Spotland & Falinge Ward
66 Rooley Moor Road
Thank you for reading this. I am standing as the local candidate for this ward. This is an election about what we can do locally and why it is important to vote. We do not need another party hack elected in Spotland, who will be more concerned with obeying orders sent down from their party leader than addressing the issues in the ward.
First, a word from Carl Faulkner who has stood as an independent in the ward over several elections.We have fought together on a number of issues, both believing that Rochdale has had a poor deal from the main political parties and their politicians. We have tried to make sense of local politics.
Carl says "Locally I have been very concerned with issues that affect us – particularly the pitiful standard of our local councillors. We cannot rely on them to represent us in the way that they should. They have done nothing to protect our open spaces, done nothing to deal with the old, highly toxic Turner Brothers site or even to tackle the problem of speeding. I have worked with Mick on these and other issues. Unlike the other candidates,he actually attends meetings and questions councillors. He is the only candidate worth your vote."
We have fought to resolve the problem of the old Turner Brothers Site. It is a 72 acre wasteland of toxic material, mainly asbestos. It is too dangerous for housing and the safest solution is to turn it into a country park. What does the Labour Party candidate say about it? Nothing.
Another problem is cars speeding. It is a problem for us all. But what is Labour's solution to deal with cars speeding on Rooley Moor Road? It is to remove cars parked on the road (which act as a natural restraint on speeding cars), allowing cars to go even faster. It makes no sense.
Until now we have had the opportunity to question councillors at the local Forum. This was held four times a year in a central location with good public transport where the public could question councillors. Now the local Labour Party have unilaterally decided to hold some of these Forums in the middle of Falinge Park. Why? Few people live near the park, it is mainly populated by various animals and birds with only a few people living nearby. Is the Labour Party going to 'talk to the animals' like some latterday Doctor Dolittle? (An all too appropriate name perhaps).
Locally we should be ensuring local work is done by local companies with local people. In the past we even had consultants coming into the town (from Yorkshire!) to tell us what we need to do to improve the town. Other towns (for example Preston) have kept services local and reaped the benefits.
Locally, and nationally we should not be building on Green Belt land. Nor should we be building anything other than affordable houses to buy or rent. There is enough land available for housing that has previously been used in other ways (where there was once factories and shops for instance).
These derelict sites could also be given over to local groups to use prior to being used. There is a lot of land all over Rochdale that has lain unused for years. Let people use it for recreational purposes until it is needed.
I do not understand why there is a threat to demolish some of the 'seven sisters' against the wishes of residents, and I fully support there cause. Another issue that does not make sense.
These are local elections, but national Green Party policies are relevant locally. The council should clearly and openly oppose fracking. Integrated publically owned railways and buses are common sense. These should also be electrically powered. Building laws should insist that all new buildings incorporate environmentally sound measures such as solar panels. Policies to improve the environment are of particular concern to me. Having experienced pollution elsewhere I know how important it is to stop choking the planet. These measures should be in the minds of the local council and opportunities should be taken to further them where possible.
Our policies are vital and we would encourage main stream parties to adopt them. We can take credit for some policies already but the important thing is to get them introduced, not to look important.
This election is important as local democracy is being abused . People are being ignored and worse. At the last election a candidate actually voted twice; a criminal offence that resulted in a police caution. His election as one of our councillors was allowed to stand. But why did he think it was ok to vote more than once? Why did his fellow councillors accept that he did not know that he was not allowed to vote twice? What does it say about their view of what standards a councillor should aspire to? Now he is the agent for the current Labour Party candidate (the agent is responsible for the right procedures to be followed by the candidate! No further comment needed).
We have also had recent examples of other councillors failing to reach the standards that we have a right to expect from them, including the council leader. The main opposition are also failing to hold the current council leaders to account. We need to reclaim local democracy.
Just a personal note; I live in Spotland and am married with three sons, two of which ran the Manchester marathon. I am a season ticket holder at Rochdale Football Club (Up the Dale!), play in Rochdale quiz league and am a supporter of several local drinking establishments.
Make a change, give me a chance to shake up the local political establishment and hold them to account. We have been labelled a 'rotten borough' for far too long. Just complaining is not enough, you have a vote, use it.