Hilary Rodgers - Wardle and West Littleborough

April 21, 2006 1:22 AM

The unbelievable 'coalition' between Labour and Conservatives in Rochdale (the only one to my knowledge in the UK) has made me more determined than ever to offer an alternative to the people of Wardle and West Littleborough. This 'unholy alliance' was formed only days after Paul Rowen was elected as our Liberal Democrat MP. Clearly only serving the Labour/Conservative councillors by enabling them to ride 'rough shod' over the majority of voters and taxpayers.

In this ward the Tories take your vote for granted. They think that all they have to do is put their name on the ballot form and you will all rush out and give them your vote... what cheek!

My Lib Dem colleagues and I don't take anything for granted. I firmly believe that the most important thing for any Councillor is to be aware that it is you the electorate that come first. That's why if elected; I will be a listening Councillor. Listening to your views and your concerns.

I am passionate about tackling local crime issues by listening and consulting local residents and will actively support more police officers on our streets. Also supporting our local magistrates to use their full sentencing powers when dealing with offender's, particularly persistent offenders.

It is extremely important that local people are fully consulted about their views and that participation should be at the centre of local democracy. After all they are the ones who know best about local issues including traffic problems.

I have spent seven years doing voluntary work, supporting victims of crime, within the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale and now work for a national charity, helping victims and witnesses of crime. Also, I am a national trainer for the same charity, training both staff and volunteers who support victims of serious crime.

Of course I would say that the voluntary sector deserve to be listened to and that our local council should work with them. But having worked as a volunteer I can speak from experience that we have a wealth of experience and committed local people within the Borough of Rochdale who are still providing vital services to residents, whilst this coalition are authorising cuts to their already meagre funding.

I know that many people are concerned about mobile phone base stations (masts). I want local people to be fully consulted before any mast is put up.

Finally, thank you for taking the time to read this and another big thank you to those people of Wardle and West Littleborough who put their names to a petition to fight against cuts at Rochdale Infirmary. Like me, I am sure you are furious that our hospital services may be reduced. Our signatures have been presented along with nearly 30,000 others to Downing Street by a delegation led by Paul Rowen MP.