New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

the place on the chorlton bulletin board for vegetable-spread related chatter and other matters...it's the first, the best and it's currently hack free.
ladyheather
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:37 pm

Re: New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

Postby ladyheather » Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:04 pm

The recent proposal update submitted to the Executive committee for the 20th Nov meeting talked almost entirely about costs. It's beyond the point of considering need. The 'need case' was signed off at the same committee back on 10 April. There would have to be strong objections presented in a palatable planning context to achieve a block on plans. I'm not happy about the relocation, but don't have a sense of what other people from Chorlton generally feel about it to judge if a campaign would garner enough support.

Pearl
Posts: 582
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 1:21 pm

Re: New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

Postby Pearl » Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:27 pm

I think StePee makes a very good point about the importance of the leisure centre to local businesses and vice versa.

The Council often emphasises the relationship between public and private enterprises and the Chorlton District Centre Action Plan 2010–2020 is full of support for local community facilities alongside the retail "offer":

Chorlton will continue to be a successful neighbourhood that is accessible to all and well connected. It will provide an attractive and vibrant district centre with a full range of quality shops and community facilities. . . .

located on Manchester Road and built in 1929, the Leisure Centre has outdated facilities. It would benefit from a refurbishment to meet the needs of an expanding population. . . .

In particular, public services need to be accessible, high quality and locally delivered in order to meet the needs of a growing older population in Chorlton. This is in line with the aspiration of providing ‘lifetime neighbourhoods’ as set out in the Manchester Ageing Strategy. . . .

With hindsight, pointing out the conflict with the Action Plan and other Council policies would probably have been a more strategic response to the original closure proposal than waffling on about children's health and well-being like I did. But as Lady Heather points out, it looks as though that argument was lost in April.

Withington has quite a high profile campaign doesn't it? They seem to be intending to continue it longer term now that they've succeeded in keeping their baths open to 2015. Anyone know how it's going there?

gitface
Posts: 257
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2010 6:40 pm

Re: New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

Postby gitface » Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:39 am

ladyheather wrote: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.


No. The plans we were "consulted" on last year (as regular users of the centre) were for sports facilities in the redeveloped precinct centre. Maybe you were involved at a different stage? The plans have changed so often that I wouldn't be surprised...

This is not an opportunity to campaign for better facilities at Hough End. As I already said, any objections to the level and types of provision were dismissed out of hand on the basis of cost.

blenkinsop
Posts: 232
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:20 pm

Re: New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

Postby blenkinsop » Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:08 pm

The purpose of 'Consultations' whether in the public or private sector, is not to consult, but to persuade a given audience. Decisions have already been made, prior to any such consultation presentations being made available to the public. It's all a game, and Joe Public will never influence the decision makers, by responding to consultation invitations.

Mass protests with extensive media coverage, can do the trick sometimes, but that's not going to happen very often.

gitface
Posts: 257
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2010 6:40 pm

Re: New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

Postby gitface » Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:41 pm

The fact that everyone already knows that makes it no less annoying.

lister
Posts: 154
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:56 pm

Re: New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

Postby lister » Thu Dec 12, 2013 8:48 pm

As said above, this is much more of a closure than a relocation, and means many schoolchildren will likely not learn how to swim.

I often wonder what contribution M21 makes to the councils coffers, plenty of 5-6 bed houses (circa £2,300 CTax) have been 'renovated' to 4+ seperate flats (circa £1,100 CTax)

So plenty of single plots netting the council £4,400 - £6,600

Where's our money spent?

The roads? - In generally poor condition, haven't noticed much in the way of improvement lately
The drains? - Plenty of standing water
Cleaning? - Chorlton's the most litter strewn place I've lived
Policing? - Crime levels are relatively high, but there's never an overly visible police presence
Parks & Open spaces? we have relatively few (especially compared to trafford) and the funding has been withdrawn from the ees


It just strikes me that if they were to attempt closure of leisure facilities in some of the nicer parts of london it'd be all over the news, but half the residents of chorlton are unaware that we're losing the baths next year!

StePee
Posts: 212
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:55 pm

Re: New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

Postby StePee » Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:24 pm

Getting the new place built first cements the fate of Chorlton Leisure Centre: "now we don't need that one"… but then it'll be too late. Probably.

Pearl
Posts: 582
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 1:21 pm

Re: New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

Postby Pearl » Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:02 pm

lister wrote:Where's our money spent?


I think the vast majority of council spending is on education and social care, and they are going to find it hard enough to cover those over the next few years by the looks of things.

I'm not sure that Council tax income necessarily varies all that much between different parts of Manchester as it is based on very out of date valuations - most Manchester properties are graded very low for Council tax and there are plenty of Band B in Chorlton. The major inequality imo is in the central government funding to different parts of the country, which strongly disadvantages the north.

StePee
Posts: 212
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:55 pm

Re: New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

Postby StePee » Mon Dec 16, 2013 5:56 am

This document clarifies a lot of the motive and agenda here:

http://www.manchester.gov.uk/download/meetings/id/15936/item_12-proposed_hough_end_and_levenshulme_leisure_facilities_update

It is largely about increasing footfall from passing commuters in order to offset the ongoing cost of providing a leisure facility for us locals.
There are a great many compromises made on what we have already to make the case for this.

The last chance for the fate of our local facility, and of Withington's rests with the Planning Application, to be submitted sometime around now, and to be decided by MARCH.

Until that gets approved, this is NOT a done deal.

Objecting to the Hough End proposal because it is a compromise based on saving money, that does not adequately replace our existing provisions; by location etc. is, as recommended by our MP, our chance not to loose out here.

