Welcome to the Rochdale Liberal Democrats website. We aim to keep you fully updated and informed about the work we are doing on the borough.You can sign up to get a regular email to keep you in touch with our activities locally and nationally. Or check the news page to see what is happening.
We want to hear from you if there is anything you feel needs doing to help improve the community in and around Rochdale. Whether it's a proposal for action, a problem you need resolving, please feel free to contact us here, or if you would like to get more involved, you can get in touch here.
We're in the process of updating our manifesto, and before it's finalised, we'll be posting our thoughts on key issues for the community on the manifesto page, and we always welcome additional feedback.
The Rochdale Liberal Democrats Team
Milnrow and Newhey went under water again after the latest rainfall. Local Councillor Andy Kelly has slammed the council for ignoring residents and businesses plight. He is now calling for a full review into drainage systems in the Pennines and claimed that urgent action is needed. He is calling for a halt to any future developments until flooding is under control.
Councillor Kelly has been inundated with calls from local residents and received numerous messages calling for help on social media.
He said: "This is the fourth time in recent memory that this has happened. It just can't go on. I have received complaints that The Bobbin Pub is flooded again, Carpet Creations and houses on Shaw Road at the junction of Huddersfield Road and Harbour Lane are also under water.
"Residents are absolutely furious and threatening to cancel council tax and business rate payments. The Council are not doing enough to help. It's been 10 months since the last flooding and very little has happened. Our drains are full to capacity and our weak infrastructure and increase in house building hasn't helped. I am calling for a full review of drainage systems in The Pennines. Residents rightly feel that this Council are not on their side. This simply cannot happen again and it's time that the council acted to finally protect local people from flooding. I have called on the Council to do something for years including a more regular clean up of our gullies. This Council needs to get a grip. I am proposing that any big developments in Milnrow and Newhey are put on hold until we deal with the flooding issues that blight our area."
Dave Bamford from Smith Hill, Milnrow said: "Yet again our drainage systems simply could not cope. Looking at the flooding at the bottom of Kiln Lane in particular, the Council needs to work with United Utilities to put a new line from Kiln Lane to the river as the current one is obviously blocked and not fit for purpose. These floods are not good for businesses in the village and urgent action is needed. I appreciate that the storm was severe, but other areas in our Borough seemed to cope just fine. I welcome any review that will protect local residents and businesses from flooding."
Parliamentary representation in the Borough is set to dramatically change after Boundary Commissioners decided to split the Rochdale Constituency. Balderstone and Kirkholt, Milnrow and Newhey, Littleborough Lakeside, Smallbridge and Firgrove and Wardle and West Littleborough is set to be part of the Littleborough and Saddleworth constituency. Central Rochdale, Healey, Kingsway, Milkstone and Deeplish and Spotland and Falinge is set to be in a new Rochdale Constituency alongside Bamford, Castleton, Norden and Heywood. All Middleton wards would become part of a new Prestwich and Middleton seat.
If the boundary review recommendations are approved, Rochdale would be represented, in part, by three MPs compared to two at present. Currently, the Rochdale Borough is represented by Liz McInnes (Labour --Heywood and Middleton) and the controversial Simon Danczuk (Independent, currently suspended by Labour)
Councillor Andy Kelly said: "I welcome the fact that our Borough will have have three MPs instead of two. I will be throwing my hat in the ring for Littleborough and Saddleworth as this is where I live. Currently, Rochdale is suffering with an MP who goes from one disaster to another. Despite enormous pressure, we have held him to account. I am extremely confident of winning any election in Littleborough and Saddleworth. We've won it before and can win it again. Locally, we will not be challenging these proposals as we believe our Borough is better off with three parliamentary champions rather than two currently."
Both Simon Danczuk and Liz MacInnes faces selection battle under Labour Party rules. Danczuk is currently suspended from the Labour Party for send lurid, lewd text messages to a 17 year old constituent.
Rochdale Lib Dem Leader Andy Kelly has claimed that the failure of First Manchester bus drivers to collect data properly directly led to the axing of the 182 daytime bus service. He was speaking to Transport for Greater Manchester bosses at a summit meeting at Rochdale Town Hall. The meeting was held to discuss public transport issues in The Pennines and was called after residents were in uproar over the axing of the 182 daylight bus service. This left patients, staff and visitors to the Royal Oldham Hospital without a direct bus service to the Royal Oldham Hospital.
Now Councillor Kelly has called for First Buses to reinstate the service, collate passenger numbers properly and then review the service in three months' time. He also called for the service to receive a subsidy based on social need. Andy has called for the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust to throw their behind reinstating what he calls a "vital service". Some 1,487 residents have now backed the campaign; 587 online and 900 physically signing paper petitions that have been in shops and community buildings in Firgrove, Milnrow and Newhey.
Andy said: "It's no exaggeration to say that public transport is the number one issue on doorsteps in Firgrove, Milnrow and Newhey. People are quite rightly shocked that a vital service that ensures a direct route to the Royal Oldham Hospital can be axed without any proper consultation. I have met with the Commercial Director of First Buses and he readily admits that drivers didn't collect all the data on passengers. It's this very data that was used to justify the stopping all 182 services in the daytime. That is not acceptable and I made these points to Greater Manchester transport bosses. I also said that they need to work with First Buses and the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust to reinstate a direct service."
