Manchester City Council

The Council & democracy Questions to The Executive

Questions to The Executive for 2018

Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, was asked a question by a Manchester student:

Hi - I would like to set up a stall on Oxford Road during Welcome Week selling tarot card readings and other fortune telling services to Freshers.  I am a student myself. I have read about street trading licenses versus busking, and as I am not selling goods but what is essentially entertainment services, I am wondering how you would classify that activity, if it is permitted and what process, if any, I would have to go through? Thanks.

Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar replied:

You would need to be licensed to do that as, in Manchester, street trading includes "the supplying of or offering to supply any service in a street for gain or reward".  You can apply online at the Council's website at: https://www.manchester.gov.uk/directory_record/287443/street_trader_licence_and_consent/category/357/markets_and_street_trading

However, as there is a 28-day consultation period, it would not be possible to determine your application in time for Welcome Week this year, which commences on 18 September 2018.

23 August 2018


Councillor Sue Murphy, Deputy Leader, was asked the question below:
I have noticed that on a number of your documents you have removed ‘sex’ from the list of protected characteristics and have replaced it with either ‘gender’ or ‘gender identity’.

This seems to be a problem across most of your documents but as examples:

Your equality impact assessments do not include consideration of the impact of proposed changes in relation to the characteristic of ‘sex’ (just ‘gender’):
http://www.manchester.gov.uk/downloads/download/3700/equality_impact_assessments_guidance
Your promise to young people replaces ‘sex’ with ‘gender identity’ which is particularly concerning as this fails to recognise the problems currently being faced by girls and young women, for example, due to the prevalence and nature of internet porn.
http://www.manchester.gov.uk/info/100010/social_services/6538/our_promise_to_looked_after_children_and_care_leavers
These documents fail to acknowledge that women and girls suffer disadvantage on the basis of our biological sex. We have different needs due to our physical differences and we are discriminated against on the basis of our sex (regardless of the extent to which we agree with and perform the feminine gender role).

People can also be discriminated against because they don’t perform the gender role associated with their biological sex and it is right that action should be taken to challenge that – but that should not replace consideration of the impact of biological sex.
The Equality Act 2010 lists sex as a protected characteristic and failing to include this on documents such as equality impact assessments may lead to the Council failing to uphold the rights of this protected characteristic properly.
Can you please update your documents to reflect the law or explain why you are not doing so?

Councillor Sue Murphy replied:
Thank you for your question. I would advise that the Council fully recognises its obligations under the Equality Act 2010 and is strongly committed to ensuring that discrimination is prevented, equality of opportunity is promoted and good relations are fostered for people identifying with any one or more of the protected characteristics described in the Act, including sex. In addition to simply fulfilling our legal compliance requirements though, our policy framework actively seeks to be an inclusive one which represents the experiences and needs of this city's diverse population and in this instance, the work we have undertaken to understand and support the experiences of our Trans population. We use the term 'gender' to be an inclusive term that recognises that a person's biological sex is inextricably linked to and affected by that person's gender identity (sometimes but not always resulting in gender reassignment procedures), and neither exist in isolation of the other. Our aim is to provide every protection and support to all residents on the basis of this broader and more inclusive definition. Whilst I recognise your point that this leads to the terminology used in our policy framework differing in some areas to the terms of the Act, I would express the view that the definitions of the Equality Act are sometimes too finite to substantially reflect the lived experience of many of this city's residents. I am satisfied that we offer no less favourable treatment to people on the grounds of their sex and on this basis, I do not propose to amend the terminology used in the policy and guidance that you reference in your question. 

I am proud of Manchester's inclusive approach and we will continue to work with all our communities.

21 August 2018


Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, was asked a question by Neil Jones:

Please can you advise/help?

What on earth has happened to our great city with regards to litter, bins overflowing, graffiti etc especially as you come off a train at Piccadilly and walk towards Market Street.  I have never seen the place so awful and embarrassing to visitors. How has this been allowed to happen?  Has the council lost pride?  It’s a disgrace.  Please explain

Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar replied:

We are striving to improve the city centre environment and our neighbourhood officers have been involved in clean up days around the city with volunteers from businesses and charities.

The city centre is maintained and cleansed by Biffa operatives on behalf of Manchester City Council (MCC). They have a programme of work to cleanse the city and key areas of concern are highlighted and given extra attention where possible.  We do encourage people to use the council's website to report issues with waste.
 
http://www.manchester.gov.uk/environment
 
This allows us to focus our resources where they are needed most.  We do provide bins and containers in locations where they are most likely to be used by the public.  However, we cannot account for people not always using these. Obviously where possible our compliance staff and partner's will issue fixed penalty notices to anyone they witness littering.
 
