Monday, 30 November 2009

Fair taxes at the heart of Liberal Democrat message

Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg today pledged to put fair taxes at the heart of the party’s message to the British people.

The party’s new tax plans will see tax cuts for millions of people, paid for by closing tax loopholes, making polluters pay and introducing a ‘mansion tax’ on homes worth over £2m.

Nick Clegg said: “If you want to know how committed a government is to fairness then look at its tax system.

“Gordon Brown has created a tax regime that forces some of the lowest earners in society to pay hundreds of pounds in tax they can’t afford, while polluters and rich tax dodgers avoid paying their fair share.

“Under our plans people won’t pay a penny on the first ten thousand pounds they earn. That would put £700 back in the pockets of the vast majority of tax payers, and take millions of people on low pay out of paying income tax altogether. "

I think these plans are by far the most radical and far reaching tax reform in a generation. They represent everything the Liberal Democrats stand for: fairness, protecting the environment, rewarding hard work.

'Save Chorlton Meadows' Campaign

I have been busy delivering the St Barnabas newsletter in Chorltonville today. The 'Save Chorlton Meadows' campaign will be holding drop in surgeries in the church during December. These sessions will be an excellent oppertunity to view the plans, chat to campaign group members and local councillors, and contain useful information on how to make your objection to the proposed development on the Meadows.

Come to St Barnabas Church (corner of Hardy Lane and Hurstville Road) on Tuesday 15th December from 7pm to 9pm or Wednesday 16th December from 9.30am to 11.30am. I look forward to seeing you there!

P.S. Thanks to Rachael Magowan for taking this photo of me with local campaigners and councillors at the Protest Picnic.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Longford Park Wins

Longford Park was successful in its bid to win £50,000 in lottery funding. Congratulations to the campaigners and a big thankyou to all those who voted for it. I look forward to seeing the improvements soon.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Encouraging signs for campaign against Mega TESCO

I was very encouraged today that the Home Secretary has upheld the planning inspectorate's decision to refuse the application for the Tesco/Everton stadium development in Kirkby.

Similar to the situation with Lancashire Cricket Club in Stetford, Tesco said the development was as a regeneration project and were using the promise of a new stadium for Everton Football Club to side-step local planning law.

Local residents in Kirkby successfully stood up against the development and proved that local people can beat the developers.

The No Mega Tesco group is holding a Community Action drop in evening on Thursday December 3rd to get busy writing letters of objection. They will be at Gorse Hill United Church between 6-9 pm (corner of Wesley Street and Chester Road in Stretford ) with some pointers to make in letters that address planning issues. I will be attending and hope to see you there.

The group is also organising door to door leafleting in the next few weeks in Chorlton and need volunteers to help with distribution. If you'd like to help out with this, please contact Margaret Westbrook who is co-ordinating the leafleting.

Anyone interested in getting more involved in this campaign should email and ask to be added to the email list.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Vote Longford Park!

Longford Park is in line for a £50,000 lottery award – if it gets enough votes in a national competition. Longford Park has been shortlisted to receive the money from the People's Millions award. The money would be used to transform the park which borders Chorlton by creating a new garden in the former rose, ornamental and water gardens. The area would also become an educational resource for schools and youth groups.The award is being organised by the Big Lottery Fund in conjunction with ITV, and Longford Park will be featured on Granada TV's evening news programme this evening.

Please join me in voting for Longford Park before Midnight tonight!

Monday, 23 November 2009

Mega TESCO Fears

Plans for the largest Tesco in Manchester, near to Lancashire Cricket Ground, have just been submitted. I am very concerned that Chorlton could suffer badly if these plans are approved. Chorlton’s independent shops are already threatened by the big supermarkets. This development could turn Chorlton into a ghost town.
Please join me in opposing these plans by writing to Trafford Council and letting them know what you think.

The application is available online at this address:

TALKChorlton Consultation

I am very proud of Chorlton’s lively and prosperous shopping centre and our strong Independent shops. However more could be done to bring the centre into the 21st century and make it more accessible; to ensure that our local shops flourish well into the future.

That is why I was disappointed by the delays to the Council run consultation on the future of Chorlton district centre, which finally started in late September. It is costing local residents over £28,000 yet the survey is not very detailed, and they are not consulting door to door or by post. However it is so important that all local residents take part in the consultation and have their views heard.

The Council has already decided that Chorlton needs another supermarket. However I don’t believe local people want one; and I would be very concerned that any new supermarket could damage Chorlton’s unique character. We already have an excellent mix of shops in Chorlton, and the Council should be encouraging our independent sector.

It is so important that local resident’s views are at the forefront of any changes in Chorlton and that the Labour Council and developers don’t force through their plans. I hope all local people put their views forward as this is our opportunity to have our say on Chorlton’s future; and to achieve long term change in Chorlton.

Surveys are available in Chorlton Library or online.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Labour ignore local people and force through cottage demolitions

I was very disappointed to find out today that the Labour run Planning Committee has ignored local residents and 15 Wythenshawe councillors and forced through plans to demolish two cottages to make way for a freight terminal and 4 lane dual carriageway at Manchester Airport. Only Labour Councillors on the Committee voted for the plans.

I support a sustainable Airport, but this development is completely wrong. Perhaps this is why the Council didn't include the airport in their Climate Change plans! It also raises the question of what is the point of electing Labour Councillors if they can be so easily ignored by their Labour colleagues. Like the closure of Ewing School, this is another example of Labour ignoring the wishes of local people.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Autumn Leaf Sweeps

The Council arranges regular leaf sweeps of roads and footpaths during the Autumn when leaf fall is at its highest. However a number of residents have complained to me about the way in which these sweeps are being carried out. In particular local residents are concerned about the lack of notice from the Council about these sweeps. Consequently many residents leave their cars parked on the roads being swept and as a result the leaves are not collected and are left as a hazard on the road.

Today I wrote to the Council asking them to let local residents know about any leaf sweeps on their road so they can arrange for the road to be as clear as possible when the leaf sweepers come, and for the sweeping to be more effective. I will let you know about any response I recieve.

If you have had any problems with leaf sweeping in your area, please let me know at

Friday, 13 November 2009

Cleaning up Chorlton

Chorlton is experiencing a wave of graffiti tagging. I have been very busy recently reporting lots of vandalism around Chorlton to the Council. Removing bits of graffiti and other vandalism is important to keeping our area attractive and such a great place to live.

I’ve also been getting grot spots cleared, reporting upswept leaves in gutters, reporting potholes and faulty lampposts, and getting overgrown vegetation cut back.

If you know of any graffiti, vandalism or any other issue in Chorlton, please let me know and I will arrange for it to be dealt with by the Council.

Labour Chauffeur Shame

Sir Richard Leese will keep his chauffeur driven car after his comrades in the Labour Party opposed a Lib Dem plan to end the contract. The Scrutiny Committee split on party lines, with the single Tory Councillor abstaining, despite his colleagues in the City criticising the chauffeur in party literature.

I think that given the current recession, people in the city will see this as Labour wasting money on chauffeurs and posh cars. A Chauffeur driven car for the Council Leader is not something Council Tax Payers should pay for. Labour Town Hall bosses are out of touch and have forgotten who serves whom.

I am very proud that the Manchester Liberal Democrats will make a manifesto commitment to reverse this decision should we be come to power in the City.