Sunday, 8 November 2009

People Power on the Meadows!

A picnic on Chorlton meadows organised by the the Save the Meadows campaign
attracted about 250 people this afternoon. On a cool,overcast but dry afternoon, they celebrated this beautiful local amenity. Chants of 'ditch the pitch' and 'don't yield the field' were interspersed with balloons and ballgames, whilst local entrepreneurs sold home-baked food (70p for a cake and a hot chocolate drink - delicious and great value). At one point a buzzard soared high overhead - hopefully a good omen.

Picnicers were informed that 1000 letters of objection had now been received against the proposals, a remarkably high number. For my own part the more I think and know about this proposal the worse it seems. From the centre of the meadows field where the picnic took place, one gets an idea of the size of the development. The developers claim that there is insufficient capacity for footballers in South Manchester, particular for youth football. Well, on my walk down this afternoon, through Chorlton Park, I noticed that only 2 of the 5 pitches there were being used. As I commented earlier this is clearly a commercial development.

Whilst local Labour councillors have joined Lib Dems and the Green Party in opposing the development, the Council's Leisure Dept. are apparently supporting it. And whilst it is true that the Council is obliged to consider any planning application submitted to it, there is a pattern of threatened green space across the city (see below).
Opponents of the development from further afield include Prince Charles and Mike Harding; Mike's letter of support made reference to Manchester's position at the bottom of the charts when it comes to park provision. The application is still due to be heard on 19th November; let's hope the Council does the decent thing on this occasion and boots it out of play.

Examples of the council's cavalier action towards green space elsewhere in the city have already been covered on this blog. With regard to one of those examples - Charlestown Wood - an application for a village green has been turned down by the Council's Licensing Committee; this is apparently on the basis that the Woods are covered by the 1906 Open Spaces act and are therefore protected anyway. local residents are only too aware that the Council's intentions are far from protection, the matter has now gone to judicial review.

Next year is the International Year of Biodiversity; are Manchester City Council aware of this??.

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