“The details you provided were passed to our maintenance supervisor who has advised that a team will be in the area within the next 5-7 weeks and at this time, they will assess the site to understand what work needs to take place.
Due to current circumstances, our main priority is keeping the railway running for key workers and freight which means smaller jobs such as graffiti and fly tipping aren’t being prioritised like they usually would.
This being said, once the team have established the level of graffiti, the clearance will be added to their work bank to take place when resource is available.
It may also be worth raising this issue with Trafford Council to see what they can do to assist with the problem. If they contact us directly, I’ll be able to forward this on to the necessary team so the 2 parties (as well as Northern) can look at what options are available.”
I think it is worth talking to Trafford officers. There’s no question the subway badly needs investment. I’d really like to see it on the Bee Network schedule for walking and cycling investment. It’s not really been taken up by the local cycling forum, presumably because it’s seen as primarily a walking route. Somehow we’ve got to squeeze it onto the programme. The obvious solution is replacing the steps with a much longer gradient on both sides. This would actually make the station wheel chair accessible too.
So I’m inclined to pursue once Christmas is out of the way.
I was contacted in June in respect of an infestation of rats at a property on Gorse Street. This was an exceptionally large and bold infestation that were moving openly on a lean-to roof of the property’s outbuilding.
Whilst the infestation of rats was the trigger for the contact, there were a lot of separate issues in connection with the alleyway.
The Chester Road businesses are generally keeping their commercial waste bins in the alley. Most are unlocked, but increasingly we’re seeing commercial bins locked shut. This is welcome, but has implications for the flats above shops. Bags of household waste are routinely thrown into open commercial bins.
An issue as recently as June was the blocking of the alley drain due to congealed oils and fats. There have been long periods of the drain being blocked and a large milky white sludge collecting as a large puddle in the alley. Responsibility was disputed between the council and United Utilities, but I understand that that is now clarified with the council taking on responsibility.
However, residents understandably are keen the takeaways undertake their business responsibly and it has not always been the case.
When a business ceases trading
At least one of the takeaway businesses ceased trading during the first lock-down and essentially shut-up shop, leaving their commercial waste uncollected and un-invoiced.
This was unresolved for months. The bin was left festering whilst accumulating even more black waste bags alongside it.
Eventually this bin was removed, presumably by the contractor; and the Council removed the bags (as fly-tipping) a week or so later.
As a minimum, I’m arguing that there needs to be clear indications as to which business a bin belongs to. If a business does ‘a runner’ and ceases trading it should be made relatively easy for a third party to contact the waste contractor. On this bin I couldn’t do that, all I could do was tell the waste contractor it was one of theirs and it was unlikely they’d get paid for removing it.
We should therefore expect it to be standard that all commercial bins in the alley should have an indication as to which business they are contracted to. We would hope that the council would make this a condition of keeping bins in the alley.
We would also expect that commercial bins in the alley should be locked so as to avoid accumulating fly-tipped waste and overflowing.
Flats above the shops with no bins
We’ve inherited a situation where it’s commonplace that no bins are attached to the flats above the shops there. Even if they had bins, it’s not clear where they could be kept.
Quite sensibly in many ways, the residents use plastic bags to take out and dispose of the waste. However, it’s not efficient and encourages pests; and it’s never been part of the waste contract whether Amey or their predecessors to collect waste in bags. We do not want to change that.
But it’s completely unacceptable to have the situation we had with the commercial bin in the photograph. Most of that waste is domestic ‘fly-tipped’ waste put into a commercial bin that was abandoned.
We’ve got to get to a proper scheme of waste disposal for these flats. They’re council tax payers and they’re entitled to a proper scheme. I don’t know whether that will be bin stores in the alley or some form of communal bins, but the current situation is not tenable. We need to work with the residents to come up with a solution.
Although we made massive strides since June, we’ve still got a way to go. I want to get to a situation where rats go hungry and move on by, that there’s not a ready supply in the alley.
Trafford is experiencing the rise in positive cases of Covid seen across Greater Manchester. We don’t seem to be experiencing a corresponding rise in hospital admissions.
The rise in positive tests seems to particularly focused on a younger segment of the population. The message continues to be vigilent and get tested if you have symptoms. Trafford’s testing facility is at UA92 this week. Tests are booked via the NHS.
