Friday, September 29, 2006

Park plan for town square

A SCHEME to transform Stockport's St Peter's Square into a 3.3-acre urban park have been revealed.
The new civic space, with scores of new trees, a water feature and imaginative lighting, will be created over the next three years as part of the Future Stockport regeneration plans for the town.

[Click on the above image for the full story.]

Children Go Green for Walk To School Week - Mon 2 Oct

[SMBC press release]
On Monday October 2nd primary schools across Stockport will be striding out and participating in this year's International Walk to School Week
Parents, teachers and community leaders around the world will be following the lead of children and taking to the streets to experience the joys of walking together, while highlighting the need for healthy, safe communities. Last year, nearly three million children world-wide participated in Walk to School Week events, with 60 primary schools throughout Stockport taking part.

[Click on the above image for the full story.]

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Pear New Mill to house a climbing wall - planning application

Pear Mill
Photo by JayT47.
Change of use of vacant engine house to indoor climbing centre.
The Old Engine House, Pear New Mill, Stockport Road West, Lower Bredbury, Stockport, SK6 2BP
Case Officer / Telephone: Mr D Harvey 0161 474 3544
Consultation Expiry Date: 13-10-2006
Documents: click here

'Slimline Monopole' mast, New Moor Lane - planning application

Installation of 'Slimline Monopole' mast (11.7 metres including antennas), 1 dish antenna, 2 equipment cabinets plus associated works
On highway verge opposite the car park of Phoenix P.H, New Moor Lane, Hazel Grove, Stockport SK4 7AH
Case Officer / Telephone: Mr MR Robinson 0161 474 3543
Consultation Expiry Date: 13-10-2006
Documents: click here.

Mary’s in stitches

LIFE was a stitch for creative Mary Wilson after she spent three weeks knitting an old-fashioned scene from Stockport Market.
The original plan had been for the market scene to be raffled off and the proceeds donated to St Mary's Church, on the Market Place.
But traders heard of Mary's woolly wonder and could now donate the equivalent sum and then hand the creation over to be displayed in the church or one of Stockport's heritage centres.

[Click on the above image for the full story.]

'Seeds of Change' - New Nature Park to be Unveiled

[SMBC press release 27 September 06]
From the rubble of a derelict bleach works and railway sidings in Stockport, a new nature park has grown.
Mersey Vale Nature Park, only one mile from Stockport town centre, is a brand new 23.5 hectare park where walking, cycling, horse-riding and canoeing are just some of the ways to explore this beautiful countryside. Stockport Council and the Mersey Basin Campaign, with help and support from the local community, have turned this once derelict land into a nature-rich habitat.
Thousands of tonnes of soil were used to create the park's open spaces. Wild flowers have been sown, new trees planted and the ponds landscaped. Now, visitors can benefit from 6km of paths, two canoe access points to the River Mersey, links to the Trans Pennine Trail, sculptured seating areas, and enough space to fit 30 football pitches!
The Mayor of Stockport, Councillor Peter Burns, will be unveiling a 4m high sculpture to mark the official opening of the Park. The sculpture, called "Seeds of Change" was created by artist, Michael Johnson, with help from Year 5 pupils at Mersey Vale Primary School. It is inspired by the grasses and seed heads collected from the park by pupils. Made from bronze and stainless steel, the sculpture incorporates the children's artwork in its circular base.
Councillor Pam King, Executive Member for Leisure, said: "This unveiling is the culmination of six years' hard work and dedication. Over £800,000 has been invested in Heaton Mersey - part of our riverside regeneration projects - and when you look at Mersey Vale Nature Park now, it's hard to remember what a derelict space this once was.
"It's not everyday a new park is born! Indeed, it's very rare to see such natural surroundings so close to a town centre. But by working closely with the Mersey Basin Campaign and local residents, we've been able to create a natural green space that over time, will grow to be a treasured asset for the borough."
Sarah Wallbank, European Projects Manager at the Mersey Basin Campaign, said: "Three years ago, many local people did not even know that the site existed. We asked almost 500 local people what they wanted to see beside the river and what they told us shaped the nature park as it is today. They wanted to be able to walk, run, ride bikes and horses, and walk their dogs there. And they wanted simple things like good maintenance and lots of wildlife."
She continued: "People seem to love riverside locations like the nature park, and now that the Mersey is so much cleaner than even ten years ago we have a real asset that the town should make more of."

