Councillor John Blundell: Rochdale Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration under fire for promoting an Oldham business

Date published: 02 January 2018

Councillor John Blundell, Rochdale Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration, has recently come under fire for promoting an Oldham-based barbers via social media.

On 29 December, the Smallbridge and Firgrove ward councillor tweeted: “Sam at @******** [name removed] does do the best hair cuts.”

Local business owner Greg Couzens, who owns a popular hair salon on The Walk, commented: “Who is John Blundell? Cabinet Member for Regeneration? I have been on The Walk for over 35 years and not once has he called in. Why am I not surprised by him promoting and helping a business from another town.

“Many longstanding traders are fed up with the present leadership.

“This is another dreadful action: maybe I need to think about moving my business to another town.”

Another local business owner, who preferred not to be named, said: "It may seem a fuss about nothing to some but if the man charged with the regeneration of Rochdale does not understand that promoting a competitor in another town is not congruent with his role in championing Rochdale then there really is no hope."

Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Councillor Andy Kelly, who also runs his own business, said: “Just goes to show Councillor Blundell’s priorities. New year, same old insensitivities.

“The voters of Smallbridge and Firgrove need to remember this kind of ‘loyalty’ to local business in May.”

Councillor Peter Winkler (Conservative) said: “I have found that where haircuts are concerned there is a magnificent selection of barbers to choose from - 24 are listed in the Rochdale Online [business] directory, including the Bridge Barbers in Norden, where my own overgrown mullet is often tended to.

"I am sure that our Cabinet Member for Regeneration has his reasons for championing one from out of town on this occasion.”

Councillor Blundell said: “I have known Sam Mellor since we were at Hollingworth High School together. He is a lifelong friend and has cut my hair ever since he qualified as a barber. Although his shop is in Oldham, he is a resident of Milnrow and spends his money here in our town.

Mr Couzens and Councillors Kelly and Winkler are really scraping the barrel with these desperate attacks. Can they honestly say they have never spent a penny outside of Rochdale when the goods are available here?

"I would also like to point out that my girlfriend is a long standing customer at Greg Couzens’ Rochdale salon.”

Sam Mellor said: “I have lived in Milnrow all my life and I am appalled my local councillor, Mr Kelly, is being so spiteful attacking a close friend and my business. My prices for a haircut are considerably cheaper than Mr Couzens.”

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