THE local elections have officially kicked off as all candidates have now been submitted to the town hall.

Parties have already started campaigning and will continue to do so for the next three weeks.

A total of 17 seats will be up for election on May 2.

Here's how each party promises to change the political landscape in Bury.

Labour

Bury Times:

THE Labour Party is running on a four-year manifesto which it produced last year. It plans to invest millions to regenerate townships, a further £10m to improve road conditions and wants to create a new university.

Group leader Rishi Shori said: “This borough has been badly served by a Conservative government. Over the last nine years the council’s budget has been slashed by close to £100m – 70 per cent of the overall total.

Police numbers have been cut by almost 50 in Bury, and unsurprisingly all types of crime are on the increase. Local health services are facing a financial crisis with the local NHS CCG facing a funding gap of £12m to close over the next financial year.

“When it mattered only the Labour Party stood up for local services and people, leading the successful campaign against the closure of local walk-in centres, secured £40m of investment in new flood defences, delivered a new £10m sixty-bed extra care scheme to support some of our most vulnerable residents and last year committed £10m to invest in our roads.

“Over the next year there will be further investment in the borough’s roads with another £10m to be to spent, multimillion investment to regenerate our town centres with new leisure, retail and homes and an even greater focus on tackling littering and fly-tipping.

“In difficult times, the borough’s Labour Party is as ambitious as ever to improve the lives of all our residents.”

Conservatives

Bury Times:

THE Conservatives’ priority in this campaign is to protect the countryside and green spaces.

For that reason, the group is committing to vetoing Greater Manchester’s 20-year masterplan for jobs, homes and the environment.

The party is also focusing on the roads, which it says are in an “appalling state” and wants to tackle the fly-tipping “epidemic” in the borough.

Group leader James Daly said: “This is an election that will decide the future of the Borough’s green belt. Bury Conservatives will not accept the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) in its current draft and will do everything possible to protect those areas of green belt currently under threat of development.

“As a deliberate policy decision Labour have supported the removal of green belt status from land at Walshaw Brook, Elton Reservoir and Simister and this is not acceptable. If necessary, Bury Conservatives would veto the GMSF to protect these precious open spaces.

“A Conservative-led Bury Council invest £30m into our road network and provide the funding to ensure residents have the best quality public services. Labour’s mismanagement of our council finances simply cannot continue, we need change and Bury Conservatives will work tirelessly to ensure we all have a brighter future.”

Liberal Democrats

Bury Times:

THE Liberal Democrats are focusing on congestion and air pollution, the environment and green spaces, and “safe and strong” communities at this year’s elections.

Group leader Tim Pickstone said: “Local elections are important. In Bury, they’re particularly important because our area is being so let down by the Labour politicians who not only run our town hall, but also run all those services across Greater Manchester.

“Bury deserves better than what we are currently being offered. Labour politicians across Greater Manchester are proposing a devilment plan, the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, that will see so much of Bury’s precious green belt destroyed by development. We propose something different – focussing all development on brownfield sites and by breathing life back into our town centres.

“Labour politicians are getting it wrong on congestion an air pollution. They’re new idea is to charge buses, vans, taxies and lorries a daily fee for driving in Greater Manchester. We must tackle air pollution but charging bus passengers is surely the wrong way to do this. Our plan would see more investment and capacity in Metrolink, and in ‘green’ transport for shorter journeys (safer walking and cycling routes).

“A vote for the Liberal Democrats on May 2 is for a better Bury. A Bury that puts residents first, a Bury that puts our local communities first. Importantly, it is a Bury which retains its green spaces and countryside, and is a better place to live because we’ve tackled congestion and air pollution.”

Green Party

Bury Times: Glyn Heath, Bury Green Party candidate for UnsworthGlyn Heath, Bury Green Party candidate for UnsworthTHE Green Party wants to protect the green belt and would veto the controversial housing plan “if necessary”.

It also wants to encourage start-ups, cooperatives and social enterprises promoting “green-jobs”.

It would also reinstate Bury central library and ensure the needs of the Traveller community are met as a matter of “utmost urgency”.

Group leader Glyn Heath said: “For the first time in decades, Bury’s green belt land is put into serious jeopardy. There appears to be a consensus from the public and across all political parties, apart from Labour, that the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework must be vetoed by the council leader. However, we believe that Bury Conservative Party cannot be trusted on this matter because it is their government which by its recent ruling appears to have given Bury no choice but to include some of our green belt land for development.

READ MORE: How Bury's political landscape could change next month

“We note with interest that Bury Council stated that they can build 4,500 properties on brownfield sites. This is nearly half of the housing needs requirement for the nineteen-year period of the plan based on the outdated 2014 population figures. Given that the required number of houses must be reviewed every five years, we believe there is no need to encroach on green belt land at all.

“It is now proved that air pollution from traffic is becoming dangerously high in some areas of the Borough. Whilst Bury is committed to Greater Manchester’s Clean Air Strategy, we strongly believe specific measures must urgently be put in place to ensure the wellbeing of residents.”

Other parties running in Bury

Bury Times:

CANDIDATES from three other parties are standing in May’s local elections.

New party Radcliffe First will be fielding two candidates listed as independents on the ballot because their application has not yet been approved by the Electoral Commission.

In a joint statement from James Mason and Carol Birchmore, the candidates urged the people of Radcliffe to send a “clear message” to Bury Council.

They said: “We are proud Radcliffe folk and we resent what you have done to our town and what you have allowed to happen to our public services. You appear to be hell-bent on running the town down and we have had enough, we want fair treatment for our town.

“We believe that the time has come to fight for Radcliffe with the common aim of putting the pride back in to the town. A town that is mentioned in the Domesday Book but that is forgotten by Bury Council in 2019.

“We are Radcliffe, not Bury and we intend to focus our efforts on representing our town in a better way than the traditional mainstream parties. The fight for Radcliffe starts now.”

UKIP will also have two candidates on the ballot in May – Kevin McGill in Holyrood and Anthony Clough in Pilkington Park.

Stephen Morris will be standing in Besses representing the English Democrats.

He said: “My priority is to stop Labours destruction of our green belt land, which is unnecessary, and to stop their attack on low income families with their massive tax rises.”