Marple Community Forum & Noticeboard

Local Community => Local Issues => Topic started by: CTCREP on January 30, 2019, 12:33:23 PM

Title: Etherow Country Park
Post by: CTCREP on January 30, 2019, 12:33:23 PM
I have been told the Council is proposing to demolish the Toilets near the weir in Etherow Country Park for the cost of £23,000.  Apparently there is a blocked pipe.  It is difficult to believe that unblocking a pipe would cost over £23,000.

There is a petition to be signed in the Cafe by those of you who use the park.

 I have also been told that that the £300,000 collected annually by the Council through the car parking fees in Etherow Country Park do not go to the upkeep of the park. Why not?

What with the failure to remove debris in the lake and canal, and the proposal not to repair the riverside path alongside Keg Pool, you can only assume the Council intend the park to fall into decay.  Why is that?
Title: Re: Etherow Country Park
Post by: amazon on January 30, 2019, 08:37:32 PM
I have been told the Council is proposing to demolish the Toilets near the weir in Etherow Country Park for the cost of £23,000.  Apparently there is a blocked pipe.  It is difficult to believe that unblocking a pipe would cost over £23,000.

There is a petition to be signed in the Cafe by those of you who use the park.

 I have also been told that that the £300,000 collected annually by the Council through the car parking fees in Etherow Country Park do not go to the upkeep of the park. Why not?

What with the failure to remove debris in the lake and canal, and the proposal not to repair the riverside path alongside Keg Pool, you can only assume the Council intend the park to fall into decay.  Why is that?
the money they save could be wasted on something else .
Title: Re: Etherow Country Park
Post by: CTCREP on January 31, 2019, 02:03:39 PM
The Petition is in the Visitor Centre adjacent to the Cafe.  Please sign it if you are near the Park.
Title: Re: Etherow Country Park
Post by: Malcolm Allan on January 31, 2019, 04:08:49 PM
I've been working on this for a while. As well as being a Councillor, I am also a volunteer at Etherow. We were aware as soon as the toilets were closed and for months now I've been writing to and meeting council officers to get information on why. This is a very long story but to keep it short, we were told there was an expensive repair needed to a drainage pipe and this would cost in the region of £20k odd. I asked to see the quotation as it seemed very high. Meanwhile they found a quote for the alternative, which was demolition of the toilets at a cost of £27,000. Thanks to a Freedom of Information request we now know the cost of the drain repair is quoted at £5k, and the rest is all about other repairs and ongoing maintenance over 3 years. I believe most of this can be done buy us volunteers, hence saving the toilets and the tax payer soem cash! The petition is mine, and has my name on the bottom, and I told the council I was doing this when they were unable after a long period to get me the data we now have. Please sign the petition if you agree with us, and I will present it to full Council. Big thanks to Etherow Volunteers and Compstall Community Council who have been pushing on this issue through me and been a huge support and very active in getting out the petition.
Title: Re: Etherow Country Park
Post by: jimblob on February 01, 2019, 09:59:25 AM
Thanks to a Freedom of Information request we now know the cost of the drain repair is quoted at £5k, and the rest is all about other repairs and ongoing maintenance over 3 years.
Great work Malcom!
Not only are Stockport council a bunch of tools, they're devious b*g**rs too and good at distorting the truth to perpetuate their own existence.
Title: Re: Etherow Country Park
Post by: amazon on February 01, 2019, 02:04:13 PM
I've been working on this for a while. As well as being a Councillor, I am also a volunteer at Etherow. We were aware as soon as the toilets were closed and for months now I've been writing to and meeting council officers to get information on why. This is a very long story but to keep it short, we were told there was an expensive repair needed to a drainage pipe and this would cost in the region of £20k odd. I asked to see the quotation as it seemed very high. Meanwhile they found a quote for the alternative, which was demolition of the toilets at a cost of £27,000. Thanks to a Freedom of Information request we now know the cost of the drain repair is quoted at £5k, and the rest is all about other repairs and ongoing maintenance over 3 years. I believe most of this can be done buy us volunteers, hence saving the toilets and the tax payer soem cash! The petition is mine, and has my name on the bottom, and I told the council I was doing this when they were unable after a long period to get me the data we now have. Please sign the petition if you agree with us, and I will present it to full Council. Big thanks to Etherow Volunteers and Compstall Community Council who have been pushing on this issue through me and been a huge support and very active in getting out the petition.
Well done will sign this weekend when i go walking around there .
Title: Re: Etherow Country Park
Post by: Stephen on February 02, 2019, 09:49:25 AM
For many years I had involvement with Manchester City Council at senior officer (and councillor) level and that taught me never to believe a word that you are told. Financial estimates for work which quite often were twice what it should be and outright lies were commonplace. Never take what you are told without doing your own in depth investigation.
Title: Re: Etherow Country Park
Post by: CTCREP on February 02, 2019, 02:04:45 PM
I would hope the Council will recognise that the £5000 repair bill is better than the £27,000 demolition bill.  But even if the repair bill proves to be higher or the repair even proves to be impossible, the installation of a cesspit or septic tank is also about £5000.  This is yet another example of this Council, particularly those responsible for parks and footpaths, failing to investigate fully and to understand the result of their ill considered decisions.
Title: Re: Etherow Country Park
Post by: amazon on February 02, 2019, 04:03:26 PM
I would hope the Council will recognise that the £5000 repair bill is better than the £27,000 demolition bill.  But even if the repair bill proves to be higher or the repair even proves to be impossible, the installation of a cesspit or septic tank is also about £5000.  This is yet another example of this Council, particularly those responsible for parks and footpaths, failing to investigate fully and to understand the result of their ill considered decisions.
easy come easy go atitude .
Title: Re: Etherow Country Park
Post by: jimblob on February 04, 2019, 04:02:31 PM
I would hope the Council will recognise that the £5000 repair bill is better than the £27,000 demolition bill.  But even if the repair bill proves to be higher or the repair even proves to be impossible, the installation of a cesspit or septic tank is also about £5000.  This is yet another example of this Council, particularly those responsible for parks and footpaths, failing to investigate fully and to understand the result of their ill considered decisions.
And a prime example of them missing the point; it's not just about budgets but about preserving green-space and amenities alongside developing and maintaining infrastructure for better transport. The council is so obsessed with safety, speed limits and creating a nanny state, they're failing in their basic duties by claiming a moral high-ground / we know better attitude.
Title: Re: Etherow Country Park
Post by: CTCREP on February 04, 2019, 07:42:29 PM
Latest reply from the Council

