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Archive for October, 2010

The spending review

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Image of the Spending Review Report

For this week’s blog I want to talk about the Comprehensive Spending Review. Working our way through the small print of the announcement will take some time, but it is already clear that some difficult decisions lie ahead. We have to be honest about its impact and the fact that we will be facing some of the biggest cuts seen by the public sector in recent times. But Tameside residents and the people who use and depend on our services can be assured that we, as a council, are well placed to deal with the future challenges.

I can also say that we have been working on our three-year financial plan for sometime and that we have already taken significant costs out of the organisation. For many years we have had an enviable track record for good financial management and delivering value for money and this means we start from a solid financial base. And in recent months we have also been listening to staff suggestions on how we can increase efficiency and reduce costs and we have dozens of projects running which are resulting in hundreds of thousands of pounds in savings.
Doing nothing isn’t an option and faced with this reality we intend to do the best with what we have available to us to help those who are most in need. Obviously I would rather we were not placed in a position in which we will have to make changes to services but we have little choice. Tameside is a place where we have always made a little go along way, so getting the best value for our money is something we are good at.

There’s loads going on in Tameside

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Image of Ashton Town Hall

I was interviewed by a business journalist recently who wanted to know about regeneration developments across the borough. I was just asked to outline the major ones I could think of and talk about them. Nearly an hour later I was pleasantly surprised to discover that our time was up yet I found that there was still plenty of things I could have talked about.

I mention this because it obviously means we have plenty going on in Tameside and despite the recession hitting everyone hard, not least developers, we are starting to see increased activity once again popping up in areas all over the borough.

In no time at all I gave extensive details on the continuing St Petersfield development in Ashton and the multi-millions being invested in the commercial/residential mix; the second phase of the work going on at Crown Point North in Denton and the Droylsden Marina site, which is showing signs of picking up again. I also found myself highlighting developments in most areas; Longlands Mill in Stalybridge as well as the much newer Stalybridge West development around the town’s station which was greeted with much interest. And added to these were all the new and exciting plans up and coming for the area around Ashton Town Centre, which again was of major interest to the visiting business reporter.

After the interview was over and he had left I reflected that, under the council’s guidance, Tameside is in a strong position. With all these projects which are showing positive signs of continued recovery, I think we can look forward to the future with a sense of optimism that by working together with our partners we can come through this recession in a strong position.

The nation’s best

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

 

Image of flowers

I wanted to use this week’s blog to highlight our recent success in this year’s national In Bloom competition and to thank all those who contributed to making it happen. The best in the country that has such a nice ring to it!

Our successes in the north west competition which now stands at five consecutive titles, seems to almost go without saying, but this is the first time we’ve secured the coveted national crown. The only other time we entered the nationals we were narrowly beaten by Solihull so to go one better this time is brilliant news. And of course this victory now means we have been given the opportunity to go forward to represent the country in the European In Bloom competition. And the council received further recognition by winning the RHS Britain In Bloom Environmental Quality Award.

As I’m sure everyone is aware by now In Bloom is about much, much more than simply floral displays. The rigorous inspection covers a wider remit than that, including all the efforts everyone makes to improve our environment.

That has always been seen as one of our greatest strengths by the In Bloom judges; the contributions made by the borough’s residents and community groups. Without the public’s driving force, people who take pride in their area, I’m sure we would never have achieved so much success.

The decision as to whether we will now go forward into the European competition will be made later in the year when we have a better understanding of what is required. But you can be rest assured that if we do we will approach it with the same level of professionalism and commitment that has brought us the success we have enjoyed so far.

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