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Leader's blog.

Council leader's blog

Dividend comes into land

EVERY now and again something pops up which both pleases and disappoints at the same time.

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Feeling good’s a walk in the park

​It's common knowledge that when the sun shines it makes everyone feel better about life; it's good for their health and wellbeing.

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Congratulations Donna – round-up #6/2017

Congratulations to Donna Martin following her appointment on Monday as the new Deputy Leader.

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My cabinet report to Full Council

​Thank you Mr Mayor for the opportunity to report to the council the latest developments on various matters relating to the Regeneration, Communications, Strategic Projects and Greater Manchester Relationships Portfolio.

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Mark’s get set and go!! – round-up #5/2017

Rochdale's been picked by M&S as one of only 10 areas nationally to pilot a pioneering programme which partners them with local councils and charity partners to support community initiatives.

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We need more Co-operation!!

​Not sure if I've told absolutely everyone I've ever met that Rochdale is the birthplace of the co-operative movement, but I've certainly tried!

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Rochdale’s open for business

A report I saw recently confirmed what I've known for some time: Rochdale is open for business.

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What was all the fuss about? – round-up #4/2017

Well - hands up anyone who correctly predicted the results of the general election? Everyone seemed convinced May and her Tory pals would romp home!

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The Queen's Speech left me speechless

After listening to yesterday’s Queen's Speech; for once, I was speechless!!

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Here comes the sun

​For all the green fingered among you, the summer's (apparently) here so it's time to get cracking on with all your gardening chores; not least your grass cutting.

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Back to the day job

Now that the general election is over, it’s time to get on with my day job.

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Rules around election period

The rules around publicity during election periods mean that the leader's blog is now suspended and will return on Friday, 9 June 2017.

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The highlights of my report to the last meeting of the council

Severe cuts to our government grants have meant we have faced year-on-year budget cuts. So far that figure stands at nearly £160 million.

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My, that budget council meeting was lively!! – round-up #3/2017

As ever with this council’s budget – the 7th in a row - we endeavour to sweat our ever decreasing central government grant in a way which provides as much of the things that mean most to our residents and businesses.

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Budget speech 2017

Here's the full budget speech I delivered to the Full Council on Wednesday, 1 March 2017

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Spatial Framework: what happens next

​​​​​THE consultation on the initial draft of the Greater Manchester Spatial Fra​​mewo​rk may have ended, but local residents remain keenly interested in its progress and what happens next.

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Council Tax hike down to government cuts – round-up #2/2017

Council tax is likely to increase by 4.99% to help pay for the national adult social care funding crisis. The part of the rise we’re responsible for only went up by 1.9% - the rest is for the social care bailout.

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Building the gateway to our future prosperity

Turning around 50 years of long term economic decline is never easy. Ever since we lost our textile manufacturing base to cheap foreign imports in the sixties, it has been a real struggle to attract new idustries to our borough.

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Why I had to write to Theresa

I have written to the Prime Minister following last week's Prime Minister's Questions.

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Have you had your say?

The consultation process which includes residents taking some of the most important decisions they will ever make for their family’s future has started.

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Actions speak louder than words

​They say actions speak louder than words. If that's the case Rochdale Borough Council is screaming from the rooftops about its firm commitment to the borough's apprentices.

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Implementing a local living wage – round-up #1/2017

Implementing a local living wage. I’m starting this year’s first round-up blog with some welcome news; we’re planning to increase the local living wage from £8.25 to £8.45 an hour.

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The list is endless

Now that the new year has arrived lots of people will be making lists about lots of different things – jobs to do, places to go etc.

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Another funding travesty – round-up #10

Another funding travesty. As forecast, we have received a further 25% cut in our core revenue support grant announced last week.

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When it comes to crime, the snooty Evening Standard should look closer to home

​London's Evening Standard newspaper rarely needs any encouragement to look down its nose at things.

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A fair deal for you

In these days of continued austerity, there seems to be one sector in particular who continue to thrive.

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Crunch time – round-up #9

We are expecting the government to announce Rochdale Borough Council's Revenue Support Grant for 2017 this week. And, as in previous years, we are not expecting good news.

