Response from Friends of Marple Memorial Park
This page presents the history of previous consultations and exchanges between Friends of the Park and the council on the Marple Community Hub scheme going back as far as January 2019. It also includes a brief update on recent developments followed by our full comments on the scheme as presented for consultation on 4 September 2023.
We finish with a round-up of suggestions of how you may wish to support us in your own personal responses to the consultation.
We hope you can take the time to read and understand everything we are saying but there are a couple of quick-link shortcuts below for those of you with less time.
Skip the intro and go straight to our Comments on the September 2023 Consultation.
Go straight to how you can support us with your own comments.
Background and previous consultations
Friends of Marple Memorial Park first learned of proposals to replace the swimming pool, library and possibly other existing community buildings with a brand new development in the park during confidential discussions with the council's architect in January 2019. We later attended the council's first consultation with local community groups in Marple Library on 12 March 2020, just prior to the first COVID-19 lockdown. One of our key suggestions was that the scheme should include the provision of a new play area.
We were asked to provide further information in April 2020 and submitted extensive comments and questions, plus information about our ongoing and future projects.
In October 2020 some of our volunteers took part in a review of the provisional scheme and options via a Zoom meeting with the the council and their architects. During this meeting we vetoed two suggested alternative locations in the park and also asked why the open area adjacent to Station Road had not been considered.
We were pleased to learn our suggestion to include new play areas had been taken on board.
In January 2021 we took part in the wider public consultation on the scheme and submitted our comments at that time.
In March 2021 we suggested an alternative location using the Station Road area of the park be considered and asked the council to engage with us on it. From that point onwards the council declined to discuss any further details, despite repeated direct appeals and requests via Local Councillors for them to do so.
Stakeholder meeting, discussions and drop-in sessions
On 30 August 2023 Friends of the Park attended a Stakeholder Meeting / Presentation with several other local groups.
We submitted a 9 page time-line report in advance outlining our frustration at the lack of consultation with us over the last two+ years and a list questions.
The presentations were generally very encouraging and answered many of our immediate concerns directly.
Afterwards we had a sit-down session with leaders of the project team to go through our questions for over an hour. We were further encouraged by the answers provided and the discussions that took place around issues that are still unresolved, or uncertain, due to the stage the project is currently at.
We were very pleased with the way the team engaged with us during this session and were further encouraged by assurances that going forward from here Friends of the Park WILL be engaged throughout the design, planning and build process as Key Stakeholders in the park, and we will be engaged in the detail design of the Play Areas.
We attended both drop-in sessions on 12 and 19 September 2023 to discuss our concerns and to refine our comments on the September consultation, which are as follows:
Consultation 4 September to 9 October 2023
Below is the response of Friends of Marple Memorial Park to the public consultation on the Marple Active Community Hub. We've focused on issues impacting the park and the Highways elements that have direct impact on the park only. The internal layout of the building will need to change as a consequence of some of our comments.
We begin with our primary concerns about access and amenity:
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Friends of the Park regularly transport equipment and materials to and from the park. Currently we and the Parks Maintenance Team (TLC) have vehicular access to pick-up, drop-off and to park outside our shared equipment storage and mess room in the former Bowling Pavilion, and also to access our smaller tool store at the end of the Bowlers' Hut.
Access for one vehicle and occasionally two in this area (next to the existing toilet block) is essential to support Friends of the Park's regular task days and our frequent visits to carry out activities for the benefit of the park. TLC Parks Maintenance also use this area extensively for their own works vehicles.
It is crucial that we continue to have vehicular access to this area throughout the construction phase of the hub and after the facility is built.
We have highlighted this as a key issue since our comments on the first Hub proposals in 2020 and 2021.
Factors of concern include the reduced distance between Hollins House and the new Hub building, that this area will be a pedestrian only access due to the narrow width, and that the present direct route to it will be blocked by EV and disabled parking, making the only other viable route(s) very restricted and potentially unsafe.
