Conservative and Unionist Party
Wardle & West L'boro Ward
It is often said at local elections that there is no real difference between the political parties and things will stay the same no matter who is elected.
This year this could not be further from the truth and there is clear blue water between Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat policies on two key issues of vital importance. That of council tax and protecting our green belt.
On council tax we proposed at the budget fixing meeting that there should be no increase in the general tax this year. The council has received Very generous financial support from the government during the pandemic and less than £2 million, which is being added to the council reserves could and should have been used to freeze the tax.
This year in particular hard working people and those on fixed incomes deserve a break from unacceptable increases in tax, this is a view shared by many in our Borough, appalled and annoyed at the unacceptable tax rise.
The conservative group will therefore commit to freezing council tax next year if we are successful in contesting council seats and depriving Labour of their majority.
Protecting the green belt is our top priority, and fortunately the Conservative Councillors in Stockport voted against the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, which would have given the green light to large sections of our countryside and green belt developed across the whole of Greater Manchester this should mean the proposals are scrapped.
However it appears that the other nine councils intend coming back with a new plan after the elections called places for everyone the assumption being that the plan will be very similar to the last one , including building on the green belt. The only way to stop this plan going ahead is to ensure that enough Conservative Councillors across Greater Manchester are elected to stop the plan in its tracks. We were dismayed at Council that Labour and Liberal Democrats voted to continue with the new plan ,which will undoubtedly mean green belt development.
We believe strongly our Council should be listening to people and doing the right thing for the local community. Here in Rochdale we already have a development plan and we should refresh that for the future housing needs across the borough, not destroy our green belt.
We are totally committed to building on brownfield sites and there is increasingly an opportunity to do so, with the numbers of businesses and office space being sadly made redundant in our town centres, plus the developments around railway stations, these are just two examples of redevelopment opportunities.
Once we lose our green fields they are lost forever and we must protect them for our benefit and that of future generations and only the Conservatives can influence this change of policy.
It was good news to hear the Chancellor mention Rochdale in his budget speech and to provide a further £23.6 million for the town to encourage construction and regeneration. It was sad that Sir Kier Starmer Labour leader was not supportive of the distribution of the town's fund to areas like Rochdale.
Thank goodness that the council has professional officers and fortunate to have the support of Chris Clarkson MP as a member of the government to put the interests of the borough first. We look forward to money being spent wisely and for the benefit of everyone over the coming year.
If re-elected I will continue to put the interests of Wardle, Shore and Littleborough first, and look forward ,thanks to the excellent vaccination programme to soon be able to get back to meeting people ,and attending local community groups .