Thursday, November 30, 2006

New Blue Plaque scheme unveiled

White Lion
White Lion
Photo by A G 1.
Stockport Heritage Trust has been working with Stockport Council to secure a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant for blue plaques for Stockport.

Stockport already has 15 blue plaques and these are dedicated to: Stockport Infirmary, Stockport Market, Air Raid Shelters, Castle Yard, Three Shires, Sir Joseph Whitworth, Sir Fredrick Calland Williams, Halliday Hill Farm, Underbank Hall, Fred Perry, Railway Viaduct, Marple Aqueduct, Woodbank Hall, the Old Rectory and Judge John Bradshawe.

Twenty-one additional people and places have been identified. The HLF grant will pay for 10 blue plaques, five of which are to be in the town centre to be included in heritage trail.

It is now up to Stopfordians to vote for their favourite plaques. The first 10 canidates have been published in the Stockport Express and on the Council's website.


Voting will be held 13th December - 13th January, after all candidates have been published.

(Three of the candidates are not illustrated here because I couldn't find a photo on Flickr. You could be the first person to provide a picture.)
Reddish W.M.C.
Reddish W.M.C.
Photo by A G 1.

Click on the image above to see the Express article.

Staircase House Awarded £1000 At The V&A

[Council press release]
Staircase House topped the bill yet again last week as it scooped the ADAPT Trust's "Excellence in Access" award at a glitzy ceremony at the Victoria & Albert museum, London.

Having been classed as "excellent" Staircase House is being awarded with a grant of £1,000 to assist with future access initiatives. With this money the Council plans to invest in an on-site wheelchair and additional tactile and Braille signage around the historic attraction. These additions will complement the British Sign Language Tour, touch tour and step and stair free tours already available, making Staircase House one of the national leaders in accessible heritage.

The judging panel at ADAPT Trust concluded that; "following years of neglect and a recent arson attack Staircase House has been lovingly and painstakingly restored and converted into an asset, a learning resource, a town museum, and a physical and cultural record for posterity. The true value of Staircase House is not that it is a 15th, 17th or 19th century time capsule but a building in which evidence of over 500 years of construction and occupation can be clearly seen."

Click above image to read the full press release.

Council Scoops National Recycling Award

[Council press release]
The Council won the much sought after Viridor Award for Recycling Target Success at the event organised by the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC). This is the second time in three years the Council has gained a LARAC award.

The Council’s Waste Management team received the award for increasing the amount of household waste recycled in four areas of the borough which had recycled the least: Adswood, Brinnington, Shaw Heath and Edgeley.

[I was feeling guilty, but my wife tells me we live in Cheadle Heath not Edgeley.]

Click above image to read the full press release.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The importance of super-output areas

Yesterday, Ann Coffey MP asked about use of "super-output areas" to identify areas of deprivation. The importance being that Shaw Heath is receiving £1.6 million of neighbourhood renewal funding, despite being within a relatively affluent constituency.

It's a rather technocratic debate, but some may find it of interest. Click on the image below to see the debate, taken from Hansard.

Plaque in the new Lancaster House garden, to recognise Shaw Heath Neighbourhood Renewal funding.As an aside, I was at the Heath Bank Area Committee which endorsed the Shaw Heath Neighbourhood Renewal. It was an unedifying sight. One of the Davenport councillors took great pleasure in scoring points over the Council Officer who presented the report. The Councillor insisted the entire Report be re-written and all statistics recalculated to take account of about a dozen households which the Committee had decided to add to the Area. It was clearly going to be a big job and I wanted to shout, "That's my tax money you're wasteing". But interjections from observers are not permitted. It worries me how many politicians are there to satisfy their own egos.

Lisburne Lane Service Station 27.11.06


Demolition of existing service station and development of new building to accommodate convenience store, pharmacy and restaurant (Resubmission of DC021449)
Lisburne Lane Service Station, Lisburne Lane, Offerton.
Case Officer / Telephone: Mr MR Robinson 0161 474 3543
Consultation Expiry Date: 23-12-2006

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Not everyone has got the environmental message

The BNP claim to have met in Stockport last week, to discuss global warming. They are very proud to have a member who belongs to MENSA, who reckoned to prove that that global warming can't be a man-made phenomena, because the temperature of the planet Mercury is also rising.
His fear is that the Kyoto agreement is conspiracy to transfer "wealth from the west to the third world".

Monday, November 27, 2006

Davenport Railway Station website

A new site, with links to our blog, has been found. It is the (unofficial) Davenport Railway Station site. The site includes a fair amount of historical information.

Click on the image above to visit the site.

