Monday, 7 February 2011

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Chorlton U Decide Event

On Thursday evening I attended the second Chorlton U Decide Event at Chorlton Leisure centre.
Despite the foul weather, over a hundred local residents turned up to vote for which community projects should receive up to £1,000 of CASH grant money to improve and enrich life in Chorlton.

Fifteen different projects put forward their case and among those that were successful were, Oswald Road School gardening project, funding towards the cost of the Big Green Festival and an Arts Trail for the Chorlton Arts festival, help towards setting up a Farmers market on Chorlton Green, an IT project for senior citizens, more “Bee friendly” work at Ivy Green allotments, oral history projects for older residents and the Chorlton Chunky Knitters.

While the votes were counted, refreshments were served and we were entertained by a superb choir from Oswald Road Primary school and excellent musicians from St John’s Primary school.

I hope this successful event becomes another annual “must attend” in the Chorlton calendar.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Chorlton Community Forum

On Monday evening the local police and council officers met in Chorlton library for the third Chorlton Community Forum. The officers talked to residents and answered questions about the main issues of concern in Chorlton.

Alan Dean the local police sergeant outlined how crime had fallen in Chorlton in recent months. Burglary and anti –social behaviour had both reduced compared to the previous three months. There are still problems with thefts from and of motor vehicles, but two people are now in custody charged with some of these offences.

Emma Hopkins the Street Environmental Manager has been dealing with complaints about graffiti. There has been a spate of graffiti on buildings, lampposts and street furniture in the centre of Chorlton. Residents and councillors have been reporting it, but as soon as it has been removed it has been reappearing. Emma has been working with the police to catch the culprits. Two arrests have now been made.

Jennifer Connor from Planning and Andy Wilson from Regeneration discussed plans for the District Centre. No planning applications for the precinct have been submitted but the Executive of the Council have agreed a Plan for the District Centre as a whole

This plan wants to see support for independent shops, an improved retail offer, some free car parking, not too many bars and takeaways, enhanced public facilities like schools and the library as well as a sustainable environment. Residents felt there needs to be a balance between businesses and economic improvements and the social and cultural life of the area as well as the environment.

Hopefully there will be more Forums in the New Year. The next event to look out for is the U Decide event on Thursday 4th November at 6.15 pm in Chorlton Leisure Centre. Residents will be able to vote to decide which community projects they want to receive up to £1,000 of funding.

Friday, 3 September 2010

CASH Grants

Over the last few years Chorlton has benefited from many community groups applying for Council funded CASH grants to improve the environment. Trees and shrubs have been planted, benches and bike racks been put in place and grants have been used to provide supportive funding for the Christmas lights, Chorlton Book festival , Chorlton Arts festival and other community events. The Labour Council have made an extra £5,000 available for each ward to allocate this year, so groups can bid for grants up to a total of £45,000.

Last year we had the first U Decide event with over 100 residents attending an event to hear bids and vote for schemes they thought should receive grants of up to £1,000. A similar event is being held in this year on the 4th November at the Leisure centre. If you are interested in applying for a CASH grant of up to £1,000 for the U Decide event contact me by phone on 881 9641 or email, and I will get a form to you or your Group. The closing date for applications is 4th October.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

City Car Club branches out

It is really good news that the first City Car Club bay located outside the city centre has been launched in Chorlton. The pay by the hour car hire scheme has been operating successfully in the city centre since 2006 and is expanding the service it offers to the suburbs.
One City Car is now available from a dedicated bay located on the corner of Manchester Road East and Nicolas Road in the centre of Chorlton to any member of City Car Club. A second car will be provided at the same location when there is sufficient demand.
Each low emission vehicle is available to hire out for as little as half an hour from a cost of only £3.96 per hour. Rates for longer bookings can be as low as £2.06 an hour.
The Car Club allows members the flexibility to use a car without having to own one. It is a green, cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to car ownership.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Chorlton District Centre Plan

On Wednesday 28th July the Labour Council’s Executive agreed a 10 year plan for the Chorlton District centre. The plan was drawn up after a consultation last year with local businesses, residents and community groups.

The main ideas in the plan are:-
· To improve the retail offer in Chorlton, building on the current high quality independent shops
· To secure improvements to Oswald Road School and Chorlton Library
· To create a sustainable centre with a pleasing environment
· To secure improved car parking for shoppers
· To limit the number of new bars and takeaways opening so the centre is balanced
· To link the new Metrolink to the centre of Chorlton

I very much welcome this plan and look forward to seeing it delivered over the next ten years. Detailed work needs to be done and how fast it can proceed will depend on the economy, under threat from the cuts imposed by the Conservative-Liberal government.

I have already put the plan into action as on the following day I successfully opposed a planning application for a new takeaway on Wilbraham Road by quoting the agreed ideas.

Chorlton District Centre Plan

Chorlton District Centre Action Plan

Sunday, 18 July 2010

No to VAT increase

I joined Labour party members and Chorlton community activists lobbying John Leech MP at his advice bureau at Chorlton Library on Friday the 16th July. We wanted to persuade the MP to vote against the Con Dem government’s proposal to increase VAT to 20% from January 2011.

