LABOUR has kickstarted its campaign for May’s local election – pledging to cut Cheshire East’s housing target down from 1,800 new homes a year.

The party has launched its manifesto, pledging to give the headline-hitting council a ‘new start to re-build its reputation’.

Among the major policies are plans to revise CEC’s local plan, which sets the promise to welcome 36,000 new homes to the borough by 2030.

Joe Godden, Labour’s candidate in Knutsford, said: “The manifesto is very well put together.

“I think it tackles some very important issues to do with the environment, housing, affordable housing, transport.

“I think it is a positive manifesto, it is realistic, it is costed and I hope people read it and take the time to consider whether they want that sort of positive future council – or whether they want to carry on with the way things are at the moment.”

Labour’s manifesto focuses on housing, transport, health and social care, education and young people, communities, industry and the environment.

It includes:

  • A council house building scheme for urban and rural areas
  • Working with social landlords to develop on brownfield sites
  • Maintaining or introducing free parking schemes and implement a fair charging scheme
  • Reviewing the recent bus strategy and cuts to school buses to improve services
  • Increasing investment in respite and dementia care
  • Boosting provision for youngsters with special educational needs
  • Increasing the number of wardens for fly-tipping and dog fouling
  • Scrapping the rubble charge for Cheshire East residents
  • Promoting town mayors and abolish the Cheshire East mayoralty

The manifesto also focuses on the running of CEC following a string of high profile scandals – including police probes, the suspension of three key officers and revelations over staff bullying.

Joe added: “I feel that quite a lot of people are aware of what has happened at CEC. It is an informed electorate and people have said to me that this cannot carry on – we need change.

“I have certainly had people speak to me that would normally vote Conservative but they are seriously considering voting Labour.”

Tatton Labour is also fielding a candidate in Wilmslow Lacey Green – Ribia Nisa – who is hoping to unseat Conservative cabinet member Cllr Don Stockton.

They are just two of dozens of candidates who have so far been confirmed for the borough, with Macclesfield Cllr Nick Mannion hoping ‘every resident will have the chance to vote Labour in May’.

Rob Vernon, one of Labour’s candidates for Macclesfield Broken Cross and Upton, added: “Our manifesto tackles so many issues that residents have told us need sorting in one-to-one conversations on the doorstep.

“For the last four years, what have our Conservative councillors actually done for us? We need new local voices, with fresh ideas, who will take care of our communities.”

The Conservative group is yet to launch its manifesto.

Speaking to the Guardian last year, leader Cllr Rachel Bailey spoke of the importance of winning residents’ trust this May following the council’s scandals – suggesting that her party’s administration has put the work in to resolve issues.

She said: “It’s not lost on me that whether I’m a councillor or the leader of a council, it is about those with a vote in whatever arena feeling that they can trust me.

“Yes it’s a tough story, but if we were doing nothing and the headlines were still there, I believe that would be the negative story.

“It’s pretty brave to look at yourself and say ‘you know what, that wasn’t quite right, and we need to look at it’. And I hope that’s what the electorate will hear.”

Candidates from other political groups and independents are yet to be confirmed.

To see Labour’s manifesto visit