Sunday, 21 October 2012

Civic Voice Convention and AGM

The third Civic Voice Convention and AGM was held in Coventry on 19th and 20th October attended by over 100 delegates from all parts of England.  Marple Civic Society (MCS) was represented by Gillian Postill, Alan Postill and Arthur Procter.  The two day event included tours of the city to view historic sites and more recent developments on “brownfield” sites.

At the evening reception, held in the glorious 14th century St Mary’s Guildhall, Marple Civic Society received a Civic Day award for “Innovative Community Engagement” presented by Civic Voice director Steve Graham.

The following day delegates got down to the serious business of the AGM.  In a compelling keynote speech President Grif Rhys Jones alerted delegates to the dangers inherent in the government’s new, more relaxed, National Planning Policy.  After having some fun with the definition of “sustainability” Grif made the following points:
  • there will be change - that is certain - and we should not resist change per se
  • the current economic downturn will end but there will be others in the future
  • there are many voices taking part in the economic debate including powerful commercial interests who are not concerned about the interests of local communities
  • the present government’s (short term) view is to build its way out of the recession
  • the civic movement should not be specifically interested in (or sidetracked by) short term solutions.  We should identify our priorities and make sure our voice is heard.
Besides the business matters the morning session included panel discussions on Neighbourhood Planning, the Portas Review, Heritage Open Days and “Placecheck” (a community led appraisal tool piloted by MCS for Civic Voice last week).

The afternoon session included lighthearted mock interviews with committee members of imaginary civic societies - with our own chair Gillian taking a leading role!  The mock interviews were used to introduce an assessment tool developed at a recent Civic Voice leadership course to help societies reflect on what sort of society they are.

The convention ended with presentation and discussion of proposals for major Civic Voice campaign ideas for the coming year. 

Many thanks to all at Civic Voice and Coventry Civic Society for organising a splendid convention. 

Reception at St Mary's Guildhall, Coventry

Delegates at Work!

Grif Delivering 
Keynote Address

Gillian Receiving Civic Voice Award
on Behalf of Marple Civic Society

More photos photos by 
Arthur Procter here   

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Maintenance work planned at Marple Wharf

Maintenance work is due to commence at Marple Wharf on Wednesday 17th October.
Work will concentrate on the Warehouse, outbuildings and immediate environment.

The warehouse canopy is part of the listings therefore a timber survey is necessary to determine its condition before work can commence on this part of the warehouse.

Work to the cottages is due to start within the next couple of weeks.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Civic Voice Awayday Report October 2012

The report on the Civic Voice "Strategy Awayday" held in August has been published.  

The Awayday aimed:

  • to set the vision for the next three years
  • to identify the organisational values which will guide the work of Civic Voice
  • to revisit existing priorities and identify strategic objectives for the next three years
It was agreed that the current vision statement is still good: "Our vision is for everyone to live somewhere they can be proud of" 

The key values which should guide Civic Voice in its work were identified as follows.
  •  Campaigning – strong in our advocacy and promotion of the cause.
  •  Independent – unfettered in our views.
  •  Grassroots - with a bottom-up approach to everything we do.
  •  Responsive - accessible, inclusive and transparent to members, offering them the chance to   participate and recognising that they do it for fun. 
The full report can be read  here

Marple Wharf - Meeting with CRT 8th October 2012

Representatives from Marple Civic Society (MCS) met with the Canal & River Trust (CRT) Development Manager and Architect on 8th October 2012 for a briefing on Marple Wharf.

CRT reported that:

  • Pre planning application discussions have been held with Stockport MBC
  • CRT preference is for a housing led development
  • No planning application has been submitted
  • No final decision has been taken
  • Maintenance work is planned to the wharf site

MCS responded that:

  • MCS prefer a community led development
  • It is difficult to progress with a community led scheme because CRT own the site
  • MCS has put a team together consisting of MCS members, a local councillor, other volunteers and professional support to prepare a community led scheme based on the "Vision for Marple"
  • MCS would like to form a multi-disciplinary partnership between members of the Community and CRT to develop a community led scheme

CRT will now consider the MCS response to the briefing.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

PlaceCheck Workshop with Civic Voice & Urban Design Skills

Ian Harvey from Civic Voice and David Chapman from Urban Design Skills came to Marple yesterday to run a pilot "Placecheck" Workshop.

"Placecheck" is a simple tool to help civic groups improve their place by asking three questions:

What do we like about this place?
What do we dislike about it?
What do we need to work on?

Two teams surveyed the town centre including Market Street, Chadwick Street car park, Marple Wharf and Marple Memorial Park.  The teams later compared notes in a discussion led by Ian and David.

All agreed that should Chadwick Street car park be developed with a foodstore it is important that the development be integrated with the wider shopping areas and civic amenities and not create a "One Stop Shop" in the town centre.

 Ian Harvey and David Chapman with members of the  
 Civic Society taking part in Marple Placecheck


 Thanks to Arthur Procter for the photos          

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Chadwick Street Foodstore Proposal

Kirkland Developments Ltd have released proposals for a foodstore on Chadwick street car park in Marple town centre.

They will be holding a public exhibition on Friday 19th October between 2pm and 7pm and Saturday 20th October between 11am and 3pm at Marple Library in the Memorial Park.

Further details of the proposal can be viewed here

Friday, 5 October 2012

Newsletter - October 2012

The Civic Society's October newsletter is now available, see all our latest news here

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Marple Wharf-Meeting with CRT Property Developers

After two and a half years, Canal & River Trust Property Developer North has contacted the Civic Society to arrange a meeting which we understand is a catch up meeting. In order to get the best out of the meeting we have requested an agenda. The meeting will take place on 8th October and we will be reporting back on the website about what they have to say.

Many people have contacted us about the dilapidated state of the wharf and we will pass on those comments to CRT at the meeting.


Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Marple & Protect Our Place Research Project

Protect Our Place is a national campaign to discover what action is being undertaken to protect and promote local places.  It is funded by English Heritage and managed by Civic Voice.  
Marple has been chosen as one of 5 case studies nationally to be included in the research. 

Project Manager, Sarah Spurrier, joined volunteers on site visits to Mellor, Mellor Mill Site, Marple Locks, Lime Kilns, Marple Aqueduct and of course Marple Wharf.  The site visit report recognises the tremendous input from volunteers in looking after the built heritage. With respect to Marple Wharf the report concludes that "If the threat to the wharf is realised, Marple will suffer a great loss, not only to the built historic environment, but also the loss of a potential community asset"

The "Protect our Place" report can be read here 
or see "Protect our Place" website here 

Marple Wharf updated timeline - the story so far - can be read here

Marple Civic Society and supporters at Marple Wharf