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SALFORD STAR MARY BURNS AWARDS 2009
 

MARY BURNS AWARDS
DAY 22

THE `HE AIN'T HEAVY HE'S MY BROTHER' AWARD Part 3

In honour of The Hollies connection to Salford we present the third part of this very special MARY. But first. A song…

Please see Part 1 of this Award, sing along, wave your lighters in the air and shed a tear as you discover true love…

Ladies and Gentlemen. THE `HE AIN'T HEAVY HE'S MY BROTHER' AWARD Part 3…goes to…

Please do a drum roll and click here…


MARY BURNS AWARD
click image to enlarge

 

PEEL HOLDINGS and NORTH WEST REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY

This MARY is given in recognition of the extraordinary relationship between Peel Holdings and the North West Regional Development Agency (NWDA).

As readers of the `He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother' Award Parts 1 and 2 will know, there's been a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between the £multi-billion private developer Peel Holdings and the NWDA with its huge public funds. The former Deputy Chairman of Peel Holdings, Robert Hough, is now Chairman of NWDA. 

It was in late 2008 that Peel Holdings Chairman, John Whittaker, announced a thing called the `Ocean Gateway concept', a £50billion proposal for exploiting all the land and assets that Peel owns, stretching 50 miles from Manchester, via Salford, to Liverpool. Which basically includes everything along the Manchester Ship Canal, and incorporates Peel's Port Salford, `Eco' Forest, Racecourse, MediaCityUK, loads of green belt land and about 50 other projects.

In the launch speech, Whittaker said that he wanted the Ocean Gateway concept to have "its own planning regime… so we can overcome" and he stressed it again… "overcome each authority objecting and fighting each other, as well as streamlining and speeding up the planning process".

Of course, "each authority" might object to some of Peel's possible plans to trash the green belt and stuff like that. Things that are linked to local democracy…

Whittaker wanted the North West Regional Development Agency (NWDA), to lead that new "regime", and concluded that this was "a fantastic opportunity for the powers that be… to give the Ocean Gateway the credibility it deserves."

Lo and behold, the NWDA did take the concept on board, widened it slightly and it became the `Atlantic Gateway', which is now one of its "new strategic priorities" according to its business plan for this year..

There's no public records, as usual, that we can find of Salford City Council's response to Peel's Ocean/Atlantic Gateway, but Manchester City Council's executive did discuss it in March 2009 and were incredibly lukewarm.

They identified that "the dangers are many", including `undermining the efforts to deliver carbon efficiencies'… `congestion'…and `undermining regeneration efforts within the city region'. They concluded that the "Atlantic (Ocean) Gateway concept as set out is not supported by an evidence base".

The Mancs added that "Peel is seeking to get strong regional backing through the development plan system for 50 big (and not so big) projects. The new Regional Strategy…will do that job, as once adopted it will form part of all our development plans, with full statutory weight.

"Peel's aim therefore is for their proposals to be supported by all agencies (including local planning authorities) through the Regional Strategy process. Their Ocean Gateway concept is a means to achieve that end".

In other words, that Peel wants its plans for its own land to be given legal weight, so it would be difficult for anyone to object…

Unsurprisingly, the report states… "The concept has, it appears, been successfully communicated to Government and the NWDA, who are anxious to push forward with its development…"

Lo and behold, this month NWDA have produced the document with the legal weight which is now out for consultation. It's called RS2010 (Regional Strategy 2010) and within it, in all its glory, identified as a key theme, is the Atlantic Gateway.

"The Atlantic Gateway has the potential to deliver greater levels of trade and enhanced international/national significance through collaboration, through and alongside city region plans, to deliver new levels of sustainable economic growth."

The Foreword to the document is co-signed by Robert Hough, Chair of NWDA, and former Deputy Chair of Peel Holdings.

The `Ocean Gateway' concept now has, as Whittaker put it, "the credibility it deserves" from "the powers that be"…

Ladies and Gentlemen. Stick your 1984 Oceanias up your Orwells for the winners of the `HE AIN'T HEAVY HE'S MY BROTHER' AWARD Part 3 …


PEEL HOLDINGS and NORTH WEST REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY

Applause…

 

If anyone from these organisations would like to make a speech please fill in the Comments box below

* RS2010 is still being consulted upon and you can make comments until spring 2010 - click here for details

Update here 21st January 2010


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