In the run up to the local elections on May 2nd I will be publishing brief interviews with each of the candidates - standing for seats on both the Parish Council and Cheshire East Council - that respond to my request, in the order in which they respond.
This is the first interview to be published for Handforth. To read subsequent interviews with other candidates you will be able to click on the tags at the bottom of the article. For example, pieces on the other candidates for the Handforth Borough Ward election will all be tagged 'Handforth Borough Ward 2019 Election'. Candidates representing the same party or group will also be connected via the tags, candidates competing in the same ward will be connected by tags as well and all articles will be tagged '2019 Local Elections'.
Julie Smith is an Independent candidate for the Handforth Borough ward on Cheshire East Council.
Julie has lived in Handforth since 2002 with her husband John. Between them they have 5 adult children and two grandsons, one of whom attends Handforth Grange and the other Wilmslow High School.
Julie works at the local community pharmacy at Handforth Health Centre where she meets many local residents on a daily basis. She is also a member of Spath Lane Residents' Association, Friends of Stanley Hall Park and a volunteer at the Junior Youth Club at the Youth Centre in the village.
Why have you decided to stand for election as a ward councillor for Handforth?
For the past few years I've been appalled at how our village has been repeatedly ignored by CEC and the people that are supposed to represent us. We have lost a valuable local bus service, clinical services, child services and elderly care services because of 'financial cuts' by a council that consistently seems able to find hundreds of thousands of pounds to investigate suspended officials and other non-essential projects.
Whenever our 'representatives ' are challenged the stock reply seems to be that nothing can be achieved because of the 'Tory Boys' at CEC. I'm afraid that lame excuse has now run its course and it is time for change.
What do you consider to be the important issues facing Handforth?
If elected I will work with CEC rather than rail against them and ensure that Handforth is no longer the poor relation in CEC and our community receives the funding and support that we deserve.
What experience and personal qualities will you bring to the role?
Having been involved in many community events I believe I am well informed about the issues which exist in our village and intend to work on addressing these to the best of my ability.