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Preston local elections 2023: Mini manifestos for city’s Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem, Green and Independent parties

Posted on - 23rd April, 2023 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Politics, Preston Council, Preston News
The view across the election count in Preston Guild Hall on Friday Pic: Blog Preston
The view across the election count in Preston Guild Hall on Friday Pic: Blog Preston

As residents across Preston prepare to head to the polls in next month’s local elections, politicians are busy making their pitch to voters.

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For those filled with dread at the idea of sifting through election leaflets before deciding where to place their ‘X’ , the Local Democracy Reporting Service has compiled a one-stop guide to all of the parties competing to take control of – or at least increase their seats on – Preston City Council.

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Each of them were given 300 words to set out their stall ahead of an election in which 17 seats are being contested across 16 wards.

Although polling day is not until 4th May, anyone who requested a postal vote will receive their ballot paper shortly – and can return it straight away if they wish.

So whether you are planning to put your cross in the box in the coming days or vote in person next month, below are the parties’ pledges and priorities for you to peruse first.

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Read more: Full list of Preston local election 2023 candidates for all wards

Preston Labour (contesting all wards)

In this election, every Labour candidate is hungry to make Preston a better and fairer place.  As a Labour-led council, we have not shirked from challenging interests that hold our city back.  

Whether that is moving on from corporate regeneration of our city centre, mandating developers to provide affordable housing and engage with local suppliers and labour, joining the campaign for a real living wage or taking back Preston Guild Hall.

Our new manifesto is called ‘Preston is doing it for ourselves’, showing how we are building resilience and equality and addressing major challenges like the cost of living.  Our programme will deliver transformative levels of investment in Preston’s parks, provide major new sports facilities, tackle the climate emergency and deliver a renaissance of culture and expression. We will deepen the ‘Preston Model’ agenda to support a local economy that benefits working people.

Our five election pledges will:

  • Build a strong local economy supported by public investment by prioritising local jobs and suppliers and expanding fairer forms of ownership.
  • Help residents with the cost of living by delivering hundreds of new affordable homes, creating more real living wage jobs and offering affordable credit and food.
  • Protect our natural environment by investing in Preston’s parks, replacing the Old Tram Bridge, developing a cycle hire scheme and expanding locally generated energy.
  • Offer a wide range of art, culture and entertainment with a refreshed programme of events, including a major new concert, the opening of Animate and the reopening of the Harris Museum and Preston Guild Hall.
  • Improve the leisure activities available to young and old like with a new £10 million football facility, support for Preston Youth Zone and a diverse programme for all our community.

The full manifesto can be read at the Preston Labour website.

Preston Conservatives (contesting all wards)

We work hard in our local community to help our residents. We listen and we care. Although the Covid pandemic seems to be behind us now, we are still facing a cost-of-living crisis which is hitting people hard and even though it is out of our local control, we will do all we can to help residents to get the help and support they need.
This year, we have some fantastic new candidates and, with your support, they will get elected. Preston has always been a proud city and we will make sure that we get the best for Preston and for all its residents.
Our Safe and Compassionate City

Working with the police and the Police and Crime Commissioner, we will tackle anti-social behaviour that affects all areas of our city and make our city safe for all, in particular women and young girls.

  • Make Preston an accessible city for all, supporting initiatives such as making our city dementia and autism friendly.
  • Working with shoppers, businesses, landlords, community representatives and residents to tackle such issues such as consumption of alcohol on the street; consumption of intoxicating substances; soliciting for money in the street; peddling and aggressive begging.

Our Green and Healthy City:

  • Support and enhance all our parks and green spaces for the benefit of all.
  • Maximise opportunities for tree planting and greening our buildings.
  • Ensure a robust Local Plan which puts climate change and biodiversity at its heart.

Our Connected City.

  • Develop a transport strategy that connects the city to our rural areas to support the development of jobs and businesses in our rural economy.

Our Business-Friendly City:

  • Support businesses to locate to the Preston area and help them secure funding and support.

