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Sir Howard Bernstein Wants Your Questions

Confidential readers have been invited to ask questions by the MCR Chief Executive

Written by . Published on March 7th 2014.


Sir Howard Bernstein Wants Your Questions
 

SIR Howard Bernstein wants your questions.

However not everyone can debunk to the south of France and so Sir Howard has agreed to answer questions from Confidential readers. 

Manchester's long-standing Chief Executive is off to MIPIM next week in Cannes. This is the annual international property conference in which Manchester likes to parade its ambition.

MIPIM is the place for showcasing new developments, encouraging investment, talking to funders, thinking strategically and bigging up Brand Manchester.

The city does it very well too with a stand right at the front of the main conference venue, the Palais, and various events during the three days, including this time a star turn by footballer turned developer Gary Neville on the Thursday.

Manchester’s presence is funded, mainly, by the 40 or so firms who pay to be part of the city team. It’s led by council Chief Executive Sir Howard Bernstein.

However not everyone can debunk to the south of France and so Sir Howard has agreed to answer questions from Confidential readers. 

Sensible questions. Specific questions about city strategy, about how the physical fabric of the city might change, develop, grow: about NOMA, Piccadilly, Corridor, First Street, St Peter's Square, St John's Quarter (Granada) and so on. 

If you think you have a pertinent question that might elicit an interesting answer then put it in the comment section below. Please avoid personal or frivolous questions. 

Will we then put the best ten questions to Sir Howard during MIPIM and get back to you with the answers. 

If you want to see what the Manchester team are getting up to, the whole programme can be enjoyed here.

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97 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Poster BoyMarch 4th 2014.

...and you have to go to Cannes to ask a public servant ten questions? No thanks. How about the Chief Exec agreeing to a serious interview, without limitation, right here in Manchester, responding to all of the issues of concern and interest raised by ManCon and its readers.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Jonathan Schofield - editorMarch 4th 2014.

Poster Boy, crikey, we're not going to Cannes just to do that, but we're going to report on what is happening there and then taking that opportunity to do a full interview with Sir Howard Bernstein and asking questions put by the readers as well. Why be so aggressive about a benign offer?

Poster BoyMarch 7th 2014.

...see almost every comment below. And, my response to your question (which you appear to have deleted) stated that my comment was not aimed at ManCon, but rather the lack of access, accountability and scrutiny offered by those leading the Council. In an environment of 'austerity', budget reductions and job losses, are you blind to the irony of being invited to the court of the Chief Exec of Manchester City Council, amongst the super-rich, playboys and gangsters, on the French Riviera...?

John HarrisMarch 4th 2014.

When will they admit they have got parking wrong? When are they going to do something about derelict/abandoned building sites? Why the insistent refusal to pay any attention to public opinion about Library Walk?

AnonymousMarch 4th 2014.

Will Manchester's new LED street lighting cast a nasty blue hue across our fine city for the next 25 years?

AnonymousMarch 4th 2014.

Is having "no effective political opposition" in Manchester Town Hall, bad for the city and its political & cultural regard across the country? Proportional representation, for local council elections, would of course "immediately solve" this situation - putting an end to Tory free zones across the North and Manchester in particular. So Mr Bernstein, would PR be good for Manchester or not?

7 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousMarch 4th 2014.

and PR nationally too? oops, it was the Tories who campaigned against AV. Manchester is Tory-free because we reject the party's values and bigotry

AnonymousMarch 4th 2014.

I reject Labour's ineptitude in managing the economy and getting us into the current mess we face.

AnonymousMarch 4th 2014.

The fact that our two main political parties are dead against PR isn't the point at all Anon. But if I were a chief executive of one of England's "party politically dead" cities though - and asked how we could revive such a "politically apathetic" metropolis, I would immediately suggest PR. Yes local PR - we were only given one choice in that "national" referendum by the way. Nobody really wanted AV, not even the duped, pro PR Lib Dems believe it or not.

Ghostly TomMarch 4th 2014.

We should have PR locally and nationally, first past the post is fundamentally undemocratic. All government should reflect the wishes of the electorate proportionally...

Ghostly TomMarch 5th 2014.

