Councillor fears new planning rules a concern for Saddleworth

Councillor fears new planning rules a concern for Saddleworth

Borough news, Campaigns, Parliamentary news
Saddleworth North Liberal Democrat Councillor Garth Harkness has expressed concerns about the likely negative impact of Boris Johnson’s new White Paper ‘Planning for the Future’, which the Conservatives claim will represent the most radical changes to our planning system since the Second World War.  Councillor Harkness said: “We live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country, but this Conservative legislation will do nothing for our green and pleasant land.” Under the Conservative plan, central government will designate whole swathes of the country for ‘growth’, meaning that developers will have ‘planning permission in principle’. Conservative ministers claim it will eliminate ‘red tape’ but the Liberal Democrats fear that it abolish any meaningful involvement of local councils and residents in planning matters. Councillor Garth Harkness said “I already have a…
Read More
Liberal Democrats say road policing ‘not optional’

Liberal Democrats say road policing ‘not optional’

Borough news, Campaigns, road safety
Traffic cops often feature in our television shows, but the harsh reality is that the traffic officers forming the thin blue line are too few and grossly underfunded, and the Liberal Democrat Group on Oldham Council wants to do something about that. Liberal Democrat Councillors are taking a motion to the next meeting of Oldham Council (9 September) calling for a restoration of funding for traffic policing to help prevent road deaths and for traffic policing to be made a priority in Greater Manchester. Figures published by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy show a 34% cut in funding in real terms for road policing between 2012/3 and 2019/20 meaning less officers available to keep our streets safe. The Deputy Group Leader, Councillor Chris Gloster is proposing the…
Read More
Let’s all do our bit to tackle litter

Let’s all do our bit to tackle litter

Borough news, Campaigns
The Oldham Liberal Democrat Group has echoed the recent call of Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal for more local action over litter by tabling a motion at the next meeting of the Full Council (September 9) on the issue. The campaign group Keep Britain Tidy is organising the Great British September Clean-Up from 11 – 27 September, and Liberal Democrat Councillors Diane Williamson and Sam Al-Hamdani see this as ideal opportunity to get the Council, its employees, local businesses and residents working together to make our borough cleaner. Crompton Councillor Diane Williamson, who is proposing the motion, said:  “No one wants  to see litter on our streets.  It makes our neighbourhoods look dirty and unloved.  We want to encourage residents and businesses to join forces with the Council to clear our…
Read More
20mph speed limit OK for one but not the other

20mph speed limit OK for one but not the other

Borough news, Campaigns, road safety
Councillor Garth Harkness has welcomed an 18 month order to limit speeds of cars in Uppermill, to facilitate social distancing, but is also perplexed by the decision. He said: “I have been campaigning for a long time with regards to 20mph speed limits, backing the “20's plenty” campaign. The Council failed to support my motion for 20mph limits on residential roads across the borough. “After the HGV incidents in Dobcross residents and I have been pushing for Dobcross to become a 20mph zone. “Despite this happening in other parts of the country there has always been an excuse not to do it. But now, it seems that we can introduce the measures for social distancing but not for road safety? “I call on the council to again introduce 20mph speed…
Read More
Councillor calls for changes on pavement parking

Councillor calls for changes on pavement parking

Borough news, Campaigns, Parliamentary news
Local Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani has written to the Transport Secretary urging him to ensure that a consultation to ensure pavements set to become safer for parents and disabled people does not get forgotten about. The consultation was due this summer, but has not yet happened. Sam said: “This year has been a turbulent one, and it is still difficult for all of us. But we have to make sure that we carry on fixing day-to-day problems for people. Running a consultation such as this can be done without any real impact from the Coronavirus, so is exactly the sort of work that the Government should be taking forward.” Pavement parking is a constant issue for parents with prams and buggies, and for anyone in a wheelchair, often necessitating that they…
Read More
Nitrous Oxide advice must be updated, says local councillor

Nitrous Oxide advice must be updated, says local councillor

Borough news, Campaigns
After Government advice on restricting the supply of nitrous oxide for recreational use was withdrawn, local councillor Sam Al-Hamdani has written to the Home Office seeking for an urgent update on the issue. The advice was withdrawn three weeks ago (July 23), citing that it no longer represents Government policy, but with no link to any new advice, and no indication of replacement advice in the Home Office’s news and communications. Councillor Al-Hamdani said: “There is no part of our borough where you do not see these small canisters left around, night after night. Both myself and the Liberal Democrat leader Howard Sykes have raised this at council meetings. We need to ensure that more is done to stop their abuse. “As such, I have written to the Home Office…
Read More
Lib Dems call for a rail fare freeze

Lib Dems call for a rail fare freeze

Borough news, Campaigns, Parliamentary news
The Liberal Democrats are calling for a freeze on rail fares following the announcement that the Retail Price Index rose by 1.6% in July, which will be used to calculate the increase in fares at the end of the year. The Liberal Democrats suggest that any increase in fares would be “a slap in the face” for consumers. Given the significant drop in passenger numbers due to COVID-19, the Party is calling for fare freezes to help restore confidence in the railways. The Party want to see additional funding to increase capacity and build a network “fit for the future”, vital if the UK Government are serious about cutting emissions and reducing air pollution. Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Sarah Olney said: “Any plans to go ahead with a fare increase…
Read More

Water help for customers affected by Covid-19 welcomed by Lib Dems

Borough news, Campaigns
The Leader of the Opposition and of the Liberal Democrat Group on Oldham Council, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, has welcomed the renewal of financial support by regional water supplier United Utilities for Oldham customers suffering financially during the Covid-19 pandemic. Councillor Sykes said: “At this time of rising unemployment and financial uncertainty, many people in Oldham will be struggling to meet their bills. Any help from utility companies to ease their budget is very welcome. “The Oldham Liberal Democrats have always been concerned about poverty issues in our borough. We have campaigned on food, fuel, period and, most recently, clothing poverty and over five years ago we raised the issue of water poverty in a motion we took to a meeting of the full council in July 2015. “Liberal Democrat…
Read More
Promise of special council meeting on Labour’s green belt homes plan welcomed

Promise of special council meeting on Labour’s green belt homes plan welcomed

Borough news, Campaigns
The Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Oldham Council, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, has welcomed confirmation from the Leader of Oldham Council that a special meeting of the full Council will be called with a one-item agenda to discuss Labour’s green belt homes plan, called the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, and its impact on the Oldham Borough. Responding to a letter sent from Councillor Sykes 22 July asking once more if such a meeting would be convened soon, and when, the Leader has replied in writing confirming that ‘an extraordinary meeting of the full council (will be held) with a single item agenda to discuss the plans, and that it will take place as an addition to this year’s council meeting cycle’. The Council…
Read More
Making a green difference – 95% drop in single-use plastic bags welcomed

Making a green difference – 95% drop in single-use plastic bags welcomed

Borough news, Campaigns, Parliamentary news
The Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Oldham Council, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, has welcomed recent news that sales of single-plastic bags at major supermarkets in England has dropped 95% since the 5 pence charge was brought in. The Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has published date that shows that the main supermarket retailers sold 226 million bags in the 2019/20 financial year compared to an estimated 7.6 billion bags handed out for free in 2015. Commenting Councillor Sykes said: “The introduction of a 5p charge for disposable single-use plastic bags was a Liberal Democrat policy in the Coalition Government. We wanted to introduce this to tackle the culture of shoppers routinely asking for a free bag and then disposing…
Read More