New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

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annie
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Re: New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

Postby annie » Thu Dec 05, 2013 3:03 pm

lister wrote:I note Victor Chamberlain is awfully quiet on this one....


He's got more important things to do like objecting to To Let signs. If he wanted worthwhile something to do, maybe he could chase up that eyesore on the corner of Keppel Road, being propped up by scaffolding since the building started to collapse. WHY is that still there, unrepaired?
One must always be wary of the march of the right-wing. I advocate public flogging/confiscation of assets/rehoming of their young

blenkinsop
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Re: New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

Postby blenkinsop » Thu Dec 05, 2013 5:41 pm

The council has been run by the Left since 1973, but it wouldn't be correct to question them, would it? Chamberlain is an easy target, with little influence.

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Re: New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

Postby stephennewton » Thu Dec 05, 2013 5:55 pm

Seriously though, it is interesting that nobody is pointing out how rubbish this proposal is. The fitness suite is very small, no bigger than something you might find at a four-star hotel. It will probably mainly consist of cardio machines with very little space left over for free weights, kettle bells, fixed strength machines, cables, a functional zone or any of the other stuff you'd expect to find in a proper gym. The dance space will also fill up quickly and the idea of it doubling up as a community room seems very ambitious. In addition, the sports hall, five-a-side football and badminton are lost.

The brief discussion of the council's reasoning is confined to cost issues and there is no evidence that they have considered the demand for these facilities either now or in the future. There is clearly no aspiration to use the centre to promote healthy lifestyles in the area as it is simply too small to make a significant impact.

The location is mutually inconvenient to those who currently use either the Chorlton or Withington centres and is somewhere a cafe, or at least a rest area, would be appreciated as there is nothing else close by. Perhaps it won't be too long before a burger van rolls up outside.

Given that this is a new build on council owned land, the additional cost of making it that bit bigger would not be so very great so this is a great opportunity lost.

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Re: New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

Postby FurFoxAche » Thu Dec 05, 2013 7:18 pm

It does say 100 fitness stations. So you would assume the suite is well equipped. What bothers me more about this is the fact that you can get fitness suites anywhere for a small outlay. The lack of a sports hall is criminal. Even by getting rid of the squash courts and turning it into a hall, you're sacrificing one sport for many.

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Re: New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

Postby stephennewton » Thu Dec 05, 2013 7:54 pm

blenkinsop wrote:The council has been run by the Left since 1973, but it wouldn't be correct to question them, would it? Chamberlain is an easy target, with little influence.

While it is true that Manchester City Council is far from perfect and often struggles to provide decent public services, there is no doubt that it has lead a quite remarkable regeneration and transformation of the city and enabled Manchester to punch well above its weight. In terms of culture and profile we are well ahead of Birmingham, for example, which has always suffered from a lack of vision, especially under its recent Conservative/Lib Dem coalition.

Meanwhile, the Lib Dems, Tories and Greens are where they are because they have all failed to provide Mancunians with credible alternatives, with the Tories and Greens too lazy to get out on the doorstep. While the Lib Dems have always been very active and, once should concede, hard-working, they have not even begun the job of presenting an alternative vision for the city to its citizens, choosing instead to campaign the most negative fashion. Consequently, their pre-2010 vote relied entirely on protest, which is why it collapsed so completely when they entered government.

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Re: New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

Postby Sarah_B » Thu Dec 05, 2013 7:58 pm

Matt Strong has tweeted the following today, at about 6.30pm:

'Just popped in to the drop in consultation event at Chorlton Libary about plans for a new leisure centre at Hough End. Event ends at 8pm.'

I think if peeps have opinions about how this new leisure centre could be improved then perhaps contact Matt Strong directly whilst this consulation is still open.

People that could influence this need to be aware of any potential shortcomings it has.