Did a bit of maths. If you look at the elections of 2012 and apply PR to them the council would look like this... Labour 65% 62 seats Lib Dem 15% 14 seats Green 8% 8 seats Conservative 7% 7 seats Others 5% 5 seats A far more democratic council that would, hopefully, represent the entire city and not just the people who elected them. And, if people felt their votes made a difference, they might be more inclined to actually vote.

AnonymousMarch 6th 2014.

Good research Tom. And also Tom, back in the 2008 local elections, Labour got 61 town hall seats on the back of just 43% of the popular vote in Manchester. The Conservatives got 1 seat from 14% of the vote. (So no wonder many local Tories think it just ain't worth casting their vote in Manchester?) I also believe that across the whole of Greater Manchester, the Tories polled more votes than Labour in those 2008 local elections. So at a time when Greater London was voting in its first Tory mayor (Boris Johnson) - if Greater Manchester had a regional elected mayor, we would have voted in a Tory too! A Greater Manchester Tory mayor - amazing!

Ghostly TomMarch 6th 2014.

I'm not too worried who gets elected, I just would like the council to be democratic and reflect the political makeup of the electorate. Having said that, political groupings who hold power for too long do tend to topple over into tyrannies. Manchester isn't North Korea but it does have the whiff of the old Eastern Europe mixed with capitalist/communist China...

Jason BoardmanMarch 4th 2014.

Can you explain why council tax payers are funding the £5 million redevelopment of Library Walk with a complete white elephant that nobody wants yet cutting services to Mental Health, Parks and leisure etc?

6 Responses: Reply To This...
Miz DeshannonMarch 4th 2014.

Good question. Waiting for a good answer...

AnonymousMarch 4th 2014.

Aye...get this one asked!

Ghostly TomMarch 4th 2014.

There are no cuts, Manchester council obviously has money to burn...

Ghostly TomMarch 4th 2014.

And if they have another 5 million to spare can they throw it at Piccadilly Gardens please and get it right this time?

AnonymousMarch 4th 2014.

Probably because library walk is a capital project and capital funding cannot simply be converted to revenue and visa versa. Obviously.

AnonymousMarch 5th 2014.

Anon above me speaks the truth.

Reader XxxMarch 4th 2014.

I recently visited Central Vancouver in Canada and felt embarrassed to admit that I lived in Manchester . The place was green, clean and each street had trees and a pocket park every so many metres away. They are hoping to become the Greenest City in the world in 2020. I wish I could pop over for the weekend every week. If only the town hall servants travelled more and saw what is like to live in a beautiful place...

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousMarch 4th 2014.

Why are you embarrassed and what are you doing about it? Come and join us as we rebuild a public garden... find out more on Our Castlefield (Google it). Thanks!

rinkydinkMarch 8th 2014.

Why don't you just leave Manchester if it is so bad? Always whingeing

Reader XxxMarch 4th 2014.

I met a street musician who had visited Manchester in his younger years , he cracked a joke about the heavy drinking culture and football. This is what Manchester is famous for when you leave it behind. I blushed and walked away... Had no verbal arguments to use to defend the city...shame!

4 Responses: Reply To This...
Jonathan Schofield - editorMarch 4th 2014.

Reader XXX, ring me next time and I'll roll out a roll-call of fame and significance and reasons why it's so good to live here and bring up kids.

GimboidMarch 4th 2014.

That's pretty poor, XXX. We've got loads more going for us than that, shame on you for not knowing about it. Start here maybe? en.wikipedia.org/…/History_of_Manchester…

Jonathan Schofield - editorMarch 4th 2014.

I'd prefer he'd start here: www.manchesterconfidential.co.uk/…/Manchester-Significant-Achievement…

ChrisMarch 4th 2014.

I agree with the commens in reaction to this reader xxx posts, Manchester through its history has had many significant achievements influencing the whole world...! I also however, relate to reader xxx (they are clearly a resident so their view/feelings about our city deserves respect and consideration) as on face value to visitors coming from Cities where 21st Century policies/projects have been completed (nevermind just proposed) our city may well look/feel like its still living on past achievments and not moving forward. For me this would explain the feeling of despondency which reader xxx (and can imagine many other residents) may well be experiencing.

AnonymousMarch 4th 2014.

