Weekly Update 18th July 2011

A moment of Peace and Harmony in Trafford?


Meeting of Community Activists at Urmston Library
Poorly attended and I left early before the drumming started. (don’t ask..)


Meeting of Full Council
I asked a pre-notified question on staffing.

At the beginning of the last financial year, Trafford had the equivalent of 3,175 full time staff including agency workers. It now has 2,796. An equivalent of one in 9 staff has left the workforce. At the same time, much of the workforce has been preparing for a massive upheaval / decant to the Quays.

No organisation is exempt from change, and I’m not going to present a Luddite argument against modernisation or indeed efficiencies. However no one can deny that the capacity for ‘Change’ has a ceiling. If a team is in a constant state of upheaval, there’s inevitably a cost in productivity. I spoke to one member of middle management at Trafford recently who’d had three changes to his job title and responsibilities in four months. To be fair he’d coped well, but you could see a growing frustration that he was not being able to bed-in changes to his role before they were changed again. Multiply the changes across a thousand members of staff and it begins to place a brake on output.

Now again to be fair, I’ve been extremely impressed with aspects of service maintenance during this transition. I had cause to pass on positive comments from a member of public only last week. It’s clear many areas of the organisation are coping well, but some are clearly creaking and there’s been times where it’s been difficult.

The cuts will keep coming, we know that and we’ll have to adapt, but if we’re not careful, we could see the impact being far greater if we pass a point beyond which the management and staff simply cannot cope with the rate of change.

High Speed Rail

We also had a debate on High Speed Rail. I’d drafted a motion on behalf of the Labour Group and the Conservatives had submitted a similar motion in support. My inclusion of words crediting the Labour Government with initiating the project upset the Conservatives and spiced up the debate nicely. I was happy to withdraw the offending words and both resolutions were passed. I noticed the Advertiser reporter suggested that peace and harmony had broken out. I wouldn’t go that far but it was a much better debate than might have been anticipated.

Any peace and harmony was broken with the Conservative resolution on Stretford High / Gorse Hill Park. As I predicted we had the political bun fight. Hopefully the community will still have a say and voice concerns. This resolution didn’t help that dialogue and I wish it had not been tabled.


Old Trafford Youth Club to listen to the young people about the fantastic work that goes on there. Brilliant


Transport for Greater Manchester Committee
Mainly straight forward, although there’s a recommendation for ‘an extra four car train from Liverpool Lime Street to Manchester Oxford Road in the morning peak to ‘abstract passengers’ from along the entire route and to remove intermediate stops from inter urban services to manage demand.’

Now I’ve no idea what they mean and the officer wasn’t sure either. I suspect it means a stopping train in the morning rush hour, but the loss of express trains stopping in Urmston and certain other stations along the route. If Urmston loses some access, it places more demand on the commuting trains which are already full by the time they reach Trafford Park Station. So I need to confirm whether the four car stopping train adds to capacity at Trafford Park and Humphrey Park or reduces it. So I’ve got a little homework.

And finally

I’ve posted the draft road resurfacing schedule on the roads page of the website. Pleased that Gorse Hill ward is well represented amongst those on the schedule; and pleased that all four of the roads I championed have been included. No guarantee that there won’t be changes as the year progresses but it’s a good start. I know there’s areas in Lostock that are pushing for inclusion and we’ll keep making the case.







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