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
Friday, December 16, from 7pm to 10:30pm
The Masonic Hall, Richard Street, Rochdale
Lord Chris Rennard will be our guest speaker at our annual dinner. Chris started his political career in Liverpool helping David Alton win the Edge Hill by-election. As Director of Campaigns and later Chief Executive of the Liberal Democrats Chris developed the parties targeting strategy. This saw the number of MPs elected from 1997 to 2005 increase from 19 to 62, the largest number of MPs since Lloyd George led the party in 1922. In 1999 Chris was appointed a life peer on the recommendaton of Paddy Ashdown and has since spoken on political and constitutional issues.
Milnrow and Newhey Councillors have held an emergency meeting with Council Officers to finally make progress on the CCTV at Milnrow Memorial Park. They criticised the council earlier this week after the park suffered enormous damage after vandals poured a tin of gloss paint in the play area. They have praised the Council however for acting swiftly to his call for a clean up.
- RATP Dev 'not preferred bidder' for Metrolink.
- Decision on 20 year contract 'imminent'
- Lib Dems claim the decision is 'massive for Rochdale'
The company running Metrolink could lose it's contact according to a report made by it, RATP DEV, to Companies House. The company have run Metrolink since 2007. A public Companies House strategic report said that the company was "assessing its options in response to information received from Transport for Greater Manchester that it is not the preferred bidder".
The company is one of four bidding to run Metrolink from 2017. Three other companies - KeolisAmey, National Express and Transdev - are bidding to operate Metrolink from 2017 to 2027. The report said RATP Dev would transfer staff to its other branches if its Greater Manchester services were closed.
Lib Dem leader Councillor Andy Kelly said: "Metrolink is by no means perfect but I believe that RATP Dev have done an excellent job as the tram system was extended to Milnrow, Newhey and Rochdale. I have always found them helpful and willing to act on residents' concern. I believe that Transport for Greater Manchester's imminent decision on the future operator for Metrolink is absolutely critical. It's massive for Rochdale as its at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse and improving our light rail system will help our Borough compete with the rest of the region."
Earlier this year, Councillor Kelly wrote to all four bidders making recommendations for improvements to Metrolink services. This included making the tram every six minutes instead of every 12, improving the safety of stations and investing in additional car parking in places like Newhey. He even recommended allowing dogs on trams after complaints from residents.
Kelly said: "Liberal Democrats have been at the heart of the campaign to deliver and improve Metrolink in Rochdale and the Pennines. It was us that ran the local campaign to extend it here in the first place after Blair's Labour Government broke an election promise. Metrolink has increased house prices and made a real difference to how people get around our town. I am pleased that RATP Dev are committed to relocating jobs if they lose the contract. I have said it before though - I will support the bidder who delivers the best deal for our borough."
Councillor Andy Kelly, leader of Rochdale Liberal Democrats has urged Rochdale Council to send a team to clean up the play area at Milnrow Memorial Park. He was speaking after vandals poured gloss paint all over the new play area and even signed what is thought to be their names. He has reported the incident to the Council after receiving complaints from furious residents. He has also asked the local police to investigate and called for parents to keep their children away until the park is cleaned up.
Councillor Kelly said: "This vandalism is completely unacceptable. I am absolutely furious. I have visited the site and I estimate that it will cost hundreds if not thousands of pounds to clean up. The play area is extremely popular with locals and we need to catch the culprits as a matter of urgency. I am proud that incidents of anti-social behaviour are few and far between locally. We are lucky in our area to have an active 'friends of' group in the park - I have spoken to members this morning and they are livid. This act of mindless vandalism will affect so many people and I urged the police to step up their patrol in the absence of CCTV."
Councillor Irene Davidson, an active member of the Friends of Milnrow Memorial Park said: "I'm disgusted. How anybody can do this to a facility which so many people love and enjoy beggars belief."
Davidson has demanded a meeting with the Council to discuss CCTV and security at the park. She accused the Council of breaking previous promises to install CCTV overlooking the play area. She said: "If the Council had kept promises made before the election and installed CCTV, it would have been easy to catch the culprits. The fact that the people responsible signed their names in paint may make it easier for us the identify them. The Council have let us down, dragging their feet over the CCTV. Environmental Services agreed to give a 24 hour / 7 days a week, state of the art CCTV system the go ahead after liaising with the police. Now they claim that they didn't realise that it was their responsibility to fit it. They are playing silly buggers and should keep their promises. I hope they agree to meet Councillor Kelly and myself at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss their failings and to get on with the job."
Rochdale Lib Dem Leader, Councillor Andy Kelly has called for the controversial post of Assistant Cabinet members to be scrapped. He made the call in a meeting with an Independent Remuneration Panel, who periodically look at councillor's allowances. The Milnrow and Newhey councillor called for an end to a "... jobs for the comrades" mentality and claimed that a whopping 80% of councillors on the authority receive a Special Responsibility Allowance - one of the highest in percentages in the country.
Councillor Kelly said: "Democracy in this borough has never been more expensive. I was pleased to have the opportunity to put over my opinion to an independent body. It has long been my belief that Assistant Cabinet Members posts should to be scrapped. There is no need for them - they offer nothing to this Council, are a waste of money and I hope that the independent body acts on my concerns."
There are currently nine Assistant Cabinet Members on Rochdale Council. They each cost taxpayers £2,106.07 annually, a total of £18,954.63 every year. This is equivalent to over six school crossing patrols that the Council are suggesting that schools pay for instead of them.
Kelly added: "The very first thing that Labour did when they took over the Council in 2012 was to bring in these non-jobs. They claimed in opposition that they would reduce the cost of democracy - instead it's gone through the roof. There was a time when being a councillor was voluntary. It was seen as public service. Now we have a new generation of professional politicians. The average councillor in this Borough earns more than the local average wage. How can that be right?"
Councillor Irene Davidson made the call to scrap the positions at the last council meeting. She asked Council Leader Richard Farnell: "Whilst I appreciate that money is tight - do you agree with me that this council has the wrong priorities? This council is aiming cuts at the most vulnerable whilst retaining non-jobs like Assistant Cabinet Members, costing this council thousands. Would the leader of the council send a clear message to the people of this Borough that they are on their side by axing Assistant Cabinet Members - or at least the Special Responsibility Allowance that goes with it?"
Councillor Farnell brushed the question off claiming they have never been busier, something the Lib Dems refute. "He may not be able to brush off a recommendation from an Independent Panel," claims Kelly. The panel are expected to report back shortly.