Manchester City Council

Back after a Break

Read full article...

Cities - the Future

Going to go back to the beginning of the week which saw me on the 7.15 from Piccadilly down to Euston for the first meeting of the LGAs new City Regions Board, the first time the national body for local government will have had as part of its structures something looking specifically at our major urban areas.

Read full article...

Stuck in the Slow Lane

A couple of transport things. Spent a bit of time today looking at proposed improvements for cyclists on the City Centre to Prestwich cycle path. Actually we were mainly looking at the bottom of Cheetham Hill Road which I know intimately as it is my cycle route to and from the Town Hall. In many respects the improvements are not aimed at confident, regular commuter cyclists like me but at giving confidence to new cyclists or those returning to the bike after a long absence that the bike might be the answer for them - healthier, often quicker and definitely cheaper than other modes of transport ( except perhaps running ). The proposals will make a number of junctions on this busy route safer but there will also be some improvements that will benefit all road users.

Read full article...

Colour and Chemistry

Two very contrasting experiences without leaving my ward boundaries yesterday. In the morning I went to Hexagon Tower in Blackley Village, a striking sixties-built 14 storey tower, once part of ICI's empire that covered a huge amount of the Irk Valley floor in Blackley. The first dye works at the site started in the eighteenth century growing until by 1961 14,000 people worked there. Now all gone apart from this one 200,000 sq.ft building comprising labs and office space. For the last few years it has operated as managed work space and it is 85% occupied, but yesterday was the official launch of Hexagon Tower becoming part of the BEST network of science parks, so North Manchester now has its very own vertical science park.

Read full article...

Yew Know

The biggest chunk of yesterday was taken up with the bi-monthly Manchester Airport Holdings board meeting. It's now a year since we joined with infrastructure fund IFM to add Stansted Airport to the group and it has been a very successful year. Performance has exceeded business plan and the ten GM councils ought to be able to look forward to a very healthy return on the investment. Dividend received of course goes straight into Council services and with more austerity cuts on the way, every penny helps. But, as it says in the small print, investments can go down as well as up, so notwithstanding that good twelve months, the board need to ensure that continues well into the future.

Read full article...

The Big Dig

The last Council meeting of this municipal year yesterday. Over the last couple of years we have established the practice of starting the meeting with presentations on some of the major issues the city is dealing with. Yesterday we had two such presentations.

Read full article...

New Ground

With the launch of " High Speed 2 : Get Ready " the report of the HS2 Growth Taskforce this morning its tempting to use this post just for that. But I won't. It, along with the Higgins report published on Monday, is important not least because we are now moving past having to make the case for the new North-South rail network ( although some diehards will never be convinced whatever the evidence - see comments on last blog ) to looking how we maximise the economic and social benefits from what should become the new spine of a 21st century integrated national rail network. However other things have happened this week.

Read full article...

Please Mr Porter

After eight weeks in post, the new Chair of HS2, David Higgins, delivered his first evaluation report in Manchester at the beginning of this week. Being in Manchester was in itself symbolic, giving a very clear message that HS2 is very much about improved transport links for the North, but the report had much more than symbols to offer.

Read full article...

Green Shoots

The Greater Manchester Low Carbon Hub Board holds its quarterly meeting today. Most of the work is done in our five thematic and two cross-cutting subgroups with an enormous number of people involved, but one of the issues we will be discussing today is how people can find out about what we are doing and get involved. Very little of what we do is in any way confidential (though there are occasionally bits that are commercially sensitive) and some of our subgroups, for example the one dealing with growing green businesses, need to pro-actively market to meet their objectives. Comms are often controversial, spending money on comms even more so, but if we don't we will not be able to meet our aspirations in this crucial part of the city-regions strategy.

Read full article...

The Evil Empire

Three things motivating this piece. Had to be in Warrington for just before 10am so naturally biked into town, took the train from Oxford Road to Warrington Central, had a pleasant walk across the town centre to the Village Hotel, arriving fresh and having got some work done on the way. Conversely I could have driven and instead arrived frazzled and probably no quicker having "enjoyed" the M60 and M62. I was there to speak to the NW Flood Defence conference, very topical, about climate change adaptation, transport of course being one of the big contributors to global warming. Lastly, though I know Twitter is not necessarily the place to go for informed opinion, I was astonished over the weekend, to see that the City Council, or maybe even me personally, is waging an evil, yes evil, war on cars.

Read full article...