Our final report from May’s scrutiny meetings summarises the key points raised at Economy Scrutiny Committee, including questions about cars coming in (Ancoats) and cars coming out (Deansgate) of the city.
This was the first in person Economy Scrutiny Committee since March and it was exhilarating to see the councillors sat in person. That might be a slight exaggeration but nevertheless… good to see some semblance of the “new normal”.
Like other scrutiny committees this month, a large part of the meeting was closed to the public to set the agenda for the committee in the year ahead.
Most of the discussion therefore focussed on regular items like the Economy Covid-19 SitRep, the Economy Dashboard 2019/20 which focuses on key aspects of the City’s economic recovery. However, the Committee did point out that the focus and metrics of this SitRep should shift away from crisis mode, into longer term planning. Moreover, Cllr Johns (Deansgate) asked a number interesting questions throughout the meeting, which resulted in several tidbits of information.
Cllr Leese (Crumpsall) explained that the pedestrianisation of Stevenson Square and a large section of Deansgate on a permanent basis is progressing, with plans to go to consultation soon. We can expect the consultation plans to come back to this scrutiny committee soon.
There was also some discussion around the building of new residential properties in Ancoats, including the provision of affordable homes. The main challenge to the area is around commuter parking at present, with more details requested from the Chair (Cllr Priest, Charlestown) about what a “mobility hub” is. There have been further reports about the proposed hub, and whether it is in fact a glorified car park, in the MEN this week.
Cllr Leese also highlighted that regular data from Transport for Greater Manchester about transport in the city shows that there is increasing use of public transport and that cycling usage goes down by 50% if it’s raining.
At that point, the public were excluded from the meeting to discuss work on cross-cutting themes of the Our Manchester Strategy. Here’s hoping that the committee had an extensive discussion about the cross-cutting economic effects of the climate emergency.
The agenda and link to the webcast for the meeting can be found online: Agenda for Economy Scrutiny Committee on Thursday 27th May 2021, 2.00 pm (manchester.gov.uk)