It is essential this issue is resolved for the long-term benefit of the park and we urge the design team to discuss vehicular access for maintenance with Friends of the Park and TLC's park and playground maintenance teams. Vehicular access to all areas of the park should also be fully understood and catered for before the scheme is finalised.
The outside area formed by the NE sides of the Hub building, the Bowling buildings and the Play Park has fantastic potential as a "plaza" linking the building holistically with the wider park. The proposal fails to take advantage of this and a great opportunity is being missed to create a wonderful focal area for visitors to access all the park's features and facilities.
We have discussed this with the council's team during the first drop-in session. The potential for a plaza area was acknowledged and we were advised this has been considered but guidance on distances between the location of disabled parking places and the building entrance are currently preventing it being sited at the east end.
We urge the council to design out any obstacles to moving the entrance to the east end of the building and make the most of this opportunity for a "park plaza".
We note the location of the permanent toilets in the Community Hub building are just inside the main entrance and will be accessible to the general public while the facility is open.
We are very pleased that there will be much better facilities that are open far longer than the existing ones. Also, while some may feel they should be accessible from outside, our view is that the level of vandalism that occurs to the existing toilets will be greatly reduced by having access from inside only.
However, it is a very long trek from Play Parks and Bowling Green to the toilets. They need to be much closer to these outdoor facilities, which underpins the need for the main entrance to be at the NE end of the building. We also feel that the proposed location for disabled parking is a very long way from the Bowling Green and Play Areas.
The proposed scheme will be far better if cafe and toilets were accessible from the east end and users could spill out onto this area as a plaza overlooking the Play Parks.
Main constraints impacting the above key issues:
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We understand that Hollins House is now no longer part of the Community Hub scheme and it is proposed to continue in its present use as council offices.
Is is disappointing that this historic listed building will not be become a Community building, as outlined in earlier proposed schemes.
It is also particularly disappointing because the unlisted and out-of-character extension that spoils the appearance of the original listed building is to remain.
We urge the council to find a way to remove the extension as part of this scheme, even if it means relocating staff, as it would resolve so many layout issues.
If that is not possible at this time we would like to see some consideration of how the space occupied by the extension could be reused in the future should circumstances change. There would be an advantage in anticipating this as a desirable future change and tweaking the plans now to ensure they could accommodate such an opportunity.
The Police Station is shown removed on the Site Plan but we understand this has not been confirmed and it is likely it will remain. The Police Station is an unsightly building that will spoil the whole aspect of the new scheme and its retention will render the new car-parking layout unworkable, reducing parking to levels well below that currently availability.
It is almost always a struggle to park now, so a reduction in spaces combined with an improvement to facilities will result in increased traffic to the park that will cause significant issues.
If the Police Station remains the proposed scheme will need significant revision to provide adequate parking.
When will a final decision be made whether the Police Station is to remain or to go?
Friends of the Park have invested considerable time and effort to create and maintain the area behind the library as a wildlife woodland. Thousands of bulbs have been planted that are a delight to park visitors each spring, as first the crocuses and then the daffodils begin their annual displays.
The woodland comprises many established mature trees that would take 30 years or more to replace and is deliberately left as wild as practical for the benefit of nature.
The trees are part of the lungs of our park and the woodland benefits wildlife including birds, bats, insects and small mammals such as hedgehogs and shrews.
The woodland is a key part of the overall wildlife corridor within our park, allowing us to share it with nature.
The woodland also provides a natural buffer and screening between the busy park and neighbouring properties, and has done so for as long as most residents can remember.
Friends of the Park have urged that the woodland is preserved and protected since the first formal consultations in March 2020. We were disappointed when early schemes were presented as a series of options that all resulted in the total loss of the woodland and were very vocal about this.
In March 2021 we suggested an alternative location and asked for this to be discussed in detail with us. We have been disappointed that these discussions have never taken place but are pleased that the new scheme has been partially influenced by this and largely takes onboard our wishes to preserve the woodland.
Although not identified within the scheme we have heard a suggestion that the Police may be relocated to the Hollins House building / extension.
