New mayor says council will champion needs of Longridge

Coun Steve Ashcroft
Coun Steve Ashcroft

Longridge’s new mayor has called on the town council to be ambitious in championing the needs of Longridge as more development impacts on the town.

Coun Steve Ashcroft, who has just been installed as mayor for 2019/20, said: “I said that if there was a theme that I think we should consider over the course of the next year it’s the extent to which the council should be more ambitious.

“The town is changing with all the development and so on and in the light of that I think we need to think how the town can be more ambitious in some of the things that it does and that will come forward bit by bit during the course of the year.”

The former Royal Preston Hospital chief executive, who served as director of the North West Development Agency from 1998 to 2005 , said: “Where we think a particular statutory body is not doing enough or not doing anything at all on a certain issue then I think on behalf of the people of Longridge we should be holding these organisations to account.

“I think as a town council we can do that. We might not have statutory powers but we do have influence and I think we should use that influence and bring it to bear for the people of Longridge.”

Noting that the council had welcomed new councillors he said he was keen to make good use of the skills of all councillors old and new.

He said: “I regard it as a great privilege to have been nominated for mayor.”

One of his first tasks may be to welcome Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for highways Coun Keith Iddon to the town to discuss Longridge’s traffic issues.

Coun Iddon postponed a visit here because of the recent May borough elections. The mayor stressed that while developers may make contributions through Section 106 monies for community improvements in the town, some very big issues needed addressing.

These include concerns, sparked by the increase in traffic as a result of new developments, about pedestrian safety and traffic controls and parking, specially on Berry Lane, Inglewhite Road and Derby Road. He said: “We want to have a conversation with Coun Iddon about how the county council is going to address that. Nobody else has picked it up and I think it’s part and parcel of the town council’s job.”