[Click on the above image for the full story.]

Council To Replace Footbridge At Gorsey Bank Road

[SMBC press release 27/9/06]
A new footbridge, spanning the River Mersey, is to be constructed by Stockport Council. It will replace an old footbridge built c.1894 which links Gorsey Bank Road and Yew Street in the Heatons South, Edgeley and Cheadle Heath.
Work to the new foundations will commence on the 9th October 2006, with the bridge replacement works scheduled to be completed in December.
Pedestrian diversion signs will be in place prior to the work commencing.

[Click on the above image for the full story.]

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

It’s in the bag - Tesco keeps supersize store

Without the option to fine Tesco for the overbuild, the council's planning committee instead insisted the supermarket meet conditions before the store is allowed to stand.
A 6,130 sq ft area, already cordoned off within the store, will be left unused until a future planning application is passed.
And Tesco will pay £788,502 to fund a free town centre circular bus service for the next five years - £125,000 more than previously agreed.
In addition, the committee also determined it necessary for the bus to be "green" and a public art sculpture on the site be protected from rain.
Coun Derek Whitehead added: "I think this is the second most important planning decision made in Stockport. The first was 150 years ago when some bright spark insisted that every train using the viaduct stops in Stockport. We have to find a solution where it's clear we are in control.
As Tesco's retrospective planning application is contrary to Stockport's current Unitary Development Plan the final decision now rests with the secretary of state, Ruth Kelly.

[Click on the above image for the full story.]

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Reddish History

I didn't make it to Paula Rands' lecture myself but I have spoken to a number of people who did. They tell me that the audience of more than 70 were captivated by her lecture on The History of Reddish.

Paula regularly presents history talks, so do look out for future events. Christ Church was such a good venue, the Trust is thinking about organising other talks there as well.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Cllr Phillip Harding - Talking Politics

[Excerpt from Stockport Times 21/9/06]
I recently attended the official opening of the refurbished steps at Hollywood Park. I was delighted to see this very important walking route so well restored.
This park has a significant role in Stockport's heritage and it is ludicrous that it doesn't even get a mention in the proposed tourism strategy which mostly concentrates on Marple and Bramhall park. There are few towns with such a large area of greenspace within walking distance of the town centre.

This week I, along with other members of the Planning and Highways Committee, will be visiting various locations to look at planning applications, including Tesco in Portwood. The problems is applications cannot be refused, nor should they be, because people don't like them or don't want them.
What councillors cannot do is refuse applications when there are no planning grounds for refusal even though large numbers of residents object. What we can do is attach conditions to the application, improve design, insist on landscaping and the use of appropriate materials, deal with highways issues and noise levels etc.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

It’s the battle for Booth Street!

The area off Booth Street, which used to house Stockport Council's vehicle depot and is still owned by the local authority, is interesting both of the borough's sporting powers.
County officials have been in talks over the purchase of the land with a view to it being used to build housing and community sports facilities - a project seen as a vital part of the club's five-year plan of returning to the Championship (old Division 1).
While Sharks' chief executive Niels De Vos admits his rugby union club are interested in securing the sought-after site to possibly use as a parking area.

[Click the above image for the full story.]

Labour councillors see red over council’s ‘not so green’ vehicles

Figures seen by the Stockport Express reveal that the town's council tax payers are subsidising a total of 520 council staff cars, including BMWs and Jaguars, to the tune of £3,269 each; a total of £1.7 million annually.
Now the Labour group is demanding action claiming only 72 of the 520 leased vehicles fall below 129grams of C02 and labelling them "environmentally unfriendly".
The group says it wants to restrict the council from leasing any cars that generated over 120 grams of C02 into the atmosphere.