Impact on Council Finances
Dealing with Covid-19 has had a huge impact on Council finances for this year. Remember that the Government’s diktat was to do what was necessary.
The Government has issued grants to councils but go nowhere near addressing the full amount.
So looking at this year’s budget spend, we’re about £17m down on where we should be for the year.
The Government is talking about spreading the cost but Trafford under Labour has been a frugal council. I’d like to see finance reform but unless that happens we’re going to need support from Government. It’s my view you can only squeeze so much out of Council Tax.
You may have seen reports that the impact on Trafford Leisure in terms of maintaining a service has been even greater than on the council since they’ve not been able to open their centres. The council has reconfigured reserves allocated to the Trust to assist but since some of these reserves were connected to a new Stretford Leisure Centre/Pool, it’s obviously a concern to us in Gorse Hill.
Crime in Greater Manchester is currently up by 25% compared to the same time last year. This is a significant change as the figures for April and May were quiet in comparison.
I’m told that Trafford is not seeing the same increase. That may be across Trafford as a whole but my experience suggests that there is a peak in crime and disorder, as well as anti-social behaviour.
We are not very good at reporting crime in Gorse Hill. We know there is drug dealing at a number of locations. It’s not being reported to the police.
Do report on Crimestoppers too. It gives police vital information to apply resources
Lostock Circle Court
Circle Court has been due regeneration for a number of years. Windows are draughty and uninsulated and it needs all aspects bringing up to 21st century standards. There were hints that building a new hotel (still subject to planning) could bring in the receipts needed to assist. However, the financial outlook is such that the Housing Trust has indicated that any regeneration is now pushed back.
As councillors we’re arguing that this is precisely the right investment to be making at this time. We’re angry about it and will continue to make the case.
I don’t think closing the household waste and recycling centres was ever a good idea. They are at last open but we’ve been left with a legacy across the ward of fly-tipping and overflowing and abandoned commercial waste. I’m doing my best to find a way through these but people are angry and I understand that.
We also seem to have had a spate of bin thefts this week. Now the collection service is supposedly back to normal, expectations are confused and it’s clear that there’s a backlog of frustration and unattended fly-tipping and a big increase in incidences of rats across the ward.
The September resumption is a really difficult issue. Schools have been operating primarily as learning hubs with most of their pupils learning at home. The effectiveness of the learning we know is very mixed and the quality of the learning environment is extremely varied. The impact of covid-19 on learning will range from almost zero to a level seriously detrimental to the child’s outcomes.
Teachers and staff have worked incredibly hard throughout the period. I know there are worries about a full resumption. I suppose I’m in the camp where I just think we have to get children back. It is not going to be easy.
I’m a governor at Lostock High as well as Old Trafford Community Academy; but I did want to report back on Lostock as it’s important to the ward. Since May we have a new Headteacher, Lindsay Brindley. I’m really impressed with how she’s addressing the current situation. She’s managed to recruit some really proven senior staff into key positions. She’s worked so hard and I really wish her all the best in September when it’ll be the first time she’s had all the children back.
Extremely disappointing that Trafford’s GP practices with the worst ratings amongst patients were all located in the Stretford/Old Trafford area.
Trafford has 30 practices:
27 – Delamere Medical Practice, Stretford (72), 28 – Old Trafford Medical Practice (67), 29 – North Trafford Group Practice, Stretford (61) 30 – Brooks Bar Medical Centre, Stretford (60).
Only Lostock avoided the bottom places coming in at 14.
I raised this with the Director of Public Health but I suspect it’s an issue for the CCG and the Council’s Health Scrutiny. I suppose looking at the position as a whole, then Trafford’s practices are doing well, however I’m not happy our practices are failing to serve their patients as well as others.
There are a number of pressures building up whilst covid-19 lockdown has been in place. It is only now that Social Landlords are entering into new lets. We had an effective freezing of movement. The ban on evictions extends until 23rd August.
Obviously no one wants to see evictions without cause but sometimes it’s the only way for a situation to ease and it’s pressured to say the least at the moment.
Easing of Lockdown
I think generally it’s gone well. Clearly a lot of this is for the council to police. The requirement to wear a mask was 100% adhered to when I visited Tesco, but I understand the company (along with Sainsburys) is now saying they won’t intervene with people not wearing a mask. I think that’s a mistake.
