Meeting Report: Chorlton Community Alliance Meeting: July 22nd 2020 via Zoom 6.00-7.30pm
Present: Carolyn Kagan (Convener), Sue Dixon, Nick Dixon; Steve Goslyn, Shaun Fensom, Linsey Parkinson, Mandie Shilton-Godwin
Representing: Chorlton Traders; Chorlton Voice; Chorlton Community Land Trust; Chorlton Connected; Chorlton and Whalley Range Dementia Action Group; Age Friendly Whalley Range and Chorlton; Chorlton Park Climate Action; Chorlton Co Housing group; Chorlton and District Co-ops; Chorlton Bike Deliveries; Chorlton Connectors; Open Up Magazine
Apologies: Fiona Vincer (Manchester Primary Care Partnership; Health and Social Care Development, Chorlton Park), Julie Ryan (F o Ryebank Fields),Eve Holt, Dave Rawson (Councillors); Alan Williams, (Unicorn and Chorlton Traders).
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 and Whalley Range Dementia Action; Age Friendly Whalley Rangeand 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. Contact Carolyn Kaganchair@chorltonvoice.org to be included in the mailing list
Agenda set at start of meeting:
- Update on Actions from previous meeting CK, SG
- Co-operate Platform SF
- Recovery Plan for Chorlton Cllr MS-G
- Update from groups
- AOB: Alliance Roles, Book Festival
Update on actions from meeting June 10th
- Chorlton Area Plan – no further info (CK has only just asked Chris Peacock for an update!)
- Chorlton baths – SG reported that it looks as if there is a delay, waiting for Council to establish its own development Company. This might mean that social housing is more likely and/or a housing coop. (Noted that Civic Society repeatedly raises the need to have the threshold criterion of number of units required before a Community Infrastructure Levy or affordable housing is required of developers. Most planning applications come in below the threshold.)
- Platforms for community engagement: Cllr Eve Holt had sent a message re platforms she has been looking into.
Cooperate: we can use straight away for free, it is great as a community noticeboard but isn’t a platform for engagement or discussion.
CommonPlace: the most commonly used platform now for some of the Beelines stuff and emergency travel infrastructure. I used for Andy Burnham’s Our Manifesto development engagement earlier this year. Is is good for one off consultations but isn’t an ongoing platform for continued engagement.
Citizen Lab is more sophisticated, good for participatory budgeting, engagement and ongoing forum. More expensive as a consequence.
There are other open source options that good but rely on having someone who can develop locally.
Shaun gave a presentation on the capabilities of the Co-operate platform which has been trialled in Stretford and now open to all areas.
- Works well as a community noticeboard and would be good if it were populated with information about groups and events in Chorlton
- Until we did this it is not clear how flexible the system is.
- It would be a way of broadcasting to all groups
- Another possibility for consultation and decision making would be Loomio (https://www.loomio.org )
All to look at these platforms further.
3.Recovery Plan for Chorlton
Cllr MS-G reported on the recovery plan work that had involved Councillors and Traders, starting with a SWOT analysis. It was noted that we had requested Alliance be included in the work but did not receive an invitation. A number is issues arose in discussion.
- Noted that footfall figures (as measured by counter outside Costa) was rising – 13K in may (comparison figure with last year requested). LP also reported footfall increasing – last month 20K compared with 32K last year.
- The work had not lent itself to a coherent piece of action as no coherence over what Traders’ wanted (it was difficult engaging traders).
- 120 businesses on Chorlton Traders’ mailing list. Most were too busy getting on with opening and following guidelines and making special arrangements to response to the recovery plan work.
- Beech Rd – concern over safety of the Road. A proposed 5mph speed limit was not within MCC’s powers to introduce, so other ways being explored to make it safe.
- Changes traders are making include screen, changing the nature of the offer (eg taking phone orders/mail orders), timed appointment slots in shops, people outside talking to people in the queues etc. They need to be following guidelines which change frequently.
- Possibly a need to communicate better some of the actions taken to make shopping safe, to reassure people who might be wary of coming our of lockdown or shielding.
Discussion followed about the possibility of developing a wider, community owned recovery plan as interest in ‘building back better or differently’ concerns everyone. Points made included:
- Find a way for local people to believe that the Chorlton recovery Plan is everyone’s business.
- Build on the energy shown by local people to go forward to take control of changing things
- There is a danger of simply going back to how things were before lockdown.
- We could help people see the interconnectedness of different groups in Chorlton but need to think carefully about this and recognise that on-line discussions will exclude some.
