Monday, 11 June 2012

here is my letter of objection, written in rather more haste than I'd like but please feel free to copy and paste bits of it ALSO - IT DOES HAVE PARAGRAPHS, BLOGGER IS BEING A DICK! To whom it may concern RE: Planning reference number 099352/VO/2012/C1 I wish to object in the strongest possible terms to the plans for Library Walk. I have several grounds for believing this would be detrimental to a unique and well loved part of Manchester that many people cherish. My objections are as follows: Any new structure will compromise the integrity of the two Grade II* listed buildings. E.V Harris’s Town Hall Extension and Central Library are of significant importance both locally and nationally. They are truly stunning and this is reflected in their listed status. The historical statement and other information supplied with the application implies Library Walk is an accident and dead windswept space. This is simply not true. The Walk was clearly part of Harris’s original design and is a magnificent and well regarded piece of urban planning.I love Library Walk because of the sensuous curves, the glimpses of the sky and a unique streetscape, the respite for pedestrians, the sheer beauty of a place that is hard to describe but that I cherish. My feelings are reflected by many others. I regularly take students, tourists, residents and community groups on tours of Manchester City Centre. The wonderful curves and stunning vistas offered by Library Walk are very much admired; I have not heard any negative comments. Expert opinion confirms this as well. Well respected photographer Aidan O’Rourke describes Library Walk as “one of the best loved and most enduring features of Manchester city centre” and Phil Griffin, architectural commentator says ‘Library Walk, already damn near perfect in its materials, proportions, orientation, volume, geometry and scale, must not be damaged in any way. (And it must) maintain an unimpeded through route between Mount Street and St Peter’s Square”. I would also like to challenge the application on practical grounds as well as aesthetic and heritage concerns. I believe Library Walk is, and should remain, a de facto right of way. It has been used as such since its creation and was well used until its temporary closure during the library and Town Hall renovations. I can see no genuine and valid reason for taking it out of the public domain. The link is unnecessary as there are plans to provide more than adequate linkage under the ground floor levels of each building; it was only included as an indicative design in the initial plans or the recent St Peters Square design competition so presumably was not deemed essential. The argument that it is for public safety is spurious to say the least. As a woman I find it downright offensive that there is an implication this is a space to be scared of and the way to deal with this is with a locked gate! Library walk has never been a hotspot for crime and we need to look at the bigger picture. Are we to put gates on every street women are attacked in? What about the sad but true fact women are more likely to be attacked at home and by someone they know than by a stranger in any alleyway in the city? I feel deeply offended at the inference I should not be free to walk through my favourite place in the city for my own good. I would suggest appropriate lighting could create a feeling of safety, regular cleaning would make the space welcoming and well used so there are the informal eyes on the street Jane Jacobs talks about. In the current economic climate when women’s health services refuges, youth projects etc are being cut and closed this would surely be cost effective. Similar logic applies to the idea that gates are needed to prevent the space being used as a urinal – a cursory sniff around the city centre will demonstrate Library Walk is not alone in suffering this indignity and is not the worst affected area. I understand the gates themselves will also serve as the official memorial to Peterloo. This was a deeply significant and tragic event which aimed to bring democracy to the people of Manchester. To seek to commemorate it by closing public space is an insult. There is also the terrible risk people will still use the site as a urinal and effectively urinate on the memory of Peterloo. To go ahead with this plan would be to ruin a wonderful space and to disregard the views of many Manchester residents. The Friends of Library Walk was launched as soon as we were made aware of the Planning Application. We aim to celebrate the glory of Library Walk and to act constructively to stop this scheme. We have already had one public meeting which was very well attended and our Facebook Group has over 500 members and is growing every day. Please, I implore you to think again about this planning application and preserve the integrity and beauty of library walk. Yours Faithfully Morag Rose

1 comment:

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