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Why Rochdale’s a shopping destination of choice

Rochdale is on the up. So much so I'm convinced that despite the continual spectre of an ever-decreasing government grant, we are putting in place the building blocks to be a destination of choice.

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No end in sight – round-up #8

We have recently looked at another round of proposals that generate savings of £1.5 million.

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Proud of our history

It was fantastic to see Rochdale featuring on BBC2 last night as part of its ‘Black and British: A Forgotten History' series.

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Why the chancellor needs to invest in Rochdale

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond is expected to announce billions of pounds of new investment for infrastructure projects in today’s Autumn Statement.

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Remembering the fallen – round-up #7

Remembering the fallen. Thousands of people turned out on Remembrance Sunday throughout the borough to pay their respects to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to defend our freedoms.

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A place with a plan is a place with a future

Last week I met the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Rochdale-born Sajid Javid.

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A thousand lifesavers – round-up #6

A thousand lifesavers The council has now trained 1,000 life-savers in basic CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and defibrillation through its #RochDefibs project.

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Driving Rochdale forward

It was a pleasure to be invited to give the opening speech for the 6th annual business awards last Friday (4 November 2016).

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Simply the best – round-up #5

Simply the best!! It's no exaggeration to say: our council staff just can't stop winning awards at the minute!

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Putting the buzz back into our town centre

I was invited to a conference in London last week to give a presentation on revitalising the British high street and how Rochdale is meeting the challenges of reversing the long term decline seen in many town and city centres.

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Greater Manchester Spatial Framework speech

In my role as the Combined Authority’s lead member for Planning and Housing I gave a speech at a meeting last Friday where the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework was launched.

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Bloomin’ marvellous – round-up #4

Heywood, Rochdale and Pennines townships picked up a whole barrow load of awards at the Royal Horticultural Society's NW In Bloom awards held in Southport.

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It just doesn’t seem fair

Further government cuts to Greater Manchester Police's budget means it is being forced to save £30 million this year alone.

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New museum’s on fire - round-up #3

I took time out to re-visit our fire museum last week to see how the impressive plans to renovate the building are coming along. The visit had been a burning desire of mine for some time.

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Showing support for Small Business Saturday

As with any modern local authority one of Rochdale’s priorities is to not only attract new firms into the borough, but also support those already here.

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Our huge ambitions for jobs and prosperity - round-up #2

Greater Manchester leaders met last week to agree the final wording of the GM Spatial Strategy - that's the huge plan which sets out how the city region will look like in 20 years' time.

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Have your say on our Supported Living strategy

It’s no secret that Rochdale Borough Council has had to make some difficult decisions as it continues to deal with the fallout of swingeing cuts to its central government grant.

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New chapter for library - round-up #1

The final chapter of Rochdale Central library re-opening is finally here with 17 October now the date it will be up and running.

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Too quick to judge

To say I was dismayed at the misinterpretation of a recent report into public satisfaction with where they live is an understatement. It claimed Rochdale folk are among the most miserable and negative about their home borough of anyone across the country.

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We need to tackle rogue landlords

Building affordable new homes is desperately needed, but it's only part of the solution to our chronic housing shortage.

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Developing our night time economy is the next step

You only need to have a quick walk round Rochdale Town Centre to see how hard the council is working to improve the physical environment for the public’s benefit.

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What a gushing report

A report released this week into the Boxing Day floods highlighted the excellent preventative work the council did in ensuring the damage caused was limited.

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Affordable homes for Rochdale - we've got a plan for that

As the Greater Manchester lead councillor for Planning and Housing I have been working with the other 9 councils on what we’ve called a spatial framework.

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Towns and cities neglecting refugees and asylum seekers

I'm sure everyone could not have been more horrified and shaken by the disturbing images of the drowned Syrian toddler which featured heavily on TV recently. Who could fail to have been affected by the heart-breaking images of children caught up

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Welcome to my blog

Welcome to my introductory leader's blog. I plan to post at least one a week covering a range of topics and issues which I feel have an effect on our borough.

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Welcome to my blog

Read about what's happening at the council and how we're working hard to make the borough better for everyone.​

Richard Farnell

Councillor Richard Farnell, Leader of the council and councillor for Balderstone and Kirkholt.