Preston Liberal Democrats (contesting all wards)

The Liberal Democrats offer pragmatic, thoughtful solutions – and we work hard to deliver them.
We are fighting for Preston to get new schools, in the right places:

  • The North West Preston Masterplan clearly anticipated the need for new schools, in convenient locations near the new roads.
  • Building work on these schools should be underway already. So far, there is no sign of them.
  • There are now proposals to put the schools in entirely the wrong places.
  • A lot of effort went into the Masterplan. If politicians ignore it, what was the point?

We are fighting for decent, properly maintained roads in Preston:

  • Preston residents pay the second-largest amount of council tax into Lancashire County Council, yet our roads are falling apart.
  • The Lib Dems diligently report as many potholes as we can, keeping up the pressure for timely repairs.
  • In February 2023, the Lancashire Conservatives voted to cut the winter gritting budget, meaning our roads will get even worse. The Lib Dems voted against this.

We are fighting for a green city for all:

  • The Lib Dems forced Labour to employ a climate change officer for Preston.
  • We would carry out a programme of tree planting across the city.

We are fighting for competent and sensible administration of our city council:

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  • The local Labour Party was failing to save for the Guild 2032 celebrations. Last year, the Lib Dems prudently called for the city to start saving, which forced Labour to U-turn.
  • Preston City Council owns the Pavilion Café in Avenham Park. Currently, the council runs it directly and it loses money. Private and charitable organisations run vibrant, profitable cafés everywhere, all the time. The Lib Dems would put the contract to run the Pavilion out to tender, taking this burden off council tax payers.

Preston Green Party (contesting city centre ward only)

The Green Party told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that its ethos of working hard, all year round, on the issues that residents say they care most about means that it does not usually produce a manifesto for an entire council area – because every ward has different priorities and issues.

Clare Hales, North West Field Organiser for the Green Party, said: “We listen, we work hard – and residents are our priority. We aren’t whipped like other political parties are, which means we can vote in the best interests of the area.
“We do politics differently and believe in increasing democracy at every opportunity.”

Alliance for Democracy and Freedom (contesting Ashton ward only)

Everyone has had enough of the usual politics, it’s time for a change – something has to be done. Democracy needs to be for the people at the local level, not having agendas pushed in by out-of-touch political elites in London, costing us money, taking away freedoms, damaging our health and impacting our kids’ futures. The ADF offers us a refreshing alternative to the Lib-Lab-Con roundabout

Dr Teck Khong, Alliance for Democracy and Freedom Party leader, said: “ADF Candidates are not whipped; when elected, ADF party councillors will serve local residents and small businesses. They will address residents’ local issues first and foremost, but many of those issues stem from national policies – in these instances we are firmly on the side of the British people.

“The ADF party candidates are here to listen and to give the voting public a voice; their purpose is to serve the local community.

“ADF is firmly centre-sensible and was created to defend the British people from creeping globalism and the erosions of our freedoms and way of life. Our vision sees the end to the two-party domination of Parliament, reasserting our sovereignty following our exit from the European Union, serving local communities, building social harmony and strengthening our economy.

“We believe in the right to freedom of choice in all aspects of life and business, true democracy via electoral reform and the rejection of the dictatorial ‘nanny state’.”

Current make-up of Preston City Council

Labour – 29
Conservative – 10
Lib Dem – 7
Independent – 1
Vacant – 1

How can I vote?

The polls will be open on Thursday 4th May from 7am until 10pm – and for the first time this year, voters must take a suitable form of photo ID with them. Those without the necessary identification can instead apply for a new voter authority certificate – but must do so by 5pm on 25th April.

The deadline to apply for a postal vote has now passed. Anybody with a postal vote must ensure that it arrives at the electoral registration office by polling day. If it gets too late to post your vote back, you can take it to your local polling station on the day of the election, up until 10pm.

If you want to vote by proxy, your application form must arrive at your local electoral registration office by 5pm on 25th April. However, you can apply for an emergency proxy vote if you cannot vote in person, either for reasons of employment or disability, and you only become aware that you would be unable to vote in person after the proxy application deadline has passed.

Under those circumstances, you can apply for a proxy vote until 5pm on election day by filling in the relevant paper form, which must be signed by a medical professional and returned to your local electoral registration office.

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