - the Civic Society has campaigned for 10 years for a mixed use scheme commensurate with its heritage status and including community facilities. We hope that Canal & River Trust will contact the community soon with this in mind.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Marple Wharf - Dense Housing Scheme to be decided at Area Committee 12th December 2018

It is confirmed that, after 10 years, the fate of Marple Wharf will be decided at Marple Area Committee on the 12th December 2018.  
The meeting starts at 6pm in the Senior Citizens Hall on the approach to Marple Memorial Park.

The last and final delay was due to the developer, H20 Urban, on behalf of Canal & River Trust, suggesting that our local councillors were compromised and therefor not fit to judge the planning  application. 

Of course, CRT's developer knows it is in their interest that the application is judged, not by local councillors, but by the Planning & Highways Committee who have little knowledge of, and no passion for Marple and Marple Wharf. 

However, we can confirm that our councillors at Marple Area Committee can judge the planning application and can decide to grant or refuse planning permission for the dense housing development scheme at Marple Wharf. 

Now, we can only put our trust in our councillors to do what they are elected to do - vote on the planning application and give their reasons for their decision to their electorate. We therefore trust that all councillors will use their vote and that the decision is made by them in Marple - to this end, when working with councillors we have been careful not to compromise their position to vote on the application. At all times we have observed the rules for working with councillors on local campaigns which are clearly set out in the Localism Act.

The community of Marple and those who really care for Marple Wharf have more than 'done their bit' to work with Canal & River Trust (CRT) to find an acceptable scheme for this important canal heritage site - but to no avail. CRT refused to budge - all negotiations ended in 'No Change'

If you care about Marple Wharf and think it derserves better, come along to Marple Area Committee on the 12th December 2018 to let your councillors know your views. Although you cannot speak your presence will speak volumes. We hope to see you there.

The Area Committee Agenda gives the following details about the Marple Wharf Planning application:

"In connection with redevelopment of Marple Yard comprising the change of use and conversion of the former canal warehouse to residential use (Use Class C3); demolition of outbuildings and structures; the erection of 7 no. dwelling houses (Use Class C3) and a storage building incorporating a waterway service station, together with associated landscaping, parking and alterations to access road (and listed building consent) at Marple Wharf.
The Area Committee are recommended to grant planning permission."

NB - The recommendation to councillors is just that - a recommendation - the councillors have the powers to grant or refuse the application.

Friday, 30 November 2018

Committee Meeting Minutes 27th November 2018

Committee Meeting Minutes for 27th November 2018 can be viewed HERE

Thursday, 29 November 2018

St. Martin's Christmas Tree Festival

The society is pleased to be taking part once again in the St. Martin's Christmas Tree Festival

As in previous years member Kathryn Procter has installed and decorated the tree.  Many thanks to Kathryn for another splendid tree and for taking the photos.
Kathryn commented about this year's tree:

"The Real St Nicholas with his Father Christmas friends, are climbing the tree to reach the top where Rudolph and the sleigh are parked, as there are no other parking spaces in Marple - alongside the Angels with trumpets announcing their arrival ! - - - - - Ho Ho Ho - - -" 

Please try to visit St Martin's church on Brabyn's Brow to see the Festival and enjoy the many trees on display from the Marple community.

More photos HERE

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Marple Civic Society and Friends of the Park meet with Library Management staff

Yesterday, members of Marple Civic Society and Friends of Marple Memorial Park met with two of the Library Management staff to discuss Open+ and the library consultation that is currently underway. Discussions were reassuring in part, although they were unable to tell us how many staffed hours would be lost from April next year.

The main points from the meeting were:
  • We stressed our opinion that it is crucial Open+ and reduced staffing hours should not impact or restrict local groups from using the library facilities for meetings and activities in exactly the same way as they do now (including access to the toilet). The library managers appear to be committed to achieving that and we look forward to details of how it will be made to work.
  • The restrictions to the upper floor of the library during Open+ hours are due to insurance issues, particularly the potential for an accident involving a fall from the balcony. We asked that they look into the viability and cost of installing some kind of (clear) barrier to make this safer, and give potential for the whole library to be open during Open+. We offered to discuss how the community may be able to help find funding for this if it did proved to be viable.
  • We stressed the importance of groups being able to continue to use the library for exhibitions and for people to be able to visit them while the library is open, even during Open+. We also reiterated that we considered it unsatisfactory that half the library space (upstairs) will not be available to users during Open+ hours. The degree to which this impacts on general community use will depend on the level of staffed hours lost but we feel it is important to look for solutions to this issue.
  • We expressed concerns about Open+ restrictions for unaccompanied under 16s. The severity of this of course depends on the extent of cuts to staffed hours and the timing of staffed sessions.
  • We expressed concern at the potential loss of the wonderful library staff and were assured that there would be no redundancies. While this is positive and does help to alleviate concerns, we are conscious that promises have been made in the past and not kept (like the undertaking given by the council to retain a full-time Park Keeper in Memorial Park that was not fulfilled).
  • We expressed concern that the leaflet promoting Open+ presents it in a purely positive way without telling people that from next April there will be cuts to staffed hours. This means that anyone reading it in isolation would not see a particular need to respond to the consultation. The library management emphasised that they are eager for local people to complete the consultation and asked for the help of Marple Civic Society, Friends of the Park and the Marple Website to encourage more people to respond.
  • We also explained a growing concern that consultations like this one seem to come to people's attention via the grapevine, rather than any formal notification process. This gives an impression that although the council is consulting they hope to do so without too many people noticing or understanding the significance. We believe that consultations that may be of concern to Marple residents should be formally announced at Marple Area Committee Meetings and will raise this as a public question with the Committee. The library managers also agreed to raise this internally themselves. 
So what can you do? Pretty much as before:
  • Complete the consultation using the the comments section to highlight your own concerns and what you think is important. In particular (in our view) that local groups must be able continue as they are and that it is unsatisfactory for half the library to be out of bounds during Open+ hours.
  • Please also express your concerns to local MP William Wragg and to our six local councillors.

You have until 15 December to respond to the consultation HERE