Cllr Nathan Evans is the Leader of the Conservative Group on Trafford Council.
In Trafford, Conservatives lost control of the council in 2018 for various reasons. There was a large turnout of those who were previously non-voters. We had a flood of Labour canvassers come into the borough. But ultimately we lost because of potholes. Believing that we could collaborate with Labour on the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) also played a part in our downfall as we felt sure that Labour would listen to Trafford which contains the largest employment site in the whole of Greater Manchester – Trafford Park. Labour actually considered residential development on Trafford Park and if left in charge for too long, no doubt will go ahead with this.
Labour had promised they would save a surplus-to-requirements leisure centre from our plans to redevelop it, in order to house a 2,000-capacity arena for Manchester Giants basketball team, along with a new health centre, 60 affordable homes for key workers including nurses, social workers, and teachers. The Centre’s keys are now due to be handed back to the Council from the leisure operator in February with still no clear indication from Labour as to what they want to do with the site. Perhaps we will find out after the local elections in May.
Control of Trafford’s Green Belt has now effectively been handed to Andy Burnham, the Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester. This is resulting in a high risk of the Green Belt in Trafford, and the Altrincham and Sale West seat of Sir Graham Brady MP, being decided upon by the Labour leaders in the rest of Greater Manchester. Trafford’s residents have made it clear that they do not want residential development on our precious Green Belt and we hear them loud and clear.
The clear fact, if we learnt one thing in Trafford, is that Labour lies and tries to win votes by offering giveaways, whilst we work with a fiscally responsible mind-set.
How will we fare in 2020 local elections?
With Brexit being done, and the Northern Powerhouse being fired up, we are hopeful that this will translate into a decent election for us.
We are formulating policies starting with protecting our Green Belt as the lungs of Trafford.
We will protect Altrincham, winner under the Conservatives of the ‘Great British High Street’ from erroneous planned parking charges.
We will demand our fair share of the additional police officers made available by Boris Johnson to Mayor Andy Burnham. Trafford is still the safest Borough in Greater Manchester, no thanks to Mayor Burnham and his deputy Mayor in charge of policing.
Conservatives will continue to protect and enhance our new University – UA92 which was the brainchild of the former Conservative leader of Trafford Council, Cllr Sean Anstee CBE. Labour hasn’t got the skill set to make such amazing projects a reality.
Labour has offered nothing since they came in power, other than increasing Council Tax to subsidise the sweeteners that they offered voters, increasing the Corporate Leadership Team which has nearly doubled senior leadership costs, and horrifically in the last year, seeing Trafford Children Services go from “outstanding” to being placed in special measures by Ofsted due to their neglect.
Even though Labour ran a bitter General Election campaign, and without a meaningful position on Brexit, we saw over a hundred Momentum- lead Corbyn supporters knocking on doors almost every day in support of the Labour candidate, and Council Leader, Andrew Western. Their efforts were not reflected in the result in Altrincham and Sale West, with the needle barely moving, but helped us enormously in places like Bolton North East, Bury North, Bury South, Leigh and Heywood and Middleton where we gained previously Labour-held Parliamentary seats.
There was also the anomaly of the ex-Labour MP, Angela Smith, knocking on doors in Altrincham and Sale West in the General Election for the Lib Dems, as she refused to stand with Corbyn. We also had the breathtaking spectacle of the Labour Leader of Trafford Council standing for the same seat, pontificating the virtues of Corbyn and his pseudo-Marxist, anti-Semitic, Labour Party.
The good people of Trafford need a solid fiscally responsible hand which will save the green belt, fix the potholes, support our small businesses with free parking, plant more trees, and bring in more electric vehicle charging points.
The Conservatives in Trafford have a message to sell and we are eager to gain a mandate from the people to bring about the change Trafford needs, and once again unleash its huge potential.