Members of the Campaign Team met with Graham Brady, MP for Altrincham and Sale West, and Cllr John Tolhurst on Saturday 12.09.09. Their aim was to persuade Mr Brady to support the Team in its objective of saving Watling Gate. Mr Brady was sympathetic to the Team’s ambition in this regard, and recognised that Watling Gate is owned by Trafford Council, that it is a Listed Building and that no repairs or maintenance have been carried out on the building in recent years, such that it is now in a very poor state. The Team also pointed out that the building is not secure and mentioned communications which they have had with GM Police regarding criminal activity at the site.
The Campaign Team also explained that there is an important moral question at the centre of the cause for Watling Gate. An eminent public servant, Lt. Col Charles Newton gave his home, his art collection, and a substantial area of land, to the community, and it is a gross betrayal of trust, inconsistent with the conduct of a civilised people, that Colonel Newton’s bequest should be so abused. Trafford MBC has already made several disgraceful attempts to ignore the terms of Colonel Newton’s will in respect of his bequest.
Cllr Tolhurst said that there were several bodies holding an interest in the future of Watling Gate which conflicted in their ambitions for the building. This division appeared to the Team to be an excuse for indolence; if the Council does nothing the building will be destroyed by neglect. Mr Brady mused on the likely uses to which the building could be put. The Team recognised that this is a difficulty but that, as the Council owned it, and was responsible for maintaining it, they were expected to be proactive rather than inactive in finding solutions. The Team thanked Mr Brady for his attention to this important matter and patiently awaits good news about the old building.