Of course the responsibility must fall on residents and businesses as well as the council and its partners.  We need to educate people to ensure that litter is not dropped in the first place. The reality is that bin provision is sufficient but the council and its operatives cannot be everywhere at all times to ensure compliance.
 
We are currently working on a campaign with Keep Britain Tidy around education and behaviour change.
 
http://www.keepbritaintidy.org/home
 
I can confirm that Piccadilly, London Road and Piccadilly Gardens are regularly checked and monitored throughout the day and also cleaned overnight by Biffa operatives.

The area from London Road down to Piccadilly Gardens has been jet washed by our Ramora contractors who do a deep clean around key locations as part of an annual programme. Hopefully when you are next in the city centre you will note this improvement.

30 July 2018


Councillor Angeliki Stogia, Executive Member for Skills & Environment, received a question from a resident who lives in Manchester:

​Why does Wilmslow Road in Didsbury have a surface like something from a third world country? Why is it so hard to get in touch with your highways department (who seem to be a minor branch of "environmental services")? Totally inefficient, even after waiting 15 minutes for someone to answer the phone. 

Councillor Angeliki Stogia replied:

Thank you for contacting us.  

We are sorry to hear you had problems getting through to our customer services team.  We want to help and if you could tell us which part of Wilmslow Road you are referring to a little more specifically we will ensure your concerns are investigated.

30 May 2018


Councillor Luthfur Rahman, Executive Member for Culture, Parks & Leisure, was asked a question by member of the public who lives in Manchester.

There seems to be a major delay in the infrastructure upgrade of the Didsbury Park Playground.  For new equipment, some equipment refurbishment and new safety protection materials. The council have the E106 monies from the developer of St James Park Didsbury for approximately 12 months. Many young parents keep raising questions as to when the work will be started and completed.

Councillor Luthfur Rahman replied:

Thank you for your enquiry regarding Didsbury Park play facilities.

Manchester City Council has recently changed its internal processes for spending approvals on capital projects. This has been undertaken to improve corporate governance and decision making, to better manage risk and to deliver improved value for money. Unfortunately, in the case of Didsbury Park, the transition to the new process has caused a delay in the approval to spend and progress the appointment of the contractor.  

The request for approval was recently submitted to the Capital Strategy Board for consideration and it is anticipated that we will have a positive outcome and permissions to appoint a contractor week commencing 30 April.  

Following the appointment of the contractor, orders can be placed for the play equipment which has an estimated lead in (manufacture/deliver time) of six weeks, after which construction can take place. This means that the estimated completion date for this project (subject to confirmed delivery dates) will be the end of June 2018. 

We can only apologise for the delay and every effort is being made to have the project completed as soon as possible. All information will be shared with the Friends of Didsbury Park group as it becomes available.

1 May 2018


Councillor Nigel Murphy, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, was asked a question by a Manchester resident:
Hi. I want to make a complaint about my neighbour throwing rubbish in the alleyway who do I contact?

Councillor Nigel Murphy replied:
The compliance team made direct contact with the resident and discussed the issues being experienced. A Neighbourhood Officer will now investigate this matter and make further contact with the resident regarding the issues raised. The best process for making a complaint or request to the council is by opening an on-line account at www.manchester.gov.uk or by ringing the contact centre directly on 0161 234 5000.

18 April 2018


Councillor Bernard Priest, Deputy Leader, was asked a question by Fiona Greaves:

Please can you inform the community of four tower blocks at Hamerton Road - Humphries, Roach, Vauxhall and Mossbrook Courts when the testing of their cladding system will commence? Government policy from Sajid Hadid has stipulated that any local authority that needs financial assistance will be provided with such. We await your response and look forward to being assured that we are safe. Currently we do not feel safe.

Councillor Bernard Priest replied:

The 4 tower blocks in Collyhurst have cladding systems to 2 elevations of each block. The cladding system is a mineral panel over a mineral insulation with horizontal fire stopping at each floor and vertical fire stopping between each flat. The cladding system is different to the Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) system fitted at Grenfell Tower.
 
The Government has commissioned the Building Research Establishment (BRE) to undertake full system fire tests to various combinations of ACM rainscreens & insulation.  It has so far declined to commission full system tests of Non-ACM cladding systems - such as that at the Collyhurst blocks.
 
The company who manufactured the cladding and insulation system have attempted to get their full system tested by the BRE, but because they have not done so, they have commissioned testing at an overseas facility which can undertake fire tests to the relevant British Standard (BS8414). The results of the fire tests will be shared with residents.
 
Whilst Northwards and the Council wish to reassure residents of the safety of the cladding systems as fitted at Collyhurst, because the patents on the products to be tested are owned by a private company, the testing must be commissioned by them and the results then shared with Northwards and the Council. There are legal restrictions on the testing and publicising of results of products where the intellectual property rights are owned by the manufacturers of their products.
 
