Published Friday 8th January 2021
I wish your article about the latest cock-up by Manchester City Council (Chaos as giant ‘window boxes’ installed to ease traffic, MEN, 7 January) came as a surprise.
Having placed a bunch of ‘window boxes’ on the road, it suddenly occurred to the well-paid geniuses in the Council’s Highways and Planning Department that it gets dark on a regular basis (the technical term for this is ‘night-time’). You quote Coun Angeliki Stogia, Executive Member for Environment, Transport and Planning as saying ‘In line with feedback from residents, we’ll also be adding reflective signage, to improve the filters’ visibility at night.” Yes, they needed taxpayers to point out that the Earth rotates.
It reminds me of the 2019 Great Ancoats Street debacle. Trees that looked so pretty on the artist’s impression of the promised “European boulevard” never actually got planted, because it turns out that there are pipes and tubes underneath the road. Who knew?
The people responsible for these sorts of debacles are rarely if ever held to account. Scrutiny is treated with contempt by the Executive and the Strategic Management Team. In July 2019 all members of the Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee said that the consultation for Great Ancoats Street had been totally inadequate and should be re-done. They were ignored.
There is an aching need for real, regular and forensic scrutiny in this city.
Dr Marc Hudson