Agenda item

Joint Authorities

(a)       Greater Manchester Police and Crime Panel


Councillor Sheila Bailey to answer questions, if any, on the business of the Greater Manchester Police and Crime Panel.


(b)       Greater Manchester Combined Authority


The following councillors to answer questions (if any) on the business of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee:-


Greater Manchester Combined Authority   

- Councillor Alex Ganotis

Transport for Greater Manchester Committee

- Councillor John Taylor

Greater Manchester Waste Committee

- Councillor Roy Driver



(a)       Greater Manchester Police and Crime Panel


Councillor Smart stated that the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police had been reported as saying that there had been a 25% reduction in the number of police officers which had come alongside an increase in demand and a greater complexity of crime.  Councillor Smart asked whether Councillor Bailey agreed with her that one of the key duties of government was to keep its citizens safe and through its underfunding of the police in Greater Manchester the Government was failing its citizens.


Councillor Bailey replied that the figures that had been released indicated that there was a considerable problem with policing, not just in Greater Manchester but across the country, and that while the police did their best with reduced resources, it was clear from the figures that those resources were inadequate to deal with current demand.


Councillor Smart further asked what action the Council and the Police and Crime Panel had taken to lobby the Government for adequate funding for policing in Greater Manchester.


Councillor Bailey responded that she was unable to provide specific details at the meeting, but to say that there had been lobbying over a period of time.  Councillor Bailey undertook to provide a written response to Councillor Smart on the actions that had been taken recently in this regard.


(b)       Greater Manchester Combined Authority


Councillor Hunter asked whether Councillor Ganotis shared his view that the further delay of the publication of the revised Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) proposals was completely unacceptable and whether he understood the frustration of local residents who continued to be concerned about the future of the green belt in Stockport.


Councillor Ganotis replied that he shared the frustration of local residents and stated that the original plan had been to go out for consultation in July but that this had been delayed until September following the release of population growth figures from the Office for National Statistics, and it was now subject to a further delay.


It was explained that in July projected population growth had been revised downwards, and local authorities wanted to understand what the resultant sub-national housing projections would be.  It was stated that this information was published a month ago and suggested that Greater Manchester was now understood to need to deliver around 154,000 homes which was significantly less than the 211,000 which the GMSF had been working towards.  A reduction of this scale would significantly mitigate against the need to release green belt land for development, so it was important to understand what the implications of these figures were.


Councillor Hunter further stated that there was a lack of transparency and openness in the process of the GMSF, and asked whether Councillor Ganotis was able to share any further details with regard to the timetable for future stages of the GMSF.


Councillor Ganotis responded that residents did need more certainty as quickly as possible but the Combined Authority was having to reflect on the fact that the government had not announced its proposed methodology for calculating Greater Manchester’s housing requirement, and therefore it was necessary to make an assessment on whether it was safe to proceed with the second phase of the consultation.


Councillor Foster-Grime asked whether Councillor Ganotis could provide further information with regard to an article that had appeared in the Manchester Evening News relating to plans for tackling air pollution across Greater Manchester including the potential for the introduction of congestion charging.


Councillor Ganotis responded that reports had been considered in public both by the Combined Authority and in Stockport in relation to plans to tackle issues of air quality in Greater Manchester.  It was further stated that while a way forward had not yet been agreed, the Mayor of Greater Manchester had already stated that individual motorists should not be penalised and congestion charging was not something that was currently being considered.


Councillor Bagnall asked for clarity on whether the decision to postpone the second phase of the consultation on the GMSF had been taken in advance of the release of revised population growth figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Councillor Ganotis responded that the Combined Authority was planning to progress to the second phase of consultation before the release of revised population growth figures and that he was personally frustrated that the Council was now not in a position to do so.


Councillor Bagnall further asked whether the Mayor of Greater Manchester or his office had asked for further elements of green belt release to be taken out of the GMSF proposals prior to the next phase of consultation. Councillor Ganotis confirmed that there had been no such request.


Councillor Lloyd asked whether it was Councillor Taylor’s understanding that the Conservative representatives on the Transport for Greater Manchester Bus and TfGM Services Sub-Committee had been responsible for forcing through changes to the 380/381 bus services.


Councillor Taylor stated that the 380/381 bus services had lost reliability and punctuality owing to increase traffic flow affecting its route.  A proposal was put before the Sub-Committee which would have provided for a new 382 bus route along a revised route, however this proposal was deferred so that data underpinning the recommendation could be refreshed.  This was a proposal that was supported by Councillor Finnie, as Stockport’s Conservative representative on the Sub-Committee and agreed by the Labour representatives on the Sub-Committee.  However, the revised patronage data corroborated the previously circulated data and as a result the proposal to recast the 380/381 bus service was subsequently endorsed.