Residents can however be assured that all of the 36 tower blocks owned by the City Council have had Type 4 Fire Risk Assessments (FRA) carried out which identified no major concerns. The recommendations from each FRA will be carried out in the timescales specified and residents advised.

The Council and its contractors are shortly to consult residents on the process and timescale for fitting sprinklers in all flats in these blocks.

16 April 2018


Councillor Nigel Murphy, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, was asked a question by a member of the public:

Dear Executive.  Why haven't the council cleaned our pathways and roads for over two years?  We Neighbours have made many requests and the council say it has been done but it never is.

Connell Gardens and Wenlock Way, West Gorton, Manchester, M12 5TG. The paths and roads around the area have regularly been missed from street cleaning over the last two years.  Mainly Wenlock Way's roads and pathways (from 84 down to 64). Given the ongoing works in the area, could you arrange regular cleaning of the complete road and pathways?  There have been many missed opportunities to clean these roads, e.g. a requested site visit 23/03/18; here the opportunity to resolve issues was missed and cleaning not authorised.

The debris on the roads and pathways pose a clear hazard to all road users. There have been few accidents from such. It would help if a schedule was put in place for the pathways and roads, during the demolition of Wenlock Way Tower and local works.

Please can you look into this?  Thank you.

Councillor Nigel Murphy replied:

The area is on a cleansing regime and when we checked the area on 3rd April 2018, the pavements and roads were in a clean condition. The area is attended a minimum of once every two weeks and so is on a schedule. Biffa have been reminded to keep to this schedule given your comments.

The construction road closures may well have led to issues with access for cleansing but we are accessing to cleanse when the location is available. We did not locate any dangerous debris when we visited. However, if there are issues such as this, then they can be reported as emergency cleansing requests through our CRM system.  They will be assessed and if dangerous, dealt with within 24 hours.

12 April 2018


Councillor Nigel Murphy, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, was asked a question by a member of the public:

I love Manchester but am saddened by the dirty state of Piccadilly. I know it's not easy but the chewing gum scenario is out of control. Ban it, like they do in Japan, simple! Is there anything that can be done? The rubbish is another issue, especially in the back streets, gross.  I know it's not possible to ban gum, but perhaps a few notices to take it home would help

Councillor Nigel Murphy replied:

Piccadilly is one of the busiest areas of the City and in terms of general cleansing the Council invests significantly in resources to clean over a 24 hour period. There has also been significant investment in litter bins to try and encourage people to dispose of litter including chewing gum responsibly.

We agree that chewing gum is a particular issue and the methods required to remove it are very expensive and so this cannot be carried out on a regular basis across the City Centre.  There will be further campaigns this year in partnership with Keep Britain tidy to raise awareness of the issues that are caused by irresponsibly discarded chewing gum. The campaign is in development but may well include some direct messages regarding chewing gum. We also have officers taking enforcement action against individuals that throw litter including chewing gum.

6 April 2018


Councillor Nigel Murphy, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, was asked a question by a member of the public who works in Manchester:

With all the Rossendale vehicles in Manchester at the moment. What is the council doing about the vehicles that are not displaying the taxi base name?

Councillor Nigel Murphy replied:

The Council has seen a steady rise in the number of vehicles licensed by other authorities (including but not limited to Rossendale) present and working in Manchester. Unfortunately, under current regulations this is not prohibited. In the absence of national taxi licensing policy standards and procedures, authorities apply the regulations differently which results in different requirements on applicants. Some authorities do not require certain tests for example and as a result it may be considered easier, faster and cheaper to obtain a licence in some authorities which drives members of the trade to obtain licences in areas they do not intend to work.

Manchester Council officers have no authority with regards to the livery / stickers or any other requirements of vehicles and drivers operating within the Manchester City Council boundaries if they are not licensed with us. The vehicles and drivers are only subject to the licence conditions of the authority that has issued the licence. For example, vehicles licensed by Transport for London are not required to display any identifying markings on the vehicle or a private hire plate, but simply display a small licence disc in the rear window. Manchester officers are not able to require anything further of the driver/proprietor as we do not issue the licence. However, Manchester licensing officers can and do take action against anyone within the City boundary committing a criminal offence (i.e. smoking in a vehicle, illegally plying for hire, working as an unlicensed driver etc) and our officers regularly report issues and suspected breaches of licence conditions back to the host authority to take relevant action.

