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.