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No Diamante Embezzlement, Library Walk Planning Farce, Hough End Hall For Sale

Sleuth 26/10/2012

Published on October 26th 2012.

No Diamante Embezzlement, Library Walk Planning Farce, Hough End Hall For Sale

SleuthSleuthSleuth is a sideways glance at the city every week, it's the truth, but Sleuth's truth. He's several people all at once. We give £25 for every story/rumour and piece of absurdity you find for us to publish. Sleuth sometimes even gets serious. We ask for the money back if any legal action follows. Follow Sleuth on twitter @mcrsleuth

Sleuth’s Dress Code Of The Week

This from Bijou Club on Chapel Street in Salford. Sleuth loves the notion of ‘Diamante Embezzlement’ and heartily approves of its restriction. ‘Manbags’ seems harsh – where would Sleuth put his spare hat and his gallant gifts for ladies. ‘Checked shirts’ is completely understandable, we’ve all had enough of them. As for ‘exaggerated jewellery’, Sleuth wonders if his old nan would have been barred, she loved a big brooch. 

Bijou tick listBijou tick list

The Library Walk Planning Farce

You might want to read the yellow box on this article before diving into the next three Sleuth's. Click here

So after the Friends of Library Walk campaign, the thousands of signatures, the written submissions, the City Planning Authorities duly consigned the noble passageway in its original form to the long list of destroyed quality Manchester buildings and spaces.

Earlier this week a reader, John Poulson, told the editor off for saying that Planning Approval was inevitable. He wrote: ‘It is not uncommon for planning committees up and down the land to go against the recommendation of the respective council's head of planning. You're besmirching local democracy by saying it's a done deal’.  

Sleuth was at the Planning Committee meeting on Thursday. It took about fifteen minutes for local democracy to be steam-rolled. 

Library Walk before it gets glassedLibrary Walk before it gets glassed

Sleuth And The Incompetent Committee

The Planning Committee were allowed to ask questions of the planning boffins and architect Ian Simpson about the proposals to glass Library Walk.

One question from a councillor was something like, “Can the glass be cleaned easily, and are we sure people won’t store anything there?” Talk about missing the point. 

Even more ridiculous was the question, “Why didn’t the architect design something more in keeping with the existing buildings?” The buildings on either side are different stylistically from each other and made of stone. Even Sleuth has to concede that a glassing of Library Walk is better than a stoning. These were the only questions asked by the committee over whether to ruin this special space.

Sleuth wondered how these people could be part of a panel adjudicating on design in the city centre? Are there not more qualified individuals? Absolute farce. 

Sleuth And One More Thing On Library Walk

One of the councillors supporting the campaign to save Library Walk was Joan Davies. She lives in the city centre, represents it, and is a Green Badge tour guide and occasional writer for Confidential with theatre reviews. She was excellent during the planning meeting above, saying over the reasons for destroying the space: “If it’s dirty, clean it, if it’s dark, light it, if you say it needs to close because it’s used as a urinal then close Deansgate.”

Event organiser, Anne Tucker, said to Sleuth about the meeting, “But this city is suffering millions of pounds of cuts, how can it afford £3m for the glass thing, when they were supposed to make a link underground between the buildings?” None of this was answered.

About forty metres from Library Walk is a red plaque marking the place where one of the early societies for the protection of public rights of way was formed in 1894. Library Walk used to be a public right of way. Absolute farce. 

Bye bye rights of wayBye bye rights of way

Sleuth And Hanging Dicth B

Sleuth was in need of cheering up so he strolled through the city, noting how remarkably handsome and perversely lovely this city is. He sat and drank, with a friend, a new favourite tipple, a half-bottle of B (that's the name, just one letter) from Spain, a gently floral blend of grapes Sleuth's never heard of, in the lovely Hanging Ditch Wine Merchants. Price £8.50. Full name Pares Balta Blanc de Pacs. That perked him up. Sleuth recommends a subtle session at Hanging Ditch. Maybe join in with their Fifth Winefair on Friday 6 November – selection of 200 wines, music, £19.50.   