- Need to think about how community groups, including mutual aid groups, now link with the statutory services and how to get past traditional ways of doing things. Some things present as obstacles but need not be (eg insurance and issues connected with mutual aid – did not appear to be a problem). Health development workers could play a key role.
- One issue concerning local people is where they are to wait or queue, especially as winter looms. Could there be a sheltered space? Funeral home could serve this as a big canopy?
- What if there were some kind of unified queuing system – would need thinking through further
- There is a need to think creatively and long term, not just in relation to immediate challenges
- One further challenge is uncertainly about the District centre- CK to try and find out.
It was generally thought that an event in the autumn, involving as many people as possible would be a good thing – may have to be on line.
- Possibility of a video to capture some of the good (better) things happening during lockdown. – Could ask neighbourhood coordinators for resources or mutual aid connectors.
- SF and SD agreed to start a planning process with a view to inviting others to join in. (Weekend of 3-4 October would coincide with the mini-virtual arts festival). Event to try to be creative, including a framework or triggers for discussion. First meeting to be 30th July 6pm Uk time. Contact Sue Dixon to be a part of this.
- Format to be agreed – Zoom? Hop In? Or what?
LP reported that the early autumn edition of Open Up is to include optimistic, creative and hopeful visions for the future which could be a part of this Citizens’ Recovery Plan.
4.Update from groups
Traders – as reported all are busy implementing safety guidelines and making adjustments. Some anxieties about the impact of wearing of masks. Pleased with the bounce back of local trade. Feedback from traders requested re the Barbakan, Beagle traffic schemes. Request that the Alliance tries to move forward on its original intentions (appended at end of report)
CLT and Chorlton Co housing
- CLT talking to the Coop to ascertain if they are going to deal with them
- CLT AGM this September
- Noted that there may well be business premises on the borders of Chorlton that could be converted to housing.
Open Up Magazine
Alliance been notified separately of the plan to make the next edition an optimistic and creative vision for the future. LP may contact peple individually for copy.
Chorlton Bike Deliveries
Are transforming into a workers’ coop. Hope to be accepted by Hive within Cooperative Society for coop development support and to use a retail platform through a European Cycle coop network we have joined.
Looking to extend activities in order to be sure the business is sustainable and connect with wider areas like Stretford.
Chorlton and District Coop Cluster
Trying to push for Coop to use Chorlton Bike deliveries – difficulty is that Coop want to do things at scale, not locally
The Co-op has appointed a new ‘member pioneer’ for Whalley Range and Hulme (Shaun is member pioneer for Chorlton)
Chorlton Voice, Arts Festival
A mini virtual arts festival is being planned onan experimental basis for 3,4 October to link into the Fun palaces weekend (https://funpalaces.co.uk/).
Cake challenge needs people to send in entries.
- Chorlton Book Festival to run on line this year 18-26 September. Celebrating the written word.
- Roles in the Alliance. CK suggested Chair and note taker might rotate. Agreed to keep on the agenda
6.00pm Zoom Tuesday September 15th then: Then Monday December 7th
Annex: Chorlton Community Alliance/Forum/Collaboration: cooperating, imagining, inventing, and challenging
- To build on, and bring together, the different groups and organisations with an interest in Chorlton-as-Place.
- To strengthen ties between groups and organisations with an interest in Chorlton-as-Place.
- To identify and coordinate the implementation of projects aimed at improving the vitality and viability of Chorlton.
- To actively support and promote the City Council’s declaration of a Climate Emergency in July 2019.
- To be an independent point of contact and channel for information with regard to developments in Chorlton.
- To be: an umbrella organisation to provide a channel for information to and from the community and to and from decision makers; to tackle local issues in a joined up way through the sharing of information and ideas.
- To take opportunities: to seize the opportunities of proposed developments as they arise; facilitate a fast response network; create a more secure, sustainable future for local businesses and their customers; make the most of compatible events and opportunities.
- To gain control through having a co-ordinated voice; lobby and campaign knowing that as broad across section as possible have contributed; operate as a pressure group as needed; align around a common vision for Chorlton; influence developments and decision makers.
- To learn: to meet and share ideas, problems and solutions; learn from each other; articulate community knowledge from the grass roots; enable as many people as possible to understand local development s as they arise; work together to design some principles for developments in Chorlton.
To achieve our objectives we will:
- Be inclusive
- Respect difference
- Address the implications for local climate action plans at each meeting
 * initially utilising recommendations from the Institute of Place Management’s ‘Vital and Viable Chorlton’ report.