Salford mayor shares plan to make city 'greener and fairer' over next four years

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Paul Dennett said he will build new homes and plant thousands of new trees. -Credit:Vincent Cole / MEN

The mayor of Salford has shared a plan to make the city "greener and fairer" during his third term in office.

Paul Dennett was re-elected to the post at this year's local elections, winning more than 30,000 votes from a total turnout of just over 25 percent of the electorate.

He addressed councillors at Salford Civic Centre on May 15 to outline his plans for the next four years, as the city grapples with a number of problems including a homelessness crisis and a shrinking council budget.

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With a growing population, the town hall is under pressure to continue delivering effective services while making savings each year.

Mr Dennett said: "Representing every resident and our communities in this city is a real honour and privilege, and it's one that I will never take for granted. Myself and the rest of Salford Labour Group were elected on a clear platform, of delivering a greener, fairer, and more prosperous Salford.

"With exciting and ambitious proposals for our next term, such as building 600 more council homes for our wholly owned housing company, Dérive, making further progress to take back control of social care, being proud of our city's sporting heritage and delivering a rugby strategy for the city, furthering this city's progress in greening our city, our communities, and neighbourhoods, planting thousands of trees, and continuing our collective work to tackle the climate crisis, whilst also placing children and young people at the heart of all we do as a city council, working with the voluntary community and social enterprise sector, businesses and partners throughout our city.

"Delivering in the not too distant future a literacy hub for the city of Salford, and fundamentally becoming a child-friendly city this next mayoral term. A city that doesn't just say that children are our future, but actually delivers what that means in practice."

Paul Dennett speaking at Salford council.
Mr Dennett told councillors he would make Salford a fairer city. -Credit:LDRS

In April, there were more than 5,000 people on Salford council's housing register, making new homes a top priority of the mayor and his team.

The 600 new council homes will be a mix of apartments as well as two, three, and four-bedroom houses, located in different areas of Salford, with some already under construction in Weaste, Charlestown and Little Hulton.

A wider scheme of housebuilding is set to take place in Salford through the Places for Everyone plan, with pockets of green belt land due to be released to make way for new homes.

Social care is also set for a major revamp in the city, with Mr Dennett pledging to bring more services in-house.

Some social care workers in Salford have recently been involved in disputes with employers over pay and working conditions, including at sites such as Laburnum Court Care Home in Broughton, where staff complained about being paid late and missing out on some of their salaries.

Leader of the opposition at Salford council, Robin Garrido, warned Mr Dennett not to become complacent, and said that "70-odd percent of people didn't vote for the city mayor - that's hardly a good endorsement."

He added: "600 more council homes, that's a good target for Dérive, but I would remind the city mayor of the fact that we were achieving these targets with our existing registered providers.

"In fact, we've actually exceeded those figures, and certainly the forecast over the next five years is to actually exceed that 600 figure, so while it's a good target to aim for and we want to see more social housing, we have our own ideas as how that can be provided, in terms of the building behind the civic centre being demolished, and the land used for social housing.

"There are plenty of opportunities there from our point of view to increase social housing, it's a policy we agree with, but we don't necessarily agree with the way it's been gone about."

The local elections on May 2 saw Labour win both seats up for grabs in the Ordsall ward, as well as a seat in the Conservative heartlands of Worsley, giving Mr Dennett's party a total of 50 councillors in the town hall.

But the Lib Dems won a second council seat in Salford Quays, giving the party two councillors overall in the borough.

In his first full council speech at the civic centre since being re-elected mayor, Mr Dennett also pointed out that in 2024 Salford is looking forward to celebrating 50 years since it became a metropolitan borough in 1974, and another celebration in 2026 when the city marks its centenary year.