I can also advise that in response to concerns raised by us, Uber have recently introduced a policy requiring their drivers and proprietors to obtain licences in the region they are working. This should in time reduce the number of vehicles licensed by Transport for London and working here in Manchester. Similarly, Rossendale Council are working hard to reduce the number of vehicles they licence that they know are not working and operating in Rossendale by enforcing their 'Intended Use Policy'. An update on this can be found in the latest MCC Taxi Licensing Compliance Quarterly Report to the Licensing & Appeals Committee on 26th March 2018. This report is available to read on the Council's website at http://www.manchester.gov.uk/meetings/meeting/3423/licensing_and_appeals_committee.

Manchester is working hard with other Greater Manchester Authorities to combat the negative impacts of cross border hiring and de-regulation, and lobbying central Government for changes to the legislation which will enable better regulation across the country.

4 April 2018


Councillor Nigel Murphy, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, was asked a question by a Manchester resident.

The street behind Colliery Street (Riding Street) is being used as a dumping ground for anyone who wishes to dump their litter there.  If it's a street why doesn't it have street lights, road markings etc.  I/we've been complaining about the dumping for more than 20 years and still nothing.  We've asked for gates at either end but with the same reply each time, that there's no money in the kitty, yet you will pay a cleaning company lots of money to pick all the rubbish that people have dumped every other week.  That must be costing a fortune yet no money for gates. It's also where children play but trucks and cars come down the street as children come out of back doors onto the streets.  Please let's put gates up or cameras to identify the culprits.

Councillor Nigel Murphy replied:

Thank you for your question regarding your neighbourhood and in particular the issues being experienced on Colliery Street and Riding Street.

Our records show that the area Neighbourhood Officer has been liaising with you directly regarding the issues that you raised in your question, and has been monitoring the area around Colliery Street and Riding Street on a fortnightly basis in conjunction with yourself.  On some of these visits, fly tipping has been found and reported.  Most recently a name and address was identified within the waste which was sent to the Neighbourhood Project Team to take forward the appropriate enforcement action.  

I can confirm that in addition to the work the Neighbourhood Officer is carrying out in your area, this location has also been placed on the fortnightly programme of visits which the Biffa Investigation Team deliver on behalf of the City Council. Here, any evidence of the perpetrator(s) found within the fly-tipped waste by the team will be passed on to enforcement officers to take the most appropriate action. Over the past 18 months ten £80 Fixed Penalty Notices have been served at this location. In addition, further enforcement has been taken in relation to 7 reports of untidy private land, all of which were resolved by either a warning letter or legal notice being served. 

The Neighbourhood Officer has reported that discussions have taken place with you regarding the fitting of alley gates, and it has been explained to you that this is not an approach the council can support due to funding and changes in legislation. However your suggestion of bollards being installed at the ends of the street to help with the issues raised is being looked into and a request has been sent for a feasibility survey and costings.  You will be kept updated regarding this situation. The Neighbourhood Officer has also looked into installing a camera but this is not feasible as there is no lamp post on Riding Street to install the camera on and gain the necessary power required to operate the device.  

Education for local residents is required in this area so Neighbourhood Officers will carry out a door knocking exercise in your area.  This will be to inform residents about disposing of their waste in the appropriate manner and using the correct receptacle, and to explain about the bulky collection service that is available to them.  The area Neighbourhood Officer has previously carried out a leaflet drop on Colliery Street explaining to residents the importance of recycling and the consequences of fly-tipping.  This is an ongoing exercise and officers are to continue to monitor this area and work with you and your neighbours in resolving these issues.  

In answer to your question regarding Riding Street not having any street lighting or road markings. Our records show that the status of Riding Street is classed as unadopted and therefore the City Council is not responsible for the provision or maintenance of the highway or street lighting at this location.

I trust this information is of help.

14 March 2018.

 


Councillor Nigel Murphy, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, was asked a question by Audrey O'Callaghan who lives in Manchester:

I live in a residential area where there are curry restaurants and shisha bars a mile long.
Now they want to open one where the ATS garage used to be, Purples, which will cause more traffic and noise within the area. Also, there will be more rubbish on the streets as we now have people eating in their cars and throwing the waste on the streets. This is a nightmare for residents living in this area and it has become like a tip. You cannot get to sleep because of the cars beeping and doors banging and everyone chatting until early hours. It is the worst decision anyone can make to put this night club in this area. There were coaches dropping people off last time and taking up more space on the main road. Try living here.

Councillor Nigel Murphy replied:

Thank you for your question and for raising your concerns around the premises which had opened, without the necessary consent, as a shisha cafe/nightclub. The City Council also considered that such use introduced significant noise, odour and traffic. Following the serving of a Formal Notice, the use of these premises ceased. The premises is currently the subject of a planning application for its use as a cafe only. I have, however, referred your concerns and comments to the Head of the Planning Service and have asked that these be taken into consideration in the determination of the application.

31 January 2018.

 


 

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