County up as champions

Stockport’s Liberal Democrats have congratulated Stockport County FC on winning promotion to the National League. County were crowned champions of the National League North following their 3-0 away win at Nuneaton on Saturday.

Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group at Stockport Town Hall said “I join all County fans in saluting the achievements of Jim Gannon and his team in securing the title after a long, hard season. County have battled back from adversity many times over the years and deserve their success. I hope we see the team back in their rightful place – in the Football League – before too long.”

The Liberal Democrats have called on Stockport Council to host a civic reception for the club to celebrate their success.

Stockport Council Lib Dems support Jewish Manifesto for Local Government

Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Stockport Council, today confirmed our support for the Board of British Jews “Jewish Manifesto for Local Government” and its ten commitments.

Cllr Hunter said: “With the resurgence of intolerance and populism and the increase in expressions of antisemitic and anti-Muslim hatred it is important that we all stand together and reject extremism and racism in all its forms. As Liberal Democrats we are proud of our record of supporting tolerance and promoting freedoms and we wholeheartedly support the ten commitments and the wider Jewish Manifesto for Local Government.”

The manifesto can be found here.

Greater Manchester Spatial Framework Consultation

Stockport’s Liberal Democrat Group have submitted a detailed response to the consultation on the latest draft of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, highlighting their concerns and areas which they feel need to be improved in the next draft.

The consultation response can be found here:

Lib Dem response to GMSF Consultation 03/2019

Liberal Democrat amendment delivers a budget for Stockport

At the resumed Budget Council Meeting last night, following the rejection of Labour’s budget at the first asking, Liberal Democrats moved a budget amendment to protect and enhance the role of local communities in decision making by ensuring the current budgets for area committees are not scrapped.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Mark Hunter, Opposition Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, said: “We set out our stall last week that local democracy should be protected and enhanced. Our amendment tonight saw unanimous support and has ensured that each ward has £10,000 a year more for highways schemes and grants to local groups. These make a huge difference to local residents and, in line with a core Liberal Democrat principle, the decision making should remain with local people through their Area Committees.

“Unfortunately the meeting took a bizarre turn as the Conservative Group sought to gain support for a muddled, reckless and ill thought out amendment which would put the council’s future finances at risk. There were several parts which we would have supported but the whole was simply an inappropriate attempt to write their election leaflets, such as throwing away the contingency being put aside for the unknown impact of Brexit. Fortunately the other Groups saw through this and, rightly, all voted the Conservative proposals down.”

Stockport Liberal Democrats welcome decision of the “magnificent seven” to leave Labour

Speaking today, after the formation of a new Independent grouping of former Labour MPs announced this morning, Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Stockport Council and former Cheadle MP (2005-2015), said:

“The Labour Party has been hijacked by the extreme left, many of their members have been subject to vitriolic attacks and this split has been a long time coming. The recent handling of Brexit and antisemitism by the Labour leadership has clearly made the status quo impossible. I was delighted to see that the “magnificent seven” includes Ann Coffey, MP for Stockport.

“From my time in parliament I know that Ann is a person of great integrity and I commend her bravery on taking what must have been a very difficult decision. This is an important step for all seven MPs to leave Labour and set up a separate, breakaway Independent Group. I hope that we may be able to work together again in the future on the issues where we agree.

“Ann will face a challenging next few days, weeks and months. I offer her whatever support I can as she moves through this difficult period and I hope that the new group will recognise that their interests and those of the Liberal Democrats are very closely aligned. The party nationally has already announced that it will be engaging in talks with all other groups and individuals to progress giving people a final say on Brexit and the wider political agenda.”

Stockport Lib Dems to continue to fight for the Green Belt

Speaking after the publication of the latest version of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework and the imminent launch of a further period of public consultation, Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Stockport Council, said: “Liberal Democrats have long fought to protect the greenbelt and, in Stockport, we rejected the original GM Spatial Framework proposals which would have resulted in great swathes of land being concreted over.  We accept the need to build the right homes in the right places.

“We continue to believe that a “brownfield first” approach should be taken and that any house building programme needs to be accompanied by the right transport improvements as well as healthcare and education facilities and that this needs to be delivered before any large scale house building commences. “To deliver anything like fifteen thousand new homes in Stockport would cause an intolerable demand on our roads and public transport unless it is accompanied by substantial transport investment including Metrolink, tram-trains, new railway stations at Cheadle and Stanley Green, improvements to the bus network and delivery of the M60 to A6 relief road, joining up with the new A6 to Manchester Airport relief road.

“It is disappointing that the Conservative government have chosen to direct local authorities to ignore the latest independent, national population projections and are forcing on local residents a centralised, artificial target which calls for a level of housebuilding which is clearly undeliverable.”

Cllr Lisa Smart, Deputy Leader of Stockport’s Liberal Democrats and Chair of the GM Housing, Planning and Environment Scrutiny Committee, said: “We strongly encourage all residents to participate in the consultation which is due to start in the coming weeks. Whilst the last consultation was criticised for not listening to local people, we hope the Labour-run GM Combined Authority has learnt lessons and the next consultation will be more robust. We hope as many people as possible will make their views known.

“We recognise improvements to the Spatial Framework proposals following the criticisms we levelled against the earlier version, concerns still remain. Overall, the number of houses to be delivered is smaller and the impact on the greenbelt overall is lower especially as there will be significant development in Stockport town centre. However there is still scope for improvement.  “We will continue to fight for the best housing plan for Stockport.”

“We will continue to fight for the best housing plan for Stockport.”