Accessibility Toolbar Accessibility Statement
Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

Leader's Blog  
  

Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Archive for August 2021

Investing in Our Markets

Thursday, 26 August 2021

Before I begin my blog this week I want to sound a note of caution about the state of coronavirus in Tameside. Our infection rate at the beginning of this week was 365.0 per 100,000 people, an increase of 16% from the last week and currently the highest rate in Greater Manchester. I want to emphasise that while this is concerning, there is no reason to panic. A higher rate of infection was expected following the lifting of most restrictions, and our vaccination take-up is higher than the national average with 80.8% of adults having had at least one vaccination, and 71.5% having had both their doses. That being said we must continue to remain cautious, and I would urge anybody who has not yet received their vaccinations to get them as soon as possible. Not only will you be protecting yourself and others, you’ll also be doing your bit to bring the level of new cases down across the borough.

However, as we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic we’re also beginning to look at how we can provide support for our town centres and businesses to help them not just recover, but thrive. Taking inspiration from similar towns in Greater Manchester, and working closely with the specialist event group The Market Co, we have launched two new monthly cultural events in Ashton and Stalybridge.

Ashton Artisan Market

 

Launched back in April 2021, Ashton Artisan Market has quickly established itself as a great afternoon out for all the family. The attendance figures have only gone up every month, with people from within and beyond Tameside paying a visit to over 100 stalls selling high quality street food and handmade goods, while soaking up the vibrant atmosphere and live entertainment. The next Artisan Market takes place this Saturday, and if you haven’t yet I would encourage you to come to have a look and see what all the fuss is about.

But the Ashton Artisan Market is far from the only specialist event we’re holding in the town. The Ashton Farmer’s Market takes place on the last Sunday of every month, and the third Saturday of the month sees a Craft and Cake Market take over the square. Don’t forget as well that our award-winning and hugely popular Market Hall is open every day, with a variety of regular traders selling high-quality food and goods.

Stalybridge Street Feast

 

Stalybridge Street Feast first began in July, branded as “Foodie Friday”. However, for the event this month it was renamed the Stalybridge Street Feast to give the event a name solely associated with our historic town. As well as the name change, we listened closely to feedback from residents and traders to ensure the most enjoyable and safest experience for all involved. This included closing the main road earlier to allow for extra space for crowds and stalls as well as improving access for disabled people and pushchairs. The number of vendors was also increased, with extended bar facilities, seating areas and additional amenities such as bins and portaloos. The next Stalybridge Street Feast is scheduled for 10 September, and I have no doubt it will be just as warmly received as the previous occasions.

But these events, as exciting as they may be, are just the beginning of our ambitions to regenerate and adapt our town centres for the post-lockdown world. The Council’s Executive Cabinet has approved plans to use £200,000 of government funding to boost tourism, improve green spaces, provide more temporary outdoor seating areas and run trial events, markets and pop-up stalls across the borough. As long as we keep getting vaccinated and look after ourselves and those around us while we’re out and about, the next few months will be an exciting time for Tameside as we look to build back better, fairer and greener following the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Posted by: Executive Leader


Have Your Say on Places for Everyone

Friday, 20 August 2021

Tameside, along with the rest of Greater Manchester, is committed to securing a better, fairer and greener future for all our residents. As part of that, we are asking you to have your say on the final draft of the GM Places for Everyone plan.
 

The plan has been in development since 2014, when it was known as the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF), and has been informed by the feedback we’ve received from residents, businesses and developers across many years. Following the withdrawal of Stockport from the GMSF, the remaining nine local authorities of Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan have chosen to move forward with this new plan, renamed GM Places for Everyone.

Put simply GM Places for Everyone lays out, in detail, what we want to build in Greater Manchester and where we want to build it from now until 2037. It also provides a public record of the house building targets demanded of us by the government, explains why we’ve chosen to build (or not build) in a given area, and shows what development management criteria we’ll use to decide future planning applications. All the projects in GM Places for Everyone have been chosen with a view to maximising the use of brownfield land and protecting as much of our Green Belt as possible. 90% of new homes allocated in the plan will be built in urban areas, and the impact of the city region’s Green Belt has been reduced by 60% compared to the previous GMSF in 2016. These new developments will also be integrated into GM’s transport network and supported by all necessary infrastructure such as schools, doctor’s surgeries and utilities. 

