Manchester City Council

The Council & democracy Questions to The Executive

Questions to The Executive for 2015

Councillor Kate Chappell, Executive Member for the Environment, was asked a question by Karien Van Elk who lives in Manchester

I would like to know how my street can become a residential parking only zone. We are not able to park our car in our own street from 9am until 5pm weekdays and weekends, due to businesses on Stockport road, customers and employers, parking on our street. If Nawaab ( Indian restaurant Stockport Road ) has weddings on, we can not even park in our street after 5pm til at least 10pm. My car has been vandalised 2 times whilst parked around the corner, on another street out of vision of my home. I am fed up with it. I work full time and am never able to park my car if I come back home before 5pm in my street let alone outside my house. Carrying a child and shopping for miles, because I have to park miles away from my home, is just not funny at all. Could you please let me know if it is possible at all to make life easier for residents by putting a residential parking zone in my area

Councillor Kate Chappell replied:

Thank you for your recent question posted on the Council’s website; I am sorry to hear about the issues you regularly experience trying to park your vehicle near your home.

While I appreciate the inconvenience and disruption that occurs when residents cannot park in their own street, we are not able to ensure that vehicle owners can always park outside their own properties. The adopted highway is for use by all road users and we are not permitted to control precisely who parks where on individual streets.

We have introduced Resident Parking Schemes in locations around the City Centre, District Centre’s, Universities, Hospitals along with the Etihad Stadium on match and event days, but these schemes do not provide dedicated parking places for residents and occupants outside their properties, permit-holders may park in any of the streets within their designated zone without restriction.   

Although Manchester does have several Resident Parking Schemes, the introduction of such schemes do have numerous implications for the local communities, retail premises and industries in the areas concerned, as well as wider implications for the City as a whole such as management enforcement both of which bear significant costs.  This is why we typically only introduce schemes which are externally funded, as a result of major development and after significant consultation.

We are in the process of reviewing our policies for considering Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs) and I will ensure this is sent to you once approved.

I appreciate that this may not be the answer that you were hoping for, but I hope my communication has been informative, should you wish to clarify any points or require any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

16 September 2015.


Councillor Kate Chappell, Executive Member for Environment, was asked a question by Angela Lydiate, who lives in Manchester:

Why do different bus companies operating the exact same route charge different fares? Why can't we have a return ticket that is slightly cheaper than the sum of two one way tickets? Why can't we have a ten trip ticket at a more reasonable price (Barcelona have a ten trip ticket for just under 10€). The environment and congestion in city centre would benefit

First Bus replied:

We work hard to keep our fares as low as possible, but as a commercial organisation we have to make money or we'd go out of business. When we've tried reducing fares in trials, we've found that this doesn't attract enough extra passengers to make up for the loss in revenue.

We've done research which shows that the quicker and more reliable a service is, the more people are likely to use it. So we work hard together with the local authority to make sure you don't get held up in traffic queues. We hope this improves our value for money.

We know that whether it's better to go by bus or car depends on where you're going and what time you need to be there. In many cases it's cheaper to go by bus - you should find this to be more and more likely as we introduce value tickets such as carnets. You might find these work better for you.

We're still committed to investing in improvements to our service. An example of this is our mobile ticketing scheme, which we are rolling out nationally. Carnet tickets are available on our mobile app. There are 10 single tickets for just £18.00. The full details are available on our website www.firstgroup.com/manchester.

We're also investing in new buses over the next year. And as ever, we reinvest the vast majority of any profit we make.

The fares we take, whether on or off the bus, are our main source of income. We also get reimbursed for providing concessionary fares, and derive some contract income from organisations who want a bus service at times or to places that are not commercially viable. These are not subsidies.

When setting our fares we take a number of factors into account, including current and forecasted medium-term economic conditions. This is as well as the reduction in the rate of bus operator's fuel duty rebate (BSOG) and the planned increase to the rate of duty we have to pay on fuel.

