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Over the past 6 months we have been alerted to a number of incidents of anti-social behaviour, robbery and assault on the Fallowfield Loop and adjoining routes. This is matter of great concern and Fotfl are, along with others, raising the matter with the police, Sustrans and other bodies. As a result of a Protest Cycle Ride organized by Helen Pidd and others on 17th October, and the following local and national news coverage, Ian Hopkins, chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, promised that his officers would look again at the muggings. We understand that the incidents have now been linked as a “crime series” and are being investigated as part of GMP’s Operation Valiant, which targets personal robberies. If you have concern about anything you experience or witness on the Fallowfield Loop the action you should take is: in an emergency call 999, otherwise call the police on 101. Also notify Sustrans on 0161 923 6050 or by email.

Summary of the report of the protest ride on Wednesday 17th October.

Around 350 people turned out for a protest ride along the Fallowfield Loop and up the “Yellow Brick Road” towards Openshaw on 17 October.

It was organised by Helen Pidd, the Guardian’s North of England editor, after three members of her Manchester-based cycling club, Team Glow, were mugged on the route in the space of a week and she had subsequently become aware of other recent incidents on, or near, to the Fallowfield Loop to which it had been felt there had been an inadequate police response. The weather gods were kind for the protest ride, which set off from Levenshulme Quadrants in golden sunlight. The group split into two, to make it slightly more manageable — and so that Sian could go live on ITV Granada Reports at 6pm, and Helen could race ahead to a GMP building in Claytonbrook to go live on BBC NorthWest Tonight at 6.30pm. It also made the national ITV news the following night, in a report about the rising number of violent crimes going un-investigated by police.

Levy-Front-5.jpgWe were delighted to hear from our friends at Station South that their crowdfunder has successfully raised £66,561 from 1,161 supporters in 64 days!

Pauline Johnston (Director of Station South CIC), has provided us with this update: “Station South are continuing to make good progress with the building. The roof is near completion, save for the insertion of glazing, which will be done at a set date in the future. The collaborative restoration with the building owners Railway paths Ltd is continuing at pace and planning and change of use applications are being drawn up for submission in preparation for the second round of vital repairs, which are out to tender currently. The successful crowdfunding campaign will go some way to supporting the continuation of some of the vital repair works that we are leading on, including the creation of a new floor throughout the building and connecting to main utilities.

Station South are also developing outline plans for the external site and are keen to progress a detailed co-design with community stakeholders along with offering opportunities to volunteer in Spring 2019. We’ll be sure to keep the Friends of the Fallowfield Loop involved in the process as we’re keen to have your continued support and input.”

Autumn clean-up of the Loop

An autumn clean-up of the Loop has taken place over the past weekend (20th and 21st October), almost exactly six months after a similar event in the spring.  Fortunately the weather was warm and dry on both days which made for pleasant conditions!  As previously, volunteers started from The Quadrants, Levenshulme on both days and headed east on the Saturday and west on the Sunday.  The task was over by 1 p.m. on each day which was partly due to the fact that the Whalley Range Scouts took responsibility for some of the Loop at the St Werburgh’s Road end and The Abbey Hey Neighbourhood Forum did the same for the Fairfield end. It was also helped by the fact that there was only about 40% of the litter collected this time and there were no blatant fly-tips to be dealt with. The detailed statistics were as follows (where the numbers in brackets are the corresponding numbers for the spring clean-up):

  • Number of volunteers participating Saturday = 15 (20).
  • Number of volunteers participating Sunday = 8 (17).
  • Number of volunteers participating more than once = 3 (8).
  • Total volunteer-days = 23 (38).
  • Total volunteers participating = 20 (29).
  • Number of bags filled on Saturday (Levenshulme to Fairfield) = 26 (61).
  • Number of bags filled on Sat/Sunday (Levenshulme to St Werburgh’s) = 28 (65).
  • Total bags of litter collected = 54 (126).

These figures only tell half the story as they don’t take into account the amount of litter picked up in the months prior to these events. Undoubtedly there was significantly less removed before this clean-up as compared to the previous one; we hope that this all points to the Loop becoming less littered!

Members of the Friends have just produced a new and updated “Points of Interest” map!  The map has multiple layers which can be turned on or off by the user, showing the route of the Loop and points of interest on or accessible from it. Current map layers are:

  • Access points
  • Wildlife and natural features
  • Public resources and amenities
  • Landmarks
  • Historical interest
  • The railway 1891-1981

The Friends would like to continue to refine and update this over time so if you have suggestions for places to include on this map or notice any necessary corrections then please let us know!