I think it's pretty clear that Manchester City Centre needs more green space more police patrols to keep them safe and more civic workers keeping them clean for all to use and appreciate - As mentioned quite frequently on here when certain building finally die and are removed why doesn't the council have some sort of target for increased leisure space in the city centre rather than pop-up car parks?

1 Response: Reply To This...
David HibbertMarch 4th 2014.

Pop-up carparks are usually temporary, and profitable for the council tax-payer, solutions to a recently cleared and unattractive site. The future of the area will be decided by its planning designation, usually for commercial or residential use, and the interest that is expressed in it by developers.

SquirrelitoMarch 4th 2014.

As a "Beta" level global city, what plans do MCC have to aim for a level of basic competence in the maintenance of public realm? Fountains, lawns, feature lighting and benches that are well-managed and not allowed to fall into disrepair are a feature of other Beta cities such as Hamburg, Rome, Copenhagen and Edinburgh. When do we plan to join them?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Alex24March 4th 2014.

Would also like to know this and whether there is an acknowledgement among decision-makers that Picc Gardens has been a failure and needs a complete redesign starting with diversion of bus routes away from such a prominent position to the periphery. I would also like to add that the other beta cities mentioned place a far higher emphasis on planting trees. Given the city has ambitious carbon emission targets surely this would be a logical step?

AnonymousMarch 5th 2014.

Agreed, was in Spain recently and the public realm was SO much better. Pavements and roads uniform and flat, lots of bins, benches, trees etc, generally clean and tidy. There was also plenty of space for walking and more open spaces, and yes loads of trees!

David HibbertMarch 4th 2014.

Anything that can be done to promote Manchester's economy has to be worthwhile. It brings investment, regeneration and jobs into the City. I accept that increased employment oppportunities in Manchester has to be good for residents in the other nine Greater Manchester authorities. Howewver, will there be an effort in Cannes to promote the entire GM conurbation and not simply Manchester?

AnonymousMarch 4th 2014.

Please take down the Berlin Wall in Piccadilly Gardens - not a question but a request. This is a very boring eyesore!

4 Responses: Reply To This...
Mark FullerMarch 4th 2014.

I'd love to take a wrecking ball to the Berlin Wall.But perhaps a better idea would be to cover it with some sort of vertical garden installation thingy. Certainly the city centre is crying out for greenery and flowers and indigenous trees to soften a very hard-edged environment.We need some feminine yin to balance a surfeit of masculine yang. Manchester is a dynamic,charismatic and exciting city, if we can develope a more harmonious and attractive centre , the investment will pour in. One final thought: can we have our distinctive orange buses back? London still have their famous red buses-locals and tourists love them; we should resurrect our transport heritage.

AnonymousMarch 6th 2014.

true - some interesting ivy or Virginia creeper might look nice. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it Le Corbusier!

rinkydinkMarch 8th 2014.

If you get rid of the wall you will have to look at a bus and tram park. Delightful

Mark FullerMarch 9th 2014.

I'm a nerdy transport geek, so I enjoy looking at buses and trams. But in the unlikely event of our hubristic council demi-gods admitting that they ever get anything wrong, they could do something amazing and revolutionary, and replace the hated wall with trees and plants:gardens in Piccadilly gardens? Ridiculous.

AnonymousMarch 4th 2014.

He should be asked given his age,to give some indication of his future plans,about how long he intends to continue and whether he would want to if a new person succeeded Leese as head of the council.Does he think the next head of Manchester should be able to appoint his or her own man?

AnonymousMarch 4th 2014.

What plans do the Council have to improve the green space offer in the city centre?

ShybaldbuddhistMarch 4th 2014.

The mess that has been made at Piccadilly Gardens & the mess they are about to make with Library Walk need some explaining!

ChrisMarch 4th 2014.