11 September 2015.


Councillor Paul Andrews was asked a question by Helen White, who lives and works in Manchester

Please could you advise what action Manchester Council will be taking to help the refugee crisis. Please provide details of any schemes or organisations that you are aware of that are involved in providing aid or are fundraising. I look forward to hearing from you Helen White

Councillor Paul Andrews replied:

Over the last few days I have been contacted by a number of people who have been clearly shocked by some of the press coverage of the current refugee crisis. It is everyone's natural instinct to want to help at times of crisis like this and I am no different.

I am absolutely clear that Manchester will willingly take its share of refugees, as we currently do and always have done, but, if we are to give refugees the support they need this needs to be properly and fully-funded by the government as part of a national response.

The NW region as a whole is currently receiving the highest number of Syrian nationals in the country via the asylum programme, although only a minority of local authorities, including Manchester are participating in this.

Enabling a resettlement scheme can take some time and would undoubtedly require working in collaboration with our partners in order to secure the appropriate accommodation and support required

If we were to take steps to mobilise a resettlement scheme at a City level with immediate effect, accommodation would in the first instance have to be provided via our homelessness service.

I know that the people of Manchester wish to help as best they can. Having consulted with Refugee Action they are advising that the best help we can give is to contribute money to help improve conditions in refugee camps, and to help those who are already here and due to arrive. Therefore, Councillor Sue Murphy and I have asked the Lord Mayor’s office to launch an appeal to raise funds that can be provided to the relevant organisations that have projects specifically working with the Syrian Refugees.

There are other ways of providing support and these are appended below.

We are continuing to put pressure on the government to act quickly and decisively to make sure that the resources are available to enable Manchester to support people in crisis.

If you need any further information, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

10 September 2015.


Councillor Paul Andrews was asked a question by Helen White, who lives and works in Manchester

Please could you advise what action Manchester Council will be taking to help the refugee crisis. Please provide details of any schemes or organisations that you are aware of that are involved in providing aid or are fundraising. I look forward to hearing from you Helen White

Councillor Paul Andrews replied:

Over the last few days I have been contacted by a number of people who have been clearly shocked by some of the press coverage of the current refugee crisis. It is everyone's natural instinct to want to help at times of crisis like this and I am no different.

I am absolutely clear that Manchester will willingly take its share of refugees, as we currently do and always have done, but, if we are to give refugees the support they need this needs to be properly and fully-funded by the government as part of a national response.

The NW region as a whole is currently receiving the highest number of Syrian nationals in the country via the asylum programme, although only a minority of local authorities, including Manchester are participating in this.

Enabling a resettlement scheme can take some time and would undoubtedly require working in collaboration with our partners in order to secure the appropriate accommodation and support required

If we were to take steps to mobilise a resettlement scheme at a City level with immediate effect, accommodation would in the first instance have to be provided via our homelessness service.

I know that the people of Manchester wish to help as best they can. Having consulted with Refugee Action they are advising that the best help we can give is to contribute money to help improve conditions in refugee camps, and to help those who are already here and due to arrive. Therefore, Councillor Sue Murphy and I have asked the Lord Mayor’s office to launch an appeal to raise funds that can be provided to the relevant organisations that have projects specifically working with the Syrian Refugees.

There are other ways of providing support and these are appended below.

We are continuing to put pressure on the government to act quickly and decisively to make sure that the resources are available to enable Manchester to support people in crisis.

If you need any further information, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

10 September 2015.


Councillor Nigel Murphy, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, was asked a question by Michael Pluples:

Can someone please explain why so many Shisha bars are being allowed to operate in Rusholme.  These are enclosed places and therefore smoking should not be allowed. I know a pub landlord who has been in trouble for allowing smoking on his premises and yet these Shisha bars get away with it day after day after day.

