Call for greater scrutiny of Council's decisions voted down


As reported yesterday, a call to replace the current cabinet system at Cheshire East Council with a committee system was voted down at a special meeting of the full council held on Tuesday 5th March.

In addition to the 'changing to a committee system form of governance' motion, which he seconded, Cllr Craig Browne, Independent councillor for the Alderley Edge Ward, proposed a motion that "in the interests of good governance" the Chairs of the four scrutiny committees should all be allocated to opposition groups.

Cllr Craig Browne explained "Scrutiny Committees are an important part of the process of holding the executive (i.e. the Cabinet) to account. The intention is that they scrutinise the decisions made collectively by Cabinet, as well as by the individual Cabinet members and then make recommendations.

"Currently, at Cheshire East Council, the Chairs of each of the four Scrutiny Committees are held by members of the same political group which makes up the Cabinet; also, they are appointed by the Leader of the Council, whose decisions they are supposed to be scrutinising.

"As these Scrutiny Chairs also receive an extra financial allowance of £7,500 a year, this strengthens the perception that the allowance system is able to be used as a form of patronage, where loyalty may be bought."

Cllr Browne added "I felt strongly that this practice needed calling out for its lack of transparency."

Whilst members of the Independent Group, the Labour Group and the Liberal Democrat Group supported the motion it was voted down by 36 votes to 22.

Cheshire East Council


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

Christine McClory
Wednesday 6th March 2019 at 3:39 pm
Buster Wild
Wednesday 6th March 2019 at 4:16 pm
The solution lies with the electorate in the May elections. If we don't like the way the Tories are running the council, all we have to do is to give our "X" to another party or an Independent candidate. Problem solved, I hope !
Lynne Prescott
Wednesday 6th March 2019 at 4:16 pm
Remember this in council elections! if ever there was a council that needed greater transparency and scrutiny it's this one!! I want to be convinced that we have seen an end to cronyism, obfuscation, wasteful expenditure (mostly redacted to save the names of the guilty) and criminal activities by the exec before they even THINK of raising council tax. Prove to me they can prudently and legally manage what they currently get first!
Audrey Youngman
Wednesday 6th March 2019 at 4:26 pm
Roll on the May elections.
Roger Bagguley
Thursday 7th March 2019 at 9:33 am
Many thanks to Craig Browne for this article which so succinctly exposes the main issue we all are facing in seeking to bring about a change in the way Cheshire East is being run. We at RoW are fully supportive of all Independent Councillors who now have to force a referendum, at a cost to the electorate that could have been avoided. We thank all of those people who have so far voted for change, encourage more to do so and to vote Independent on May 2nd. Only then can Scrutiny Committees begin the process of bringing openness and clarity to the business of running Cheshire East. There is so much to do.
Cllr. Barry Burkhill
Thursday 7th March 2019 at 11:10 am
The Conservative Group, at last Tuesday's Special Council Meeting, succeeded in uniting every other Councillor in all other groups against them. The 14 members of our Independent Group called for the return to the more open and democratic Committee System of governing your Borough Council. We were supported by both the Labour and Lib/Dem groups but were defeated by the whipped vote of all 39 Conservative Councillors present, who feared de-selection and the loss of their extra responsibility payments more than facing their residents on the doorstep. A named vote was taken so that you can see how your Ward Councillor voted.
The present Cabinet system encourages and results in a cosy relationship between senior officers and portfolio holders, leading to a Council run by officers via the Cabinet. We can never be a member led authority if the Cabinet System is allowed to continue.
Our Campaign to put residents of Cheshire East back in charge of their Council and their elected Councillors, through a Committee led system, will continue after the elections in May. 97% of our residents want this change and hopefully 97% of residents will vote for us on May 2nd. to ensure your wishes are pursued.
Deleted Account
Thursday 7th March 2019 at 3:05 pm
As ever Clr Barry Burkhill, succinctly put. The voice of reason and common sense.

Residents won't forget the hard work you & Independent Clr Mark Goldsmith did to keep local leisure & recreational facilities and resist inappropriately big, warehouse-like retail premises being built right next to our homes.

You have our vote !