The closure (not demolition) of the toilet block is related not only to the ongoing revenue costs but also the capital required to bring them into a decent condition. The closure of this toilet block would not leave the park without facilities, there is a full suite of toilet facilities at the café / visitor centre.
 
You have also asked why the income from car parking is not ring fenced to the upkeep of the park. This is largely due to the manner in which income is treated by the Council. It is not ‘additional funding’ but forms the basis of the means to cover costs in much the same was that services are funded by Council Tax and Business Rates.


How do you deal with Council employees who find it better to close down a facility (No mention of £27,000 or even £5000, nor a broken drain, so where did that come from?  I  am sure there are many people, considering we are an ageing population, would accept a poor facility more than not have one at all.  Not everyone is able to walk from the weir down to the Cafe when nature calls. 

The Council's lack of ring fence shows a complete disregard for all the people who pay their car parking fees to enjoy a park that the present establishment appear quite ready to let fall into decay.  I hope our Councillors of all parties will take up this issue, and ensure Stockport MBC recognises the value of the facilities we already have.
Title: Re: Etherow Country Park
Post by: andrewbowden on February 04, 2019, 09:10:20 PM
The Council's lack of ring fence shows a complete disregard for all the people who pay their car parking fees to enjoy a park that the present establishment appear quite ready to let fall into decay.  I hope our Councillors of all parties will take up this issue, and ensure Stockport MBC recognises the value of the facilities we already have.

Okay - serious question.

If you start ring fencing money raised, where do you stop ring fencing?  Because ring fencing one thing sets precedents.
You start by keeping money raised in Etherow and only spending it there.  Then someone else comes along and demands that money raised in area X is only spent in area X.  And why shouldn't it, because look what you're doing in Etherow!

