Circle Court caps a busy week but shows in adversity the very best of Lostock.
Saturday 4th Jan
Marshalling the first corner at Wythenshawe Pk Run. First time I’ve marshalled, but I’ve now done 12 runs and that’s not a bad ratio. One morning volunteering for a dozen runs.
In the afternoon I cycled round Gorse Hill identifying the full set of streets that had missed bin collections as the council had arranged additional Sunday shifts of collections.
Sunday 5th Jan
Spent the morning trying to establish whether the promised bin teams had gone out and whether they doing Gorse Hill. Took until lunchtime to get confirmation. Frankly, being told that they’d be reporting the next day just infuriates. Don’t often lose my temper but came close over that. Anyway the word was the teams were out and were doing the streets I’d submitted. Not totally as it turned out, but most.
Receive an update on the Education portfolio. Can’t hide the fact that there’s some local schools giving concern. School finances, it seems to me, are more responsive to school numbers than they ever have been. This is a good thing if your school is attracting good numbers, but if, for whatever reason, you’re not getting the demand, it can quickly spiral. Going to need different approaches, but the bottom line is we can’t just stand by.
Monday 6th Jan
Fury on the emails about the bins. Flixton particularly angry. Make some progress on casework. Christmas has been particularly busy.
I’m also putting together the spending return for the election. These have to be submitted next week and it’s not the sort of thing you want to do during the festivities so I now need to get going with it.
Tuesday 7th Jan
Labour Group meeting. Started late and slowly ground to a halt. I think Christmas has frazzled us. I’d be tempted to avoid the first full week of the year for a Labour group meeting next year. Anyway City won the first leg at United, even if I missed the first half, and apparently we played quite well.
Wednesday 8th Jan
More work on the spending return. In the evening it’s to Stretford Mall for an officer meeting with architects, planners and Bruntwood over the next consultation event.
It’s not long since the last one and whilst that means actual tangible progress might still be a little way off, I think this was a useful meeting. I think the public drop in will also be useful too.
At November’s drop in there was a discreet minority who felt the best option was to knock the mall down. To be honest, that has been my view too. I think it’s fair to say that isn’t a view shared by the planners and architects. I quite like the fact that they saw positive strengths in parts of the Mall and really saw their role as trying to design and enhance those strengths. So whilst I seem to have lost one argument, I’m far more energised by their way of thinking. Don’t be expecting fleshed out designs, but I think their approach both to the mall and to the wider Stretford town centre neighbourhoods is measured and exciting.
Consultation Drop-in at the Mall – Saturday 25th January 8am until 6pm
You really need to attend this. It’s your Stretford. And the planners need to hear from you.
Completed the ‘Doing Buses Differently’ consultation on bus franchising. This is something I’ve actively supported for a long time. The free market simply doesn’t work for bus travel. It’s my contention that the bus companies should really embrace this. It’s the only way they will ensure a long term future for their business. It’s an incredibly positive proposal that will support the bus companies and build the bus transport sector.
Thursday 9th Jan
Library Volunteering and in the evening yet more planning previews
I’m a member of the planning committee so I have to be circumspect over live planning applications, but we were previewing the new stand and hotel extension planned for Lancs Cricket Ground, as well as a tall hotel at the corner of Chester Road and Warwick Road.
Friday 10th Jan
Casework and a Labour Party Meeting reflecting on the Election Defeat
(oh, and I went for a five mile run!)
The Labour Party meeting was interesting, particularly the thoughts of ordinary members rather than MPs or Councillors.
I think the scale of the defeat is taking some adjusting to. There’s a rawness to the wounds that have been rendered. I don’t think anyone has the complete answer. I’m not going to spend a lot of time dissecting our manifesto or the likeability of Jeremy Corbyn. He is already in the past. There were a lot of textbook failings in our campaign that will have to be put right whether Labour chooses to tack to the left or right: the lack of a story that related to people’s lives, the diminution of shared values. We failed to connect
We were for the many, not the few, but came across as a party too often set apart from and contemptuous of the very people we wanted to vote for us. That is a charge that can be made against both wings of the party; and one particularly apposite with regard to Brexit.
Saturday/Sunday – Serious Incident at Circle Court
Start the day away with the Labour Group but quickly learn of the Circle Court fire and flooding. Tell Dave Acton and we get over there. It was an everchanging set of circumstance throughout the weekend. The fire and initial water leakage were dealt with quickly but from then on there was loss of power, further floods and the affected area would enlarge, shrink and enlarge again. It would vary from almost no tenants needing rehousing to substantial decanting. The residents were superb and so were Trafford Housing Trust staff. When you go through something like this with people, you realise how stoical people are, how they deal with setbacks. I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud to represent this place.
I know things are not yet back to normal for quite a few residents and we’re continuing to monitor. I was really pleased to invite Kate Green over on the Sunday to see the recovery operation and to meet with staff and residents. I know she was impressed.