From what I have seen bars are quiet.
Really disappointed to see the Up Top project not proceed. I have no inside information on what happened there.
Not comfortable with gyms reopening personally.
Supporting the A56 Bike Lanes
I’ve made my position clear that I very much welcome the bike lanes. Perhaps interestingly, I think it’s less about facilitating bike riding and more about taming the A56 so that traffic movement is at civilised speeds and steady whilst people can reclaim the pavements for walking and chatting without the poisonous exhausts and imposing roar.
I think we’re going to see more facilities brought in quite quickly. Close to home we might see some filtering around Gorse Avenue and Ashover Street. Apparently letters are going out today though I’ve not seen them.
Planning appeals have been lodged against refusal on:
Hotel at corner of Warwick Road and Chester Road
The safe-storage facility opposite Arnold Clark showroom
A planning application has been submitted for the B&Q site to build 333 apartments (use class C3) and communal spaces ancillary to the residential use; flexible space for use classes A1, A3, D1 and/or D2; undercroft car parking; new public realm; and associated engineering works and infrastructure | Former B&Q Site Great Stone Road Stretford M32 0YP
We’ve also received a pre-planning consultation letter in respect of 13 storey appartments on Warwick Road. The letter has also been delivered to local residents.
This continues to be the busiest time I can remember for casework. At the same time, Trafford’s officers are mainly working from home. I’m continuing to do my best to deal with issues. I have had a mixture of complete success, partial progress and getting nowhere on various issues.
It’s a fabulous role being a councillor. It’s much better when I can get out and about as trying to deal with it all from a laptop is a pain. Have a great summer and hopefully things will be a little bit better come September.
Timely that we just met on the same day (Monday) that Andy Burnham was announcing radical improvements to Manchester’s public transport.
It’s obvious we all have a stake in the our environment and no one wants to see our green and pleasant land turned to dust. It’s so good that we have cross-party involvement. I think it’s going to be a worthwhile committee.
Clearly there are global aspects to reducing greenhouse gas emissions but putting our own house in order is never a bad place to start and it has to begin at the local.
We agreed last night that we’re going to want to benchmark our energy consumption as a council. I’m quite keen we go a lot further. The Royal Family seems able to measure its carbon footprint, as can Tesco. I think Trafford can too! We’ll see how that conversation resolves itself.
One of the interesting conundrums we’ll face is whether to measure only that which comes under Trafford’s control. I believe that climate change is a matter for all of us, not just a data collector hidden away somewhere. We should even be capturing data on emissions from commuting. It’s been done elsewhere and it helps everyone appreciate the full extent of the impact we make in our working lives. It’d be quite fascinating to see the carbon footprint of councillors – I think we can make significant percentage reductions in greenhouse gas emissions here.
We also need to consider the extent to which we can guide via the planning process reducing the carbon footprint on new development. I don’t think we’ve progressed as much as we predicted in the 1980s. There was a television series on Granada back then called House for the Future and we genuinely expected homes to be self-sufficient in energy use and far more sustainable that has transpired.
Whilst the House for the Future template might have derailed, there has been progress in design standards abroad and Councillor Jerome has been quite keen to promote Passivhaus design to the committee. The carbon footprint of these is so much lower than a standard build. We need to be recommending quite a shift in our planning expectations. The extent to which this can be implemented locally will be something we want to test.
We’ve also had time to look at some smaller scale projects:
Both of these groups are relatively small but are collectively generating green energy locally using communal assets.
We also talked about District Heating schemes and some suggestion that Trafford Park could offer heat sources. Not so sure myself. Tend to find that the big heat producers recycle that heat to the nth degree themselves. There was a proposal for the incinerator at Barton to be supplying heat for the housing development being built alongside it. Councillor Carey is going to talk to the power station at Carrington, so we’ll give it a chance.
This is something I’ve wanted to tackle since I first became
As a council we take our local shops for granted.
strategic attention to four specific town centres of Altrincham,
Sale, Stretford and Urmston. These four centres are designated within
the official Local Plan and are monitored and supported through the
council budget. Less attention is afforded to village centres such as
Sale Moor, Partington, Hale Barns, Ashton upon Mersey and Timperley;
but at least they are on the map.
