Tories lose seat on Wilmslow Town Council


Residents in the Wilmslow East ward went to the polls today (Thursday 4th August) to elect a new town councillor.

Voters had a choice of three candidates to represent them: Mark Goldsmith (Residents of Wilmslow), Birgitta Hoffman (Liberal Democrat) and Chetan Katre (Conservative Party).

The election was won by the Residents of Wilmslow candidate Mark Goldsmith who received 60.5% of the vote. The Conservative Party candidate Dr Chetan Katre received 34.3% of the vote and in third place was the Liberal Democrat candidate Birgitta Hoffman who received just over 5% of the vote.

Mark has lived in Wilmslow for 16 years with his wife Melanie, having moved to Wilmslow from London because they love how the town sits amongst the beautiful Cheshire countryside.

Mark joins David Jefferay as the second town councillor representing Residents of Wilmslow, an independent non-political group which, over the past five years, has challenged the need to build on so many of green field sites in Wilmslow.

Mark told "I am delighted to be representing the people of Wilmslow. By far their biggest concern on the doorstep was the development of green belt around the town. They feel their concerns are being ignored by Conservative councillors, so I want to be their voice and to fight with Residents of Wilmslow to keep our green fields undeveloped."

The total votes cast was 887 which represents a turnout of 27.9%.

The vacancy arose due to the resignation of Fiona McNulty, who was elected in May 2015 but resigned after 11 months due to work commitments.

Speaking after the result the Conservative candidate Dr Chetan Katre told "I would like to thank my opponents for a clean contest fought on matters of policy. It has been a pleasure speaking with so many residents and I would like to thank them for their time and for coming out to vote at the height of the holiday season.

"This was a hard fought contest and I congratulate Mark while expressing disappointment that the factors clearly swaying the result were Cheshire East matters rather than those influenced by Wilmslow Town Council."

Birgitta Hoffmann said "I am quite pleased to have gained 5% of the vote in a ward where no Lib Dems have stood for some years and look forward to building on this with other Liberal Democrats in future elections.

"Many thanks to the other teams and candidates and to the election officials for a productive and positive campaign."

Mark Goldsmith, Wilmslow East Election, Wilmslow East Ward, Wilmslow Town Council, Wilmslow Town Council Election


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Martin Watkins
Thursday 4th August 2016 at 11:25 pm
Well done Mark. Welcome to Wilmslow Town Council. Look forward to working with you in the months ahead. Martin Watkins, Chairman WTC
Dave Cash
Friday 5th August 2016 at 1:57 am
Congratulations to Mark, nice to see another Independent (RoW) Cllr on WTC.
Hard luck to Birgitta (Lib) & Chetan (Cons)
Keith Chapman
Friday 5th August 2016 at 10:51 am
Well done Mark, the existing councillors look forward to working with you. You will be pleased to know we are all aligned with your views on building on green field land!

Wilmslow East Town Councillor
Nick Jones
Friday 5th August 2016 at 11:37 am
Keith...... As are the majority of residents !! who have been let down by the mainstream parties..

[ Except the 'COGS' ( Concrete over green spaces.. brigade ) of course ! ... who's comments will follow shortly.. you know the ones... who don't want to live in an inner city but want to make Wilmslow an extension of Ancoats ! ]

Mark.... Congratulations, and good luck in the role !
Alan Brough
Friday 5th August 2016 at 4:55 pm
Congratulations on a resounding victory Mark.

A very clear message from the people of Wilmslow East.
Pete Taylor
Friday 5th August 2016 at 7:13 pm
Well done! People before Party.
Manuel Golding
Friday 5th August 2016 at 9:55 pm
I would like to congratulate Mark on his outstanding and overwhelming victory yesterday.
Our RoW team of committed and hard working members are also to be congratulated on achieving the victory they so thoroughly deserved. We must also congratulate and thank the voters of East ward who were only too delighted to join the RoW team at the ballot box.

They were doing it for the much ignored people of Wilmslow, the people the Conservative party pretends to represent but when shove comes to push have always and will continue to put their party's interests first, second and last.

Mark along with Councillor David Jefferay on WTC and Councillor Toni Fox on CEC will not let our supporters and voters down - many are already seeing the big difference between our team and the Conservatives.
Dave Cash
Saturday 6th August 2016 at 2:21 am
I look forward to welcoming Birgitta & Chetan to the Public gallery of future WTC meetings, when they can raise questions of the Council during the 10 min Public participation phase of the Agenda, as can any member of the Wilmslow electorate.
All candidates were prepared to attend 6/pa until next WTC election.
Keith Chapman
Saturday 6th August 2016 at 10:13 am
I would like to correct Manuel's implication that Wilmslow Town Council operates on party lines. In my time on the council (14 months) there have only been two Conservative group meetings. Each of the councillors makes up their own mind on issues without reference to party position. That is why we welcome any new councillors with drive and ability who can help improve conditions in the town. The existing Conservative councillors have worked closely and effectively with David Jefferay, and we will do the same with Mark Goldsmith. The fact is that you can't put a cigarette paper between the ROW position on land development and the position of Conservative WTC councillors who also oppose building on the green belt.

