Council told it is ‘not fit for purpose’

OLDHAM Council’s leadership has been branded as not fit for purpose in what was described in political circles as a ‘rant.’

Conservative councillor Bethany Sharp told the leading executive they are ‘dragging our borough down’ at the authority’s meeting on Wednesday, March 15.

She also pointed out what she believes are several failings of different administrations, which have seen money wasted.

Making Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove aware was also on her list io demands.

Cllr Beth Sharp

A number of Saddleworth-based councillors will sit alongside Cllr Sharp when she delivered her motion, which is certain to not go down well.

And the Independent learned not everyone is keen on the wording before it is delivered.

Cllr Sharp’s motion stated: “There is an untapped potential which is yet to be unleashed. Sadly, the same cannot be said of Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council (OMBC).

“OMBC is dragging our borough down, due to poor leadership and mismanagement of our history, assets and services.

“The failure of OMBC to deliver the best possible services that many residents rely on and pay for, is one of the key reasons why this administration is failing this borough. There is an iron law at the top of OMBC – which is that it is run in the interests of those who run it, instead of those who pay for it.

“This administration is failing to manage the numerous town centre focused projects properly, such as the £32 million overspend on the cinema, the failed ‘Hotel Future and Conference Centre’ that was never built, two Coliseum theatre plans that were scrapped, Marks and Spencer’s, Lidl and a ‘Budget’ Hotel at Princes’ Gate scrapped and failing to materialise.

“It is no wonder residents fear the costs of the Spindles/town centre project running over budget by tens of millions of pounds given the council’s track record.”

Civic Centre in Oldham

Cllr Sharp also referred to Oldham Council being runner up in the prestigious most improved council award in 2012 and two years later bring highly commended at the Local Government Association’s Council of the Year Awards.

However, she added: “Since that high water mark things have gone very wrong and it is clear radical measures need to be taken to restore the confidence of our residents, our business community, and our workforce.

“Now more than ever we need to restore pride in the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham.

“It is clear this council’s strengths are – spending millions of pounds of residents’ hard-earned money and throwing it away on failed scheme after failed scheme.

“It is clear this council does not have the experience to manage the borough’s finances and is incapable of bringing regeneration schemes to fruition in Oldham.

“If Oldham is to have any chance of rebuilding residents’ trust, incentivising people to stay or move into the area with their families and offering a full rounded living experience, then there needs to be massive change at this council.

“Sadly this administration is not fit for purpose and nor is the leadership at the top.”

Cllr Sharp’s motion, which was seconded by Conservative colleague Lewis Quigg – who said problems have been a decade in the making, asked the Oldham Council and its leadership, ‘admit that it is currently out of its depth and is incapable of building Oldham back up again without the necessary help and expertise.’

She also told how relatives and others had ‘complete dismay’ at how the council was running things, also highlighted bids for the Levelling Up Fund, and that residents are saying ‘enough is enough.’

“It’s time the council took some responsibility for the state the borough is in,” Cllr Sharp continued. “Genuinely, Oldham is filthy. It’s covered in litter.”

However, her attempt was voted down after council leader Cllr Amanda Chadderton described it as ‘electioneering, plain and simple.’

She also accused the Conservative group of spreading disinformation and having ‘significantly contributed to a toxic political debate.’

Independent Cllr Brian Hobin added: “It’s like ping pong in here at times. The Tories blame Labour and Labour blame the Tories.

“This motion is just gas, you’re aiming it at the wrong people.”


One Reply to “Council told it is ‘not fit for purpose’”

  1. I think that Cllr Sharp’s criticisms of OMBC were both reasonable and acute and that they are now shared by many and perhaps most of the people living in Oldham as well and that Cllr Chadderton’s inability to respond to those criticisms or even to acknowledge them illustrates perfectly exactly what the real problem here is.

    As someone I know commented to me recently, “The Oldham Labour group aren’t even living on same planet as the rest of us, let alone in the same town,”

    After a decade of of repeated failures, constant disappointment, mismanagement and Labour Party self deception OMBC are not a pretty sight and almost any change would be a change for the better.

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