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Full Council 14 December 2011

by timpickstone on 15 December, 2011

Bury’s Full Council Meeting

Last night was the regular meeting of Bury’s “Full Council”, the five or six times a year where all 51 Councillors meet together. Here’s the highlights as I saw them:

We got told a few pieces of information that will be news to most people:
– Brown bins – current about 1/3 of people don’t have a brown bin, but apparently we’re ALL getting them, hopefully from April. I know some people will really welcome this, especially if you have a lot of garden waste, I know others will be concerned that they haven’t got room for three bins, never mind four! Apparently local areas are going to be able to choose if they want brown bins, or a “street caddy” which I think is like a mini bin for putting food waste in.
– Radcliffe Riverside – providing a secondary school in Radcliffe was the main manifesto promise from the Labour Party in Bury, but they finally seem to be admitting they’re not going to be achieving this, at least not anytime soon. Apparently it would cost £25 million to build.

I asked a question about how Bury will be making the most of the excellent ‘Youth Contract’. announced by Nick Clegg a couple of weeks ago. This is a massive Government scheme to encourage employers to take on young people into job with £1 Billion allocated over the next few years. The more pro-acitve the Council is in encouraging employers in Bury (and Greater Manchester) to take up the scheme, the more jobs we’ll have here for young people. The Council is taking this issue very seriously, and it is one of the two “Team Bury” priorities for the coming year.

My colleague Donal O’Hanlon asked about how much money the Council has spent, or ‘levered in’ on Christmas Decorations in each of the six town centres in Bury. (It doesn’t take a genius to notice that the lights in Bury town centre are somewhat more festive that the lights in Prestwich!). Amazingly the Council doesn’t know what the breakdown is between the towns, which I find very strange.

My colleague Mary D’Albert asked whether the Council would consider helping residents “club together” for a grit bin. Apparently this is not possible at the moment, but they did agree to think about this for future years.

Conservative councillors asked a few questions about the industrial action on 30 November 2011. Some councillors were on the ‘picket line’ at Bury Town Hall, and others, including the Leader of the Council were on the march through Bury Town Centre. The Conservatives were asking whether it was appropriate for an employer (which is what we are) standing on a picket line. They also raised the issue of refuse collection workers who were paid extra (time and a half) to work on Saturday as a result of the strike.

We all agreed a motion on corporate parenting and the need for Bury to encourage more foster parents. This was meant to be an “all party” motion, but yet again the Labour Party forgot and submitted it on their own. St Mary’s Ward councillor Mary D’Albert made an excellent speech on behalf of the Liberal Democrat group and in the end the motion was agreed by all three parties unanimously.

The LIberal Democrat group proposed a motion to give more financial powers to Township Forums. This proposed that the Council consider giving decision making powers to what is called Section 106 monies (funds from planning gain). The Labour group proposed an amendment which weakened the motion, by changing “decision making” to “have an influence over” throughout. They used their majority to force this change through, despite every other councillor, and even the Mayor voting against! This attitude from the Labour Party is very worrying – they are very quick to talk about democracy and openness, but when it actually comes to moving power closer to local people, they are not interested.

Joint Authorities
Liberal Democrats asked a few questions to joint authorities. My colleague Ann Garner asked whether the Transport committee would review the changes it made to discretional (reduced) fares for young people – it was confirmed that this review was taking place.
I asked about the replacement trams (the yellow trams) that are coming to the Bury line. We’re getting 12 new over the next couple of years, but that will leave about 24 ‘old’ trams left, so I asked when they would be replaced. Apparently this is subject to future funding, used a cheap opportunity to moan about the Coalition Government, even though it is Greater Manchester taxpayers who are (mostly) paying for the metrolink expansions.

Any questions, please ask. The full papers for the meeting are here, which includes all the answers to questions etc.


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