Gorse Hill Labour

A regular blog and updates from Mike Cordingley, Councillor for Gorse Hill Ward in Trafford – Gtr Manchester.

Just don’t ask me to run

Pulled a calf tendon at Parkrun on Saturday so I can’t run even for a bus. Thankfully the bike remains the best way of getting round and whether the calf is redundant on those pedals or it’s specific tendons, I don’t know, but I’m thankful I can get around. I actually had access to the car this week but you’ll be pleased to know I never used it once.

You’ll see that the following update contains a friendly nudge to my council that they get a move on with the Bee Network.

Monday was neighbourhood watch

Gurdev Singh is one of those people who when he sees things need doing he gets on with doing it. It’s great that Gorse Hill ward has so many of these people. Gurdev lives in Lostock and he’s seen enough attempted burglaries and car thefts to know that it’s a growing problem, that the place is not kept as clean as it should be and there’s too much dog dirt in the park and paths.

We receive the invitation in the morning for an inaugural neighbourhood watch meeting in the evening. He’s done some advertising on Facebook and we get enough people. It was such a worthwhile meeting it earned its own post here.

One thing the meeting really underlined was the need for more policing resources and it very much prompted me to respond in favour of the precept increase on council tax proposed by our Labour mayor and Deputy.

Tuesday Circle Court Drop-In

With PCSOs Jonathan and Mike, as well as officers of Trafford Housing Trust and Ian Underhill of Safer Trafford for their regular drop in.

Wednesday Trip to Trafford Park Hotel

Thrilled to see the inside of Trafford Park Hotel for the first time in 30 years, maybe longer. More here

Hopefully we can get this heritage jewel into use again.

Thursday

Design Guide Presentation

There’s a lot of good work going on in Trafford about urban planning for the 21st century and beyond. I still worry that the Council’s decision makers are not yet ready to break old habits. So we might adopt new design standards, but only if we know we can ignore at leisure.

Trafford habitually rejects planning applications for want of parking despite there being no minimum figure already. The car is given far more status than greenspace or play areas for children.

Gorse Street

This was my initiative. This street backs the shopping parade and pub in Gorse Hill. The combination of commercial premises, particularly take-aways as well as above-the-shop accommodation and a residential area means bringing people and services together is a challenge. The alleys and street needs a deep clean, we need better management of cleaning and litter removal and not just from the council.

On Thursday I got councillors and officers together just to focus on Gorse Street. We need to identify what’s adopted and what’s not, work with the commercial waste and try to develop a permanent strategy. We can’t continue just tweaking, removing the odd bag of builders waste etc. So it’s an issue I want to return to.

Urmston Active Travel

500+ people in a wedding venue in Urmston to hear Chris Boardman launch the Urmston Active Neighbourhood. Lots of activities set up but the sheer weight of numbers was the big story.

The numbers of people turning up to this meeting are really important. We’re now into the third calendar year of the bee network project. Whilst other local authorities like Salford are making good progress on moving forward from design stage, Trafford is beginning to lag behind now. It would be a shame if we didn’t make progress. The Talbot Road cycleway we inherited put Trafford at the forefront. The 500 people turning up to the Urmston event shows Trafford residents want to keep us in the leading pelatron on active travel.

Bee Network Progress Tracker

Saturday Canvass

Over to Broadheath for a Labour Party canvass in support of Denise Western. Denise is a very popular councillor and that came through on the doorstep. It felt ok, better than I expected if truth be known. We see the polling, but out on the doorstep it felt ok, at least in Broadheath.

Almost forgot to mention the Stretford town centre consultation. People are really keen. The mall is an issue, its physical presence sits on the wrong trajectory for me. There aren’t enough routes that place a person accidentally passing through the mall. I get the sense that I’m in a minority as far as the mall’s potential is concerned and I’m more than happy to see Stretford get its overdue attention.

The difference we make

Social value and local spending

When we began our journey into control there was wide interest in using the council’s procurement and commissioning practices to strengthen the local economy.

I’m pleased to report significant progress.

In just one year, the share we procured locally almost trebled from 17% in 2017/18 to 49% in 2018/19. That’s an extra £22m of public money being used to support businesses and stimulate economic growth in Trafford.

Andrew Western
Labour Leader of Trafford Council

So Proud of our Progress

We prioritised local spend during my stint last year as cabinet member for finance and Chair of Star-Procurement, the service we share with Stockport, Tameside and Rochdale. I’m incredibly proud of the progress we made and particularly pay tribute to Lorraine Cox and all her staff at Star. They really turned it around very quickly. These are stunning figures.

And More to Come

Looking further ahead, I’d really like us to embrace the Fair Tax Mark proposed by the Co-operative Party (I’m a member). And yes that is Gorse Hill’s Mary Patel who is leading this.

You’re going to hear a lot more of this

Local Shops – some TLC required

This is something I’ve wanted to tackle since I first became councillor.

As a council we take our local shops for granted.

Trafford gives 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.

Lostock Circle
Lostock (Winchester Road)
Lostock (Barton Road)
Derbyshire Lane West (near Sevenways)
Moss Road
Fiveways
Moss Road/
Davyhulme Road East
Gorse Hill

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?
  • Graffiti?
  • General cleanliness?
  • Good mix of provision? Too many takeaways? Duplication?
  • Cycle parking
  • Trip hazards, uneven pavements?
  • Lighting?
  • Feeling safe? People smoking outside pubs and betting shops
  • Vacant units?
  • 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.