In terms of what GM Places for Everyone means for Tameside, we have identified three strategic sites in the borough for growth along with twelve areas that will be added to our existing protected Green Belt land. I understand that some of these decisions have proven controversial for many, but the fact remains that if we do not come up with a realistic and deliverable plan to meet housing targets decided by the government, we run the risk of a development free-for-all as somebody else steps in to build for us. The GM Places for Everyone plan guarantees that any new development in the city region will put the interests of local people first, and protects us from having our future dictated by distant companies that put the interests of their balance sheet first.

 

The eight-week consultation takes place from 9 August – 3 October. You can look at the full scope of the plan and give your views of its soundness online through the GM Consult website here. However, you can also e-mail your response to placesforeveryone@greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk or by post to: “Planning and Housing team, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Broadhurst House, 56 Oxford Street, Manchester, M1 6EU”. Hard copies of the plan will be available in libraries across Tameside, and if you have any questions that you cannot put into writing then you can leave your name and telephone number on an answerphone at 0161 778 7006 and someone will return your call.

Once the consultation period has passed, the final GM Places for Everyone plan will be submitted to the Secretary of State for approval, along with all supporting documents, background evidence and consultation responses. An independent inspector will also be appointed to make sure that the plan meets the necessary legal requirements.

The GM Places for Everyone plan will help set the course for Tameside and the other involved local authorities for decades to come, so it’s really important that we understand what you think and what it means to you. Every response we get, whether it’s in support, against, neutral or undecided, will help us make our borough an even better place to work, live and visit in. 

 

Posted by: Executive Leader


Making a Difference in the Fight Against Climate Change

Friday, 13 August 2021


The scale and intensity of human-driven climate change across the planet has reached a critical point. Unless we make deep cuts in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades, the global temperature will increase far beyond the 2015 Paris Agreement target of 1.5 degrees.

Even if we are successful in doing this, many of the changes that have already occurred due to past and future greenhouse gas emissions are irreversible. The repercussions of this will be extremes of temperatures, floods, wildfires, droughts, famines, deforestation, hurricanes, cyclones and melting of sea ice, snow cover and permafrost that have been unheard of for most of recorded history. At the worse end of the scale, it is even likely that certain parts of the Earth will become totally uninhabitable to human life.

That might sound like a prediction of doom, but in fact it is just some of the conclusions of the latest report from the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – the world’s leading authority on the science of global warming. Over eight years in the making, the report has brought together the work of hundreds of experts and scientific studies, and every line of its 42 page summary has been agreed upon by every government on the planet.

The headline figure is a stark call to action; the Earth’s global surface temperature has already increased by around 1.1 degrees compared with the level in 1850-1900 – a level that hasn’t been seen for over 125,000 years. While there is no “safe” level of global warming, limiting this increase to avoid the most disastrous consequences is still physically and economically possible with technology and resources we currently possess – but we have to start now.

 

Action must also be taken at every possible level as well. It’s all too easy to throw up our hands and ask what can us as individuals, a local authority, or even a country can really do to impact things on a global level, but doing whatever is in our power to do on the ground will help to set an example for our neighbours, communities, and even national governments.

In Tameside, prior to the coronavirus pandemic, we launched our Green Summit to bring together individuals, public and private organisations and charities to help do exactly that. I’m also very proud to be part of Greater Manchester’s efforts to protect our shared environment and make our city region the easiest place in the country to leave the car at home, whether that’s through our investment in the Bee Network walking and cycling infrastructure, our decision to bring the buses back under public control, or taking action to reduce the amount of dangerous nitrogen dioxide emissions on our roads.

This work has also extended into the world of pensions. As Chair of the Greater Manchester Pension Fund, the largest local government pension scheme in the country, we have led the way in investing £2.5 billion into turning a “Just Transition” – carrying out a move away from fossil fuels and other polluting activities in a way that doesn’t repeat the mistakes made during the slash-and-burn de-industrialisation of the 1980s – into reality. As a member of the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) we also have a platform to put the pressure on organisations we have an interest in to meet their own obligations to our planet. In many cases this has led to changes at the highest levels of these companies. To give just two examples; activism from the LAPFF led to Ford agreeing a deal with the state of California on tighter fuel efficiency standards, and encouraged Shell to link the pay of their executives directly to better performance on environmental sustainability.

I know that, as we emerge from the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, sounding the alarm on another global crisis is not an easy discussion to have, But if we fail in slowing the pace of runaway climate change there will be no vaccine for the consequences, and no amount of social distancing that will get us a safe distance away. The challenge has been laid down, and the generations that come after will judge us harshly if we do not rise to it.