Keith Chapman, Wilmslow East Town Councillor
Manuel Golding
Saturday 6th August 2016 at 12:54 pm
Keith, I appreciate your response and your welcome for Mark but there are big gulfs between your group and RoW regarding the planning blight destined for Wilmslow. Take an example of the Royal London steamroller even blackmail demand for development on its green belt - Wilmslow Town Council's Conservative overwhelming majority has always been against housing there BUT was all for commercial build there.

RoW tried time after time to point out to your party's councillors that accepting commercial development on the green belt would be giving the green light to wider elements of development at that site, commercial, housing, a hotel or whatever else RL could dream up to add value to its asset, all in complete disregard for the well-being of its neighbours. Money counts first and people well down the ladder as far as that company is concerned.

Only latterly has your Conservative majority realised they have made a mistake, a mistake RoW has been attempting to point out to you for the past 3 or 4 years. Interestingly the WTC Conservatives will not speak the truth, that is "RoW told us so and we now accept its point of view". If you and your colleagues would do so there will then be an honest and meaningful relationship between the two groups. However it is sad to see the WTC Conservatives belatedly claiming their volte face as their own initiative when it is clearly not.

I appreciate that your party's councillors may have changed since May 2015 but it the past decisions by that group of Conservatives that has set the RL agenda.

RoW is more than happy to work with the Conservative group for the real betterment of the town's residents; our members, supporters, voters and councillors will always put the true betterment of the town's well being first, working to our maxim of "People Before Party". We really need to see the Conservatives acting to the same norm, not words but actions.

It would also be a great step forward if CECs Conservative councillors would do the same but from what we have seen and heard, even this past week, hell will probably freeze over before any man or woman has the backbone to stand up to their party's demands.
Pete Taylor
Saturday 6th August 2016 at 11:53 pm
The things they say...

All of the above are members of one party. One has been booted out and is under serious criminal investigation; one was sacked by the New Prime Minister, one spent £2000 of our money on a patch of weeds under the railway viaduct!

Dave Cash makes a very good point- will these two arriviste candidates bother to turn up for the WTC meetings as members of the public?
Manuel Golding
Sunday 7th August 2016 at 3:17 pm
Thanks Pete for the stroll down bad memory lane.

Maybe I was a little too naive back in 2012 when the Local Plan kicked off. However, with 4 years of painful experiences attempting to have honest, open discussions with CEC councillors, some of our own so called "representatives", the Council's leadership, senior planning officers and our M.P., the overriding experience is that none of these people are remotely concerned with the people of Wilmslow's concerns with the destruction of the town's Green Belt and by over development.

As far as they are concerned, the public's voice is "irrelevant",thus ignored & dismissed at a stroke. We know that housing etc is required; we are attempting to have the right kind of developments in the right places.

Cllr Michael Jones just uttered quite meaningless palliatives ("I'll tell them what they want to hear and then do as we wish" - e.g. at Dean Row Village Hall), willingly supported by George Osborne M.P, then second in command of the government, by our CEC Conservative councillors, followed by the then WTC.

And politicians wonder why there is so much widespread public contempt for them. They cannot see it, so there is no further point in their being around blighting our lives, "in the name of God, Go!" (Leo Amery MP, Conservative, 1940)

RoW puts the voice of people first, Roll on the next round of elections.
Keith Chapman
Sunday 7th August 2016 at 7:41 pm

I would hope that all WTC councillors listen to each other's point of view, and don't just stick to their starting positions. I certainly listen to your current WTC Councillor David Jefferay, and I have been influenced by what he had to say, and by the ROW campaign. There is no shame in that, as his and the ROW view represents an important strand of opinion in the town. I think we should remember that Wilmslow Town Council is a parish council with very limited powers. It is composed of people who are not career politicians, but who are prepared to give up their free time to be involved in how their local community evolves. Let's emphasise our common ground rather than any differences which may exist, and we can hopefully improve outcomes for Wilmslow.

Keith Chapman, Wilmslow East Town Councillor
Manuel Golding
Sunday 7th August 2016 at 8:54 pm
Keith, we really have to stop meeting like this in this "public place", people will start talking about us!
However, I appreciate your comments but may I suggest you read through the WTC policies and minutes. You will then get the picture of WTCs recent history on the matter of the town's Green Belt sites.

WTC will have been seen to have been clearly following the same strategy as that of CECs councillors, where they unashamedly persist in putting their PARTY BEFORE PEOPLE; as you know, we honestly proclaim we put PEOPLE BEFORE PARTY. A major philosophical difference between you and RoW.

