Saturday 7th November
Attended target cafe in Gorse Hill to meet with Paul, Marge and Mary of Love Gorse Hill. We're working hard to make sure council's new contractor, Amey maintains a high standard match day operation. United were playing West Brom that day. One of the key actions on match day is to ensure the litter bins are emptied before the fans arrive, if the litter bins are full, we can't expect the fans to use them. We have problems where the fans alight from coaches coming in from the faraway places united fans live, they empty out the refuse from their journey onto our streets. We're not going to solve the problem without help from the council and its contractor so we have to keep them on their toes.
The Target Cafe is a great resource and at the same time I got to hear Debbie (Cllr Walsh's daughter) sing at the cafe. It made for a really nice lunchtime and lovely to spend a Saturday when I've not been delivering leaflets or knocking on doors for Labour.
Sunday 8th November – Remembrance Day
Rather than go to the civic ceremony at the Stretford Cenotaph, I attended the smaller ceremony at the All Saints Church on the Lostock/Stretford border. It was a chance to hear the new vicar Revd Luke Maguire. I'm a committed non-believer, but it's important.
Monday 9th November
Almost 11 hrs of interviewing for a new Family Support and Safeguarding Lead at Barton Clough.
Tuesday 10th November
Strong Communities Board received update from Jamie Whyte on latest deprivation statistics for Trafford. Most areas are doing 'relatively' well compared to the national average. This might mean we're becoming better off, but could equally mean we're simply not declining as badly as other areas. It's really a system of ranking – but all neighbourhoods in Gorse Hill have risen in that ranking.
Also looked at revised partnership strategy. I've been hugely critical of the partnership in the past. It doesn't seem to have delivered very much and hasn't really been a partnership in any meaningful way. The new structure at least seems to be pointing in the right direction.
On the way back from the town hall I got chance to pop in to Floors2go. A resident had mentioned they weren't entirely happy that Floors2Go had put a marketing banner in front of the Gorgeous Gorse Hill planters on Chester Road. Got to say Floors2Go were brilliant about it – took the banner down immediately and asked that they could put it back for weekend promotion. More than happy with the compromise. Well done Floors2go!
Wednesday 11th November
Meeting at town hall with Locality Partnership admin. Full Council meeting in the evening. You can watch the council meeting here
The Conservatives were not answering questions and there's a concerted effort from them to stifle and obfuscate. I'm not a fan of full council meetings. Families affected by withdrawal of home to school transport for a significant proportion of older (post 16) young disabled people really didn't get a chance to hear any meaningful defence of those changes.
Thursday 12th November
Regular library volunteering in the afternoon.
Planning meeting in the evening. Great news that the Station Road flats were rejected. Really pleased with that. This was probably my highlight of the week. That patch of ground alongside the railway might not mean much to councillors from Hale but it really is a pocket sized park. It may be brambles and scrub but it's blackberry picking in the summer and bird song in the spring. One notoriously right-wing Conservative took offence at the description of the patch as park, the idea that something 'owned' could be a park was anaethema to him. I disagree profoundly.
To be fair though – he still voted against the development.
Also on the planning agenda was Pomona. I still don't believe these two blocks on the Manchester border are the best designs aesthetically but they're a darn sight better than those on the Manchester side. I did object to the original designs – I do believe we need homes though and I don't subscribe to the objections coming from those who believe we should not be building homes there.
Friday 13th November
Transport in the morning. I need to record that I voted against allowing dogs onto Trams. I know it was controversial to some but I was convinced the trial should not go ahead. The proposed trial was to allow dogs in carriers similar to the one shown at the top of this post. I didn't buy the argument that this was at all workable – what is the passenger to do with carrier(s) when they alight from the tram? Others wanted muzzled dogs. I just don't think the tram is an appropriate vehicle to take dogs. Most correspondence I received was against it and I am not going to hide from the fact that I am too.
Meeting with Stella Creasy in the afternoon. I'm a big fan. I like that she sees activism as something other than hand-wringing.