Re-elected mayor Andy Burnham unveils plans for new transport network
On his first day of his second term, the mayor put forward plans to integrate buses with the Metrolink, bring trams to Middleton, and create hundreds of electric vehicle charging points across the region.
Andy Burnham has unrolled a new set of blueprints for a “revolutionary” local transport network following his re-election as Mayor of Greater Manchester.
The Labour candidate waltzed to a 67.3% landslide victory in the polls last week – receiving 473,024 votes to start a second term as leader of the region.
Speaking to press on Monday on his first official day as re-elected mayor, Burnham elaborated on his strategy to improve Greater Manchester’s public transport system – making it “more affordable and easier to use.”
The mayor is aiming to integrate GM buses with the Metrolink by 2024 – which could involve passengers having a single price-capped pass for both forms of transport.
Initial priorities include bringing the Metrolink to Middleton as part of a masterplan for the town centre: talks are being held with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM).
The mayor also pledged 95 new Electric Vehicle charging points by the end of the year, with plans for a further 200 in 2022.
A new Greater Manchester Bike Hire scheme is set to launch in November, with 100km of cycling and walking routes completed before January.
Burnham revealed that negotiations are also underway with Network Rail to make all rail stations in the city-region accessible by 2025.
Addressing press on Monday (May 10), Burnham said that “people in Greater Manchester have made it clear that they won’t settle for second best any longer.”
He stated: “Across the world, the most successful city-regions have one thing in common – an affordable, integrated and accessible transport network.
“… I’m vowing to accelerate the delivery of a world-class transport network for our city-region and its people. It is absolutely critical to our future economic and social prosperity.
“People here deserve a transport network where you can seamlessly travel across our city-region on buses, trams and trains – without spending a fortune each time.
“We will deliver this alongside hundreds of new Electric Vehicle charging points, a bike hire scheme and world-class cycling and walking corridors which will make everyday trips to school, to work and to the shops safe, easy and fun.
“This will benefit our people and our planet as we step up our plans for carbon neutrality.”
Burnham will chair the first meeting of the Bee Network – the new new name for Greater Manchester’s transport system – today.
Featured image: Mayor of Greater Manchester
Police arrest four men and shut down ‘incredibly dangerous’ cannabis farm in Salford
Police have shut down a suspected cannabis farm in Salford today, arresting four men.
Officers swooped on the property on Arthur Street in Swinton after finding evidence that the house was being used to grow cannabis plants.
The farm has been described as ‘incredibly dangerous’ to other occupants in the area.
Three rooms in the house were full of plants growing, with a huge amount of wiring surrounding them that posed a fire hazard.
The four men detained by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) Salford Neighbourhood Team were subsequently arrested on suspicion of involvement in the production and supply of cannabis and remain in police custody for questioning.
Sergeant Peter MacFarlane said: “Locating a cannabis farm is a great result for the team who are gathering intelligence and working hard to crackdown on drug-related crime across Salford.
“Farms of this nature are also incredibly dangerous to other occupants in the area. The building itself is still being made safe due to the amount of wiring around the plants. Criminals running these types of enterprises have no regard for public safety and in these conditions, an electrical fault from bad wiring could easily start a fire and endanger lives.
“The arrests and seizures then go someway towards disrupting the supply of illegal drugs and the criminality that comes with it, and will also make our communities safer.
“This operation was intelligence led and a huge part of our intelligence comes from members of the public sharing information with us. If you have suspicions about a crime taking place please report it so we can take positive action and bring those responsible to justice.”
You can make a report by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency. You can also report via the LiveChat function on GMP’s website: www.gmp.police.uk
Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Featured image: GMP
‘Groundbreaking’ new app to help get homeless people into work launches in Manchester
Homeless families across Manchester are set to benefit from a “groundbreaking” new service that gives them access to employment support.
With the ultimate aim of helping homeless people move out of temporary accommodation and into their own homes, Manchester City Council has announced a new pilot partnership with Beam – a social enterprise that fundraises on behalf of homeless people and connects them with a supportive online community.
Through Beam’s “innovative” app-based platform, homeless people can raise money for items that often end up being financial obstacles to them moving into a permanent home, whether than be funding equipment or training to help them secure stable and financially-viable employment, or towards a rental deposit, moving van, or other homeware essentials, and everything in between.
Donations come from people in the local community, and are shared out equally between participants, so that everyone reaches their fundraising target within an average of 17 days.
Having helped more than 1,300 homeless people “achieve their goals” since being founded in 2017, Beam isn’t just about funding, as it also has a team of caseworkers who provide one-to-one help with employment to those in need.
The caseworkers also lend a hand with searching for properties online, communicating with landlords, and booking house viewings, while Beam also works with a network of vetted landlords to help people find a home
The initiative also provides further support for at least six months after moving.
Over the next year, Manchester City Council says its pilot partnership with Beam will initially support 25 families who are living in temporary accommodation in the region, and move them into their own private rental homes.
Residents can be referred to the scheme by the Council’s housing teams, as well as other local services, and each person is assigned a caseworker from Beam, who then supports them on their journey into stable housing.
“No one chooses homelessness voluntarily,” admitted Councillor Joanna Midgley, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council.
“And when it happens, it can be devastating, which is why we are looking at a range of solutions to help people secure affordable and decent homes in Manchester.
“Our new partnership with Beam is an innovative approach to improve people’s life chances, supporting them, where possible, into sustainable jobs allowing them to move out of temporary accommodation and into their own homes.