Summer 2016

A Neighbourhood Plan for Mellor ?
Neighbourhood planning was introduced in 2011 through the Localism Act. Neighbourhood planning allows local residents and businesses to have their own planning policies in a Neighbourhood Plan that reflect their priorities, deliver tangible local benefits and have real weight in planning decisions. Local people can also grant permission for development through ‘neighbourhood development orders’ and ‘community right to build orders’.

The process is community led and the plan may deal with a wide range of social and economic issues or focus on the perceived specific needs of the area.
A Neighbourhood Plan will become part of the statutory development plan for the area. Across England many different communities have embraced neighbourhood planning.

In very simple terms, a Neighbourhood Plan is:

  • a document that sets out planning policies for the neighbourhood area. (Planning policies are used to decide whether to approve planning applications)
  • written by the local community, the people who know and love the area, rather than the Local Planning Authority.
  • a powerful tool to ensure the community gets the right types of development, in the right place.

A Neighbourhood Plan is an important document with real legal force, therefore there are certain formal procedures that it must go through which are summarised as follows:

  • define the boundary of the Neighbourhood Plan
  • preparing the Plan
  • submitting the Plan to an independent examiner for consideration of any representations and check that it conforms to national and local policy and advising if any changes need to be made
  • once satisfied the local council will organise a referendum at which the majority of local people voting must support the plan if is to be adopted by the local planning authority
  • the local planning authority will bring the plan into force making it part of the formal development plan for the area

The local parish or town council may lead on neighbourhood planning in their areas. Where one does not exist then a community group known as a Neighbourhood Forum needs to be established to lead the process and this is what is proposed for Mellor and the surrounding area by The Mellor Society Committee. The SMBC Local Plan covers the whole district. The Neighbourhood Plan would be focused on local needs allowing the local community to specify in detail what their expectations are.
The Mellor Society Committee will not lead on a Neighbourhood Plan but will:

  • endeavor to establish if it is the wish of the residents in Mellor and Mill Brow (note that Marple Bridge, Ludworth and Compstall may be included if the area is the Parish of Mellor boundary) to develop a neighbourhood plan
  • recruit individuals to form the Neighbourhood Forum

The Neighbourhood Forum must comprise at least 21 people and will lead and co-ordinate the plan making process.
Under legal requirements the Neighbourhood Forum must have:

  • the express purpose of promoting or improving the environmental wellbeing of an area that consists of or includes the neighbourhood area concerned
  • a purpose that reflects the character of the area in general terms
  • a membership open to people living and working in the area and elected members for the area
  • a minimum of 21 members from the above groups

Neighbourhood Plans are being developed for a small area around the centre of Marple and other localities in our region and across the country.
Funding is available to finance technical/expert services and the process is supported, but not financed by Local Authorities.

If you are interested in working together as a community to conserve and develop our local area please give consideration to the following:

Do you support a Neighbourhood Plan for Mellor (and possibly the immediate surrounding area as defined by the Mellor Parish Boundary)?
What would you like to see included in a Neighbourhood Plan for Mellor and surrounding area?
Are you interested in becoming involved?
Have you any special skills that would benefit the process?
Do you wish to be kept informed?
If you have any views regarding the above please submit them via the ”let us have your views/Contact Us” section of the Mellor Society website or in writing to any Mellor Society Committee Member.

Mellor Primary School
Classroom Extension – Stimulating new spaces based on the ‘forest school’ ethos. Project Architect of the Year Award – Eleanor Brough, Sarah Wigglesworth Architects London.
Mellor Primary School extension provides a series of stimulating new spaces based on the school’s ‘forest school’ ethos. The low energy building aims to harmonise with its natural setting, using locally sourced natural materials while featuring a striking habitat wall which was designed and built in partnership with the school’s pupils.
From the outside, the remaining school building is typical of 20-year-old examples found across the country and is functional yet uninspiring. The architect has turned to the back of the site to provide an extension and remodelling, an area that may not have been first choice for some given its steep fall away from the building. Rather than eat up valuable play space however, this site presented the challenge and opportunity for the team to design a modest extension that nonetheless transforms the classroom experience. With a limited budget the architect has achieved what many education schemes on much grander scales fail to do; provide a series of indoor and outdoor spaces that will inspire and facilitate learning. The dedication of the project architect to achieving the best for the client was evident with a commitment that extended to real hands-on engagement and support beyond what could be normally expected.