The case for the new facility providing better access to swimming for schools & public simultaneously very conveniently doesn't mention we are loosing TWO pools here, to gain One and a half under one roof.
It's very keen to claim to be promoting squash provision, by providing 2 courts: We already have 2 courts on our doorstep.
Note there is no mention that we will also loose: 5-a-side, badminton, toddlers' play sessions with bouncy castle, kids' parties, large group circuits, karate, kick-box, yoga etc provision too: as we will lose a proper sports hall.

We urgently need to 'represent' about this, on the basis that the proposal is not a substitute, and does not follow the Council's own development plan for our districts.

Pearl
Posts: 582
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 1:21 pm

Re: New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

Postby Pearl » Mon Dec 16, 2013 5:06 pm

Thanks StePee, very interesting document.

There are some contradictions right from the first page aren't there? The rather jargony table headed Community Strategy Spine / Summary of the contribution to the strategy tries to suggest that the proposal fits with various strategies for sustainable neighbourhoods when it's really a move away from those as far as I can see.

I guess we now need to wait for the planning permission consultation period to start.

In the meantime, has anyone responded to the current "consultation"? Leaving aside what has already been pointed out about such consultations, it also looks like one of those that you can respond to as many times as you want and don't have to give your name or even have any connection to Manchester let alone live in the area, so I don't know what they are going to do with the results.

StePee
Posts: 212
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:55 pm

Re: New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

Postby StePee » Mon Dec 16, 2013 5:28 pm

Well Pearl, today I did get this:

Thank you for your comments regard the leisure development at Hough End.

The new facility offer is based on the review of Indoor Leisure 2011 where it was identified that the provision of indoor sports halls in Manchester was above the regional average and that there was spare capacity in which operators and Council officers could develop better community access. There are a range of alternative community sports halls available for use within a reasonable public transport time of Chorlton, particularly on school sites. At the appropriate time Council officers will work with Sport England, utilising funds from the Access to High Schools Fund to encourage greater use of these facilities. Council officers will work with the operators and support all existing users through the transitional period for all relocation opportunities.

We are currently compiling all the comments received on the consultation. An anonymous summary of the issues raised and our response, including those raised by yourself, will be put on the website www.manchester.gov.uk/Houghend

Regards,
Martin Saker, Regeneration Co-ordinator & Old Moat Ward Co-ordinator,

South Manchester Regeneration Team,
Chorlton District Office,
102 Manchester Road,
Chorlton,
Manchester,
M21 9SZ
Tel: 0161 234 1500
Internal 800 1500
Mobile: 0795 730 8034
e.mail: m.saker@manchester.gov.uk


I'm assuming it's as a result of filling in a 'responses' form at the drop-in session at Chorlton Library.

So, the picture I'm forming is that: They've realised we're getting slightly more than they can get away with giving us, regarding Leisure provision in South Manchester, and that by reducing it, and having it run by a 3rd party who'll be able to derive enough 'profit' from operating it, they can actually make an overall profit, so rather than costing the Council money, Leisure provision will EARN money they can spend elsewhere.

If I've got the wrong end of the stick, I hope someone will point it out.

There was I, thinking we paid taxes to get good facilities in South Manchester, and that the intention, over time would be to improve things, rather than run them down to an absolute minimum. The swear_words_not_allowed.

BTW, note the planned lifespan of Hough End is 30 years.
How old are Chorlton / Withington Leisure Centres?
ALSO it seems capital IS to be raised by flogging off the existing sites; so that's a blatant lie they told at the drop-in session!
Presumably no one on the Council cares what happens after 30 yrs?

Jeez.

Pearl
Posts: 582
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 1:21 pm

Re: New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

Postby Pearl » Mon Dec 16, 2013 7:18 pm

It's apparently too late to comment on the current "consultation".

The plans page now says "We invited comments on these plans in early December 2013", but does not give a closing date and as far as I know never did. Looks as though the local meetings were in effect the end of the consultation period.

Two weeks max to respond in the run up to Christmas, and no mention of the extremely relevant report that StePee linked to, which went to committee on 20th November . . .

ladyheather
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:37 pm

Re: New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

Postby ladyheather » Mon Dec 16, 2013 7:21 pm

I noticed the multiple references to 'land receipts' for the existing Chortlton site, which appears factored in to the calculations.

Also, the paragraph:

"Following the implementation of the recommendations contained within the report the Council would remain on target to achieve the planned savings from the Indoor Leisure Strategy of £1.4m per annum. Actual achievement of the savings target is however subject to the outcome of a procurement exercise for the entire leisure contract." - does this mean the savings made via the relocations/closures are dependent on a separate other initiative?

I wonder if they have properly undertaken an Equality Impact Assessment on how the relocation would affect children and young people as as 'group' - I would imagine they may be negatively impacted due to the new provision being further afield, they would surely have less equality of access than with current provision.

Pearl
Posts: 582
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 1:21 pm

Re: New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

Postby Pearl » Mon Dec 16, 2013 7:32 pm

ladyheather wrote:I wonder if they have properly undertaken an Equality Impact Assessment on how the relocation would affect children and young people as as 'group' - I would imagine they may be negatively impacted due to the new provision being further afield, they would surely have less equality of access than with current provision.


Good point, and it would surely also apply to elderly and disabled people.

Now that the narrow window of "consultation" has passed, I guess we could raise these issues with our local councillors while we're waiting for the planning application.

StePee
Posts: 212
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:55 pm

Re: New leisure centre at Hough End: More consultation

Postby StePee » Tue Dec 17, 2013 9:26 am

Very good point Heather / Pearl, re Equality Impact Assessment vis Older folks; particularly given the proximity of the recent McCarthy Stone development at the ex-Cosgrove Hall site.
I suspect they'd just bleat on about the Tram though; willfully avoiding the point.


Return to “Discussions”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 13 guests