Spread some Stockport Christmas cheer

If you want to share the beauty of Stockport, you can send e-greetings from the Council's site.

Click the above image to visit the site.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Gorsey Bank progress

Gorsey Bank footbridge, 26/11/06The antique Gorsey Bank footbridge is still there, but not accessible to the public. I presume they are keeping it for the moment as it is the easiest way to get workers and materials to the other side.

A deep trench has been dug at either end of the footbridge and concrete piers have been built in this trench, presumably to provide support for the new bridge.

Pier for new footbridge? 26/11/06More photos of the antique footbridge which used to provide access to the Heaton Mersey sidings can be found at: Gorsey Bank footbridge.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Historical milestone

[Excerpt from Stockport Times article by Emma Rathbone - 23/11/06]

Stockport Heritage Trust is celebrating 20 years of conserving the borough's history but the vice president has warned that its work is not over.

One a wet autumn night in 1986, a group founded the Trust to stand up for a "humane, people friendly environment". Founder member and editor of Stockport Heritage magazine, Steve Cliffe, said the group started off as a campaigning organisation and is now involved in a range of activities including exhibitions and running the Heritage Centre.

Along with vice-president Iain MacLean he cited the saving of Staircase House as one of the group's success stories. Mr MacLean said: "We stayed together through and exhausting war of attrition with those powers who intended to erase Staircase House in a massive redevelopment of the Market Place. But the house is still there and so are we.
"We grasped that the heart of a community is in its history. Change has to treasure the best of the past and demand the best of the new. Life is a story, but we sometimes find an opportunity to take control and become the authors of our own tale."

Mr Cliffe said future plans for the Trust include work with Stockport College on the incorporation of St Thomas' workhouse buildings. He hopes the group can work with students to give them the opportunity to learn about heritage management and conservation.

What's become of great market?

[Excerpt from Stockport Times' letters page 23/11/06]
On Saturday, I visited Stockport Market, I was shocked at the depressed state of it.

Years ago, my other half worked on Gresty's flower stall and I had a Saturday job selling shoes. The market, at that time, was a vibrant place. It was the heart of Stockport and appreciated and used by hundreds of people.

I love it because I felt the sense of its long history with its cobbles, stalls, cafes, pubs and the church at one end and the ghost of the missing castle at the other.

What on earth has happened to this great market? Many areas of the market are missing stalls and by 2.30pm on Saturday, a lot of stall holders were dispiritedly packing up because the trade was so slow.

What is the council doing to continually promote this wonderful place? Nothing, according to the stall holders I spoke to. The rents are high and the promoted continental market sited in the precincts, what a snub for the ancient site!

The market is a unique asset to the town. It should be given the status it has earned and deserves.

Whoever is in charge of market affairs, promotions, tourism and the council needs a big wake-up call.

What are the people of Stockport thinking of? Don't they have any loyalty or love for this special place for heaven's sake?

Maureen Roberts, Berwick Rd, Shrewsbury

Waterways hit by cash crisis

[Excerpt from Stockport Times article by Emma Rathbone - 23/11/06]

The future of Marple's locks and canals is under threat due to funding cuts which have been blamed on government "incompetence".

British Waterways (BW) expects to lose £60 million over the next five years as the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has cut funding after it failed to pay subsidies to farmers on time.

Hazel Grove MP Andrew Stunell is backing a parliamentary motion supporting inland waterways and has challenged the government to guarantee that the Cheshire Ring of Canals will remain passable.

He said: "I am very worried that the cash cuts will damage Marple Locks and out treasured local canals. Thousands of people enjoy walking, cycling, jogging and boating along local canals and Marple Locks are key attractions on the Cheshire Ring.
"Stable funding is vital to keep the canals in a useable and pleasant state."

Some 180 redundancies and a drastic slow down in maintenance and repairs to the canal network are expected and fees for boaters may be increased.

Eugene Bastion of BW said a decline in the country's waterways would be a "tragedy" and added: "We are being penalised for Defra's incompetence.
"If we can't maintain the waterways, we can't keep them open. The network is in the best shape for 150 years, but that is now at risk."

People are urged to contact Andrew Stunell, waterways minister Barry Gardiner and secretary of state for the environment David Milliband to voice their concerns.

Click the above image for the Save Our Waterways website.

Town Hall talking ... State of the Borough debate

[Excerpt from Cllr Brian Millard's leader, Stockport Times - 23/11/06]

Last week I was able to report that the State of the Borough debate had taken place and had proved highly successful.

