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Middleton Independents Party Manifesto

As Middleton residents, our aim is to continue to build on, nurture and maintain the existing Middleton community, creating sustainable initiatives that keep us all bound together.

We are not led by national politics and stand independent for you, our constituent. We are not trying to build careers in politics, our only reason for wanting to become councillors is to make a difference for Middleton.

We want to give Middleton a voice in Rochdale Council, something it has been lacking for a long time. We are involved in the community because we care about Middleton and want to make a difference.

We are approachable and accessible to all and will represent the town’s people being their voice, expressing our constituent’s wants and needs for the place we live. Ask, and listen to what our town needs involving residents by encouraging consultation on issues that affect them.

We are inclusive of all our residents, focussing on our youth, the elderly and the most vulnerable within our community, being a friend to all. The youth will be encouraged to play active parts in their community, giving them a sense of belonging to where they live.

We care for our environment and local historical sites. We will work to minimise the blight of fly tipping by looking at household waste collections and their frequency

We aim to protect and enhance green spaces and areas of natural beauty across the borough. We will strive for proactive management of our green spaces, flood risks, congestion and pollution levels.

We are not against improving the quality of our air, but we are opposed to the current Clean Air Zone plans, not seeing it as a solution but a TAX on people’s livelihoods. We are in favour of a Non-Charging CAZ.

We will work with local police and other community projects in order to create cleaner, safer streets and decrease anti-social behaviour.

Working together, we WILL make the regeneration of Middleton a success, making Middleton a safer place to live whether you are walking in the town centre or around the streets and houses.

We aim to Regenerate our Town Centre, encouraging new business start-ups by encouraging Rent and Council Tax breaks for new businesses.

Our town centre gardens need to be a place that encourage visitors with increased planting space maintained with local involvement.

Middleton needs a Business Hub, with free training to increase digital skills and fast Internet access in the town centre.

Alignment of ICS(CCG) to provide more effective mental health access through Social Prescribing and improve the Minor Ailment Clinic offer in pharmacies throughout the Borough.

Co-ordinate an improvement in NHS digital access for booking appointments via an app rather than being stuck on phone at 8am for hours.

Choose a Ward:

East Ward

Councillor Bernard Wynne

I have a Youth Work background and have worked and/or lived Middleton for the last 35 years. I met my wife here and we were married at St. Michael's Church on Townley Street. We have four children, all of whom live in Middleton - they were Christened at St. Michael's Church and they all attended Elmwood Primary and Middleton Technology Schools.

Now have three Grandchildren who all live in Middleton..... I adore them and they make me happy every time I see them. As a family we run a Coffee Bar and a Florist business in Middleton and I have been part of Middleton Round Table for around six years, currently holding the position of Honorary President, where I (as part of Middleton Round Table) have been involved in organising, running and/or working at many yearly Middleton events, such as Midd-Fest, May-Day and Oktober-Fest.

As you can see, my family and I are committed to Middleton and all we want is to see Middleton thrive as a town and as a community..... the future is in our hands. Its very simple, if I'm elected and with your help and backing, working together, we can try to make a difference.

Councillor Paul Beswick

I have lived in Middleton since I married 46 years ago. Throughout my life in Middleton I have watched this town been run down to a shadow of its former status. This has been done by the Party Politics of the main Parties. We seem to be an afterthought to what Rochdale town thinks it should have. Our Arena was only built because Rochdale Council made a deal with Tesco and other parties, at what cost to the make up of our town.

Now it's about time Middleton peoples voices were heard, not through the mainstream parties, but your own Party, Middleton Independents Party.

I have joined the Middleton Independents to make sure Middleton's voice is heard in the Council Chamber and to fight for a better town. So, with your three votes on May 5th, (don't forget you have 3 votes this year), vote for the Middleton people that will act for Middleton, not some mainstream Party candidate who has to toe the party line.

I am, if elected, here to listen to your voices and act upon your concerns to the best of my ability, I may not be too politically savvy of the mainstream politics, but NO voice from Middleton means no voice being heard in Rochdale Town Hall to fight for our town.

Hopwood Hall Ward

Caitlin O'Mara

Born in Middleton, I spent most of my youth on the family farm in Hopwood. I went to St. John Fishers then Cardinal Langley Schools and studied Health & Social Care at Hopwood Hall College. I now work for PossAbilities in Heywood as a personal assistant.

