Meeting report: Chorlton Community Alliance (formerly Vital and Viable Chorlton Alliance/ Collaboration) Meeting September 16th 2019 at BMCA, Merseybank Avenue

Present: Carolyn Kagan (Converner), Nick Dixon;  Eve Holt, Mandie Shilton Godwin, Steve Goslyn, Chris Peacock, Nicola Hamilton, Pip Moss

Representing Chorlton Voice; Chorlton Community Land Trust; Chorlton Connected; Chorlton and Whalley Range Dementia Action Group; Age Friendly Whalley Range and Chorlton; Friends of Hough End Hall; Barlow Moor Community Association; WalkRide Chorlton; and Councillors from  Chorlton  and Chorlton Park Wards.

Apologies: Open Up Magazine; Chorlton Traders; Unicorn Grocery; Chorlton Good Neighbours; 2 Councillors Chorlton Park Ward; Redeemer Church; Health and Social Care Development (Chorlton etc and Chorlton Park etc); Friends of Chorlton Park

Other Members: Edge Theatre;  St Clement’s Church;Chorlton Coop Cluster;Brookfield House development;Whalley Range Forum; friends of Chorlton Meadows; Beech Road Traders; PN Avenue RA; Reach Out; Transition network

Agenda agreed at start of meeting:

  1. Matters arising from last report : To confirm Aims and Objectives; Group’s name
  2. Manchester’s Climate emergency and implications for Chorlton
  3. Chorlton Connected and the community Noticeboard
  4. Community Land Trust updates
  5. Co-op funeral Home Updates
  6. Vital and Viable Chorlton report – update
  7. Information Sharing
  8. AOB
  9. Date Next meeting
  1. Matters arising from last report : To confirm Aims and Objectives; Group’s name
  1. The Aims and Objectives previouslycirculated were discussed and amended in the light of the importance of the Climate Change declaration, and the City Council’s requirement for each Ward to develop a local action plan. The revised Aims and Objectives agreed are attached.
  2. It was agreed the working name of the group would be the Chorlton Community Alliance
  1. Manchester’s Climate emergency and implications for Chorlton

Cllrs Eve Holt and MandieShilton Godwin spoke about the recent Climate emergency declaration and its implications for Chorlton.

On 12thJuly Manchester City Council agreed a motion put by Annette wright and seconded by Eve Holt to declare a climate emergency. Whilst Manchester has a Climate Action Plan, soon to be revised, it is recognisedby its own Manchester Climate Agency, that targets are not being met. Following the declaration, the Council agreed that each Ward is to prepare Ward Plans. Parts of Chorlton are in Chorlton, Chorlton Park and Whalley Range wards. It is recognised that these Ward boundaries do not necessarily fit with how people think about where they belong. Nevertheless, it is Ward Plans that will be developed: and councillors in the different wards are linking with each other. The mechanisms for working out the Plans vary with ward. Councillors are facilitating networks but it is  up to all groupsto engage with  the process. Across Chorlton there is a need to raise awareness and to connect people to where they can get support.

It was noticed that to be a vital and viable place, we also need to address climate security.

At Council level, all Council policies will be scrutinised for climate impact – and they must be aligned with Manchester’s targets. (The Neighbourhoods sub committee has overall responsibility for ensuring the Council addresses the climate agenda. Other cities place responsibility with the Executive eg Leeds). Points raised in discussion included:

  • Need to raise awareness in many parts of Chorlton and to work form where people are, currently , intheir understanding and knowledge about the issues;
  • Need to tackle organisations and businesses in Chorlton, especially supermarkets;
  • In Chorlton Ward, work has already started listing organisations and people with an interest in the issues as well as businesses;
  • In Whalley range ward there is a small Climate Action Group
  • In Chorlton Park Ward, the Friends of Chorlton Park will be  planting more trees;
  • Other places have moved indifferent directions eg Leeds has a climate innovation district (see )
  • Better communication form the Council would be useful eg a 1-pager about the targets and their meaning at community level.
  • Dilemma of school strikes for children’s attendance when Manchester has been working hard to increase attendance in order to  increase educational opportunity.

We agreed the local climate action plans should be an ongoing agenda item.

  1. Chorlton Connected and the Community Noticeboard

Nick Dixon briefly described the origin of what has come to be called ‘Chorlton Connected’, an initiative he started with Eve Holt in February this year to seek to make Chorlton a kinder and more connected place to live, this in response to the growing division in the country. Following the Chorlton Great Get Together in June when so many people asked for more opportunities to come together, to find out what is happening in our neighbourhood and, for many, how they can contribute, the idea of the Community Noticeboard emerged.  The idea is as follows:.

The plan is to hold four fun gatherings a year around Chorlton – Community Noticeboards.  These will offer the opportunity for people to come together, talk, have fun, observe and participate in whatever takes place in the space. Information will be available about all the opportunities Chorlton has to improve itself as a place to live, work and play for all ages. (The first of these was the Great Get Together earlier in the year).

Set for November 17th at the Edge, Nick asked for the support of the members of the Chorlton Alliance in attending the event and providing content. 

It was agreed that the Alliance should support the initiative and pass information on to other groups. Further information will be forthcoming about what groups can do on the day, but Nick welcomes all ideas to be forwarded to him.

There are other projects in the pipeline which will be brought to subsequent meetings.

Action: Nick agreed to provide written description of the Noticeboard Event and the ‘ask’ of groups and networks.

  1. Community Land Trust updates including Coop Funeral Home
  1. At the last meeting it had been agreed to look intothe establishment of a Neighbourhood Forum. Following meetings with Eddy Smith and further thought about the formality and bureaucracy (and time and effort) in formulating Neighbourhood Plans (linked to Neighbourhood Fora) it was proposed not to go down this route. Instead, to build on the more bottom up, organic networking around Chorlton-as-Place that was taking place( a good example of which is what is happening aroundWithington Baths). Agreed to establish an meeting with Dave Payne of Withington Baths
  2. Ryebank fields. MMU is about to ‘go to market’ and appoint a developer by Christmas. There is still a hope that the CLT might be part of the approval process. Meanwhile CLT has been talking to developers who might be interested. (In the development framework there is a requirement for developers to work with community groups, and to meet Carbon targets)
  3. Coop Funeral Home – Application for the building to be an asset of community value failed. HoweverCoop have given until end of November for a community bid to be submitted. Generate (developers) interested in working with the CLT on a proposal for market+leisure+health facility+ accommodation on the site.  There is a public meeting called for Thursday 26th September 7.00 Oswald Rd School. In addition CLT hope to launch a Crowdfunder also on 26th.
  1. Vital and Viable Chorlton Update

A draft of the report has been produced but has not yet been considered by the Council, who commissioned it. To remain on the agenda

  1. Information Sharing
  1. WalkRide Chorlton has a piece in latest edition of Open Up
  2. BMCA – has some dementia Awareness sessions coming up. Also Volunteer fair to go around the district during the week ending 4th October.
  1. AOB

Mandiedrew attention to the Council’s supports for Play Streets – lots of streets have closed for a day over the summer. Support will be there for closing a day a month – contact Mandie if interested.