Sunday, 15 November 2015
The site has not been in use for decades. In that time it has evolved into a rare and mostly undisturbed rich habitat for wildlife, including rare species.
Opponents of the plan want more imaginative use of the space than another spate of the same overpriced blocks of flats that have sprung up in the Manchester area. They are also deeply concerned by the ecological impact of development.
The land is owned by Peel holdings and is probably most well-known to Mancunians who pass it on the tram route, alongside the Manchester ship canal on the border of 3 boroughs, Manchester, Trafford and Salford.
Although there has been a campaign group against building, the likelihood of lots of locals organising to protect the site is hampered by there not being many locals around in the first place. Across the water in Salford Quays there are some abodes of a similar demographic to those planned, often fairly transitory inhabitants not too likely to get involved with local activism. Also, being on the border of boroughs (or wards for that matter) can often make the geographical politics and identity of a location somewhat opaque
Pomona Island was very attractive, even to non-ecologists. But plans to build will have been bubbling under for a long time and a few years ago a large amount of vegetation was cleared, making it look less attractive. Funny that.
The plan for the towers had been knocked back once for being below standard, but the development firm, Rowlinsons, had returned with some improvements, though they still look completely bland and identikit.
The spooning out of money is detailed here, along with other background info.
A key theme at the hearing was that of councillors clearly being not very happy or impressed with the plans (though many were flat ignorant of the ecological importance of what is officially designated as a brownfield site). Still, most of those who spoke were minded to approve the plans, not least through fear of being taken to court if they weren't. The option to kickback the plan for improvements and consideration for environment didn't seem to be an option for them.
The council had asked Peel Holdings for a masterplan of their overall vision for the whole area. Peel didn't bother, but disrespecting the council turned out to be no great problem. A further disappointment that turned out not to matter was the total lack of affordable or social housing in the plan, despite the £10m bung from public funds.
The underlying message from the committee was one of "We don't like it, but we'll bend over anyhow, what can we really do?" (they are only elected representatives after all)
Trafford Council have sent a signal that banality, disregard for environment, lack of co-operation or clear strategy are all fine really. One might wonder if they have the imagination to sense this.
It's an object lesson in how corporations trump people and planet time again via stultified and cowardly politics, and why so many have lost faith in that political system.
It's not too late for future development to be more eco-friendly and for Trafford Council to find some spine. It would be great for the area to be utilised as much needed urban park space, possibly in concert with an "Eden of The North" vision in contrast to Osborne's dubious Northern Poorhouse, er... Powerhouse.
For those who deem such ideas unrealistic, a realistic compromise would be housing that is in harmony with habitat and wildlife as well as social goals of affordable housing and employment. But so far it's just another instance of death by a thousand cuts for the ecology, including evictions of rare schedule 1 bird species, the Little Ringed Plover and Kingfisher not to mention, Sand Martin, Jacksnipe, Pipistrelle Bat, Daubenton’s Bat, Water Vole, Cormorant and many other species, all found to have been happily inhabiting the site. Rowlinsons could easily have earned brownie points and added green roofs to their designs but alas no and so another eco opportunity lost.
Urban green space is vital, yet almost every individual development can be legally / politically excused on it's own merits, especially in the light of housing and employment difficulties. However, the collective effect is calamitous. There is more to ecology than rainforests, Polar Bears and the contents of a David Attenborough documentary. It is the very life that surrounds us wherever we are, and it is being systemically destroyed for profit with scant regard for consequence.
Such awareness, and the necessary vision for 21st Century sustainability, elude too many politicians, stuck in the last generation, and too many of the current generation of capitalists.
Thursday, 29 October 2015
Tuesday, 13 October 2015
Wednesday, 9 September 2015
Tuesday, 8 September 2015
There seems to be an ongoing argument within the Labour Party over whether the leadership contest will cause or is causing a split. It is hard to see what the debate is about. It seems apparent that there is a split. Greens in Manchester were aware of a split long before the leadership campaign began. The gaps were apparent in the differences in views between Manchester City Council and local MPs over the devolution deal for Greater Manchester. While the Council was and is very happy to sign a deal with George Osborne, local MPs were and are much more skeptical about the long-term consequences of the deal.
If Jeremy Corbyn is elected it does appear that the gap between him and Sir Richard Leese (the leader of Manchester Council) will be a large one. For a start Mr Leese has given his backing to Yvette Cooper. The differences are the greatest when it comes to housing and tackling poverty. While Mr Corbyn agrees with the Green Party and argues for the building of new social housing, the Council prioritizes the building of private homes. It has recently unveiled plans for new projects across the City Centre. Of the thousands of new flats and houses, none of them are set to be social housing; and none of them are even to be set as ‘affordable’. This is despite the fact that there are currently 20,000 people on the social housing waiting list in Manchester. The Council sees rising rents as a positive economic indicator and recently spent over £100,000 on evicting and taking legal action against homeless protesters in the City Centre. We believe that this approach from the Council has encouraged social housing conglomerate One Manchester to come up with plans for Hulme which don’t include any social housing.
