The WCC AGM was a virtual meeting via Zoom held on 26th November 2020 due to the Covid requirements for social distancing. Thank you to all those who attended. The minutes can be viewed here.
All Woodford residents are automatically members of the WCC. There are vacancies on the Management Committee, so if you would like to be more involved please contact us via email.
Stockport Council voted against GMSF after a 4-hour meeting on 4th December. Many councillors spoke passionately on behalf of their residents in the discussions before they were asked to vote on whether they approved GMSF 2020 to proceed to the next stages in the process, which would include public consultation and then Examination. The votes were:
Stockport Council will now go it alone to prepare a Stockport Local Plan. Legislation requires that this is achieved by 2023.
Following that decision, the remaining nine authorities in Greater Manchester voted to proceed with preparation of a joint plan for the nine authorities at meetings of the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) and Greater Manchester Combined authority (GMCA) on 11th December. If approved and adopted, the joint plan will then be followed by local plans for each individual authority. More information can be found on this link: Report by Paul Dennett.
Greater Manchester Transport Strategy 2040
Transport for Greater Manchester developed the Greater Manchester Transport Strategy 2040 on behalf of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). It aims to establish a fully integrated, high capacity transport system across Greater Manchester. We support the overall aims for “cleaner, greener, more prosperous city region through better connections and simpler travel.” However, we have raised concerns with our local councillors about a diagram showing a proposed Bus Rapid Transit route apparently looping through the fields in Woodford from the North Cheshire Growth Village in Handforth to the Redrow development on the former Woodford aerodrome site.
Section of Map 2 shown on page 23 of the Delivery Plan 2020-2025, which shows the proposed route of the Bus Rapid Transit through Woodford.
The proposals were considered at the Stockport Council meeting on 4th December and all the key documents considered at this meeting can be found here. It was agreed to:
(2) Approve the publication of the supporting Local Implementation Plan as an appendix to Our Five-Year Delivery Plan, acknowledging that these are “live” documents and will be subject to regular review and update as appropriate.
Woodford History We are featuring a series of articles on the history of Woodford.
The History of Woodford Aerodrome The story began in 1907 when AV Roe won an award in a Daily Mail aircraft competition and a biplane based on its design made its first flight in 1908. In 1910, AV Roe and his brother, HV Roe, set up AV Roe &Co Ltd (Avro) in Manchester, the world’s first company to be registered as an aircraft manufacturer. Just before WWI, Roy Dobson joined the company and developed a lasting friendship with the aircraft designer/engineer, Roy Chadwick. The company developed the Avro 504, which had excellent flying characteristics and over 8,000 were manufactured during the war.
After the end of WW1, Avro continued to develop aeroplanes and moved their test flying activities to Woodford, having purchased land at Newhall Farm in 1924. In 1925 Woodford Aerodrome was opened, marking a key milestone in the history of aviation at Woodford.
In the late 1930s, with the country gearing up for WWII, the company set up a large production factory at Chadderton and an assembly plant/flight test centre at Woodford. After the war, a number of changes in the business included associations with Crossley Motors and Armstrong Siddeley. The company was absorbed into Hawker Siddeley Aviation in 1960 and in 1977 Hawker Siddeley Aviation became British Aerospace. In 1999 British Aerospace merged with Marconi Electronic Systems to form BAE Systems, specialising in aerospace, arms and information security.
King George V1 and Queen Elizabeth visit the Avro factory in 1942
[Photograph included with kind permission from Heather Braddock]
Over the years a wide range of different types of aeroplanes were produced at Woodford. Here is just a flavour of some of the notable names.
The Avro Anson was a light transport aircraft. 11,000 were produced between 1935 and 1952.
The Avro Lancaster, powered by four Merlin engines, was a redesign in 1940 of the twin engine bomber, the Manchester.
The “Dam Buster” aircraft was developed by Roy Chadwick, Roy Dobson and a test pilot by the name of Sam Brown, as a refinement of the Lancaster to carry the Barnes Wallis “bouncing bomb”.
The Avro Lancastrian was a long distance passenger plane with overnight accommodation operated from 1946 by Quantas between London and Sydney.
The Avro York, based on the Lancaster, used by Churchill during WW2 and after the war a mainstay of the Berlin Airlift
The Avro Shackleton was another derivative of the Lancaster named after the explorer, Ernest Shackleton. It entered service with the RAF in 1951 for long range maritime patrol.
The Avro Vulcan is probably the most well-known and iconic product of aviation industry at Woodford. It was a delta wing, jet powered bomber, which represented an imaginative leap in aerodynamic design by Roy Chadwick. The first Vulcan flew from Woodford in 1952. It was a vital part of Britain’s strategic defence system for 30 years. Its final mission during the defence of the Falkland Islands in 1982 involved the longest non-stop mission ever undertaken by the RAF. A similar, radical delta wing design was also used later in Concorde.