And before you know it, all the money raised from the Derby Way car park is only being spent on projects within a 2 minute walk of that car park, because that's "Marple's money".

Ring fencing cash like that just means it will just mean they've tied their hands behind their back.  What if one year there's not enough money raised from the fees?  What if there's more raised than needed, but some other area desperately needs the cash and hasn't got it?

Of course that all assumes that the parking fees are profit making...  Which may or may not be the case.

That's your reason why the council won't ring fence the money.  You'd be better off trying to make sure Etherow has as much money as it needs, rather than insisting the source.

Although good luck with that because the council's got to make £16m of cuts this year alone thanks to cuts made on all local councils by the government in Westminster.
https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/stockport-council-new-budget-impact-15780280

The way things are going, we'll be lucky if the council has any money to give to parks at all.
Title: Re: Etherow Country Park
Post by: CTCREP on February 05, 2019, 06:58:40 PM
Just for the record, I didn’t use the term “ring fenced”. That is the term used by the Council. I askied why the money collected by the Car Park wasn’t used for the benefit of the park. That is not the same thing.

As a cyclist I know the Council spent thousands of pounds on creating a shared cycle and pedestrian track alongside Millgate that practically no cyclist wanted. Recently they have spent money on upgrading footpaths and bridleways in the Mellor Strines area, that relatively few people use, while at the same time refusing to upgrade Rollins Lane, Marple Bridge, that would allow pupils to cycle to school whose bus passes are being threatened.   Quote from the MEN  Proposal to axe some free school bus passes 
Scores of school children may no longer be entitled to a free bus pass if plans to cut services go ahead.

The Council is totally unable to consider the effect their decisions will have without seeking alternative solutions. If we lose the toilets, the park becomes less attractive and eventually the money collected at the car park will diminish.   Some of that car park money should be designated for the park for essential maintenance, and any residue used for whatever hare brained schemes the Council next comes up with, which hopefully our Councillors will oppose most energetically.
Title: Re: Etherow Country Park
Post by: andrewbowden on February 05, 2019, 07:21:45 PM
Just for the record, I didn’t use the term “ring fenced”. That is the term used by the Council. I askied why the money collected by the Car Park wasn’t used for the benefit of the park. That is not the same thing.

As a cyclist I know the Council spent thousands of pounds on creating a shared cycle and pedestrian track alongside Millgate that practically no cyclist wanted. Recently they have spent money on upgrading footpaths and bridleways in the Mellor Strines area, that relatively few people use, while at the same time refusing to upgrade Rollins Lane, Marple Bridge, that would allow pupils to cycle to school whose bus passes are being threatened.   Quote from the MEN  Proposal to axe some free school bus passes
Scores of school children may no longer be entitled to a free bus pass if plans to cut services go ahead.

The Council is totally unable to consider the effect their decisions will have without seeking alternative solutions. If we lose the toilets, the park becomes less attractive and eventually the money collected at the car park will diminish.   Some of that car park money should be designated for the park for essential maintenance, and any residue used for whatever hare brained schemes the Council next comes up with, which hopefully our Councillors will oppose most energetically.

I am sorry you just don't get why no council ever commit to doing what you suggest by keeping the money in the park.  I have tried to explain clearly and obviously I have failed.  But it ain't going to happen.  No council would be stupid enough to do it because they know full well that to do so will cause them problems down the line.

And yes, closing down the toilets may well ultimately  result in less parking fees being taken.  And Westminster doesn't care.  Austerity measures have created all manner of short term savings that end up costing more in the long run.  But when councils have no cash, cut is all they can do.

If you have a magic source of money that will pay for everything, I am sure the council will be all ears.

Until then, expect more short sighted cuts that make so sense because when you have lost millions and millions of pounds off your annual budget for years and years, and you have to balance the books, what else do you do?
Title: Re: Etherow Country Park
Post by: andrewbowden on February 05, 2019, 07:29:45 PM
Oh and as the Tories look set to divert money away from urban councils to the (mostly blue) shires, expect things to get even worse.