We have a number of concerns about this. Firstly, as we've already made clear, we would prefer all avenues are explored and a way to remove the out-of-character extension found.
Other concerns are based on dialogue we have had with the Police in the past about parking their vehicles in the main car park. At the time we suggested that it may be a deterrent to ASB in the park if there was a clear and visible presence of police vehicles showing that the station was occupied.
The key responses to this from the Police were:
- They would not be happy doing “blue light runs” from the park via the car park and Memorial Park Drive due to the high risk of knocking someone down – they have already experienced issues with children running out from between parked cars when parents haven't been paying attention many times, even when travelling at low speeds.
- They have concerns that Police vehicles would be intentionally damaged when left in the car park. This may include interfering with tyres that could prove fatal on a blue light run.
- They have also experienced their own personal vehicles being identified by individuals with a grudge and had them vandalised when parked in public car parks – we were told this happened to many of their vehicles when parked in the Hollins Lane car park.
We conclude that if the Hollins House extension and the Police Station cannot both be removed, then the better option is to keep the Police Station as it is and remove the extension.
If the Police Station is removed but the Police remain located within the park (rather than being located off-site) then a separate secure parking area for their vehicles will be needed. Additionally, the existing access / exit via Parkfield Avenue will need to be maintained to avoid risks to the public using the car park and Memorial Park Drive during blue light situations.
These are key safety concerns and need to be given very serious consideration please.
Our proposed solution:
Friends of the Park consider it essential that these key issues and constraints are resolved before the Community Hub scheme proceeds towards a planning submission. We will be pleased to work closely with the council to find the best solutions and compromises and agree the way forward.
- Widen the space between Hollins House and the new hub building (preferably by removing the Hollins House extension).
- Include a road for vehicular access from the main car park between the hub building and Hollins House for FoMMP and TLC Park Maintenance.
- Move the Hub building entrance to the east side, enabling the creation of a plaza area.
- Reposition EV and disabled parking to the SE side of the hub building, supporting the entrance and toilets being sited at the east end.
Resolving the constraints:
Removal of the Hollins House extension would free up more than sufficient space to implement these solutions and we believe this option should be rigorously pursued.
If this proves to be impossible, we would reluctantly consider that the minimum necessary encroachment into the woodland to the NW side of the building may be justifiable to achieve these long-term key benefits to the overall scheme, which we will all have to live with for many years. We would wish to examine this option carefully with the design team.
However, if the Police Station is to remain the only way we can see of creating a suitable parking provision IS to remove the extension on Hollins House. We do not consider that total or significant loss of the woodland is an acceptable solution driven by the desire to retain the out-of-character extension on Hollins House.
We understand that the internal layout of the building will need to be reorientated to accommodate our recommendation to move the entrance to the east end of the building but now is the best opportunity to do this and to avoid long-term regrets about how much better the scheme could have been for the park.
Please discuss this with Friends of the Park as Key Stakeholders in the Park, after the consultation and before proceeding towards a planning submission for the scheme.
An alternative solution:
In March 2021 we suggested an alternative solution was to build the Hub on the Station Road area of the park, to the NE side of the path running from the entrance on Station Road to Hollins House. We still consider that this may be a viable option, especially if the Police Station and / or the Hollins House extension has to remain.
It would have the advantage of not needing to demolish the library until after the new Hub was built and would potentially make the construction phase much less disruptive to the existing facilities. We envisage the library site being turned into a new play area or returned to green space after the construction is complete to mitigate some of the loss of green space.
We would therefore prefer, if the Police Station and Hollins House extension are to remain, that the option we suggested two years ago to build further out into the park is fully investigated with us before proceeding to a planning submission please.
Further detailed comments and observations:
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Two new paths either side of Hollins House linking with the main path through the park are shown on the Proposed Site Plan that are not identified on the Section 2 Highways Improvements Plan. One runs from the SW corner of Hollins House through the main circular flowerbed forming a T junction with the main path. The other runs from the NE corner of Hollins House, breaking away from the existing path, past the Allotment Beds, through the Wildflower Bed and past the small War Memorial, forming a cross-roads at the main path.