STORM Project
STORM (Safeguarding Cultural Heritage through Technical and Organisational Resources Management)
Mellor Archaeological Trust is proud to announce it is part of a European wide environmental and conservation research project and has been awarded an EU grant of €400k to carry out its Work Packages. Starting from previous research STORM proposes a set of novel predictive models and improved non-invasive and non-destructive methods of survey and diagnosis for effective prediction of environmental changes and for revealing threats and conditions that could damage cultural heritage sites. STORM will also determine how different vulnerable materials, structures and buildings are affected by different extreme weather events together with risks associated to climatic conditions or natural hazards. An important output of STORM will be the safeguarding and management of environmental and other risks. Results will be tested in relevant case studies in five different countries: Italy, Greece, UK, Portugal and Turkey. The sites and consortium have been carefully selected so as to adequately represent the rich European Cultural Heritage. Associate partners that can assist with liaisons and links to other stakeholders and European sites are also included. The Project will be carried out by a multidisciplinary team providing all competences needed to assure the implementation of an effective solution to support all the stakeholders involved in the management and preservation of Cultural Heritage Sites.

Forthcoming events at the Mellor Parish Centre:
Saturday 10th September – Rainforest Roadshow
Interactive presentation begins at 2pm. An informative and entertaining view of rainforest life with particular emphasis on the lives of indigenous people and their role in the rainforest eco system.
Touch, taste, smell and hear the rainforest in this fun inter-active afternoon. Keen naturalists and amateur anthropologists, Dave and Sue Shaw have travelled widely in South and Central America, Malaysia, Borneo, Irian Java and Madagascar and will give us a unique insight into life in the rainforest. This event will appeal to and is suitable for children and adults of all ages. Useful for National Curriculum studies. Tickets: £10 per adult which includes free entry for up to 2 children. Children must be accompanied by an adult.  Tickets are available from Angela Stead ( 0161 427 3571) or the Parish Centre (0161 484 5079). Membership forms are available from the Parish Office or

Mellor Open Gardens – 22nd May
Once again, Mellor residents demonstrated their enthusiasm for this cherished community event, which was the most successful since it started in 1992. Their generosity and willingness to volunteer to bake cakes, serve refreshments and manage car parking areas was invaluable and much appreciated by more than 1200 visitors. In the days leading up to Open Gardens Day, ‘Mogpotpeople’ accompanied by flags kindly provided by Julian Wadden, Estate Agents, appeared in front gardens and at Mellor Primary School, and helped to focus attention upon the Big Day.
A warm, sunny morning brought visitors from all over Stockport, and unexpectedly from further afield including Lincoln, Wakefield and Northampton – such is the influence of the internet! In addition to the 20 colourful and varied gardens on display, duck races in Mill Brow, a ‘Find the Well’ competition in one garden and Tony Husband’s famous cartoons added to the attractions. Four minibuses running constantly between Marple Bridge, Mill Brow, Moor End and the Parish Centre helped to keep visitors moving between all the gardens.
As a result, Cancer Research UK and Friends of Mellor Parish Centre will share the profit of just over £16,000 – the wonderful result of all the hard work by garden owners and volunteers.
Peter Oldham Chairman, Mellor Open Gardens 2016 Organising Group

Mellor Church Bell rings out for The Queen’s Birthday
A letter from Buckingham Palace now hangs in the belfry at Mellor Church thanking the people of Mellor for ringing “Old Paddy” the great bell for 90 minutes to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday. The Mellor belfry is, we think, unique in hosting events with a large number of ringers and 90 people in 90 minutes must be a record. The money raised from the event supports the Church Fund and The Mellor March for Cancer Charities. As fame for the Mellor ringers spreads local MP William Wragg has invited them to view Big Ben before it is moth-balled for repairs. Perhaps “Old Paddy” will introduce The 10 o’clock News for a few months?

Mellor Country House
This local charity held its plant sale again this year breaking previous sales records. Approximately £19,000 worth of plants and hanging baskets were sold during the two-day event. The management committee would like to thank Lex Auto Lease Stockport, the army of helpers and all the customers and local community for supporting this fundraising event.

Healthwatch Stockport
The Mellor Society is a Group Member of Healthwatch Stockport, the company set up by Government to encourage lay people to have some involvement in the planning, delivery and monitoring of local health and social care services.
At its last Annual General Meeting in November of last year Healthwatch Stockport agreed significant changes to its organisation, claiming justification by the need to cut costs. This followed the cut in funding from Stockport MBC. The main change was in its leadership, discontinuing its wider elected group, called The Core, in favour of closer direction from the Directors, the Office and a small group of Leads. These Leads being members who head – up groups of members interested and prepared to be involved with social care, primary care, hospital care etc. All members are encouraged to consider being part of a group which is of special interest to them.
It is a very challenging time for health and social care in Stockport. Government funding leaves a shortfall. However, the Government has recognised the need for healthcare and social care to be more closely integrated and has set up the organisation to do this for all Greater Manchester. The draft plan for Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Devolution was published in December 2015.
Each of the local authorities making up Greater Manchester is publishing its own Locality Plan and Stockport’s Locality Plan is dated November 2015, and again there is a short period for consultation.
There are numerous initiatives that are now embraced within these plans or arising from these plans so we are going to be inundated with new names for these and for the unfamiliar organisations to drive things forward. Locally the Healthier Together initiative already has Stepping Hill FT as one of the four Specialist Hospitals in Greater Manchester and the Stockport Together initiative is the banner for changes locally.
In essence the present dependence on hospitals is deemed too expensive to be sustainable so the intention is to strengthen community services and meet people’s needs closer to home.
The shortfalls in funding are already apparent and are forecast to increase considerably so doing nothing is not considered an option.
The Healthwatch organisation attends some significant board meetings and so is in a key position to monitor progress, but Healthwatch Stockport has not, so far as I am aware, made clear how it will do so and report to its membership.
This is my understanding but remains a personal view.
Alan Watt – Ordinary member of Stockport Healthwatch, Feb 2016.

