Keith, Graham and Iain

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Tatton cinema site update

by Iain Roberts on 21 December, 2012

I recently had a meeting with Dickens, the owners and developers of the former Tatton cinema site we all want to see something happen to.

We’ve been told to expect new proposals to be brought forward early in the new year, and have been assured that the developers want to get moving.

After ten years, I think it’s fair to say we’re all taking a sceptical approach.  If a way forward can be found that works for Gatley and also works financially for the developers, that would be a great present for new year.


27 Responses

  1. Lee says:

    So in a nutshell no further progress, politician after politician promises to take decisive action but it is all talk with no action, I am sure there is a complex process to sort it out but all that proves is the our ‘local’ MP actually has no power to effect real change. I honestly wish people would stop the various updates about the tatton as they are nothing but smoke and mirrors designed to pacify the good people of our lovely village. I like many don’t see the point in voting as frankly it changes nothing, suffice to say I will continue this thought at the next pointless election.

  2. Iain Roberts says:

    Hi Lee,

    Let’s be fair – if we get a planning application early in the new year then it’s major progress. An application is an essential step on the route to getting the site sorted.

    The site is privately owned – you’re right to say that neither councillors nor an MP can step in and just tell people what has to happen to their own private property (and I don’t think we’ve ever claimed otherwise).

    There are some ways things can be done, but they aren’t easy. For example, Councils can issue a Compulsory Purchase Order, but we would have to convince a judge that nothing was happening with the site (and clearly if a planning application was put forward, that’s an argument we’d be likely to lose).

    Although I’m sceptical, I do think this is positive news and I hope and expect there to be detailed plans for local residents to take a look at no later than February 2013.

  3. Paula Isherwood says:

    By next month it will be twelve years, not ten, that the residents of Gatley have watched a poor example of Art Deco design crumbling before our eyes.

    Admittedly for many years the site was passed from speculator to speculator. Was it four sets of owners? Until finally Dickens bought it and we actually had someone who came up with a plan. OK, then we had village participation and were asked what we would like and from then on the whole business collapsed into a multitude of ideas, most of which would never have been feasible. I know, I heard most of them!

    Yes, you are not the only one who is sceptical. I think you will find that the majority of citizens of Gatley wish the place would disappear in a puff of smoke once and for all!

  4. Lee says:

    “Councils can issue a Compulsory Purchase Order, but we would have to convince a judge that nothing was happening with the site” is 12 years not enough!!!! I will have a £10 charity bet with you now that come February we are in the same position with no specific date for its refurbishment, these updates are just meaningless posturing and waffle. I am in agreement with Paula that if it blew up tomorrow I probably wouldn’t be sorry. Has any other party been in ‘power’ during its 12 year decline, perhaps somebody else might have done more, I doubt it though all 3 are as bad as each other

  5. richard horsnell says:

    The people of Gatley are to blame for the whole fiasco. If they’d used the much loved cinema it would be still in business. If they had accepted the development proposals without such uproar the site would have been developed by now.

  6. Iain Roberts says:

    Hi Lee,

    Remember that the developers can quite correctly point out that, if they’d had their way, it would have been redeveloped as a supermarket in 2009 and the judge will look at current plans.

    We won’t have a specific date for work in February, but I am hopeful (though by no means certain) that we’ll have a planning application.

  7. Bruce thwaite says:

    A few years back a proposal for a supermarket was rejected thanks to a Libdem-led campaign to reject it. How short sighted that was!

  8. Lee says:

    Richard, it was actually shut down at the time due to Apollo leisures involvement with the parrs wood development, it was actually profitable. Putting that to one side you have a point about the refusals to accept the proposals last time round, it was simply daft that it was rejected. The fact is apart from that little has been done to take this forward, my point was I am fed up of hearing ‘updates’ that are not really any different to the last one

  9. Iain Roberts says:

    I don’t think we would want to take the credit away from a very effective community-led campaign against the previous Tatton proposals, Bruce.

  10. David Johnson says:

    Supermarket – a bad, mad idea. Using Handforth Dean or Stockport is difficult enough due to traffic congestion and parking spaces. The existing jams on Gatley road and its feeders would become Baked Pastry! Besides, with 3 Supermarkets already Gatley is more than adequately supplied – the addition of Tesco to an already crammed Gatley Green was Council silliness at least. Try to park to use the Green & Church Road shops Mssrs Councillors.

  11. Iain Roberts says:

    Hi David,

    Tesco did not need planning permission or Council approval to open at Gatley Green – because planning permission already existed for a pub, nothing further was needed for a food store.

  12. alice fox says:

    I sincerely hope that full rates are being paid on the eyesore that was the Tatton.The developers are probably holding out in the sure and certain knowledge that eventually any proposed development will be acceptable to get the problem out of the way.