Sleuth’s Name Of The Week

The with 'Promises'The man with 'Promises'Sleuth gets all sorts of speculative press releases. His favourite this week being from an American chap who offers to rid people of 'issues' at his ‘Promises Treatment Centers’. The man is the ‘Addiction MD and CEO’. The man’s name is Dr Sack. Sleuth was amused by this although he couldn’t say exactly why. Sleuth wonders if he dresses up at Christmas and becomes Santa’s Sack. 

Sleuth’s Bargain Of The Week: Manchester’s Best Tudor Building

Sleuth reckons people could snap this up for half a mill. It would be the prestigious home to end all prestigious homes. It should also be a Manchester landmark, and as well managed a heritage attraction as Ordsall Hall. Yes Hough End Hall, the Grade II listed, former family home of the Mosley family in Chorlton is up for sale. It was built in 1596 and ‘comprises 6,278 sq ft, arranged over basement, ground and first floors’. It’s advertised through Vicky Cook here.

Lovely brickLovely brickIt’s been called ‘the most important brick Elizabethan building in the North West’. We wrote about it here.

Of course if you bought it, then you’d have to spend another couple of million demolishing the idiotically close 1960s office buildings on each side.

How was planning permission ever given for those? Oh just a minute: please refer to story three on this page above.

Hough End Hall, Idiot Office BlocksHough End Hall, idiot adjacent offices

Sleuth And James Bond

Thanks to Pedro 1874 for this who took exception to the lovely vodka martini that Lewis at The Living Room created for us. 

‘This is from the Bond novel Casino Royale,’ he wrote. ‘This is how it should be done.’ 

'A dry martini,' he said. 'One. In a deep champagne goblet.'
'Oui, monsieur.'
'Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?'
'Certainly monsieur.' The barman seemed pleased with the idea.
'Gosh, that's certainly a drink,' said Leiter.
Bond laughed. 'When I'm...er...concentrating,' he explained, 'I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold, and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink's my own invention. I'm going to patent it when I think of a good name.'

As Sleuth says, thanks Pedro. See you at the cinema sometime this weekend no doubt.

Sleuth's Chair Of The Week

Sleuth loves watching the events in Albert Square from up here, although putting on the safety equipment can be a drag.

Sleuth gets onto his seatSleuth gets onto his seat

Sleuth's Dish Of The Week

Folks get your chops round this perfectly cooked lamb in Aubaine, the French outlet on Selfridges' second floor overlooking Exchange Square. It comes with lovely broth and beans to warm you up on the coldest days. There's a full Confidential review coming up soon. True this lamb rack was £19, the usual Aubaine £4 too much, but it was delightfully power-packed.

Lambkin brothLambkin broth

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20 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousOctober 26th 2012.

"Sleuth wondered how could these people be part of a panel adjudicating on design in the city centre? Are there not more qualified individuals? Absolute farce."

I think many people would rather see a 'DIRECTLY ELECTED' Head of Planning (&/or Planning Committee) for their metropolis - than a Police & Crime Commissioner! Well Messrs Cameron & Clegg, why not?

1 Response: Reply To This...
DrakeOctober 30th 2012.

Can you add those +1 things to your Site Mr S just so I can +1 this post

SleuthOctober 26th 2012.

At fine idea Anon. The committee meeting was ridiculous. Embarrassing in that so little credence was given to the genuine concerns of hundreds and hundreds of people. It was a dismissal of concern, an arrogant snub to the idea of representative government.

AnonymousOctober 26th 2012.

Anybody for trying to get a campaign for change up and running? This has gone on too long. Maybe if their cushy little backsides were on the line they might be more responsive to the views of those they are supposed to represent.

moragOctober 26th 2012.

Some members of the committee weren't even pretending to listen; they were playing with phones, looking bored, wandering in and out of the room. Not one of them ever replied to emails.

And still so many questions unanswered, evidence given for this work is spurious; some of it is frankly baffling. Was bemused at the comparision made between Library Walk and the Arndale Centre!

We aren't quite finished yet: Friends of Library Walk have been advised challenges may be possible around the neccessary extinguishment and stopping up orders. We really need some expert advice on this so if anyone has any ideas please can you get in touch savelibrarywalk@gmail.com or call 07974929589

Thank you to the very many people who have supported the campaign so far; so frustrating logic, passion and community action are so glibly dismissed. Was touched how many people gave up their time to attend the pantomime. Very much appreciated and I am glad we have fought such a good fight.