Common concerns which emerged from the debates included the rise in carbon dioxide levels, the amount of unwanted and unnecessary packaging from shops and supermarkets and ensuring that Stockport's parks continue to be safe and pleasant place for families to visit. The vast majority of the comments from residents focused on what could be done to ensure Stockport Council remains a strong leader on environmental issues.

There was a wide recognition of the strengths that Stockport has in this area, with residents praising the hard work the Council has done to promote recycling, the support it gives to Friends of the Parks groups and the beautiful public parks throughout the borough.

Many thanks to everyone who participated in these debates and made them such a success and if you have any thoughts on these topics or more generally please get in touch with my colleagues and I.
Councilor Brian Millard, Council Leader

Tranquillity is worth fight

[Excerpt from Stockport Times' letters page - 23/11/06]

North West tranquillity map from the CPRE websiteI am writing to draw the attention of Stockport residents to this Rural Tranquillity Campaign recently launched by CPRE. Tranquility can be difficult to measure, so that we can then make decisions about land use that place[s] importance on tranquillity. CPRE has now created a map of tranquillity covering the whole of England.

Sadly, but not surprisingly for such a large urban area, Stockport shows up on the map as a very non-tranquill area. So what can Stockport residents do to protect, enhance and reclaim tranquillity?
  • Firstly, be aware of the issue and when a planning application comes up, whether in Stockport or elsewhere, which seems to threaten tranquillity, speak out against it.
  • Secondly visit CPRE's website.
  • Thirdly consider joining CPRE.

Michael G Blank, Secretary, Stockport District CPRE

Click the above image for the CPRE website.

Couple embrace winds of change

[Exceprt from the Stockport Express - 22/11/06]
AN ENVIRONMENT-conscious couple who want to cut their fuel bills are installing their own wind turbine.
Ken and Chris Miles, of Madison Avenue, Cheadle Hulme, want to fix the 2-metre rotating blades to their roof to generate power and become the first in Stockport to use such a method.
They have secured a £300 government grant and are now waiting for the council to decide if they need planning permission before they can use wind power to save up to one third on the cost of their electricity.
Management consultant Ken, 60, said: "We decided to do this because of the spiralling cost of electricity and gas bills. We'd switched provider but it made no difference.
"There's also the environmental consideration, as we need to reduce carbon emissions. Plus, if there is a power cut, it will be nice to have enough to run the lights, fridge and freezer.
It is believed the turbine, which will be 3-metres from top to bottom, will provide a third of the couple's energy requirement. Partly funded by the grant, it costs £1,500 to buy and install. The couple originally looked into solar panels but found them unsuitable. They turned to the turbine after learning their home was in an area above the requisite average wind speed of 5-metres per second.

Click the above image for the full story.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Do we approve?

From: Steve C.
To: Bill
Sent: Tuesday, November 21, 2006 7:51 PM

Hi Bill,

Just a suggestion about the blog. In publishing the Council's press release without commentary, we seem to be seconding their opinions about themselves and their achievements. Are we ?


From: Bill
Reply to: Steve C.
Sent: 22 November 2006 13:59


I would hope that readers realise that postings which quote excerpts from Council's press releases, or newspaper articles and planning applications are just highlighting news that is likely to be of interest to those concerned about Stockport's heritage and that neither I nor the Trust necessarily approve or agree with the excerpt quoted or the full article on the linked website.

Some of the quotations are there to alert readers to potentially destructive developments.

Now you have raised concern, it would be interesting to hear from other readers as to how they interpret quoted articles. (Readers can leave comments by clicking on "comments" below this posting.)

As for commentaries, I would very much welcome people to leave comments and commentaries on each posting. Comments from everyone, whether they are Trust members or casual blog readers are welcome.

What would also enhance this blog is if committee meetings approved statements for publishing on this blog, commending or criticising actions by the council and other organisations.


Saturday, November 18, 2006

Winter Craft Fair

Three apparitions seen around Staircase House this afternoon were not of the spiritual kind.

They were merely Trust Volunteers helping to man a stall at the Winter Craft Fair.

Steve Cliffe, Paula Rands and Ann White were accompanied by Doreen and Sharza Dethick, Angela Kenrick and Coral Dranfield. Dressed in period costumes they drew attention to the Trust and its aims as well as selling goodies for Christmas.

Larkhill Museum Salford

Jim Clare, the Trust's Chairman can never resist a photo opportunity, and Wednesday was no exception. On a trip to Larkhill Museum Salford he got the chance to be Queen Victoria, and a good one he made too.

