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Everything posted by Waltonian

  1. Who could possibly say Warrington is short of culture when last evening at the Odeon there was a televised live showing of the National Theatre's production of Hamlet starring Benedict Cumberbatch, a quite brilliant production which has been well-reviewed. There were 6 people present.
  2. Is anyone interested in this topic or is it just a forum for correct English. I have in front of me drawings produced by Elan showing the original building, the approved scheme and the new proposed scheme, dated 16/09/2015. I am impressed by how quickly a new scheme was drawn up. It is for a modern white-painted semi with some bits attached to make it look old. The proportions of the frontage, roof line, chimneys, windows, door etc all appear to have changed. I presume Elan will make this available in the hope that it will be approved by public and planners. But don't expect to see the original. My first reaction to the collapse was that it would replicated as is done all over the world after, for example, war damage. Why is this not possible? The original approved scheme accepted the limitations of an old building, more low profile than modern homes, so they were prepared to accept its 'shape'. They must be pushed to copy it faithfully, if only to restore some faith in the planning system.
  3. Ten years ago this site was given temporary planning permission but had to be cleared and restored to agricultural land by December 2014. They were required to limit the number of families and the size of their permitted 'additional' van and to conform with the site plan. They have now applied for permanent permission with seven more families, no restriction on the size of the additional van and with no site plan. For full information see planning application 2014/24509 on the WBC website
  4. When I first outlined here last spring what Warrington BC was going to do to Walton Gardens I was told I was talking complete rubbish. Tom is having the same difficulty. He tried hard to get back to the topic, but it seems impossible to get some people to think and contribute positively. Tom's ideas, along with many others are positive and contribute to the debate. As he and Dizzie have outlined there are many ways in which the Gardens could benefit from voluntary and youth help. Various suggestions have been made to engage students and it would be very sad if Warrington BC fail to use these opportunities. My task at the moment on behalf of the Walton Estate Advisory Group is simply to encourage as many people as possible to consider how the Estate might be improved. Sadly I guess many people who might have responded to the simple challenge Walton Gardens. Wonderful but..... will have been put off by the debate(?) that has ensued. So twice now my efforts to help the people of Warrington have been hijacked (or pwned?? I still don't understand it). Should I bother??
  5. Just getting back to the topic... It would be useful if all of the people contributing here could also get involved with the official council survey which is here: www.visitchesterandcheshire.co.uk/waltonhall ...as well as the Facebook 'Walton Estate Advisory Group' here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Walton-Estate-Advisory-Group/118361721559311
  6. Could we get back to the topic please, and start another one to continue this debate
  7. The National Trust were approached but were not interested.
  8. Let's keep this really simple. What would you say after 'but...'
  9. As a member of WEAG representing the Save Walton Gardens campaign, I hope to use this forum in a positive way to help the Group make sensible informed decisions in the interests of the people of Warrington. It is easy to be cynical but WBC learned a lesson from the SWG campaign and are genuinely keen to hear from the public. The composition of the group will ensure this. To clear up one error, there is plenty of time to submit your ideas. The Warrington Guardian has today corrected the timetable and though there is still a date (Dec 9th) by which time we hope people can submit ideas, we will still be open to suggestions after that. So what do we want and where and how? The main survey is available in all libraries in Warrington, and at the Contact Centre in Sankey Street. It is also available on-line at www.visitchesterandcheshire.co.uk/waltonhall. Copies are available from Karen Kellett at the Environment & Regeneration Directorate, New Town House, Warrington WA1 2NH or kkellett@warrington.gov.uk. It is long but to fill in any part of it would help the Advisory Group. You can also give your positive ideas through on-line forums like this, Warrington Guardian and Save Walton Gardens Facebook site or in writing to Karen Kellett.The Friends of Walton Estate website (http://www.fowe.btck.co.uk/) has a simpler survey. Please be positive. The result achieved by the campaign and forums such as this have opened up the possibility of a better future for Walton Estate. If you don't contribute to the process, don't then blame the WEAG group. Save Walton Gardens Facebook and website will keep up-to-date with developments
  10. So at last the true picture is being revealed, and as Dizzy says, signing the document was very very close. And as Dizzy suggests, read the rest of the document carefully and see what conclusions you draw. I'll help. It states several times that a main aim is to save the Conservatory but also states it will be demolished and become a conference centre. The report is riddled with contradictions. The whole document seems to be a cut-and-paste exercise by a lazy half-wit and then approved by our Executive! From the beginning I have been saying that Contessa would have half the area though I was wrong to say exclusively. But think about this. I did suggest back in April that the pond would remain in the public domain, as the map now shows. Presumably WBC wanted to guarantee public access. That can only mean that they cannot guarantee access to all the rest of the proposed Contessa area. Anyone got a different interpretation? The Save Walton Gardens Campaign is seeking a full council meeting referral for this disgraceful proposal, so that the failings of the process can be publicly aired. Anything less would be the result of politicians refusing to accept responsibility for their actions. Sadly, the most likely outcome is that the Exec will say 'Give us another go, you can trust us'. Until the Contessa bid is withdrawn there will still be officers and politicians who think it is a good idea to give away our heritage.