[Click the above image for the full story.]

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Brinnington Battle continues

The Trust successfully opposed an inappropriate phone mast application for Brinnington. See Planning Applications 9 Feb 06. Now Vodafone have appealed the decision to the Secretary of State for the Environment.

All the submissions, including the Trust's will be provided to the Secretary of State, but we have an opportunity to make a further submission.

You can see our first submission as a comment to the above posting.

If you have suggestions for further points, please share them with me.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Mersey Vale Nature Park

I hadn't heard of the Mersey Vale Nature Park until I found their stall at the aforementioned Richmond Road Park Farmers' Market. It is Stockport's newest park, lying between Craig Road and the Mersey. It includes 5.6kms of paths, enough open space to fit 30 football pitches, part of the Trans-Pennine Trail, and the rare Banded Damoiselle Damselfly. These latter are southerners who have moved up north in the last two years in response to global warming.

canoe access pointI learnt that what I have been describing as fishing piers are actually canoe access points, two of which lie within this park.

This is part of an on-going work. A planning application was reported on this blog on 21 July (click here), but I admitted at the time that I didn't understand what it was in aid of.

The park is there for "stroll, cycle, horse-ride and canoe", though I am afraid motorcyles and the odd stolen car are not uncommon.


Mela, Stockport Town HallThe Mela at the Town Hall was well worth a visit. The SMBC site tells me that Mela is an ancient Indian word meaning 'to meet' and Melas are multicultural festivals incorporating music, dance, food and other aspects of British Asian culture in the UK.

The Stockport Mela was a South Asian festival or bazaar. Live South Asian music was belting out, food, clothes and momentoes were on sale. It was also very pratical in that there were many informative council stalls as well. So I got an update on the Shaw Heath Renewal Area amongst other things.

I am going to sound very old now, I just wish the music was quieter. I was having a chat with the lady on the Sri Lanka stall, telling her of my Sri Lankan Heritage, but we gave up after a while.

The Mela was the first of many events for Black History Month. One of the upcoming events is the Stockport Jamboree all day at the Market on Saturday 7th October. This will be complemented by Staircase House Goes Global, on the same Saturday 12pm-5pm, £3.50.

Full list of events.

Richmond Rd Park Farmers Market

Richmond Rd Park Farmers MarketI had never heard of Richmond Road Park, let alone their biennial Farmers' Market. The market was very impressive with a wide choice products.

Richmond Rd Park Farmers MarketThe views from the park were quite impressive as well. I wasn't expecting that amount of greenery. The view was over the Mersey Valley, including some of the new Mersey Vale Park, which I learnt about at one of the market stalls. I will report about this in a separate posting.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Celebrating communities

Kath Taylor, Vice-ChairTrust members, Angela Kenrick & Kath Taylor, provided and manned a display stand at the 'Celebrating Communities' event in Stockport College on Saturday 16th Sept.Organised by Stockport Council for Voluntary Services, the event attracted a steady stream of visitors and interest from people in volunteering, joining and wanting help with an exhibition.

Angela Kenrick in a sariThere were a wide variety of local organisations represented, including the council's various services, local community groups, the Plaza, Stockport Talking Newspaper, Age Concern and even a demonstration of saris (had to have a go!)

Heritage Survey September 2006

[An SMBC survey for Council operated heritage sites]
This is your opportunity to show how highly you value heritage and its contribution to the local economy and quality of life. Please take this opportunity to tell us how you feel we are meeting your leisure time needs.
The results of the survey will help us design exhibitions, events and displays in the future, that will encourage more people to take advantage of the cultural opportunities Stockport has to offer.

[Click the image above for the SMBC survey.]

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Salvation Army Hillgate

Work starts on the renovation of The Salvation Army building on Hillgate. Thanks for the news and the photo Allen.

[Update: click on comments below for more information.]

