Monday, 14 December 2009

'What's the Plan' - the Story continues....

Whilst most green-minded people have been focusing their attention on Copenhagen, and more locally on the City Council's Climate Change Action Plan – see previous blog post, the Planning Strategy process (now known as the Local Development Framework (LDF)) for the City rumbles on. We are currently in the consultation period for the 'Core Strategy' document – and indeed this is the core of the whole process, and will influence what happens in the City for the next twenty years. And yet, hardly anyone seems to be aware of the fact; another testament to our Council's communication strategy... Incidentally the Council's slogan to catch the eye is 'What's the Plan?' hence the title of this post.
How the different parts of the framework link together is illustrated in
this diagram. Any the wiser?

Having been involved in an earlier phase I did get an email advertising a series of drop-in sessions and I duly dropped in to the Chorlton session – I was the only member of the public there during my visit. I was also advised of a consultation event at the Town Hall, which I also attended (evening session). Again there was very little attendance from members of the public, although I was informed that the afternoon session had been much better attended. In mitigation, the evening session did coincide with a Rally with Climate Change Minister Ed Milliband, which will have drawn many of the green-minded people mentioned earlier. It certainly drew some of my Green Party colleagues, and I am reliably informed, and pleased to note, that they were very prominent in asking questions of Mr Milliband and the rest of the platform.

Anyway, Back to the 'Core Strategy':-
At the evening session I attended 2 workshops. The first was entitled ‘The Economy and The Airport’ – I was relieved to find that this was 2 workshops combined, and it wasn’t an assumption that the airport and the economy are the same thing (although they are sometimes made to sound that way). With the planners on one side of me uttering ‘growth, growth, growth’, and an Airport representative on the other, I did feel like a fish out of water – it’s at times like this one realises what we are up against.
The second workshop was on ‘The Environment and Climate Change’ although I said more about climate change in the first workshop.

Questions and comments made at these workshops have no bearing on the consultation apparently, to exert influence one has to submit formally.
One personal advantage of such a low attendance is being able to leave with one of the printed copies. The document is 194 pages long and submissions have to be in by 4th January. Good job Christmas holidays are coming up, to give me time to read it. I’ll post some more detailed thoughts on it when I’ve had a chance to do that. I'm particluarly interested to see how it stacks up against the climate change plan.
Here is the link to see the document on-line: Core Strategy. To maintain Council consistency in these matters, it is hard to find on their website.

Busy times

An advantage of working in the City Centre is the ease with which I can ‘drop in’ to various protests, actions, meetings etc. In many cases ‘drop-in is all there is time for. In recent weeks alone these have included a pre-Wave climate change ‘flash-mob’ with Oxfam, a ‘pots and pans’ protest against the Banks, a pre-planning meeting demo to ‘Save Hasty Lane (see previous blog post – in this case a quick 5 minutes before returning to work was enough to make a Manchester Evening News photograph), and a No2ID stall on the day the cards were ‘launched’ in Manchester.

All in all this gives an indication of the range of activities which can occur in the centre of our city during the week, and which may be of interest to a Green. No doubt this will continue, especially as elections approach...

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