(a) Greater Manchester Police and Crime Panel
Councillor Lisa Smart asked Councillor Amanda Peers what action she had taken to ensure that Stockport residents got their fair share of the additional policing resources that had been committed to at both a Greater Manchester and national level.
Councillor Peers responded that a discussion had taken place at the last meeting of the Greater Manchester Police and Crime Panel in relation to the issues around the recruitment of new police officers. Councillor Peers stated that she had always conveyed Stockport’s view at these meetings and had asked for specific details in relation to the impact of additional police numbers for the borough. Councillor Peers stated that while overall police numbers would increase, some of these would be allocated to Greater Manchester-wide units that while not based in the borough, would nonetheless have a benefit for the whole conurbation.
(b) Greater Manchester Combined Authority
Councillor Mark Hunter (Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group) asked whether the Leader of the Council agreed with him that the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework was now ‘dead in the water’ and that Stockport now needed a renewed focus on its own Local Plan. It was further queried whether a date had yet been set for the next meeting of the Local Development Framework Working Party to discuss these matters further as the last such meeting had taken place some six months ago.
The Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Devolution (Councillor Elise Wilson) responded that she did not agree with his statement in relation to the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, however the Local Plan continued to be progressed and remained crucial to the future development of Stockport. It was stated that the date of the next meeting of the Local Development Framework Working Party had been discussed at the last meeting and was scheduled to take place in November.
Councillor Hunter then stated that the Liberal Democrat Group had long voiced its concerns in relation to the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, and that it had since become apparent from literature being circulated in the Cheadle constituency that the Conservative Group from now opposed it. In the light of this, Councillor Hunter asked whether the Leader of the Council would accept that, as both main opposition parties opposed the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, she had no mandate to vote for the proposals.
The Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Devolution (Councillor Elise Wilson) responded that a commitment had previously been made that any final decision in relation to the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework would require a majority of councillors voting at the Council Meeting to support it, and that commitment was reiterated.
Councillor John McGahan asked whether the Leader of the Council had voted in favour of the proposed funding model for a bus franchising scheme for Greater Manchester that seemed to disproportionately impact Stockport residents.
The Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Devolution (Councillor Elise Wilson) responded that the Combined Authority had given its approval to go out to consultation on its proposals for bus franchising. Councillor Wilson acknowledged that the introduction of bus franchising would incur costs, however this needed to be balanced against the cost to the local economy of continuing with the current model.
With regard to the proposed funding model, it was stated that the Prime Minister had made a statement that indicated that the government may look favourably on the provision of a package of funding to assist with the costs of establishing bus franchising in Greater Manchester.
Councillor Mike Hurleston (Leader of the Conservative Group) asked how the Council intended to allocate the £1.698 million that was due to be redistributed to Stockport in returned business rates.
The Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Devolution (Councillor Elise Wilson) responded that there remained a degree of uncertainly in relation to the local government finance settlement and that firm proposals on the use of this resource would be determined once the national picture was known.
Councillor Alanna Vine stated that there was currently funding available through the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to encourage the take-up of cricket, particularly amongst girls and women, and to establish urban cricket centres and it was queried why Stockport had not made a bid for this funding.
The Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Devolution (Councillor Elise Wilson) responded that the Greater Manchester Combined Authority had entered into a partnership with Lancashire Cricket Club, in conjunction with the England and Wales Cricket Board, Cheshire Cricket Board and Chance to Shine, that would focus on creating a network of community cricket facilities in urban areas and delivering a series of cricket programmes targeted at children and young people. Councillor Wilson stated that Stockport had a number of successful cricket clubs throughout the borough and work was taking place to build upon the existing work taking place at a grassroots level. Councillor Wilson undertook to provide further details to Councillor Vine.
Councillor Linda Holt stated that the Greater Manchester Combined Authority had recently launched a Town of Culture competition that would be awarded to one town in Greater Manchester that demonstrated its commitments to reinvigorating and reinforcing cultural offerings for residents. Councillor Holt asked whether the Leader of the Council agreed with her that Bramhall should be put forward as Stockport’s nomination for the award.
The Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Devolution (Councillor Elise Wilson) responded that Bramhall, like many other districts of the borough, had many positive aspects that would lend itself to such a nomination and that more detailed work would take place to identify which town should be put forward as part of Stockport’s bid.
Councillor Brian Bagnall commented on an earlier question asked by Councillor Hunter in relation to the position of the Conservative Group on the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework and asked whether the Leader of the Council had seen the two responses submitted by the Group to the formal consultations on the draft Framework.
The Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Devolution (Councillor Elise Wilson) responded that she had received these submissions.