It will be business as usual for Bolton Council tomorrow after the Conservatives, Farnworth and Kearsley First, Horwich and Blackrod First and UKIP renew their commitment to work together to benefit all parts of the borough, despite the Liberal Democrat Group leaving the agreement in the last week.
Leader of the Conservatives and Bolton Council, Cllr David Greenhalgh, said:
"As far as we’re concerned it is business as usual"
"When we are faced with fighting a global pandemic and one of the most challenging budgets that any administration has had to deliver in Bolton, I do not believe the public wants to see politicians bickering among themselves and putting party politics before our borough. Now is the time for focused minds and stability.
“Without doubt the pandemic has dominated the council’s agenda but we remain completely committed to delivering the change our borough needs and our residents deserve: kick-starting the economic recovery post-covid; delivering on the regeneration plans across the whole borough; creating a cleaner and greener borough; protecting the most vulnerable with targeted help to get people back in work and bringing training and skilled jobs back to the borough.
“I do not see others queuing up to bid to take over during these challenging times, so until such a time, myself and the administration will continue to run this borough in the open and transparent way that we have established."
“I would like to thank Cllrs Paul Sanders, Marie Brady and Sean Hornby for their continued support for the 25 point agreement and the acknowledgement that we run a vastly more open and transparent council. I meet with all the leaders of those in the 25 point plan privately every week. They have access and influence, and personally I enjoy the close working we have and respect each of them. We will continue to share information and have done during this pandemic with all parties in the spirit of working together to benefit our borough at this time.
“So despite others who may try to undermine, this administration remains steadfast in its direction and focus on returning our borough to the normality we all crave and better times with opportunity and prosperity ahead, with the hope that all parties choose to pull together to benefit our borough.”
Leader of Farnworth and Kearsley First, Cllr Paul Sanders, added:
“A stable council is paramount in these worrying times. I am pleased that in meetings following the Lib Dems’ departure, that the remaining parties of the 25 Point Plan have agreed our responsibility to all residents in the borough to continue the progressive work that has been started.
"I’m saddened that Cllr Roger Hayes, Lib Dem Group Leader, is no longer sat around the table but I am hopeful that positive cross-party working can continue between all colleagues in all groups.
"Farnworth and Kearsley First Party, which has four councillors out of sixty, benefits immensely from the 25 Point Plan Agreement. The plan ensures that the new administration’s commitment to openness and transparency continues and that all parties, regardless of size, are fairly represented throughout all council business and committees.
"As Leader of the Farnworth and Kearsley First Group within the working agreement, I am briefed and consulted continually on matters of council and I can raise specific issues in relation to Kearsley and Farnworth with council leadership and director team. Also as a signatory of the plan, Farnworth and Kearsley First chair the Farnworth Town Centre Regeneration Steering Group, have negotiated ability to propose schemes in Kearsley, seen major investment in our roads and brought Rock Hall to forefront of council’s priorities. For Farnworth and Kearsley Firs to pull-up our drawbridge now would be detrimental to the positive change being achieved.
"I have huge respect for the Group Leaders of the 25 Point Plan Agreement and really enjoy the close working relationship we have.
"When the next vote for who should be council leader takes place, Farnworth and Kearsley First will reflect on the best candidate and their potential cabinet at that time — but now it is absolutely clear that Cllr David Greenhalgh is the right person to lead our borough council. He has been and continues to be strong, pragmatic and inclusive in his leadership throughout this on-going crisis. I’m convinced that better days are ahead if we all work together.”
Leader of UKIP, Cllr Sean Hornby, said:
"We supported the new administration, Bolton clearly said at that election they wanted a change and we have worked with the new administration since then.
"We have worked together very closely, not always agreed, but in the best interests of the people of Bolton.
"We are going through difficult times caused by the coronavirus pandemic but the administration has been open and transparent throughout and has kept all political leaders involved and informed and we have met on at least a weekly basis due to the unprecedented ever changing situation we are in so we — and will therefore continue to support this administration.
"However, we will continue to deliver improvements for the residents of Little Lever and Darcy Lever — the health centre and library development is underway, we have a masterplan to improve the village centre and will work with the current administration to ensure investment continues to be made in the ward."
“With a growing hope there is light at the end of the tunnel caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Horwich & Blackrod First Independents wish to see the strong, stable and capable leadership of Cllr David Greenhalgh continue to lead the borough council."
The leader of Horwich and Blackrod First, Cllr Marie Brady, summed up:
"When our two councillors were elected in May 2019 to represent Horwich and Blackrod, we negotiated and agreed a 25 point plan. "This Plan was for the whole borough but included specific points for Horwich and Blackrod and required investment on a scale not seen previously. Our Horwich Town Centre Regeneration scope has been further extended to include Blackrod. To date key priorities have been identified and agreed, traffic and public realm feasibility studies commissioned and a significant upgrade to Old Station Park and its facilities being programmed alongside extensive flood alleviation works. The Plan also included resurfacing our roads from the Highways Improvement fund. Area Forum Funding equal to other wards. We also have a firm commitment and funding for improving our sporting facilities.
"In a transparent and open culture, Horwich and Blackrod First Independents are briefed and consulted on policy and change by a team of knowledgeable and competent Officers. With weekly Leaders meetings and the opportunity to be further informed, raise any issues and find solutions, a close working relationship has been firmly established.
"The stability of the council is our priority, the remaining signatories to the 25 point have agreed that the positive cross-party working can and must continue between all colleagues in all groups on the agreed priorities for council at this time. "