Barclays Branch in Hazel Grove to Close

Unfortunately, Barclays Bank tell us that their branch in Hazel Grove will close on Friday 7th December.

Banks now have to consult with customers and the community before the branch actually closes – please let us know if this will affect you badly and we can pass on your comments to Barclays.

It is really disappointing to hear of another bank closure making it more difficult for customers.  The nearest branch left will be in Stockport town centre (1 Bridge St, Stockport SK1 1XU) but for some people other branches in Marple and Bramhall may be more convenient and are only slightly further away.

On a slightly better note, customers will still be able to pay in cheques and cash at the post office inside Asda.

We are writing to Barclays to let them know how disappointed we are and if the decision is final or if anything can be done to change it.  With a lot less people using local branches especially now that many people are now using their phones and computers to manage their bank accounts it seems that in many places the closures of branches is becoming a complete crisis with many people really struggling to cope travelling to distant branches.

Personally, I would like to see the government back a scheme of shared branches across all the banks so that no one is left without any access to a local branch and the services they provide.  Costs could be split across all the banks based on the number of customers they have around the country.

I am also suggesting that the bank might help some people to set up their phones for banking before the branch closes.

Melford Road Unauthorised Occupations

We have seen a series of unauthorised occupations in Melford Road by various different groups of travellers over the years but hopefully there will be an end to the problem soon with the council to make extensive changes to the site – more below.

The last year has seen probably more than ever and we have an occupation by a number of people at the moment.

The End of Melford Road Has Wide Open Streets – Google Street View

Every visit is unpleasant for local businesses and residents, especially those closest in Kyle and Tannock Roads, with the physical mess that they leave behind, the feeling of intimidation that their presence can cause for some and the worry of crime in the area that some feel may come with their presence.

Stockport council have a great team of people that deal with these incursions, along with the police. As soon as it is reported to them they go to visit to assess the level of the problem and then follow a strict legal process to remove them. It is difficult to assess the total cost to Stockport when you add up all of the staff, police, court time and other costs but it really adds up for every visit.

The Removal Process

Often travellers will move on within two weeks but sometimes it can take longer. The first delay can be welfare needs of any travellers present, for example children that are not well. Stockport council has to follow legal procedures in this respect to ensure that these immediate welfare needs are met. As frustrating as it can be seeing travellers stay any longer officers have to respect these needs.

Once it is clear that immediate welfare needs are ok then the formal legal process can be followed from the Criminal and Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

Travellers are issued with a Section 77 notice from this act that directs them to leave within 24 hours.

Unfortunately some groups ignore these notices and the council then has to apply to the Magistrates’ Court for a Section 78 Order of this act. This takes a few days longer but it can then be enforced.

While everyone in the council works hard to keep the process running as quickly as possible, they must follow national laws.

Future Prevention

As part of the A6MARR scheme Hazel Grove received a sum of money for complementary measures because we will see a small decrease in traffic though the town when the road opens. This money can be spent on transport related improvments. As the travellors park on the public highway we can use some of this money on measures to prevent the illegal occupation problem.

We wrote about the complementary measures in an earlier post here:

The changes to be made at Melford road include improvements to the pavements and installation of barriers which will restrict unauthorised access while allowing local businesses to continue to operate.

Stockport Lib Dems pledge to freeze parking charges in district centres

Stockport Liberal Democrats have pledged to freeze parking charges in district centres if they regain control at the Town Hall following this summer’s elections.

Speaking about Labour’s proposals, Cllr Mark Hunter, leader of the Lib Dem Group, said: “Labour are proposing a huge hike in parking charges in some places. In the district centres, they want to scrap the one-hour charge and replace it with a minimum two-hour charge instead, whilst in certain car parks near to railway stations they want to replace the current free parking with hefty charges.

“Labour’s own figures suggest this will mean over a third of the visits to our district shopping centres will cease, which would be a huge blow to our already hard-pressed local traders. The local representative of the Federation of Small Businesses has written to all councillors in protest, highlighting the dangers of this folly.”

Local Cllr, Jon Twigge said, “Here in Hazel Grove, our local shops are already really struggling and we hear about more problems regularly.  Increases in local car park charges like this could be devastating for some businesses.  They might as well put up no shopping signs as implement these huge increases.”

Jon and Paul Welcome Phase Three of Stockport Exchange

Phase 3 of Stockport Exchange has been launched, with a new office block to be built on the site of the former Cineworld cinema by Stockport station.

This is phase three of six that was agreed by the Lib Dem administration on Stockport Council. A few years ago, anyone coming out of Stockport station would see the back of the closed Heaven and Hell nightclub and the bowling alley. It wasn’t a great advert for the town.

The Lib Dem administration have brought about a transformation. We now have a new hotel, grade A offices, a new cinema complex at Redrock, numerous road improvements and more on the way. There’s still a long way to go, but Stockport is changing for the better.

“While Hazel Grove won’t see development on the scale of the one Billion Pounds that was planned by the Liberal Democrats in the Town Hall a bypass would allow us to invest and regenerate right along our patch of the A6 once a majority of all the dirty and heavy vehicles that are just passing through could go around us,” said Lib Dem Councillor Jon Twigge.

Redrock Cinema Complex Opens in Stockport

Stockport’s new Redrock cinema complex opened this week. The Light have opened a ten screen cinema. There are a range of restaurants either open already or coming soon include Zizzi, Pizza Express, Gourmet Burger Company and Loungers. A gym opens in January and the new car park – accessible directly from the A6 for the first time – is open for business too.

Redrock is a great addition to Stockport, putting the cinema and restaurants right in the heart of the town for the first time. A new public square connects them to Merseyway and through there to the Old Town. The Light is a different kind of cinema – plush, reclining seats are just part of the offer.

Redrock, which has all-party support at the Council, isn’t costing taxpayers any money. It’s an investment in the town which is expected to either break even or deliver a profit to council taxpayers. The old Cineworld cinema near the station will soon be demolished and replaced with Grade A offices, adding to the successful Stockport Exchange development.

“More people are coming into Stockport now.  There are new restaurants, Foodie Friday and the hotels are full; Stockport is changing. We are proud of what the Lib Dems have done to improve Stockport over the last few years. There is more to be done, but we’re making good progress.” said Cllr Jon Twigge

Citizens Advice Stockport reveals home improvement nightmares

Citizens Advice Stockport is warning residents to be on the lookout for rogue builders as the national charity reveals it has helped people with 40,000 problems related to home improvements in the last year.

“While there are many good trade businesses out there it is sad fact that too many do not always provide the service that residents expect and deserve” said Cllr Jon Twigge of Hazel Grove.

As people make use of the summer to have work done on their homes, Citizens Advice Stockport is revealing the top three most common building problems people report:

  • Complaints about the quality of the work carried out
  • Building work being unsafe or faulty
  • Disputes around the cost of the work

People contacted Citizens Advice wanting to know how to resolve their home improvement problems and their rights around refunds and compensation.

Citizens Advice Stockport is offering top tips on how to avoid problems when hiring someone to carry out work, and your rights if things do go wrong.

To see the the tips that Citizens Advice Stockport recommend see their article at stockportcab.org.uk/archives/2687

If you’ve had a problem with building work, and you’re not sure about your rights or what to do next, visit Citizens Advice Stockport or call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06