We fully understand the town council has limited powers but your Conservative predecessors saw fit to follow the party line and it is this gorge feeding of that doctrine that has cost the Conservatives the credibility you desire.

RoW is an independent group with no party affiliations believing the best way forward for the council is to be fully independent. Alderley Edge has done it, why not Wilmslow?

None of you are "professional" politicians, we are very appreciative of David and Mark, but if that is the case, what I fail to understand is why you and your Tory colleagues feel it necessary to stand under a party banner? Why not stand as independent, be your own man and be seen fully to be for the electorate and not be tarnished by a toxic political party?

Keith, you will always be welcome to "cross over" and join us in RoW - Wilmslow needs more independent minds on its council.
Nick Jones
Sunday 7th August 2016 at 10:09 pm
Manuel... If I may add.. not necessarily just "independent minds"... but just people with a bit of honour who once elected to do a job... do just that .... for the benefit of the vox populous that put them there .. and not once in place follow a different agenda,, as you allude ... ( there are a catalogue of votes I wont list here where party colours failed.)
WTC has a voice together and 'colours' aside joined up thinking is the way forward..
Keith Chapman
Monday 8th August 2016 at 2:44 pm

As always it is a pleasure to debate with you. Far from being toxic the Conservative party is absolutely necessary to the wellbeing of the nation, and I am proud to represent it. It is the only party which understands that wealth needs to be created before it can be spent. It is the only party in favour of small government and enterprise. I stand under the Conservative banner because the party has policies ranging across an entire spectrum at national and local level. It is not a one issue pressure group like RoW. Being a party representative does not mean one cannot think and act with independence of mind. This is particularly true at the level we are talking about. Perhaps yourself, David and Mark might like to consider joining us as we agree on your main issue, and probably on many others!

Keith Chapman, Wilmslow East Town Councillor
Manuel Golding
Monday 8th August 2016 at 5:17 pm
Keith, you are (deliberately) confusing the difference between national politics and those of a local, very local, town council. I'm not doubting for one moment that the Conservative government is the right one, the best one, for the nation and as a life-long Conservative it has my support. By the way, do not make the mistake of assuming RoW is a one issue group - that is how we started but circumstances have guided us into a much wider manifesto. Yet another Conservative error! The local Conservative representatives have shown one and all they are neither able or willing to take on the government on planning, prepared instead to do government's bidding. The electors here deserve better than "yes" men (and women)!

Unfortunately for you, your local Party is "toxic", it has poisoned its own well of support. You really need to start asking yourself why is this?

Probably well before your sojourn in Wilmslow, the people of this town had the benefit of the long lamented Wilmslow U.D.C. That council was made up entirely of independent people with no party affiliations whatsoever, no demands, no whips, no party dogma. The councillors were seen very clearly to work totally for the inhabitants - I have many examples of these well respected people acting for us. - and were prepared to disagree with government and argue for us on matters of prime concern. Unfortunately, this independence has been usurped by respective political parties across the country, in Wilmslow, in the old Macc B.C. and latterly in Cheshire East by the Conservative Party.
The damage locally to the Conservative party has been done and you will be tarred by that brush Keith.

If you truly are of an independent mind, you will only be able to prove it to the electorate when you jettison the Conservative label by joining a truly apolitical group such as our RoW.

Jump, Keith! You will get a soft landing in RoW and will be your own independent man.
Maria Quin
Wednesday 10th August 2016 at 1:16 pm
Personally, I'm delighted to know that RoW are growing in voice and strength and fighting for something dear to my heart - saving our Greenbelt from the greedy! Congratulations Mark - this is a great win for Wilmslow!
Barry Buxton
Wednesday 10th August 2016 at 1:39 pm
Nick Jones: What's wrong with Wilmslow becoming part of Greater Manchester, especially with a soon-to-be elected 'super' mayor?! It's more progressive than thinking Wilmslow will forever remain in a parochial time-warp bubble, turning its back on new opportunities such as Airport City, Metrolink connection, technology businesses, etc.
Cllr. Barry Burkhill
Wednesday 10th August 2016 at 3:04 pm
May I also add my congratulations to Mark on winning his seat so convincingly on WTC. Cllr. Dennis Mahon and I are delighted that another Independent Local Group, RoW, are building on their success in Local Elections.
Since 1979 until 2015 the Handforth Ratepayer Councillors have been the only Independent voice for local democracy at Borough level. We have been honoured to represent the people and not a party, putting people before party politics but we have been lone voices in the Conservative wilderness around us.
That hegemony was broken last year by the election of RoW Cllr. Toni Fox in Wilmslow Dean Row ward, the election of Independent Cllr. Craig Browne in Alderley Edge ward and the very close election in Wilmslow East ward.
People are fed up with electing Councillors who afterwards do not represent them, voting against greenbelt, tied to a party's will, selling their souls for a chairmanship of a committee given out to them for party loyalty by the part leader.
Our loyalty is to our residents and we are very proud to say so.