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

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Albert School Building - Planning Permission (DC/065826) Granted by Planning & Highways Committee

The planning application (DC/065826) for the Albert School Building on Church Lane in Marple has been granted planning permission for development of 20 two bed apartments and 360sq meter retail space. 

The application had to be passed onto the Planning & Highways Committee to make the decision. Our local councillors asked them to make a site visit (which they did) and recommended refusal of the application (more details below 10 November 2018). The Planning & Highways Committee were divided in their opinion but, when voted on, planning permission was granted.

Whenever a planning application is refused the applicant has a right of appeal. There is no such right of appeal for a 3rd party. Therefore the civic society strongly takes the view that where councillors must (rather than choose to) refer an application 'above', they should do so with their recommendation and reasons. As local councillors, they have local interest and knowledge of our area - they know what is important locally and are aware of local opinion. The Planning & Highways Committee don't.

Although this application was refused, it would seem that our councillors' recommendation may have had an effect on the decision makers because the decision had to go to a vote.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Community Mural at Rose Hill Station

Mural at Rose Hill Station illustrating different aspects of Marple

If you go along to Rose Hill Station to see Santa arrive at 3.30pm on the 17th December you will have the chance to see the wonderful community mural at the entrance to the station. The mural, part of a Big Lottery funded Intergenerational Project organised by Friends of Rose Hill Station, was painted by many local Marple people and illustrates different aspects of Marple life.

Painting of the canal basin at Stockport Road by Angus Yeaman

The Society's President, Angus Yeaman, contributed a painting on behalf of the Civic Society. It depicts the Society's first major canal regeneration project where access was created from Stockport Road down to the canal basin.

President Angus Yeaman
 celebrating his 90th Birthday
with Committee Members at Peruga

Angus celebrated his 90th birthday this year and continues to take an active role with the society after serving for 45 years on the society's committee. 

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Changes to Marple Library - Open+ "Consultation"

Big changes to staffing at Marple Library are due from 1st April 2019. The council has issued a "consultation" leaflet in paper form available from the library or online following this link: HERE

However, the leaflet is more of an "information giving" excercise rather than a consultation process because the decision to install new technology and reduce staffed hours has already been passed by the council. The "consultation" is therefore limited, raising more questions than it asks and only allowing for limited 'tick box' answers which are inadequate to get your views across and are not in the spirit of true 'consultation'.

The leaflet explains that the scheme will allow for extra opening hours, unstaffed, by using self-service technology. Access will be to the ground floor only after attending an induction session and pre- registering with proof of identity.

Open+ unstaffed opening times  means:
  • no access to upstairs meeting rooms         
  • no access to upstairs facilities 
  • no acces to upstairs toilets                    
  • no access for under 16s
  • no help with PC's                                     
  • no staff to answer queries
  • no printing or photocopying                  
  • no loan of DVD's

The upstairs meeting rooms and exhibition rooms are well used but there is no mention of how the groups who use them will be affected. For the Civic Society, who has held monthly meetings upstairs for many years, we do not know whether we can continue to do so, no-one has approached us about this. Withdrawal of this facility would have a big impact for our society.

You are asked to select 3 sessions (out of 18 sessions) per week when you prefer the library to be manned but there is no indication how many times a week staff will be available - at other times the library will be self-accessed by scanning your library card and entering a PIN number.
Image result for marple Library
Finally the council wants to know if you think self-service libraries are preferable to closing them altogether!  So do let them know your views. If you feel strongly you could drop in to see, or write to, your MP, William Wragg and your 6 local councillors.

There is more information HERE on Marple Website
Respond to the "consulation" on this link HERE

The Consultation closes on 15 December

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Marple Area Committee 7th November 2018

The Civic Society will no longer take notes at Marple Area Committee for our website. This is because, after asking for a review on the way the Area Committee is conducted, and how it engages with local residents, some welcome changes have been made:

1. The Area Committee is now streamed live and a webcast is available for 6 months following the meeting. You can watch the whole webcast or select specific sections by following the link HERE

2. There is greater opportunity for resident participation at the Area Committee meetings. Details are given in the agenda which is released one week before the meeting.