Title: Re: Etherow Country Park
Post by: amazon on February 05, 2019, 09:00:03 PM
Just for the record, I didn’t use the term “ring fenced”. That is the term used by the Council. I askied why the money collected by the Car Park wasn’t used for the benefit of the park. That is not the same thing.

As a cyclist I know the Council spent thousands of pounds on creating a shared cycle and pedestrian track alongside Millgate that practically no cyclist wanted. Recently they have spent money on upgrading footpaths and bridleways in the Mellor Strines area, that relatively few people use, while at the same time refusing to upgrade Rollins Lane, Marple Bridge, that would allow pupils to cycle to school whose bus passes are being threatened.   Quote from the MEN  Proposal to axe some free school bus passes
Scores of school children may no longer be entitled to a free bus pass if plans to cut services go ahead.

The Council is totally unable to consider the effect their decisions will have without seeking alternative solutions. If we lose the toilets, the park becomes less attractive and eventually the money collected at the car park will diminish.   Some of that car park money should be designated for the park for essential maintenance, and any residue used for whatever hare brained schemes the Council next comes up with, which hopefully our Councillors will oppose most energetically.
As regular user of etherow park i agree with you all the way ihave heard today by a lady thats involed with freinds of the park that at the end of feb they are going to clear the mess i call it the swamp in front of the garden centre it has been put of three times dont no whos doing it the freinds or the councill .we shall see .you are aware its the toilets near the waterfall they want to close quite a few people who i have asked to signed the petition thats in the information part think its the cafe toilets . .But they could be next .keep complaining .
Title: Re: Etherow Country Park
Post by: jimblob on February 06, 2019, 10:18:18 AM
Oh and as the Tories look set to divert money away from urban councils to the (mostly blue) shires, expect things to get even worse.
So change Marple from a Liberal voting retirement village to something more like a (mostly blue) "Shire" instead of complaining about it. We'll never have a LibDem government so why perpetuate the myth that it works on a local level and suffer the consequences.
Title: Re: Etherow Country Park
Post by: wheels on February 06, 2019, 07:27:42 PM
Great work Malcom!
Not only are Stockport council a bunch of tools, they're devious b*g**rs too and good at distorting the truth to perpetuate their own existence.

I'm not sure who you mean by "Stockport Council " do you me elected members if so do you mean all 63 or just the controlling Labour Group or some other combination or do you mean officers or is "Stockport Council" some turn of phrase which we are meant to understand. So who do you mean when using the term "Stockport Council " ?
Title: Re: Etherow Country Park
Post by: jimblob on February 06, 2019, 09:17:30 PM
I'm not sure who you mean by "Stockport Council " do you me elected members if so do you mean all 63 or just the controlling Labour Group or some other combination or do you mean officers or is "Stockport Council" some turn of phrase which we are meant to understand. So who do you mean when using the term "Stockport Council " ?
I suspect I mean local government in general, a combination of all of the above giving rise to en mass indecision, design by committee, a complete absence of pragmatism and political correctness gone mad.
Title: Re: Etherow Country Park
Post by: admin on February 07, 2019, 11:05:25 AM
I've been working on this for a while. As well as being a Councillor, I am also a volunteer at Etherow. We were aware as soon as the toilets were closed and for months now I've been writing to and meeting council officers to get information on why. This is a very long story but to keep it short, we were told there was an expensive repair needed to a drainage pipe and this would cost in the region of £20k odd. I asked to see the quotation as it seemed very high. Meanwhile they found a quote for the alternative, which was demolition of the toilets at a cost of £27,000. Thanks to a Freedom of Information request we now know the cost of the drain repair is quoted at £5k, and the rest is all about other repairs and ongoing maintenance over 3 years. I believe most of this can be done buy us volunteers, hence saving the toilets and the tax payer soem cash! The petition is mine, and has my name on the bottom, and I told the council I was doing this when they were unable after a long period to get me the data we now have. Please sign the petition if you agree with us, and I will present it to full Council. Big thanks to Etherow Volunteers and Compstall Community Council who have been pushing on this issue through me and been a huge support and very active in getting out the petition.