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Tear down your £1/2M new home

[Excerpt from the Manchester Metro News 15/9/06]
Steven Woolfinden says, "The house I have built is only 600mm higher than the one in their plans, but it is impossible to make the alterations they ask for without completely rebuilding the house."
A council spokesman said: "The site is on green belt, adjacent to the listed building Pump Farm Cottage. The site was acquired by Mr Woodfinden-Lewis, who applied for a larger building of different design. This was refused as it was considered to be in conflict with the green belt policy due to its size, siting and design. Mr Woolfinden-Lewis has continued to build a house, which is materially different from that permitted and in conflict with the Council policies. The council has now served an enforcement notice."

[Click the image above for the full story.]

Exhibition at country park

Photographers are being encouraged to display their pictures of Reddish Vale Country Park in an exhibition, running from October 1 to the end of November.
Popular photographs will also have the opportunity to be made into greeting cards, to be sold at the visitor centre, and feature on the Stockport Express website.
Photographs must be your own work and sould be submitted to Reddish Vale Visitor Centre, Reddish Vale Road, Reddish, SK5 7HE by Sunday 24th September.
For more information contact Reddish Vale Visitor Centre 477 5637.

Old is still the best

Originally uploaded by Mark Sweeting.
[Excerpt from Stockport Times 14/9/06]
Robinson's Old Tom was chosen by 40 brewers, writers, tasters and retailers at the annual International Beer Challenge and included in a lost of the world's best beers.
Brewed with water from a well deep below Stockport at Robinson's Unicorn Brewery on Hillgate.
Brewery director Oliver Robinson said: "Last year, we decided to invest heavily in the prestation of the brand and developed a tactile, embossed bottle to secure its position in the international market."
Old Tom also won a gold medal at the Brewing Industry International Awards in Munich last year. It has been brewed since 1899.

Stockport Cycle Map Launched

The Stockport cycle map will be launched at "In Town Without My Car Day", which takes place at Stockport Market Place on Friday 22nd September between 11am and 3pm. Stockport cycle maps will also be available from libraries, information centres and the reception at Hygarth House, 103 Wellington Road South, Stockport.

[Click the image above for the full story.]

Stockport Fund Launch Set To Get Local Businesses Giving

Local businesses in Stockport are being invited to attend the launch of The Stockport Fund, a new initiative to establish a charitable fund to improve the lives of many of our communities across Stockport.
The launch event taking place at Stockport Town Hall on Thursday 14 September will bring together an audience of local companies, business leaders, representatives of Stockport Council and the Community Foundation.

[Click the image above for the full story.]

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Stockport History Walk

The Heritage Trust's contributions to the National Heritage Open Days, were four guided walks of Stockport's past.

Jim Clare addresses a group outside St Marys
Starting at St. Mary's Church in the Market Place, groups of thirty people were taken along the Underbanks, down Old Oak Yard,

Steve Cliffe and Sharza Dethick outside St Marys
shown the river and the site of Lancashire Bridge, and finished with the history of Castle Yard and the market area.

Kevin Dranfield addresses a group outside Winter's, Underbanks

The turnout was exceptional and Kevin Dranfield and Jim Clare, who lead the walks were congratulated on doing a fine job.

Kevin Dranfield addresses the group outside The While Lion, Kath Taylor looks on

Kevin concludes the walk outside St Marys

Tesco told: Get packing

Steve Parfett, spokesman for local businesses, said: "I'm absolutely delighted with the committee's decision. It shows the true value of local democracy. To go against the planners' recommendations was remarkable - but absolutely right."
However, the planning application is now likely to go before the full council planning committee where it could yet be granted - but it would still have to be considered by the Secretary of State as it contravenes the UDP.
Tame Valley councillor Peter Scott said: "The application was rejected for the same reason as the Secretary of State turned down Ikea. Tesco were intending to use the space for retail-related purposes which would make it too big."
He added: "It was suggested by the representative that if permission was not granted Tesco would pull down the store entirely but that is ridiculous. Tesco get 39,000 customers a week through that store and make huge profits."

