A group of local residents and garden enthusiasts recently approached the British Muslim Heritage Centre about creating a small avenue of five new trees in the grounds, close to the College Road frontage. They proposed a range of species which will all blossom in the spring, intended to provide an annual reminder of the onset of the pandemic in 2020 and support reflection on the terrible toll of lives lost to Covid-19, while also leaving a symbolic legacy of beauty pointing to a better future for the community and for nature.
The donation and planting of the trees was led by Yvonne Jez, Madeleine Edwards and Robina Shah, joined in the sunshine this morning by more College Road neighbours and BMHC supporters and by Afzal Khan MP and Whalley Range Councillors Aftab Razaq and Angeliki Stogia. Angeliki said “It was a real pleasure to join in the planting this morning – this is a wonderful initiative by local residents which will hopefully lead to much more in the future.” Yvonne explains “The communal planting and dedication of trees by members of the BMHC and residents of Whalley Range provides an opportunity for us to come together, enjoy nature, commemorate and reflect on an extraordinary time, and to say thank you to or celebrate the life of someone we love”.
The Whalley Range councillors are aware of recent reports in the media that a woman who lives in the ward has been troubled by a male stalker.
They provided this statement: “Stalking is a devastating and a particularly distressing crime that creates fear and unrest for the victim as well as their loved ones. We had been made aware of this particular issue previously and raised it with the police – it is just not acceptable and should not be tolerated in Whalley Range. We would urge anyone who is a victim of stalking, or who has concerns regarding someone being stalked, to contact police immediately. In the meantime we will remain in dialogue with GMP about the problem”.
Across the world on 8 March every year for over a century, women have come together to both celebrate and push forward the struggle for gender parity.
Inevitably, due to the pandemic the nature of the occasion had to change this year. Labour candidate Muqaddasah Bano and Councillor Angeliki Stogia decided to meet by the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst in St Peter’s Square, Manchester to mark the day together.
Bano, who will be standing for Whalley Range in the election on 6 May, says “I pass this statue on my way to work in the city centre. It’s called Rise Up Women and I think it is very inspirational. I have campaigned for many years on the issue of domestic violence, and gender equality is very important to me. I would like to show solidarity with women everywhere on International Women’s Day”.
As previously reported, Manchester City Council have been taking advantage of reduced traffic density to press ahead with essential road and pavement repairs during lockdown. Next up in Whalley Range is Yarburgh Street, with resurfacing work starting next Monday 1 March.
Muqaddasah Bano, Whalley Range Labour candidate in the local elections on 6 May, says, “The Councillors have been listening to concerns raised with them by local drivers and cyclists, and we know that this road is in quite poor condition now. This work is very good news for all users”. Whalley Range councillor Angeliki Stogia adds, “The project is part of the massive £100m investment which the Council is making to improve our pavements and roads across the city. This brings benefits to all – pedestrians and cyclists as well as motorists – and I’m pleased that Yarburgh Street will soon join the list of resurfaced roads in our area”.
Last summer, Manchester City Council consulted users of the Fallowfield Loop (which runs along the south border of Whalley Range ward) about their priorities for planned improvement work.
Muqaddasah Bano, Whalley Range Labour’s candidate in the May local elections, says “There were over 5,200 responses to the consultation – it’s really good that so many people took the time to write in. It’s taken a long time just to process all these submissions – now we need to move forward with the work”.
Councillor Angeliki Stogia has been overseeing the consultation process. She explains “There’s a £4.9m project underway to enhance the Fallowfield Loop and the link to the Ashton Canal known as the ‘yellow brick road’. We know from the consultation that users want us to improve access points and signage and increase lighting to address security concerns, though without detracting from the rural feel of the route or harming biodiversity”.