Echoing previous comments, i too am extremely concerned about the relative 'Concrete Jungle' appearance of my city which is filled with temporary Car Parks and litter and dog mess strewn streets (I live in Levenshulme)......! Piccadilly Gardens is an awful space, the council should be ashamed that visitors experience this nevermind residents. The fact a Big Wheel feels like such an improvement recently just goes to show the magnitude of the issue....!! Where is the support/funding for initiatives like 'Incredible Edible'......?!!? What are the plans for furthuring the Pedastrianisation of the whole of the City Centre....?!!? Why can Manchester have an International Festival which showcases whats possible with regards to easily, cheaply and effectively improving sustainability and standards of living but have a council which fails to instigate these projects....?!!? Why is there no support within the Council for Socially, Ethically, Environmentally conscious and culturally representative companies/organistions for the high streets of Manchester.....?!!? Does Manchester need more Tesco Locals, Chain Coffee houses, £Pound Shops, Chain Pubs/Bars or Chain Clothing shops....? Surely all the space being taken by these companies can't all be down to the 'Demographic' of Manchester which the Council rightly speaks of as being so "Diverse"....! What are you really doing with the £Millions of Tax Payers hard earnt salaries......?!!!!!!!!!????

6 Responses: Reply To This...
GimboidMarch 4th 2014.

The council actually provide a lot of financial support and support in-kind for community food growing projects like Incredible Edible. Just ask community projects in Miles Platting and Moss Side, to name a couple of the top of my head. And also in the city centre via CityCo. The council have recently opened applications for a £14.5m fund for community environmental projects and public spaces. But don't let the facts stop you from making an ill-informed rant. Why would there be any plans for pedestrianizing the city centre?

ChrisMarch 4th 2014.

I spoke to the representative from from Incredible Edible (Todmorden) last year and she asked me to sign a petition to give to the council over funding (or lack of it) for their project in Manchester....!! part of my "Ill-informed rant" as you put it was based on that conversation and since you mention it, I can't for the life of my children think why a pedestrianised city centre would ever benefit anyone....?!!?? I personally just love dodging Taxi's, delivery vans; sports, saloon & 4x4 cars, motorbikes and buses whilst walking between the attractions in Manchester city centre.......! Thanks for your support citizen GIMpOID...!!

GimboidMarch 4th 2014.

Someone asked you to sign a petition, and that proves what, exactly? The fact remains that the council DOES provide "support/funding for initiatives" similar to Incredible Edible, which you are clearly unaware of. You should stick to ranting about what you know, if that's anything.

ChrisMarch 4th 2014.

That "Someone", as you state GIMpOID was from Incredible Edible......she told me they are not being sufficiently funded or supported by Manchester City Council. This much "I KNOW"....!! Why are you picking a fight with me you complete IDIOT....!!!

GimboidMarch 4th 2014.

That's one person's opinion, from one group. The council cannot possibly be expected to fund every group to their complete satisfaction. You implied that the council doesn't provide any support or funding at all, which is totally untrue, as I've explained. I'm 'picking a fight' with you because you're posting ranty nonsense, which is worse than unhelpful.

AnonymousMarch 5th 2014.

I'm they don't feel they're being "sufficiently funded". I feel the same about my employer. There's only so much money to go around, and not every charity who wants council funding can have it.

Andrew WigleyMarch 4th 2014.

What about pedestrian Rights of Way!! Manchester council give them away at the drop of a hat or ($) sign?

AnonymousMarch 4th 2014.

I can't wait to see this Q&A at MIPIM, are ManCon taking rotten fruit and veg to throw (at Readers requests)? My question would be why, as Chief Executive of this fine City, do you dress like like a boho architect? All you need is a porkpie hat are voila, it's Tom Bloxham's dad!

MGSMarch 4th 2014.

The north is falling behind London in a number of ways. The major cities have a significant role to play in helping the north keep pace with London. This includes stopping the brain drain, campaigning for and encouraging equitable funding from central government [eg see ref 1] generally standing up to London-centric govt policy. What are the top 3 things he’s pursuing on this agenda? And what does he think closer economic and political union with Liverpool (which is one way of potentially addressing this) would practically mean [see ref 2]? [ref 1- www.bbc.co.uk/…/uk-england-16235349…]; [ref 2 - www.bbc.co.uk/…/business-26350522…]

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMarch 4th 2014.

The North does have local MPs, each with a Parliamentary vote, who could have stopped all this over centralization (& public investment) in London, right? They're not all "parachuted in" politicians are they - yet loyalty to their central party machine, seems more important than the economic needs of their constituencies. Why?

AnonymousMarch 4th 2014.