Summerfields Residents.
Graham Shaw
Thursday 7th March 2019 at 3:54 pm
The whole thing stinks - make your next vote count!
Rod Menlove
Thursday 7th March 2019 at 4:54 pm
The cabinet system is favoured by the majority of large local authorities. It is interesting that two councils that changed back to the committee system have changed back again to the cabinet system.
Decision making has to follow process and is very slow compared with the private sector. The committee system is the slowest by far and according to those who have experienced it, in practice can be anything but transparent. Listen to the recording of the council meeting to hear the debate points together with criticism of the committee system by opposition members.
The counter balance to the cabinet system is the all-party overview and scrutiny committees. These committees set their own work programmes and can call the cabinet member to account. They also run task and finish groups to input their conclusions to cabinet decision making. Unfortunately many opposition members concentrate on the scrutiny aspect (for local media headlines?) rather than overview where they could contribute to policy development. If they used it properly they would not criticise the transparency of the cabinet system. Nevertheless the overview and scrutiny committees are a strength within Cheshire East but with the potential to be stronger.
This shows the lack of substance in the negative comments in the above and earlier threads. Cosy relationship is a myth invented by those who have never been on cabinet. Chairs of committees will be decided by councillors at the first meeting of the new council.
The question is, why did opposition members choose now to raise these matters? The correct time was during the recent comprehensive review of the constitution. Is it pure electioneering some two months ahead of the 2 May elections? As a senior Labour councillor said at the meeting: "I have had to take a day off work, this is a complete waste of time so let's just vote and finish it."
If there is an expensive referendum then the responsibility rests squarely at the doors of the independents for wasting public money to further political ends.
Philip Barton
Thursday 7th March 2019 at 7:14 pm
The debate on the budget brought home the benefits of the cabinet system. Windbags filling council time enjoying the sound of their own voice helps no-one. The debate on Tuesday brought little more than complaining from a few individuals that their unsupported views are not listened to. There are ample opportunities for every councillor to input their views in full council and committee. The fact that there views are not acted on is because few agree with them. Changing the system doesn't change that.
Roger Bagguley
Thursday 7th March 2019 at 8:01 pm
Sorry Councillor this is not something raising its head with elections upcoming but born out of several years of observing due process as per Cheshire East. This iz not headline news but old news. The world is moving on and party politics is an endangered species. It is all well and good for you to recommend we listen to the cabinet debates, planning debates etc. but what we cannot get our heads around is why there is a debate in the first place given the vote always goes as predicted. There is so much happening in the way Cheshire East functions that calls for strict scrutiny and experience has shown this will not be forthcoming with more of the same. A breath of fresh air is needed, a new vision. Councillors who will seek to deliver a new Cheshire East.
Mark Goldsmith
Thursday 7th March 2019 at 10:05 pm

The committee system is not needed by other councils because they are not undergoing eight police investigations into the illegal activity by its staff. Nor do they routinely feature in Private Eyes Rotten Boroughs. Nor do they spend £1 million to secretly investigate its directors.

Therefore, the debate was about a new system to improve Cheshire East's poor performance. It was not about choosing the optimal system for a properly run council as we don't have that luxury. However, you clearly think none of this is necessary and all is going swimmingly well at Cheshire East. But blaming the opposition for not contributing to policy is laughable. Remind me how your Conservative colleagues listened to:

Thousands of objections to Wilmslow's new housing estates?
Hundreds of objections to the Local Plan?
Hundreds of objections to the new Lidl's?
Hundreds of objections to the car parking increases?
Hundreds of demands for double yellow lines on Alderley Road?
6,000 signatures asking for the committee system at CE?

Yes, you've guessed it, they totally ignored them all. Instead they did what they were told to do by their masters at Sandbach and Westminster.

So your claims that opposition ideas would be adopted is clearly not linked to any reality. They do show the cosy complacency at Cheshire East though. Something that has been going on for years and won't stop unless voters change and vote independent on 2nd May.
David Jefferay
Friday 8th March 2019 at 7:09 am
Rod, I was at the meeting as an observer.
If we are talking about the same passionate (angry) Senior Labour Councillor, my interpretation of his comment about it being a waste of time was a little different to yours. I believe he was remarking on how pointless the vote was because the Tories had been whipped and therefore it was only ever going to go one way (this being after the Tory Leader declined to state whether their members had been whipped). To say it was about the subject matter I think is maybe just your interpretation.
On a positive, whilst they couldn't support it (presumably either because they didn't agree or because they'd been whipped) at least some of your Conservative colleagues had the broad-mindedness (if that's even a word!) to thank the Independents group for raising the subject to allow debate and airing of views and concerns.
That gives me some confidence that the system isn't entirely broken.
Fingers crossed, we'll have a situation after May which will require a more collaborative approach to governance anyway.
Deleted Account
Friday 8th March 2019 at 7:39 am
Hello Clr Rod Menlove

If you want to see how the current elected Cheshire East cabinet system 'listened' to residents, we urge you to come and look at the 'warehouse' they've approved be built next to existing homes on Summerfields Village, Wilmslow.