Councillor Nigel Murphy replied: 

The City Council is aware of and shares concerns regarding Shisha bars. There are parts of the City where Shisha bars have become more prevalent and notably this includes Rusholme where there have traditionally been are a number of existing restaurants and cafes. A Shisha Bar for planning purposes falls within the same use class as a restaurant and café. In such cases where a premises already has the benefit of a planning permission for a restaurant, or where it can be demonstrated such activity is lawful through long-standing use, the introduction of a Shisha Bar would not require planning permission. Many of the Shisha Bars that have opened in Rusholme have been able to do so as a consequence of a previous restaurant use. In May 2013 relaxations to a range of permitted development rights were introduced, that is situations where uses can change without a planning permission. Under the new regulations, premises with a floor space up to 150 square metres are allowed to change from a variety of uses to a number of ‘flexible’ or 'pop up', uses for a temporary 2 year period. This has meant that Shisha Bars could open where there previously had been no cafe/restaurant use. Where planning permission is required for a new restaurant/cafe use, an application would have to be considered against relevant policy. Although health concerns are often raised through the planning process, this is not a matter that can be given sufficient weight to allow refusal. A recent appeal against the decision to refuse a Shisha Bar in another authority on health grounds was allowed, with the Inspector concluding that the use of tobacco was controlled under other legislation and it was not for the planning system to duplicate the process.

The ability of the City Council to control and/or deal with issues around Shisha bars is limited under the powers contained in the Health Act 2006 which prohibits the smoking of tobacco or any other substance in substantially enclosed work places or places to which the public has access. The City Council has taken and continues to take enforcement action against Shisha type premises who breach the requirements of The Health Act. The legislation does not allow the City Council to close down premises found to be in breach of the regulations and the only sanction available against the business is a prosecution in court which could result in a maximum fine of £2500. The City Council has taken a number of prosecutions which have had a limited effect in deterring businesses who continue to breach the law. However, the council is committed to dealing with these premises and has recently conducted a number of joint visits with other enforcement agencies and will continue to target any business who is suspected of non compliance with this legislation.

 8th September 2015


Councillor Nigel Murphy, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, was asked a question by Michael Pluples:

Can someone please explain why so many Shisha bars are being allowed to operate in Rusholme.  These are enclosed places and therefore smoking should not be allowed. I know a pub landlord who has been in trouble for allowing smoking on his premises and yet these Shisha bars get away with it day after day after day.

Councillor Nigel Murphy replied:

The City Council is aware of and shares concerns regarding Shisha bars. There are parts of the City where Shisha bars have become more prevalent and notably this includes Rusholme where there have traditionally been are a number of existing restaurants and cafes. A Shisha Bar for planning purposes falls within the same use class as a restaurant and café. In such cases where a premises already has the benefit of a planning permission for a restaurant, or where it can be demonstrated such activity is lawful through long-standing use, the introduction of a Shisha Bar would not require planning permission. Many of the Shisha Bars that have opened in Rusholme have been able to do so as a consequence of a previous restaurant use. In May 2013 relaxations to a range of permitted development rights were introduced, that is situations where uses can change without a planning permission. Under the new regulations, premises with a floor space up to 150 square metres are allowed to change from a variety of uses to a number of ‘flexible’ or 'pop up', uses for a temporary 2 year period. This has meant that Shisha Bars could open where there previously had been no cafe/restaurant use. Where planning permission is required for a new restaurant/cafe use, an application would have to be considered against relevant policy. Although health concerns are often raised through the planning process, this is not a matter that can be given sufficient weight to allow refusal. A recent appeal against the decision to refuse a Shisha Bar in another authority on health grounds was allowed, with the Inspector concluding that the use of tobacco was controlled under other legislation and it was not for the planning system to duplicate the process.  

The ability of the City Council to control and/or deal with issues around Shisha bars is limited under the powers contained in the Health Act 2006 which prohibits the smoking of tobacco or any other substance in substantially enclosed work places or places to which the public has access. The City Council has taken and continues to take enforcement action against Shisha type premises who breach the requirements of The Health Act. The legislation does not allow the City Council to close down premises found to be in breach of the regulations and the only sanction available against the business is a prosecution in court which could result in a maximum fine of £2500. The City Council has taken a number of prosecutions which have had a limited effect in deterring businesses who continue to breach the law. However, the council is committed to dealing with these premises and has recently conducted a number of joint visits with other enforcement agencies and will continue to target any business who is suspected of non compliance with this legislation.

