Setting the climate – for change

Having initiated and led efforts on the School’s Climate Assembly project at Stockport Council, Stockport’s Liberal Democrats were proud to welcome the borough’s young people to the council chamber as one of the first acts of their newly formed Cabinet.

Cllr Mark Roberts, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment, said: “It was a brilliant event and I believe a unique exercise in listening to young people’s views on climate change and where they want us as decision makers to be focusing our efforts. We need to listen to our community as leaders, especially those who will be living with the consequences of climate change the longest, our inspirational young people.”

As far as we know this event was a first time in the UK that young people have been given a chance to speak truth to power (and older generations) in this way, and to see how local democracy works in the process. The wider project has been working in schools and the ideas debated will be presented to all the elected members at a council meeting in July.

Lib Dem Council Leader, Cllr Mark Hunter, added: “As Leader I have made clear that the Liberal Democrat administration will be focused on dealing with climate change and its effects. It is why I have created a cabinet portfolio with specific responsibility for it this year, to feed into all workstreams of the council.

“The quality of the young people’s debate was exceptional and I look forward to perhaps welcoming some of these young people back to the chamber as councillors for their communities in the future.”

Agenda for Action

The new Liberal Democrat leadership at Stockport Town Hall has hit the ground running with a series of initiatives and announcements to shape their first 100 days in office.

First off, to reflect the current cost of living crisis facing many people, and help hard-pressed local council tax payers, the Lib Dems have announced their aim for a council tax freeze. A close examination of Council finances is already underway with a focus on tight control of all Town Hall expenditure.

Secondly, an urgent review of the previous Labour administration’s plans to close the historic Grade II listed Central Library has already commenced. Lib Dems opposed this decision in opposition and are determined to see at least some library services retained at the existing building. This should not impact the plan for new facilities at Stockroom in Merseyway.

Next, Stockport Local Plan – a legal obligation – requires a final round of public consultation which is on track to take place this autumn. Lib Dems are clear that one of the options to be put to the public should be for no new building on green belt land and instead commit to new homes in the right places on brownfield sites in the town centre and district centres.

Effective action on climate change and the environment will be a cornerstone of all we set out to achieve and will run through all aspects of our policy platform. A number of exciting new initiatives are planned such as a key summit with school and college students and local businesses, and others will follow. We will work with others to press for a workable Clean Air Zone plan that is fair to all.

Continuing concerns over crime and anti-social activity across the borough are also a priority for action and a special joint summit meeting with senior police officers and the new Cabinet team is planned. A closer working relationship with GMP, and a focus on action to tackle domestic burglaries and car crime is a key priority for the new Lib Dem administration at the Town Hall.

Finally, the determination to press ahead with our town and district centre regeneration plans will be an important marker for future success. Stockport’s unique Mayoral Development Corporation – backed by all parties – continues to make impressive progress and every effort is being made to encourage even more business investment into Stockport. The Stockport Economic Alliance, and other business organisations, will continue to be key partners.

Speaking after a meeting of the new Cabinet team, Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of the Council and Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, said: “We have wasted no time is getting to grips with the task in hand. There is much to do and we are up for the challenge. Stockport is a great place to live and work and we will strive to make it even better. With our Agenda for Action I believe we have a clear blueprint for how we intend to take Stockport forward. An open, transparent and accountable Council that listens to the voices of all residents will always be our aim”.

Stockport Lib Dems mark Platinum Jubilee

Stockport Liberal Democrats will be joining with residents in their celebrations of Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee across the long Bank Holiday weekend.

Speaking ahead of the celebrations, Cllr Mark Hunter, Lib Dem Leader of Stockport Council, said: “We hope everyone enjoys the good weather forecast and takes a full part in the celebrations for this unique milestone.

“Her Majesty The Queen has given 70 years of service and, through local street parties and other events, we will be joining Stockport’s residents to mark this historic event.”

Lib Dems announce their new Cabinet on Stockport Council

Following the election of Councillor Mark Hunter as Leader of Stockport Council last week, the Liberal Democrats have formed their first Cabinet for six years.

Alongside Cllr Hunter, who will focus on strategic partnerships, including at the City Region level, and the council’s policy, performance, communications and consultation, seven colleagues join his Cabinet.