As a direct result of their failure to listen, residents will now have a reminder for decades to come of how the current Cheshire East cabinet system ignored residents and in fact, even ignored the advice of their own in house Urban Design Team.

So Clr Rod Menlove, before you continue to support the current cabinet system, come up to Summerfields Village and see for yourself the outcomes of their activities. Be prepared to be disappointed.


Summerfields Residents.
Pete Taylor
Friday 8th March 2019 at 10:10 am
Philip Barton: you refer to a “few individuals” with unsupported views; those are elected Councillors you are referring to! Presumably you have forgotten when you stood for election to Wilmslow Town Council, as a Conservative candidate and we’re soundly defeated by an Independent candidate- an unprecedented event. It might be that it is your views which are unsupported!
Terry Roeves
Friday 8th March 2019 at 10:22 am
Of course the vote was whipped. Too many cover ups and secrets not to be.
I’m sure that there are some decent conservative councillors who have had enough of this local government tragedy and will be of great service to their constituents by standing as Independent candidates.
Nick Jones
Friday 8th March 2019 at 11:13 am
I wonder following Rachel Riley’s self-referral to her own discipline committee in relation to her unwavering support for the Congleton Cllr managing the CEC purse over his own business collapse still thinks the “Negative Portrayal” of CEC she harpied on about is still unfounded ?? Duplicitous behaviour would appear to be the evidenced convention in CEC, hiding behind Cabinet Diktat and party whip.
Let’s not forget it was the outgoing ward Cllr who said.. "I have worked closely with the town council ... to counter threats to the local Green Belt… I have publicly opposed any housing on the Royal London site…” closely followed by a complete U turn, voting with his colleagues to remove this site and others from green belt protection. Remind me, what was the final cost of Lyme ‘asleep on my watch’ Green (£ 3 million +?) Where is the full report? What was the cost of the ‘Flawed CEC Local Plan’ (£ 3.7 million+ ?) Co-socious (£ 3 million +?), ‘Corefit’ ( £200 k+ ), ‘Deliberate and systematic’ failures re; Pollution data and its implication to planning decisions ( £ unknown millions !! ), The cost of severance to disgraced officers leaving (£ hundreds of thousands ! ) Employing ‘Bullying’ Consultants £152k, Employing Lancashire based JGM Spin Doctors (£1.2million ?)
Balance all this with the identified law enforcement investigations and clearly whilst the ‘cabinet system’ does work... it has been evidenced repeatedly not to function in CEC for a variety of reasons, the wrong people are currently involved and those elected have ignored their constituents. The May elections will determine if we can afford more tax rises for no benefit, or ensure that we get people working together irrespective of tribal colours for the benefit of tax paying residents.
CEC should have been put in special measures months ago… but that was never going to happen under this Govt due to the further embarrassment it would cause. Ironically the most disenfranchised residents from my experience are Tory voters who have been hoodwinked by all the evidenced CEC shenanigans. Is it any wonder Tory Cllrs are jumping ship to become independent?
Richard Armstead
Friday 8th March 2019 at 3:44 pm
Councillor Menlove - my, this councillor really takes the biscuit, but sadly is representative of Conservative councillors at both Cabinet and Committee level in the CEC. Such overbearing platitudes prevail while local residents despair of Conservative decisions which do absolutely nothing to improve their daily lives. Important local issues that demand proper examination are delegated willy nilly to officers and result in the tail wagging the dog. As decision makers Conservative led committees are a non entity totally out of touch with public opinion. While this is the case the public is quite rightly suspicious of the direction of this Council and as to what is really dictating decision making at both Cabinet and Committee level. Such decisions proliferate while residents look on in dismay. The car parking debacle in Wilmslow is the latest in a long list. That increased parking charges are seen as the solution while off street parking provision is neglected, beggars belief. Whilst such lack of provision is studiously neglected one must ask where the £1.89M parking services surplus for 2016/2017 went. A thorough examination of the cash trail would not bear examination. This surplus is
primarily to be used, according to the Traffic Act, to provide off road parking provision. Where is the £500,000 to £600,00 of this surplus generated by those parking in Wilmslow? There is no evidence that one penny of this surplus ended up providing off road parking in Wilmslow. Investment in Wilmslow is totally disregarded with no committed development up to 2030. This Council is overseeing the demise of a once vibrant town centre in Wilmslow and this has to change. While Conservative decision making follows tribal allegiances this will continue. Vote for your independent council candidate at the upcoming elections to assure independence of thought and independent decision making in line with local needs and resident's priorities.
Manuel Golding
Friday 8th March 2019 at 5:56 pm
The time has come,' the Walrus said,
To talk of many things:
Of a disastrous Conservative dominated Cheshire East Council,
Of increased car parking charges - of devolving such increases to uncountable apparatchiks- and no desire to increase off street car parking places -
And no care for local neighbourhoods who have to endure never ending planning blight -
And non listening Conservative CE councillors - and some asleep on the job -
And whose only conscience is to The Party, - not to voters - and then endlessly obfuscate on all matters of concern -
And then tell the voters "We know best!"
And the electoral sea is boiling
And these Conservatives had better wing it out of town
- And Residents of Wilmslow's candidates will calm the waters
And listen to the town's voters"