8 September 2015.


Councillor Rosa Battle, Executive Member for Culture & Leisure, was asked a question from Paula Mead, who lives in Manchester

The library computer facility to enable booking a computer days ahead has vanished in the last week. Will this be restored?

Councillor Rosa Battle replied:

The Library computer booking service is now available by accessing the service through the Chrome internet browser. Library staff will be on hand to provide guidance and assistance.

Manchester City Council's ICT apologises for any inconvenience this loss of service has resulted in.

21 August 2015.


Councillor Rosa Battle, Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, was asked a question by Anne Harrison who lives in Manchester:

Lots of my family did the race for life yesterday to raise money for cancer research, the car park charges £2 per car.  They was told by the people taking the money it went to the charity, after contacting cancer research, they said the money doesn't go to them, who has this money and why mislead people, thinking it was going to charity?

Councillor Rosa Battle replied:

Thank you for your question.

During Race for Life at Heaton Park, the event organisers take over the management of all the car parks.  

There is a cost for stewarding the car parks, and once this cost is deducted from the income, the excess is split between Heaton Park and Cancer Research UK.

I do hope that this answers your question.

23rd July 2015.  


Councillor Bernard Priest, Deputy Leader of the Council, was asked a question by Richard McMillan:

Me and my girlfriend are wanting to move to Manchester and want to know how much it would cost to rent a house from the City Council. Neither of us currently live in Manchester. We go and see each other once a week, but it is costing a lot to travel. We would like to know how much it is to rent a house in Manchester. Any where in the area would do.

Councillor Bernard Priest replied:

Thank you for your enquiry and for your interest in Manchester.

The best way you can learn about the housing available in Manchester is to use two web sites:

Manchester Move for social housing (http://www.manchestermove.co.uk/)

and Let's Help You for private rented housing (https://manchester.letshelpyou.co.uk/lets/).

We have made it easier for people looking for homes in Manchester by having everything you need in these two sites. The two web sites are also the way you can bid for homes that you consider are suitable.

Both sites are accessible via the Council's web site (http://www.manchester.gov.uk/info/84/rehousing_applicants/4098/look_for_a_home) where you will find an overview of housing in Manchester.

The housing market in Manchester is very dynamic and you will find a range of rental prices depending on location and type of property. The demand for homes for single people and couples is high and a lot of people bid for one-bedroom properties. If you decide to register for social housing you should be prepared for a significant wait, because a lot of other people will be assessed as being in greater need, while also having a local connection. For that reason you might consider private sector renting to be a better option. The information on the two sites will give you all that you need.

I trust this is of help and I wish you well in your endeavours.

23 June 2015.


Councillor John Flanagan Executive Member for Finance & Human Resources, was asked a question by Boris Srna who lives in Manchester

Why do we pay higher council tax (band C) than others residents (band A)? I would like to change this tax band because I believe this is very unfair and discriminating against others residents living in Rusholme and Moss Side. Everybody around Maine Place development is in tax band A. In Maine Place we must pay £250 for ground rent + £250 for maintenance of the area and council tax band C. This in total is too much compared to
others and Manchester City Council who gave this land to the developer just supports taking as much money from residents in the Maine Place development. These houses are bought  with the Help to Buy Scheme or Home Buy Direct the Government Scheme to support the housing situation in the UK, but its look very different, charging residents as much as possible.

Councillor John Flanagan replied:

Thank you for your question.

The Council Tax Band that your home is placed in depends on its value. This is decided by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) which is completely independent from the Council. For more information about how they decide the band of your home and how to appeal against their decision, go to https://www.gov.uk/council-tax.

4 June 2015.


Councillor Sue Murphy, Deputy Leader, was asked a question by Roy Wallwork who lives in Manchester:

Why did we not have a Celebration in Manchester for the 70th Anniversary of VE day this weekend?

Councillor Sue Murphy replied:

Manchester officially marked the anniversary of Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) on Friday 8 March 2015 in two ways.

At 3pm, a two minute silence was observed across the city to commemorate the anniversary. This included stopping all the local election counts which were taking place at that time for two minutes so that those present could stop to reflect on the enormity of the occasion and the sacrifice that had been made by those involved. The start and end of the silence were marked by the firing of a maroon from Manchester Town Hall.

