A new planning application has been submitted to Manchester City Council for the Sports Pavillion at Hardy Farm. Interestingly this is a change of use to a Residential Training Centre to be run by Betel of Great Britain. Betel are proposing an Educational Life Skills Training Centre, a number of which they already have around the country and in selected locations in Europe. You can find out more about Betel on their website. A summary of their organisation starts as follows (this was taken from the planning application)….
“Betel offers an opportunity to men and women whose desire is to make a fresh start in life. They enter and leave Betel voluntarily and are free to stay for as long as they like in a friendly home environment while they re-equip themselves to re-enter society as a useful member. Our residential training centres provide a range of training from basic life skills, such as cooking, cleaning and personal hygiene through to work and vocational skills such as landscape gardening and furniture restoration, driving, retail skills, money handling and management which are taught at our business premises. The daily focus at Betel is to help people build a strong work ethic as residents learn to take personal responsibility for their future in a positive, encouraging environment. Many skills are learnt on the job since all residents work full time with long hours 5 1/2 days a week and church on Sundays. The income from their work covers the costs of their stay: Betel receives no money from central or local governments.”
You can find out more about the application via the Planning Portal. Enter the application number 095071.
On the face of it, this seems like a good use for the building, which after the arson attack in January is looking even more of an eye sore. There are several mentions of changing rooms, and pitches in the application that ring a few alarm bells, but this could be down to the hassle and stress we all went through this time last year… The owner of the building is still listed as Chorlton and West Didsbury Grounds Limited, so there’s been no purchase of the building, and the plans for the redevelopment of the building are quite significant. Again check out the planning portal for more information. You have until Feb 14th to make any comments/objections to the Council.
In terms of the meadows, the groundsman from the football club has been spotted apparently checking ground levels recently. However the meadows are NOT a part of this new application. Still, the presence of the groundsman with what appeared to be surveying equipment is somewhat suspicious… The owner does not require permission to mark out pitches on the meadow.
I’ve tried to keep the above fairly factual, mainly because I’m quite interested to hear other people opinions on the application. Feel free to comment below.
UPDATE: 14th Feb. See this post…
The Village Green public enquiry held today at Chorlton Irish club was well attended by around 60 people. This preliminary inquiry focused on one very specific but key aspect: the two signs put up by UMIST in the 1970s – one near the entrance from Brookburn Road and one near the path from Jackson’s Boat bridge to Hardy Lane. All that remains of each sign now is a rusty post. The issue of the signs is likely to be the single most important in the outcome of the Village Green application, and the aim of today was to determine their effectiveness over the 20 year period covered by the Application.
As the applicants we were well represented by our Barrister, who called on 9 witnesses to be cross examined by the Objector’s Barrister (the Objector being the land owner). Questioning focussed around the positioning, maintenance and legibility of the signs over the past 20 years. Witnesses for the Applicants were very clear in conveying that the signs had been ineffective, illegible and in varying states of disrepair, and they all faired well under what was an intense bout of questioning by the Objector’s Barrister. The Objector’s Barrister called on 3 witnesses, one of whom was the landowner himself, who were cross examined by our Barrister.
After a lunch break, summing up statements were delivered by both sides. Judge Vivian Chapman will write a report detailing his recommendations to Manchester City Council as to whether the application should go further. We’re hoping this will be submitted before the end of the month. The general mood amongst those that attended was hopeful.
A huge amount of research and preparation was carried out by our Village Green Team, and we would like to publicly thank them all for their hard work over the previous year since the application was first submitted. We would also like to thank all those who provided evidence whether that be completing an evidence questionnaire, or taking the witness stand today…
So, a full year after its submission, the Village Green Application goes on – we are all quietly confident that we’ll be proceeding to the next step which means that the fundraising will need to continue. Legal representation in these cases is costly… not only will we require further funds for the next steps, but we are also short on covering our legal fees for today. So please donate what you can, or come along to our next fundraising event at Iguana Bar on 19th Jan, where we’ll be having an evening of Live Music.
We will be reporting on the outcome of todays public enquiry as soon as we can… In the meantime, enjoy your leisure time on the meadows, as you have done for the last 20 years and more…!
UPDATE 4th FEB: Fantastic night was had by all, raising over £400 towards the Village Green Appeal. Thank you to everyone that came along, Rachel and the Village Greeners for organisation, and to all musicians for giving up your evening. Another great event!
Come down to Iguana Bar and enjoy Live Music on Weds 19th January
(Iguana Bar: Manchester Rd, opposite Chorlton Leisure Centre)
Live music from 8pm including …..
* Alistair MacDonald playing funky guitar acoustic instrumentals
* Jazz/Blues pianist Charlie Allen
* Éimear Bradley on fiddle from the touring UK show ‘Essence of Ireland’
Disco from 10pm featuring …..
* DJ Jonathan Darwin from North Manchester FM
Raffle & prizes also available
Tickets: £5 in advance or pay on the door
(for advance tickets contact 07883 410587 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
A Huge thanks to all that turned out for the Carol Singing tonight – we estimate 150 people came out to sing along to Christmas Carols on the Green. A Big thank you to Ella and the singers, Owain and the Brass Band, our MC Jonathan, and all the Village Green People who are working so tirelessly on this application. Oh – and of course to Santa for his continued support! Great to see our community out in force again in recognition of the Village Green Appeal. A really fantastic time was had by all. Thanks to all that contributed to the Village Green Appeal – we’ve still got a way to go to pay for the Legal fees but we’re on our way! Watch this space for future events. Please don’t forget you can still donate via this website, and that the initial Public Enquiry will be held on 13th January in the Chorlton Irish Club on Edge Lane. More details on that to follow. In the meantime, enjoy some photos from tonight…
The carol sheet for sunday is available to download now. Click here to download yours. If you have problems opening or printing the document, please contact us.
Bring a lantern or a candle – see you on Sunday (19th Dec), 6pm on Chorlton Green!
Last year’s event was such a success, we’ve decided to do it again! Only with our very own Brass Quintet! This year we are raising awareness of the Village Green Application for Chorlton Meadows. If successful the application will preserve this Green Space for generations to come! Bring a lantern or candle and show your support by joining us for an hour or so… and maybe a bit of Christmas Cheer in the pub after…;o). Download a carols sheet here…