Meeting Report

Chorlton Community Alliance

Special Meeting 11th February  7.30 Community Room, Library

Present: Carolyn Kagan, Linda Rigby (Friends of Chorlton Park and White House project); Tara Parry (Friends of Ryebank Fields); Julie Ryan (Friends of Ryebank Fields); Chris Peacock (Chorlton Community Land Trust); Cllr Mandie Shilton Godwin (Chorlton Park Ward); Linsey Parkinson (open Up Magazine and Chorlton Traders); Claire Stocks (Walk Ride Chorlton)

Apologies: Fiona Vincer (Manchester Primary care Partnership) ; Nick Dixon (Chorlton Connected); Allan Williams (Unicorn and Chorlton Traders); Julia wickets (Friends of Chorlton Park)

  1. Vital and Viable Chorlton
    1. Context

 Mandie gave an overview of the context in which the Vital and Viable Chorlton report had been commissioned and received as part of the work of the Neighbourhood Subcommittee of the economic Scrutiny Committee. The subcommittee has heard from a range of organisations, (including Traders, the New Islington development, Transport for Greater Manchester) to inform their thinking about  neighbourhood and district centres. The Institute of Place Management Vital and Viable reports from Harpurhey, Northenden, Withington, Chorlton reports have been submitted and the Gorton report is being updated. The sub committee’s  report is likely to include issues such as combined uses for centres; markets but on  insofar as they complement existing activities; infrastructure and connectivity (Internet); the potential of public sector partners to be located in districts.   Mandie pointed out the progress that Withington had made in different stakeholders coming together to bid for the Govt’s High Street Initiative.

Agreed it would be good if someone from  this Withington group would come to talk to us – Mandie to broker.

The Neighbourhood Sub groups work will be considered in the context of the Manchester  Local Plan which is now out for consultation .

Notwithstanding the work carrying on at the city Council level, discussion then focused on what recommendations from the Chorlton Vital and Viable Chorlton report could be picked up locally. (Note, the Alliance is not, at the moment, a decision making body, so it was agreed that representatives  should  communicate with their members about these matters too!)

  1. Issues arising from the report

Three main areas stood out for discussion.

  1. Local people have more power than they think they have, especially if they work together.

That’s us!

  1. Different clusters of activity recognised (with poor connections between them:
    • Vibrant urban destination – Chorlton cntres (precinct area)
    • Local retail srivce centre – Beech rd
    • Traditional high street – Barlow Moor Rd (only considered up to McDonald’s)
    • A diverse urban service centre – Manchester Rd

We may or may not agree with these clusters and would want to include the rest of Barlow Moor Rd to Merseybank in discussions about Chorlton – but this area not considered the District centre which is what the report was about

  1. Brand Identity – a lot was made in the report of Chorlton being inconsistent in how it presents itself and is communicated, incommensurate with what residents think of the place.

This is linked to:

Place identity and ‘placemaking interventions’ – what does Chorlton look like to visitors at points of arrival?

We had a lot of discussion and came up with ideas about how the look of Chorlton could be improved as well as how it could be presented.  The comment made in at CCLT blog about Chorlton having ‘private wealth but public squalor’ resonated.

Ideas included

Points of arrival –

How do people know where to go for the ‘attractions’ of Chorlton when they arrive by tram? Need signs, maps, themed trails (heritage, vegetation, bird watching  – Chorlton Voice may be able to help with but need community involvement).

Bus station !!!!

Chorlton as One big car park

How reduce number of cars parking all over the place including on pavements which blight some of the activity clusters (see for example, how awful Beech Rd is for shoppers, browsers, visitors). Push for the Precinct car park to have 1 hour free parking. What might we do if we began to think of cars as ‘glorified expensive litter’? (Brings a whole new meaning to a community litter pick!)


There are lots of small places that could be planted. Traders have a little money that could be put towards maintenance. Considering starting a Chorlton in Bloom . Include tree pits.


There is soon to be a mural on the Mcr Rd side of the Precinct (see Floragrphics – is this right?). But we could put murals on gable ends (as in Burton Rd., Old Trafford), shop blinds and this would make an immediate improvement to the appearance of Chorlton.

Metro stops and Metro Lift shafts (dreadful grey concrete pillars – blank slates for art). Altrincham has artwork at metro stop and this and the exit from the station makes a good impression on visitors. Carolyn to pursue

It was noted that we should raise funds for art projects and not rely on MCC.

Modelling alternative visions of Chorlton

Editional studio on Beech rd might be able to draw up some visualisations of what  Chorlton could look like. Claire to pursue.

  1. Next steps (including community engagement)

It was recognised that more people need to be involved in both generating ideas and solutions  but we didn’t really come up with a plan for this. If representatives could take back to their members and bring ideas to next meeting we can come back to this. To go on next agenda.

  1. Neighbourhood Master Plan
    1. Overview – what is a Neighbourhood Master Plan?

Chris  gave an overview of the alternative approaches:

  • Neighbourhood Plan (we have already rejected this option)
  • Supplementary Plan appended to the Manchester Local Plan (not advised – long delays)
  • Area Action Plan – this is the way forward we have been advised by Eddie Smith to pursue (NB he will be leaving so we will need to ensure next Head of development knows our intentions)
    1. Update on progress

Chris is meeting working with people in Chorlton with expertise on how to draw up a plan on 24thChris will report back (to go on next Agenda)

General discussion raised the following points:


  1. Community engagement plan

Beyond recognising the importance of this, no discussion. Awaiting feedback at next meeting and then to consider.



  1. Emanuel Church Didsbury for exhibition from Year 5 Architecture students on possible Futures for Didsbury centre. On until 24th
  2. Friends of Chorlton Park White House Project s seeking more people interested in the project of making the White House and nearby shoipping containers into community facilities. Meeting Thursday 13th 12-1 White House
  3. Manchester Local Plan Consultation sessions nearby. Central Library 2 mar 12-6.30; Inspire 27 Feb; Withington Baths 17 Feb 3-7. Online consultation can be found at until 3rd April
  4. Cllr Eve Holt and Claire have submitted a Lottery bid from walk ride Chorlton – will include signage for walking. Will need a partnership to deliver. Agreed Alliance will support. Next meeting Thursday 13thpm – contact
  5. Alliance website – needs copy. Please send short info and contacts for your group to Linsey Lin@chinupduck asap. Also any other info Blogs etc (can have been used elsewhere, with acknowledgement
  6. One possibility for communicating with Chorlton residents is an ‘alternative facebook’ site, to avoid negativity of current site. To go on next Agenda. Note there is a Glad to Be in Chorlton site as well as general facebook site at the moment.