Manchester City Council

Maggie, Maggie, Maggie

For some reason the name Maggie has long held negative connotations for me but after a visit to the Maggie's Centre at the Christie this morning, that will have to change. Janine Watson, a former Head of Press at the Council and now, in retirement, a board member at Maggie's invited me to go and have a look. It's a beautiful building, designed by another former Council employee, Norman Foster.

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As a change from blogging on trains, this post comes from Austin,Texas where I'm at the airport and about to start the long journey back to Manchester via Atlanta. I arrived in Austin on Saturday evening to take part in a delegation organised with the Department of International Trade and the British Consulate in Houston to the digital industries part of South by Southwest(SXSW).

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

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