  11. I understand the proposed alternative map which was shown briefly on the Save Walton Gardens website was withdrawn as it was not the view of the Campaign that there should be a hotel. But it does seem to have quite a lot of merit for an amateur planner throwing out a few ideas one evening. We should concentrate on the WBC maps. One published last week and shown at the Walton Parish Council clearly showed the Rose Garden, the shrubby wooded area going back from the Hall and the top half of the Flats (the slopey lawns) as excluded, and amazingly shows the band-stand lawn immediately to the east of the Hall as open to the public. The words from Warrington BC say the area immediately to the east of the Hall will be private. I was assured by Andy Farrall that the un-named Contessa hotel company were perfectly happy to have people playing games right outside the windows of the proposed Five Star Hotel. However, the map produced for the Executive for when they make their decision shows no excluded areas! You just don't know what to believe. Try the Coffee Shop. Andy Farrall told the Executive it operated with a surplus of ?10,000 when he wanted to keep it in 2008, and has now stated a six-month loss of ?4178.54 when he wanted to close it. You just don't know what to believe. There are many more similar observations on the Save Walton Gardens web-site Blog. In answer to Paul who thinks Monday is too late for a Protest, it is the only time when the Executive can be confronted. The Police have been informed, Granada Reports will be there. Just make sure everyone you know is there too. Town Hall 6pm
  12. I didn't say the deal was sealed , but there are several suggestions that it has happened. Yes the executive will choose a development partner in June - from a short list of one. And as one councillor stated 'there is no plan B'
  13. I have always thought the car parking cost was too great but many families when you talk to them say that it is a bargain for a family day out. Not for a dog walker. And we have been assured the money goes to the upkeep of the Estate. So after their meeting last night councillors assembled at Walton Hall to celebrate, I am sure at their own cost. One passing dog walker was accosted by a boastful guy who stated that the Hall would be a 4* Hotel, the new build a 3*, there would be a family pub, golf academy horticulture training centre, shops, and NO LOSS OF ACCESS. Not a lot new except for the implication that the deal was sealed (perhaps at the meeting last Wednesday between councillors, officers and Contessa). Did the existing coalition rush through the deal in case they were no longer in power? and NO LOSS OF ACCESS!!! Let's wait and see
  14. Vic 'EH having to be consulted' Why do you think EH will be consulted. I understand the listing is Grade 2 and WBC make the decisions. Only for Grade 2* does it go to EH
  15. OracleUK I understand WBC have renovated areas so they can honour existing bookings. I am sure this is very worrying for you. According to the official statement from Warrington it will be some time before any further changes. But you will have to keep on trying to confirm with them. So many people on the Save Walton Gardens Facebook have remembered their happy wedding day in Walton Gardens. I sincerely hope you will join them.
  16. Dizzy Personal message? How would I know? I got an email about Collette. I didn't draw the lines mainly because I am not clever enough but also because I understand the pond might be accessible though I can't see how if the drive becomes the main access to the PROPOSED hotel. Some sort of corridor to half the pond? The figure suggested to me was 50% loss. Looking at the map you can see that 50% of the remainder is the bowls and pitch and putt (paying) 'The Campaign' will be meeting politicians and councillors in the next few days, on behalf of the 14,000 people on the Facebook site and all the petitioners, including the paper petitions that have sprung up in pubs, shops and old peoples homes. Less rigorous than the General Election but the best that can be done. The Council must slow down and be open and honest. If a decision is made now. it will be almost impossible to change it. All other considerations come later.
  17. This was supposed to be a straight answer to the question of where the exclusion zone might be, but it grew. The June executive meeting is getting closer. We are told a decsion will be confirmed/made then. There is only one proposition for the Gardens, the Contessa bid. In the words of one councillor, there is no plan B. The only available course of action for the people of Warrington if they wish to retain full and free access to the Gardens is to delay the deal and get some proper public debate. The Campaign has asked Diane Terris a series of detailed questions under the Freedom of Information Act. The Council are allowed 20 working days to answer them. I bet they don't answer in less. Every other attempt to establish facts has been met with the bland statement you have all seen. Since a meeting of the Walton Parish Council last year (June?) various people have been trying to get at the facts. Why are they secret? Through contacts with a whole range of people I had come to understand where the exclusion zone would be, and any official contact has failed to deny it. I believe, starting at the top end, that the crazy golf and bowling green will be publically accessible (paying!) but the private area will be the top lawns (where people play games), the rose garden, all the formal garden, the woodland walk, some of the lawn between the house and the conservatory. Part of the golf club range of buildings and all the other buildings will become part of Contessa's plans. I repeat, they have to make a huge profit to pay for their ?26 million investment, so don't expect to use the buildings without paying. The car park and extension field will probably be included in WBC figures of the land left accessible to the public (paying) Check the figures if they are published. I understand that one improvement for the public will be a new biodiversity centre. To accommodate this, the Rifle Club will be kicked out. I suspect that the rush to close the Heritage Yard and Cafe, just before the summer season, was to make the buildings available 'with vacant possession' as promsed to potential developers. Does anyone know if it is easier to get planning permission to develop listed buildings if they are unused? The offices used by the Park administration near the Hall in the laundry block are also being closed, and the staff moved to Town Hall. Same reason?? I do find it difficult to believe anything WBC say.
