Council Leader Steps Down
The leader of Rochdale Council, Councillor Alan Taylor, is to step down from his position on grounds of ill health.
The ruling Liberal Democrat group will officially announce the move later this week and will shortly begin their search for a new leader.
Councillor Taylor said he had been honoured to lead the Council, a position he has held since the Liberal Democrats became the ruling party in 2006. He still plans to stand in next May's election in the Healey ward, where he has been a councillor since 2004.
Councillor Taylor said: "I am known as a workaholic, but in my present state of health I don't feel I can devote the hours I feel are necessary to do the job as I would like to do it. Unfortunately my health is simply unable to cope with the demands and requirements at this time. There are a lot of people involved in trying to improve my health and I think I need a period of time to concentrate on them.
"It has been a great honour to be Leader of Rochdale Council and I have really appreciated the warmth I have received from Councillors, Officers and the General Public. I would like to thank the cross-party support that I have received since my health deteriorated. Also, I would like to say a special thanks to Councillor Pat Flynn and Councillor Irene Davidson. I still plan to be very much involved with the Liberal Democrat Group and the Council and I am looking forward to standing for Healey again in May 2010.
"When I became leader of the Council I had a clear set of priorities for our borough which I feel we have achieved successfully. These included devolution to townships, an older person's champion, more investment into our voluntary sector, a yearly reduction in Council tax and improving our local environment. I have to say my proudest moment has to be securing the Metrolink extension to our town. The long-term benefits and regeneration that this will offer to Rochdale are immense and in addition to this the future development of Rochdale town centre is something I look forward to seeing in the future."
Councillor Taylor took over the leadership of the Liberal Democrats when Paul Rowen left the position to become an MP in 2005. Commenting on the news, Mr Rowen said: "Alan has been a fantastic Leader of our Council and I am sure he will continue to work hard for our town as a Healey ward Councillor. As a former Councillor myself I have seen first-hand just how hard-working and dedicated a man he is. I am sure whoever is elected as his successor will continue to take this Council forward."