I have been a local councillor since 1999. I decided to get involved because I had moved into the area in 1989 and I had really enjoyed living here – friendly people, lovely countryside and a really good place to bring up children.
Since then my role on the council has grown. I now have the pleasure of being the leader of Rossendale Borough Council, a job that is both rewarding and frustrating. Rewarding because I am able to do things to help improve the area but frustrating because we are under unprecedented financial pressure from cuts in funding from central government.
Government actions are short sighted by cutting funding to local councils they are limiting our ability to adequately support our communities, and that can’t be right. However, for now at least we are attempting to tackle much of the neglect and underinvestment left by the last Tory council.
Below are just some of the things we have been doing since taking up the leadership of the council in 2011.
- Secured £2m from heritage lottery to invest in Bacup town centre. This funding will renovate shop fronts and put in place a new road layout in the town centre.
- CPO’d land in Bacup to allow Morrison’s to build a supermarket – this brought affordable food shopping to the area, the Co-op was charging between 10-25% more that Rawtenstall supermarkets for food, 40% of local people do not have a car so had no choice but to buy it; created jobs for local people, and tidied up a derelict site.
- Worked with Barnfield Construction and Greenvale Homes to build affordable housing in Bacup – 22 family homes.
- Offered help and support to voluntary groups working with vulnerable people at Stubbylee Hall.
- Again, working with Barnfield and Greenvale Homes, ensured that the old Mytholme House building in Waterfoot was demolished and replaced with 18 one bed flats for the over 55s.
- Secured c. £2m to finish the cycle track between Rawtenstall and Whitworth. This work will see the railway tunnels in Waterfoot open up, which will encourage visitors to Rossendale.
- Bought and demolished the old valley centre site in Rawtenstall, within 9mths of taking up the leadership of the council.
- Now processing the planning application for a new bus station in Rawtenstall, funding has been set-aside for this at LCC for approx. 10 years.
- Secured £1.8m growth funding to help support Rawtenstall town centre development.
- Worked to bring forward the stalled New Hall Hey site. M&S food will move in at Easter 2016. Further planning applications are now coming forward for the broader site.
- Worked with others to ensure that services we care about are protected – like theWhitaker museum; Ski Rossendale and more recently Haslingden Pool.
- Delivering a shop from investment scheme in Haslingden.
- Worked with the Environment Agency; United Utilities; and LCC to bring in hundred’s of thousands of pounds worth of flood defense investment for Rossendale.
As well as being leader of the council and leader of the Labour Group I am also a county councillor for Rossendale North (Loveclough, Crawshawbooth, Part of Rawtenstall and the Newchurch Rd area).
I hold a Councillor Surgery on the 1st Saturday of every month between 10-11am at The Library, Adelaide Street, Crawshawbooth.
I live in Crawshawbooth with my husband Paul and Labrador dog Blue. I currently work full time as a councillor, prior to that I worked in the housing sector.
Current term of office: 2014/2018