Councillor’s Diary – Week Commencing 12th December

Monday

Last of the exam support sessions I'd volunteered for. Thoroughly rewarding.

Meeting in the afternoon on an Over 50s Worklessness Pilot we're scoping for Gorse Hill. It's a Greater Manchester initiative and we've been chosen for Trafford. I'd be hugely interested in hearing resident's experiences of jobseeking, returning to employment or access to training from within this generation.

Tuesday

Personal Development plan meeting at town hall. We identified time management and speed reading as areas to work upon. I also want to some job shadowing within areas of work.

Meeting regarding public service reform and the proof of concept pilot work going on in our patch. I'm going to a larger meeting next week and it's a subject that's going to resurface.

Labour meeting in the evening at the Robin Hood.

Wednesday

Cycle over to the Ecology Park. It's looking superb. A lot of improvement work has taken place. Mike Ormerod, the CE of Greater Manchester Groundwork, raised a couple of issues. The brown road signs to the Ecology Park are looking tired. Totally support better signage to it, and really quite a lot more of it. The Trafford Park Metrolink will put more people in the area. The park is an absolute haven.

An issue not as pleasant is the overnight parking and driver behaviour near to the park. It's not appropriate that our streets are used as an open sewer. We need to put a stop to this. I'm sure the appropriate places like Truckstop do charge an amount some of the drivers would prefer to avoid.Trafford needs to get on top of it.

Quick stop off at the Ravenswood gardens for the lantern parade. Couldn't stay for the kids singing, a real shame. Wednesday was a lovely day though.

Also had meetings at the town hall re scrutiny.

Thursday

But more work on the website. Think it'll largely do for now.

Library volunteering in the afternoon.

Friday

Kate Green coffee morning. Great community spirit is abroad in Stretford and it coalesced in the public hall. Afternoon, catching up on casework plus visit to library. Things have come to a head over leaf clearing on some of our streets. Took a trip out on bike to check out. The idea that you can keep cutting and not see a detrimental impact. Frankly, austerity isn't working. It was fantasy economics abetted and applauded by the Lib Dems. At some point there'll be recognition that the way to revive the economy is not too suck every last prop of social scaffolding from the village in which we live. I'm going to nag officers to get those streets swept but it's just a sticking plaster. It'll be somewhere else next week.

Saturday

Set off at half-ten to deliver newsletters in Flixton about the party's position on the Flixton Fields that are under threat of development. Ended up staying in Flixton all day.

These fields mean a lot to me. I've never lived in Flixton but so many of my school friends came from that way, it's a place I know well. Flixton doesn't really have formal parks but the fields do the job pretty well. Given I've never lived there and my teenage years are forty years gone, it's incredible that the informal cut-throughs are still so familiar and unchanged, linking one side of Flixton with the other. That's why I'm so determined that the fields should be preserved just as Urmston Council intended when it purchased them before the war.

I'm no NIMBY, we desperately need houses. In fact generally, I'm perhaps more relaxed than most about building on the greenbelt. My passion is keeping the parks and fields that exist within the urban environment. We've lost too many. Here in this bit of Stretford we lost Kendal Road, we lost Urmston Grammar just up the road, we lost the fields to the Trafford Centre.

I see why we protect greenbelt but it's easy to get the balance wrong if we're so obsessive in protecting it, we make the urban environment totally devoid of space to breathe. We've got to a point where scrubland classed as greenbelt by its location but offering none of the benefits, is given more protection than valued fields within an urban setting.

I think it's vital we protect Flixton's fields. I'm delighted that Trafford's Labour Group agree with me. In fact Andrew Western, our leader has really made this battle a priority. So it was an easy decision to stay all day in Flixton to support Andrew. He's called an extraordinary meeting of council for Wednesday. It would be great if we can get unanimity across the parties on this. I think it's one we can win. I certainly hope so.

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