Longest serving councillor honoured

One of England’s longest serving local councillors has been praised for 57 years of dedicated service to local government.

Councillor David Lancaster, MBE, of Salford City Council, who is thought to be the longest serving councillor in England still in office, was presented with a framed map of Salford by the Ceremonial Mayor of Salford Councillor Ann-Marie Humphreys.

Cllr Lancaster with Ceremonial Mayor, City Mayor and Chief Executive

Councillor Lancaster was first elected, aged 21, to Eccles Council in 1965 and served on that council until defeated in the 1968 elections. He was re-elected to Eccles Council in 1969 and to Salford Council on 7 May 1970 to represent Winton – the year the first Range Rovers rolled off the production line and the first Glastonbury Festival was held. Harold Wilson and then Edward Heath were Prime Ministers that year. The current Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, who was elected to the role in 2017, was born in 1970.

In 1974, through local government re-organisation, Salford Council became Salford City Council. Councillor Lancaster became a full-time councillor in 1999 and over the years has held a number of different roles with Salford City Council and at Greater Manchester level.

He was awarded an MBE in 2016 for services to the community in Salford and charitable services to elderly people through the Salfordian Hotel Trust, a Southport hotel owned by Salford City Council which provides affordable and accessible breaks for local people.

Councillor Lancaster now represents Barton and Winton, following boundary changes, as well as serving as Executive Support Member for Environment, Neighbourhoods and Community Safety.

Councillor Lancaster is a founder member of The Lowry Trust, which ensures local people, especially schoolchildren, benefit from opportunities connected with the nationally renowned The Lowry theatre and art gallery complex. Opening The Lowry in October 2000 was a key milestone in the transformation of the former docklands into Salford Quays which is widely regarded as one of the most successful regeneration projects in Europe.

He became deputy council leader in 2003 and was part of a strategic regeneration team which secured £450 million in investment for the city and assisted the BBC move to MediaCity. The UK’s largest collection of digital and technology businesses outside London is now based in MediaCity.

Over the years he has seen Salford transformed into the fastest growing city and economy in the north-west of England, with a population and building boom, though the challenges of unemployment, low incomes and housing pressures remain.

Councillor Lancaster, who was working as an area housing manager for Manchester City Council when first elected, said he had not expected to serve over half a century as a local councillor.

“Through my work in housing and as a trade unionist I saw there was real need for social and economic change, and I wanted to be part of pushing that forward. I am proud that Salford has pioneered so many initiatives over the years to improve people’s lives,” he said.

“Having said that we are well aware we still face huge challenges of poverty and low wages, low skills and aspirations and poor health which limit people’s lives and not enough affordable housing, though the council and its partners are doing all we can to tackle those issues. The strength of our partnership working in Salford is second to none.

“One of my proudest achievements was the launch of Project Gulf in 2010 which brought the council and Greater Manchester Police together with housing, justice and health to disrupt and deal with organised crime gangs and steer young people into more positive life choices. Gulf has since been copied up and down the country and has proved invaluable in the fight against organised crime.”

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Date published
Thursday 23 February 2023

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