3. Email updates of local issues and public realm works can be requested from the Democratic Officer /Secretary Stephen Fox 
To be added to the email list contact:  

Civic Society committee members will aim to watch live streams of the meeting and attend meetings to ask questions and when subjects of importance to our civic committee work are being discussed. We will report on relevent issues.
We also aim to improve our communication within committee and make greater use of our democratic process through Area Committee. This will be the responsibility of all committee members rather than a dedicated team as before.

The civic society submitted two questions to Councillors at Marple Area Committee on the 7th November: 

Q. 1 - Re the future of Marple Swimming Baths                 Link to the questions HERE                     
Stockport Council has commissioned a review and appraisal of potential sites to relocate the swimming Baths in Marple.
Marple Memorial Park is included in the list of sites for consideration. There is considerable public support for integrated community facilities in Memorial Park. Further updates will be provided through Marple Area Committee

Q.2. Re an update on town Centre Work  
        Link to the questioin HERE
There is a hiatus in the Stockport Council and Atkins' project to improve the town centre. Cllr Blair said he would refer this to Director of Place, Carolyn Simpson, for an answer. We also asked about the SMBC District Centre Project, led by Paul Richards. Councillor Blair asked for Mr Richards to be invited to the December Area Committee meeting to explain the project and what it means for Marple.

A further two questions were asked about the speed bumps on Windlehurst Road. Cllr Blair reported that there were no plans to remove any of the speed bumps already installed.
The highways engineer stated there was a funding issue for the last section of speed humps to be implemented, from Broadhurst Bridge to Hawk Green. Cllr Blair reported that the Area Committee had not received any information of funding problems and it was Area Committee's intention that installation would go ahead as soon as the council could make that happen. Link to the questions HERE

Planning Application DC/065826 92-94 Church Lane (Albert School site)
The application for demolition of existing buildings and develoopment of 360sq meter retail space and 20 two bed apartments was recommended by the planning officer to grant.
The 6 councillors had many concerns about the development. The application must go to Planning & Highways Committee (P&H) for a decision but Area Committee recommended a site visit by P&H and a recommendation to refuse on the following grounds:
1. Heritage issue 2. Inadequate proximity distances to neighbouring houses 3. Lack of adequate parking space

It is noted that Albert School was the only heritage nomination refused by SMBC for local listing. Over a hundred heritage buildings were locally listed giving them protection under planning law.

Listen to the whole or part of the webcast HERE (live link available for 6 months only)

Future Marple Area Committee Dates
12th December 2018
30th January 2019
6th March 2019
10th April 2019

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Marple Wharf Housing Development Application 'on hold' again...

The Marple Wharf planning application will not come to the November Marple Area Committee Meeting for determination.

It is astonishing that the Marple Wharf application, yet again, has been put 'on hold' - As the application was submitted in September 2017 we are flabbergasted to learn that it is not on the agenda for November when all the signs were that it would be.

We do know that CRT and H20 have constantly struggled to make the application acceptable to the planning officers, heritage officers and highways officers due to overdevelopment of the site. We can only assume that their efforts have been in vain but fail to see what else they can tweak to make it acceptable without reducing the density of the development. 

We will continue to monitor the situation and publish any news when we have it. 

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Greater Manchester Spatial Framework 2nd draft delayed

The second draft of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF - the development plan of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA)) has been delayed for the second time. Official population estimates have fallen which could mean that less households will be needed in the GMSF plan.

                                        Key points from the latest GMSF news release:

- The Government intend to apply a new formula to housing growth
- The GMCA seek urgent clarity from government on housing figures
- The second draft plan will be put before each council and local ward councillors will have a      say on it
 - The public will be fully involved

Greater Manchester's lead for housing, homeslessness and infrastructure, Paul Dennett, said"For the GMSF to be a success we have to ensure that the Greater Manchester public are fully involved in this process"  - this is good news and something the Civic Society will be monitoring carefully.

Read the full news release HERE

Monday, 8 October 2018

Social Evening Thursday 11th October 2018

The society's annual social and speaker evening will take place this Thursday - everyone is welcome - you don't have to be a member of the society to attend. Doors open 7.15pm

                       Topic: Why Become a Councillor? (at the age of 19?)
                       Speaker: Councillor Thomas Dowse
                       Venue: Marple Library 11th October 7.30 - 9.30pm
                       Refreshsments from 7.15 - complimentary glass of wine and nibbles

We have had councillors to speak at previous speaker meetings: Cllr Wright, Cllr Bispham, Cllr Baker. But the reason for asking Cllr Dowse to speak at this years social evening is because of his (young) age.