Later, at 9.00pm, the Lord Mayor attended a VE Day service of celebration at Manchester Cathedral to mark the end of the war and return to peace. This service culminated in the City joining more than 200 locations throughout the United Kingdom in lighting a beacon at 9.32pm - after the Principle Beacon had been lit at Windsor Castle by Her Majesty The Queen.

2 June 2015.


Councillor Paul Andrews, Executive Member for Adult Health & Wellbeing, was asked a question by Michael West who lives in Manchester

There has been much in the local newspapers about the rise in the number of rough sleepers in the city centre during the past year. A recent figure given was 42 people regularly sleeping rough in the city centre. I had presumed that people were sleeping in the city centre out of choice, but after reading some reports in the press, it seems I was either confused or mistaken. Could you please answer these questions:- (A) Would anybody who was deemed to have made themselves intentionally homeless be given temporary accommodation? (B) If 42 single homeless people who had been rough sleeping, present themselves to the council, would the council be able to find them somewhere to sleep that night? I understand homelessness is a complex issue, but the answers would make it clearer in my mind about the current situation.

Councillor Paul Andrews replied:

Thank you for your question.

In regard to the two specific questions raised by Mr West please see the responses below:

(A) Would anybody who was deemed to have made themselves intentionally homeless be given temporary accommodation?

Homeless applications are assessed in line with the requirements of the Housing Act 1996.

If someone is intentionally homeless, the Local Authority must secure accommodation for them to occupy for a period to give them a "reasonable opportunity" in which to secure their own accommodation. The local authority must also provide advice and assistance to help applicants secure their own accommodation.

Each case is dealt with individually so the decision on how long we should provide accommodation for varies depending on the housing needs of the individual and the level of support that they may require depending on their individual circumstances and specific support needs.

The majority of applicants who are found to be intentionally homeless will therefore be provided with temporary accommodation. There are some exceptions, for example where applicants refuse their offer of accommodation, or where we are satisfied that they already have suitable accommodation, (e.g. an applicant who has an eviction warrant but is able to remain in their home for a few weeks before the warrant is due to be enforced and they can use this period to find their own accommodation).

Some people who are intentionally homeless will have been found to be ineligible for housing assistance (usually people from abroad who have no right to public funds) or not to be in "priority need" (people who are not vulnerable under the legislation) in which case there will not be a duty to provide accommodation, but they will be given advice and support.

B) If 42 single homeless people who had been rough sleeping, present themselves to the council, would the council be able to find them somewhere to sleep that night?

The Council owns and runs a number of supported temporary accommodations schemes for homeless people. This includes people who have been sleeping rough, or are in danger of sleeping rough. It also has access to a number of other schemes run by Registered Social Landlords or Voluntary Sector organisations. Whilst in temporary accommodation residents will receive support and help with 'move on' to appropriate long term accommodation.

Currently the Homelessness Advice and Assessment Team regularly deal with over 40 homeless applicants a day at the Customer Service Centre and during the last 12 months provided temporary accommodation for around 1700 applicants (though these figures refer to singles and families).

Over the winter months when the weather dropped to below freezing, Manchester City Council's Homelessness Services working in partnership with a number of agencies implemented a severe weather programme, where the primary aim was to provide emergency temporary accommodation for all rough sleepers to ensure their safety during harsh weather conditions. At one point we provided accommodation for just over 100 people in less than a week. If 42 single homeless people who had been rough sleeping,were therefore to present themselves to the council, it would be a challenge to provide them all with accommodation that night but possible.


