Cllr Alex Ganotis, Leader of Stockport Labour Group and Leader of the Council, writes:
Stockport Labour is working harder than ever to succeed in this May’s local elections and earn the right to continue our administration of the council. For me as Labour Group Leader, it’s never about winning for winning’s sake. Our vision and Labour values carry us through tough times and unprecedented government cuts to deliver the difference we all know Stockport deserves.
And what a difference we’ve made so far.
- We’ve launched Viaduct housing, our new affordable housing partnership, which allows us to deliver more affordable homes than we have done for a generation.
- We’ve developed highly detailed health and social care integration plans to better cope with unprecedented budget cuts and ever increasing demand.
- We’ve committed over £30m to improving school buildings, libraries and leisure centres to turn back many years of neglect.
- We’ve saved Stockport’s historic Market Hall from closure and brought forward ambitious plans to revitalise the whole Market Place and Underbanks area.
- We’ve begun work on plans for a new, modern interchange to vastly upgrade the bus station, open up the riverside, and provide high quality public spaces.
- We’ve started integrating an Inclusive Growth approach into everything we do and through this provided training and support to those who most need it, giving them the best possible shot at competing for new jobs at Redrock.
- We’ve committed £1m to a new Community Investment Fund so groups doing great work in our many communities can develop and grow.
- We’ve made the first step with our new Work & Skills Commission in connecting communities to opportunity, and employers to training providers and the workforce of the future.
These are just a few of our achievements in office so far. But what comes next?
I am committed to delivering a council budget that balances the cuts we have to make with much needed service reforms to ensure the front line is as unaffected as possible.
That’s my number one priority.
It won’t be easy but, as Stockport Labour has shown since we first took office in 2016, we are the party to take up that challenge. We’re not afraid to make those difficult decisions like increasing council tax and parking charges if it means more money is available to protect children and vulnerable adults as well as keep our streets safe and clean.
The whole borough benefits from a thriving, vibrant town centre so we owe it to everyone to unlock its incredible potential to create jobs and boost the local economy. I’ll make it a priority to lead town centre regeneration into its next, truly transformational stage with plans to redevelop Merseyway, further build upon the huge success of Redrock, modernise our out-dated and unwelcoming bus station, and deliver the crucial next phase of our new commercial quarter at Stockport Exchange.
My local transport priorities lie in doing everything we can improve public transport, working closely with strategic partners to make sure we’re the best connected borough in Greater Manchester.
Integrating health and social care is a top priority and the health and wellbeing of the people of Stockport is everything to me. I am committed to making sure everyone who needs it receives the right treatment, in the right place, at the right time. We’ve made great progress with Stockport Together but there’s still much to do.
We all value our open spaces so I’m determined to do everything I can to reduce pressure on the greenbelt and build as many of the homes we need as we can on previously developed land. The development of the Stockport Local Plan is crucial here in prioritising quality standards and the right infrastructure in sustainable locations.
I make no apologies for wanting the very best for the whole of Stockport. And I know that only Labour values together with our vision can protect families and communities, share prosperity and take on the challenges the future brings.
These are just some of my priorities. Tell us yours!