These two paths will destroy the flowerbed area of the park that has been looked after by Friends of the Park for 20 years. They are totally unacceptable to us.
The Highways Overview shows the existing path on the NE side of Hollins House as a footway only. We are concerned that cyclists heading for the Hub will not always dismount and this will put pedestrians at risk. Friends of the Park would be happy to discuss the possibility of widening the existing path to become a shared footway / cycleway.
Please see further comments under Feature 7: widening of paths for cycling.
The existing chained entrance to the park at the SW corner of Hollins House is not shown on the plan and it is not clear if there is still key-controlled access for vehicles.
The existing controlled access is essential to the operation of the park and must be maintained. It is used by the council's Parks and Buildings Maintenance Teams, by contractors and by Friends of the Park for delivery of plants and materials, including topsoil delivered by HGV / Hi-ab. It is also a key access route for events such as Marple Carnival, the Ride of Remembrance and the Family Treasure Hunt. So it is essential that key-controlled access to the park via this route is maintained.
Currently Friends of the Park take occasional deliveries of soil and aggregates by Hi-ab in the following locations:
- Near to the existing toilet block: deliveries here are made early in the morning when the main car park is still clear and the delivery wagon can manoeuvre more easily. The layout of the proposed scheme looks like it will obstruct early morning manoeuvres even if the car park is empty. The proposed location of EV and disabled parking will prevent deliveries being made to our store area in the future unless they are relocated to the SE side of the new building (see our proposed solution to Key Issues).
- On the grass near to the entrance of the car park local to the circular flowerbed: sufficient space needs to be available for the delivery vehicle to park alongside this area for offloading and to be able to manoeuvre in the car park to turn around and exit.
- At our allotment beds: (see also Comment C) space is needed in the car park so that the vehicle can manoeuvre to reverse onto the tarmac area in front of Hollins House.
- At the French Boules Court: access to this location is usually made via Garth Road and should be OK.
Please discuss these requirements with us to establish how they can best be accommodated in the final scheme.
The mature tree shown as existing and being retained nearest to Hollins House in the car park had to be removed recently after it died. Presently only a stump remains in the raised kerb area. It would be better to remove the stump and raised-kerbs to improve car park accessibility and plant replacement trees elsewhere.
The Memorial Park Drive sign seen as you enter the car park has been hit by a vehicle. Please replace with a new sign in a more suitable location as part of the scheme.
The Proposed Site Plan indicates the addition of 4 trees located in front of Hollins House that are not there now. One is next to our Covid Memorial Flag Pole, one next to our Allotment Beds and two are in the middle of existing Flowerbeds maintained by us. None of these are acceptable.
The same Site Plan shows 5 new trees to the SE of the War Memorial, two in the War Memorial Beds and 3 or more on the site of the former tennis courts. New trees have recently been planted alongside the path passing the skatepark that are not identified. The 5 new trees as shown are unacceptable because they will interfere with the War Memorial Beds and the outlook from the War Memorial. (Removal of trees around the War Memorial was instigated by us in 2003 for similar reasons.) Please plant elsewhere.
We would like to see Marple Civic Society's accessible woodland proposals discussed and integrated into the Hub scheme (see Comment O).
The proposed Cycle Storage nearest to the former Bowling Pavilion will be an obstruction to vehicular access to our store and we would like it to be relocated.
There is probably a better location for the other Cycle Storage shown near this too. Ideally there should be Cycle Storage at each of the three main cycle routes into the Hub area: from Station Road; from the east side of Hollins House; and from the direction of the main entrance and town centre. Please discuss with us.
The pedestrian link adjacent to the rear of the Scout Hut should be formally extended to the Hollins Lane car park next to the Fire Station. There is already a well used cut-through route here but if it were made more formal and accessible it would provide more viable “overspill” access to the hub.
