FIVE candidates are standing in the East ward by-election next Thursday.

They will be vying to fill the vacancy created by former councillor Mike Connolly, who resigned in June.

Mr Connolly, who represented East ward for 25 years, was suspended by the Labour party in July, 2017, ahead of an investigation into his conduct when former Tottington councillor Simon Carter was being investigated and subsequently prosecuted over indecent images of children.

Building energy efficient homes and improving public transport and air quality are among the pledges made by Nicole Haydock, Bury’s Green Party candidate for the forthcoming by-election.

Now retired after a rewarding career in social housing, benefit advice, homeless prevention and community development, Ms Haydock says she has the necessary life experience, skills, time and commitment that the diverse communities of East ward need.

If elected, she pledges to work with all the faith and community groups in East ward to ensure they get a share of £600,000 of taxpayers’ money allocated to the voluntary sector.

As a volunteer, she helped establish a women’s refuge and recently took the lead with support from the local 50+ group to save Radcliffe Dumers Lane Community Centre &Library from closure.

Ms Haydock, who has been Bury’s Green Party co-ordinator for the past eight years, told voters: “I will work with you to follow up your complaints about anti-social behaviour, hate crimes, unattended pot holes, fly-typing and dog fouling.”

She added: “I promise that you will see me on your patch with my regular walkabouts more often than you have ever seen any of your elected members before.”

Her manifesto also includes pledges to campaign for affordable and energy efficient homes for young families, single people and pensioners to be built near shops, schools and public transport and not on Green Belt land; to push for the full reinstatement of Bury Central Library; to call for a review Bury Council’s “Strong Leader” model of governance and for a return to the Committee & Scrutiny model.

Standing for the Liberal Democrats is Mr Andy Minty.

A resident of Bury, Mr Minty, 31, works as an analyst in the energy industry and is passionate about the environment and the local community.

The Liberal Democrats in Bury are campaigning for more money to be spent on road and pavement repairs and have denounced the current investment by the Labour-run council as “too little and too late”.

The local environment is at the heart of their campaign, and they say more work is needed to tackle the high levels of air pollution around major roads and motorways, including Air Pollution Action Zones around local schools and a greater emphasis on cutting congestion and planting more trees.

Mr Minty is campaigning for more litter enforcement and bins to be provided to tackle to litter problems.

The Liberal Democrats have criticised Bury’s Labour Group for this summer by-election which is estimated to cost tax-payers around £15,000.

They say former Cllr Connolly could have stood down at the local elections.

Representing Labour in the by-election is Mr Gavin McGill, who is putting the community at the centre of his campaign.

He says: “East ward is a fantastic community...East ward people are always looking out for each other and making our community better, every day.

“That’s reflected in my campaign pledges:-

“Tackling fly tipping and litter; Maintaining good community relations; Improving our roads; Fighting for increased funding for our schools and working to improve the bus services to our neighbourhoods.

“It’s only by bringing together the skills and experience of the fantastic community we have in East ward, that we can tackle the challenges we face."

Mr McGill, who lives in the heart of East ward, volunteers once a week as a presenter on Roch Valley Radio which serves Fairfield Hospital.

He said: “It’s my way of showing appreciation for everything the hospital does for our community."

Bury Conservative Party and the UK Independence Party were unable to provide additional information about their candidates - Sohail Raja (Conservative Party) and Angela Zwierzanski (UK Independence Party) - before the deadline.