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 14th February 2011

Monday

Lostock Residents and Tenants Association Meeting.

I was sad to learn that Roy Jolly is standing down from his role as chair of the Tenants Association. It’s going to be a loss to Lostock; he’s made the residents and tenants meeting into a vital forum for anything that’s going on in and around Lostock.

The main topic this meeting was the cuts in Lostock library’s opening times.  This is a big cut and it’s hard not to see the library as being in difficulty as a consequence. The users who are losing most are school kids as the library is no longer open after 3pm on any day. It’s a real kick in the teeth for Lostock.

Labour Group Meeting

Presentation by trade unions. Both the Labour Group and the trade unions are suffering from a lack of consultation from this Tory Council. We’re not being consulted and we’re not being alerted to staff reductions or indeed recruitments of consultants. Morale has never been so low amongst staff; they’re seeing the threat of redundancy, yet we still see people taken on with huge daily consultancy fees performing mainstream roles. It’s pretty clear that even most of the Conservative Councillors are kept in the dark. Too often we first learn of these things via rumours that upon investigation turn out to be true. The numbers of directors within the council is ever increasing, and to get round pay restraints, we see redesigns of roles with ‘added responsibilities’. It’s odd that the more responsibilities we give to individual directors of service, the more directors we somehow need. Yet when we look at the frontline, the park supervisors for instance, they have their pay cut.

Presentation by Citizens Advice

Citizen’s Advice are alarmed at the loss of legal aid in respect of debt cases. Added to this was the effect of the scrapping of the ‘Financial Inclusion Fund’ (we learned later in the week that Vince Cable had U-turned and given a partial reprieve to fund debt advice)

Trafford Labour’s Representative on Transport for Greater Manchester Committee

I was pleased to win the nomination to sit on this committee which replaces Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority (GMITA). Chuffed to bits actually.

Gorse Hill Action Group – I had to give apologies to the Group as it clashed with the Labour Group meeting

Tuesday

Laurence Walsh and I met for an on-site meeting with Terry Burke of the Gorse Hill Juniors, Helen McFarlane – director of Community Safety, Culture and Sport and Matthew Colledge, Leader of Trafford Council.  The key point of discussion was to ensure that the needs of Gorse Hill Juniors were taken into account when developing proposals for shared community use (with Stretford High School) on Gorse Hill Park football pitches. There’s been talk of all-weather pitches but these are inappropriate to the needs of young footballers playing in local leagues supervised by the Football Association. We achieved the main objective in making sure that the Gorse Hill Juniors are recognised as a stakeholder. Plans have not yet been published for what intended for the pitches but there’ll be uproar if it’s perceived by residents as a land-grab by the school.

Lostock College Governors

My first meeting with Lostock College Governors. There’s loads of ideas on how to take the school forward. Some difficult choices too. I wasn’t the only new Governor there, I was pleased that Susan Williams had also joined. She’ll be an asset to the school; it’s never a bad thing to have governors with loads of connections and experience too, regardless of party politics.

Wednesday

Caught up on emails again and post. We’re really suffering some horrendous road surface decay and I’ve had to report a few:

  • Raglan Road – It’s getting Potholes in the Potholes and is a complete patchwork. Still no joy from the Council
  • Chatsworth Road – Poor surface on a well used road – having said that whilst leafleting, I spotted a bus doing at least 40mph. I can’t imagine what it was like for any passengers.
  • Selby Road (outside Lostock College) – The potholes here are ridiculous – very deep

I received a reply on Raglan Road/Chatsworth Road;

I have inspected both roads today. We have rectified all the actionable defects on Raglan Road last week. I have raised repair jobs for the potholes on Chatsworth Road today and they should be completed within the next seven days.

Both these roads are subject to complaints quite regularly but are not on this years program for resurfacing. Structurally, the roads are sound but do suffer from potholes from time to time on the wearing course of the carriageway. Minor maintenance patching and pothole repair should solve the issues for now. I do not expect highways strategy to be undertaking a full resurfacing scheme on these roads in the near future but this is something you could discuss with Peter Townsend, who is the engineering manager in charge of such schemes.

Please feel free to contact me any time on the number below about any issues concerning minor maintenance.

Selby is showing as work completed on 10th February

I also reported:

  • Litter/Leaf residue on Matlock Avenue. The work on this is still outstanding.
  • Fly tipping on the Parkway embankment nr to sliproad from Barton Dock Road

The major outstanding work I have yet to complete is connected to the subway at Humphrey Park Station. I will be looking to Area Services to co-ordinate the parties involved i.e. Network Rail/Northern Rail, Trafford Housing Trust and Trafford Council. This is one of those long running sources of complaint (it was raised again at Monday’s Lostock Tenants and Residents meeting). The subway is in a terrible state but it falls between all these organisations.

We have a similar issue on Trafford Quays with the lighting. Trafford Council and Peel have been in dispute as to who’s responsibility it is to maintain the promenade. I’m told that legal officers are near to conclusion on this subject.

Thursday

I attended planning meeting as an observer. I wanted to see the ITV studios application as the papers were reporting that Premier Foods (Hovis) had made late objection to the application. In the event, Premier Foods had reached agreement with ITV and their objection was withdrawn.

However I also got to see the application for a supermarket at the old Cascade motors site (Urmston Retail Park) near to the sewage works. It was unanimous that this be turned down after hearing representations from councillors and public. Dave gave a good representation against the application. I was less impressed by the behaviour of Conservative Councillor Kelson who once again withdrew himself from the committee so that he could attach his name with the objectors.  Eddie has made it public that he’s doing the same with Barton Bio Mass. I’m certainly not going to applaud him for doing this. Planning is an important committee and we don’t want individual councillors seeing the chance to attach their name to a popular cause as more attractive than participating in the decision making.

Still I got the impression that the Conservative Chair of Planning, Viv Ward was of a similar mind to me. Mrs Ward certainly made the point that ‘she’ had found it hard not being able to engage in this particular matter; but that that restraint was part of being a planning committee member.

In the end the remaining councillors took the right decision in my view. But it was galling to hear all these Conservative Councillors saying how much we needed to protect our town centres. I thought my colleague, Laurence Walsh was quite right to point out that didn’t make the same points when it was Tescos threatening Stretford.

Friday

Return to Clyne Court for their bacon butty and coffee morning. I should have realised that they’re early risers and early eaters. 9:45am and they’d already finished. Apologies to the residents. I’ll be there earlier next time.

Leafleting.