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Archive for March, 2014

On the road to success

Friday, March 28th, 2014

I am a big fan of partnership working.  To me it is the most logical way of doing businesses, bearing in mind we’re still in the middle of an economic recession.

In my recent budget and Keynote speeches I’ve promoted the virtues of working hard with our partners to deliver mutually beneficial projects.  An obvious recent example is Tameside College’s move into Ashton town centre.

Recently we were able to add another impressive example to that list.  The all-new Kerry Way, the road up to Kerry Foods in Hyde has unlocked a route into a potential Council-owned business park just behind their factory which brings with it the promise of around 300 new jobs.

This latest project was implemented through a partnership between the Council and Kerry Foods and was funded in the main by a Regional Growth Fund (RGF) grant.  This is particularly pleasing because the road was the first project to draw down funding from the RGF programme in the North West as well as being the first completed RGF physical development project in the region.

If that’s not excellent partnership work in action, I don’t know what is!

The completion of the project has helped secure Kerry Foods Board’s commitment to ongoing investment at the Hyde plant, safeguarding over 600 Tameside jobs on top of an additional 50 jobs in the company’s North West supply chain.  The development of the business park site which Kerry Way has unlocked has the potential for creating over 300 new jobs and 145 construction jobs once the site is up and running.

Everyone’s a winner – it’s good news for the Council, good news for one of Tameside’s biggest employers and good news for our residents, many of whom may be able to apply for the new jobs.

Why a council tax freeze is important

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

One of Tameside Council’s most pressing duties is looking after the public money with which it is entrusted. During times as uncertain as the ones we are currently experiencing, it is vitally important that we not only spend that money wisely but also plan carefully for the future.

As an authority we are grappling with unprecedented cuts to our budget, but of course we are only too well aware that you are facing similar challenges in your own households and businesses. It is no easy task to make ends meet.

Although “the council” may appear to be some sort of faceless body, it is made up of people who live and work in Tameside. These people – councillors as well as staff – have families, homes and mortgages just like you. They face the same pressures. They understand how tough life is at the moment.

Because of this, the Council has decided not to raise council tax in 2014-15. From a financial point of view this decision makes no sense, but from a moral perspective we know it is right.

We at Tameside Council want to do whatever we can to help the local economy and enhance the borough’s reputation as a good place to do business. In my budget speech to full council on 4 March I was pleased to announce that the Council is investing in the borough’s transport infrastructure and working with partners to get more houses built.

Tameside is committed to becoming a living wage employer, and to providing services in the most cost-effective way.

I am proud of what the Council has managed to achieve for residents and businesses – things such as the new shop local loyalty scheme, rate relief for town-centre shops, a Youth Guarantee which gives every long-term unemployed young person the chance of a job or quality training, and 100 additional apprenticeships have been created.

Tameside Council is on your side. Residents and businesses alike can rest assured that it will do everything it can to support them through these difficult economic times.

Safety first at all times

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

When New Mill, Dukinfield, opened in the mid-1890s, the owners wanted their employees on the doorstep.  Houses were quite literally built in its shadow – so close that workers were only footsteps from the gates once they left their back yards. 

While such matters were not an issue 120 years ago, they certainly are now.  When the recent storms made New Mill unsafe, and the danger of structural damage became apparent, people living in the neighbouring properties turned to Tameside Council and we were happy to help.

Some residents had to be evacuated, so we organised alternative accommodation.  We have worked closely with the Health and Safety Executive and done our best to assist those who have businesses in the mill. 

Yet ultimately, New Mill is not council property. It is privately owned, so there is only so much we can do to move the process along.  Of course we understand the frustration so many people are feeling.  We have been talking to insurers and also to the mill-owner to make sure he supports his tenants and honours his obligations.  We are offering support wherever we can given the constraints under which we are forced to operate.

For me, this sort of work – looking after our residents – is just as important as the many other functions the Council fulfils. I see it as essential that the people of Tameside know they can rely on us in times of need such as this.  Officers have spent many hours at the site and I would like to thank them for giving up evenings and weekends to support the residents.

However, safety has had to be the priority.  People, businesses and motorists have been affected.  Unfortunately there are no simple answers but rest assured that the Council is doing its best and we would be failing in our duty of care if we cut corners.

*New Mill was called the Old Mill until the turn of the century. Cotton spinning ceased there in the 1950s and now the building is possibly best-known as the base for plastics firm Kay Metzeler in the 1960s and 1970s.

So easy to stay in touch

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

One of the most significant council meetings of the year takes place on Tuesday, 4 March.  It’s the one at which we agree our budget for the coming year and set the council tax rate for the next 12 months.

The meeting, which takes place in the Council Chamber in Ashton Town Hall, starts at 5pm.  If you want to keep up with what happens but are unable to attend, it’s still possible to follow the proceedings from your own home or on your smartphone.

Regular updates will appear on Twitter @tamesidecouncil and there will be a live video feed available in the news section which is on the home page of the Tameside Council website: www.tameside.gov.uk

The agenda, which gives full details of everything that is tabled for discussion, can be found at www.tameside.gov.uk/fullcouncil

If you have an interest in local democracy I would strongly encourage you to use one of these media to follow events if at all possible. By doing so you will gain an understanding of Tameside Council’s decision-making process and the differing points of view represented by the political parties in the chamber.

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