Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Park Life: Marie Louise Gardens Council Motion

Today the cynical, twisting Lib Dem opposition in Manchester will try to have the council illegally vote down, countermand or otherwise interfere with a quasi-judicial planning and legal process, with a rather tortuous history, affecting Marie Louise Gardens.

LOL have rehearsed some of the pertinent facts in the case which these Lib Dems have been deliberately concealing in a bid to whip up hysteria. Fifteen facts so far. At least fifteen more pieces of the jigsaw of truth where these came from!

In essence it is proposed that a piece of depot land which has never formed part of the public areas of a park is to be transferred to the owner of the Park Lodge, sold under Tory Right to Buy laws many years ago, in exchange for a substantial cash amount that could rescue the Park from decay.

The Lib Dems and their allies have been pretending that the whole of the Gardens, or as they now say "Parkland" is under threat, and some 6,000 people have signed a petition to stop that. LOL have yet to find anyone that signed it who knew that the land to be transferred was just 19 metres by 20 metres in size.

There has been an EDM with the Gardens under threat in the title; there have been countless posters, fliers and leaflets with the same misleading message; there have been two petitions one online the other on paper, again carried out with shocking misinformation; and the local paper The South Manchester Distorter have played a "blinder" in also covering up the facts and repeatedly running the over the top Lib Dem spin.

Some local residents would still object no doubt as is their right, though most would not in my estimation, but that is not the point. Whatever one feels about these Gardens and this gardeners' depot the Lib Dems have been trying to perpetrate ANOTHER HOAX for electoral advantage. That is the point.

And, for the record, both the local Residents' Association next to the Gardens and the Didsbury Civic Society SUPPORT THE PLANS.

Councillor Graham Shaw has been moved into the frontline on this as it turns out that Councillor Mark Clayton, who has been to the fore with asinine arguments and belligerent threats, made a submission to planning SUPPORTING the proposals, albeit mainly because of the cash receipts.

But Councillor Shaw may not be free of hypocrisy and double dealing either. LOL is told that he was allegedly well aware of the plans as they developed over two years, that he allegedly never objected, and that he even allegedly attended licensing hearings, working closely on the same objections as the successful planning applicant!

I've yet to check but I'm also told that Councillor Shaw did not attend the relevant Planning Hearing where the discussion and vote - to allow this and regenerate the park - took place. Why ever was that?

LOL have no idea whether the majority Labour Group will need to chuck the Lib Dem motion out themselves. Perhaps they will amend it beyond recognition.

But it may well be that the City Solicitor simply rules that this is not a matter for the Council to rule on.

MORE LATER: Need to go off and be there at that Full Council Meeting.

UPDATE: After two speeches for and one against this item was completely removed from the agenda ending the discussion with no vote taken. Report to follow.

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