Greens put faith in their '˜Super 8s'
Steadfast opposition to fracking and regular chances for residents to quiz council leaders are among Wigan borough's Green Party pledges for 2016.
The party will have candidates in eight wards next month, a group of hopefuls that chairman Will Patterson has dubbed the Super Eights.
Having reformed in 2011, the Wigan and Leigh branch, founded by a group of self-confessed ex-Labour voters, are aiming for a first foothold in the council chamber to help bolster its increasing membership base.
Mr Patterson, who was a candidate in the general election vote last year, has suggested a People’s Question Time event is in need in Wigan to hand the public a chance to speak at council meetings.
Other priorities are greater representation on Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) “to bring a better share of public transport improvements to the area”; protection for local public services; more support for Wigan’s A&E; and a no-fracking policy throughout the borough.
Mr Patterson, who is standing in Wigan Central, told the Evening Post: “I’ve been looking forward to setting out our forward-thinking, outward-looking vision for the borough.
“We are the only party demanding real change and since the last election Green Party members have been taking part in campaigns to stand up for local democracy, resist fracking and challenging the council’s ‘build first, ask questions later’ policy on Amberwood Common.
“Now, our Super Eight is ready to campaign for a more open, democratic council, for local public services, for a more ambitious public transport vision and for the borough’s green spaces.
“Together we will stand for a fairer, more sustainable future for all.”
The party’s no-fracking policy may strike a chord with many residents given that the entire borough is covered by licences allowing exclusivity for future projects to energy firm Aurora.
All applications are subject to planning approval though from the town hall.
Mr Patterson is leading the Green Party’s charge for a place in the town hall standing in Wigan Central up against incumbent Labour member Coun Lol Hunt and other hopefuls yet to be revealed.
The remaining Green candidates are Paul Ravenall (Hindley), Neil Hancox (Leigh West), Harry Snape (Lowton East), Donald McQueen (Orrell), Norma Stout (Pemberton), Joseph Rylance (Shevington with Lower Ground) and Steven Heyes (Winstanley).