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Airport City scheme “not affected” by Carillion collapse

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Bosses in charge of the the £800 million Airport City project in Wythenshawe have said the scheme will not be affected by the collapse of one of its partners – construction giant Carillion.

Carillion, which employs 20,000 people and is understood to have public private partnership contracts worth £1.7 billion across the country, went into liquidation with debts of more than £900 million.

The troubled firm is one of  five partners  in a joint venture to deliver the enterprise zone aimed at stimulating the Greater Manchester economy by creating on-site logistics, manufacturing, office and leisure facilities. The other partners are Manchester Airport Group, Beijing Construction Engineering Group, the Greater Manchester Pension Fund. Read More…

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Mystery business invests in Wythenshawe

wp-1478947269179.jpegA mystery shopping company has invested  thousands in its new head office base in Wythenshawe.

Storecheckers, which has been in business for over 25 years, has expanded its operation, signing a five-year lease for its new head office in the town and employing extra staff.

The  customer service improvement and market research experts will share their new office building with Wythenshawe MP, Mike Kane, who cut the ribbon at the official opening of their new base.

Mr Kane said: “I am delighted that Storecheckers have opened their new offices in Wythenshawe and are employing local people in their expansion programme.

“Wythenshawe is a great place to do business and I wish Storecheckers continued success.”

Storecheckers has an expanding team of full time head office staff supporting over 1000 researchers nationwide, many of whom are from the Greater Manchester area. Managing Director and customer service guru, Jeff Caplan, said: “It was a privilege to see our local MP formally open our new offices. He was an absolute gentleman and clearly cares a great deal about the town.

“We are really happy to have made the decision to stay in Wythenshawe and to have moved into our newly fitted out head office, which gives us more room to expand. The town is well-located and has excellent road and tram links, as well as great people and a willing workforce.

“It is a tough time for businesses with bricks and mortar which simply cannot afford to be turning away potential customers and tempting them to shop online through poor service. But this means that there is plenty of opportunity for businesses to invest in their customer experience and drive increased trade and consumer loyalty.

“This coupled with the fact that we have had long-standing relationships with northwest locations and businesses such as Timpson and Pets at Home, mean that investing in a bigger base in Wythenshawe and looking to expand our business makes perfect sense”.

Wythenshawe’s tallest tower block to be fitted with sprinkler system in response to Grenfell fire tragedy

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Wythenshawe’s tallest tower block is to be fitted with a sprinkler system in the wake of the Grenfell Fire tragedy.

A spokesperson for the Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, which runs the 10 tower blocks in the town said work on the retrofit of the tallest building will start in early 2018.

And a spokesperson for the Group  told the Reporter WCHG was committed to funding all recommended safety improvements.

The WCHG statement in full:

Wythenshawe Community Housing Group remain committed to ensuring safety in high rise buildings and continue to work closely with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, Manchester City Council and other registered providers to ensure a consistent robust approach to fire safety in tower blocks.

The Group owns and manages 10 high rise buildings in Wythenshawe and none contain ACM panels.  Village 135 did have a feature ACM detail to the projecting balconies and this was quickly removed in July 2017 shortly following the tragic Grenfell incident.  This has now been replaced with a solid metal cladding panel.

We have worked closely with our residents in all of our high rise buildings which have had annual fire risk assessments in place for many years by accredited consultants.  Since June, we have repeated and reviewed in detail our approach to fire safety with our fire safety consultants to identify any further improvements that can be made to each block.

The Group will commence an installation of sprinklers to the tallest building in early 2018 and the Board and Executive team remain committed to funding all recommended improvements including sprinklers for the safety of occupants.”

In June, Wythenshawe CHG said it had worked closely with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and was “considering all options including sprinkler systems” to maintain safety in it’s tower blocks.

WCHG’s comments come as Manchester City Council agreed to consult tenants on spending £10.5 million to fit sprinkler systems to the 36 high rise tower blocks it owns most of which are in North Manchester.

The City Council’s Executive today approved the plan in response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy earlier this year and will follow the completion of high level fire risk assessments that ensures compartmentation of flats, designed to contain fire within an individual dwelling and stop any spread.

Basic fire risk assessments are already in place in all City Council-owned blocks and housing association provider high rises, and were redone immediately following the Grenfell fire. All fire assessments for Council-owned properties have been made available of the Council’s website.

Greater Manchester Fire and rescue) has visited every single high rise block in Manchester and provided the City Council with details.  Where necessary the fire officer has taken steps to address safety issues.

The City Council has also written to every owner or building manager of the 216 privately-owned high rises identified in the city to understand whether the cladding or other building materials used presented pose any potential safety issues.

216 building owners have been contacted in the first two weeks of November and, as they respond, the Council is building up a detailed database which is being shared with DCLG as part of a national picture.

The owners of 12 private buildings that feature Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding have responded positively and have actioned remedial works or commissioned fire risk assessments to reassure residents and fire officers that fire safety measures are in place.

A detailed procedure is being established within the City Council and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) to deal with any owners not responding.

The Council enforcement team, Building Control service and GMFRS are working closely together to ensure that any necessary enforcement actions are correctly actioned.