[Click the image above for the full story.]

Monday, September 11, 2006

59 3-bedroom houses for St Lesmo Rd/Avondale Rd

Edgeley Centre developmentDC024106
Erection of fifty nine 3-bedroom houses
Edgeley Centre, Avondale Road/St Lesmo Road, Edgeley.
Case Officer / Telephone: Miss KL Clarke 0161 474 3557
Consultation Expiry: 29-09-2006
Documents: click here or see Hygarth House, 103 Wellington Rd Sth.

The Report on the Ground Investigation has an interesting review of historic maps. The earliest maps (1874 & 1882) show the site as two fields with partially tree-lined boundaries. The surroundings are open fields as well.
By 1898/9 St Lesmo Road has been built, but the site remains a field though trees are no longer shown. To the North East, St Augustine's Church and vicarage have been built.
By 1910/1 one of the boundary fields has disappeared, while another has been extended. A Sunday school has been added to St Augustine's church. A small bounded area, perhaps an allotment, intrudes into the site. An unnamed road now forms the Southeast border of the site.
1922/3: the site is unchanged except for the widening of St Lesmo Road and an embankment alongside the road.
By 1934 the field boundaries have been removed and the site is shown as a playing field. It is mostly surrounded by housing. To the south west, the Avondale Works has appeared, described as a ribbon weaving factory. There is no longer an embankment shown along St Lesmo Road, instead there is a row of trees.
The only difference on the 1938 map is that the previously unnamed road to the South East is now shown as Avondale Road.
The site has become the Avondale Secondary Modern School on the 1959 map.
The 1960 map is similar except for an unidentified circular feature on the site, which does not appear on any other map.
The 1965 and the partial 1971 maps are consistent with the 1959 map.
While the 1978 to present, show the removal of three of the school buildings have been removed from the yard area.

The soil is a mixture of glacial clays and glacial sand. Though the boreholes went down as far as 6 metres, they didn't reach the sandstone, which outcrops north of the site.

Old Avondale School 15.02.06

Old Avondale School 15.02.06
Originally uploaded by A G 1.
Edgeley Certre Avondale Rd
Planning Application for 59x3 bed dwellings
See SMBC weekly list for Application DC024106 there are several plans

Marple Memorial Park has been awarded a Green Flag for the third year running

To celebrate the occasion, Stockport councillors and officers, and representatives of The Friends of Marple Memorial Park will raise the Green Flag on Thursday September 14th at 11.00am.

[Click the image above for the full story.]

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Where was Sidney Gilliat born?

Sidney GilliatWe know Sidney Gilliat was born in Edgeley and some think they know which street it was, but we don't have a specific address.

If we could determine the address, it might become a candidate for a blue plaque.

Sidney Gilliat (February 15, 1908 – May 31, 1994) was a film director, producer and writer. He worked with Hitchcock. Of all his films, it is probably as producer, then finally as director, for four St Trinians films for which he is most famous.

Hollywood Park Open Day

Hollywood Park was one of the many locations in Stockport which held an Open Day this weekend. There was tombola, plant stalls, dancing and Pure Radio. The latter will be going live on our radios on Wednesday on 107.8 FM.

I hope we will receive posts and photos from other Open Days events.The Mayor and Phil Harding take one of the history walks up the new stepsThe restored steps were officially opened. Later the Mayor and local councillors were taken on one of History Walks that were arranged throughout the day.

There is a good website for HEART, the Hollywood Environment Action Residents Team. It includes a consultation document, seeking responses for a new interpretation board.

Sheila Bailey taking a history walk

Friday, September 08, 2006

`Apathy' rap by cinema boss

Stockport Council has received a number of objections to the application to convert the Savoy into a Barracuda pub. The Four Heatons Area Committee will consider the application on Wednesday.
Trevor Harris, who has worked in the cinema industry for 52 years, said that people may bemoan the loss of their local cinema but it is their lack of support in the first place which has forced many closures.
His comments come following the decision of Lisa Fan, the owner of Heaton Moor's Savoy cinema, to sell up because of small audiences and rising costs.