There is now an electronic version of the petition to save the toilets at Etherow Park Weir:

http://democracy.stockport.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?ID=104&RPID=16604320&HPID=16604320&$LO$=1 (http://democracy.stockport.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?ID=104&RPID=16604320&HPID=16604320&$LO$=1)
Title: Re: Etherow Country Park
Post by: amazon on February 07, 2019, 11:56:28 AM
I suspect I mean local government in general, a combination of all of the above giving rise to en mass indecision, design by committee, a complete absence of pragmatism and political correctness gone mad.
So what do you intend to do about it
Title: Re: Etherow Country Park
Post by: jimblob on February 07, 2019, 04:55:32 PM
So what do you intend to do about it
Emigrate
Title: Re: Etherow Country Park
Post by: Howard on February 07, 2019, 07:53:01 PM
Emigrate

I'll miss you.
Title: Re: Etherow Country Park
Post by: amazon on February 07, 2019, 08:06:19 PM
I'll miss you.
Me to
Title: Re: Etherow Country Park
Post by: jimblob on February 07, 2019, 09:00:56 PM
Me to
Too!
Title: Re: Etherow Country Park
Post by: admin on February 08, 2019, 07:40:52 AM
Compstall Community Council has shared a couple of images of the council's estimate to repair the toilets:
Title: Re: Etherow Country Park
Post by: CTCREP on February 08, 2019, 06:01:29 PM
So let’s analyse this.

First the estimate is for the Toilets,  and also the Pump House

The priority items cost £1700.  Not a huge sum.

The wish list beyond that is £6500 for improved pathway.  Whilst welcome, the Council is quite happy with poor surfaces elsewhere - Rollins Lane for example - so is this really necessary?   Even if it does need improving, it is probably within the ability of the Friends of Etherow Country Park with some little assistance from the Council, not the occasional opposition they get from the Council. So this could be discounted.

Next £5,800 for Roofing repairs and some timber work.  That is essential. So that and the remaining work comes to £6700.

Is that too much of a sum to be taken out of the Car Park charges that go to other, non Etherow Country Park projects?

People are paying to visit the Park. The money they pay should go to the Parks upkeep.

I have signed Malcolm’s petition, but it needs many more to sign.

http://democracy.stockport.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?ID=104&RPID=16604320&HPID=16604320&$LO$=1
Title: Re: Etherow Country Park
Post by: andrewbowden on February 08, 2019, 07:06:18 PM
Is that too much of a sum to be taken out of the Car Park charges that go to other, non Etherow Country Park projects?

Or- GASP - just use some money that's reserved for such things rather than wasting time, money and effort by trying to reserve cash pointlessly from a single source.  Your solution just creates pointless bureaucracy. 

Seriously change the record.  Stop worrying about where the money comes from and concentrate on the need for the money.  Focus on what is relevant. The exact source of park funding from the council income is  irrelevant.    The need for it, clearly isn't.   

Title: Re: Etherow Country Park
Post by: andrewbowden on February 08, 2019, 07:15:09 PM
Incidentally I can tell you EXACTLY what would happen if a proportion of car parking fees at Etherow was reserved for the park.

THE FUNDING FROM THE MAIN BUDGET WOULD BE REDUCED ACCORDINGLY.

It won't increase Etherow's budget.  It can't increase Etherow's budget.

Why? Because that money is being spent somewhere right now by the council.  Keeping it in the park just reduces the amount of money to spend elsewhere.  Something else has to give.  Keeping the money in the park does not magically increase the money the council has.  It just moves money from one pot to another.  And adds a layer of hassle for the council accountants.

Seriously.  Change the record. 
Title: Re: Etherow Country Park
Post by: jimblob on February 11, 2019, 01:48:29 PM
Or- GASP - just use some money that's reserved for such things rather than wasting time, money and effort by trying to reserve cash pointlessly from a single source.  Your solution just creates pointless bureaucracy. 

You've hit the nail on the head here. I'm sure the very process of assessing and creating this cost summary has in itself cost several thousand pounds. A site visit, collating quotes, writing the report.... Our friends at the TownHall and Fred Perry House love bureaucracy because it keeps them in jobs and the more of it the better, they don't actually care if anything gets done!