There is a large “courtyard” type area to the SW rear of the pool section of the new building. This seems to be accessible on foot from the south, via the long footpath running the length of the pool side of the building and via the woodland area. It appears to be a large and poorly utilised space that risks becoming an ASB zone.
How will this space be used? Can it be used better? It could be a suitable for Cycle Storage if accessible to the public.
However, we believe it would be better if access via the woodland was gated / closed off and the area utilised as a restricted compound for building operations, waste bins and the like. This would have the added advantage of removing the desire line through the woodland (see Comment K) and also protecting neighbours at the boundary from ASB activity.
The path into the park from the Station Road entrance next to the Band Room has been diverted around the new Community Hub building and the new Play Park.
This is quite an obstacle to circumnavigate compared to the existing straight path that goes past the library.
The straight path that runs along the side of the pool building and bisects the diverted path is also problematic.
The proposed scheme introduces two main desire lines that people will use if they physically can to avoid these lengthy routes. Anyone heading to the war memorial / skatepark area of the park will take a straight-as-they-can direct line across the NE face of the building. Similarly, if a through-route is possible, anyone wishing to reach the main car park area from the direction of Station Road is likely to take a right-turn straight through the woodland. In both cases users will wear a path if not provided.
A lot more thought needs to be put into understanding desire lines around the building and the pathways redesigned to accommodate where park visitors will want to go. We recommend this is done with input from people who use the park on a daily basis and we would be happy to take part in these discussions.
Our recommendations are:
Reroute the main path from Station Road to follow the desire line close to the NE face of the building and merge into the plaza area on the east side. If the main entrance and toilets have been relocated here (as recommended in Key Issues 2a & 2b) then this will become a key route for Hub and park users on foot or cycle from the Station Road side.
Note: the above is actually much closer to what is show on the Highways Overview drawing.
Close off access through the woodland at the west corner of the new building, removing the desire line and at the same time creating a restricted access compound area at the west end of the building for operational purposes (see Comment J above).
Create an accessible hard-surfaced route suitable for wheelchairs and mobility scooters that passes into and back out of the woodland area. This could take in the Reading Circle, our One Stockport Frog and the Jim Heald bench commemorative bench. Some of these features may have to be relocated to suit.
It looks like we will be loosing four picnic benches in total during demolition: two from the Infants Play Area and two from behind the Bowlers' Hut.
We would like these to be replaced with four new benches that are wheelchair / mobility scooter accessible BEFORE demolition works start. These should be in locations that can be accessed throughout the construction but if possible will also fit in when the works are complete.
We would welcome discussions with you on temporary or permanent locations.
There is an existing large mature tree behind the Bowlers Hut on the NE side that is not show on the Proposed Site Plan.
Please include on layouts and note that Friends of the Park would like this tree to remain and be protected.
There are many trees, including several very mature ones to the west of the library, that will be lost as part of the scheme.
Mature trees should be retained wherever possible but all trees that cannot must be clearly logged and recorded and replaced in other agreed areas of the park.
We note the council's policy of planting 3 new trees for each one removed and support this but would prefer mature trees to be left whenever possible.
Marple Civic Society's accessible woodland proposal near to the cinema is a good way to accommodate planting of replacement trees (see Comment O).
Marple Civic Society has been working on a scheme to create an accessible woodland near to the main entrance of the park. Friends of Marple Memorial Park are supportive of this scheme (subject to certain provisos) and we would like to see it adopted as part of the Community Hub improvements. The woodland would be a great repository for replacement trees and extras could be grant funded via the Society's efforts if required. The main Hub contractor could support the hard landscaping.
Drawings and minutes relating to this proposal were passed to the council's Estates Team on Monday 18 September 2023.
Play Areas / Play Park
Friends of the Park must be treated as Key Stakeholders in the Play Park
Friends of the Park were instrumental in raising the funds for both of the existing play areas - the Junior area was built in 2004 and the replacement of the Infants area was driven by us in 2008.
We have concerns about the layout and many other aspects of the Play Park element of the project. We have already had provisional discussions with your team, who have assured us that our group will be treated as Key Stakeholders in the park and fully involved in developing the Play Park designs.
