Meeting report: Chorlton Community Alliance

Meeting: December 7th 2020, via Zoom

Present: Carolyn Kagan (Convener), Steve Goslyn, Shaun Fensom, Claire Stocks

Representing:  Chorlton Voice; Chorlton Community Land Trust; Chorlton and Whalley Range Dementia Action Group; Our Streets Chorlton; Walk Ride Chorlton; Chorlton and Chorlton Park Ward Climate Action Groups; Chorlton Co Housing group; Chorlton and District Co-ops;  Chorlton Bike Deliveries;

Apologies: Linsey Parkinson, Open Up Magazine and Chorlton Traders; Cllr Mandie Shilton-Godwin; Simon Borkin CLT;

The Alliance welcomes all groups concerned with vitality and viability of Chorlton. Members include: Chorlton Voice; Chorlton Community Land Trust; Chorlton Connected; Chorlton and District Coops; Chorlton Co Housing;  Chorlton Plant Swop; Chorlton and Whalley Range Dementia Action; Age Friendly Whalley Range and Chorlton; Health and Social Care Development – Chorlton … and Chorlton Park …; Manchester Buzz Chorlton Whalley Range and Fallowfield; Redeemer Church; St Clements Church; Reach out to the Community; Unicorn Grocery; Chorlton Traders; Beech Road Traders; Chorlton Good Neighbours; Friends of Chorlton Park; Friends of Ryebank Fields; the White House Project; MCC Neighbourhood Officers; Chorlton and Chorlton Park Councillors; Friends of Chorlton Meadows;  PN Avenue RA; Transition network;  Barlow Moor Community Association; The Edge Theatre; Whalley Range Forum; Walk Ride Chorlton; Chorlton and Chorlton Park Climate Action groups; Open Up magazine; Chorlton Street Connectors; Chorlton Bike Deliveries; Our Streets Chorlton (Chorlton Climate Action Project). ">Contact Carolyn Kagan to be included in the mailing list

1.Update on Actions from previous meeting (not coming up later)

    1. Virtual Book festival and Arts Festival happened.
    1. Contact with Avison Young re Precinct development: CK had conversation with Jonathon Atkinson who is responsible for the development of the Precinct on behalf of the GM Pension Fund, the owners. He reported that there had been no progress on the development as everything was on hold due to the pandemic. Developers have not yet been appointed. CK reiterated that ongoing community engagement was essential.

It was agreed:

    • that it was important the Chorlton community continued to have a say over what happens at the Precinct
    • since so long had passed since the consultation on the Precinct (2017-18), and much has happened in Cholrton,we should re-open dialogue
    • Conversations would have to be meaningful and if possible specific, setting out a series of asks eg zero carbon, sustainable transport, affordable housing, involving local people in the plans, having a good fit with the Funeral home development (such as closure of Nicholas rd) – taking the opportunity to combine the two projects etc.

It was Agreed :

    1. to draft a letter setting out the things that have changed in Chorlton (and beyond, such as Future of the High Street), outlining the areas we want to have discussions about, and explicitlythe importance of working with the community.  To be sent to Chair of Pension Fund, MCC rep on Pension Fund, Head of Property at Pension Fund and Avison Young.  Action: Carolyn
    2. to ensure that the original consultation reports are available via website and/or googledocs. Action: Carolyn
    3. to raise at CLT Board meeting with a view of getting the CLT behind the plan. Action: Steve
    4. whatever we do has to have some legitimacy in terms of engaging the people of Chorlton –this is where the Alliance can be useful

2.Re-Imagine Chorlton – updates

Four meetings have been held and they are now fortnightly – Sundays at 4pm. Next meeting is Sunday 13th December. Contact Shaun Fensom if you would like to attend but don’t already get invitations.

The thrust of the meetings has been about how to conceptualise, communicate and promote the ‘Chorlton Brand’, and they have been full of energy and creative ideas.

Three discussion threads have emerged, each of which is taking ideas forward. cCooperative models for employment; street connectors and their potential; green spaces

    1. Co-op group: main thing to do is tellthe story about what is already happening re local coops. They are not unique to Chorlton but they do include a famous coop – Unicorn; the CLT; the new Chorlton Bike deliveries responding to local needs; and an even newer coop being developed to teach English as an additional language.

There is interest in establishing an umbrella coop – so that people don’t have to set up individual coops but can set up within the umbrella coop. Middleton is doing something similar and we hope to link up with them (they may also be setting up a Stitched Up there).

