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Manchester 250: Tuesday 10 July

Bank charges, congestion charges and United’s forward charge

Published on July 10th 2007.

SIR RICHARD LEESE from Manchester City Council, and Andrew Simpson from Peel Holdings were joined last night by a lively crowd to debate the truth about the congestion charge and improving the traffic infrastructure at Circle Club. Each side had a different truth but the body of opinion from the room was that the congestion charge proposals, in their present form, should not go ahead.

A SINGLE PARENT has won a court battle against his bank after sending bailiffs into recover £2,775 worth of charges owed to him. Sam Umaar issued a writ to the Abbey National in Chorlton claiming back ‘unlawful’ charges to his account. The bank, who offered him a £60 good will gesture, has now been forced by Manchester County Court to pay up.

BAND ON THE WALL is to re-open following a £3.2m refurb awarded by Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund. Peter Fellows, Heritage Lottery Fund Casework Manager for the North West said: "It's great to be able to give Band On The Wall its beat back. Our grant is the first step in reviving Manchester's famous venue."

AS UNITED push for Argentinian striker Tevez, speculation regarding the ownership of the player continues. The fact that Tevez’s contract is owned by a third party, led to a huge fine for West Ham for breaking Premier League rules. If West Ham let Tevez go and concede they don’t really own his contract, they may have to give their Premier League berth to Sheffield United.

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Band on the Wall loverJuly 10th 2007.

Fantastic news about BOTW - a great historic venue that has been sorely missed. When it finally re-opens, please let it be the one place in Manchester where we can avoid wide load and his errant camera!

JohnJuly 10th 2007.

I agree with 'republica mancunia'. I was at the debate too and it's clear that Peel Holdings have a very narrow interest in the matter - caring only that people continue to come to the Trafford Centre from outside the proposed charging zone. It's a shame that the panel didn't feature a representative from national Government who could have defended their decision to push this sort of scheme rather than straightforward investment in good public transport - we've seen what an impact that has made through Metrolink and the refurbished Piccadilly station. Plus, it was disappointing that the debate focussed almost entirely on economics, at the expense of the consequences for local democracy... I'm concerned that once we're signed up to the scheme we're committed to it for the long haul - that is to say, we can't receive the investment money but then decide to scrap congestion charging in favour of a better alternative in a few years time. We are, hopefully, on the verge of a breakthrough in various promising technologies - new types of train/tram/bus, greener engines etc etc. Are emergent innovative solutions going to be a non-option for our elected representatives in future, because we are signing up to this scheme now? I suppose I'm just wary of anything that shifts the locus of control away from here. That said, I was generally impressed by Sir Richard Leese's arguments - in my view a person of integrity and substance who clearly believes this is an important scheme.

republica mancuniaJuly 10th 2007.

Interesting reporting here on Man Con. I was at the Circle Club debate last night myself and though I would agree that there was a sizeable number of people against the charge in the audience not a single argument proposed by the anti-charging lobby managed to land a ‘killer punch’ on any of the pro-charging panellists. This is important. After all the event was about debate.The sides might have been drawn but the way the debate flowed suggested that the pro-charging representatives were far more forward-thinking and concerned about the future of Manchester than the antis who seem only to want to bury their heads in the sand. Or in the case of Peel Holdings make a thinly veiled purchase of one of our great assets – Manchester Airport.

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