Monday, April 23, 2007



The rain has returned to Prestwich today, but I’m hoping it won’t prevent us from going out canvassing and meeting more local people on doorsteps and out on the street. One advantage of canvassing over leafleting is that people, by and large, don’t melt into goo when it rains.

I have been interested to see some of the Labour leaflets being distributed in the last couple of days. I was hoping for a campaign based on issues and a record of the comparative achievements and ambitions of the two parties for Prestwich. Clearly Labour don’t feel the same way, but I don’t want to waste my time and your’s by rebutting their lies. If that's all they have to say after years and years in power, it is a shame for us all. I am proud of what Cllr O’Hanlon and I have achieved with the Liberal Democrats for St Mary’s:

- blue bins for every house in the coming year
- removal of parking bays on Bury New Road to improve traffic flow
- fighting to save Prestwich Arts College (and succeeding)
- fighting to save ward 30 at Fairfield
- securing movement on The Retreat after proper consultation
- fought for residents views to be heard about Tulle Court, whilst supporting the redevelopment
- championed the re-surfacing of local roads in greatest need like Spring Vale
- Secured more cleaning of the Longfield Centre
- Removed dangerous railings from St Ann’s Road
- Ended the fly-tipping problem on Buckley Lane
- Worked with the Police to catch the criminals responsible for lamp-post vandalism
- Helped countless residents with their problems throughout the year
- Kept in touch all year round with Focus leaflets.
- Not forgotten to work on "the little things" like fixing broken street-lights, pot-holes, missing bins etc.
- Always ALWAYS returning resident telephone calls and emails, and helping wherever we can.

We’ve achieved lots in just over a year, and I want to carry on achieving more for Prestwich. We have fought hard to make the Council listen to the voice of Prestwich – and it’s working. Let’s keep this going, and not take a backward step.

I have lived in and around Prestwich for almost my whole life, and my family have lived here for over fifty years. I have a deep affection for the area and I am proud to have called it my home for years. I am the only candidate in the election who actually lives in the ward! But more importantly, I am the only one working all year round for local people. I think our record speaks for itself.

Last year St Mary’s turned a corner, electing a Lib Dem councillor for the very first time. And I hope we’ve re-paid the faith of the voters by working hard and achieving lots in the last 12 months.

We’ve listened to residents and challenged the perceived wisdom from the council on numerous issues. It hasn’t been about opposing Council plans for the sake of it, it’s been about making sure plans aren’t rushed and that people are properly consulted. When we voted against plans to redevelop Tulle Court, it wasn’t because we were happy with the status quo, it was because the plans weren’t right for local people and we wanted them amended. Local residents had told us so when we asked them!

This is our philosophy. We don’t sit in the Town Hall formulating policies and then imposing them on angry local people. We talk to residents and try to give them what they want:
- Local people wanted a local school – we supported it and Labour opposed it. The school was saved after our campaign succeeded.
- Local people wanted action on The Retreat – we called for action, Labour did nothing. Now it’s being knocked down and replaced after our campaign succeeded.
- Local people wanted better recycling facilities. We proposed that they are provided now. Labour wanted to wait years. But now everyone will have a blue bin by the end of the year after our campaign succeeded.

And it continues. Only today I have written a letter to the Council on behalf of a group of residents opposed to parking restrictions on St Mary’s road. Labour want to stop people parking, but have gone for a gung-ho all-guns blazing solution that has angered local people. We want the problem fixed too, but through consultation, not mandatory restrictions. I hope to report that this campaign has been successful too, in the fullness of time.

In 2006 local people showed great faith in us. I ask for that faith to be shown once more this time so that I can carry on working hard for my local community. Judge us on our record of service and action all year round. We have kept our promises, and I promise that we’ll do the same in years to come.


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