Manchester City Council

Urban Density -v- Suburban Sprawl

Today's post has been prompted by Allied London's Trinity Islands planning submission but is more in response to a rather melodramatic press release from Heritage England a couple of weeks ago. Now I know this is an area where some people think I shouldn't have opinions - unless ito agree with them, but tough. And although I have no role in determining planning applications in Manchester, I do want to contest the notion that our planners have a relaxed attitude to planning in the city centre. Just talk to the architects designing here about the work they have to do to satisfy planners before they even submit an application.

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As Time Goes By

After almost half a century working for the City Council, Chief Executive Sir Howard Bernstein retires from the Council at the end of the month. Tonight the Council will be saying a formal thank you at a dinner in the Town Hall, a thank you to someone who has contributed so much to the renaissance of the city he was born and brought up in and has worked for all his working life. However, he's not actually retiring, just from the Council, and Manchester will benefit from his talents for many years to come, I'm delighted to say.

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Fibre Fast Future

A meeting this morning with David Higgins, Chair of HS2 Ltd, a project that is now thankfully, eight years from its inception, getting under way on the ground, reminded me of last week's Combined Authority held at a recently refurbished Wigan Town Hall. Lots of interesting stuff on the agenda but wanted to draw attention to the Local Growth Fund project to develop an International Screen School.

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Sir Gerald Kaufman MP

I was intending to blog today though not on this subject.

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Ta Duck(s)

A conversation yesterday about the Stoke bye-election was the prompt for today's heading, taking me back to my Kirkby-in-Ashfield roots, but I do need to say thank you - to Ruth and Lesley in the Council's Customer Services Centre for giving me a tour of the facility this morning. As this was preceded by an opening session speaking slot at the Northern Powerhouse Conference (not on an all male panel I hasten to add) at Manchester Central and followed by welcoming the Japanese Ambassador to a Japan-Manchester Business lunch in Central Library, it was definitely a morning of contrasts!

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Drowning in Paper

Nowadays as likely to be drowning in PDFs and Word files as real paper but the effect is the same.

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Flying High

I should mention the Council's Executive Committtee meeting which took place on Wednesday. The most significant item on the agenda was a suite of reports that allowed the Executive to finalise its recommendations to Council on the 2017-20 revenue Budget, the bit that pays for services, the Capital Budget including the £100million extra investment in roads and pavements, and the Housing Revenue Account, a ring-fenced budget covering Council housing.

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We've all been there. Home delivery, no specified time slot, and a day of waiting. Has given me a chance to catch up with some paperwork though that's just set me thinking about what we call paperwork when most of it is no longer on paper.

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Sex and the City 

Thursday 26th January, 2017 Full Council yesterday. As always, all the papers are available online and you can watch any of the discussions on catch-up. One of the big decisions related to the Council Tax Support Scheme (CTSS). When this used to be Council Tax Benefit, some people on very low incomes would receive a 100% rebate on their Council Tax, the benefit tapering down as income increased. The scheme was funded through national taxation and was in effect a redistribution from richer areas to poorer ones.

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Who Cares?

Writing ( actually typing with one finger ) this on Thursday evening so will probably be Friday by the time it gets posted. Had a series of meetings in London today starting with a presentation to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Patient and Public Involvement in Health and Social Care, giving evidence on Greater Manchester's devolution deal. Since work got underway on this in 2015 public engagement and awareness has increased significantly, but given the Our Manchester ambition to involve service users in service design, we still have a way to go. ( I ought to perhaps caveat that a little as we are unlikely to be getting heart attack patients for example to design by-pass surgery ).

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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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