[Click the image above for the full story.]

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Only sing when we’re winning? County shout loudest, win, lose or draw.

The Edgeley Park faithful has been named among the top 10 loudest in the football league following a survey from Cirrus Research.
The decibel level was recorded at the home game with Hereford, which ended in a 2-0 defeat, and saw County supporters also named the third noisiest in League Two.

[Click the image above for the full story.]

Town is one of the best to enjoy a pint and the footy

STOCKPORT is a great destination for lovers of beer and football, according to the author of a new guide to league club towns.
Richard said: "I love coming to Stockport. It is one of those destination towns that it's not a hardship visiting, unlike say Middlesborough.
"I could have put around 20 Stockport pubs in the guide but unfortunately there was only room for five."

[Click the image above for the full story.]

St Thomas's Church 07.09.06

St Thomas's Church 07.09.06 (10)
Originally uploaded by A G 1.
St Thomas is unveiled in all its glory.

Thank you Allen for providing a regular photo update on the slow strip tease of the church.

For the full set see: St Thomas restoration.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Trust meeting

Sunset over Stockport, viewed from the Old RectoryThe committee meeting discussed progress on the Blue Plaques. The public will be invited to vote for their favourites soon. We also agreed the funding of the Trust's Stockport Underground exhibition for next January at the Stockport Story.

The committee meeting was followed by a public meeting where we viewed a fraction of the Stanley Trueman slides bequeathed to the Trust. There are photos from the 60s and 70s taken by a Stockport Council minibus driver during his off-duty time. His slides are many and varied, but are untitled. Therefore we had the fun of trying to identify the locations, many of which have changed a great deal. We identified most of the locations and recorded them for future reference.

House of Images were not able to attend to show us how we could make our vast collection of historic photos and slides available on the Internet. Instead they will attend our meeting of 1st November. We were able to discuss several other offers we had received to store our collection digitally, to provide a back up if nothing else.

From the Old Rectory, we were able to view a glorious sunset over Stockport.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Cale Green and Alexandra Park Conservation Area exhibition

The above caption exhibition was unveiled on Monday at Edgeley Library. It will be there until the morning of Monday 11th September, when it moves to the Central Library.

So what is there to see? The key items are two documents:

One of the exhibitsThere isn't time to take all that in at the exhibition so I have provided the above links. Local historians will find these documents of interest as they provide a brief description of all the key buildings in each area, as well as some info of buildings which are no longer there.

The exhibition also provides some photos of the key buildings, mostly modern photos, but there are some historic shots as well. None of these photos appear in the documents. (Two of these buildings are currently for sale: 1 Edgeley Fold and 44 Mountfield Road.)

The exhibition also highlights some of the buildings in easy to read bites on A4 pages.

Cale Green Conservation AreaThe objective of the conservation area is to preserve their character. The consequence is that there will be restrictions on making visible changes to the buildings and walls, including replacing wooden frames with PVCu, use of sympathetic dormer windows and no painting or rendering of brick walls (unless already done). Notice also has to be given before trees are cut down, in case the Council wishes to object. It is more onerous on residents, but it says there will be no charge for making planning applications, where an application would not be necessary if it weren't a conservation area. It is to be hoped that residents welcome these controls in return for protecting the character of the area.

Alexandra Park Conservation AreaThe boundaries are interesting. It excludes most of the terraced houses, except for the larger ones, such as those built for the bleachworks managers. I suspect that they don't wish to overlap with the Shaw Heath Renewal Area and place limits on the Council's investment in repairing the cheaper housing stock. I imagine that they don't wish to put controls where there is perceived to be a risk of economic decline.

It is a shame that more of the terrace houses aren't included. Some of the brickwork in terrace houses on the Northern side of Edgeley is very striking. I can't think of anywhere comparable.

I think the Alexandra Park Conservation Area should be extended up St Lesmo Road, though perhaps not quite as far as my house.