Councillor Bernard Priest, Deputy Leader of the Council, was asked a question by Robert Graham

I've just read in the Manchester Evening News that the City Council has REFUSED to erect a Road Sign to direct people searching for the HEDGEHOG SANCTUARY that is run by Ms Barbara Roberts. Your refusal included information that a sign would cost "OVER £1,000”!  I don't think Ms Roberts requested a SOLID GOLD, Artist Designed, Hand Painted Plaque on an Ornate, Architect Designed, Custom Pole, and an Official Unveiling Ceremony performed by The QUEEN ....... so Why the Hell is it going to cost OVER £1,000?  I've had to contact the RSPCA on several occasions in the past after finding Injured Hedgehogs. IF I'd know about the SPLENDID WORK being done by Ms Barbara Roberts and HOW TO FIND HER SANCTUARY I could have taken all the injured animals STRAIGHT TO HER and possibly SAVED A FEW MORE LIVES. 

Councillor Bernard Priest replied: 

After considering the good work which Barbara Roberts has done over the years to help Manchester's wildlife, we have looked into this again and found a way of providing signs which will be far cheaper than those she had originally requested. We will now be installing a pair of small black and white signs on existing street lighting posts on Parsonage Road. 

30 April 2015.


Councillor Kate Chappell, Executive Member for the Environment, was asked a question by Jackie who studies in Manchester 

Hello, I am currently an undergraduate student at the University of Manchester and live at home. In order to get to and from university, I drive on the Mancunian way A57(M). Getting to university is not difficult as I get on the start of the Mancunian way, however, when I'm driving home, I need to join the Mancunian way within a junction. As a fairly new driver, this has proved difficult and dangerous - my driving has been fine but my confidence gets knocked whenever I have to approach the Mancunian way. Friends and relatives have expressed their concern over Mancunian way, however, this is the only convenient route for me, otherwise I have to extend my journey by 20 - 30 minutes just to go around the Mancunian way. They tell me Mancunian way has been like this ever since they remember and no action has been put in place to resolve this issue. I think there are many people who are just like me who are put off joining the Mancunian way because of its difficult nature of joining on, therefore avoid it altogether. I have had many near misses because other drivers are not willing to let you on. I was just wondering whether there are any possible actions to help me and many other drivers with this issue? I have never met anyone who has not agreed with me that the Mancunian way is an unsafe and difficult road to join. Some have suggested filter lights, whilst others have suggesting the junction merging onto a separate lane, but I hope for anything to make joining on easier.

Councillor Kate Chappell replied: 

Thank you for your question.  

A large number of projects are currently being delivered (or are planned to be delivered) within and around the City Centre.  These include the Metrolink Second City Crossing (2CC), Bus Priority works (Cross City Bus) as well as major developments (St Peter’s Square/ NOMA/ Irwell St development etc.), Manchester City Council and Salford City Council maintenance/ improvement works and Network Rail’s Ordsall Chord.   

To manage all of this work a Regional Centre Co-ordination team has been established to ensure all the various works being undertaken within the City Centre, by a wide range of Promoters, is co-ordinated to reduce levels of traffic disruption.  All of these works being undertaken are unfortunately causing additional levels of congestion within and around the City Centre including on the Inner Relief Route (Mancunian Way).  

We actively monitor traffic flows, through our network of CCTV cameras, and manage traffic signal timings throughout the City Centre in order to reduce delay and disruption.  One of the busiest locations which creates congestion on the Mancunian Way is the junction with Water St and there are proposals to make improvements at the junction which should see capacity increases of around 20 to 30%.  This scheme is currently being developed and, if funding is approved, work could begin later this year.  

All signal timings in the area currently operate within an optimised SCOOT network, which is a computer controlled traffic management programme that seeks to maximise traffic flows and minimise delays.  Until all proposals for improvement are approved and works carried out, we will continue to actively manage traffic signal timings in the area. 

13 April 2015.


Councillor Rosa Battle, Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, was asked a question by Mark Thompson, who lives in Manchester

When are all libraries going to get WIFI.  I keep asking at various libraries and am told soon in some and not sure in others.

Councillor Rosa Battle replied:

Thank you for your question.  

I am pleased to update you that over the last two weeks Manchester libraries have been going through the final stages of an installation that will make a free WIFI service available to library customers. All libraries are now live and if you look at WIFI services available on your device you should see one called "BusybeeMcr" - just click on this to begin using the new service.  