Morag x

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Jonathan SchofieldOctober 27th 2012.

Well done Morag - and Tom - you fought a good fight. Do you think we should have booed in the planning meeting? I'm feeling we should have been louder.

Morag RoseOctober 28th 2012.

Thanks Jonathan, really hard to know what else (if anything) we could have done; I've had the same thought about the meeting; I had actually planned to boo or heckle (never very good at keeping quiet) but when the time came it was so banal, so depressing, so pathetic frankly i couldnt think of anything to say that wasn't slanderous or dull. I hope the sheer numbers of people who gave their time to watch the pantomime, and who left afterwards showed our displeasure more eloquantly.

Andrea TimoneyOctober 29th 2012.

Thursday's fiasco was an embarrassment to this city. Half the members of the 'committee' weren't even paying attention to the points being discussed. As Morag said, there were people looking at their phones, people leaving the room. The fact that the only slightly scrutinous question that was asked involved whether the glass was self-cleaning or not clearly demonstrated to me that they weren't interested in the objections...or in fact, any of the valid points raised during this campaign by citizens of this city, objecting or not. Let's not forget that these are the same people who are respresenting our city on national and international levels. If they can't be bothered to listen to the concerns of their electorate about issues which directly affect our public realm, then what other decisions are they taking with just as little consideration?! They, and the planning process in which they partake, are farcical.

AnonymousOctober 26th 2012.

While so many people in manchester vote labour and give us such a one sided council it will be inevitable that coucilors can ignore the people.

To work democracy requires ballence and the threat of some one else getting elected in your place.

AnonymousOctober 26th 2012.

I heard Sir Richard wants it built, therefore it will be.

Amy GreenOctober 26th 2012.

"Embezzlement" is stealing from your employer.. ?

3 Responses: Reply To This...
paulsouthernOctober 26th 2012.

Yeah think Emblazoned was the word they may have wanted.

StephOctober 26th 2012.

Surely they meant embellishment

paulsouthernOctober 28th 2012.

Yep that makes even more sense

AVOOctober 26th 2012.

Everyone has their own take on a good martini. What Pedro has described is a Vesper which was discussed at length on here I think when it was featured in the Daniel Craig remake of Casino Royale.

AnonymousOctober 26th 2012.

steady on there Garner. Richard Leese doesn't even sit on the planning committee does he?

But there is one really interesting post made by posterboy below the 'library walk gets glassed' article that is worth highlighting again. This probably goes a long way to explaining the laissez faire culture towards all planning applications regardless of their source or their merits, namely, the deliberate and strategic decision to downgrade the role and influence of planning in the mid 90s, signalled by the removal of the post of Chief planning officer. The objective being the pursuit of economic growth above all else. No wonder so many contentious applications get waved through.

Yes Manchester has attracted investment but has it attracted any more than it would have done with a more stingemt regime? Are the disbenefits of this approach now greater than the benefits? And with private sector investment so moribund and having not delivered consistent quality, is this model now not fit for purpose anymore?

Moaning about an individual application will get you nowhere. Its the merits of this culture that needs to be debated, not witchhunts of any one individual.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 27th 2012.

Was "consistent quality" delivered before the mid 90s though? Or were "even worse" town planning decisions waved through?

David in CheshireNovember 6th 2012.

We had our wedding reception in Hough End Hall in May 1984. It was run at the time by a Spaniard from Ibiza, who gave us his ceremonial sword to cut the cake - we had to stand about three feet away from the cake to get enough leverage.

We might be able to scrape together enough to buy the place, but there's no way we could pay for the renovation and I've no interest in running a hotel or conference centre. Nobody could possibly want to live there, surrounded as it is by the most appalling evidence of the failure of 60s planning.

Man InashedNovember 15th 2012.

Is there anywhere mere mortals can find out who sits on the planning committee at MCC - and more importantly how they voted?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Man InashedNovember 15th 2012.

Scrap that - found it


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