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Re: New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

Postby Sarah_B » Thu Dec 05, 2013 8:14 pm

stephennewton wrote:While it is true that Manchester City Council is far from perfect and often struggles to provide decent public services, there is no doubt that it has lead a quite remarkable regeneration and transformation of the city and enabled Manchester to punch well above its weight. In terms of culture and profile we are well ahead of Birmingham, for example, which has always suffered from a lack of vision, especially under its recent Conservative/Lib Dem coalition.



True.

Did anyone read the fairly recent article in the Independent (approximately 3 weeks ago) talking about Manchester? It sort of acknowledged that Birmingham is supposed to be England's second city but said Manchester does not try to be England's second city but its aiming to be its first and is doing a very good job of achieving that.

It acknowledged all the recent investment from China around Manchester Airport and said Birmingham serioulsy messed up years ago with its transport, i.e. its road network. Birmingham thought the future of travel would be everyone using cars, however, this is not now the case and is suffering now due to those wrong decisions made years ago.

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Re: New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

Postby ash pole » Thu Dec 05, 2013 8:20 pm

alr1970 wrote:The existing Chorlton pool will be closer to Moss Side Leisure centre than the new one.


That's a very good point. Per google maps the road distance from the four banks to Moss Side is 2.0 miles, the new one would be 2.2 miles, and Stretford LC is only 1.4 miles. So really this is no replacement at all, just a closure.

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Re: New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

Postby gitface » Thu Dec 05, 2013 8:24 pm

Just got back from the consultation at the library. I had a long talk with David Boothroyd, capital programme manager at Manchester leisure services. Some highlights - some of this is old news, some isn't, but this is my summary of where we've got to so far:

1) This was clearly not a consultation about moving the sports facilities and pool out of Chorlton down to Hough End. It's going to happen, and they appear to have already appointed Laing O'Rourke as principal contractors.

2) Any suggestions about the balance of facilities offered or specialist facilities required by (for example) local non-profit sports groups were batted away with the same stock response consisting of "this is what we can afford in the face of cuts imposed by central government".

3) David appeared not to know a lot about what's happening with the precinct redevelopment (which was supposed to include sports facilities and which we were extensively consulted about last year). Whatever happens to the precinct now, it will not include any form of council operated sporting facilities.

4) David appeared not to know a lot about what would happen to the existing leisure centre building. He suggested that "community stakeholders" would be "consulted" in the run up to the closure about what should be done with the building. When I suggested that Chorlton would be gaining another derelict building for at least a couple of years all he could say was "I don't think so". I was not reassured. Apart from anything else, what *could* be done with the building? It's a pool and sports centre. Short of opening a combined salmon farm and cannery I'm at a loss. And methinks Unicorn would veto that (I'm guessing they're the "community stakeholder" that was being referred to).

So that's it. After last year's presumably expensive consultation about the move of Chorlton's sports facilities into the new precinct centre, we're just being told that this is the new plan and there's nothing we can do about it. This was all passed by the council executive earlier this year. I was frankly baffled about why they were even pretending to consult anyone about anything at this stage, - it's all been decided down to the number of changing cubicles (and it looked unisex to me on the plans).

No doubt StePee will be along eventually with his take. At least his son got hold of some reading material, so he didn't have a wasted trip...

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Re: New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

Postby ladyheather » Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:35 pm

From memory of the precinct plans, sports facilities weren't to be sited in the precinct, rather a 'physical activity enabler' which I read as an outreach sports officer who occasionally be onsite to signpost people interested in sports towards one of the council's schemes. This may be the last chance to campaign for better provision at the Hough End centre. I imagine it will additionally attract out-of-town users nipping in for a swim whilst they journey down the Parkway from work in the city centre.

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Re: New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

Postby admin » Fri Dec 06, 2013 7:12 pm


StePee
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Re: New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

Postby StePee » Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:22 pm

I wonder if any meaningfull assessment has been made, of the loss of trade our local businesses would suffer as a result of our community leisure facility being removed from the Chorlton's district centre. Many people visit the chippy after a swim, go for a pint after 5-a-side, visit Barbakan, or meet for coffee before super-tots etc etc. Talking to the Chorlton Traders group, they certainly see this as a threat.