It is worth noting that due to the listed status of Didsbury and Chorlton libraries a temporary solution has been put in for Busybee at these sites, which may mean that not all public areas are covered by the service.  Once consent has been secured, the full installation of the network will go ahead and Busybee will offer full coverage of these buildings.  

Thank you again for your enquiry and I hope you enjoy using the BusyBee service in Manchester Libraries. 

13 April 2015.


Councillor Bernard Priest, Deputy Leader of the Council, was asked a question by Sohrab Khan, who lives and works in Manchester .

Manchester recently became very dirty, and I am starting to see an improvement after the recent crack down, so well done.  I have two questions that need answering. 1) Its great that you are cracking down on litter, but I fear that naive people are getting targeted and that abusive aggressive people won’t be fined if they dropped litter - because council patrol will be sacred of getting abused. 2) I have done significant research and the new bins you have installed would cost an average of £250-300. Yet the council paid staggering half a million for 600 new bins, can you please tell me why it cost you so much.  

Councillor Bernard Priest replied: 

Thank you for your questions regarding littering in the city centre together with your comments regarding the improvements in cleanliness of the city's streets. The Council, working alongside businesses and residents have worked hard over the last year or so to improve the city's streets and also to make a positive impact on the behaviour of the minority of people who see fit to drop litter.

In response to your first question, please be assured that there is no discrimination when issuing Fixed Penalty Notices. Enforcement officers are trained to deal with difficult individuals and potential conflict situations. They also have a close working relationship with CCTV and Greater Manchester Police and assistance can be called for very quickly should it be needed, although to date there has been no requirement for such action. 

The cost of purchasing and installing the bins to date is approximately £190,000. The figure of £500,000 was the amount of money set aside to cover various elements of the Council's litter strategy, which not only includes the purchase and installation of the 690 litter bins installed across the city to date, but also purchase of cigarette bins and recycling bins. Any under spend will be allocated and spent on other Clean City projects.  

May I thank you once again for your comments and assure you that the Council will continue to make further improvements to the cleanliness of our city.

19 February 2015. 


Councillor Bernard Priest, Deputy Leader of the Council, was asked a question by Rob Rusling, who lives and works in Manchester: 

I want to know why my postcode is not able to have access to fibre optic broadband yet. I was under the impression that this government's initiative was to roll out fibre optic across the country.  So it's fair to expect that living in central Manchester with an M1 postcode I should be expecting to have access to fast broadband.  I used to live on Hilton Street , less than 2 mins walk from my address now and had fibre optic then. Why is there such discrepancies in the services that are being provided to people in the same constituency?  This is not a short standing issue either. I have owned my current flat for a year and the previous address on Hilton street I lived in for nearly 3 years and had fibre optic there from day one that means at least 4 years of a postcode on one side of the road having a lower service than the other with no answers as to when they will be brought in line with each other.

Councillor Bernard Priest replied:

Manchester City Council is aware of the difficulties facing Manchester residents and businesses in accessing Fibre Optic Broadband; and we are committed to supporting new and innovative ways of addressing this.  We agree it is not good enough that city centre residents like yourself can’t access fast connectivity.

Unfortunately, there are some barriers which are outside of the Council’s control. Fibre Optic Broadband becomes available to an area once the local cabinet is fitted with fibre technology, this is known as Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC). The responsibility for this installation belongs to BT Openreach.  It is also the responsible of BT Openreach to roll out Fibre Optic Broadband across the UK.

Which cabinets have been enabled and which are still pending forms part of BT Openreach’s national programme.  I would suggest that you contact them to enquire why your local cabinet has not been enabled and when this is likely to happen.

The following link will take you to the relevant BT Openreach page, which provides more information and a link to an online form where you can register your query.

http://www.openreach.co.uk/orpg/home/products/super-fastfibreaccess/superfastfibre.do

However, we know that many Manchester residents and businesses cannot wait for the national roll out of Fibre Optic Broadband; and that is why Manchester City Council is exploring new ways that we can support residents and businesses to overcome these obstacles and to increase connectivity in the city.

