- Received written reply on the unfinished houses on Marland Way: Repossessed by Mortgagee. Hoping for sale in near future which will enable completion.
- Chasing up agreements on leases for community tenants of two Trafford owned community assets in Lostock, the lack of which is undermining the ability to pursue grant funding.
- Pursuing updates on new special school proposed at Barton Clough
- Pursuing attention to clean-up arrangements and dealing with neglect at Partridge St / Sir Matt Busby Way alleys
- Sending out notice for Gorse Hill Labour Party Branch meeting next week
- Two items of casework resolved – stolen grey bin replaced fee waived, unfinished replacement light column now tarmac-ed in.
- Reviewed this week's planning list. No applications this week in Gorse Hill. On the face of it, nothing controversial across Trafford. Plans for 8 new houses on Manchester Road, Carrington might have greenbelt implications. Moss Park School has submitted plans for an outdoor stage canopy.
- Reply received regarding maintenance of the cycle path at the bottom of Moss Road – Scheduled for Amey to attend to it this week
Meeting of the Member Development sub committee in the evening. Essentially it's the training and education committee for councillors. Sounds boring but actually the calendar of events we have are well put together. We're currently putting together something that looks at the business of local government, how will local government cope when the gap between public expectation of services and the reality becomes stretched to breaking point? Devolution and localism is pulling one way, but is it just about doing the best we can do, when we know it's not nearly enough? What are the lessons from the business community about meeting consumer expectations with a fading product and turning it around. How do they approach transformation? My gut feeling is that the simple answer is the business goes bust. But if local services go bust, doesn't that lead to a breakdown of society?
Tuesday 18th October
- Looked at the newly announced business rate valuations for 2017/18. Looks as though Stretford is set for reductions in the town centre. Place North West have written a good summary here
- Pursued the Cromford Road / Barton Road passageway. Originally reported in July, still not done.
- Asked for an update from Metrolink on the weekend incident "Man fighting for life after being attacked by Metrolink security staff in city centre"
- Cycled up to Oxford Road to help man the volunteer stall for Lostock College Community library on the University's volunteer recruitment day.
- Agreed to meet along with Gorgeous Gorse Hill and Trafford Council/Amey officers. The new pocket garden is looking great on Longford bridge and we just need a maintenance plan for litter bins. Plus a plea to stop weedkilling our community plants.
- Commented on a debate about Trafford Cycle Forum's terms of reference. Delirious over seeing my previous comments described as tokenistic. I ignore. Cycling is too vital in terms of health and environmental sustainability. We have a wonderful opportunity to take it forward with the success of the Manchester based success of cycling in the Olympics.
- Great to see in the Messenger that Kate Green is asking children about air quality and the effects on their lives. At the same time I'm struck that so few streets are places where children feel safe to play because of cars. So cars are not just poisoning them, they're forcing them inside. There maybe something counter-intuitive going on. Within the ward, it seems that the streets where children are most at liberty to play, for example my own Raglan Road and Thirlmere Road are also roads where car parking routinely takes place on the pavement because the roads are so narrow.
- Enquired into the current status of Trafford's Transport Strategy. I don't remember it being reviewed although the intention in the original document was for three-yearly reviews.
- Pursued information on adopted/unadopted alleyways in the ward. Seems a lot of conflicting information on this.
- Supported a Labour Party branch in restarting their branch meetings.
Wednesday 19th October
- Received reply on the adopted highways of Gorse Hill ward. It's a large file but I've made it available here. The majority of alleyways are adopted for maintenance by the council but there are a number which are not. For most of the time, this won't have much effect, but on occasions it can have consequences.
Also received a response to the status of the Transport Strategy for Trafford. Apparently it's been abandoned and we rely on TfGM's. Don't agree with this at all. The TfGM strategy is much more high level. It really explains why transport is never built into the council's strategic thinking. Salford has its own transport strategy. Salford meets regularly with its bus companies,
We're moving rapidly towards bus refranchising. Other authorities are geared up to making the case for their areas. Trafford will just accept what it gets. Trafford has contracted out its traffic management unit to Amey. They would normally play a big role in making sure that public transport interests are prioritised. It's an appalling state of affairs.
