Stringer and Spencer Clash on Environmental Issues

This is an account of continued conflict between Arnold Spencer and Graham Stringer (and also Cath Inchbold). Arnold Spencer as a champion for the environment favouring bikes and pedestrians and wanting clean air. Graham Stringer seeing cars as necessary for a thriving economy and jobs, and so wanting to have improved motor access into the city centre, not restrictions on it. Cath Inchbold as Chair of Highways and Cleansing Committee opposing a scheme that would restrict parking and traffic flow on Wilmslow Road. The battles were inflamed perhaps by press coverage from leaked information. Stringer and Spencer were in agreement in relation to trams, though, and co-operated when putting in place measures to demonstrate that Manchester was working towards an action plan for Local Agenda 21, so that it made a credible host for Global Forum ’94, which was the follow up to the 1992 Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit.
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Mutual support for the tram system
The Stretford Road Row
Sustainability, Local Agenda 21 and Global Forum ‘94
The Wilmslow Road Corridor Row
Bad air: Manchester one of the worst cities


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Editor’s Comments

This chapter has been an annoyance to me and it still needs some work, but I’m putting it up in this state and might come back to it another time. I think the annoyance is because it’s a subject area that I know a lot more about, because in the period 1990-97 I worked in the Planning and Transportation Department of Northamptonshire County Council, as Recycling Officer and Public Transport Development Manager amongst other roles.  I was involved in leading Local Agenda 21 and Green Transport initiatives. I feel the chapter is weak on how those issues are covered. Perhaps also I think I just find it annoying reading about all the clashes and arguing. I’ve chopped some bits that didn’t seem to add anything and I added the sub-headings.

There is a much better account of these topics, albeit from the officer perspective, in Ted Kitchen’s book (see Further Reading).

I wonder if this was a chapter that wasn’t quite finished or wasn’t really given enough attention. There is an appendix which is a list of chairs and deputies of committees, but it isn’t referred to in the text, so for now I have not included it. Also unlike other chapters there were no footnotes in this one. I have added all of the footnotes that you see – 2, 3 and 5 taking bits from the body of text that interrupted the flow and 1 and 4 for clarification.


[1] Although the service now actually runs from St Pancras adjacent to King’s Cross.

[2] chapter 8

[3] See chapter 22.

[4] United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), Rio de Janeiro, 3-14 June 1992

[5] There is more detail about this on page 189 in Ted Kitchen’s book (listed in the Further Reading) which explains that the Global Forum was intended to be in September 1993 when the invitation letter was sent out, but it soon became clear that there was insufficient time to organise such a large event. So instead the government conference was hosted in Manchester in September 1993 and the Global Forum was postponed to June 1994. As a result the government put its funding into the Partnerships for Change conference and didn’t support GF94 financially or by a significant presence.

[6] The outcome of the whips’ interview, which didn’t take place until March 1995, was that Arnold was to be removed from his position as Chair of the Environmental Planning Committee.

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Further Reading

Kitchen, Ted; ‘People, Politics, Policies and Plans: The city planning process in contemporary Britain’, Paul Chaplin Publishing Ltd, 1997 (on Amazon and Google Books). In particular:

  • Problems with the political leadership: the Stretford Road case pages 159-165
  • Chapter 9 Sustainability and Local Agenda 21 pages 186-206 (partial preview on Google Books)

About Red Rose Forest – “Red Rose Forest is the Community Forest for central and western Greater Manchester. Red Rose Forest is made up of green spaces across Greater Manchester. Since 1991 Red Rose Forest has been creating new areas of woodland, helping to improve existing green spaces and encouraging thousands of people every year to visit their local park, woodland, nature reserve or community garden – discovering the countryside that is right on your doorstep.”

Global Forum ’94 Q&As

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