Cllr Tom Dowse - Marple South and High Lane
Many people tell us we need to attract younger people to the society but they don't tell us how to do it! So what attracts young people to want to make a difference, have a say and influence where they live? Perhaps Tom Dowse will have some answers as he became a councillor at just 19 years of age. He has taken on an enormous responsibility. So what led him along this path when still in full time education at Manchester University? Come along to what promises to be a fascinating insight into what drives young people into areas normally reserved for, shall we say, the more mature!

This is an open meeting, free of charge, and all are welcome - you don't have to be a member to join us at 7.15pm for a glass of wine and nibbles - we look forward to seeing you.

Next year we hope to find a group of 'younger' people to start a new and fresh section of the society and run it their way, perhaps with facebook and other social media and maybe meet in the local pub after school or work. We know younger people care passionately about Marple - so, if this idea floats your boat, please get in touch - if it doesn't, definitely get in touch and tell us what will.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Committee Meeting Minutes 25th September 2018

Committee Meeting minutes for 25th september 2018 can be viewed HERE

Friday, 28 September 2018

Marple Area Committee Meeting 26th September 2018

A report on the Marple Area Committee meeting that took place on 26th September 2018 can be viewed HERE

Future Marple Area Committee Dates

7th November 2018
12th December 2018
30th January 2019
6th March 2019
10th April 2019

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Marple Wharf - will not be determined at the September Marple Area Committee Meeting

The Marple Wharf planning application will not come to the September Marple Area Committee meeting for determination.
Marple Wharf Warehouse - Canal & River Trust
are determined to turn it into a residential property

It is expected to come to the next Marple Area Committee on the 7th November 2018 (there is no meeting in October).

We will continue to monitor the situation and confirm progress of the application to Area Committee as soon as we know.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Cobden Edge Cross

On Sunday 16th September a group of the Marple community braved the mist and rain to walk up from Linnet Clough to the new cross for a service of dedication, celebration and thanksgiving for the new "Cobden Cross". Marple Civic Society is one of the many local donors that has enabled the cross to be replaced by the council of churches in Marple, Compstall, Marple Bridge and Mellor. 

The New cross of solid French Oak sat in a stainless steel cradle, that replaces the old cross that had rotted and broken, now stands as a symbol of the christian community in the area.

As the cross was dedicated the mist slowly rolled back and by the time the congregation was leaving the sun came out. This great land mark now fully restored has a guaranteed life of 500 years.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Neighborhood Forum AGM - Saturday 15th September

The Marple Neighbourhood Forum AGM will take place on Saturday 15th September 2018 at the United Reformed Church on Hibbert Lane, starting at 10am and finishing at 12 noon.

After the AGM business there will be an open forum to discuss the six key themes of the Plan. These themes are included in the draft Neighbourhood Plan which is currently out for consultation and there are several ways in which you can respond. 

Further details about the AGM and how to respond to the Neighbourhood Plan consultation are explained in the latest Neighbourhood Plan newsletter - see HERE.

The AGM is a public meeting, free of charge and everyone is welcome.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Marple Wharf - the day of judgement - 26th September 2018

Finally, after almost 10 years, the fate of Marple Wharf is likely to be decided on Wednesday 26th September 2018 at the Marple Area Committee meeting. 

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'

Now, we can only put our trust in our councillors to do what they are elected to do i.e. 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 - not shunted off to a planning committee that has little knowledge of, and no passion for Marple and Marple Wharf. 

Canal & River Trust will turn the warehouse
 into a big dwelling house

Recently, the application has been held up yet again because, this time, the highways engineers were not happy with the access arrangement. In order to satisfy them, CRT's developer, H2O Urban, have had to alter the already unsatisfactory parking arrangement. The result is an even more confusing parking scheme and the loss of one visitor parking space (only two spaces remain). This demonstrates, yet again, that the site is too small for the development that is being crammed into it. See the civic society's response to this latest amendment HERE.

If you have not yet responded to the Marple Wharf planning application, or wish to send further comments, it isn't too late to do so. You can view previous responses HERE & HERE Please feel free to use our responses to help you to write your own if you wish.

