COVENTRY’S Conservatives have launched their manifesto for council elections next month with a promise of a new train station, a cycle superhighway and a review of the Labour-controlled council’s contentious housebuilding plans.
The Tories – the first local party to issue their election material – set out their five-year vision for the city ahead of polling day on Thursday, May 2.
They also pledge to support libraries, clamp down on fly-tipping as well as repair potholes.
The party will hope to improve on 13 seats – with 18 of the council’s 54 seats up for grabs.
In the shorter term, Conservatives believe a range of measures including free parking and turnover-based rents will help retailers.
The Conservatives claims they will also produce a balanced council budget and tackle debts which cost the taxpayer £11million last year alone in interest payments.
The creation of a new £310,000 High Street Challenge Fund would allow retailers and community groups to bid for funds to make the high street more attractive to shoppers.
A further £750,000 is earmarked to improve road safety with an extra £500,000 available for improvements to highways and pothole repair.
There would be moves to re-open Coundon rail station and a new station in the east of the city.
A new off-road north-south cycle superhighway would be added as a way to make cycling a more attractive way to travel.
And £300,000 has been set aside to support libraries and develop the volunteer base while protecting them from closure.
On the greenbelt Conservatives would seek a review of the council’s Local Plan outlining the need for 44,000 homes to be built by 2031.
They would prefer to see a brownfield first approach and have promised to ‘can the plan’ if elected.
However, to boost housing supply they would bring nearly 2,500 empty homes back into use – using seizure powers if necessary.
They would also seek changes to the planning system to make it harder to turn family homes into student properties.
To create more jobs, they are promising the creation of a taskforce to maximise the opportunities offered by next generation technology and green collar jobs.
Conservative leader Coun Gary Ridley said: “Our mission is to create a Coventry where everyone has the opportunity to get a quality job, live in a good house and have aspiration for their children. I’m asking voters to back us because I know that a better future for everyone could be within our grasp. These aren’t just empty words, our manifesto contains specific actions which we’ll take to bring about the change Coventry so desperately needs. It’s a sky-blue print for a better tomorrow written by Coventrians for Coventrians.”