Clearing out my loft this week I came across a copy of the Stockport Times East from 29th July 2004 – just over a decade ago. It makes interesting reading!
Front page of the Stockport Times East from 29th July 2004
- The main story is “Armed girl gang lay in wait for female victims” – the gang robbed two other girls at knifepoint in Bredbury.
- Armed robber at travel agency on p2 – gun-wielding robbers burst into Lunn Poly in Hazel Grove
- An article about the Council and Police launching the “Safer Night project” (featuring Cllr Mark Weldon (LD)) lists the top six nightspots in Stockport as Heaven & Hell nightclub, the Bamboo Club, Bambooza, Brannigans, Kelly’s Nightclub and Stockport College Students Union. How many of those are still with us?
- Cllr Hazel Lees (LD), then Stockport Council’s environment spokesman launched a campaign against fly-posting
- Stockport failed in its attempt to get a Virgin train named after the town when all the Class 57 locomotives were named after characters from Thunderbirds.
- The Stockport Express and Times launched a campaign to save Metrolink after Transport Secretary Alistair Darling scrapped plans for the Metrolink extensions to East Didsbury, Manchester Airport and Rochdale/Oldham. Cllr Sue Derbyshire (LD), Executive member for infrastructure, was first to sign the Stockport Express petition calling for a rethink while Stockport MP Ann Coffey (Lab) defended the decision in the light of rising costs for the project. Without the East Didsbury line, it was noted, there was no chance of a planned extension into Stockport.
- Stockport Council leader Mark Hunter (LD) said Stockport would become one of the first boroughs in the country to ban smoking from public buildings, offices, workshops, waiting rooms, receptions and service vehicles. “My personal view is employees and members of the public have a right not to breathe in other peoples’ tobacco smoke in our buildings,” he said.
- Stockport’s Mayor, Cllr Michael Wilson, collected a cheque for £7,497 as Stockport came third in the Race to Recycle awards for Greater Manchester, collecting “a massive 7,690 tons of paper”. The Mayor noted that Stockport’s recycling rate had almost doubled over the previous year from 13% to 24.9% (in 2014 it’s over 60%).
- A very young-looking Cllr Dave Goddard (LD) attacked the Labour Government over the axing of the Metrolink extension – and asks when John Prescott is going to make his decision on Stockport’s Ikea.
- 200 jobs to be created as the new Tesco store being built at Tiviot Way nears completion
- Cllr Les Jones (Con) attacked the Labour government over regional assemblies, education and NHS bureaucrats.
- The letters page included presumably an ongoing argument about Cllr Paul Bellis (Con)’s views on Halliday Farm – the ancestral home of the Dodge family, someone opposing the SEMMMs link road, someone else opposing bus lanes, a complainant about the amount of litter by St. Peter’s Chuch and one author who claims “…don’t expect to see any otters. They have moved to a safe house in Wigan under armed police protection because they feel (quite rightly I think) that Stockport Council is trying to kill them.” No idea what that one was about, but the person in question is still a regular letter-writer to the local paper.
Where are they now?
Paul Bellis, Hazel Lees and Mike Wilson are still on the council. Dave Goddard went onto lead Stockport Council and has recently become Lord Goddard of Stockport, in addition to remaining a councillor in Offerton. Les Jones was Mayor a couple of years ago before stepping down from the council. Sue Derbyshire has been leader since 2012. Mark Hunter stepped down from Stockport Council in 2005 when he became MP for Cheadle following the death of Patsy Calton. Ann Coffey remains MP for Stockport. Mark Weldon narrowly lost his seat in 2014 having served as Deputy Leader. As to where any of the armed robbers are – I have no idea.