Cllr Wendy Meikle, a councillor for 18 years, a Cabinet Member in the previous Liberal Democrat administration and Shadow Cabinet Member for Children and Families for the past six years, is Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Families.

Cllr Malcolm Allan, a councillor for six years, a maths graduate with over 25 years’ experience as a director in large manufacturing companies, including responsibility for HR and sustainability, is Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources.

Cllr Mark Roberts, a passionate driver for change, pushed for action on Climate Change and the Environment as part of our Shadow Cabinet whilst serving as Chair of Scrutiny Coordination and Chair of Communities and Housing Scrutiny Committee, is Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment, a portfolio reintroduced from the last Liberal Democrat administration.

Cllr Grace Baynham, our new Cabinet Member for Highways, Parks and Leisure Services, is a member of a number of arts and heritage organisations, has served on a number of committees since becoming a councillor three years ago, and has many years’ experience working in the NHS.

Cllr Colin MacAlister, a past Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Stockport with over 34 years’ experience as a Councillor, becomes Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration, a role he has shadowed for the past four years.

Cllr Helen Foster-Grime, now in her ninth year as a councillor including experience as a Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet member, has over 20 years’ experience leading organisations, playing an active role in community and volunteer groups and is the new Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing.

Last but by no means least, Cllr Keith Holloway has been a councillor for over ten years, a former Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet Member and Health Scrutiny Chair following many years working in the NHS, becomes Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care.

Speaking after confirming his appointments, Cllr Mark Hunter, the new Leader of Stockport Council, said: “It is an honour to be elected to lead Stockport Council once again and to form the first Liberal Democrat administration in six years, a real fresh start. I am delighted to be working alongside such a talented Cabinet with wide ranging skills and experience.

“We have hit the ground running with a review already launched into the removal of library services from our Carnegie-endowment Central Library, and work has started on understanding the financial position we have inherited from the previous administration. We are ambitious for Stockport and we want to ensure we deliver for our residents and businesses, in close cooperation with all partners.”

Liberal Democrat Mark Hunter elected Leader of the Council

Following the meeting of Stockport Council yesterday evening, a new Liberal Democrat administration is to lead the borough and Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of the Liberal Democrat group at the Town Hall, becomes Leader of the Council. Cllr Wendy Meikle is to be Deputy Leader.

The 28-member Liberal Democrat group were again the largest party after the recent local elections, securing two gains from the Conservatives. Labour made no progress, ending the evening on 25 seats and the Conservatives were reduced to just 5 seats – the lowest number for over 20 years.

The Independent Ratepayers were unchanged on 3 with the Greens on 2, following a gain from Labour.

Speaking after the vote, Cllr Hunter said “I am humbled by the opportunity to lead the Council; it is an honour and a privilege. I will be unstinting in my efforts to take this authority forward by reaching out to all groups on the Council and working together. The people of Stockport would expect no less.

“In this unprecedented financial climate, with a deepening cost of living crisis, it has never been more important to make sure every penny of Council spending counts. We need to do more to help hard-pressed local residents and I have already made clear to senior officers our ambition to target a Council tax freeze next year.

“Other priorities include protecting the green belt from developers. Yes to the right homes in the right places and no to ever more development on valuable green space.

“We also need to see more urgent action on the climate emergency, reviewing the current – unworkable – Clean Air Zone proposals and ensuring any new plans are fair for residents and businesses across Stockport.

“We will also press for improvements to local health services, campaign for a new hospital and demand urgent action on ambulance waiting times.

“Already, our new administration has launched an urgent review of Labour’s decision to close the Grade II listed Central Library on the A6.

“There is much to do and we are keen to get on with the job. Our mission is simply to make Stockport an even better place to live and work – we are ready, willing and able to rise to that challenge.”

Congratulations Stockport County!

Congratulations and Well Done! That’s the message to Stockport County and their supporters for a triumphant return to the English Football League from Stockport Council’s Liberal Democrat Group. The Hatters confirmed their promotion, as champions, following a 2-0 victory against FC Halifax Town on Sunday afternoon.

Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of the Lib Dems at the Town Hall, said: “We are delighted for Dave Challinor and the boys. They have stormed the National League this season to finish as champions, fully deserving their success after several difficult seasons. Well done to everyone at the Club for helping to put Stockport back on the map. On behalf of all my colleagues, I congratulate County on their achievement and wish them every success for the future”.