The day was organised by Kevin Dranfield as a free and easy "meet at Piccadilly Station" and eleven people turned up. We travelled together to Salford and spent a very interesting day wandering the Victorian Street, viewing the Art Exhibition and displays of Salford's cotton past and an amazing Heritage Library rounded of the trip. We then all made our own way home.

Thank you Kevin. Watch out for the next one in February.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Changing Face Of Stockport

[SMBC press release]
138 new homes, £30m of business investment and a world renowned development partner. This is just some of what has been delivered in Stockport since the launch of Future Stockport two years ago.
As the Council celebrates a successful 2nd anniversary for the £500m town centre regeneration plan, Stockport residents are seeing for themselves a town undergoing a transformation. The presence of cranes and diggers show the reality of a changing town and St Peter's Square is a prime example.
 Posted by Picasa

Mobile phone mast, Offerton - planning application

11.8 metre high lamp post style telecommunications mast and associated ground level equipment cabinets.
Adopted footpath on Hempshaw Lane, close to the junction with Marple Road/ Offerton Lane, Offerton.
Case Officer / Telephone: Mr R Dickins 0161 474 3550
Consultation Expiry Date: 07-12-2006.
Documents: click here. (None posted as at 17-11-2006)

ex-Cheadle Hulme post office to become bar - planning application

Cheadle Hulme post office, from planning application reportDC024624
Change of use from post office to drinking establishment (A4) plus demolition of outbuildings and extension to service area.
Former Post Office, 11 Warren Road, Stockport SK3 8HG
Case Officer / Telephone: Ms C Hodgson 0161 474 3540
Consultation Expiry Date: 26-11-2006
Documents: click here.

Unbelievable, another Romiley phone mast planning application

This is unbelievable.
After the stealth lamp post 3G mast was withdrawn last Tuesday, and the train station mast was defeated, the forum mast has reincarnated overnight as now DC024669.

People at the forum and at Romiley's primary are so upset!
People needs to oppose before Mo 27th November. This is quite a short time.


12 metre high lamp post style telecommunications mast and associated ground level equipment cabinets.
Pavement adjacent to 5 Romiley Precinct, Compstall Road, Romiley.
Case Officer / Telephone: Mr D Harvey 0161 474 3544
Consultation Expiry: Date 27-11-2006
Documents: click here.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Weaving fabric of life to create a living history

HISTORY has been brought to life at an exhibition delving into the memories and experiences of Stockport people at a newly opened gallery-situated next to Staircase House Museum.
The Changing Lives exhibition is the newest addition to the 1900s to present day gallery in the Stockport Story museum and highlights the histories of over 50 local people who took part in a project to record their personal experiences of living in Stockport.
The newly opened gallery is the third and penultimate phase to open at the Stockport Story Museum, and has received over 5,000 visitors to its prehistoric, medieval and 1900s to present day galleries since it opened last year.
Publicity and events officer, Rowan Phillimore, said: "So far the stained glass window from the old Stockport Sunday School and the 1950s retro kitchen have been the most popular features because they bring back memories for a lot of people."
One of the most interesting displays is the bullet scarred breastbone of Constable Birch, a police officer who in July 1819 was shot in the chest at Stockport Market Place.
Rowan said: "This is a great historical feature and represents a time when Stockport was experiencing social unrest due to the cotton trade."
"He actually survived the shooting, but many doubted his claims until his death in 1830 when the bullet hole was discovered in his breastbone."

[Click on the above image for the full story.]
[Don't miss the craft fair, including Stockport Heritage Trust's stall, at Staircase House this Saturday.]

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Stockport Tells its Own Story!

Over 50 people from across the borough have taken part in a project to record their memories and experiences of living in Stockport as part of an exhibition in the latest gallery to be opened in Stockport Story Museum.

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

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Europe Comes to Stockport

The last four days have seen a continental feel to Mersey Square as the usual shoppers and pushchairs gave way to freshly baked French loaves and strange looking vegetables. Among the stalls of this first European Market was a continental cheese stall, French biscuits, Spanish paella and Moroccan delicacies.

If all the days were as succesful as Saturday, I would think this could be a regular for the town, and I for one will be queuing up to try something different again next year.

War Memorial Stockport 12.11.06

War Memorial Stockport 12.11.06
Originally uploaded by A G 1.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Iron Bridge Restoration Project

With the help of the local community The Marple Website has raised almost £16,000 towards match funding for the restoration of the Iron Bridge in Brabyn's Park, Marple.

Fun Quiz Nights at the Ring o' Bells Public House, on Church Lane have been the largest contributers of all. Held once a month they raised a total of nearly £4,000.

Peter Clark and Mark Whittaker are the driving forces behind this project and it is all down to them that it has come so far.