I would love to know whether Sir Howard believes there is sufficient oversight of the quality of major public-private but particularly private led housing and regeneration projects in the city? Does he think that the city's planning policies are fit for purpose? Does he think they are enforced rigorously enough? Does he believe that Councillors who sit on planning committee have sufficient knowledge, skills and interest to discharge their responsibilities properly? Does he think that the Council are a soft touch in not demanding the very best in terms of (i) architectural design, (ii) urban design (iii) public realm (iv) housing construction quality and space standards from private developers and it's own suppliers (referring to Sheffield City Council as an example of best practice here)? What steps are being taken to drive up housing supply across the city and does he believe this aim is mutually exclusive from delivering quality homes and neighbourhoods? What is the Councils understanding of the value of heritage? What is his opinion on the relative merits of a top-down vs bottom up regeneration strategy and does he believe the city has struck the right balance? Does he admit to any sense of frustration over the sale of the BBC site to the current owner - was there any more the Council could've done to influence the sale?? Does he think that the city could do with a powerful and high profile City Architect or Urban Design champion? Finally what is his honest opinion of the whole Piccadilly Gardens scheme and what lessons, if any, have been learned?

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMarch 5th 2014.

do you want all ten questions for yourself?

AnonymousMarch 4th 2014.

Quite a broad question but what steps are the Council taking to rebalance the demographic of the city centre resident population away from students and younger short term lets to include families and older people?

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousMarch 4th 2014.

Thats what we have Chorlton for...

AnonymousMarch 4th 2014.

Bit pricey though innit. The point is every neighbourhood should offer a similar quality of life and amenities as Chorlton. It is a poor reflection on the city that it has only a small handful of such places.

AnonymousMarch 5th 2014.

It's impossible for every neighbourhood to offer a similar way of life as one of the best neighbourhoods in the city. Show me a single city in the world which has done so. In any case, is there really a need for families to move into the city centre?

rinkydinkMarch 8th 2014.

Why would it want to re-balance the demographic? If that's what it attracts that's what it attracts. Move along the bus

kevconnorMarch 4th 2014.

There is a real aim to encourage more festivals and pageantries in Manchester, such as the Science Fest, History Fest, Lit Fest. These are great but is there anything the council is/can do to try and promote and encourage more public art and performances. like the previously colourful and successful Cow Parade.

AnonymousMarch 5th 2014.

What are you doing with the site of the former bus depot in Moss Side? Please use it wisely to regenerate and redevelop the area and don't waste it on some bland retail or food development that will add nothing to, and probably detract from, Moss Side. Its a great site opposite the new Alexandra Park and an imaginative and inviting housing development that includes good publically accessible space, that mixes private finance with public sector investment would probably be best. There may be room for a small park or orchard. Maybe some kind of sports facility. Moss Side really needs this space to be used well. As it is, its okay but does not seem to be using its potential. - A Moss Side resident.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Ghostly TomMarch 5th 2014.

Can we do something imaginative with all these empty spaces across the city?

Captain BullusMarch 7th 2014.

The Mean-Time project which has started there is a good first step. there was supposed to be a wild flower garden sown in the top part of the site but this has yet to materialise through lack of funds.

Anthony BikerAndTaxiHirerMarch 5th 2014.

Why not try and improve the public transport as much as possible while also maximising ease of access to the city centre for the car? Economically that's the best of both worlds. As inevitably happened with the Didsbury Metrolink good public transport will take people out of cars. Why not try and get as many people into the city as possible including in cars and then engineer them out of cars by improving public transport? Also I was in a cab the other day coming into town and we had to swerve at the Liverpool Road/Deansgate junction to avoid a cyclist who'd cut in because of the extruded pavement and then we had to come to an emergency stop because we nearly hit another vehicle because of our swerve. It was very dangerous - those features are very dangerous.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Ghostly TomMarch 5th 2014.

What exactly is an extruded pavement?

AnonymousMarch 5th 2014.

It's an extension of the pavement out into the road. It forces one lane of Deansgate to go left down liverpool rd

GimboidMarch 5th 2014.

Shouldn't that be intruded pavement? :P

Ian Terry-GateMarch 5th 2014.

