Councillor’s Diary – Week Commencing 5th December

Monday

Start day at Lostock College being a 'reader' for a pupil on a maths paper. Surprisingly intense, you're so keen that you don't confuse or get in the way. Emotionally rewarding though, very much rooting for the pupil.

Tea-time meeting with Trafford officers looking at the shaping of Trafford in the next few years. Came away not really the wiser. There was a feeling that the Mersey Valley was less valued than it should be which  is something I actually agree with, but there was also an evangelical fervour that the Mersey Valley could be used to create a unifying Trafford identity.

I've got to be honest, I've lived within the current boundaries of Trafford for pretty much all my life, but I don't self define as a Traffordian. I'm a Manc and the part of Manchester I come from is Stretford. Trafford has no real meaning to me except as the name of those current administrative boundaries.

I don't know what the motivation is for officers seeing the lack  of a Trafford identity as a bad thing. I look across at Salford, a place with which I have numerous connections. Salford has a self identity that is almost too obsessive; and its tendency to frame everything in terms of its relationship with Manchester in my view holds it back.

I want to see greater use of the Mersey Valley just because it's a beautiful space and far more accessible than a lot of people realise. If I shop in Altrincham, it won't be out of a fabricated construct that my 'Trafford identity' locks me in to choosing there rather than choosing Manchester.

Labour group next meeting in the evening. The big political issue is the Flixton Village green area scheduled by Greater Manchester for building upon. We're fully behind residents who want to protect this as their village green. And it's interesting to compare our support for a genuine connection and relationship between Flixton and the fields at the centre of their town, to the marketing candy floss I encountered from officers at the earlier meeting.

Tuesday

Regular Meeting with Corporate Team for Economic Growth

Budget scrutiny - risk assessments superficial and impact vague. Some of these measures seem to be suck it and see. For example, the garden waste charge - no idea of take up or impact on fly tipping.

Wednesday

Scribing at Lostock College for another maths exam.

Locality partnership enabling groups review. A big proportion of my time is spent on the locality partnership. I'm not sure I know whether it's productive as it could be.

Budget scrutiny day2

Looking at reablement. There's insufficient funding. It's a national problem. These are genuinely scary times.

Thursday

Volunteering Lostock Library

Spatial framework Q&A at Urmston Grammar. This is the big meeting about Flixton Village Green. Packed meeting-I don't know whether the meeting really captured the extent to which these fields are valued and loved by the townsfolk of Flixton. I know those fields from my own schooldays and those fields truly are part of the Flixton identity. It would be tragic for the fields to be lost to housing. Questions and answers tend towards a more adversarial contest. I would have preferred simply making the case that the fields are walked and loved and de-stress the folk of Flixton just as they have done for a hundred years or so.

Friday

Transport for Greater Manchester Committee

Sunday

Trip with Laurence around the United game. I'm always struck by the paucity of the collective offer we make to United fans. They're expected to eat over-priced takeaway junk, with nowhere to sit or perch their food. I've been to Second Division grounds where the town makes more of an effort. It's squalid, there's no imagination employed and we expect United fans to treat our neighbourhoods with respect. The only improvement I saw was that United had put out some pionic tables. It's a start, but there's so much more United could do, so much more the council could do and so much more the businesses could do.

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