Councillors Ian Bevan and Robert Hodkinson at Ramsbottom Chocolate Festival
It seems a long time ago that I was first elected to represent Ramsbottom on Bury Council. In fact, it was just 4 years ago – in May 2010.
An awful lot has happened since then – both in Ramsbottom and on Bury Council.
My first “maiden speech” in the Council Chamber was on the issue of Fairfield Hospital and its re-organisation and my first ‘event’ was ‘cutting the ribbon’ at the opening of Ramsbottom’s new Children’s Centre opposite the Library.
I have introduced proposals – adopted by the Council – to improve transparency and accountability – by publishing online council spending to encourage financial responsibility, improve accountability, and be of substantial benefit to Bury and Ramsbottom residents.
I have consistently asked questions about our town in the Chamber, helped fight off the planned fourth supermarket in the town centre, and most high-profile of all, fighting the proposed Anaerobic Digestion Plant in Ramsbottom, with residents and RAWS.
I have worked with local residents groups, Ramsbottom Business Group, and volunteer groups who strive to enhance our town.
I have pushed my proposal to recruit “Neighbourhood Champions” – these would be volunteers who can report instances of such problems as potholes, graffiti and fly-tipping in their own streets to the Council. I know that Councillors spend a lot of time reporting these things, but councillors don’t visit every street in their wards every day of the week. Encouraging volunteers to help the Council seems to me eminently sensible. Neighbourhood Watch schemes have shown that people respond to encouragement to keep a look out. My only criticism is that the Council’s own staff or those of their contractors – such as road sweepers, Parks staff, etc – should already be reporting these matters rather than leaving it to councillors or residents.
I have helped literally hundreds of people with local casework – housing issues, planning, neighbour disputes, parking etc.
In my spare time, apart from my full time job and my young family, I have spent as much time as possible undertaking residents’ surveys and knocking on the doors of people in Ramsbottom so that I can take your views back to the Council, our MP and the Government.
I have had tens of thousands of “hits” on my blog, and thank everyone that has taken the time to read it. Many of you follow me on Twitter and Facebook.
I have tried to listen, to talk and to engage with as many Ramsbottom residents as possible. That is the real reason why I have thoroughly enjoyed being the local Councillor for Ramsbottom. I have been immensely proud to have done so.
I was asked yesterday by a resident of Shuttleworth if I’d ever fancy being the Ramsbottom MP. I currently spend a quite ridiculous amount of my spare time supporting my town as a Councillor and I am so proud to have done so over the last 4 years.
Turning to the local elections on Thursday, voters have never had so much choice in Ramsbottom – 5 candidates to choose from. Whatever your viewpoint – left, right, liberal, green, and all shades in between – there’s a Candidate that shares your outlook. Whilst I am the only candidate that actually lives in the ward, I know that if elected, they would all endeavor to do their utmost for Ramsbottom.
I always encourage people to spend those few minutes putting their “X” in the box on their ballot paper – whoever they choose to vote for.
Finally, I would like to thank my volunteers for their invaluable help over the last 4 years – for their pounding the street, delivering newsletters, and obviously for their kind donations to my campaign.
I would dearly love to continue representing my town, and hope that you will consider me, and the work I have done for our town and its residents, when you come to cast your vote on Thursday.