Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Mistakes,strength and weakness

This blog has tended to concentrate on news rather than opinion but I'm going to make an exception for the 10p tax issue. Clearly the government has made a BIG mistake. With over twenty years experience as a City Councillor I know that the only way you can avoid making mistakes is by doing nothing. Indeed to get this city of ours back on the road to greatness has meant taking a few risks and not every one of them has come off.
It's also true that not many people, including Prime Ministers, like owning up to making mistakes- do you - and so it's not surprising that it took a fair bit of pressure to get Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling to accept that they had made a mistake.
The big question for any mistake is what you do about, in this case what government does to make sure nobody on a low income is financially penalised by the abolition of the 10p tax rate. We will all wait with interest to see what proposals the Chancellor comes back with. However, having admitted a mistake, if it is then properly rectified that is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

St.George's Day

St.George's Day today and I'm delighted that Manchester City Council was one of the first councils, if not the first, to give it official recognition
by supporting the community organised St. George's Day parade, now in its 4th increasingly successful year. This year was a rather wet affair and Queen Victoria's [ Thelma - one of the key organisers ] crinolines have only just dried out in time for the St.George's day tea dance being held this afternoon in the Great Hall at Manchester Town Hall. Even in the rain there was a tremendous turn out of floats and of spectators. A great day! The parade is also a great example of Manchester's diverse communities coming together and special mention for the organisers of the St.Patrick's day parade for their assistance . St.George is also the patron saint of Catalonia but we will have to wait and see whether it will be the Mancunion reds of England or the Barcelonans of Catalonia celebrating tonight.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Hospital Radio Offers Big Break to New Talent

Crumpsall Carnival time is rapidly approaching and with it the now regular Northern Air 2008 Talent competition. Top prize is a studio recording session along with topping the bill at the Carnival . Entries are by demos [ cd or tape ] to programme controller Dave Beedie at " Talent Contest ", 51 Crumpsall Lane, Manchester M8 4ED with a closing date of Saturday 31st May. The contest itself is on Saturday 14th June, as always, at the Cleveland Hotel.

For those that were there the photos are a reminder of last years event, and for those who weren't a little taste of the fantastic atmosphere. Nothing to do with me being a judge [ on the left in the Judges Panel picture ].

Monday, 21 April 2008

Chemist Success

A short follow up to the post a couple of weeks ago on the proposed pharmacy for Blackley Village. I said then that a decision was expected in two weeks. It's arrived right on time and it's good news for the village as it has been approved. There are 30 days in which objectors can appeal against the decision but hopefully they won't and if they do I'm sure they won't be successful. There is still a long way to go before we actually get a chemist in the village but at least we're on our way!

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Making Crumpsall Safer !

Yesterday saw the quarterly meeting of the Crumpsall Neighbourhood Partnership Meeting . This used to be called the local action partnership and is when the police, the Council's community safety co-ordinator, ward councillors, other relevant council departments, public agencies, and representatives of tenants and residents associations in the area, get together to get a report back from the police about their performance over the last three months and to discuss what the priorities should be for the next three months. Although it has its moments, Crumpsall is lucky in that it is not a high crime area, but it could still be lot better. One thing that has made a difference is neighbourhood policing, with a designated police constable and designated police community support officers for each part of Crumpsall and Blackley Village. Although things are improving one of my biggest bug bears is people who complain about but don't report crime. The police not surprisingly allocate resources on the basis of the crimes they have on their records so no reports means no resources. I know all the frustrations of trying to get through to GMP's switchboard and the frustrations with what is often seen as a lack of or a poor response. But whatever the frustrations, reporting crime does make a difference, and the police and other agencies do need our help and support if we are going to continue to make Crumpsall and Blackley Village safer.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Eco Store for Crumpsall

Nice for a change to have an entry about a planning application that I am supporting, on this occasion an application from Tesco to turn their store currently under construction on Arlington Street into what they term an Eco Store, indeed their first Eco Store. Now I know Tesco isn't everybody's favourite brand because of their market dominance, but this store is needed even more now given the imminent closure of Somerfield, and it will provide local shopping without the inflated prices other supermarkets have used their monopoly position to impose. The Eco Store has lots of innovative features but the bottom line is that it should consume at least 50% less Carbon than previous stores and will include one-stop recycling facilities for paper, cardboard, carrier bags, glass, plastic and metal.

Monday, 7 April 2008

A Chemist for Blackley Village ?

Not at first glance a very Blackley Village picture taken outside Manchester Primary Care Trust's headquarters in Chorlton but I was there with members of Blackley Village Residents Association to support an application for a new pharmacy in the village. Councillors have been working with BVRA and the City Council's North Manchester Regen officers to bring a village feel back into Blackley Village and a key element of that is bringing back local retailers and local services. Currently, unless you have a car, it is a long, steep uphill walk to get to a chemist , and with a growing population in and adjacent to the village, I believe it can have its own pharmacy without damaging others in nearby areas. We should know whether or not we have been successful in around two weeks, but this could be a major step in the regeneration of Blackley Village.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Glorious Mud in Herristone Park

Delighted to see lots of Friends of Herristone Park out on Sunday working away with the help of Leisure Services staff to further improve the look of the park. The photograph only shows a small sample of the dozens of helpers and yes I did actually use the spade. The planting at the top end of the park was completed but work on a proposed wild flower bank further down had to be abandoned for the day as rain turned the ground we were digging into squelchy mud. Went home for my wellies for that and am lucky they're not still stuck in the mud and clay. Thankyou to all the residents and Council staff who turned out for a great community afternoon.