We will confirm details of Marple Area Committee once the agenda is released one week in advance of the meeting. Confirmation will appear on our website when it is known and members emailed accordingly. The venue for the Area Committee meeting is Marple Senior Citizens Hall in the Memorial Park and it will start at 6pm.

Attending the meeting is the last thing you can do for Marple Wharf. Although public speaking will not be allowed, your presence will speak volumes to those making the decision.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Marple Neighbourhood Plan Consultation

Marple Neighbourhood Plan is out for Public Consultation

Since Marple Neighbourhood Forum was formed in April 2016 its members have been working hard on the development of a plan for Marple. "Our Marple Plan" is now at the stage where it is ready for Public Consultation and the Forum needs as many local people as possible to get involved by reading and commenting on the draft plan.

The draft document identifies a wide range of issues that the Forum thinks should be covered in the Plan but there are six key issues that seem to be most critical and these are prioritised in the public consultation survey:

Six key issues for Marple:
- Do we want another supermarket in Marple, and if so, what sort?
- What about pedestrian access across Stockport Road and traffic in general?
- Are we doing enough to promote our natural and built heritage, including for tourism?
- Do we want to create new, high quality facilities in Memorial Park?
- Should we prioritise the opportunities for community hubs around our two stations?
- What should we do about Goyt Mill and what are our options for residential or industrial use?

How Marple People can get involved:
The draft Marple Neighbourhood Plan is available to read via this link
Please take the time to read the plan, then complete the survey and submit your comments

The on-line Marple Neighbourhood Plan survey is available via this link
There is an opportunity to make comments at the end of the survey but if you would like to go into more detail with your response please email further comments to:

The  Marple Neighbourhood Forum's AGM is at 10am on Saturday 15th September at the United Reformed Church on Hibbert Lane. Everyone is welcome. There is no need to book, just turn up.

Marple Neighbourhood Plan

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Marple Area Committee Meeting 8th August 2018

A report on the Marple Area Committee Meeting that took place on 8th August 2018 can be viewed HERE

Future Marple Area Committee Dates

26th September 2018
7th November 2018
12th December 2018
30th January 2019
6th March 2019
10th April 2019

Friday, 27 July 2018

Planning Workshop - Making a Difference

The second of two planning workshops will take place this Tuesday 31st July 2018 (see details below). Come along and find out how you can respond and influence planning for the good of Marple. You don't have to have attended the first workshop to come to the second one and written information on both workshops will be available for everyone after the meeting.

The first workshop covered the 'Mechanics of Planning'; the second will focus on how the public can be effective in influencing planning decisions both at the consultation stage when policies are being written and with individual planning applications.

The aim of these workshops is to demystify planning and planning jargon and give you the 'know how' to get involved and make a difference.

We do hope you will join us

Planning - Making a Difference

Tuesday, 31st July 2018
In Marple Library  2-15 - 4.30pm
Registration and light refreshments served at 2pm

These workshops are free of charge and everyone is welcome 
you don't have to be a member of the civic society - just come along 
no booking required - further details HERE

This is the first time we have arranged this type of workshop. If it's successful and what people want we can arrange further workshops on topics and issues important to you.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Free Defibrillator Seminar delivered to Marple Residents

Photos by Arthur Procter
The Defibrillator and Cardiac Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) seminar that took place last Thursday was a great success. Thirty five or more people attended and warmly applauded Phil Cooke for establishing three local defibrillators in the Greater Marple Area.  Although there are numerous defibrillators in the town, the one situated on the wall of the Regent Cinema on Stockport Road is available for use 24 hours per day. Others in dentists, doctors, supermarkets etc are only available when the premises are open - but heart attacks can happen anytime. That's why the civic society was keen to work with Phil to get a 24 hour community defibrillator installed in Marple town cente. Mark Whittaker joined in too and this became a real community project.

The seminar was delivered by one of the many volunteers from Community Heartbeat. Alan is a retired first aid worker and trainer and had the knack of relaxing the audience and getting them to join in.

If you are able to spread the word of where the defibrillator is located, by putting a poster on your website, in a shop or anywhere else on public view, that would be really helpful in spreading the word.

Knowing where there is a 24 hour defibrillator when it is needed could save a life.

See more photos HERE

Alan, from Community Heartbeat demonstrating Cardiac Pulmonary Resuscitation