Riversway & Middleforth Election Candidates Blast Ribble Barrage and Green Belt Building Proposals
Riversway in Preston and Middleforth in Penwortham are two seats up for re-election where local residents have expressed strong opposition to the proposed Ribble barrage and massive housing and business development ideas earmarked for the Green Belt and floodplain area on the Penwortham side.
Riversway has one council seat up for grabs in the Preston City Council Elections, May 2007. The ward includes the Broadgate area, which is one of the areas that will be most affected by the increased flood risk and other adverse side effects of the Riverworks Barrage and the associated floodplain housing proposals. The issue of the barrage could be crucial in deciding who is elected.
Now we have clear statements on Riverworks from the two main candidates in the election.
Sitting Councillor, former Mayor Bhikhu Patel in the latest 'Riversway Labour Rose' seems to speak for all 3 Labour councillors in the ward when he says
"We have recently carried out an extensive consultation regarding the Vision Board's proposals for developing the docks and the barrage across the River Ribble. We support the views of the residents who are against the proposal to build the barrage"
Bhikhu says he is more in touch with local residents because he is the only candidate to actually live in the Broadgate area.
Meanwhile, former councillor Elaine Abbot, the Respect Party candidate for the area has blasted Preston City Council and the Vision Board for the Barrage in local information sheet 'Broadgate News':
"Consider the Ribble Development plans. Who are the Preston Vision Board, and does any member live in your area? I doubt it. They are a small number of unelected people with a clear interest in going against the wishes of residents. Their views are clouded by their aim to bring big business to Preston. Yet Preston Council claims it is consulting with us on this issue.
Respect supporters point out that while individual Labour councillors are now making statements against the barrage, their party leaders (and the leaders of the Tories and Liberals) on the Preston City Council Cabinet still back the proposals and point to the fact that Labour MP David Borrow sits on the Vision Board and is thus part of the quango pushing the barrage idea.
Both Bhikhu Patel and Elaine Abbott have done useful things to help the Save The Ribble Campaign, we leave it up to the local voters to decide who they believe will fight most determinedly against the Ribble Barrage and Housing ideas when they cast their votes.
Here is a link to Save The Ribble's official position on the May elections
The other candidates in the Riversway ward are Wilf Gavin (Liberal Democrat) and Ronnie Smith (Conservative) we have not heard anything from these candidates about their position on these issues yet, and invite these candidates to share their views on the Ribble Barrage and housing plans with the people of Riversway by commenting below, or emailing us - we will give Wilf and Ronnie's positions equal prominence to Bhiku and Elaines, once we actually know what they are...
This was the result in the last Riversway ward council seat election in 2006:
Crompton Linda Labour 501
Abbot Elaine Elizabeth Respect 318
Gavin Wilfred Ronald Lib Dem 221
Balshaw Jane Conservative 196
Meanwhile, in Middleforth - the Penwortham Ward at high risk from the potential impacts of the barrage and building developments being proposed for the Penwortham Green Belt and floodplain - both the Labour candidates and the Conservatives have made strong statements about these proposals.
David Bretherton and Gaynor Bretherton, the current Labour Councillors for the ward, are standing for re-election. In their latest election newsletter, they state:
'They want to see the green spaces in Middleforth improved and maintained';
'They DON'T want a barrage on the River Ribble';
'They want to see the river tidied up for the benefit of the wildlife and enjoyment of visitors'.
The South Ribble Conservative newsletter makes it clear they are 'committed to fighting ANY moves to build on our green fields and open spaces'.
Still no word from the Lib Dems in this Ward...
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what YOUR candidates are saying - and contact us if you are a candidate with views on the Riverworks "Visions" for our river and green spaces...