Key issues re telling the story (useful tips from Claire, relevant beyond this specific project):

      • what is the headline? Radio Mcr needs a strong hook, but something more discursive; speech radio – need a hook to get journalist interested and then talk….
      • Written press – headline to tell what you think the story is. Ask yourselves Why do I care? (so why would anyone else?)
      • Could go down route of doing things to make coverage more likely (eg Chorlton twins with Middleton is a doing hook). The Umbrella Coop idea could be a hook but need pictures, people talking.
      • Hardy lane coop –possibly the longest running? Would need pics
      • NW Tonight journalist lives in Chorlton – Claire could talk to.
      • More specialist press (egGuardian – John Harris; Big issue) might be interested in the move from mutual aid to co-ops (CBD) or in stories that reflect cooperative values– would be more specialist press eg mutual aid and cooperative values.
      • Need to be ready for when CLT deal gets done – can then link other activities – or vice versa.
      • Progress of the Community Land Trust – talk to radio Mcr about doing a piece on what its like to try and get this kind of thing off the ground
    1. Green group

A map of green spaces is being proposed and a sub group has been meeting in between Re-Imagine meeting to take this forward and crystallise ideas. A survey is being prepared, asking environmental groups if they want to be on the map.

    1. Connectors’ group– plan to survey street connectors to find which are still active and look into the possibility of creating a ‘job description’ for street connectors, moving beyond COVID response.


3.CLT  – update

    • Co-op may be now be more amenable to not demolishing old building. They are still seeking the price based related on original sales proposals and negotiations are ongoing
    • Simon B talking to coop next week. Coop is fine with development partnership and it was confirmed by Shaun that those at the top of the Coop have placed CLT as preferred bidder since the beginning of 2020.
    • Meeting held with the planners who consider the building to be non-registered heritage asset – which is a great help as it means it will be more difficult for anyone to demolish the building.
    • Coop were concerned that development of the large back building will not be approved by planning as it adjoins Oswald Rd Primary School. CLT and Developer will hold a meeting with Oswald Rd School re how to make any development facing the school acceptable.
    • If this project is successful, then Nicholas road closure as a public square would be a next move. It was noted that Nicolas Rd closure is not in the cycle scheme consultation. There was discussion on how this could best be approached through the consultation questionnaire.
    • Potential meanwhile use – Claire been talking to Paul (property) at Coop about the possibility of meanwhile use of the building for the Our Streets Chorlton project. Lots of unconvincing excuses given for why this may not be possible, and Claire is pursuing other options as well including K Style barbers.

4.Climate Action  – Our Streets Chorlton project update

    • Still in set up stage.
    • Been developing project identity – look and feel and logo etc. Will then launch a website in the new Year.
    • Community workshops have been held over project identity and data requirements with Open Data Manchester.
    • Website planned to be as broad as possible – Our Chorlton – could then host info about other environmental groups in Chorlton – teamed up with Danielle re green map from Re-Imagine Green subgroup (could be Our Green Chorlton).
    • Also thinking of putting on an engagement platform – with tools for interaction. (With Mcr Climate Action’s project). Could also be used for engagement, for example, over the precinct
    • Over time could incorporate a local version of ‘Cooperate’
    • Need now to do the ‘formal community mapping’ so have an organised way of reaching different strata (age, ethnicity, etc).
    • A project action launch being planned for January when project moves out of set up stage
    • Community forum includes alliance (via CK). In the future may become open invite with a strategic core group who might be able to take project forward.


Revising the vital and viable Chorlton issues.

No time for detailed discussion but it was agreed to map what is already happening onto the V and V recommendations. Action: Carolyn


1.Cycleway consultation is live and extended to 29 January. All urged to support the scheme as a whole and not to quibble about parts of it. Consultation –

pdf of the pamphlet available at

2.Buses consultation – because of COVID, further projections and analyses over re-regulation of buses was required. A consultation on these is live now – ends 29 Jan.

Message for groups from We Own It who ran the campaign in favour or re-regulation:

We’re sorry to ask you to fill out another consultation! But your
experience, whether you get the bus or not
could be the difference between services that work for communities and
services that are a cash cow for shareholders.

We need to make sure our voices are louder than those of bus companies
with vested interests. Please take two minutes tofill out the
consultation now to get better buses for your community.

Transport for GM says:

You can
•    Find out more information and take part in an online questionnaire
•    Email your feedback to
•    Give your feedback by phone on 0161 244 1100 (they will be forwarded through to an independent research organisation Ipsos MORI)
•    Write/send a completed questionnaire to Freepost GM BUS CONSULTATION
•    Pick up paper copies of the questionnaire at Travelshops
<>across Greater Manchester.

Noted that diamond Buses have forced a reopening of pedestrianised Deansgate and that all the bus companies will be lobbying hard for no re-regulation.

3.Next Year’s Arts FestivalOn the Road Again – will be outdoor and virtual. Sept 11th-19th.

Date of next meeting

Next meeting Monday 8th March 6.00pm via Zoom. Invitation to be sent nearer the time. Agenda items to Carolyn please.