The week of the revised diary
Two weeks previously the diary for this week had looked completely packed and I’d had to submit apologies for a number of meetings. The Government’s delays in releasing the Local Government settlement for Trafford meant all the meetings connected with Trafford’s Budget for next year were cancelled. And we lost Tuesday’s Councillor workshop on health inequalities due to lack of take-up
Labour Group meeting on preparing for the budget – cancelled
The workshop cancellation meant that after all I was able to attend the Lostock Community Partnership meeting on a bitterly cold night. Not many residents braved the cold and it was finished in less than 30 mins.
Trafford Housing Trust Board meeting. Agenda items included ‘the local offer’ which is the statutory requirement of the regulator of Housing Associations – The Tenants Services Authority. The TSA sets national standards of service every tenant in England should receive from their landlord. However, it is recognised by the TSA that different communities have different challenges, and therefore may require additional standards which complement the national standards. Therefore they require landlords to agree with their tenants what they will deliver over and above these standards, or how best to implement these standards according to local priorities such as:
- Anti social behaviour and security
- Neighbourhood and estate management
- Quality of accommodation (decent homes)
- Repairs and maintenance
- Tenant choice and customer service
- Tenant empowerment
There’s nothing wrong with these aspirations. My concern is the amount of consultation that’s required to deliver on each of these and many more service levels. In effect we’ve created a cottage industry of consultation whilst at the same time knowing that we have cases of overcrowding and properties that don’t always meet modern standards particularly in relation to communal areas. And this cottage industry of consultation costs money that comes directly from the rents and service charges paid by those in the overcrowded properties etc. My personal view is that the emphasis has to be shifted from management/consultancy to delivery.
Met with MUFC and Trafford Officers at Old Trafford to pitch for streetscene enhancements to engender pride in the neighbouhood close to the stadium. Maybe I’m a little naïve in suggesting that we could build through subtle branding of streetsigns etc,a sense that the streets are intrinsically linked to United and that for supporters to bespoil the area is in effect bespoiling United.
Certainly United felt I was naïve. They pointed out that any United branding on street signs would make the sign a collectable; or would be defaced by opposing supporters. They felt any improvement in the behaviour of United supporters engendered by the streetscene enhancements would be offset by deteriorating behaviour of opposing fans. They also claimed that the reason behaviour of fans markedly improved as they crossed the bridge on Matt Busby Way to the stadium area was the increased surveillance and stewarding. And lastly there were corporate licensing issues of use of the logo.
I didn’t get the sense that there’s any great enthusiasm but they felt that as the sporting boulevard was developed along Warwick Road / Sir Matt Busby Way linking the two stadia and Metrolink stadium, they would support some neutral enhancements.
They are certainly wrong in some respects. Walking down Sir Matt Busby Way with the supporters, there’s a tangible change of mood when you cross the bridge and it’s nothing to do with the CCTV or stewards. The fans stop dropping litter and they certainly wouldn’t urinate against a wall of the stadium even if they could find a concealed area. It becomes hallowed ground for the fans and they treat the area with respect. Perhaps surprisingly most away fans actually behave similarly. Yes there’s ritualised chanting and abuse but the stadium itself is respected to a degree. The whole point is to widen the area where the change in behaviour takes place.
I don’t buy the idea that we can’t do this sufficiently subtly to prevent signage becoming a collectable. I will keep persevering.
Attended Two Committee Meetings at Barton Clough Governors immediately after.
Learned that Coronation Street studio is being moved to Gorse Hill and got quote to paper
Snow: oh by the way I’m still giving up smoking.
Have a great christmas