For more information click on the link below.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Royal Cheadle Hospital - planning application

Royal Cheadle HospitalDC024579 & DC024580
Listed building application for internal and external alterations, single storey rear extension, demolition of pitched roof lean-to, increased height of North Western enclosed area and extension of courtyard.
Cheadle Royal Hospital, 100 Wilmslow Road, Cheadle, SK8 3DG.
Case Officer / Telephone: Miss E Curle 0161 474 3538
Consultation Expiry Date: 25-11-2006
Documents: click here.

A very interesting read is the Cheadle Royal Conservation Site Character Appraisal, 2006. For more info, click here.
Below is an excerpt from the appraisal.

The former Manchester Royal Lunatic Hospital, now the Cheadle Royal Hospital was built in 1847-9 and opened in 1849, to replace the earlier hospital in Manchester. The hospital at Cheadle (that part known as the Main Wing) was designed by Richard Lane, who also designed the Stockport Infirmary. Richard Lane, Manchester’s most prominent architect, was architect and surveyor to the Asylum Committee and the winner of the competition for the design of the new hospital. This building was later extended in 1861, 1877 and 1882.

The design of Richard Lane’s hospital was based on new theories concerning treatment regimes for the mentally ill. Reformers such as John Conolly believed that treatment should be therapeutic and should take place in a therapeutic environment in which the building should relate directly to the grounds. The hospital received favourable mention in Joseph Conolly’s book, written in 1856: The Treatment of the Insane without Mechanical Constraint, in which the ideal asylum is described as a building with spacious grounds, doors opening onto gardens and windows ‘commanding agreeable views’. Cheadle Royal Hospital provided such an environment, together with grounds laid out for kitchen gardens and a bowling green. Later provision included tennis courts, cricket pitch, putting green and croquet lawn.

The hospital was intended for the wealthier middle classes and, unlike the pauper asylums, accepted voluntary patients, being the first asylum to do so.

A34 Cheadle phone mast, planning application

Erection of 20 metre high lattice mast together with 9 antennas & 3 transmission dishes, 2 ground level equipment cabinets and 1.8 metre high palisade fence.
NGW site off A34 Kingsway, Cheadle, Cheshire SK8 4BU.
Case Officer / Telephone: Miss E Curle 0161 474 3538
Consultation Expiry Date: not given.
Documents: click here.

Plans on tap for a real home's brew

[Excerpt from the Stockport Times, 2 Nov 06]
Equity Housing Group has applied for planning permission to turn the former Royal Oak Brewery, on Cooper Street in the town centre into 51 apartments.
Architects behind the plans, TADW, say some of the original features at the brewery, which operated between 1888 and 1957 and was, for a time, under the Whitbread brand.

Paul Robinson, from TADW, which has won awards for restoration work on Stockport Market Place, said: "Overall, the fabric of the building has not changed from when Whitbread had it and its quirky corners would be retained and expressed in a contemporary style.
"The building has character but is in desperate need of repair. And the development would bring it back to former glories and improve the whole area."

During its life, which began in 1877, the building has also been used as a pub and cotton mill.
Despite a fire when used as a cotton mill, some of the original hand-made bricks remain and would be retained in the development. As would the white brickwork spelling out Royal Oak Brewery.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Phone mast, Church Inn car park, Cheadle - planning application

Installation of 15 metre high replica telegraph pole mast accomodating 3 number antennas within cylindrical shroud together with radio equipment housing.
Church Inn car park, Ravenoak Road, Cheadle Hulme, Cheadle, Cheshire, SK8 7EQ
Case Officer / Telephone: Miss KL Clarke 0161 474 3557
Consultation Expiry Date: 23-11-2006
Documents: click here.

The proposed site is:
  • less than 100 metres from houses;
  • less than 500 metres from Cheadle Hulme college; and
  • opposite the Swann Lane/Hilltop Avenue conservation area.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Plan withdrawn for phone mast

ROMILEY villagers are celebrating defeating an attempt by phone giant Orange to put a mast in the village centre.
The application, which was to put a near 40ft mast outside Romiley Forum, had been due for a decision at last night's meeting of the Werneth Area Committee, but was withdrawn by the firm on Monday, following villagers' concerns for the health of children at the local Romiley Primary School less than 100 metres away.
However, as the Stockport Express went to press last night the Werneth committee was discussing whether to approve an even bigger 56ft mobile mast by 02 on land owned by Network Rail at Romiley Railway Station. The application which was supported by Stockport Council officers stated that the new antenna, dish and cabinet are painted ivy green.

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