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 three candidates standing in Saddleworth West and Lees:
Sam Al-Hamdani – Liberal Democrats
I am a local campaigner, born and bred in Saddleworth, who has now moved back to Lees after working at the United Nations in Geneva.
I now help to run an accreditation scheme for companies who pay their fair share of tax, the Fair Tax Mark.
Many local residents currently feel like they are not getting what they need from Oldham Council; whether it’s the number of potholes in the streets, litter, or the endless delays over Saddleworth School.
The Council needs to do more to engage in Saddleworth and Lees. There isn’t an endless pot of money, but residents don’t feel that spending is going on the things that make a difference.
As a local councillor on the front line, I will ensure that people are heard, that they get honest support when they need it, and that the Council can prove that it spends the money it has fairly and equitably.
To have a community that cares, the Council has to show the community that it cares about them.
That means things like funding for youth services, which the Liberal Democrats are fighting to increase. That means not cutting street cleaning services and keeping promises on street repairs.
The Council needs to lead the way. Whether it’s through simple steps like banning single use plastics, something the Liberal Democrats have got the council to do.
Or by being better at providing services and listening to residents, I am determined to make a difference.
Valerie Leach – Labour Party
I live in Saddleworth, returning to the place close to where I grew up, after working with UNICEF in Africa for most of my professional working life. I am the mother of two children, now young adults, whom I adopted while working in Tanzania. A
t that time I had a home in Harrop Green, but after retirement from UNICEF, the family moved to London where I served as a Councillor with Camden Council and then a Cabinet Member for regeneration and growth.
I volunteer with and am co-chair of the Unity Project, helping destitute asylum seekers in Oldham. With the Canal and River Trust, I volunteer to improve the environs along the Dobcross section of the canal.
If I am elected a councillor, my main priorities will be to ensure greater opportunities for children and young people and to ensure that care services for the elderly and young people are properly financed and managed.
I want to be involved with the planning and budgeting process, and especially to have young people’s interests and concerns given greater priority, to encourage forums where young people can be increasingly involved in planning, budgeting and management.
New homes are needed, but they must not come at the expense of much-loved green and open spaces. As the redrafting of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework proceeds, planning must make the best use of built-up areas and brown-field sites. Moreover, new homes must be available for social rent and at prices which ordinary families can afford.
Andris D’Adamo – Conservative Party
I was born, raised and currently live in Saddleworth West and Lees.
I studied Politics and International Relations at university before going onto work within my family bakery business, something that has helped me see the true value of an honest day’s work.
Unlike other candidates I have not been shipped in to fight an election. I simply want the people of my local area to have a councillor that knows the area well and is passionate and cares about the community and its issues.
I am committed to fighting against Labour Council land grabs of greenbelt within Saddleworth West and Lees.
Preventing the planned housing development with very few affordable homes at Knowls Lane is a big priority. The Council’s inability to think through and plan a development of this scale is very concerning.
Investing in repairing pot-holes is essential. The area has some of the worst kept roads in the borough. It is essential we repair these, especially considering the high amount of council tax residents pay with little given in return.
I am committed to bringing business back to Oldham. Our town is currently ranked 365 out of 379 for business competitiveness. It’s time to change this.
Fighting rising crime in the area remains a high priority. We have seen crime rates rise significantly recently. By working closely with the authorities and enforcing community payback we can help reduce crime.
Some parties would have you believe this election is about electing a government. It is not. This is about electing a local councillor for our local area, someone who will fight for Grotton, Springhead and Lees.