I’m Mike Prendergast, and I am standing as the Conservative candidate in Dukes Ward, this includes parts of Birkdale as well as the town centre.
I have lived in Southport for over 20 years and, unlike some of the other candidates, I live in Dukes Ward. I am married with 2 young children, aged 7 and 5. I run my own business, being a partner in a local firm of solicitors and I am also a Notary Public.
There are many issues affecting residents and businesses in Dukes Ward, things such as the state of our roads and pavements regularly come up on the doorstep as does the fact that many in Southport feel we are neglected by a Labour run Sefton Council. If you are asking me to select the one most important issue for Dukes Ward though, then it has to be the rejuvenation of our town centre and supporting local businesses in a post-covid recovery.
There has been a lot of support from central government over the last year or so for local businesses and the recent award of £37.5 million of Town Deal funding for Southport is a huge boost for the town. I want to work with those who obtained this funding, including our Conservative MP, Damien Moore, to ensure the money is spent wisely and encourage further private investment into our town.
This presents a real opportunity for our town to reinvent itself and will be a huge boost to the local economy but it does need to used on commercially viable projects.
We have seen with the purchase of the Bootle Strand for £32 million how Labour do not have a great track record in making sound commercial decisions, with this arguably leading to higher Council Tax rises due to the significant losses the council are now lumbered with.
If our local economy can recover and prosper, then the town as a whole will become an even better place to live, work and visit.
I want to ensure that Southport residents and businesses have someone who will stand up for them. As someone who runs their own business, I understand the pressures and issues that many local businesses face and how some of the decisions taken by Labour councillors based in Bootle have adversely effected businesses here.
Fundamentally, I live in Dukes Ward and want to make it a better place to live and work.