 

Posted by: Executive Leader


Consulting residents on our service redesign plans in customer services and recycling

Thursday, 05 August 2021

In Tameside we pride ourselves on guaranteeing high quality services at the best possible value for local residents and taxpayers. Despite having to grapple with over a decade of austerity and cuts to our budgets, I truly believe we have done our best to make sure that this remains the case. However, we cannot become complacent. The coronavirus pandemic has had a serious impact on the Council’s bottom line through reducing the income we receive through council tax payments and charges such as car parking, while simultaneously increasing demand for services in areas such as social care. Our most recent Budget commits us to making £8.9 million of savings this year alone, which requires us to find new ways to deliver efficiencies without comprising on quality. In my blog for this week I want to discuss what this means for customer services and bin collections in the borough.

Customer Services Consultation

For many people, frontline customer services are the main way they interact with us to get assistance on everything from council tax, welfare rights, bin collections and school placements. Since the coronavirus pandemic made it impossible for people to come into our buildings to make enquiries face-to-face, we rolled out a web chat function to supplement our existing telephone and e-mail channels. Since March 2020, when lockdown began, we processed more than 32,000 service enquiries online.

Now we want to build on that success by changing our customer services so that most simple questions such as requesting, booking and paying for services can be done online as much as possible. This will involve not reopening the drop-in customer service centre in Tameside One in Ashton in its previous form. Drop-in assistance would still be available in all Tameside libraries, and advice for more complex questions or vulnerable residents will be given via a telephone call back service or by booking a face-to-face appointment in advance. 

The complete list of changes, along with a consultation so you can have your say in the proposals, can be found on our Big Conversation webpage here until 19 September.


Waste & Recycling Services Consultation

As part of our savings plans we need to make £1.8 million of savings from our Operations budget this year. We know how important our bin collections are to our residents, so we have made the decision that green and brown bins, along with free caddy liners, our pull-out-and-return service and access to our Household Waste and Recycling Centres will remain unchanged. This means that we are looking instead at changing the collections of blue and black bins to every 3 weeks instead of every fortnight, and charging for all replacement bins with mitigations available for exceptional circumstances. Many other councils in Greater Manchester, such as Stockport, Trafford, Bury, Oldham and Rochdale, operate collections and charging in a similar way.

But we really want to make sure we get this right, so we’re running a consultation and a 12-week pilot in selected areas – Ridge Hill in Stalybridge, Hyde Central, and Haughton Green in Denton. These areas have been picked because they have a mix of housing types; terraced, semi-detached and low rise, that will help give us the most complete picture possible of what the effects of the new collections will be. The consultation for this can be found here, and you have until 20 October to let us know your views.

I know that there are many of you who are likely to be unhappy with some of these changes, but the financial challenges we face to maintain our vital services for those who need them most cannot be overestimated. The more honest and transparent we are with each other, the easier it will be for us to come up with final plans that continue to provide the best services possible with the money we have available in Tameside.
 

Posted by: Executive Leader


Remembering two great Greater Manchester figures

Tuesday, 03 August 2021

Lord Peter Smith
 
This week we were shocked to hear of the passing of Lord Peter Smith. Peter served as Leader of Wigan Council from 1991 and over the past three decades gained a reputation as one of the most influential council leaders in the UK. He was a true champion for all the districts of Greater Manchester. He sat at the heart of devolution discussions from their outset, where his leadership through both the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities and later the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, were key to delivering the devolution deal, which saw Greater Manchester take control of powers and budgets from Whitehall in 2014.
 
In his later years, his passion for health and wellbeing saw him lead the work on health devolution on a Greater Manchester level, it was in this capacity I got to know him best. After stepping down as Council Leader, he continued in his capacity as lead member for the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership. I saw up close - as both his deputy and the Chair of the GM Joint Commissioning Board - how he took the lead in bringing health and social care services across the city-region closer together to improve health and ensure the vulnerable and elderly get the best care.
 
Peter leaves a truly imposing legacy and the debt that we as a city region owe him will not soon be forgotten. My thoughts are with his family, friends and all those who knew and worked for him over his 43 years of public service.
 
Cllr David Greenhalgh
 
Last week we also learned of the passing of Cllr David Greenhalgh, who served as the Executive Leader of Bolton Council since 2019.
 
While I knew David for only a short time, I was struck deeply by his passion for Bolton and his commitment to all his residents. What is more, his love for the arts (being a son of two music teachers) shone through to us in his work as the Greater Manchester Combined Authority lead for Culture. I think all Greater Manchester Leaders will remember David for the gentleman he was, and will miss his presence all the more for it.
 
My heartfelt condolences are with all of David’s family and friends in this time.
 

Posted by: Executive Leader


These entries were filed under the Executive Leader's Blog. You can follow any responses to these entries through the RSS 2.0 feed.