Local Councillors Annual Report 2010/11.
Andrew Bispham, Ward Councillor for Marple North
Following the elections in May 2011 I was re-elected for a further four year term and have
now served on Stockport Council representing the residents of Marple North for a total of
eight years. The Marple North ward boundary encompasses Compstall, Mellor, Moorend,
Mill Brow and half of Marple itself.
• Environment and Economy Scrutiny Committee.
I am vice chair of the Environment and Economy scrutiny committee which examines the
decisions made by the executive members and the council officers with regard to the
future development strategy for the built environment and provision of related
environmental services across the Borough.
• Local Development Framework Group.
For this year I have been selected to sit on the Local Development Framework Group.
This is a group of councillors who look at the borough as a whole and try to establish
policies which will determine the type of developments which will be encouraged and
2010/11 has been another quiet year primarily due to the poor financial position faced by
many residents and businesses. In and around Marple many of the larger developments
which have long standing planning permissions remain on hold. Nothing has transpired on
the sites on Cataract Mill, Mellor or Compstall Mill.
The long awaited revamp of the Chadwick street car park is complete with controversy
remaining over the flow of traffic up Church Street. The next and final phase of the project
to regenerate Marple District Centre will be the area around the Hollins precinct which is
due to start this Spring. The traffic lights through the centre of Marple have been linked in
an effort to reduce congestion. Currently, there are still some tweaks which need to be
The last two severe winters with prolonged and deep freezes have had a devastating
effect in the roads in the area. Potholes and general surface deterioration are a real
problem. This presented more than the usual challenges for residents of the Pennine
fringe of Stockport’s eastern wards with some residents being cut off again. In general, the
roads were again kept open and gritted but a few areas experienced icy conditions which
didn’t move despite being gritted due to the extreme cold and fresh snow. Now the winter
is receding into memory, the damage to the roads from ice and salt is again becoming
apparent. The council workforce has been out repairing potholes but much damage still
needs to be attended to. Attempts to work wth the Fire service to secure a replacement
vehicle for Marple Fire Station with Snow Plough Capabilities have so far proved fruitless.
• Looking Forward…..
The work to stabilise Dan Bank has now reached its conclusion with some controversy
around the removal of trees and disruption to residents in the vicinity. The replanting and
seeding of the areas affected is ongoing but the project has made a real difference to the
entrance to Marple. Controversial issues for the two Marple wards which are looming on
the horizon for the coming twelve month would appear to be the reservoir proposals by
United Utilities in High Lane, British Waterways plans for the top lock area of the canal,
and traffic calming problems on Lower Church Lane.
• Economic Realities…..
Perhaps the economy will pick up, or perhaps it won’t, either way there is going to be a
raft of difficult financial decisions to be made over the next few years. The removal of £20
million from the Council Budget last year, and another £18 million this year, leave the
council with some stark choices.
• Marple Area Committee.
As a ward councillor I am a committee member of the local Area Committee. The
committee meets on a four-week cycle in Marple library to deal with local issues in open
forum and under full public scrutiny.
The committee has a small delegated budget for local initiatives such as pavement repairs
and local traffic calming schemes. Funds are also made available to local voluntary
groups who wish to finance voluntary and community activities in and around the two
A key function of the committee is to bring into the public domain planning applications,
which have for one reason or another, become contentious. The applications can then be
discussed with participation from the local residents who feel that they are affected by the
proposed development. The applications are then decided by the Area Committee or
deferred to the Central Planning and Highways Committee in Stockport as appropriate.
Casework & Surgeries.
• During 2010/11, the regular Councillor’s surgeries, resident’s letters and telephone calls
have resulted in a similar mixed bag of casework from local residents as the past seven
• The number one complaint for several years has been blocked road drains and resulting
flooding. This is an ongoing problem as the aging infrastructure continues to suffer
damage from other contractor’s works smashing the underground pipework and over the
last two years the theft of iron grid tops as the value of scrap has soared.
• This has been followed as a close second by parking and enforcement. Traffic in general
appears to figure prominently amongst residents concerns, with speed and accidents on
some of the more rural roads leading out to the east of the borough in the direction of
Derbyshire, raising particular concern. Many of these continue to surface during street
surgeries conducted around the wards in conjunction with the local Member of Parliament.
• The most prominent amongst complaints this year are again the recurring themes of
footpath repairs, street lighting, dog fouling, parking, refuse collection, potholes and anti
• I have again sought to attend all the meetings of the Council groups to which I am
allocated and have achieved a good record this year. I have attended all except one of the
full council meetings (5 of 6) and attended all but one of area committee meetings (10 of
11). I have also attended all but one of the Environment and Economy Scrutiny Committee
meetings (6 of 7). A conflict of interest forced me to give up my place for one meeting.
Events, Work, Achievements.
• Cycle Promotion.
As a user of two wheels I take a keen interest in the problems faced by cyclists and
motorcyclists and have watched the steady development of cycle friendly and at times
unfriendly, infrastructure throughout the borough.
I represent Stockport Council on the Trans Pennine Trail steering group and also the
South Pennine Integrated Transport Strategy forum which meets in Matlock.
During 2010/11 I continued to watch the debate which rumbles on around the proposed
bypass and issues related to the South Manchester Multi Modal Strategy. The bypass has
moved a step closer with the agreement to extend the A555 from Woodford to Simpson’s
Corner. This will cause a problem as the current traffic studies don’t cover the scenario of
the bypass ending at this point.
Outside and Governing Bodies.
• Marple Hall School
I am a member of the Board of Governors of Marple Hall School as a Local Education
Authority appointed Governor. This involves attending board meetings and training events
to ensure the effective running of the school. The new head teacher, Dr Rose Hegan
replaced Leslie Calderbank in Autumn 2010
• Local Residents Groups.
I have attended the following local voluntary public forums as council representative and
ward councillor on an ad hoc basis. These include;
Mellor Society, (Ex officio member of the committee.)
Compstall Community Council,
Marple Locks Heritage Society, (Paid up member)
Marple Regeneration Partnership,
Marple Bridge Association
Friends of the Memorial Park.
Marple Community Council,
Marple Civic Society, (Paid up Member)
Goyt Valley Rail Users, (Paid up Member)
Marple Energy Saving Strategy Group
Greater Manchester Authorities.
I am not currently representing Stockport on any of the Greater Manchester Authorities.
Marple North ward councillor.