When I'm not working I volunteer with Middleton in Bloom and Middleton Roundtable. During the pandemic I was a GoodSam Responder, taking phone calls from those who were self isolating or shielding. I also helped with Middleton in Action making up food parcels taking donations. I have taken part in the 'Save the Greenbelt' rallies and I'm against any development on Middleton's Greenbelt - we should have a 'Brownfield First' policy.

I would like to see the regeneration of Middleton Town Centre along with a more varied selection of independent shops and businesses and I would like to see more facilities for those with a variety of learning needs. I would like to address the issue of parking especially in Hollin. I would like to bring a young person's viewpoint into the future of Middleton.

Middleton has been silenced long enough. NOW is the time to have OUR voices heard. Voting for Middleton Independents is a vote for Middletons voice. We are Middleton, We need change, We need votes.

Gavin Vitler

I've teamed up with Middleton Independents Party because I believe in their values and positivity to bring change for the people of Middleton. I was born and raised here. I attended Boarshaw Primary School, then Middleton Technology and went on to Hopwood Hall College.

I grew up on Boarshaw then moved to Hollin where I have lived for the past 20 years. I'm very community oriented, organising memorial events for Lee Rigby and Scott Hetherington. Middleton is in my blood, I love the place. I've had many a chance to leave but nope I'm tied to it. With my family and friends all being here, I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. I work in a funeral home and I'm also a funeral celebrant.

I want the best for Middleton so here I am ready to do what I can with the team to give Middleton people what they deserve. I'm ready to fight your corner and be a voice.

Matthew Glaysher

Middleton is and always will be my home.

Born and raised on the Langley Estate, I attended Furrow Community School in my primary years and then onto the Queen Elizabeth School. Currently I am part of a management team for a leading Trade/DIY retailer. As a working person, I question what am I getting back from paying council tax?

I believe Middleton doesn't always get it's fair share from Rochdale, yet nearly a quarter of the boroughs population live here in Middleton.

Recently I have been inspired by the formation of Middleton Independents Party to get our voice heard for a better change within our town and I would like to be one of those voices for you. Let me and Middleton Independents Party be your choice and voice for change this May at the local election.

North Ward

Keeley O'Mara

Born in Middleton(Boarshaw) where I went to St. John Fishers then Cardinal Langley. I currently work on the family farm in Hopwood.

When I'm not working I spend a lot of my spare time in the community with a variety of different community groups. I'm part of the Friends of Hopwood where I work with the ranger to create new paths, the Forest School and the carved sculpture trail creating ponds to increase the habitat for the great crested newt. I'm the secretary and coordinator for Middleton In Bloom. In this role I work alongside other community groups, schools, the Town Centre, Middleton Township & Rochdale Councils EM department. Being part of Middleton in Bloom has allowed us to enhance the community spirit that Middleton has in abundance. Alongside these groups I volunteer with Middleton Roundtable where I help with MayDay, MiddFest and the Christmas Light switch on.

During the pandemic I found it difficult to see the NHS struggling like most of the country, I decided to sign up to be an NHS GoodSam responder. I found myself doing prescription collections from hospitals, prescription deliveries, shopping and buying essentials for those isolating. Whilst doing the responder role I became a volunteer driver for a pharmacist in Oldham to deliver emergency prescriptions. The pandemic saw many a good deed done and many of the community stepping up to help. Middleton was no different, it formed Middleton in Action Together. Due to the pandemic, Middleton in Bloom didn't have a competitive and due to lockdown we were unable to be out in the community. I decided to join Middleton in Action Together which was a group run by the Scouts and St Michaels Church. Whilst helping with this group I took donations of food/toiletries, made up food parcels, delivered food parcels and did prescription deliveries. I also helped to point residents in the right direction with mental health issues, benefit issues & housing issues.

To most people this may sound like I'm blowing my own trumpet but this has been the hardest personal statement I've had to do. All of the community based volunteering I haven't done for a pat on the back or a well done, I've done all this because I actually care about Middleton.

My vision would be to see the regeneration of Middleton Town Centre and it given a similar Public Space Protection Order that Rochdale Town Centre has. I would like to see less greenfield/Greenbelt development and better use of the brownfield and derelict sites. I support an appropriate development of the Warwick Mill site with consideration to parking and affordability. I do not support the CAZ tax in its current format, there needs to be more research into alternative solutions. I strongly disagree on the thought process of charging residents/businesses. How is this going to improve the air quality? How do you deliver white goods or get tradespeople to jobs even if the infrastructure is in place?

