Despite the Covid induced lockdown our Committee is still busy with issues on behalf of our members. One such task is writing letters to the local press. As not all of our letters make it into print (or online) here are a couple that were recently sent by the Chairman.
Sent to the Manchester Evening News:
Regarding Jennifer William’s article concerning Manchester’s blueprint for the future I would raise concerns about over capacity.The project for Quay Street would propose ‘The Factory’ which would come in at around £410 million .Work has not yet commenced. It is thought the project will over a ten year period add £1 billion to the local economy and mean thousands of jobs.I would ask in the context of current capacity do we actually need this further extension of capacity? We have Home,The Palace,The Opera House,The Royal Exchange,Lowry and The Apollo which collectively would yield a capacity of some 7000+.If we consider Hope Mill,The Factory,Show Case and Contact Theatre would give another 2000 or so in capacity. The above estimates do not include many suburban theatres like The Garrick in Stockport or the Carver in Marple.If we then look at larger venues like Manchester Arena (21000 capacity) and the huge new east Manchester Arena at (24000 capacity) the question begins to emerge about adding yet more ‘seats’ at a time when demand is restricted and may be for some considerable time to come. Maybe current historic theatres could benefit from money being directed towards them for necessary refurbishment but new capacity, I am not so sure.Stephen G SpeakmanChairman Manchester Civic Society
Sent to the Stockport Express:
Dear Sir,I am writing to you in my capacity as chairman of Manchester Civic Society.My concern is the future of Stockport’s magnificent Carnegie Library. This iconic building was essentially given free by Carnegie in his lifetime to enhance the facility of education and literary pursuit subject to the council continuing to maintain the building and employ staff.The library was completed in 1915 and is a dramatic Edwardian Baroque style building. Internally the facility is spacious and houses a heritage library on the first floor. This library is steeped in character and atmosphere and is ideal in being so close to Stockport town centre. Why anyone would wish to close the function of this library gifted free to the people of Stockport defeats me!There is a suggestion that this library would not be ‘covid secure’ but of course this is ludicrous beyond imagining and flatly is a foolish excuse since people being three or even six feet apart is even now waning in necessity but certainly could easily be accommodated on a temporary basis within such a huge building. This library should be re opened as soon as possible and remain in use for the people of Stockport to continue to use and to treasure.In ConcernStephen G SpeakmanChairman Manchester Civic Society