- Welcome news that plans for a proposed large advertisement hoarding at the community garden on the corner of Avondale Road has been withdrawn following our objections.
- The Circle Court Development at Lostock has also been withdrawn. This included social housing so it's with mixed feelings that it's withdrawn. However I know there were some who were worried about over developing the site.
- Wrote a sensitive report for the constituency labour party executive. They are always the most difficult to write.
- Chased up the crossing versus parking issue at the Spar on Davyhulme Road with planning enforcement.
Thursday 23rd October
- I'm guilty as charged in staying up all night to watch the last Trump v Clinton debate. It's surreal, there's no metric to make Trump a suitable president. It's like Dr Strangelove made real.
- Received a positive response to reporting Lake Road near the ecology park for lack of clean-up. The council is often too quick to cut corners in Trafford Park, when clean streets are just as vital to business as they are to residents.
- Liaised with Paula of 'Love Gorse Hill' one of our brilliant residents.
Did my voluntary stint at Lostock library. For the 45mins, rhyme time and it must be my most enjoyable time of each week, shelving books whilst the kids do "If you're happy and you know it". Like the college staff, I can never resist secretly joining in.
Rhyme Time at Lostock Library takes place Thursdays 2pm (term time only)
- In the evening I face a perfect storm
- Metrolink problems at Cornbrook that I'm told have lead to suspension of services over the weekend. I'm due to attend the Metrolink sub committee in the morning. I'll learn more there.
- The release of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework. This is likely to be a huge issue over the coming weeks. It's 500+ pages in total but the allocation of land near Flixton House for development is bound to be contoversial.
Friday 21st October 2016
- Attended Transport for Greater Manchester Metrolink and Rail sub committee. It's been a difficult week for transport. Items discussed included Victoria Station, Cornbrook Points Failures, Friends of Station
- I was pleased to see this news item on Sat Nav data whilst I caught up with the 'Daily Politics'. At first glance it seems of only minor interest, but HGVs trying to get to Trafford Park and the Euro Terminal are a regular disruption in both Gorse Hill and Lostock. So this might prevent garden walls and bollards being knocked down and wing mirrors being smashed. It's really been a significant problem.
- I posted details of the spatial framework on Urmston Net and it's already proving controversial
- Spent the late afternoon at the allotment digging over a new but completely overgrown plot. I'm knackered.
- Got back to a complaint regarding rats. The difficulty was that the resident had no idea where the rats were, their cat was bringing them back to the owner as 'presents'. Whilst in some ways it could be said that the cat was dealing effectively with the problem, it seems to be an increasing issue.
- Trying to establish responsibility for an overgrown passageway on Gorse Ave/Gorse Crescent. Left a message with Trafford Housing Trust.
- Wrote up and collated reports for a really big agenda to be discussed on Sunday at the Executive of the CLP. As it's my last one as CLP Secretary, I was sorely tempted to put 'Auld Lang Syne' as the last item.
Saturday 22nd October
A couple of pieces of casework, both regarding transport. Fed back to a resident an update on the Metrolink weekend closure and opened a dialogue on the performance of the lift at Dane Road Station.
The second piece of work was in response to lobbying from bus users on clause 21 of the Bus Services Bill. This is the Bill that allows Elected Mayors to refranchise bus services in their City Region. So it's definitely a move in the right direction but clause 21 prevents local transport authorities from setting up their own bus companies. I believe Clause 21 is totally counter productive. It allows the already incredibly powerful privately owned bus companies to hold Councils to ransom, knowing the council is prevented by law from running the service themselves, even if that's better for the passenger and better for the rate-payer. It's ideologically driven nonsense from the Conservatives. We should always allow Councils to run their own bus services where this is the best option. I've signed the petition.
- Then it's off to Urmston to knock on doors in Urmston as part of a Labour campaign to hold Amey and the Council to account for the appalling deterioration in street cleaning, parks and general environmental operations. Not surprisingly, the response on the doorstep is best described as being in despair at how far things have deteriorated.
Sunday October 23rd
- Began the day printing off reports and agenda for a meeting of the CLP executive. This is effectively the board of management for the local labour party. We're preparing for our AGM and there's lots of other stuff too. It's a long but productive meeting.
- Then it's back home to prepare the minutes and to start actioning the action points.