The Labour led council today released a statement claiming that data released by the LDC showing Bolton to have one of the lowest town centre vacancy rates in the country was "misleading" and that council data showed only 21% of shops in the town centre were empty. However an FOI request made by Bolton Liberal Democrats chair Kevin Walsh in November 2016 requesting a breakdown of shop vacancies met with the following response: "In this case Bolton Council does not maintain a record of historical vacancies and so is not possible to provide the information requested without further analysis and creating new information. The Freedom of Information Act does not require us to create documents, nor to manipulate data to create new information; therefore the requested information is not held." The LDC gathered its data by visiting 250 town centres and physically counting the number of vacant high street shops. Does the Labour led council seriously believe that robust data collection by a highly regarded research company should be ignored in favour of anecdotal evidence presented in a Bolton News opinion piece? We'll be looking to find out. #YouCantTrustLabour
This translates directly into the work we are doing within Bolton, campaigning for a more open, honest and accountable local council. Most recently we have been the only political party with councillors in the Town Hall campaigning against proposed fracking in Horwich, Westhoughton and surrounding areas. We are the only party pushing proposals to cut the number of councillors from three per ward to two per ward - saving more than £300,000 a year and making the council more accountable than ever. We are fighting for more public consultation on controversial plans - such as the recent decision to pour £3million into the short-sighted Newport Street revamp - and are pushing to allow more public scrutiny within all meetings.
If, like Bolton Liberal Democrats, you believe that you need to have a council that LISTENS to what you have to say; UNDERSTANDS the need for long-term investment to solve the problems within the town rather than short-term 'people pleasing'; and CHAMPIONS ALL communities within the town, bringing us closer together rather then encouraging divisions; then join us.
It's time we all worked together to #TakeBackOurTown