WHAT are you voting for and who will get your vote when Oldham goes to the polls in the local elections on Thursday, May 3? Here are the five candidates standing in Saddleworth South:
Helen Bishop – Independent
(The Saddleworth Independent apologies that Helen Bishop’s details were not included in our April printed publication due to not being confirmed before our print deadline)
I am 41 and have been a Youth and Community worker, based in Greenfield, for 20 years. I went to Saddleworth School and am a Criminology Post Graduate from Keele University.
I am a founder member and trustee of SSYCA, involved in retaining The Satellite Centre, Greenfield for youth and community use after its closure by OMBC. I currently run a voluntary youth project there.
There is a need for greater transparency, accountability and fair representation for the Saddleworth Community. A non-party political candidate demonstrates local politics isn’t for a select few and will hopefully encourage others in the community to involve themselves in decision-making.
I am able to work with councillors from all parties to resolve important local issues and create vital new employment opportunities for young people and the wider community. Over the last two decades I have developed positive working relationships with many councillors and council officers.
I will insist on improvements to infrastructure, roads, schools, access to health care BEFORE any further developments are approved to avoid over-stretched facilities and services, and protect greenbelt and will work with council officials to ensure road safety measures in key places such as Chew Valley Road.
I would like to request an independent assessment of the efficiency of drainage work at Churchill Playing Fields and a re-engagement with the public as to why it doesn’t seem to have worked.
My main objective is to actively listen to those who feel out of touch with local party politics and to work to ensure that any further developments provide affordable housing for families, the elderly and those with additional needs.
Cllr Dr Jamie Curley – Conservative Party
I have lived in Saddleworth for 40 years and have been a Saddleworth Parish Councillor for the last three years.
Living in Greenfield, my three children have all attended the local schools.
Working with community groups over the last three years I know how passionate the people of Saddleworth are about our area and how much living here means.
In the last few years I have worked for and with our community and have accomplished many important things:
• Working with NatWest to secure Community Banking for Saddleworth (a first in UK)
• Getting funding for flood mitigation works in Greenfield
• Establishing the Satellite Centre as a Community resource
• Defending our precious Green Spaces from overdevelopment
• Establishing a Youth Council for Saddleworth
• Defending Saddleworth from funding cuts
• Ensuring Community Services remain in Saddleworth
I want to maintain the character of our community and make sure Saddleworth South gets the investment it deserves to allow our villages to continue being the vital and vibrant communities they should be and NOT just a dormitory for Manchester and Leeds. I’m on YOUR side.
My Pledges to you in this election are:
• I will work for YOU not vested interests
• Defending our precious green spaces
• Campaign for restoration of a decent Rail service for Saddleworth
• Localism: campaigning for more decision-making powers for Saddleworth
• Fighting for value for money for Saddleworth South Council Tax payers
• Making sure we get the investment and resources Saddleworth South Needs
• Campaigning for safer roads in Saddleworth
• Make your voice heard in Oldham.
Catherine Hunter-Rossall – Green Party
I live with my partner Andrew and work for an insurance company.
I am active in the local community and regularly volunteer with Street Pastors.
I am keen to see the next government stand up for our NHS, reversing the privatisation of health services.
I am also concerned about the serious damage fracking could cause to our landscape and our health.
At a local level, I have reservations about the processes Oldham Council use to approve planning permissions.
The developments I have seen in recent years don’t seem to make sense: green spaces and recreational areas are being lost to housing, and many do not meet the recommended quotas for affordable homes.
Meanwhile, brownfield sites are left derelict. If we invested in these instead we could have newly renovated areas for housing as well as retaining green space.
With 19,000 people on the housing waiting lists across the borough and the second highest number of house repossessions in the UK, the housing priority locally must be truly affordable homes at social housing rents.
The Green Party is also putting plastic pollution high on the agenda at this election.
The River Tame, which flows through Saddleworth, was recently found to be the most polluted ever measured in terms of micro-plastics.
We need to learn to reduce our dependency on single use plastics and recycle those that we do use.
Ian Manners – Labour Party
I am a Greenfield resident, a governor at Greenfield Primary school and the Labour and Co-operative Party candidate for Saddleworth South.
I have been working with our MP, Debbie Abrahams, and local Labour Councillors including the Chair of the Saddleworth District Partnership, Cllr Adrian Alexander, to help Saddleworth South.
An example of this is working to fight crime with the installation of new CCTV in Uppermill High Street.
If elected I will also work with the Council to build better school buildings that are fit for the children of Saddleworth in both Greenfield and Diggle in order to improve the education and life chances for young people in our area.
I will work to end the current long waiting lists in some of our local GP practices, to improve and maintain transport links and to stop the Tory Great Train Robbery of train commuters and fight to the stop any attempt to cancel the 352 bus service to Holmfirth.
I will prioritise preventing flooding through our flood infrastructure that has already been improved by the Labour Council as was shown by the recent bad weather when no local floods occurred.
I will also campaign to improve roads with a programme for fixing potholes, keep our environment clean, build affordable housing on old brownfield land like the old Ainsworth site off Queensway and to help people to live independently in their own homes.
I strongly believe that Labour can win here and show that Labour is the future.
John McCann – Liberal Democrats
I am married with two grown up children and have lived in Saddleworth for 42 years.
I have been an active Oldham Borough Councillor for the last 12 years and before that on Saddleworth Parish Council. I serve as Deputy Leader of the Opposition.
I care deeply for our villages and communities and have fought hard to keep local facilities and services like post offices, shops, bus and train services, doctors’ surgeries and libraries.
The biggest threat facing Saddleworth is Greater Manchester‘s plans to allocate land for over 2,000 houses on our precious Green Belt and open spaces.
Roads are in a sorry state, our schools are full and our secondary school needs replacing without further delay.
My priorities if re-elected are to:
• Implement Liberal Democrat plans to spend £5 million more on roads, pavements and drainage.
• Fight against Labour and Conservative Green Belt land grab plans.
• Fight against excessive housing development and prioritise the use of brownfield sites and affordable housing for local young people and their families.
• Move more decision making and funds to Saddleworth from Oldham.
• Improve local youth services.
• Increase train services, make Greenfield Station disabled accessible and reinstate trains to Manchester Victoria (to be axed in May).
• Improve crime prevention and re-open the public desk at Uppermill Police Station.
• Invest in street cleaning and tackling litter and fly tipping.
• Enforce planning conditions and stop developers ruining Saddleworth.
• Continue to listen to your concerns.