During the general election campaign the Lib Dems campaigned against a VAT increase, but now they are proposing to support the government’s planned increase. VAT is an unfair tax as it hits the poorest people hardest.

Many local residents signed our petition against the VAT increase and are appalled that the Lib Dems are supporting it. This is one reason why many local residents have recently joined the Labour Party. I hope John Leech is listening to his constituents.

Earlier in the week I was listening to Chorlton residents at the Chorlton Community Forum held in Chorlton Library. Residents were able to raise their concerns about local issues with the police, council officers and local councillors. Issues raised included swimming for over 50s, graffiti removal, biodiversity and planning matters. Another Community Forum will be held in the autumn.

No to VAT increase

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Chorlton Surestart

Last Tuesday I attended a Fun Day at Chorlton Library to mark the launch of Chorlton Sure Start. Many parents and young children enjoyed face painting, balloon models, story time, a visit from the fire engine and much more.

Chorlton Sure Start is based in Chorlton Library and offers support to soon-to-be first time parents as well as parents and carers of children 0-5 years. A range of activities are on offer including:
Parent education classes
Stay and play activities
Baby massage
Advice on weaning
Childminders’ support group.
For more information contact Chorlton Library 881 3179

It is great that there is so much on offer for parents and carers thanks to the Labour Council and former Labour Government. The Lib Dem-Conservative coalition has stated that Sure Start should only be for the most needy families so how long will Chorlton parents have this excellent service?

Sunday, 13 June 2010

School visits

As well as being a councillor for Chorlton ward I am the executive member for Children’s Services and I have the lead responsibility for education and schools in the city. As a result I spend a lot of time visiting schools throughout Manchester. Manchester’s schools face many challenges but many schools are doing excellent work and I hope the successes of the best schools can be spread to others.

Last Monday I visited the Willows Primary School in Wythenshawe. This excellent primary school has managed to achieve outstanding in two OFSTEDs despite being in one of the most deprived areas of the city

The following day I visited St Peter’s RC High School in Gorton. This high school has also achieved outstanding in its OFSTED at the end of last year and in the last two years has had a massive improvement in the number of pupils achieving 5 A*-Cs including English and maths. They have done this by focusing on the basics, and providing one to one tuition, as well as using new approaches such as gardening therapy.

On Thursday I attended a ceremony to mark a significant stage in the re building of Acacias Primary School and extension and refurbishment of Levenshulme High School for Girls. This is a very innovative £23.7m project. It brings together the work of the Building Schools for the Future programme which is rebuilding or refurbishing all Manchester’s secondary schools with the primary school rebuilding programme. The two schools will share a site and have some shared facilities.

Monday, 31 May 2010

Chorlton Arts Festival

It’s been a great week in Chorlton as the 10th Chorlton Arts Festival was in full swing. The Festival has grown each year and always brings something new. This year the festival hub and radio station based in the precinct created extra interest.

The launch event on Saturday 22nd had everything for a perfect day out – great music, good food and fabulous weather. On Thursday I attended an event at Chorlton C of E School with the choir singing and lovely art displays. It’s great that all the Chorlton schools got involved. Some of the pupils’ art work was on display in various cafes around Chorlton.

Thanks to all the performers, artists and volunteers that make the Festival such a success.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Metrolink Comes to Chorlton

Yesterday I went to view the laying of the track for the Metrolink line to Chorlton. I was able to get on to the track and see the work at first hand. Work is progressing very well and everything seems to be on schedule. Trial runs will begin later this year and trams will be running with passengers by next spring.

The Metrolink line will be a great asset for Chorlton and provide fast, regular links to the city centre and Salford Quays taking thousands of cars off the road. The funding for this line was provided by the Labour government and supported by Manchester Labour Council. Let’s hope that the Con- Dem government cuts don’t prevent future extensions of the Metrolink to Didsbury and Wythenshawe.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Message from Labour Councillor Sheila Newman

These last weeks and months have been dominated by the general and local election campaigns, the result and subsequent forming of a government. Labour’s theme of 'Vote Lib Dem get Tory' has certainly come true! Many Chorlton residents have told me they feel let down as they voted to keep out the Tories not to let them in by the back door.

Labour did very well in Manchester increasing our vote in many wards and maintaining our majority on the City Council. Thanks to all of you who voted Labour. Unfortunately we didn’t hold Chorlton ward but our candidate, Amina Lone, had a very good vote despite being unfairly maligned by the Liberal Democrats. Amina was described as “employment unknown.” In fact she has a record of over 18 years work with community groups and works to support lone parents, minority ethnic residents and other marginalised groups.

As the remaining Labour councillor for Chorlton I will be continuing to represent my constituents and provide a strong voice for Chorlton on the Labour Council. I intend to regularly update this blog with my activities and views on issues in Chorlton. If you wish to raise any issues with me you can contact me by email -, by telephone on 881 9641 or by attending my advice bureau held every Saturday morning at 10.30am in Chorlton Library.