The Mellor Society Annual General Meeting
24 March 2016
1 Apologies: B&H Humphrey-Taylor, I Morgan
2.a T Lowe and A Davies proposed and seconded the approval of the minutes from the previous meeting and this was accepted by all present.
2.b Report of the Committee:
The work to protect and conserve the environment and amenities of our village/area and it’s business is administered by an elected committee supported by a team of newsletter deliverers and subscription collectors. The committee has been active on behalf of the membership working with local councillors and SMBC Officers on the following issues:
We are happy to report that after years of making representation improvements to the main drainage and highway maintenance in Mill Brow were undertaken last year and were severely tested during November. Mill Brow didn’t become flooded as has been the norm in previous periods of excessive rain. Last year we reported that SMBC funding had been secured to improve play equipment on Mill Brow rec. To-date there has been no improvement to play equipment and the site has further deteriorated. Your committee continues to enlist the support of local councillors to remedy this situation. Additionally Mill Brow residents have set up a “Save Our Rec” action group.
We have continued to notify SMBC either directly or via our local councillors of road and street lighting problems. We reported in our last newsletter that this year it is our areas turn for road improvements. This work has commenced. Residents in Mellor on Longhurst Lane have been notified that at last high speed broad band will be available later this year. The Mellor Society continues to provided two book token prizes to Mellor Primary School for their student “Good Citizen Award”. Last year we reported the Society’s donation to the school building fund which is now completed and some of us were fortunate to attend the official opening. The ceremony, in the presence of Prof Brian Cox, was fantastic and the students were a credit to their school and village.
We have continued the Society’s membership of The Campaign to Protect Rural England.
We continue to make a donation to the Royal British Legion at the time of Remembrance Sunday when Margaret Simpson has again represented the Membership at the wreath laying ceremony in Mellor Memorial Park.
Friends of Mellor Parks work very hard with SMBC to maintain the Memorial Park throughout the year. They are very dedicated but few in number and would welcome the help of volunteers. Please contact any committee member for details.
Four years ago the committee authorised a donation from Society funds to Mellor Open Gardens 2012. The donation was spent on helping provide free bus transport around the open gardens thereby reducing the risk of congestion which was of benefit to visitors and residents on the day. We have made a similar donation on behalf of the membership to support the free buses for Mellor Open Gardens 2016.
At last years AGM meeting Alan Watt volunteered to represent the membership on the Healthwatch Stockport Group. Our Society is a Group Member of this company set up by the Government to encourage lay people to have some involvement in the planning, delivery and monitoring of local health and social care services. Alan has provided a report on his involvement to-date which will feature in our next newsletter.
Mellor Society Committee Members Tim Lowe and Cynthia Garlick attended the recent Marple Area Committee Meeting where there was an Open Forum Debate with members of Marple Civic Society making a presentation in respect to the prospects for a Neighbourhood Plan for Marple.
We hope to feature more information on this issue in future newsletters.
We are fortunate to have the attendance of local councillors at our committee meetings and the committee wishes to thank a previous councillor Andrew Bispham for his many years service as ex-officio committee member.
The Society continues to be supported by our newsletter deliverers, the Parish Centre printing the newsletter and Annandale Solutions Ltd hosting our website.
We thank all the above and others for their efforts and continuing support.
If you have any issues that you need reporting in your newsletter or website please contact any committee member.
Also, if anyone wishes to be a newsletter deliverer or serve on our committee please contact I Davies, Hon. Secretary.
2c There is to be no increase in the annual subscription of £1/member
2d Copies of the certified accounts and membership report where available at the meeting and commented on in detail by the Hon Treasurer. G Abbell and E Jones proposed and seconded the approval of the accounts and this was accepted by all present.
2e There were no new volunteers to serve on the committee and those present accepted that the existing committee remain in office for a further year.
2f There was no business brought forward by the committee.
2g There was no business brought forward by the membership.
3. The formal section of the meeting was closed by T Lowe Acting Chair
Refreshments and the Great Mellor Quiz followed and a collection from participants raised £30 for The Mellor March.