3 questions from me, all cut down to the bare bones: - HS2, why should we bother? - Fracking, is it necessary? - The Timber Wharf debacle, should we be holding these 'celebrated' developers to account?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
ShybaldbuddhistMarch 5th 2014.

HS2 - We haven't built a north south railway line in over 100 years. We could do with a new one! One that goes faster and can boost capacity massively. It can carry 18 trains an hour in each direction. And these are longer trains and we can also run double decker carriages on these lines if the demand is there for it. It's an opportunity that can't be missed. Why we wouldn't want the investment is mind boggling to me.

rinkydinkMarch 8th 2014.

Well said Buddhist!

AnonymousMarch 5th 2014.

Why don't you put you own house in order first, Mr Bernstein, instead of going on another jolly. The amount of money wasted by some of your senior managers is an absolute disgrace. There has been re-organisation after re-organisation within the City council, which of course you fully blame on central government. The real issue is that you head a top heavy organisation that is controlled by a few overpaid senior managers, behaving like apparatchiks, with hidden agendas. Manchester City Council has become a servant of those few, mainly in Corporate Services, together with an unholy alliance with the Trade Unions, within Manchester City Council. If you put the resources into employing people on the ground, who actually make a difference and stopped wasting money on managers, the majority of whom do not live in Manchester, this would benefit the City greatly - a great deal more than trips to the south of France.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMarch 5th 2014.

Bloody commies and their bloody managers ey

AnonymousMarch 5th 2014.

Can we have a green roof across the whole of the gmex? It'd look pretty cool.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousMarch 5th 2014.

sorry "Manchester central"

AnonymousMarch 5th 2014.

Aren't green roofs better for flat surfaces? I'm not sure Mcr Central covered in sedum would work?!

AnonymousMarch 5th 2014.

here's one for mancon, why'd you choose a pick of Sir H looking like a bond villain?

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Grandma PoliceMarch 5th 2014.

Here's one for you Anon, why no capital letters? Are you in that much of a rush?

AnonymousMarch 5th 2014.

As in, pickture?

AnonymousMarch 5th 2014.

Here's one for you Grandma P, why did you feel you could abbreviate Anonymous? WERE you in that much of a rush? Anon, you've got me banged to rights there. I can only offer my humble apologies and hope you'll forgive me, on this occasion at least.

Tony SpencerMarch 5th 2014.

Will the council ever get tired of screwing motorists over in the City Centre? The best thing that could have happened to Manchester is that all those years ago, when Comrade Karney arrived from Ireland, they put him back on the boat and sent him packing. Believe it or not good Brothers and Sisters, the public transport system to outlying areas is poor and it means that it is a lot more convenient to drive into the city centre. But I'm afraid, that as a result of Comrade Karney's policy of charging for metered parking up to 8 p.m. and on Sunday's, I do not come in as often and as a result, my leisure £s are spent elsewhere. It could well be that City Centre businesses are doing so well that they don't need my money (and that of many others from what I hear), but the bottom line is Comrade Karney is driving people away (no pun intended). Let's face it a monkey wearing a Yellow/Red rosette would get elected in his constituency and most probably do a far better job too, but no doubt the good Comrade is acting on behalf of the electorate, whatever percentage that is that actually vote.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMarch 5th 2014.

Park and ride.

Mark FullerMarch 5th 2014.

Four years ago at MIPIM, the architect Ian Simpson outlined some ambitious plans for the area at the back of Manchester Central. He proposed a new transport hub,with a connecting elevated walkway to Manchester Central, a south facing plaza,close to the Hilton, and a number of new skyscrapers. It would be interesting to hear from Sir Howard about this and other regeneration projects either in the pipeline or on the drawing board.

1 Response: Reply To This...
rinkydinkMarch 8th 2014.

That tiny bit of land a transport hub? It'd fit two buses and 10 cars on it

AnonymousMarch 5th 2014.

What are your plans upon your looming retirement? Would you like to sit in the House of Lords?

Voice of the Ironing BroadMarch 5th 2014.

When one of your councillors puts forward a representation that a four bedroom 2 storey house will be smaller than a 2 bedroom bungalow, should you be spending some of your resources on councillor training and make this compulsory for the deadleg, numbskulls snoozing their way through the planning committee. Surely these folk should be able to read developers documentation - Mary Watson can't, compare basic plans and stay awake before being able to claim their allowance.

