Manchester City Council

St.George's Day

Not actually going to say anything about St.George's Day which was of course yesterday, but I am going to talk about a couple of things I did on the day. The Council has started decanting staff back from 1st Street into the Town Hall Extension. Lovely phrase that, decanting, which, very appropriately, makes Council staff sound like fine wine. The decant will take until June to complete but one whole floor and a wing in another floor are already occupied so I popped in to see how the move was going and how the remodelled accommodation was working and it was all good news. The building looks tremendous inside, the working environment looks good, and the staff I spoke to all seemed to be very happy to be back in the Town Hall but in much improved office space.

So what are the Council Tax payers getting for the investment that has gone into this. Firstly the building itself, part of Manchester's heritage, can look forward to another eighty years of useful life. Secondly, a far better working environment is good for morale, and in the current financial climate that is a key consideration. plus, coupled with new ways of working, the new environment will allow Council staff to be far more productive, also vital in the current financial climate. Thirdly, the remodelling means we can get 50% more staff into the building. That means the Council can reduce the number of office buildings it needs including leaving some previously rented space. It also means there is room for partners so we expect to see GMP, Job Centre+, and Health amongst others operating out of the building. Finally, the new building will offer afar better customer service experience - better service for Manchester citizens.

Later on I walk down Oxford Road to MMU for a Corridor board meeting. I must have mentioned the Corridor previously. It is a partnership between the City, MMU, the University of Manchester and Central Manchester Hospitals Trust, recently joined by Bruntwood as a full member, following them taking a majority stake in Manchester Science Park. There probably isn't another partnership like it in the UK and the objective is to maximise the benefit Manchester and its residents get from what is undoubtedly one of its biggest collection of assets, if not, in a modern knowledge-based economy, the biggest collection of assets. 55,000 people already work in the Corridor, it is responsible for a quarter of the city's economic output, and there is potential for much more. Today's meeting is dominated by transport with presentations from Network Rail on the Northern Hub, and from TfGM on the cross-city bus proposals which coupled with a proposed quality bus partnership are set to transform Oxford Road. Transport, with knowledge, is another key component of a modern economy, and the key element of cross-city bus is to vastly improve the access to jobs in the Corridor for people living in the North and West of the conurbation.

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

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