  18. The only issue that 'Save Walton Gardens' is tackling is that of access to the Gardens. It is clear from the public response that huge numbers of people value their free and easy access to the whole of the Gardens. At no time have Warrington BC been able to promise full access for the future. It doesn't need much intelligence to realise that a boutique hotel will not want the public wandering round, having picnics, playing games etc outside it's windows. There will be an exclusion zone. I have been shown the proposed zone by a senior officer. For your information, Contessa's plan to build a car park between the Hall and the Conservatory has been discouraged. You probably will be able to access much of the Estate. Just remember it will be in the hands of a private concern anxious to recoup a big investment. We will be allowed to pay to enter, perhaps as users of the Hotel facilities. I think the Campaign is concentrating on this one issue as a decision will be made at the June Executive meeting to accept the plan, which will already have been agreed before. If the Council can be forced to slow down and rethink what they are doing, a lot has been achieved. The Council statement suggests that other avenues for finance have been explored. They did not send in the Heritage Lottery bid for the conservatory. What other sources of funding were explored? I understand specific requests are being made to the Council under the Freedom of Information Act to establish facts. I do hope all those posters here who agree that Walton Hall Gardens should be saved in their entirety for the public have joined the Campaign, written to their Councillor or the Executive Committee decision makers, and copied and distributed some of the fliers that are appearing all over the place, from the website. Time is running out. Should the public retain full and free access to the Gardens? And what can you do to help?
  19. How sad that this site failed to grasp the baton and let the thread dwindle. Fortunately it was revived in more dramatic style and is flying much better. I still know more than many councillors and most of the 9000 people who have responded to our facebook site. Try the web-site www.savewaltongardens.co.uk if you want a bit more info. And if you get round to more active protests than sending each other smilies, you might even consider the evidence we have released and sign the petition. When I get messages from very senior councillors admitting they were 'out of the loop' I worry. Hopefully, the campaign we have started will lead to a re-assessment of the proposed deal.
  20. Given the way these things work, should we be worried that land between the nursery and the grass field on Chester Road at Walton is being cleared
  21. Dismayed. What you say sounds perfectly reasonable. Sadly, it is this sort of complacency, belief in democracy and lack of information that has prevented the issue getting out. Direct questions have been asked to Ian Brown WBC and the answers confirm what I have suggested. Ask him. Ask yourself if the owners of a boutique hotel will allow us people of Warrington to stroll around the gardens, have picnics and play football anywhere near the hotel. It will surely be (is) a condition of the deal that there will be public exclusion zones. WBC are bringing in a rich developer with over ?20 million - they won't let a little thing like consultation and covenants stand in the way. Councillors repeat the mantra that the Hall and other buildings are not being sold. Technically this is correct, but when I bought a leasehold property it was mine for the next 999 years, and I was free to do what I liked, including selling it. Contessa expect to buy a long-term lease. There will be conditions, but they are buying a lease Please believe me, I am well-informed. And prepare to be very dismayed
  22. Now I'm not terribly good with facts but I do know the Walton gang moved in without planning permission on a Friday evening so that council officials couldn't do anything. They resisted every attempt to remove them through the planning process by appealing, and perhaps threw more resources at it than Warrington. They broke most of the conditions on their temporary status. (Ask WBC) It is possible they have now established some sort of truce. Won't the same happen in Daresbury?
  23. Not sure of the dates but the Stop notice required fairly prompt action and indeed most of the vans disappeared. I wondered why Warrington had not done the same thing in Walton. But the vans then started reappearing and last night it was looking busy again.
  24. I am amazed that the people of Warrington are not up in arms about the plans for Walton Gardens. Officially we are told nothing has been decided but unofficially it seems certain that the Hall will become a boutique Hotel with landscaped gardens, that other buildings like the ex-Heritage Yard will be part of this and that the public will not have free access to all the existing public park lands. And it is possible these decisions will be made without any public consultation. The plan is to bring huge investment to the facility, which WBC say they cannot finance, but do YOU want to sacrifice access to the most-loved open space in Warrington
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