I’m Matthew, I grew up in Todmorden and I’d like to tell you my story about why I am standing for Council.
Firstly you should know that I am a young carer. I’m also studying at college, and a Todmorden Town Councillor! I’m very busy. As they say if you want something done ask someone busy.
Sadly not everything is easy at the moment. My family are struggling to find a property with suitable disabled access. There is a real shortage of properties like Bungalows across Calderdale. There are a few reasons for this, but one reason is because our local authority ranks bottom 15th in the Country for building new homes. We simply have a lack of affordable social housing to meet our needs. This has left many people in a difficult situation without proper access to a suitable home.
Don’t just take my words for this though. Here is what one of Labour’s own Councillors said about the issue “The council and partners are failing the people of Calderdale. Other areas are building far, far more houses.” Labour Cllr Bryan Smith. Things have got so bad the Chief Executive of Calderdale Council wrote to all Councillors warning about how much new homes' bonus funding the authority was losing out on.
This funding could have helped to protect us against cuts. Cuts such as the closure of the Youth Club, or Walsden Library. The club did amazing work and offered a safe space for young people to be themselves. It brings back many happy memories, and I’m still disappointed to see it go.
I am precisely the sort of person that the Labour Party was meant to stand up for. However, I feel badly let down by them here in Calderdale. I grew so frustrated with their failings that I decided to stand for the Liberal Democrats. I was successful and gained a seat from Labour to get a place on Todmorden Town Council. It seems there is a real shift of people who feel the same way as me and want to see change locally.
I want things to be better for Todmorden. If elected I would
- focus on creating more disabled and independent living accommodation to meet the needs of an ageing population.
- Tackling problems with waste collections on some streets across Todmorden face and the impacts this has on people’s well-being. I would also like to work with my colleagues from neighbouring wards and get the backlog of broken street lights.
- Ensuring the Council is financially well run, so we don’t miss out on vital funding like the New Homes Bonus that could have protected us from cuts.
Todmorden has been put to the back of the queue far too many times. I believe it is time for a change and time for concerns to finally be highlighted and actioned upon.