Obituary: Former council leader Alan Taylor has died

Date published: 07 May 2019

Former leader of Rochdale Council Alan Taylor died on Friday 3 May after a period of illness.

The former Liberal Democrat councillor was leader of the Council 2006-2009 and played a key role as campaign manager in getting Paul Rowen elected to Parliament in 2005.

Alan died peacefully at his home in Newhey on Friday 3 May aged 75.

Alan Taylor is survived by his long term partner, Vivien, who worked on Liberal Democrat political campaigns for many years, daughters, Jane and Emma, and grandson, River.  

Alan, a lifelong Manchester City fan, was born in Urmston, Manchester, in November 1943 and moved  to Rochdale in 1965 to run his father’s fruit and veg stall on Rochdale Market. 

In 1985 he opened a greengrocer’s shop on the corner of Spotland Road and Emma Street until 2004.

Alan was first elected as a Liberal councillor in 1975 and represented the-then Central and Falinge Ward, holding the seat until 1987. 

In the early 1980s Alan helped the Liberal party in Rochdale secure the election of several new Councillors including Brian Ashworth in Healey and Pat Flynn in Castleton. During the 1982-86 coalition with the Conservatives, he served as Chair of the Housing Committee before becoming leader of the Liberal group.  

Alan always remained interested in politics and, within a few weeks of retiring from his business in March 2004, he was elected as Councillor for the Healey ward and served until 2010. 

In 2005 Alan succeeded Paul Rowen as leader of the Liberal Democrat group following Paul’s election as MP, leading the Liberal Democrats to become the largest group on the council following the 2006 local elections and subsequently became leader of the council until 2010 when ill health forced him to step down.

Outside of politics Alan’s passion was classical musical, and he possessed an extensive music collection.

Current Liberal Democrat leader Andy Kelly said: “Alan was a committed Councillor and led the Council at an extremely difficult time. He was an instinctive community campaigner who had everything to make Rochdale safer, greener and cleaner.

“The first thing that Alan did when he took over the Council was to give power back to the community. He was a great believer in local decision making and gave much more power back to our Townships ensuring as many decisions as possible were taken by residents in Pennines, Rochdale, Heywood and Middleton.

“When I first became Lib Dem group leader in 2012, he was the first to offer me advice and support. A dog lover, he loved nothing more than watching his beloved Man City. Politics is better in our town because of Alan. He will be greatly missed.”

Gregory Couzens, who served under Alan as Cabinet Member for Finance and worked closely with him said: “Alan was paramount to the regeneration of Rochdale, his vision for the Town Centre is now coming to fruition and probably one of his greatest achievements and one that Alan was most proud of, was bringing the Metrolink to Rochdale. Alan was also instrumental in re-establishing the title of Honorary Alderman.”

Paul Rowen, who was also a long-time colleague and friend, added: “I was sorry to learn of Alan’s passing and send my condolences to Vivien, Jane and Emma. During Alan’s leadership, Kingsway Business Park became a reality helping to create thousands of jobs. Rochdale is a poorer place without him.”

Funeral details are yet to be confirmed.

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