Apologise to Lewis Carrol but make no mistake, Residents of Wilmslow's
(independent) candidates are ready, willing and very able to work for Wilmslow's voters
with nb party whip to jump to.

2nd May - VOTE RESIDENTS OF WILMSLOW across the town.
Pete Taylor
Friday 8th March 2019 at 9:31 pm
Is there yet a list of candidates from anyone other than the (independent) Residents of Wilmslow? I’m a chap who likes to keep his options open- so, who else is standing and what are your credentials?
Let’s be hearing what you have to offer.

I think that I might already have heard rather more than enough condescending bluster from the out-going Menlove but nothing at all from any other Party-Political prospective candidates.

Tick, tock...
James Nicholas
Saturday 9th March 2019 at 7:37 am
I am very disappointed in comments made by Councillor Menlove following the special meeting earlier last Tuesday. I feel it is my responsibility, as the proposer of the motion, to correct some of Cllr Menlove’s comments which I feel have been very ‘economical with the facts’.

The option of having a committee system was only re-introduced by the Cameron coalition government in 2011 and since then at least 29 councils have voluntarily opted to change back to the committee system.
The two councils that are returning the cabinet system are only doing so because the Conservatives gained majorities and opted to change. The changes are not because the new system wasn’t working; these changes were purely political.

As for the comments about scrutiny committees. They are generally considered to be toothless. One decision, unanimously supported by a cross-party scrutiny committee, was returned to the cabinet, the same cabinet the proposal had come from in the first place, and promptly ignored. What a waste of time. Don’t get me started on the New Homes Bonus.

Cllr Menlove says that chairs of committees will be decided by councillors. Again, this is simply not correct. The chairs will be decided by the leader of the council, and can be replaced by the same person if they do not tow-the-line. There is too much power given to one person.

Cllr Menlove took the Labour Councillors comments completely out of context. The councillor was saying that because the Conservatives had been whipped there was no further point in the meeting. For the record he went on to support our motion, as did all Independent, Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors.

The last comprehensive review was back in 2014, since then we have become painfully aware of many of the problems within CEC. More proof, if more proof were needed, that change is urgently required.

As for bringing this up 2 months before the election, I’m afraid Cllr Menlove should know better. He was on the constitution committee that rejected an Independent motion (also proposed by me) that asked for a working group be set up to look into an alternative form of governance and that was a year ago. The Independent Group have been trying to get this issue discussed since 2017.

We recently held an online poll - 805 people took part. The option was between a committee system and a cabinet system. It showed 97% support for a change to a committee system, even with the normal 3% margin of error, that remains reasonably unequivocal.

To claim the Independent Group would be responsible for an expensive referendum is again totally false.
Had the conservative councillors been allowed to follow their conscience and allowed to properly represent their residents, the outcome of the meeting on Tuesday may have had a very different ending.
I promise Cllr Menlove that this issue will not be going away after the election.

