The Quiet Month?
Historically the best time to take a break from Council business was the first couple of weeks of August, which I did, because the Town Hall was relatively quiet when you got back and there wasa good opportunity to catch up. Not anymore. Today, like the last Friday of every month will be spent at Combined Authority meetings, the most substantial item we will need to discuss being our submission to this autumn's comprehensive spending review which I'll try to say more about in the next couple of weeks.
Yesterday morning started with a 6.40am journey to Media City to do a Radio 4 Today programme interview about Transport for the North, the need alongside HS2 to massively improve connectivity between northern towns and cities and the benefits that will accrue from doing that.
Then the tram back into town and a press launch of a major new investment in the city. The Council has been working with a property company led by former United player Gary Neville to bring forward a comprehensive, world-class, mixed-use redevelopment of the Bootle Street police station site. Although we are still some way off having a finished proposal, two overseas investors have signed up to fund the development. One, BCEG, are already a major partner at Airport City . For the other, Singapore based Rowsley Ltd; this will be their first investment in the city, another massive vote of confidence in our economic trajectory.
A bit of a rush from there to get up to Cheetham parade, which, notwithstanding its name, is in Crumpsall, the ward I represent, to meet Tariq who is developing an Asian Bazaar in the shopping centre. Similar things exist very successfully in other cities but this will be the first in Manchester . It is essentially a fashion market that will host forty plus small businesses, create a couple of hundred jobs, and contribute enormously to the vitality of Cheetham Hill as a shopping destination.
Back to town, to the Manchester Growth Company. MGC is our major tool for supporting economic development across Greater Manchester but it has to earn its corn. Yesterday was the Board's contract review group which had to agree all bids for large contracts, and over the next couple of months the company has to win work that is essential to keep our economy growing.
And by the time that finished it still wasn't midday. So much for a quiet month.