However, there remains some confusion around enforcement responsibilities and how they are carried out due to a lack of clarity within the current legislation.

The City Council and GMFRS would like to see a revision in guidance for fire safety in flats to address different types of tenure and responsibilities of the building owner and tenants to clearly set out expectations of each party to ensure fire safety.

Cllr Bernard Priest, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “We need to get to a position where every person who lives in a high rise block feels safe in their homes, understands fire procedures for the building, and building owners know what their responsibilities are.

“We are still awaiting the outcome of the national inquiry following the Grenfell tragedy and we are ready to act quickly to any recommendations. However, we already know that a review into enforcement powers of Councils and the fire service is vital to ensure the legislation is in place to fully protect residents.

“We believe that we should retrofit sprinkler systems in our high rise properties, but it is important that we do this in conversation with our residents – and funding the works will need to be in conversation with Government for their support.”

Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester Bev Hughes added: “Through the work of the Greater Manchester High Rise Taskforce, we have been able to take swift action to reassure residents living in high rises across Greater Manchester and make sure that the right fire safety advice is in place. Specialist fire officers continue to work with building owners and local authorities, including Manchester City Council, to address fire safety issues and contribute to Greater Manchester’s ambition of a world-class approach to fire safety, which places the expertise of our fire and rescue service at its heart.”

MP raises “deep concern” over US leaks in the wake of Manchester Arena bomb

wp-1478947269179.jpegWythenshawe MP Mike Kane has signed a joint letter to parliament’s intelligence and security watchdog expressing grave concern about the leaking by US officials of the identity of the Manchester Arena bomber while police were still investigating the atrocity.

Salman Abedi, detonated the bomb, at the Ariana Grande concert, which killed 22 people in May. It was the deadliest attack in Britain since the 7/7 bombings in London.

The New York Times, named the suspected killer as Salman Abedi, and shared pictures of the crime scene hours before Manchester police revealed Abedi’s identity, after the details were leaked by US officials. Non-U.S. media followed, again citing U.S. sources.

It was feared at the time the leaks had compromised the fast-moving investigation by Greater Manchester Police.

Mr Kane signed the letter, along with other Greater Manchester MPs, the Leader of Manchester City Council, Richard Leese and Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham to the chairman of the parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee.

And this week the Wythenshawe MP raised the issue with Home Secretary, Amber Rudd during a debate following the release of a report into terror attacks.

Mr Kane said: “Every Greater Manchester MP, Mayor Andy Burnham  and Richard Leese, the leader of the city council, have signed a joint letter to the Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee expressing  our concern that Salman Abedi’s name was shared with our colleagues in America and subsequently leaked, placing Chief Constable Ian Hopkins and the investigation in an intolerable situation. Does the Home Secretary share our deep concern about that?”

The Home Secretary replied: “Many of us—not least my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister—raised that issue with our opposite numbers, and such leaks are completely unwelcome and inappropriate.

“However, we must not underestimate our incredibly important close relationship with the US on intelligence sharing and support, and we must be cautious of any eventuality that might endanger that relationship. That sort of close intelligence sharing saves lives in this country.”

Shortly after the leak in May Mrs Rudd told the BBC police had been very clear that they wanted to control the flow of information in order to protect operational integrity, the element of surprise and said the leak was  “irritating”.

 

 

Wythenshawe MP wants more Catholics to stand for office as he helps launch new group

wp-1478947269179.jpegWythenshawe MP, Mike Kane is to launch a “Catholics for Labour” group at the party’s annual conference this weekend.

The shadow schools minister, is among eight Catholic Labour MPs who will establish the group at the 5pm Mass at the Church of St Mary Magdalen in Brighton on Sunday. Read More…

After 11 years, Government apology to family of Wythenshawe soldier killed in Iraq “mobile coffin”

untitledThe family of Wythenshawe soldier Pte Lee Ellis who was killed in the Iraq war has received a letter of apology from Defence Decretary Michael Fallon about the circumstances of his death.

Pte Ellis was one of dozens of soldiers killed while travelling in a lightly armoured Snatch Land Rover, dubbed “mobile coffins” during the conflict in 2006.

Sir Michael Fallon wrote to a number of families apologising for delays in bringing in alternative protected vehicles “which could have saved lives”.

Pte Ellis’ sister, Karla told the BBC the letter was “cherry on the cake” following the victory in the High Court which recognised the duty of care the government had for her brother and other soldiers in the war. Read More…

Contaminated blood inquiry: “People should go to jail” says Wythenshawe victim

16701439376_6112956332_qA public inquiry into contaminated blood leading to the deaths of thousands of people has been welcomed by a Wythenshawe victim who has called for perpetrators to be jailed over the scandal.

A recent parliamentary report found that  about 7,500 patients, who had been given blood transfusions were infected by imported blood products contaminated with plasma from donors including prison inmates in the US, who sold their blood.

More than 2,400 people have died from Hepatitis and HIV caused by the blood contamination.

As previously reported by the Wythenshawe Reporter, two of the victims are Fred Bates and Peter Mossman, both from Wythenshawe.

And  the government has announced a public inquiry will be launched to get to the bottom of the cause of the scandal more than 30 years ago, described as the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS. Read More…

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