Cllr James Nicholas
Cheshire East Council
Julian Barlow
Saturday 9th March 2019 at 10:36 am
In an age of greater transparency religions , financial institutions and businesses have all been forced, sometimes reluctantly, to operate in a more open and honest fashion.

CEC are operating, for their own convenience, in the dark ages. They’re overwhelmingly distrusted and have an appalling reputation with the electorate. Here was a golden opportunity to demonstrate for once, that they do operate in an open and honest fashion and with the interests of their constituents at heart. They don’t and so they didn’t.

Fortunately May isn’t far away now.
Richard Armstead
Saturday 9th March 2019 at 2:40 pm
A timely exposè of the £1BN Parking Robbery countrywide, in today's Daily Mail. It could have been written exclusively about the shenanigans lately, regarding car parking increases at the CEC. I could not have put it better. -

'With sums this large in play, the question must be whether they are actually helping our town centres and high streets to thrive, or whether it feels more like motorists being targeted to help cash strapped councils balance their books'

'Hiking up the cost can drive people away from their local high street, with customers often heading to out-of-town shopping centres with free car parks' - of course in Wilmslow shoppers only have to go out-of-centre, to shop at the Lidl eyesore plonked unceremoniously in the Lical Urban Centre that is Summerfields Village now.

'Parking shouldn't be used as a cash cow for councils to raise revenue' - I ask again, where is the £1.89M surplus generated from CEC Parking Services in 2016/2017? Why wasn't it used to provide off street parking provision as per the Traffic Act?

'I am surprised that on the one hand local authorities are complaining that their high streets are struggling yet on the other hand they are adding to their grief by putting up parking charges' - this puts Councillor Arnold's recent comments into perspective - CE Conservative Council leaders are dinosaurs when it comes to understanding 'cause and effect'.

It is time for change at the Cinservative controlled CEC as regards governance but also regards the public's representatives. Vote for your independent candidate this May so that common sense can prevail once again and resident's concerns can become central in the council's thoughts and actions.
Tony Haluradivth
Saturday 9th March 2019 at 8:27 pm
Rod Menlove I am a Conservative voter but as in the last local election I will not be putting a cross next to a Tory candidate. There are unique individuals such as the amazing Hilda Gaddum (a woman of noble integrity) I admire and would follow if given the choice. However the rest are an unspeakable "shower" . Bellligerent, incompetent, self serving ne'er do wells who were happy appointing and paying for people like Mike Suarez and Erika Wenzl. Both of whom should have been sent on their way with 2 months salary. We see endless council tax hikes to pay for individual greed and incompetence. "Be Gone all Ye" hopefully by May...
Anthony Evans
Sunday 10th March 2019 at 12:44 pm
Attending the Strategic Planning Board meeting in December I witnessed Local Democracy in action. After presentations for and against the proposed housing application, but before the vote, the chair of the meeting (Tory) declared her intention to vote for the proposal.
Result. Four Tory votes in favour, four Labour/Independent against. Casting vote already recorded.
Pete Taylor
Sunday 10th March 2019 at 9:22 pm
@ Anthony Evans; shocking. Is that actually not illegal?
Any Learned Counsel on this forum able to comment?
Richard Armstead
Sunday 10th March 2019 at 10:53 pm
Hi Pete

This is common place in the Northern Planning Committee chaired by Conservative George Walton. In consideration of the Lidl planning application for a superstore in Summerfield Village Wilmslow, the meeting was twice deferred over a 5 month period before approval at the 3rd time of asking on 09 May 2018. On 14 February 2018 at the 2nd meeting Councillor Walton supported a motion to approve which was defeated. At the same meeting a motion to refuse, properly proposed and seconded was not voted on, due to officer intervention and procrastination from the chair. These amateurs are simply not up to it, many have no grasp of the policies in their own Local Development Plan. This means that council officers dictate voting and Conservative public representatives follow lamely in their thrall.Throughout this disgraceful saga the chair favoured approval despite 600 objections to the contrary. Local concerns were dismissed as irrelevant. Such is the inepitude of the current Conservative controlled CEC. Let us all vote independent at the May elections and return your independent candidate to better assure that local concerns are not only heard but acted upon. Having said that if Brexit is not delivered on 29 March by the Conservative government the backwash will flush away the local Conservative councillors in a landslide.
Alan Brough
Monday 11th March 2019 at 9:20 am
A thought in response to the question posed by Pete Taylor (above) about whether candidates of other parties will stand in the May elections.

