Thursday 23rd May 2013
Half term nearly with us, but today was a school day so got the kids out the door before getting stuck into a couple of hours work at my day job. Thursday tends to be mostly Council work for me, but not all. I’m a home worker, which has definite pros and cons, but does give me flexibility over when I do my work.
An email from a trader in Stockport alerted me to a problem with the Stockport Town Team Facebook group. Someone who’d joined last week had decided to join up lots of new members to the group. Wouldn’t normally be a problem except most of them had no connection to Stockport and were clearly people with far right-wing sympathies, supporting groups like the English Defence League, presumably triggered by yesterday’s appalling murder down in Woolwich. They’d started posting to the group, and the posts had nothing to do with Stockport or the Town Team. I removed all the new members, deleted the dodgy posts and posted a message to let other group members know what I’d done – and tell me if they thought I’d got it wrong (everyone seems happy with the action so far).
Discovered that one of the museum team at the Council, who’s on a one-year posting to us paid by the Heritage Lottery Fund, has been writing a blog about her work. It’s very well written and worth a read – you can see it here. Emailed her to say how good it was.
Contacted by the Council press team to say that Granada TV was filming at Grand Central Swimming Baths for the evening news and could I do an interview. The Amateur Swimming Association have found that only 51% of children can swim 25m when they leave primary school. The Granada team were hard at work doing underwater filming and all sorts, and the ASA PR person was on hand to push their case. They’d even got former Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies along to the pool, which was a bit of a coup. Stockport’s got a good story to tell on this – whilst the national figure is 51%, we have 88% of our young people able to swim a length when they leave Primary School. Interview was pretty painless (though I dislike the way I look on television no end).
Took a call from a resident with a bin collection issue, chased it up with the Council. Called an estate agent to find out what use a property they’d just let was going to be put to – some nearby residents in Cheadle have been concerned about it. Had follow-up email from Gatley Primary School about governor visits following last night’s school governors’ meeting – will have to book a slot to get in.
Transportation officer emailed me with details of proposals to improve cycling routes around Bruntwood Park and Cheadle Royal – paid for by Sainsbury’s at Cheadle Royal as part of their store expansion. The proposals are good, and will link in well with other work we’re doing to boost cycling. The email was because the public consultation is complete and my sign-off is needed on the final proposals. Reminded myself of the plans, read through all the comments (mostly concerning the Cheadle Royal roundabout, which will remain an issue). Emailed back to say I was happy for the work to go ahead.
Three hours of meetings at the Town Hall from noon. First a regular meeting looking at how Solutions SK is performing as a service provider to the Council, then the weekly informal Executive Team Meeting.
I help out maintaining Stockport Basketball Club‘s website and it’s desperately in need of a re-vamp so I’d been really pleased that Stockport College were able to find a student to help do the work as part of a summer project. Met with him at the Town Hall to scope out the work, then headed home.
Invitation from a Council officer to a breakfast event next month about autism in the workplace – happy to accept, as it’s an issue that needs a closer look, even though I’m not generally a fan of breakfast meetings. By coincidence spotted a news story about a software company specifically targeting people with autism to hire as employees, so passed it on.
I’m doing an interview tomorrow for Radio 4′s “You and yours” – about the Portas Pilots and town centres. Officers in the Town and District Centres team kindly sent me information on occupancy rates so read that – all useful.
Email from the Council’s Employment and Funding manager about some significant bid money we’ve secured to help a number of important projects – great news but frustratingly embargoed so I’m not allowed to give any details for another week.
A couple of emails from people wanting to lobby me about proposals for the parks and a planning decision. Neither from my ward or under my Executive control, but both entirely reasonable so I make sure they get to the right people to be looked at properly.
Emergency request comes through to give permission for Makers Markets on Cheadle Green on 1st June and 6th July. Normally this would be done at Area Committee, but there isn’t time on this occasion. Happy to agree to them going ahead – we had the first one a few weeks ago on Bank Holiday Monday and it was a great event.
Email from my ward colleague Keith Holloway copying me in on some casework he’s doing about speeding traffic. Email from an old Lib Dem friend from London who’s putting together a policy motion for the next Lib Dem conference and wants my thoughts.
Officer sends me revised proposals for Play Streets – a new policy we’ve taken to Area Committees and Scrutiny. We’ve amended the policy to take into account the comments. I take a look – seems good, but I’ve got a couple of questions. When a policy paper comes to the Executive it includes a short paragraph from the Executive Councillor who’s proposing it about why it’s a good thing, so I write that and send it off, along with my queries.
Update my ward blog (this website) with new stories – a piece about the new Metrolink line from Parrs Wood into Manchester that opened this morning, something on where the Lib Dem team have been knocking on doors this week and, of course, this story.
Final email check before I call it a night – a little over 50 “real” emails received today – not including circulars, press releases and that kind of thing. Tomorrow it’s back to the day job in the morning, but then I’ve got the interview with You and yours, plus a pile of residents surveys I’ll be sending responses to.
Love being a councillor, but looking forward to a lie-in on Saturday.