Middleton has been silenced long enough. NOW is the time to have OUR voices heard. Voting for Middleton Independents is a vote for Middletons voice. We are Middleton, We need change, We need votes

Councillor Lee Wolf

Outside of the day job, much of my time is taken up with volunteering for the things I love. I've been an enthusiastic and proactive member of Rotary Middleton for nine years and this year have the honour of taking on the duties of their president.

I'm a bit of an historian at heart and take an active interest in Middleton's past and its surviving heritage. In fact, some of you may know me on Facebook where I set up the Middleton Picturebox group to share old photos and memories of Middleton. There's so much history in our great town and I love to share it and shout about it. I'm the treasurer of the Edgar Wood Society, a group established to preserve and promote the legacy of Middleton's famous son. More recently, I've taken over as Treasurer of Middleton Archaeological Society which I was involved in setting up over ten years ago. Further afield I'm a trustee of a primary school in Kenya looking after its social media, website, and fundraising.

Family is everything. I'm supported by my wife and best friend who I met on my first day of work, when we both started as British Rail trainees back in 1990. We're very proud of our two daughters, the eldest is a teacher in Heywood and the youngest is studying for her A-Levels at Cardinal Langley. I've worked for the railway for almost 32 years and recently received my long service award. I've lived here in Middleton for 19 years and have some lovely memories of visiting to go to the Palace cinema back in the 70s and 80s whilst growing up in Harpurhey.

Middleton will thrive again, I want to support communities in making it a reality, I want to be the driving force in making it happen. If elected, and with your continued support, working together we can change things in Middleton, we can make a difference. Please make your vote count, vote for your Middleton Independents Party candidates.

Councillor Peter Allonby

I arrived in Middleton in 1968 to train at Hopwood Hall and have lived on Summerfield Drive, Boarshaw since 1976. I am a retired teacher, spending 34 years in Manchester schools, 25 of them as a Headteacher. I retired early on ill health and, once recovered, gave my time to helping the community.

I worked part time for seven years as a Cancer Champion, fronting campaigns. I also worked for Manchester City Council on Fostering campaigns, for Penninne Trust similarly and for the National Apprenticeship Scheme. My sons attended St John Fisher School where, for many years, I was a Governor. My late wife worked there for 25 years.

For the past seven years I have been the volunteer caretaker at St John Fisher Church. In 2018 I was asked to help build the Providence Memorial Garden, a project I have been involved with ever since. Last Christmas I was one of the organisers of the Middleton Big Sing and I have organise craft fairs, art and photography exhibitions to show off the talents of our townsfolk.

We need committed, local folk to represent us. We are not attached to, nor do we owe allegiance to, any political party. If you give me your vote I will give my all to bring new investment, better facilities and a sense of pride to both North Ward and the Town.

South Ward

Adam Cornett

Middleton has been my home all of my life. All of my family and friends are from here. I attended St Michael's Primary School in Alkrington and Hopwood Hall College Middleton campus. I am currently a postgraduate law student at MMU but I live at home as I never wanted to leave our town.

The rest of my time is either spent with 5th Fusiliers in Bury or working with my Dad in the plumbing and gas trade. However, if given the privilege of representing Middleton's interests on Rochdale council I promise to make sure I perform the job with the interests of our town and community as my top priority.

For a good few years now I have been involved in local politics and activism. I have campaigned against policies I believe have had a negative effect on our town be it from any party. Particularly in terms of anti-social behaviour, the GMSF and now my opposition to the Clean Air Zone Tax which our current council support.

It has taken until now for someone to convince me to actually put myself forward as a candidate for a change as opposed to me just trying to get someone else elected - I guess if you want something done, do it yourself. That's what I now aim to do and I believe the Middleton Independents Party represents that opportunity to make a real, localised change in our town in a similar and seismic way the independent groups of Oldham, Bury and Bolton have done the same.

Our town matters - let's act like it. Use your three votes for the Middleton Independents this May and help give Middleton her voice back.

Emma Hezelgrave-Whitworth

Born and bred in Middleton, I spent my childhood years growing up at Towncroft Avenue, where the majority of my time was spent at Middleton Cricket Club, where my parents both held positions of Chairman and Chairlady. My affiliation with the Cricket Club continues in my active involvement of Middleton Marauders, the club's first female cricket team. I've also taken part in several charity fundraisers for different causes, some close to my heart.

After spending some years overseas, I have been settled in Alkrington for 10 years. I also have cherished friends who reside in Rhodes and Archer Park, hence I'm proud to represent the South Ward of Middleton.

