Started the day at Sunlight House for a business breakfast organised by Insider Magazine. Didn't have what would have been a second breakfast and in any case was there to talk and answer questions about the Manchester Family ie the arrangements we have in Greater Manchester to both formally and informally support sustainable economic growth in the city-region. Arrived there about 7.45am and left just after 9am so missed the deluge that descended on the city sometime in between but still not a lot of sunshine on the walk up to the Town Hall. Had the first Executive Committee of the new calender year this morning with surprisingly little debate about some very substantial items on the agenda.
I won't mention them all and the reports are as always available elsewhere on the web-site but will mention two or three. One report recommended approval of an up-dated bio-diversity strategy for the city. This is an important element of our environmental policies and shows what we can do in even the most urban of landscapes to protect existing species, re-introduce species and even gain new ones though I don't expect wild bears or wolves to be roaming Heaton Park any time soon. We also had a report accounting for the failed attempt to compulsorily purchase the London Road Fire Station. This is a case where I'd very much like to be proved wrong, but I do think that on this occasion the Inspector got it very wrong indeed, and reading the Inquiry Report it's very difficult to understand how he came to the conclusion he did. This is not only a valuable historic site of great architectural value but one that could be contributing usefully to the economic life of the city. We could now be cracking on with restoring it to a useful purpose but instead are reduced to wishing and hoping. I am also going to mention the FC United proposals for North Manchester. This is really too big and complex an issue to be given a proper hearing here but I do believe that whatever the feelings of some residents now, that in a few years there will be a general consensus of support for what is one of the best football based, community sport projects in the country.