Gorse Hill Labour

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

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Weekly update 12th July 2011

Tories do their best to jeopardise school/park consultation

Back from my holiday. I’ve tried to keep up with events whilst away. The Derwent Appeal against their application for judicial review has been rejected. As far as I’m aware, that is the end of the line in their attempts to prevent the approval of Tesco’s plans. The store is too big but we’re all agreed upon that, even the planning committee. And if it’s going to go-ahead, I’d rather it progressed quickly to allow the cricket club to get going. The worst case scenario has always been that the fiasco of the way the planning meeting was conducted was sufficient to fatally delay the implementation but not sufficient for the decision to be reversed. Nobody should feel happy with the way the Tories have conducted this. Their behaviour has ranged from being a soft touch to that of blinkered complacency.

Assuming, that this appeal is the end of the matter, the focus now turns to Stretford High School’s ambition to provide much needed improved sports facilities. Over the last few weeks the school has been working really hard to work with the community and park users to come up with a design that preserves the park area as a park but gives community access to excellent facilities; and protects the the community from being priced out of those facilities. The school has steadfastly refused to be drawn into the controversy over the Tesco and has maintained throughout that the school’s plans are completely separate. Whilst we on the Labour side always felt that there was potential to explore an enhanced Stretford Sports Centre or use of the land earmarked for the enlarged Tesco, the school to be fair, has always maintained its preference for the facilities to be in the park.

Again to be fair, the meetings with the community have been conducted positively and significant progress has been made. There’s still plenty of work to be done but it’s not out of the question that the school can reach an accommodation. I’m therefore shocked that the Tories have submitted a motion to this coming Council Meeting that seems designed to polarise the whole process. The consultation is not over, plans haven’t been submitted or even drawn up; and the school is doing its utmost to take the politics out the whole issue. Yet Trafford’s Tories are saying, firstly ‘Yes it is part of the Tesco scheme’, then they congratulate the school in the middle of a consultation. Personally, I think it’s very risky making a political football out of the school and I can’t help being reminded of the way Thatcher used to provoke disputes through inflammatory remarks when there was danger of agreement. Thatcher was deliberate, this is is just crass.

No doubt we’ll have a ritualised bun-fight at Council but it would have been better for the Tories to have kept their peace over this issue.

Sunday

Attended Lostock College car boot and fun day. Well attended and testament to the efforts to preserve this much loved school.

Monday

Attended Lostock Tenants and Residents meeting. Really pleased with the much reduced levels of anti social behaviour being experienced. Constructive proposal from Trafford Housing Trust to facilitate redesign of play area with planting and design delivered by the community young and old.