Talking to the head teacher at Oswald Road Primary School yesterday; I learned they've not been consulted on the pool closure and it's implications. The children presently walk to the baths for their swimming lessons, Hough End is too far for this; coaches would be needed, and the ongoing cost of that would likely be prohibitive.
Even if that cost was to be met by the council, it's still our money they're spending.
When I asked the council chap about this at the library on Thursday, he said: Well, nothing is ideal is it?
Oswald Rd isn't the only local school who use our existing baths for swimming lessons, it sounds like many local kids may not be getting school swimming lessons after 2015.Talking to the head teacher at Oswald Road Primary School yesterday, I learned they've not been consulted on the pool closure and it's implications. The children presently walk to the baths for their swimming lessons, Hough End is too far for this; coaches would be needed, and the cost of that would be prohibitive.
When I asked the council chap about this at the library on Thursday, he said: Well, nothing is ideal is it?
Oswald Rd isn't the only local school who use our existing baths for swimming lessons, it doesn't sound like many local kids will be getting swimming lessons after 2015.

I had the opportunity yesterday to ask our MP John Leech his view, and advice whether anything could be done avoid this move to Hough End. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he does not agree with our Labour council's proposal, and suggested that using the current consultation to force a rejection of the proposal on the grounds it doesn't constitute an acceptable substitute for the existing provision would ensure reconsideration of the closure plans.

I'd personally like so see a convincing assessment of what half of the £9M they've found to fund the Hough End proposal could achieve if spent refurbishing and improving the existing sites (Chorlton as well as Withington) in an imaginative and sustainable way.
I repeatedly asked the chaps from the council about plans for the existing site post-2015, and if that was funding the proposal in any way. There replies were a consistent "The council has not made any plans relating to disposal or alternative use of Chorlton Leisure Centre after it's closure". Although I find this hard to believe, it suggests funds are available without selling-off public assets. There is some involvement with 'Sport Britain' (?not sure if that's the correct name?) I'm not sure if that's purely consultation, or if funding is involved in some way.

I've spoken to a quite a number of people who live in the immediate area of Chorlton Baths over the last few days, almost everyone was unaware of the council's current position that the Centre will close permanently in 2015. That the Council can proceed with their plans with so many local residents unaware what those plans involve is unacceptable; they're certainly capable of putting other leaflets through our doors, and why aren't they consulting the schools and clubs who use the facility?

Meanwhile, the new proposal gathers momentum…

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Re: New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

Postby StePee » Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:35 pm

Oh; also (!) I've tried to raise some of these concerns with Councillor Matt Strong over on twitter (see https://twitter.com/mattstrong/status/409075953797570560 )
As he rightly says; 140 characters aren't enough to do the topic justice (see above!), so he's going to try and address some of them in his next blog, so keep an eye on: http://www.mattstrong.org too.

ladyheather
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Re: New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

Postby ladyheather » Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:12 pm

I seriously doubt the council would listen to residents at this stage as the proposal to relocate has been effectively signed off at the relevant committee meetings. A headteacher or a group of them would possibly be more influential. But time is clearly critical.

Aside, the building could be sold off for land value, or taken on by Unicorn who may wish to expand.

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Re: New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

Postby StePee » Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:52 pm

ladyheather wrote:I seriously doubt the council would listen to residents at this stage as the proposal to relocate has been effectively signed off at the relevant committee meetings. A headteacher or a group of them would possibly be more influential. But time is clearly critical.

Aside, the building could be sold off for land value, or taken on by Unicorn who may wish to expand.


The present proposal does not yet have Planning approval, which is obviously needed if it's to go ahead.

John Leech reckons because of location, the proposal looks more like a facility that'd serve commuters better than local residents. Proximity to tram-stops and bus routes is being used to justify the location; these are not things the existing sites lack. The proposed site does however, lack the context of shops, cafés, bars, take-aways, and restaurants : all things people also like to do with their leisure time.

Another option for the Aside is a take-over by a 'trust' and run independently of the council, like they're working on at Withington.


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