We are very pleased that our full involvement in the design was verbally agreed during discussions after the stakeholder meeting on Wednesday 30 August 2023.
Here are some of the key concerns and issues that we will wish to discuss and develop:
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The Junior Play Area that is being retained is almost 20 years old and is reaching the end of its useful life.
In terms of modern play and accessibility it leaves a lot to be desired, as well as having regular maintenance issues. It would be desirable to replace / upgrade this area as part of the overall scheme but if that is not affordable then plans made now need to recognise that the mid to long term replacement of this area will be a key aim.
The best approach would be to design and specify full replacement of both existing play areas merged into one, then look at a phased approach to the build if necessary.
Prior to the Community Hub scheme causing them to be placed on hold in 2019, we were developing plans to merge the two play areas into a single larger one.
The path crossing diagonally between old and new play areas in this proposed scheme would prohibit that being done in the future. Coupled with the concerns raised in Comment K, we feel this path must be routed differently so that there is still potential to merge the two play areas together in the longer term.
We can't tell if the new Play Park as shown is fenced. We regularly receive concerns from parents when the existing Infants fencing is damaged and we have been instrumental in ensuring that it is maintained and repaired, either by ourselves or the council. There is also a serious issue of dog fouling throughout the park.
We believe it is essential that play areas are fenced, both to keep dogs out and also to make it harder for infants to wander out of the area without a parent noticing.
It is essential that the new equipment is as accessible as possible. We also want to ensure that the chosen equipment functions and lasts as it should. Ideally this will involve investigating existing installations and recommendations, selecting equipment with a proven track record.
We would like the council to work with us to engage with families who have “hands on” experience of accessible play that really works well in order to shape the Play Park design.
The Proposed Site Plan indicates a large sandpit area. Sandpits are not usually accessible and present a maintenance problem, requiring daily checking for broken glass, dog mess and even needles and other drug paraphernalia. We do not think a sandpit is practical here.
The Proposed Site Plan also indicates a large Sensory / Nature area within the Play Park. We are concerned that the area given over to this appears far too large and that it will generally not be accessible. There are more suitable locations within the park where a Sensory / Nature area could be created.
We are concerned that these features are aimed at reducing budgets, rather than providing the high quality and accessible play equipment really required within a destination park.
We are often asked about outdoor water play by members of the public and they may ask as part of this consultation.
We understand the cost and maintenance issues there can be with water play as we have spent some effort looking at it with the council in the past. We feel this is a good opportunity to reinvestigate if there are any new practical developments in water play that may be suitable to incorporate in this scheme.
The existing Infants Play area contains a plaque acknowledging the donation of the original boating pool – this should be saved and resited within the new scheme please.
Marple's very young children who are regular users of the Infants Play Area will suffer most from the loss of their favourite facility in the park. For the smallest ones the junior play area is not really suitable. Please consider with us how some kind of temporary play provision can be made during construction.
We appreciate it may not be possible but can the council and their contractors consider if it will be viable to complete the play park works in advance of the building completion so that the period that children are without access to play can be minimised?
We like the idea of adding some extra Street Workout equipment but are concerned at the distances from the Children's Play Park.
It is preferred to place exercise equipment a good distance from Play Parks so that it doesn't confuse children into thinking it is more equipment for them to play on. In view of this, and the scheme that Friends of the Park are currently installing on the NE side of the park, we would prefer any new equipment to extend our own installation.
We are eager to add a Cross-Trainer and an Arm Bike to the new offering we are currently having installed and would welcome help to achieve that please.
Community Hub Building and immediate surrounds
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We are pleased to see the Diamond Jubilee Flowerbed being relocated as we have requested and are happy with the general location indicated, close to our community artwork.
With reference to our wish to create a plaza area in this location, we will be pleased to fine-tune the position with the team as the design develops.
Note: We envisage it remaining as a hard-landscaped feature with a flowerbed in it, not an area that needs to be mowed as the Proposed Site Plan suggests.