We look forward to working with the supporters of Mr Corbyn in developing and implementing plans to create more social housing and combating inequality across Manchester.
Friday, 21 August 2015
|The Canal at Cornbrook|
Sunday, 16 August 2015
Dave Power, chief executive of OneManchester justifies the proposal, saying “…Greater Manchester desperately needs to be building at least 10,000 new homes per year in order to play its part in tackling the national housing crisis” .
Deyika Nzeribe, Manchester Green Party and resident of Hulme said “OneManchester is supposed to be a social landlord. Where are the social homes in this plan? Dave Power is right in saying that there is a housing crisis in Manchester but that crisis is that there are 20,000 people on the council waiting list, the worse in the North West of England. If not organisations like OneManchester, who is going to build the social housing we desperately need?
Manchester Green Party Chair Steffeny McGiffen commented “With 20,000 people on the housing waiting list evidence of the lack of accommodation for people in need can be seen every day on the streets of Manchester. Those charged with the welfare of the city are failing to tackle the issue and arguably, wilfully ignoring it."
Wednesday, 5 August 2015
The substantial expansion of Rolls Crescent Primary School next door will mean that the Claremont will be demolished to make way.
Though in the past the building was home to the much-loved Hulme Resource Centre and a Citizens Advice Bureau, its main current occupant is the African Caribbean Care Group (ACCG).
Though initially there were fears the Care Group was also closing down, this appears not to be the case.
The Care Group is however, looking for a new home and as of this moment is still uncertain as to where that would be.
We hope that the Group is aiming to and able to remain in Hulme.
Tuesday, 4 August 2015
Hulme has changed in the past and will change again. Hulme in the 1870s was home to 75,000 people and was predominately made up of terraced housing. Then the 1960s and 1970s saw the building of big blocks of flats like the Crescents. Now the large blocks have gone and where they once stood we have Hulme Park and private houses. Recently Hulme has seen Manchester Metropolitan University building on Birley Fields.
Hulme and the surrounding area is about to change again. The Council has drawn up plans to drastically change many areas in and around Hulme. This blog entry is the first in a series which will be seeking to inform people about the changes planned for the area and to spark debate over whether these plans are what the people of Hulme want.
This article focuses on the Council’s strategy to develop the area around Great Jackson Street, which is just across from Hulme Park. The plans include proposals for a 58 storey tower and five other towers over 20 storeys high. While there are also some houses, the Council have ruled out providing any social housing or affordable housing. We believe that if the demand to build is so great for developers then surely the Council can push them to build some social housing or affordable housing. The Council claims that the site will have a mix of different types of properties but if the plans exclude affordable and social housing this mix seems to be pretty shallow.
There is also little provision for new shops or any other amenities. Without new plans these new properties will put a strain on doctors’ surgeries, dentists and schools in the area. In fact the Council has specifically mentioned that residents would be using existing services in Hulme. The people of Hulme need more jobs but this plan does not offer them. The building work would be covered by the same work schemes that the MMU Birley Fields campus was and the building work there created only a handful of jobs for local residents.
The plans have also not considered how these buildings will look to the people of Hulme. The plan makes an effort to show how the buildings will look from different positions around the city centre, but when it comes to Hulme there has been no consideration. The proposals also have little provision for public space.
Manchester does need new homes and Hulme Greens are not opposed to building in general. However, we believe that all changes to Hulme should have the clear backing of residents. The Council thinks that putting a consultation form on its website is sufficient and that this is reaching out to the public. We disagree and believe that the Council should consult more with the public before endorsing plans to radically change an area. It’s not just the public who aren’t properly consulted about new plans in the area. At a meeting on the 29th of July, Labour Hulme Councillor Lee-Ann Igbon complained that she had not been consulted about plans proposed for Cornbrook. This is despite the fact that another Labour Councillor for Hulme, Nigel Murphy is part of the Council executive which runs the Council.
The plans are just that at the moment and can be changed. At this stage it is important to make your views heard whether they be positive or negative. The Council may not be interested in hearing your views but we are, so get in touch and tell us what you think.
Sunday, 26 July 2015
Thursday, 23 July 2015
Thursday, 21 May 2015
Manchester Green Party Calls for Targets to Combat Child Poverty - Levels in City highest outside London
Tuesday, 5 May 2015
Thursday, 16 April 2015
Wednesday, 8 April 2015
Wednesday, 7 January 2015