what's here then?
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Thursday, 10 February 2011 09:14

:: Well, not a lot to be honest! If you're looking for a big night club scene or concert venues or world class sporting events, then ...... this is the place to be! Alright, maybe not in Atherton, well definately not Atherton, but Manchester and Liverpool are both within very easy reach. Atherton has train links with Manchester and therefore the whole country.

Tree in full blossom at the Green Hill, Atherton

There is a Green Hill quite close by and it is imaginatively known locally as . . . . the green hill. In winter, given appropriate weather conditions, the green hill turns white and becomes a sled run. The hill becomes covered in snow, then the snow becomes covered with people having a great time with the kids. When spring arrives it's character completely changes. Daffoldils come out, the grass greens up and the trees start to come into leaf. There is one tree (I'm no horticulturalist and I don't know what kind of tree it is) that comes into full blossom and stands centre stage showing off.

We have a reasonable green space in the middle of town in the form of Central Park, for now. A year or two ago the childrens play area was redesigned and new swings etc. were installed, compleat with a couple of exercise machines for mums and dads to use while the kids play. Hopefully this area will not fall foul of the governments changes to the planning system to assumed consent.

Over recent years there have been many changes in the town. I say changes rather than improvements because that is a subjective call and I don't see all of the changes as being improvements. The overall effect of changes to roadways around the town has, in my view, has caused more traffic tail backs than before. Mealhouse Lane is restricted to 20 MPH which I see as a great improvement, but, there are now three sets of traffic lights on it, one of which at the top end actually serves no purpose whatsoever. Traffic is stopped from leaving Mealhouse Lane onto Bolton Road at a red light instead of a pedestrian controlled light. The 'improvements' manage to annoy and stress drivers out by using the ironically named traffic calming schemes.

Market Street, the main shopping street, is pedestrianised between 10:00 a.m and 4 p.m. The pedestrianisation was to make shopping a safer experience. Unfortunately the number of drivers who ignore this restriction has slowly increased over the time it has been in place. Instead of just having signs to let drivers know of the restrictions there are now traffic lights that are always on red during the restricted times until a bus comes along and they change to green. I have still seen cars on the street despite this change. Every once in a while the police stop offenders, but they are there so infrequently that it does not seem to deter the offenders.

This video may be a one eyed view of the street on a particular day but it really is sad to see it sliding down hill like this. I became an Athertonian 33 years ago and this shopping area was high on the list of "good points" when we were considering living here. I know everyone says times are hard, there isn't much money around. Well if our great and glorious government are to be believed (chuckle) when they say employment has never been higher for years (funny how they change the terms of reference to suit) then tax receipts for the treasury must also be soaring, aren't they? So why are the severe cuts being made to local authority spending? Something doesn't add up. Something has to change or our little town, and others like it, are going to slide into the abyss.

 

Below is another video slideshow I made at the same time of day a few months later and things were looking a bit better. There are still shuttered shops but some have had life breathed back into them. Still a lot to be done to bring the town centre back. A mill has been demolished just a couple of streets away to make way for even more houses. Maybe there will be a retail element included there.

But apart from that, life is good here. :-)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 January 2016 21:32
 


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