It is essential that temporary toilet and baby change facilities are provided in the park as soon as the library is closed and before the existing toilet block is demolished please. Also, as the existing library toilet that provides disabled access will be lost too, the temporary facilities must include access for the disabled please.
It has long been an aspiration of Friends of the Park and the Brass Bands of Marple to have a bandstand within the park. This would be a great addition to the overall scheme but even if not affordable the design should include space to accommodate one in the future. So as part of the design the most suitable location and provisions for a bandstand to be added later should be identified. This should be discussed with the Brass Bands of Marple and the Friends of the Park please.
Friends of the Park placed on hold a project to provide this in the park in 2019 (attached to the toilet block) due to uncertainty about the Community Hub scheme. Please incorporate this as an extra facility within the overall scheme – location near the Play Park would be ideal. Please discuss.
The existing CCTV in the park has proved to be totally inadequate to protect the wider park from antisocial behaviour and Friends of the Park have been trying to engage with the council to resolve this for many years. An additional camera was purchased and later relocated with the financial support of Marple Area Committee but this has had limited success due to the council's hands-off approach and refusal to engage properly with us. We noted verbal assurances received during discussions with the Hub team after the stakeholder meeting on 30 August 2023 stating that we would be engaged on this as Key Stakeholders in the Park. Please ensure this happens.
We have only commented on Features within or immediately adjacent to the park.
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The new signal crossing is a positive improvement to highway safety but please investigate how it can be done without removal of any of the mature trees bordering the park.
We support the addition of the new signal crossing but the whole entrance needs a well considered make-over and this is the ideal opportunity.
We have the following comments:
Please clarify the extent of removal of the shrub bed bordering the cinema and adjacent to the left hand side path going into the park.
The historic features of the old bridge that used to carry the road over the canal arm into Hollins Mill must not be harmed and should be preserved with interpretation.
There is a serious drainage issue at the main pathway entrance to the park adjacent to our welcome board. Whenever there is heavy rain a huge puddle forms that the soak-away drain simply cannot cope with. Please address and resolve this as part of these works.
There is a major problem with BIFFA wagons accessing the service road behind the Hollins. They have knocked over many of the cast iron bollards as they manoeuvre around the corner and continue to do so. There is also a serious problem of people parking on the pavements and double yellows both sides of Memorial Park Drive near to the entrance in order to visit Greggs. This is exacerbated by the loss of cast iron bollards caused by the BIFFA wagons. Can these issues be addressed as part of these works please?
Our welcome / notice board at the main entrance is reaching the end of its useful life, both as a notice board because it leaks, but also because the large interpretation panel includes a map of the park and its facilities. This will become out-of-date due to the Community Hub scheme. We would welcome help and support from the council and its contractors to upgrade or replace this as part of the overall Hub scheme.
We note the intention to widen paths to accommodate shared access between pedestrians and cyclists. We understand that this is part of wider policies to make cycling easier everywhere but have reservations about safety of pedestrians in a park environment, especially with respect to young children and the elderly using the park.
Careful and considerate cyclists who give way to pedestrians and use a bell are not expected to be a problem but many do not behave that way.
Members' views on encouraging cyclists range between mildly positive to very negative.
We are uncertain whether having line markings to create designated lanes would be safer or whether it would encourage cyclists to speed through the park.
We would wish to discuss the outcome of the consultation alongside any safety data available on this with the council please.
We are installing new outdoor exercise equipment in the park either side of the main pathway. We have asked the neighbourhood team we are working with to discuss the equipment positions with you and we understand that provision has been made to accommodate it. We would appreciate if you could ensure that is correct and confirm please.
There is a reference to the removal of low-level vegetation as part of the widening, which we assume is where the path splits to Garth Road and Lock 10. Please clarify the location and extent of this with us as we maintain the shrub beds. We would probably seek for you to replace by extending on the other side of the bed.
See Comment B regarding widening of the path to the NE of Hollins House.
We object to the removal of 12 mature trees to create a coach lay-by on Station Road, so please disregard this option.