Also raised at the meeting were the unreliability of bus services in the Pennines, including the 182 failing to turn up, the 451/462 not fulfilling the routes, and on occasion not turning up at all, the scheduling of the 451 service in the morning (currently the service runs at 9.30am from Newhey when pensioner bus passes are invalid and the next bus isn't for 2 hours) and the ongoing local concern that there is still no bus service between Milnrow and Littleborough.
Local campaigner Dave Bamford, who launched and financed the petition said: "More and more people are having their say on the state of public transport in the Pennines. I am pleased that Transport for Greater Manchester are taking an interest - we need to ensure that our voice is heard as one. I would encourage everybody to have their say on public transport. Every response will be forwarded to transport as we make our case to get a fair deal for The Pennines. Please see https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/PGQKXWF."
Leader of Rochdale Liberal Democrats, Councillor Andy Kelly has welcomed Sir Eric Pickles' report into electoral fraud. Mr Pickles, in his role as the Government's Anti-Corruption Champion has issued a number of recommendations in a far reaching report into cheating at the ballot box. His report, presented to new Prime Minister Teresa May, was commissioned by David Cameron and comes as reports of electoral fraud are at an all-time high.
Councillor Kelly, the local Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate, said: "This report into widespread cheating in elections is welcome. I would encourage the new Prime Minister to take on board very real concerns that could be seen to subvert democracy. I especially support the need for voters to produce personal identification when voting. This is something I have supported for years and would give the public more confidence in our voting system and thus elected representatives. I also fully support the call to time limit postal votes. Currently any application for a postal vote is permanent and is open to systematic, widespread abuse. Extending the prinicipal of a 'secret' postal vote is something desperately needed. Here in Rochdale, there have been many allegations of intimidation of postal voters and indeed postal staff."
It was in in 2011, when Rochdale hit the headlines for electoral malpractice. The council received a number of reports of large groups of people attempting to pressure people into handing over incomplete postal votes. The allegations involved 6 electoral wards and the police were forced to step in after residents reported up to 20 people at a time turning up to their house demanding they hand over their postal votes. In the same year, dozens of postal votes were rejected. Up to 10% of postal votes were rejected in the Milkstone and Deeplish and Central Rochdale Wards alone.
Councillor Kelly said: "Since the Labour Party introduced postal voting on demand, allegations and indeed convictions have gone through the roof. There needs to be a root and branch reform of voting as a whole. Just to restore faith into what I believe is a rotten system. Every election in this Borough is marred by allegations of personalisation, postal vote fraud and intimidation. If Eric Pickles' recommendations are accepted it will be a step forward for democracy, often called into question in this Borough. I now call for the Conservative and Labour Party Leaders in this Borough to publicly back my call."
Sir Eric made more than 50 recommendations in his review. This included forcing voters to present identification at polling stations and banning activists from handling postal ballot papers.
Simon Danczuk's political rival Lib Dem Andy Kelly has labelled Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk "a hooligan" and claims that he needs to "go now for his own sake [and] the safety of others". Councillor Kelly, local Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate, was speaking as reports emerged that Danczuk spent the night in police cells in Spain after another altercation with ex-wife and employee Karen Danczuk. A national newspaper reported that Mrs Danczuk was left "bloodied and bruised' by the altercation. It is not known whether Danczuk, who was described by Spanish neighbours as "extremely drunk" is still in police custody. He is set to face court next week.
Councillor Andy Kelly, also the local Leader of Rochdale Liberal Democrats said: "Danczuk is a hooligan and needs to go now for his own sake. Everybody knows that he is not fit to be our MP. This is another step too far in a political career slowly coming to an end. I am dealing with female constituents who are frightened to give their own MP their personal details after he sent lurid, drunken texts to a young 17 year old old and had sex with another on his office desk. I've no idea what they'll be thinking now? What makes this case even more appalling is that Karen Danczuk is a Parliamentary employee. I've never known a case of MP's attacking their own Parliamentary Staff! I believe he needs to go for safety of others."
His arrest comes after a European tour courtesy of the Bangladeshi National Party (BNP) - where he took in Switzerland, Miland, Venice, Vatican City and Rome - before travelling onto Alicante. Where he stayed in what he affectionately calls "the Spanish Gaff!" Danczuk and Councillor Kelly have been involved in a war of words for months. Kelly's office reported Danczuk when he over claimed on expenses and had to pay back £11,000. Danczuk could yet face action over that as a Met Police decision is imminent. Danczuk was also labelled a 'narcissist' by Kelly and labelled an "embarrassment to the town" and a "danger to women". Danczuk's office last week wrote to a local newspaper with an extraordinary personal attack on their Lib Dem rival for questioning whether Danczuk was a right and proper person to represent the town.
Andy Kelly finished: "We've spent months gearing up for a by-election and that now looks inevitable. We will be setting out how we will be different and offer our town a desperately needed positive alternative. Whilst Danczuk remains an 'Independent' and is still suspended from the Labour Party, the local Labour Party remain stupidly loyal to him. They refuse to condemn any of his antics despite repeated requests to do. The latest example being when Danczuk 'tweeted' a 'joke' about gun crime just weeks after the death of Labour MP Jo Cox."