Make no mistake about it, the task of overturning the Conservative majorities throughout Cheshire East is not insignificant - even allowing for the litany of howling failures for which they have become infamous.

A large part of true blue Cheshire will always and unthinkingly put a tick next to the Conservative option.

Any split of the opposition vote will have the potential to return a Conservative candidate and whilst it's unrealistic to expect that other parties will "give way" it's important that voters understand where the critical mass lies.
Manuel Golding
Monday 11th March 2019 at 12:27 pm
Alan Brough is absolutely right in his strategy of having no more than one Resident of Wilmslow (RoW) candidate or other independents standing against the Conservative incumbent.

More will only split the anti-Conservative vote, allowing the Conservative to sneak-in through the back door. We unfortunately witnessed this very thing in Wilmslow East in 2015, where a (paper) Green candidate managed to poll 149 votes, enough to secure Cllr Menlove's 1093 votes election, against RoWs David Jefferay's 1001 votes.Those 149 Green votes saved the Conservative, to the subsequent determent of Wilmslow's residents, as we have witnessed by his continuous voting with & along his party's lines, whilst voting to the detriment of his electorate.

Thus RoWs philosophy is diametrically opposite to that of Cllr Menlove's "party before people" at all times voting record. Others have previously listed his record on these pages.

RoWs philosophy is clearly "PEOPLE BEFORE PARTY" , our candidates, when elected, will be expected to vote with their own electorate in mind at all times.

We aim to bring honesty and trust back into local government, especially to change the grossly tarnished image of the current Conservative dominated Cheshire East Council.
Rod Menlove
Monday 11th March 2019 at 2:52 pm
All democrats accept the verdict of the voters without bleating about it with derogotary terms such as 'through the back door'.

In the debate last week on cabinet v committee, my view was that the points for cabinet were better so I voted accordingly. I was not contacted by the Conservative whip so had a free vote. There is a range of views within the Conservative group but since we were all elected on the same manifesto, the fact that we vote as we do is not surprising. We consider the interests of all residents throughout Cheshire East and put those first - people first.

row seem to have difficulty finding candidates with 4 new names only. One of these is a very well known socialist who has stood numerous times historically receiving around 4% of the vote. Leopards do not change their spots so 'vote row; get socialist'.
I now anticipate the standard foam flecked responses (that I shall ignore) from the usual anti-conservatives who I suspect are talking to themselves. Real people have better things to do with their time.
Nick Jones
Monday 11th March 2019 at 3:16 pm
More condescension from the deselected outgoing ward Cllr... again demonstrating failure to listen. Goodbye.
Kathryn Blackburn
Monday 11th March 2019 at 3:58 pm
In my humble opinion Mr Menlove. This is not really about anti-conservatism this is about the level of voter ill feeling certain members of CEC Cabinet have managed to acquire against themselves entirely through their own incompetence and inability to perform well in public office.
Alan Brough
Monday 11th March 2019 at 4:26 pm
It's like deja-vu all over again.

Alderley Edge Parish Council's long standing Conservative majority was completely annihilated back in 2015 due (in large part) to the contempt and arrogance displayed by one Councillor in particular, toward those that expressed differing views.

Fast-forward four years and Wilmslow has Councillor Menlove to tell us (as he's scrambling about the deck of the sinking Titanic, shuffling deckchairs) that we're all wrong.....again!

In Alderley Edge it was a few "Disgruntled Allotment Holders" that delivered a Frankly embarrassing kick up the derriere.

In Wilmslow it looks likely that life-long Conservative voters (such as I) will see that there is no place for party politics in local matters, reflect on the thoroughly appalling performance of a shamed and shoddy CE Council and become "anti-conservatives."