Vulcan in flight over Woodford in 2015 by Robin Berriman
In the 1980s, production of the BAE146 Regional Jet was transferred to Woodford. It sold well round the world, including to the Royal Flight.
The Hawker Siddeley Nimrod largely replaced the Shackleton for maritime reconnaissance. BAE Systems won the contract to modernise Nimrod, resulting in the MRA4 with increased flight range and excellent radar facilities. However, Government orders for the aircraft were cancelled, ultimately resulting in the closure of BAE Systems at Woodford in 2011 and the sad destruction of Nimrod planes already in the final stages of production.
This marked the end of an era in Woodford. In 1989, 3000 people were employed on the site. Many employees had commuted from surrounding areas and long-standing residents will recall the traffic queues at the end of shifts at the factory. They may also recall the deafening roar that filled the village when jet engines were tested. The number of employees fell, with the loss of the final 630 jobs when BAE systems closed the site in 2011. As we all know, the site was sold to Harrow Estates and Redrow Homes began building houses on the site in 2015.
Echos of Woodford’s aviation history remain. The names of some of these aircraft and the people associated with them are now street names in the new Redrow housing estate and playgrounds on the estate incorporate propeller designs. Propeller motifs also adorn the Woodford Road/Chester Road roundabout. Even more fitting is the fact that a former Vulcan pilot now lives on the Redrow estate.
BAE agreed to fund the renovation of the former aerodrome fire station to become the new Avro Heritage Museum when the Woodford Aerodrome site was sold. A visit to the museum is recommended, where you can find much more information than is included here. There are a large number of exhibits and activities, including cockpit tours, Nimrod tactical station and Vulcan flight simulator and a white Vulcan is on display outside. The museum is currently closed due to the Covid Lockdown, but will open again when restrictions are lifted. You can find details on the link at the end of this newsletter.
Many residents will also recall the Woodford Airshow, which ran every year for 33 years from 1968 to 2005. More on this in a future edition of the newsletter.
A book entitled “Woodford, Glimpses into the Past” by Heather Braddock
We are featuring a series of articles showing sections of the network of footpaths which pass through Woodford. These may be particularly useful for local walks during Lockdown, but beware of very wet and muddy conditions and floods in the fields during wet weather. Note that footpaths 9HGB and 8HGB between Church Lane and Moor Lane are impassable at the time of writing, even in wellington boots, due to flood water.
7HGB from Church Lane to Chester Road This footpath starts on Church Lane between the sharp bend at Weavers Corner and the junction with Blossoms Lane. A stile leads through the hedge on the south east side of road into a field. In a few yards another stile leads into a field on Hill Top Farm. Keep the hedge on your left and walk up the slope to another stile alongside a gateway. The path is very muddy here in wet weather. At the top of the slope, Woodford Church can be seen across the fields and there are glimpses of Macclesfield Forest and Alderley Edge on a clear day. Bear slightly to the right and follow the fence around farm buildings to a narrow gate in the corner of the field. Pass through the small gate and the path leads to a metal gate leading on to Hill Top Farm drive. Turn right down the drive and fork right on the track leading to Chester Road. A stile leads out on to Chester Road next to the former car show room site. The finger board for the footpath at this point is now missing.
This route can be linked with other routes, such as 4HGB, which is nearby.
Please note that sheep graze the fields at times and the grass is sometimes grown for a hay crop during the summer, so walkers should stick to the path, keep dogs under control and avoid trampling long grass or other crops, which are then more difficult to cut.
Dog walkers, please respect other users by collecting dog poo in a bag and taking it home for disposal in the black bin. Bags that are not taken away cause plastic pollution in the countryside.
Please observe the countryside code: Respect - Protect - Enjoy
OS map of central Woodford showing footpath 7HGB
For further information:
The Stockport public rights of way map can be found here.
The Cheshire East interactive footpath map can be found here.
For a few days back in May 2012, many birdwatchers congregated along Church Lane with binoculars and cameras. The reason for the excitement was the appearance of a Greenshank near the seasonal pond. According to the RSPB website, this is medium-sized wader with a dark grey back and white underparts. Its long green legs and slightly up-turned bill help to distinguish it from other waders. It was a surprise to see one in Woodford, probably just calling in while migrating back to the UK from Africa. 2020 has seen very large numbers of Canada Geese on the Church Lane pond and grazing in the fields. Over 400 were counted on the pond on one occasion. .
Greenshank in Woodford 2012 Canada Geese off for a walk 2020
Photograph of the Greenshank with kind permission from John Rayner (local birdwatcher). Canada Geese by Evelyn Frearson.
Woodford Neighbourhood Forum
You can keep up to date with forum activities via the website. The Management Committee continues to respond to Planning Applications in the Neighbourhood Area and the responses can be found in a table on the website here.
Click on the icon:
Visit the AVRO Heritage Museum Website here & the Deanwater Hotel website here.
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