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Here's the Mancunian Way for today:
It’s a chilly day to head to the polls, but I would nevertheless urge any Stretford and Urmston residents to exercise your democratic right to vote. Don’t forget, if you don’t vote, you can’t moan.
Nine candidates are bidding to succeed Kate Green as the MP for the Labour stronghold, with the party’s candidate, Trafford Council leader Andrew Western, the frontrunner.
It’s the second test of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and comes amid a cost-of-living crisis, soaring inflation and a growing wave of industrial action across the UK.
Stephen Topping and Nick Jackson will be covering the election count for the Manchester Evening News when the polls close at 10pm, so keep your eyes peeled for the result.
On to the rest of the day’s news. We’ll be discussing some big planned changes to the city centre, a big parking fee hike and a million pond home that's never been lived in in today’s newsletter. Let’s begin.
More towers, more homes, more flats
Remember the 33-storey Northern Quarter tower block branded an 'abomination' by residents? Well it may soon be joined by another block of flats just metres away.
Developers Marco Living and Axis Real Estate hope to build 267 new flats on a car park bordering Tariff Street and Port Street, in Manchester city centre.
The scheme would span two brick finished buildings - one 11 storeys and one 10 storeys high, with private gardens, roof terraces and roof top amenities. It would stand close to the 481-apartment scheme off Great Ancoats Street, which was approved in July, despite hundreds of objections.
Meanwhile, further details of plans for the historic Red Bank area of the city centre have been revealed, and reporter Ethan Davies has been taking a look.
New photos show how the landmark housing development will transform the face of the neglected spot - which played a pivotal role in the development of Manchester's Jewish and Ukrainian communities.
Some 15,000 homes - at least 20 per cent of which will be affordable - are set to be built from Red Bank, on the northern outskirts of the city centre to Collyhurst, over the next 20 years.
Photos also show how a new Union Square waterfront could look from Dantzic Street. Properties will be complemented by ‘high quality public spaces' and 'a new high street led by local independent businesses’, developers Far East Consortium (FEC) say.
Over in Salford, developers have fleshed out details of a scheme set to change the face of the Greengate area.
A 41-storey building is the third phase of Renaker’s plans for the site, which is on the border with Manchester. The façade would feature distinctive bronze aluminium panelling and the building would include 518 apartments, a gym, lounge, co-working space, and rooftop courtyard.
It’s part of a masterplan featuring three towers of 52, 43, and 41 storeys, two of which are currently being built.
A £15 increase
Elsewhere in the city centre there has been anger as Manchester Council has quadrupled the price of parking at the Arndale.
Previously, drivers could pay £5.50 for 12 hours if they arrived at the car park between 6am and 9am. But a new charging scheme means commuters could be paying more than £20 for a space - unless they arrive for work early or late, as Stephen Topping reports.
The new pricing means drivers can park for 12 hours for £6 if they arrive from 6am to 7.35am, or from 10am to 11.35am. But if commuters want to park for their 9-5 job and arrive on time, they would have to fork out £20.50.
M.E.N readers have been commenting about the changes of our Facebook page. Dawn Budsworth said: "Manchester parking prices are a joke. How do they expect people to go to work and pay those car park fees. Disgusting. Doesn't encourage people to shop there either."
While Suzanne Ollieuz Clarke added: "Yet the trains are seriously unreliable or striking!!! The bus takes an hour!! Looks like I’m working 8-4 in the office from now on then!!"
The council says changes are in response to ‘changes in working patterns’ since the pandemic and to try and stagger arrival times into the city centre.
Work to begin before the year is out
Cyclists, traders and shoppers will no doubt be interested to know that a date has been set for one lane of Stevenson Square to be reopened for bus traffic.
From December 30 the south-west lane connecting Lever Street and Spear Street, in the Northern Quarter, will be open to buses and Hackney Carriages. As a trial, Blue Badge holders will also be allowed through access.
Work to dismantle the existing bus stop on the road is due to take place, as well as additional infrastructure works such as double yellow lines.
The vast majority of the square will remain closed to traffic and pedestrianised.
Thousands of nurses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have walked out in the biggest strike in nursing history. Around a quarter of hospitals and community teams in England, alongside all trusts in Northern Ireland and all but one health board in Wales, are part of the industrial action - but no staff from Greater Manchester are involved today.