We see this as a better option for the coach lay-by as we prefer loss of street parking to the loss of 12 mature trees bordering the park. We also think the suggestion by Peter Black of using the cinema area for buses and the present bus stop area on The Hollins for coaches should be considered.
Other comments arising:
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We feel this would be a good opportunity for the council to introduce a requirement for dogs to be kept on leads except in designated areas of the park.
This would reduce unintended dog-fouling throughout the park caused by owners not having eyes on their dogs at all times.
This is something we see regularly (and sometimes kneel in) when we are maintaining the flowerbeds in the park during our task days.
We would welcome a discussion on how this could be made to work as part of the Community Hub development please.
Please resite the plaque from Marple Baths recording presentation to the people of Marple in memory of Andrew Macnair in 1931 to a prominent position in the new pool.
There may be opportunities for the council and / or its contractors to help and support projects in the park, and in the past we have been asked to provide a list of these.
There are several items that we may need help and support with, including but not limited to:
- Replacement of old interpretation lecterns.
- A new community art project on the wall of the Bowlers Hut.
- An outdoor table-tennis table.
- A bandstand.
- Additional outdoor exercise equipment.
- Repairs to the skatepark.
- Supply of basketball nets.
- Refurbishment of the WWI silhouettes at park entrances.
- Support of the Marple Civic Society accessible woodland scheme.
- Replacement of the sleepers around the French Boules Court.
- Replacement of the stop boards around the Bowling Green.
- Provision of topsoil.
- Relocation of 5-a-side goals.
We will lose our noticeboard on the outer wall of the library and also the one in front of the Infants Play Area.
We would like replacements for these to include one inside the new Hub building and one outside near to the Play Park please.
Friends of the Park have held our meetings in Marple Library free of charge for 20 years.
Please confirm that this facility will be available to us in the new building.
Will meeting facilities be available to us during the construction phase / after the library is closed?
How you can support Friends of Marple Memorial Park
If you'd like to support Friends of the Park on some or all of these issues then please pick from the items below that you agree with and include them in your personal responses to the consultation. Remember that we are only really concerned with the impact on the park, so make sure you give your own views on the hub building and the other Highways issues too.
- Encourage the council to treat Friends of Marple Memorial Park as Key Stakeholders in the Park throughout the project.
- Ask that safe vehicular access is provided for Friends of the Park to our Store and Mess Room shared with TLC Park Maintenance.
- Ask for the Hub building entrance and public toilets to be sited at the east end of the building so that they are close to the Play Parks and Bowling Green and will enable the creation of an exciting central outdoor plaza area between the new building, the Play Parks and the Bowling Green buildings.
- Ask for disabled parking to be moved closer to the east end of the building and to the Play Parks and Bowling Green.
- Suggest that the out-of-character extension on Hollins House be demolished to give extra space to the new scheme.
- Ask that the woodland wildlife area is preserved with minimal loss and intervention.
- Ask for the council to work with Friends of the Park to resolve concerns over pathway routes and desire lines.
- Ask the council to work closely with Friends of the Park to create an exciting and accessible Play Park.
- Ask that any new CCTV is designed to also combat ASB in the wider park as well as to protect buildings.
- Ask that the new crossing at Station Road is done without losing any trees (Highways Feature 2).
- Ask that all the issues around the main entrance highlighted by Friends of the Park are addressed as part of the works (Highways Feature 4).
- Reject option A for Coach Parking on Station Road that will destroy 12 mature trees (Highways Feature 8).
- Support option B for Coach Parking outside the Regent Cinema that will only loose some parking spaces (Highways Feature 9).
- Ask that Marple Civic Society's Accessible Woodland proposals are discussed and adopted as part of the scheme.
Of course you are welcome to support any of our other more detailed comments that we haven't highlighted in this list.
The most important thing is to have your say!
The consultation closure has been extended to 9th October 2023, make sure you share your views in good time.
Here's the direct link to the online consultation: https://consultation.stockport.gov.uk/highways-and-transportation/marple-community-hub/