Thursday, 24 January 2013

The Fate of the Mersey Valley

Dear Friends,
I kept hearing rumours about council spending cuts and the fate of the Mersey Valley and became increasingly concerned. So I e-mailed my three local (i.e. Chorlton) councillors and asked them what was going on. The text of my e-mail is below:

Dear Councillors,

I keep hearing rumours to the effect that the Mersey Valley Countryside Warden Service is to be disbanded. Are these rumours true, or not? If the rumours are true, are Friends groups, like the Friends of Chorlton Meadows, who have devoted hundreds of hours of their free time to the Mersey Valley, going to be properly informed and consulted - or are we just going to have to rely on rumours?

Yours sincerely,
David Bishop, Chair of FoCM
So far I have had the following reply from Cllr Victor Chamberlain:

The Mersey Valley Committee is meeting today [24.01.2013] and I still haven't heard back what the outcome is.

I understand that the City Council's budget proposals mean that the service will close down in April. A cut of £150,000 from MCC along with Trafford's lack of a payment commitment mean that the service is unlikely to survive.

It's really poor that you haven't received any information about this so I will ask the Council how they plan to engage Friends Groups in the proposals and the future.

He subsequently wrote:

I understand that the meeting was very sombre and that members accepted the budget cut. Some Councillors argued that Trafford Council's decision to cut funding last December encouraged Manchester to do the same. Apparently there is going to be a consultation which opens from today however the service is likely to be run down between now and the end of March.

So, the Mersey Valley project appears to be dead and the fate of a well-loved piece of local green space hangs in the balance. As a long-term user of this green space myself I am saddened and angry. I might also ask: What is the point of a consultation when the decision already appears to have been made?

As you are a Mersey Valley user, I’m sure that you will share my concerns, so please, please, please take some time to express those concerns by e-mailing:    

Councillor Rosa Battle, Executive Member for Culture & Leisure (cllr.r.battle@manchester.gov.uk)

Questions that you might like to ask Cllr Battle could include:

-       What are the implications of the disbanding of the Mersey Valley Countryside Warden Service for the future of the Mersey Valley?

-       How does the Council intend to maintain sites like Chorlton Ees/Ivy Green and Chorlton Water Park in the future?

-       How does the Council plan to protect these sites from vandalism and other forms of damage?

-       How does the Council plan to protect Mersey Valley wildlife?

-       Have the Council have any plans for selling off any Mersey Valley sites?

It would probably be a good idea to copy your ward councillors in on this correspondence; you can find your ward councillors here:

It is absolutely essential to keep your message polite!
Please feel free to circulate this blog post to as many people as possible. Let’s show the Council that we love the Mersey Valley and that we don’t intend to lose it!!

Best Regards,
Dave Bishop (FoCM Chair)


Anonymous said...

Hello - I have emailed the council just now. Will post another comment if I get a response


Anonymous said...

Hello- I have emailed also and hope for a response soon!
Fingers crossed!!

Anonymous said...

Do you know about this? Sure you do but thought you could put it on your website?

Subject: Mersey Valley Wardens
Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2013 18:49:16 +0000
From: Friends of CWP

Dear All,

As I am sure you are aware, Manchester City Council want to scrap the
Mersey Valley Warden service as part of their latest round of cuts. They
have said scrapping the wardens will save £150,000. However, they also
propose to use Neighbourhood services to maintain the Mersey Valley at a
cost of £80,000 so there isn't a great saving.

I'm really worried what will happen to the Mersey Valley without the
Warden service. They have the expertise, equipment, buildings, and
enthusiasm. I also don't know how many safety boats Neighbourhood
services have to handle problems on the lake at Chorlton Water Park.

As you all use Chorlton Water Park, and hopefully lots of other areas
within the Valley, can I ask you to email Cllr Rosa Battle at MCC,
and let her know your thoughts. Could you also ask your members to do
the same. The absence of the Wardens can effect us all. Also, there is a
meeting on Friday 15th Feb from 5-7pm at St. Barnabus Hall, Hardy Lane,
Chorlton. Cllr Battle will be attending. This is part of the public
consultation process. There is also a drop in session at Chorlton Water
Park on Sunday 17th Feb from 3.-4.30pm. Eamon O'Rourke will be
attending. He is the Head of Communites and Parks. We really do need all
your help and support. So if you can get word spread, and as many people
as possible at the meetings it really will be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks for your time.

Best regards

Janet Copley
Chair, the Friends of Chorlton Water Park.

Andy H said...

I saw a notice about this while walking in meadows, and memorised the name of the website. I was expecting this to be the first thing I saw, but it was tucked away in a corner. It took me a while to find it.

Surely, this should be the first thing people see when they visit your site.