Meeting report: Chorlton Community Alliance

Meeting: April 4th 2022, via Zoom

Present: Carolyn Kagan, Shaun Fensom, Alan Williams, Cllr Eve Holt

Apologies: Danielle Lowy, Steve Goslyn, Linsey Parkinson, Julia Wickett, Claire Stocks, Nick Dixon

Matters arising from meeting Jan 2022

  1. Walkabout held with Steve Marsden, CK, Mathew Benham, Steph from Reach Out to the Community. Notes were taken for cleaning up and areas of responsibility. Particular concern was graffiti and, if on private land, it seems the Council cannot do anything. Eve will contact neighbourhood officer about the possibility of writing to landowners. Traders could also help.

    Residents are encouraged to remove flyposting, zip ties etc. Traders are supporting a walls/shutters painting project.

  2. Noted that Chorlton Councillors had a walkabout and positive meetings with the new Director of Place/ Strategic Director of Growth and Development (Becca Heron, previously Exec Director of Economy and Skills at Wigan Council) and new Leader of the Council Bev Craig and Angela Harrington, exec member for district centres; David Lynch (quite new to his role) and discussed re multiple developments, the challenge for Chorlton and the ambitions of the people of Chorlton. David will try and speak to different development stakeholders and suggest bringing partners together. The officers understand the importance of community participation in the process of developing Chorlton.

    Councillors stressed the importance of local people’s involvement and frustration at all the work that has gone on locally, underpinning  community involvement and still decisions are reached  with no participation – this is not not good enough. Officers were asked if there is an engagement model they would give legitimacy to?

    Noted: Angela is involved formally with co-operative network infrastructure, so understands cooperative models.

  3. Lottery bid for CAF rejected.
  4. Ward climate action plans – both Wards have held open meetings.

Picture House update

Great disappointment was expressed at the fact that the Coop sought, and then accepted, a bid from  Southway Housing Trust for the Picture House. CLT has held two preliminary meetings with Southway. The focus now is to look at how to fit CLT plans for enhancing the vitality of the DC into their plans. Now waiting to hear about a date for this.

Discussion was held about how to make sense of what has happened from all perspectives. CK and SF to meet to discuss response from the Alliance so as not to leave our last communication with the higher echelons of the Coop hanging, and in order to benefit future engagements between the Coop and community groups.

CLT’s bottom line is not to support any development that will involve demolition of the building and also is keen to keep open any future re-negotiations with the Coop. The offer of some community space as part of the Southway bid was considered to be an inadequate response to an approach that would have made the site into a community asset with community ownership over the space and decision making.

Chorlton councillors to put out a public statement – wording discussed.

Cooperative Chorlton Update

Agreement in Lets Re-Imagine meetings that Cooperating Chorlton would be a good development, but some concern was expressed that there were different understandings of what this might mean. Still some work to do to ensure everyone involved has the same expectations of the project. SF to attempt to clarify. Some questions that might help the group in thinking through:

  • What problem is this trying to solve?
  • If successful, what could be achieved that cannot be done at the moment?
  • How does such a development fit a Cooperative  model?
  • How would such a development fit with elected representatives?
  • What exactly is being proposed?

The group is exploring the best set of rules to set up incompliance with FCA and at low cost.

Chorlton Vision Update

Vision work to be reported at a meeting later this week and revisions to the vision presented following consultation. Some proposals re governance will be presented then.

Our Streets Chorlton Update

There was no time to discuss the achievements of the project that has now come to an end. There is a lot of information about the achievements off the project at the Our Streets website.

Other Updates:

Chorlton Park

Volunteering sessions continue Saturdays 9.30 to 11.30. The Friends Garden, including palm beds, continues to be improved,  with emphasis on bee-friendly planting, with requests to members to plant extra seeds or take cuttings. Emphasis on sustainable planting. 

150 saplings planted including 35 hazels near the brook. Bamboo removal continues with an aim to make the area by the brook as native as possible to enhance biodiversity.

Three new planters in the Bowling Green orchard to increase pollinators. Nine mature fruit trees, including pear, damson and plum, have been purchased. Planting session Saturday 23rd April 9.30 to 11.30.

Tree and art trail to be launched as part of the Chorlton Arts Festival on 29th April. See the noticeboard lectern by Tesco’s entrance for a map. 

A bid has been submitted for a giant climbing frame, much wanted by children and young people. 

Working with Manchester Active MCC to improve tennis court provision. 

The Pankhurst Plot by Emmeline’s Pantry goes from strength to strength. Volunteering sessions Mondays and Wednesdays 10 to 4pm. Parent/ carer and pre school group Thursday 10 to 12, Social anxiety group Thursday 1 to 4.

White House Users Group continues to bring together Southways Quids In,  Unity Arts and the Friends,  the current users of the building, to make improvements. 

Chorlton Traders

Work is proceeding slowly in trying to get more Traders actively involved in Chorlton matters.

Chorlton Arts Festival

This will take place over the whole month of may and has over 165 events and exhibitions, most of them free to attend.

Date of next meeting: Monday 4th July. Venue and format tbc