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Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

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Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Archive for January 2020

Around the Towns in 2020

Thursday, 16 January 2020

I wrote in last week’s blog that I want 2020 to be a year of investment for Tameside; in our economy and shared future. The heart of Tameside is, and always will be, our towns, so it’s for that reason that I want to go in-depth on the highlights of our big plans for them in 2020.
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Ashton

Work to redevelop Ashton’s bus station into a modern transport interchange is well underway. When it opens its doors in the summer, it will bring a state-of-the-art transport hub into the heart of Tameside. Not just buses, but trams, bikes and taxis as well. The building itself will also contain accessible toilets and enhanced passenger safety measures, including CCTV. When complete it will attract people and business into the borough, and connect up residents to jobs, leisure and learning within Tameside, in Greater Manchester and beyond.

 

Following the completion of Tameside One, we’re also now in a position to begin much-needed renovation on the historic Ashton Town Hall. Funding of £270,000 has been agreed, with the first step being a comprehensive survey to establish what needs to be done to make the building fit for purpose in the 21st century while preserving its unique heritage. 

Denton

Due to open in the spring, the Tameside Wellness Centre will be the jewel in the crown of our multi-year, £20 million investment in our leisure services. Built on brownfield land on the former Oldham Batteries and located just off Lance Corporal Andrew Breeze Way in the heart of Denton, the Centre will offer a wide range of leisure, community and wellbeing facilities. Not just an 8-lane, 24-metre swimming pool and a 10-pin bowling alley, but a learner pool, children’s play zone, spa area and fitness suite with disabled access and dementia-friendly design throughout.

 

Droylsden
2020 will bring a wave of regeneration and development into the centre of Droylsden. The shopping arcade, which dates bring to the 1970s, is due to be given a facelift. The first stage will see owners New Era Properties invest £100,000 to convert two of the units into 4,000 square feet of new retail and restaurant space.

Hyde

We remain committed to the construction of 2,350 new homes in the Godley Green Garden Village. At the end of last year we agreed to draw down £10m from the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund to deliver the project’s opening phases, including infrastructure work. While actual housebuilding is not expected to begin until 2021, our timeline calls for a developer to be picked in May 2020, with an outline planning application for the whole site to follow in November. 30% of all the homes delivered under the scheme will be designated for affordable tenures.

In September 2019 we beat 24 other local authorities to win £100,000 to fund the development of a master plan for Hyde Town Centre, using young professional thinking and already-existing public assets to build the foundations for going out to seek further investment to create a sustainable, accessible and community service-rich centre.

Stalybridge

All eyes in Stalybridge in 2019 were focused on the Mayor’s Town Centre Challenge, and in 2020 we expect some of the proposals that have been created over the past 12 months to come into fruition. A number of resident-led proposals are being considered including the creation of a transport interchange, bringing the Civic Hall back into use as a food and drink market, and the development of two sites on Castle Street and Stalybridge West to develop homes, offices, and retail and leisure space. A comprehensive review of the town’s public realm will also consider how cycling and walking infrastructure can be harnessed to improve the pedestrian experience. Our ambition is nothing less than to see Stalybridge join the likes of Saddleworth and Hebden Bridge as a unique and thriving Pennine town.

Longdendale

Last week our planning committee gave the green light to the construction of 61 new affordable homes in Hattersley on the site of the former Hattersley District Centre and Tameside Court tower block. Both developments are being led by social housing provider Onward Homes, with funding assistance provided by Homes England.

Mossley

Mossley is making a name for itself as a cultural centre. Global Grooves, the internationally-renowned company behind our famous Lantern Parades, have started work on “The Vale”. Once complete, it will serve as their “Northern Carnival Centre of Excellence”, bringing people from all over the world to the town. The housing development at Woodend Mill has also begun to deliver new homes on the edge of the town centre.

 

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Further news and updates for all of these projects, along with other plans for the future, will be released over the course of the year. With your support, we’re working to transform Tameside, setting an example for others to follow, securing our prosperity, and creating a borough fit to thrive in the 2020s.

 

Posted by: Executive Leader


Full Speed Ahead for Full Fibre

Friday, 10 January 2020

Welcome to my first blog of the 2020s. Before I begin, I’d like to take the chance to wish you all a happy, healthy and successful New Year.

Despite a tumultuous 2019 for the country as a whole, it proved to be a year of progress and achievement here in Tameside. I’m happy to say that as soon as the Christmas decorations were put away we’ve been working hard to build on the solid foundations of the last twelve months.

 

The next part of that journey began on Tuesday, when I attended a meeting of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) that finalised the details of how we intend to roll out full-fibre broadband across the city region.

Unlike traditional broadband connections, where part or all of the line from local telephone exchanges still uses old copper wire, full-fibre transmits data by pulses of light through fibre and plastic cables. This results in a much, much faster internet connection; while a good copper wire can transmit up to 66 megabits per second of data, full-fibre averages 1,000 megabits per second with the potential for more. To put that into perspective, an hour-long mp4 video of around 1 gigabyte (1024 megabytes) would take just over a second to download over full-fibre compared to 15.5 seconds using a copper line.

While this would benefit individual households hungry for more data due to the rise of streaming services, smart devices and video calls, it would have an absolutely transformative impact on businesses.

The vast majority of businesses, regardless of their size, now depend on the internet for some or all of their income. Faster and more reliable connections mean an increase in productivity by allowing employees and business owners to do the same amount of work in less time. It improves work-life balance and air pollution by making remote connections and working from home an option for more people. Even the process of building the necessary infrastructure and connections will create opportunities for jobs and training. At the moment Britain lags badly behind other European countries, with only 8% of the country connected by full-fibre. Closing that gap, according to Ofcom, could add up to £87.6 billion to our GDP in five years.

The deal agreed at the GMCA on Tuesday will give Greater Manchester the best high-speed internet coverage of any city-region in the UK, but Tameside is already ahead of the game. Since February 2018, the Tameside Digital Infrastructure Cooperative (TDIC) has allowed internet providers, public and private consumers and investors to come together to make the best use of the fibre connections that already exist in Tameside. Our partners already include Tameside Hospital, both of our sixth form colleges, Virgin Media, the Mid Counties Cooperative and the Jigsaw Group.

 

Even at this early stage we can point to a number of successes that were only possible by our commitment to leveraging our fibre infrastructure. The Ashton Old Baths, now fast approaching its second anniversary, has preserved our local history while looking to the future by providing offices and incubators for high-tech businesses. The Hospital and our Community Response Service have developed the award-winning Digital Health approach, which has reduced the demand on our A&E services, supported our care homes and allowed elderly and vulnerable residents to live in dignity and comfort. Looking at the longer term, we’ve helped to set up a number of events such as CoderDojos and Tameside Hacks to guarantee that all our young people have the chance to learn digital and computer skills from an early age in a fun and relaxed environment.

This new deal agreed by the GMCA will allow us to both expand on what we’ve built in Tameside, and link up with the other great work that’s be done in the other local authorities that make up our city region. It’s my hope that this will be the first of many blogs I’ll be able to write this year about how we’re investing in our towns, our economy and our shared future.

 

Posted by: Executive Leader


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