Beelines!

Beelines logo

Beelines logo

The Friends have welcomed the Beelines cycling development proposals for Manchester, which have been developed with all 10 Greater Manchester local authorities and “will be the largest joined-up system of walking and cycling routes in the UK”.

Don’t forget that until the end of September there is an online process underway where you can view a map of the first draft of the proposals and zoom in on any areas that may be of interest, adding specific comments relating to development of the scheme.  See https://mappinggm.org.uk/ beelines/.

You will probably need to read the instructions to work out how to utilise the map layers and add comments.  We encourage all members of the Friends to engage with the consultation and share their views on how the proposals interact with the Loop in particular (and of course – we’d encourage everyone to get involved with the consultation for other routes and areas too)!

HandleBards on the Loop

Yesterday and last Wednesday the Loop acted as a great venue for performances by the HandleBards, a troupe of cycling actors who carry all the set, props and costumes they need to perform extremely energetic, charmingly chaotic and environmentally sustainable Shakespeare plays!

The HandleBards have an all-male and an all-female troupe, and this summer both are touring the UK.  On 25th July the Loop therefore hosted the boys performing “Twelfth Night”, and on 31st July it was the girls’ turn to appear, this time to give us “Romeo and Juliet”.  Both evenings were blessed with good weather and the Levenshulme Quadrants were awash with bicycles as good crowds turned out.

A large number of volunteers helped everything to run smoothly, so huge thanks to all concerned – and here’s hoping for repeat visits in the future!

 

Here’s an interesting and informative blog post about the visit of a Docklands Light Railway train from London to the Fallowfield Loop back in 1987!

Project Light Rail ticket (source: www.ianvisits.co.uk)

Project Light Rail ticket (source: http://www.ianvisits.co.uk)

The Friends are delighted by, and fully supportive of, the plans for the former Levenshulme South station, as described in this article in the Manchester Evening News.  Here’s hoping these plans progress successfully and come to fruition!

Levenshulme South (photo: Manchester Evening News)

Levenshulme South (photo: Manchester Evening News)

A clean-up of the Loop took place over the weekend of 28th and 29th April. Thanks to organiser Charles for this update!

Volunteers principally from the Sustrans Volunteers and the Friends of the Fallowfield Loop took part in the event and over the two days filled bags and bags with litter and collected piles of un-baggable waste. These were left at the side of the track for collection by Sustrans staff with their truck. Fortunately the weather was dry and not too windy although it was unseasonably cold, particularly on the Sunday.

The statistics were:

  • Number of volunteers participating Saturday = 20
  • Number of volunteers participating Sunday = 17
  • Number of volunteers participating Monday = 1
  • Number of volunteers participating more than once = 8
  • TOTAL Volunteer-days = 38
  • TOTAL Volunteers participating = 29
  • Number of black bags filled on Saturday (Levenshulme to Gorton Reservoir) = 55
  • Number of black bags filled on Saturday (St Werburgh’s to Withington Road) = 14
  • Number of black bags filled on Sunday (Levenshulme to Withington Road) = 51
  • Number of bags filled on Monday (Gorton Reservoir to Fairfield) = 6
  • TOTAL Bags of litter collected = 126

(N.B. The bags used were large (100-litre) refuse bags equivalent to approx 1.3 bags as used by the council for litter collection.)

Unfortunately not many pictures were taken to record the event as we had our work cut out completing the route. The real record fortunately is on the Loop for everyone to see – it’s looking a real picture!

Many thanks are due again to Sustrans and the Thursday volunteers who have continued, on the first and third Thursday of every month, to work hard to maintain the Loop and its habitats. Tasks in recent months have included:

  • woodland thinning at Abbey Hey.
  • clearing an area of brambles near Nelstrop Road North, to create a wildflower area.
  • installing the wildlife posts at several Loop entrances.
  • multiple activities at the Levenshulme quadrants (digging out rubble, removing the remaining stumps of small trees, pruning the large hawthorn and cutting back the surrounding undergrowth – all with a view to having a larger open grassy area that can be kept mown short, and so provide a more useful area for community activities).

For the first outing of 2018, the group was out this past Thursday clearing the already-cut brash that was lying around the Athol Road entrance and consolidating it into habitat piles.  As well as making the entrance more attractive, this will give the bulbs planted a year ago a better chance to see the light.

For more information about these task days, which run from 10 a.m. to 1.30 p.m., please contact us, then Sustrans or those co-ordinating the Thursday events will get back in touch!