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Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

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Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Reflecting on 2021. Looking ahead to 2022.

Friday, 10 December 2021

This Tuesday we held the final meeting of Full Council for this year in Dukinfield Town Hall. As 2021 draws to a close, it gave us the opportunity to reflect on a momentous and eventful period for Tameside as well as look forward to what we want to achieve in 2022.

2021 began with us very much in the eye of the storm of the coronavirus pandemic. Our first priority was to roll out newly-developed vaccines to as many residents as possible as quickly as possible, while ensuring that we continued to all protect ourselves and those around us. Drawing together the expertise of our local public, private, voluntary and community organisations we developed a vaccination programme, including a “drive through” site in Hyde, which exceeded the Greater Manchester average for both first and second doses delivered and won a shortlisting at the prestigious LGC Awards. Over 250 residents also signed up to be Community Champions, with responsibilities to give accurate information to and receive feedback from our communities about social distancing measures, vaccinations and other areas of public health and safety.

This year was also when we committed wholeheartedly to a policy of Inclusive Growth for Tameside, with opportunities created for all and the benefits of prosperity fairly distributed to all. The single largest area where we’re striving to make this ambition a reality is in the Godley Green Garden Village, the outline planning permission for which is now available for public viewing and comment on our website here. However, this year also saw the completion of a number of other projects to drive inclusive growth in Tameside, including the relocation of Droyslden Library to Guardsman Tony Downes House, the opening of the state-of-the-art pool facility in Hyde, and the second phase of the Ashton Old Baths redevelopment. We also began efforts to revive our town centres economically and culturally through the introduction of regular events such as the Ashton Artisan Market, Stalybridge Street Feast and seasonal celebrations like the spectacular Winter Parade held in Hyde last month.

Our priorities for 2022 were laid out in detail at the meeting as well. Working closely with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and other local authorities in the city region, we’ll move the green transport revolution forward by introducing the GM Clean Air Zone, continuing to invest and expand in the Bee Network of cycling and walking infrastructure, and taking back control of our bus services.  2022 will also see us deliver on the next phase of Inclusive Growth, with the biggest projects being the creation of a modern and tailored employment hub in the St Petersfield area of Ashton, the formal adoption of a Tameside-wide Housing Strategy, and investing up to £20 million in Ashton town centre, including the long-overdue restoration of the town hall. Side-by-side with these long term ambitions, we must also not lose sight of the obligation we have to make our resident’s lives better today. To this end, I intend for us to work closely with the new GMP Chief Constable, Stephen Watson to ensure that everybody in Tameside can live free from crime and abuse, as well as continue to listen to the recently established Tameside Poverty Truth Commission to understand and address the needs and concerns of those who live at the very margins of our communities.

Tuesday evening also saw us discuss a motion, moved by Councillor Allison Gwynne, calling on United Utilities and the Environment Agency to account for their failure to prevent ongoing pollution of the River Tame. A recent article in The Times highlighted that the river suffers from the highest microplastic contamination in the world due to the discharge of raw sewage into the water. United Utilities have been identified as one of the most frequent and prolific offenders, and an underfunded Environment Agency has so far been ineffective in enforcing national laws and regulations against privatised water companies. This is not a situation that we are happy to let continue, and the motion compels the organisations responsible to take the lead in addressing it as an urgent priority.

While it seems inevitable that 2021 will be remembered as a year dominated by coronavirus, Tuesday’s meeting ended with us resolving to ensure that 2022 is remembered as a year of transformation. Not just transformation for the better, but transformation for every resident and community in Tameside. Through a relentless focus on fostering inclusive growth, building safe and welcoming communities, and making a difference in the climate crisis, we will pave the road towards a fairer, better and greener future.

Posted by: Executive Leader

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