As a council we give almost zero recognition to corner shops and smaller shopping parades. Yet there’s an argument that these hyper-local neighbourhood parades contribute more in social capital and community well-being than the town centres ever could do.
The local shops are part of family life
When mum or dad says
‘can you nip down to the shop for butter?’ the child knows where
they’re being sent. It might be that these days the child is much
older before they’re considered sufficiently road savvy to be
allowed shopping errands, but it’s still a right of passage to nip
down to the shop.
Local shops matter. When local shops fall into decay, it becomes a blight on the community. They can either add value to property prices or detract. They are very much part of the identity of a place.
The good news is that we have a lot of local shopping parades in and around Gorse Hill Ward and largely with one or two exceptions, they’re doing ok.
Apart from on the Gorse Hill parade, there are almost no vacant units across our local shops. So that’s good. But are there things that should be improved?
I believe there’s a whole host of things that could and should be done by council and other agencies; and especially by the store owners themselves. I’ve tried to come up with a list primarily based on the complaints and gripes I’ve encountered in this area. It’s not exhaustive but generally I’m hoping to have captured the doable stuff.
Litter management issues, sufficient bins – right locations?
Access to the shops – safe crossing?
Traffic Management – too many cars on forecourt? Deliveries?
Good mix of provision? Too many takeaways? Duplication?
Trip hazards, uneven pavements?
Feeling safe? People smoking outside pubs and betting shops
Management of waste – commercial waste
Cleanliness of alleys and ginnels associated with the shops
Is this a reasonable basis for measuring the health of our local shops and things to do to improve ? Is there anything I’ve missed?
It’s something I’m really keen to do. I’m hoping to put together a living set of actions for the council and other agencies to support the vitality of our shops. So I really want you to engage with this.
A 212 bedroom hotel is proposed at the corner of Chester Road and Warwick Road where the bronze windowed offices currently stand. In many ways I’m in favour. However at ground level, I feel the hotel fails to deliver sufficient active frontage on either road but particularly on Warwick Road.
It should feel as though you’re invited in and interested in the restaurant. It’s an important building and could trigger quite a renaissance for ‘Red Chippy Village’ if it’s developed appropriately, so I believe it’s appropriate for me to object to the development at this stage. I of course hope that the architects revisit the frontage at ground level to improve the interaction with people passing by.
My representation to planners
95591/FUL/18 | City Point 701 Chester Road Stretford M32 0RWObjection
I wish to make the following objection in respect of the above planning application to demolish the current office block and build a hotel on the site which is in Gorse Hill Ward.
I’m in favour of the application to demolish the current building. My understanding is that whilst aesthetically the office is acceptable, it contains a number of structural flaws that have made it historically hard to let.
I am also in favour of the change of use for the site to a hotel and consider the height and scale to be appropriate to a site which visually links Manchester United/Hotel Football and developments on Talbot Road linked to the Civic Quarter.
I appreciate that the height exceeds the specification in the emerging Civic Quarter Masterplan but believe it appropriate for a key site in the Masterplan area and its stated aim to bring about an evening economy. The location is very much in what is colloquially described as Red Chippy Village and will contribute to the evolution of this area to deliver a more comprehensive offering to visitors and supporters.
However, I’m very disappointed that at ground level the proposed hotel does not provide a sufficiently active frontage on either Chester Road or Warwick Road and as such fails to deliver key outcomes towards the Civic Quarter aspirations. I believe this is a key deficiency and sufficient to reject the proposal as it stands, but one which should be relatively easy to rework to provide active ground floor frontages on BOTH Chester Road and Warwick Road.
I am not enamoured of the proposed finish to the building as shown on the artist impressions. I believe that it can be improved. I am pleased there are no balconies and hope that this means that there should be no possible interaction or goading between patrons of the hotel and supporters in Warwick Road.
There is also shown on the plans, an outcrop over the pavement on Warwick Road. I am worried that this extends too far into the road and cut be hit by high vehicles.
I am inclined to OBJECT to the proposal until active frontages are designed into the scheme but am otherwise supportive albeit I believe the finish can be improved.
If active frontages can be introduced my objection would substantially diminish. However it would of course be dependent upon considerate construction as the demolition and construction phases are likely to be disruptive to nearby neighbours particularly those residents on Hornby Road and Warwick Road. This would be a major development so close to houses and would require the fullest consideration of the impact on their daily lives.