In the run up to the local elections on May 2nd I am publishing brief interviews with each of the candidates - standing for seats on both the Town Council and Cheshire East Council - that respond to my request, in the order in which they respond.
To read 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 Wilmslow Town Council election will all be tagged 'Wilmslow Town Council 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'.
Don Stockton is a Conservative Party candidate for the Lacey Green ward on Cheshire East Council.
Don is 57 years old and a chartered mining engineer who worked in North Staffordshire and Lancashire coal mines over a thirteen year period. He has been a local ward councillor for Wilmslow Lacey Green for the past 8 years.
He told me "I strongly believe in responsibility over entitlement, less bureaucracy, a smaller state and the Council helping others to help themselves. I believe that our residents know best how to spend their own money and am proud that this council takes as little as it can whilst maintaining a balanced budget and maintaining vital services. I ensure that every decision I make aligns with my principles."
Are you a member of any local groups or societies?
I chair the Manchester Airport Community Trust Fund which has given significant contributions to many local organisations. I have attended Styal Parish Council on a regular basis and have also served on planning both as a member and visiting speaker on behalf of local people. I am also hon Vice President of the Tatton Conservative Association.
Why have you decided to stand for re-election as a ward councillor for Wilmslow?
I am grateful to you for having been a representative of this area and would wish to continue in order to be able to bring properly thought out and acceptable solutions to the problems of parking across Wilmslow.
I want to open up access to the Dean Valley for you to enjoy and get the green bin collected all year round without a break over the Christmas period.
I also wish to maintain and improve the recycling record of this area as I know that local people take pride in the environment in which we all live.
What do you think have been your biggest achievements as a councillor in the past 4 years?
I am particularly pleased with the 3 bin collection system across the borough and the fact that CEC is in the top 10% of borough councils for recycling. I am proud that I have been absolutely instrumental in bringing forward a plan to collect food waste and the green bin fortnightly all year round without the break over winter. Something I want to be able to see brought into effect.
I used my influence to ensure it was Wilmslow that was considered first in the parking reviews that have been proposed across the borough. I want to be re-elected to ensure that it is the residents' suggestions and wishes that are implemented as a result of this review, not those schemes whose supporters have simply made the most noise. I want CEC to take account of displacement parking, and I am particularly keen to see solved the problem of parking in residential roads in Wilmslow to the north of the Bollin River.
What have been your biggest disappointments as a councillor in the past 4 years?
When you do your best for local people it is disappointing to read the attractive promises that are made by other candidates in election season. The constant cry that you have done little and if only they were elected all things would be much better.
In order to have greater influence a ward councillor needs to be part of the majority group. I very much hope that this council remains Conservative. It also helps if you are a cabinet member and it really helps if you are concise and don't make promises you can't keep. These positions are difficult for councillors to achieve but I have held them because of your support.
All achievements take team effort and that is why minority parties on Cheshire East like Labour and the Lib Dems have little chance of fulfilling their promises. They promise to spend money on popular causes but would not have the money to achieve them without fleecing hard pressed council tax payers.
What do you consider to be the important issues facing Wilmslow?
Clearly parking and the state of our roads are major issues but we are addressing these within the means available to us through the Wilmslow parking review and CEC following an evidence led approach to the management of our highways. This means that we spend money effectively and as a result are awarded money from central government - taking some of the strain away from local council tax payers.
Although not in Wilmslow itself, Styal is in the Wilmslow Lacey Green ward and I am conscious of working for the whole ward. I consider speed limits on Station Road, Styal and the positioning of 30mph signs on Styal road in Wilmslow to be in need of review. In addition to the Wilmslow parking difficulties, I wish to address parking difficulties on Altrincham road in Styal for which I have lined up finance from the Area Highways Group CEC
What do you hope to achieve and how in the next 4 years?
I am proud to have been a representative of this area and would wish to continue in order to be able to bring to a properly thought out and acceptable solution to the problems of parking across the Wilmslow area.
I want to open up access to the Dean valley for the public to enjoy. I have attended meetings between CEC the National Trust, Natural England the Canal and Rivers trust and other stakeholders in order to assist in putting together a green infrastructure plan for CEC - a part of which I am pressing to have included being the Dean Valley.
I want to get the green bin collected all year round without a break over the Christmas period. Part of my responsibilities as a cabinet member have included waste collection. I have already pressed for a composting site in Crewe in order to collect combined green and food waste, this should be available for next winter in order to enable all year round collection.
I also wish to maintain and improve the recycling record of this area as I know that local people take pride in the environment in which we all live, and keeping food waste out of the black bin will help achieve this.
What experience and personal qualities will you bring to the role and why should Wilmslow residents vote for you?
I now have a great deal of experience of local government, I know what councils can do and what they can't. I have worked hard to gain this experience, as being effective in local government requires all but full-time work - something those holding other full time occupations can find difficult to achieve. I respect them for trying and wish them luck if you elect them over me. I hope that I can speak for all candidates in this election when I state that I believe in democracy and wish everyone to cast their vote so that it is you who decide who is best placed to represent us. You have a choice of myself as the Conservative candidate, living in our ward, or a Labour candidate who lives on Colshaw Farm, or the Lib Dem candidate.
A vote for me is a vote for the Conservative principles I stand for, which are to keep council tax as low as possible whilst maintaining public services as much as is possible.
Opposition promises and attacks are easy to make. Keeping promises is more difficult. A vote for myself, Don Stockton, is a vote for experience, knowledge, hard work, and maintaining the influence our ward currently has on Cheshire East Council.