Meeting report: Chorlton Community Alliance

Meeting: March 8th 2021, via Zoom

Present: Carolyn Kagan (Converner), Steve Goslyn;  Shaun Fensom; Claire Stocks; Janette Sherwood; Alan Williams

Linking to:  Chorlton Voice; Chorlton Community Land Trust; Chorlton Traders; Chorlton and Whalley Range Dementia Action Group; Our Streets Chorlton; WalkRide Chorlton; Chorlton and Chorlton Park Ward Climate Action Groups; Chorlton Co Housing group; Chorlton and District Co-ops;  Chorlton Bike Deliveries; Barlow Moor Community Association; Chorlton Arts

Apologies: Margaret Manning, Cllr Mandie Shilton-Godwin

Welcome to Janette who is replacing Nicola from BMCA – at least for now.

1.Updates since last meeting

(i) Update on meeting with GMPF and Avison Young re Precinct

Meeting held and report from meeting circulated to all in Alliance.  The Framework we discussed at last meeting is the framework they are working towards, with some minor tweaks. Their timetable is for things to get moving this summer. As yet, no developer is appointed. Councillors are urging Neighbourhood Officers to stress that the intention for some participation in planning a stated in the Framework is taken seriously. All agreed that contemporary issues must be taken into account, drawing on feedback from the consultation but going further – eg zero carbon development, which would be difficult to achieve if buildings are demolished.

(ii) Vital and Viable progress –a start has been made in mapping recent activities onto the recommendations made in the Vital and Viable Chorlton report.  All can amend or add to here.

2.CLT and Coop Funeralcare building

Letter to be sent to CEO and chair of the Board (incl Allan Leighton and Nick Croft) to urge them to accept the CLT offer. Letter discussed and Claire agreed to amend. It was thought the main points should be 1) retention of the building and 2) strength and unity of community support. As many signatures as possible to get, including those representing others eg Councillors, Alliance, Chorlton Voice, Walkride, Unicorn, Traders Associations and  individual traders,  C and D Coop Cluster, residents and coop members

  1. Connections and communications within Chorlton

Discussion led by Claire about the need for better connections between the all the things going on.These ‘circles of activity’ have communications going on within them – better support could be for better communication between the ‘circles of activity. Something like ‘Our Chorlton Community Network’  could be developed, whose purpose is to support groups inChorlton to better connect.

Points of discussion:

    • Could be a vehicle for taking forward other things (eg things emerging from ReImagine Our Chorlton meetings)
    • Maybe add to what’s already there and stick it all together.
    • Could make it easier to contribute to meetings like this (Alliance).
    • Alliance does not do this. It meets quarterly and doesn’t have a focus on communication. Although Alliance can ‘speak’ – networks can’t.
    • Could go in any direction – build something new/ build on what’s here/ anything else!.
    • Our Streets project would be in a good position to work this up, building on their work with the commonplace platform by the end of the year.
    • We could ask members of our groups how to reach out further; ask where the communication gaps are? How to hook more people in?
  1. Neighbourhood Planning

Steve reported that the CLT is relooking at Neighbourhood planning. An application has been made to the Neighbourhood Investment Fund to start the process.

Intention is to undertake a Chorlton visioning process focused on use of land and buildings, which will help inform ideas for the Precinct/heart of Chorlton and decisions on whether to go down a Formal Neighbourhood Planning route. Could buy in expertise or use local expertise. More details will be available when outcome of the funding bid is known.

Points of discussion:

    • when Alliance last looked at this, it was thought the formal route may not be helpful
    • Our Streets project will be asking questions that are relevant to this, and the platform Commonplace will be part of the project and this could be used in the CLT’s work.
    • It will be important to involve councillors in discussions over developments, including Precinct
  1. Traders

Alan reported that the Traders have been i) wrapped up in Covid and 2) been looking at Cycleway proposals.

It was noted that the importance of having a point of coordinated community contact (ie Alliance) – will be more and more important as things move forward.

  1. AOB

Review of the Alliance

A short survey of members was sent out in February. Only 5 responses received. Of those everyone scored either 3 (2 people)  or 4 (3 people) out of 5 for usefulness of the Alliance – but difficult to draw any conclusions from this level of response.

Comments made:

Ideas for making Alliance more useful

    1. Maybe post pandemic a joint event with other community groups celebrating Chorlton. A newsletter groups could contribute to
    1. I’m new and haven’t been to a meeting yet
    1. If possible get more group reps involved though I know you will have tried
    1. When permitted, being the umbrella organising group to run Chorlton Great Get Together
    1. Events to build cohesion and shared vision, the virtual Chorlton Community Noticeboard of what is going on, helping shape local participatory democracy through street connectors, ensuring any planning developments are run past local people
    2. I think it’s about taking it to the next stage – which for me would be by working together to develop an idea such as the ‘our chorlton community network’ – as a formal (yet accessible and flexible networking focused body), with a business plan and role in securing funding and advocating for chorlton and facilitating the network

Other comments

    1. I can’t attend evening events before 7. Cooking and eating tea with kids
    2. Seems like a good idea to have a forum where different groups including voluntary sector groups can connect. Could be good to have more info online to share events, expertise, resources etc
    3. It maybe with re-imagining Chorlton, plus Our Streets Chorlton that it is difficult to keep so many ‘umbrella’ organisations going as lots of same people involved. However the Alliance does play a different role. Maybe when actual meetings are allowed again thinks will be easier/clearer
    4. Lobbying for the heart of Chorlton- the community space we all need
    5. Thanks for ploughing this furrow and the work you Have done on behalf of Chorlton

Points of discussion

    • Alliance has a unique place fitting in but different from, for example, reimagining Chorlton meetings.. Meetings are complementary not additive.
    • It is clear what we aim to do and there are opportunities for people engage or not.
    • Key focal point of the alliance is ‘response’.

Agreed to send reminder with encouragement to complete along with notes of this meeting

Date of next meeting: 14th June. 6pm – whether by zoom or in person tbc

Agenda items to Carolyn.