My experience and background lies in Skills and Training. My vision is to be the voice of the people of Middleton, as this town has been voiceless for far too long. With your support and backing, I can enable your voices to be heard.

I'm passionate and dedicated to bringing our Town back to its former glory. I'm confident this can happen, if you, the public, are as passionate about this town as I am. If I'm lucky enough to be elected, I'll fight to be your voice and ensure your views are aired and listened to.

You will have visibility and transparency all year around, not just at pre-election. You will have honesty and a dedicated focus on what can be done, rather than what can't. Voting Middleton Independents is a vote for local people who are prepared to fight for positive change.

It's simple really, not only do we want to be Middleton's voice, we want to be Middleton's choice.

Jo Hezelgrave-Whitworth

A Yorkshire lass at heart, I have lived in Middleton for 21 years now and consider it very much my home. For the last 13 years I've worked closely with a variety of professionals and schools across the borough caring for young people. This is something that I very much enjoy and it is a very rewarding role.

I've participated in charity work and played a part raising funds for the local firefighters with our well known and renowned local artist Steve Whitworth (not related). I also loved my key role of co-ordination manager for the "Old Midd, Nude Midd" charity calendar allowing me to work alongside a great bunch of local people, whilst raising vital much needed funds for two very important hospices (Springhill and Dr Kershaw's). I am dedicated to putting our town first and it goes without saying, I want the very best for our town, which I am sure is what you all want too. For this reason, I have decided to join the Middleton Independents Party and advocate for the people of our Town and Borough.

I promise to listen, advise to the best of my knowledge and advocate on your behalf, making proposals that are necessary and beneficial for our town. Our town is important to us all, this year is an all-out at the local elections, this means that for the first time in more than 20 years you may vote 3 times. Yes, that's right, 3 times!

Do the right thing and put your trust in the candidates standing for Middleton Independents and mark your crosses in the 3 boxes that intend to make the most difference this time around.

Think Middleton for A Change.

West Ward

Peter Shore

Born in Middleton (Rhodes), I have been associated with Middleton Round Table for the last 35 years, organising fund raising events such as Middfest and May Day and donating all those funds to support local community groups and individuals with no access to mainstream charity funding.

I am passionate about making Middleton a better place to live for all of us and I have taken this decision because I am fed up with Rochdale MBC treating my town like a poor relation. It's time to level the playing field and take the fight to Rochdale for a better deal.

More investment for people to improve themselves with training schemes.

More investment in business and growth to create more jobs.

New investment in our Town Centre to create a more vibrant and welcoming environment.

No more green space development to protect the environment.

Joan Aspinall

I have lived on Langley for over sixty three years and have volunteered at the Citizens Advice Bureau as well as supporting adults taking part in the "Talk English" programme. I am a qualified Social Worker and Youth Worker and have worked across Middleton and Rochdale in these roles.

For some time I was the manager of a local Community Centre helping many people with their issues and their problems. I have recently worked as a Home Carer for the elderly in Langley, in Middleton and in Rochdale. Over the years I have organised many events; supported many people into training and employment and am especially proud of my work with excluded young people and their families, supporting the children back into education.

I have applied for funding for several projects in the Town and have been successful in gaining Township funding for these.

I have excellent networking and communication skills which I have used for many years as a community activist on Langley.

I have campaigned with many others against building on Langley Lane and Hollin, which was successful until the latest bid from Taylor Wimpey. I campaigned to save Bonscale Park from development, gaining over 100 signatures on a petition plus many individual letters of objection. However, none of our Councillors supported us and the decision was made to allow building on this local open green space.

If you put your trust in me and elect me as a Councillor for the Middleton Independents Party I would listen to and communicate with all in our community, having an impartial resident's perspective on matters affecting Langley and Middleton.

Think Middleton For A Change.

Use your three votes for Middleton Independents candidates in your Ward.

Simon Footitt

For 17 years I've been lucky enough to call this town my adopted home and you've made me feel most welcome. I have lived all around the UK but this is the only place I've truly found a community at its heart.

Along with my friends we have worked to build the community spirit by doing "good stuff", and I feel I could take it a step further by standing as a Councillor in the upcoming local elections in May.

If you would be kind enough to trust me with your vote I will be your most vocal advocate at Rochdale. I promise I will fight on your behalf to bring parity to our beautiful town, build on the fabulous work that so many volunteers here already do and make it a safer, happier place to live.

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Promoted by Graham Smithies, on behalf of Middleton Independents Party, all of 37 Middleton Gardens, Middleton M24 1AB