1 Response: Reply To This...
crisbyMarch 6th 2014.

A four bedroom 2 storey house might well take up less ground than a 2 bed bungalow. Perhaps that was what was meant.

crisbyMarch 6th 2014.

Much though it pleases me that we the people of Greater Manchester own our airport, I'd like to know if any analysis has been made of the potential impact of selling it and having the proceeds to invest in the city in one transformational capital spending programme, compared with what is achieved with a few million in dividends every year.

I SPYMarch 6th 2014.

What is the objective of going to MIPIM in Cannes. We have the buildings, we have the developments, we have the infrastructure, in fact Manchester does have almost everything. Now it seems we just need some sensible things to fill them with. We need to go beyond the insular and the big fish little pond syndrome and attract international residents and businesses. In order to do this we need to raise our game across all currencies, particularly hospitality. I am sorry but another new burger restaurant isn't going to cut it. We're competing against discerning international standards. Hotels like The Lowry aren't just important they're essential or the wider world won't touch us with a barge pole. There are thousands of young people out there waiting for direction, let's show them what to do and turn them into an asset and make Manchester an experience not an example of under-delivery. For the love of God and of Manchester let's get this party started and show them what we're made of. The world literally is our Lobster, if we crack the shell right.

DeclanMarch 7th 2014.

Hi, What are Mr Bernstein's thoughts on the council redevelopment of Library Walk? Thanks, Declan

AnonymousMarch 7th 2014.

Given that many of the recent residential schemes (both built and proposed around the city centre) have been bought entirely off-plan by international companies selling Manchester as prime Buy-to-Let market to absentee landlords (surely a defunct strategy for long-term national growth post-2008?), how does Howard Bernstein imagine any notion of community and civic pride will accompany this supposed investment when the history of Manchester over the last 200years suggests it won’t? Projects such as Smithfield Apartments were kick-started by the Government’s HCA fund yet no opportunity has been given to potential owner-occupiers or indeed local tax-payers to acquire these new properties. How does this shamelessly market driven ideology tally with the supposedly-Labourite philosophy he governs and what obligations will he demand from developers to actually create the necessary amenities and services which create a truly sustainable city amidst their short-term plastic landfill buildings?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
johnMarch 7th 2014.

Good question. The Smithfield Square sell-off to investment groups was rubbish news for those wanting viable options for long-term living in the city centre. Coincidentally, the first flats from this scheme have just been advertised today for rent: www.rightmove.co.uk/…/property-29546283.html…

AnonymousMarch 7th 2014.

Excellent question

AnonymousMarch 8th 2014.

What would you say has been the biggest single mistake of your career? If you had your time again, what would you do differently?

espoirMarch 8th 2014.

Do you Mr Bernstein take responsibility for the state of Manchester city centre with litter strewn streets, especially in the evening? The lack of litter bins and lack of litter picking has been evident for years and certainly long before any cuts. Litter bins have been steadily removed from the streets for years and there even used to be one at every bus stop, not any more. The inner ring road never seems to get swept. Piccadilly Metrolink station with litter and a filthy escalator is a disgrace. You could bring pressure to bear and create a clean modern city but you don't appear to care at all. The complacency just goes on and on. Will things ever change?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Nick NameMarch 9th 2014.

Remember how clean the city was just before the Commonwealth Games? I'd walk to work up Deansgate then Market St and through Piccadilly Gardens and it was all gleaming, spotless, hanging baskets full of bright flowers everywhere. It was brilliant. So it can be done, but just when royalty visit by the looks of it.

AnonymousMarch 9th 2014.

Before 1996 we had the Central Manchester Development Corporation in the city which did a lot to improve the city and was a great example of public and private sector corporation.Gradually since 1996 with the council back in full control things have deteriorated.The private sector seems much more able to manage and maintain public spaces than the council whether it's Spinningfields or the Trafford Centre.

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You absolutely right,I hate all these bloody nimbys stopping development and progress.Of course if…

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Anonymous

Manchester's size and climate isn't dissimilar to Rotterdam or Dusseldorf but the city is held back…

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Anonymous

Straying off the point again David, which is that investing in public services is socialist but as…

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