Liberal Democrats vow to fight to save Oldham’s Greenbelt from house building threat

The Liberal Democrat Group on Oldham Council is gearing up for the next round in its fight to save Oldham’s Greenbelt from housing.

In just a few weeks’ time, Labour’s Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham will be publishing his latest proposals for the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (the GMSF) which will identify where he wants housebuilding to take place across Greater Manchester over the next twenty years.

Last year, public opposition, backed by support from Liberal Democrat Councillors across Greater Manchester, forced the new Mayor to withdraw the original proposals to build homes on greenbelt across the county, including many thousands in Shaw, Crompton, Saddleworth, Chadderton and Royton.

The new proposals will be the subject of further public consultation.

Commenting Shaw Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, Leader of the Opposition and of the Liberal Democrat Group on Oldham Council, said: “Last time, the public and Liberal Democrat Councillors gave Labour a bloody nose for its cheek in attempting to concrete over our beautiful green fields and hillsides, creating an unwanted blot on the landscape.”

“The Liberal Democrats recognise that we shall need more homes, including affordable homes for first-time buyers and renters and homes for people living independently with disabilities, but our Greenbelt is irreplaceable so we will continue to oppose any plans to build there when there are unused brownfield sites that can be built on and empty mills which can be converted into residential accommodation.”

“And we also want to see big improvements to our roads, public transport and amenities to cope with the extra demands that more housing will bring.”

Councillor Sykes added: “In March of last year, the Oldham Liberal Democrats brought a motion to full Council demanding we withdraw from the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework and establish our own fifteen year Local Plan identifying our own housing needs and housing sites.  In a typical example of Labour hypocrisy, their Councillors shed crocodile tears over building on the Greenbelt but then opposed our proposals to withdraw from the GMSF plan and draw up our own priorities in consultation with local people by using their majority to amend the motion by removing reference to these demands.”

The Oldham Liberal Democrats wanted to see a Local Plan for the Oldham Borough where new housing development takes place first:

  • on brownfield or derelict sites
  • on sites with existing planning permission for housing
  • by converting long-term empty mills, shops and offices into homes
  • by bringing existing long-term empty homes back into use

The Liberal Democrats also want to see firm commitments made to invest in those areas where new housing is to be built to provide better roads, improvements in public transport, more school places, and increased capacity in local doctors’ and dentists’ surgeries and health centres.

Councillor Sykes said: “In Shaw and Crompton, we already have primary schools which are bursting at the seams and an overburdened and run down health centre; without more investment in our transport infrastructure and better, new public facilities we simply cannot cope with any more people.”

“The Liberal Democrats will be making its position crystal clear in response to the consultation – No building on our Greenbelt – and I would urge those residents who share our concerns to also respond with their comments before the deadline to the consultation. More information about the GMSF can be found at the website https://www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/GMSF and residents can also register to receive updates by email.  Let’s work together to save our precious Greenbelt.”

Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet and team announced for 2018/19

The Leader of the Opposition and of the Liberal Democrat Group on Oldham Council, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, has today announced the appointment of his Shadow Cabinet Team and membership of outside bodies and committees for 2018/19.

Councillor Howard Sykes said:  “I am looking forward to once more leading the opposition team on Oldham Council. The Council will have a new Labour Leader and a reshuffled administration.”

“Voters can rest assured that the Oldham Liberal Democrats will remain constant in opposing waste and inefficiency and in always speaking up for fair treatment for our citizens and for value-for-money and common sense,” he added.  “As ever, the Liberal Democrats remain the only party holding Labour to account on Oldham Council, and we shall continue to take that responsibility seriously.”

Shadow Cabinet Members: 

Name of Councillor Portfolio
Howard Sykes MBE Economy and Enterprise (Opposition Leader)
Hazel Gloster Education and Culture
Julia Turner Children’s Services
Garth Harkness Employment and Skills
Derek Heffernan Health and Social Care
Dave Murphy Neighbourhood Services
Diane Williamson Policing and Community Safety
Diane Williamson Housing
Chris Gloster Finance and Corporate Resources (Opposition Deputy Leader)

 Official Spokespersons / Lead Members on Boards and Committees: 

Name of Councillor Board / Committee
Howard Sykes MBE Transport for Greater Manchester Committee
Chris Gloster Audit Committee
Diane Williamson Overview and Scrutiny Board
Garth Harkness Performance and Value for Money Committee
Hazel Gloster Planning Committee
Chris Gloster Licensing Committee
Diane Williamson Standards Committee
Howard Sykes MBE Health and Well-being Board
Dave Murphy Petitions and Traffic Regulation Orders
Howard Sykes MBE Commons Registration
Howard Sykes MBE Selection
Hazel Gloster GM Scrutiny Pool

District Executives: 

Name of Councillor District Executive
Diane Williamson Chair, Shaw and Crompton
Garth Harkness Official Spokesperson, Saddleworth and Lees

 

Oldham Council Liberal Democrat Opposition Leadership Team announced for 2018/19

At a Group meeting held on 9 May, the Oldham Borough Liberal Democrat Group appointed, unanimously and un-opposed, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE as their Leader and Councillor Chris Gloster as their Deputy Leader.  The Group also elected its other officers for the year.

Councillor Howard Sykes said:  “I am grateful to my colleagues for their unanimous support once more for my work as Group Leader.  Sadly the former Deputy Leader John McCann lost his seat in last week’s local elections and I shall miss his expertise and enthusiasm, but I am looking forward to working with our new Deputy Leader, Chris Gloster.”

“I am also pleased to welcome my new ward colleague, Councillor Hazel Gloster, to the group, and to welcome back Councillor Dave Murphy.  They both have proven records of working for the people of Crompton and Shaw and I know that they will make a real difference.  The Liberal Democrats remain the only real opposition party holding Labour to account on Oldham Council.”

“The voters who backed us can reassured that, under my leadership, we will continue as a Group to speak out and to work as a united team.  We will offer common-sense solutions to the Borough’s problems and challenge the Labour Administration to cut waste and provide the value-for-money services that the public wants.”

“As the Liberal Democrat Opposition, we shall also oppose further central government cuts to Council finances and fight plans by the Greater Manchester Mayor and Labour leaders to build thousands of houses on our irreplaceable Green Belt. And green spaces.”

The Liberal Democrat Group: Leader – Howard Sykes; Deputy Leader – Chris Gloster; Group Chair – Dave Murphy; Political Secretary – Garth Harkness; Treasurer – Hazel Gloster; Group Secretary – Diane Williamson.

Shaw and Crompton election results 3 May 2018

Many thanks to those who supported us in the elections on May 3.

Shaw Ward

Result: LIB DEM Hold

Turnout: 30.57%

Name of Candidate Party Number of votes
The Conservative Party Candidate 427
The Liberal Party Candidate 217
GLOSTER
Hazel
  Liberal Democrats 1,023
Labour and Co-operative Party 672

Crompton Ward

Result: LIB DEM Hold

Turnout: 32.25%

Name of Candidate Party Number of votes
Labour Party 628
The Conservative Party Candidate 541
MURPHY
Dave
  Liberal Democrats 1,359
Q Independent 102