Gorse Hill Labour

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

Winning the war against homelessness

Labour Councillor, James Wright has spoken of his pride after Trafford Council revealed it is starting to win the war against homelessness in the borough.

Cllr Wright, the Council’s Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration, spoke after a report revealed the Council’s Homelessness Strategy was proving to be a huge success.

The five-year strategy, which was launched in 2019, has helped hundreds of families from becoming homeless and has taken rough sleepers off the streets of Trafford.

The major achievements of the Council’s Homelessness Strategy so far include:

  • 444 households prevented from becoming homeless in 2019/20
  • Securing permanent accommodation for 21 long-term rough sleepers
  • Providing housing advice to 34,485 households in 2019/20
  • The Housing Options Service Trafford (HOST) team visited 2,360 households in 2019/20

The strategy sets out the Council’s priorities for Trafford over the next five years. They are: To prevent homelessness in Trafford; increase the supply of social housing and good quality temporary accommodation, work towards ending rough sleeping; improve access to employment, education and training for homeless people in Trafford and to improve their health and wellb

I cannot imagine how awful it must be to be without a permanent home for you and your family – it is the ultimate nightmare. That is why we are doing everything we can to win the battle against homelessness in Trafford.

Cllr Wright

Budget Consultation

Trafford needs to make up a budget shortfall of £37m for the next financial year, with more than £15m of that due to direct pressures caused by the coronavirus.

Measures to balance the budget include:

  • Increased Parking Charges
  • Reduced Green Bin Service
  • Reduced support for Sports Clubs renting pitches
  • Reduced maintenance of verges and parks
  • Reduced cleaning of town centres

Get Ready for Census 2021

The census is a survey that happens every 10 years and gives us a picture of all the people and households in England and Wales. The census is unique. There’s simply nothing else that gives so much detail about us and the society we live in.

Gorse Hill councillors met this week with Steve Black who is co-ordinating the census work in Trafford. He emphasised how important the census is in allocating services. It’s about making sure everyone completes the form. You’ll be hearing a lot more as we get nearer to March.

Hampton by Hilton Hotel at Warwick Road/Chester Road refused at Appeal

The planning inspectorate dismissed the appeal against Trafford’s planning refusal on the 212 bed hotel.

The inspector cited the main issues as:

(i) the living conditions of the occupiers of adjacent residential properties, in particular on Hornby Road, by way of visual impact and outlook;

(ii) highway safety, concerning the proposed parking arrangements and the parking provision for disabled persons;

(iii) the character and appearance of the area;and,(iv) the setting of a listed building, Trafford Town Hall.

This puts an end to this particular application, one would think, although the developers can always come back with a revised application. We would hope that it would not be as tall and made more of an accommodation for Disabled customers.

Local Government Ombudsman Report on complaints against Trafford Council Waste Collection Service

The Ombudsman, having found fault in a number of cases, determined that they would issue a Public Interest report, covering six individual complaints. This report will be presented to the Executive on Monday 20th July.

One of the recommendations that should have a positive impact is for the council and Amey to review of its missed collection report and complaints process with a view to introducing a step where results of supervisor monitoring can be assessed or residents can talk to the supervisor about the problem and the matter given a chance to resolve.

One of the frustrations as a councillor is that there seems to have been a reluctance to learn from issues that arise and that it often only seems a matter of time before the issue repeats.

The report suggests that due to covid-19, this review has not yet been completed. Not going to dwell on that but I would like to see a greater commitment.

Full report to Executive

Impact of Covid-19 on Council Finances reported

An in-year shortfall of £17.7m is projected for Trafford as a consequence of Covid-19. This is the initial figure and could get worse if we’re hit by a second wave. The council publishes regular reports throughout the year on its finances known as out-turn reports and the first of these is to be presented to the Executive on Monday 20th July.

Covid Impacts

Children’s Services

  • Anticipated the surge in demand for children’s placements will continue, adding an extra £1.2 million to costs
  • Additional transport costs for children due to social distancing £0.8m
  • Surge in demand for children’s early stage support £0.6m
  • Income from nurseries down £0.23m

Adult Services

  • Additional £4.3m to care providers
  • Additonal client demand £1m
  • Efficiency Savings planned for the year reduced by £0.9m

Public Health

  • Most of £1m+ extra spend on Test and Trace to be covered by Government Grant but additional £33k has been incurred.

Environment – Total change from budget: £6.8m

  • Primarily loss of £5.5m of income (parking fees and fines £887k, property rentals £763k, outdoor media advertising £651k, planning fees £581k, building control fees £168k, licencing £132k, highways permits £116k, street trading £60k and pest control £38k) but additional £955k of waste disposal costs and £114k related to waste collection, £140k for rough sleepers, £50k for inclusive neighbourhoods, £35k traffic management. Within this is also the cost of supporting Trafford Leisure.

People £4.2m

  • Lost income on council services that are bought in by schools and other agencies accounts for almost all this total

Other impacts

The anticipated airport dividend of £5.5m is no longer expected but government grants of £6m have reduced the overall impact of covid-19 from £23m to £17m. The effect on council tax and business rates are still being felt and the council’s finances will be very much dependent on the extent to which Government honours it’s agreement to support councils in doing what needed to be done.

Full Report