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Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

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Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Reflecting on Full Council

Friday, 28 May 2021

The eyes of Tameside were on Dukinfield Town Hall this week, as the first in person meeting of Full Council was held since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a socially-distanced Jubilee Hall, we took the opportunity to pay tribute to one of Tameside’s most famous sons and freeman of the borough, Dr Ron Hill MBE, who tragically passed away last week at the age of 82. As a world-class distance runner, business entrepreneur, tireless advocate for local charitable causes, and founder of the Tour of Tameside his influence and the credit he brought to the borough will be sadly missed and unlikely to ever be repeated. I was also delighted to confirm that Councillors Janet Cooper and Mike Glover would be retaining their roles as Civic Mayor and Civic Deputy Mayor respectively for next year. This will make them the first people to take on the roles twice, but given the unique circumstances we’ve faced it made sense to give them the chance to continue their service to the borough.

The meeting of Full Council also provided us with a chance to discuss the progress of the Godley Green Garden Village, and to make sure that the importance of the project for the borough is fully understood. As I’ve said in the past, local authorities such as Tameside have a responsibility to act and plan not just for the present, but for the generations to come as well. As part of that, we are required by the government to have plans to build around 11,000 new homes over the next 17 years. The alternative presented by some, of building all our required housing on brownfield land, is not a viable solution. All brownfield land suitable for residential development in Tameside has already been identified, and there simply is not enough of it to deliver housing in the numbers which are needed.

Failure to come up with a realistic and deliverable plan to meet our housing targets means that the developers will simply step in to do it for us. We’ve seen enough of that in the past to know that this will lead to piecemeal, high-density and unsuitable building and the loss of even more of our precious greenspace. The choice isn’t between building on Godley Green or not building on Godley Green. It is between building in a sustainable and organised way, or becoming the victim of a disastrous free-for-all of uncontrolled and uncontrollable development.

Our plan for Godley Green puts the people of Tameside, not the profits of developers, first. By emphasising the growing of thriving communities, guaranteeing building standards through the planning process, and backing any housing up with infrastructure such as access to broadband, public transport links and truly open greenspace, the Garden Village model offers a model of inclusive growth that will benefit residents within and beyond the development. We fully intend to look at and tweak the plans where appropriate, and we will also continue to take seriously any ideas, concerns and suggestions that are expressed to us. But as I made clear at Full Council, we are going ahead with this project.

But the Godley Green Garden Village is just one strand of our ambitious plans for inclusive growth in Tameside. By driving investment in jobs and housing, regenerating our town centres and protecting our shared environment, we intend to transform the quality of life of our residents and create, as I’ve said before, a local economy that serves the people and not the other way round.

We must come together with the grit to make sure the Tameside endures, the innovation to make sure that Tameside adapts, and the drive to make sure that Tameside prospers. As we begin to heal from the coronavirus pandemic, I pledge that Tameside Council will leave no stone unturned to make that bright new future a reality.

Posted by: Executive Leader

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