  13. Phil Johnson says:

    It is disingenuous to suggest that opposition was community led.
    Cllr Jones trumpeted the opposition as his initiative to the extent that he was disqualified from the Area Committee Meeting. He need not have worried – Cllr Millard was vociferous in his rejection DESPITE RECOMMENDATION OF ACCEPTANCE BY THE COUNCIL’S OWN PLANNING OFFICERS.
    There were fewer than 200 “anti” residents at the meeting(2% of the electorate).
    Cllr Roberts then conducted a straw poll of residents and discovered more than 50% IN FAVOUR of the development. Confusingly for a democracy, he pronounced the majority too small to come out in support of the developer (Can we expect Councillors with slender majorities to refuse to take their seats on this philosophy ?)
    Incidentally, Cllr Roberts is on the record as in favour – before his LibDem candidature was announced and he took the party line.
    Council rejected the proposal , and Cllr Roberts was self-congratulatory when the developer’s appeal failed – even though the failure was on a technicality, confirming NONE of the Council’s objections.
    In truth the collective Councillors supported an FSB initiative orchestrated by Bosco for the alleged benefit if Gatley Traders and to the detriment of residents. Their vision of retail Armagheddon was disproved as soon as Tesco opened at the south end of Gatley.
    Parking at Gatley Green is no worse than before – these shops are small convenience stores and NOT supermarkets.
    The tragedy is that the Tatton development of convenience store and care home would likely have improved the micro economy.
    Whatever Dickens say now, the site is probably land banked; a CPO will never happen – SMBC have neither the resources nor a potential buyer.

  14. Iain Roberts says:

    Without getting too deep into different people’s recollections of the history of the Tatton site, I will just say that I’ve never conducted a straw poll that found more than 50% in favour.

    The planning application itself attracted comments which were about 97% against, but people are always more likely to take the trouble to object to something than write in to say we agree with it.

    The straw poll I conducted knocking on doors found a majority against the development (about 60-40).

  15. Iain, I noticed that your address appears on the list of those opposed to the development (council web site)

  16. Iain Roberts says:


  17. Just that you and the Libdems led the reject campaign from teh beginning. Had it been passed, Tesco would not have opened down the road and the eyesore would have been removed.

  18. Iain Roberts says:

    I’m afraid that’s simply untrue, Bruce. Having had a quick look, I can see a list of the addresses of everyone who replied to the consultation, but not who was for and who was against – where have you seen that?

  19. Paula Isherwood says:

    Oh dear, I seem to have started an avalanche!

    Perhaps when Dickens’ new considerations are announced the citizens of Gatley could have a secret ballot on their proposals instead of having public meetings, which as Iain rightly says only attract the “antis”, then if Gatley residents don’t get the result they would like they won’t be blaming the minority who shout the loudest for the next three years, as they do now!

    Just a thought.

  20. John Bodicoat says:

    I just hope that when new plans are announced that people consider them seriously this time. The owners are in it to make money, and we do the same when we expand and sell our properties. Also, they need to be realistic – we aren’t going to get another cinema, ice-rink, etc. I just found it funny that quite a few objected to the planning and now moan about the eyesore.

  21. Phil Johnson says:

    My understanding is that less than 1% of the electorate complained about the planning application.

    Can you reproduce your leaflet from September 2009 giving the result of your “door-to-door”?
    My wife and I both recall a very slight majority in favour

  22. Phil Johnson says:

    I now refer you to your own blog dated 30 September 2009, where you clearly state that of the replies you received to your leaflet drop, 40 voters were in favour of the proposal and 38 against.
    When I did Maths at school, this was 51% – 49% in favour, and not 60% – 40% against.
    Can you explain your earlier statement ?


  23. Iain Roberts says:

    The blog post you refer to concerns to a different proposal for the Tatton, not the planning application.

    My view on the Tatton has always been that we have to try everything we can: most probably won’t work but we only need one to come off. That related to one that we worked hard on, but didn’t work out.

    I’m not aware of any formal poll done on the planning proposal. Clearly, of those who expressed an opinion to the planning department or at public meetings, an overwhelming majority were against. As I mentioned before, when I went around asking people about that application, my impression was about 60-40 against.

  24. Phil Johnson says:

    Your blog of 5 September 2009 asked for opinion on both the planning proposal and for opinion on an alternative replacing the care home with a car park.
    Whichever result you announced on the 30th, 51% were in favour of the convenience store, which was included in both proposals.

  25. Iain Roberts says:

    Hi Phil,

    The survey we did was conducted several months after the original planning permission was turned down, and looked at alternative options – not the original proposal.

    We used that information to inform discussions with the developers on what the next step might be and which different options might be acceptable to residents.

  26. Lee says:

    Well my original request was not to bother giving pointless updates about the tatton that didn’t progress or provide any new information but were merely designed to placate the people of the village by pretending to actually care or be actively doing something about it.
    Given the strength of feeling and response to this subject hopefully people will think twice before trying to pull the wool over our eyes!
    Do the action first then talk about it, not the other way around

  27. Iain Roberts says:

    I suspect I won’t persuade you, Lee, but I hope you’ll understand that I do feel it’s the right thing to give people updates when there’s genuinely new information, even if that information isn’t of the nature of “something will definitely be built by 13th March”.

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