One method of addressing the lack of Fibre Optic Broadband in the city is the SuperConnected Cities Programme.  In 2012, Manchester City Council successfully applied to become a SuperConnected City as part of the government’s SuperConnected Cities Programme. There are only 22 SuperConnected Cities in the UK .

Through the scheme Manchester was able to secure over £10 million of government monies, this funding is ring fenced to help Small to Medium businesses secure Superfast Broadband which in turn helps them to grow their business.

When Fibre Optic Broadband is not available in an area businesses often have limited options as to how they secure the internet speeds they need. Some businesses decide to pay for a leased line to their premises, a dedicated connection to the business from the nearest Fibre Optic enabled cabinet, however this can be very expensive.  Other options can be to install a wireless connection, however this is dependant on a wireless provider having the appropriate equipment in the area. The installation costs of these services can be prohibitive.

With the SuperConnected Cities scheme each eligible company can apply for a government grant of up to £3000 towards the cost of installing SuperFast Broadband. So far over 1000 businesses have benefited from the scheme in Manchester and Salford .   If you work from home and are self-employed you maybe able to benefit from the government connectivity grants for businesses.  

As the scheme has grown it has also helped to increase the number of active suppliers in Manchester , some are able to offer Fibre Optic Broadband to businesses through their own networks, others provide wireless broadband and have started to invest in more equipment in Manchester . The increased competition between suppliers has also had the effect of lowering prices and we are seeing more affordable packages become available.

With new suppliers and new technology coming into the city, there have also been benefits for some residents. In Central Manchester a number of residents in multi tenanted buildings, spearheaded by their local Councillor, wrote to a variety of local internet providers in search of any that might be able to offer Fibre Optic Broadband to their premises.

One supplier, Hyperoptic, was able to offer a solution and, working with the SuperConnected Cities Programme, was able to connect these residents, offsetting some of the cost with the vouchers awarded to local businesses or homeowners within the premises. There are now ongoing discussions with other providers to explore similar schemes below is the latest on who’s providing what and we advise you contact them to see what they can do for you.  It might also be helpful if you get like minded tenants involved as the more potential customers the more successful you may be in attracting the right connectivity solution at the best price. To find out more about resident led schemes see the following options as examples but there are many suppliers out there who might be able to help you:

1.      Hyperoptic provide 1G connections to large residential blocks - they need a number of residents to register interest at their website. Your block seems large enough so do get in touch with them.  http://www.hyperoptic.com/

2.      Nextgeneration access will consider buildings where there are fewer interested residents - sales@nextgenaccess.com, tel: 0161 71 02016, http://www.nextgenaccess.com/

3.      6G provide superfast wireless broadband so can get services to individual residents - contact Linda.Szafar@6ginternet.net.uk

29 January 2015.


Councillor John Flanagan Executive Member for Finance & Human Resources was asked a question by Marjory Woolstencroft:

Please can you explain to me the rationale for announcing (in the same week) a further loss of 600 jobs and  £59m cuts to the already decimated Children and Families budget, whilst sanctioning £78m for a new theatre 'factory'. I am both a supporter of the Arts and an Early Years Professional, but am absolutely dumbfounded by this decision, particularly as the Council already made a substantial contribution to fund The Cornerhouse's new 'Home'. How can you possibly justify removing the provision of high quality early years experiences and intervention for our precious Manchester babies, toddlers and young children but find £78m for arts?

Councillor John Flanagan replied:

Thank you for your question.

The £78m referred to in your question is capital funding being made available by the Government for the Factory project, which will make a further contribution to the arts and culture sector in Manchester , and will both provide direct employment and further enhance Manchester ’s reputation as a place for businesses to invest.

Whilst this capital investment is to be welcomed, it is correct that the Council is having to make significant savings as a result of a further substantial reduction in Government support generally for local government services, which are met from its revenue budget. As has been the case over recent years the burden of  funding reductions have been targeted at the poorest, most deprived parts of the Country, and Manchester has been amongst the councils very worst affected by the cuts.  Even if we thought it right to do so, the capital funding for the Factory is not able to be spent on protecting vital day to day services.

12 January 2015.


Was this page helpful?

Was this page helpful?

;