If you'll forgive the pun Cllr Menlove, you've made a rod for your own back!
Manuel Golding
Monday 11th March 2019 at 6:21 pm
Rod, I know I shouldn't but I am tempted to respond to your ill judged, I'm right, no one else is, reaction to my & others disdain for your years as East & Fulshaw ward's councillor.As you well know I am a Conservative, have been all my life, well since the age of 11,and was for some years a Conservative ward chairman. Since those halcyon days I've unfortunately witnessed just how much the Conservative Party locally dismisses & disdains alternative view points. You will no doubt be fully aware of RoWs & others fights to protect the town's green belt but apart from your meaningless words you didn't (dare) stand up with us to be counted - at the Full Council meeting to vote on the Local Plan Strategy you clearly
had your opportunity but when called to vote (the Independents managed to have a "named vote") you stood & declared you were for the LPS - as the Party required. You weren't interested in what your electorate felt, you only represented the Party.
From that point on RoW was determined the Wilmslow voters should be represented by councillors who care for their town, not their party. Thanks to you and your fellow Wilmslow CE Conservative councillors.
Believe it or not, we have no difficulties finding candidates but as a young organisation we believe we can manage a lower number of excellent quality people rather than the fodder your party puts to the electorate, some of whom are regularly seen sleeping on the job (Do you want to see the photographic evidence?). As for difficulty finding candidates, we note that your party is advertising for candidates; having difficulties, eh?
I really think your below the belt remark re Jon Kelly was not called for. Jon was a good Macc BC councillor & we felt it would be a crying shame to not utilise his political experience for the benefit of Wilmslow's voters. It also clearly shows that RoW is truly apolitical,as local politics should be but that philosophy has been truly destroyed by you and your party.
Leopards not changing their spots is a good analogy but please apply it to yourself first. As for Jon it is not a matter of RoW incorporating socialism, free market strategy or any other political stance, as you well know.It is all about standing tall for Wilmslow - we hope we will win the four CEC seats we are contesting and be in the vanguard of bringing a truly democratic realignment of CEC strategies - and you must take the credit should that occur, so thanks Cllr Menlove for your efforts in destroying the Conservative controlled CECs credibility amongst local voters.
Pete Taylor
Monday 11th March 2019 at 9:43 pm
In the words of the song... “they’re not listening still; perhaps they never will...”.
Rod Menlove
Tuesday 12th March 2019 at 5:32 pm
I need to address the long standing anti-conservatives who cannot stand a calm and measured statement and immediately reach for the adjective box.

To Manuel Golding the question is for what years, between what dates and for which ward was Jon Kelly a councillor on MBC. The other point is that he states he (Manuel) is a life long conservative voter and therefore by implication has not changed his spots. Precisely. We can draw our own conclusions about his new recruit - Jon Kelly. So it remains: vote row get socialist. Readers may care to note that I did not identify Mr Kelly as a former Labour candidate. Mr Golding himself chose to disclose which of his latest recruits is or was a member of the Labour party.

Nick Jones has gone to the socialist play book and the section that says that if you repeat an untruth enough times it will be believed. For the record I decided not to stand after twelve years of service and we have an excellent candidate in Barry Estill.
Vote conservative!
Anthony Evans
Tuesday 12th March 2019 at 7:15 pm
As we seem to be splitting into political camps perhaps I should come clean. For what it's worth I have always voted socialist. Had Cheshire East been Labour controlled I would still have argued that they were/are a disgrace.
I declare I will be voting for the ROW candidate in the local elections.
Roger Bagguley
Tuesday 12th March 2019 at 7:48 pm
All very interesting stuff. As Anthony Evans points out regardless of his national political preferences he will vote RoW Independent next time round. So it seems will a number of people who will vote Conservative at a General Election but not this time locally. I hold no particular political preferences but do want change in the way Cheshire East is run. Therefore I will vote RoW on May 2nd. Given all we, the people of Wilmslow, have had to put up with over recent years, have complained about to no avail to vote for more of the same, Barry Estill at al, does not add up to a measured decision. It is simply a case of new faces, new ideas, new challenge to the status quo, a breath of fresh air. Oh, almost forgot: and getting things done!
Nick Jones
Wednesday 13th March 2019 at 8:57 am
The outgoing representative, again demonstrating being avoidant and selectively deaf. Lashing out with fabricated unsubstantiated nonsense, clearly demonstrating his dissociative amnesia and failure to listen/comprehend. Conservative voters have been harmed the most by ‘Lemming lead’ politics in CEC. The evidence of failure ignored. From Lyme Green to Yellow Lines ,duplicitous conduct ( ie Royal London / Local Plan etc ) Clearly he is perhaps the best walking advert available to justify why Independent councilors have been successful, why they are jumping ship from tribal groups, and why they are required in CEC local politics, and he must have all the due credit for that !