Trusts that did not poll high enough in the Royal College of Nursing's strike ballots included Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust and Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust.
A second wave of strike dates is likely to be announced for January with a new set of confirmed locations for industrial action.
The RCN is taking an ‘incremental approach’ so strikes don't take out all employers at once. The minimum staffing level is determined by the life-preserving care model but it’s hospitals that are responsible for maintaining a safe staffing level during a strike.
Actual and potential serious detriment to tenants
The housing association responsible for Awaab Ishak's home has been condemned for failing to tackle damp and mould for hundreds of tenants until after it was shamed into action.
The Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) has investigated Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH) following two-year-old Awaab’s inquest and found 'significant failings' in the way the housing association deals with damp and mould.
An inquest last month found that Awaab’s death, in December 2020, followed prolonged exposure to mould at his home on Rochdale’s Freehold estate.
The regulator has since found that RBH - which manages that estate - left hundreds of tenants living with damp and mould. It says Awaab’s death should have alerted RBH to the safety risks for its tenants, but it failed to act quickly and protect more tenants from potential harm, as Stephen Topping reports.
The RSH has published a Regulatory Notice for the housing association following a breach of the consumer standards. That means there was 'actual and potential serious detriment to RBH’s tenants'. Separately, it has also published a Regulatory Judgement to downgrade RBH to a 'non-compliant' grade for governance.
RBH accepted the mistakes and said: “We failed Awaab, his family and the community we serve.”
They said they accept the Regulator’s findings and are working to address their concerns. RBH announced it would inspect every property on the Freehold estate for damp and mould following an M.E.N investigation, which was published in August.
- Temperatures: Fog changing to sunny intervals by late morning. 0C.
- Trains: Services only running on Northern between Manchester Airport and Liverpool Lime Street due to strike action on December 16 and 17. Northern are still running a strike timetable all day on December 15.
- Special timetable operating on Transpennine Express due to shortage of train crews. Passengers are advised to check their journey if travelling with Transpennine Express. Trains that do run are expected to be very busy.
- Peace: A mysterious 6ft mural of a snowman has appeared on the side of the Chapel House pub, in Denton - and the owners have no idea who is behind it. Pub manager Kirsten Lewis said: "We've no idea where it came from. One late night customer thought he may have spotted a tent but nothing conclusive. But to be honest, we don't mind. The snowman has the words 'born to chill' on his hat next to a CND sign so he's come with a message for peace. So, we're very happy to have him here.”
Blocked: A homeowner has described being abused by parents who blocked her driveway on the school run. Laura Ali, 31, said she's been told to 'f*** off' and 'shut up you slag' when she asked drivers to move their vehicles from outside her home on Langport Avenue, near two Ardwick schools. Ms Ali says an angry motorist threatened to smash her windows after stopping her from taking her children to school. More here.
Delays: The government has branded North West Ambulance Service performance 'clearly unacceptable' after hundreds were left waiting hours for ambulances this week. The Department of Health and Social Care said patients deserve access to the highest-quality urgent and emergency care and said it is prioritising health and social care with up to £14.1 billion over the next two years. More here.
New homes: Playing fields off Wilbraham Road, in Chorlton, could be used for housing. Owners Greater Manchester Youth Federation leased the land to St Bede's College for 15 years, but the charity is now looking to develop the land and reinvest in other areas. Developer Anwyl Homes has put forward plans to build 65 new homes on the site - a mix of houses and apartments - of which 13 would be affordable. More here.
Worth a read
Amid a row of mansions on the shores of Hollingworth Lake lies a dream home that has been empty for almost a quarter of a century.
Queens Bay House was built as an idyllic lakeside retreat for a professional couple in 1998. Intended as a peaceful spot where the pair could wind down after stressful working lives, problems during its construction meant the custom-made bungalow has never been lived in.
Now, the unfinished home, which boasts stunning views across the picturesque lake in Rochdale, has gone on sale for just shy of £1 million.
Tom George has been looking at the home - which has been at the centre of battles with the firm that built the property and the National House Building Council.
That's all for today
Thanks for joining me. If you have stories you would like us to look into, email email@example.com.
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