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South Ribble Borough Council local elections 2023: Mini manifestos for Labour, Conservatives, Lib Dems, Greens and Independents

Posted on - 24th April, 2023 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Bamber Bridge, Leyland, Longton & New Longton, Lostock Hall, Penwortham, Politics, Preston News, South Ribble News, Walton-le-Dale
South Ribble’s civic centre in Leyland Pic: BBC Local Democracy Reporting Service

As residents across South Ribble 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 – South Ribble Borough Council.

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Each of them was given 300 words to set out their stall ahead of an “all-out” election in which all 50 seats are being contested across the 23 wards that make up the authority.

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: See full list of South Ribble local election 2023 candidates

South Ribble Labour

(Contesting all wards except New Longton and Hutton East)

South Ribble Labour will deliver a fairer, safer, healthier and happier South Ribble for all our communities. We will continue to be courageous, competent and compassionate in all our decision making, continuing to deliver first-class services and maintaining South Ribble Borough Council as one of the best performing authorities in the North West.

  • We continue to be financially competent, ensuring the level of cash and cash investments remain strong – £53.9m as stated by the Chief Financial Officer in December 2022, with no debt.
  • We will deliver more high quality, affordable rented council houses.
  • We will continue to oppose inappropriate housing developments in areas that can no longer sustain this level of over-development.
  • We will continue to prioritise the climate emergency we declared, ensuring the borough’s estate is carbon neutral by 2030 – and we will continue to plant more and more trees!
  • We will deliver our leisure strategy and invest £15m in keeping all the facilities open for our communities to thrive.
  • We will continue to deliver our Holiday Hunger Programme; we have already provided in excess of 80,000 meals for our children.
  • We will deliver the first state-of-the-art “extra care” scheme of 75 affordable-rented supported social housing apartments.
  • We will deliver the £38m regeneration of Leyland town centre, building on our successful £25m Towns Fund Bid. We will also deliver the £5m Penwortham Masterplan in full.
  • We will continue to roll out our green links, parks and open spaces strategy for families to enjoy all year round.
  • We will protect the vulnerable, help the old, safeguard the young and continue to assist the whole community through the cost-of-living crisis and other challenges we all face.

South Ribble Conservatives

(contesting all wards)

Stop Labour’s greenbelt grab and protect and improve green spaces:

  • The Conservatives have been fighting hard to protect South Ribble as a green and pleasant land to stop the 7,000 extra houses voted for by this Labour administration.
  • Extra funding will be directed to all areas, focusing on a zero-tolerance approach to littering and dog fouling, investing in extra street cleaning, more grass cutting, replacing bus shelters and public toilets.
  • Conservatives will improve the green links connecting our parks and open spaces, allowing residents to walk or cycle safely away from main roads. The Conservatives will undo the reckless policy of tarmacing over South Ribble and stopping the greenbelt grab.

From debt-free, to debt-ridden:

  • The Conservative administration left a debt-free council four years ago with significant cash reserves. This Labour-run council have spent almost £50m of support from the Conservative government and still incurred £40m of debt, which won’t be paid off by 2062.
  • Despite overspending, services are failing – the Conservatives will tackle the debt by increasing income and investing wisely in the borough.

First Homes Scheme:

  • The Conservatives will employ a specialist officer to help residents access the government’s First Homes Scheme, designed to offer first-time buyers a step onto the property ladder, offering a discount of up to 50 percent less than market value.

Youth Activity and Enterprise Zones:

  • The Conservatives will deliver ambitious Youth Activity Zones to provide excellent facilities to engage young people, providing services and opportunities for the whole community.
  • We will invest in a programme for apprenticeships and training across the borough.
  • Conservatives will also invest heavily in leisure to improve the health and wellbeing of all South Ribble residents.

Tackling speeding and improving road safety:

  • The Conservatives will focus on the demands from residents concerning speeding and road safety by a significant spend on speed indicator devices in every area of the borough and working with partners to deliver actions on safety concerns and improving road surfaces.

South Ribble Liberal Democrats

(Contesting all wards except Bamber Bridge East, Bamber Bridge West, Moss Side, Walton-le-Dale East and Walton-le-Dale West)

After years of a Conservative- run council careering from one crisis to another, the Liberal Democrats have used the balance of power at South Ribble to deliver and work for residents across the borough. A vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to continue with a fully-costed programme of improvements in which residents have a say.

  • Liberal Democrats are committed to promoting energy efficiency and well-insulated houses.
  • We will continue with our proposals to provide safe, warm community spaces for those struggling to heat their homes.
  • Town centre plans to be delivered to boost our local economies with wi-fi hotspots, more electric charging points and an investigation into the feasibility of reintroducing public toilets.
  • Boost recycling with further cuts in charges for green waste collections, and smaller bins on request.
  • Increase the number of enforcement officers and widen their responsibilities to tackle dog fouling and litter, along with anti-social behaviour in our parks and playgrounds.
  • Deliver on NET targets for tree planting across the borough with regular inspections.
  • Introduce co-ordinated grass cutting and street sweeping to cut down on blocked gullies.
  • Deliver the outstanding green links.
  • Introduce a culture and arts strategy to greater utilise our buildings.
  • Promote accessible and affordable leisure for all.
  • We will support an ongoing review of the local plan that delivers homes close to initiatives like enterprise zones.
  • Give residents a greater say, with meaningful area forums and delegated budgets.
  • Maintain public participation in council meetings.
  • Review capacity in our customer-facing contact with residents to ensure that calls are answered in a set timescale.
  • Provide the opportunity for all areas in South Ribble to have town and parish councils.

The Liberal Democrats will be big on delivery not just big on announcements.

South Ribble Green Party

(Contesting Bamber Bridge East, Howick and Priory, Longton and Hutton West, and Walton-le-Dale West wards 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.

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“We do politics differently and believe in increasing democracy at every opportunity.”

Alliance for Democracy and Freedom Party

(Contesting Coupe Green and Gregson Lane, Earnshaw Bridge and St. Ambrose wards only)

Alliance for Democracy and Freedom 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’.

We are a people’s party with key local decisions being made by those directly affected, the constituents.

Carly Davis [speaking on behalf of the party in South Ribble] said: “I have lived in Lancashire all my life and I can no longer, in all good conscience, sit back and do nothing. I am proud to stand for The Alliance for Democracy and Freedom – they are a new and exciting party with common sense policies.

“I stand with the ADF Party because I believe in democracy; as fewer people turn up at the polling stations, the voice of the many is becoming diluted. I believe in freedom and my right as a taxpayer to be fairly represented and able to make an informed decision based on information I can trust.”

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.

Who controls South Ribble Council now?

Labour – 23

Conservative – 21

Liberal Democrats – 5

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.

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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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