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Looking after the new city centre

MANCHESTER city centre has a dedicated manager who, within two years, will pull together all the diverse strands to ensure that the centre is safe, clean, accessible and clearly visible as one of Europe's best visitor attractions.

A tall order? Not to Gordon McKinnon, a Marks & Spencer world wide high flyer who volunteered for the job.

"Twenty years ago I worked in the old Market Street M & S store and here I am back again, although in a very different role.

"I have four main areas of work. First is to raise the standard of the environment and to most people that means the cleanliness of the streets.

"Secondly, I look at the safety of the city centre with CCTV playing a key part. Through a partnership of the City Council, the Police and the private sector, 18 cameras concentrating on central shopping areas will go live in the early autumn.

"There will be 24 hour monitoring with direct links to the police station. In the next phase, CCTV will be extended into other parts of the city centre.

"Thirdly, I need to make sure that the city centre is accessible, that all visitors are able to get in and out easily and quickly and for that I look at public transport and car parking.

"Lastly, I am pulling together all the various marketing strands to make sure that there is a co-ordinated approach to selling the image and content of the city centre locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

"The city centre is changing rapidly on a weekly, if not daily, basis as the rebuilding programme takes shape. I firmly believe that we are going to have a centre of which we will all be very proud and my job is to make sure that we sustain and maintain that pride.

"I enjoy working with all the different players within the city, the voluntary organisations, the Council, businesses, shoppers and visitors. There is the opportunity to make a real difference and I am committed to making sure that it happens."

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