Dean Row Ward Borough Election 2019: Candidate Toni Fox


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'.

Toni Fox is a Residents of Wilmslow candidate for the Dean Row ward on Cheshire East Council.

Toni has lived in the local area – in Alderley Edge, Wilmslow and Handforth – for over 40 years attending Alderley Edge Primary School and then Wilmslow Grammar School for Girls.

She is happily married to Richard with a grown up son (still living at home!) and a couple of dogs.

Toni told me "Having worked most recently as the Office Manager for a local printing company I am now retired and a keen gardener having opened our garden for both the NGS and Wells for Africa. I also like walking our dogs (often picking up litter on the way sadly) and I like reading to relax at the end of a long day."

How long have you been a councillor and are you a member of any local groups or societies?

In 2012 I set up Hands off Handforth Green Belt residents group in opposition to the proposals in the Local Plan for the eradication of the majority of Handforth's Green Belt, becoming a member of Handforth Parish Council in 2014. It was at this time that I began working with Residents of Wilmslow who asked me to be their candidate for Cheshire East Council in the 2015 elections.

Having won that election it has been both a privilege and a pleasure to represent Dean Row residents over the last 4 years.

Alongside working with residents in my ward, and on occasion residents across Wilmslow in other wards, I was a member of CEC's Northern Planning Committee for the first 2 years and am now a member of the Strategic Planning Board which determines major planning applications. I have also been a member of the Public Rights of Way Committee, sat on several working groups, and substituted on a number of other Committees.

What do you think have been your biggest achievements as a councillor in the past 4 years?

I expect my biggest achievement in monetary terms was assisting in "convincing" Cheshire East Council to release some of the New Homes Bonus it has received from the Government to compensate residents for new developments. This is actually in line with Government guidance – "The New Homes Bonus Scheme provides cash for areas that allow new homes to be built in their area. Government funding has been set aside for local councils that welcome new housing development, which they can spend to benefit their local community." Unfortunately, Cheshire East Council has only released a very small fraction (£2M) of what it has received (£35.4M between 2011 to 2017 and ongoing) and is far short of what I believe the Government intended, and, other Councils in the country make available to residents.

My other achievements affecting the largest number of residents was a persistent doggedness in ensuring the Conditions associated with the approval of the Bollin Park development were implemented. Frustratingly it took 3 years of repeated requests, reminders and meetings with Highways and the applicant for the road widening to take place onto the A34 at Summerfields Village - ultimately however this has helped to reduce congestion at peak periods at the roundabout on Dean Row Road leading to the A34. Similarly the long awaited improvements to Browns Lane Recreation Area are now finally at the planning application stage. I had hoped to have seen the finished scheme in place by the end of my current term at the Council however a long waiting list of outstanding projects and drainage issues on the site have contributed towards significant delays.

Helping and working with individual residents on many topics is very rewarding, as is being in a position to explain the complexities of how policies, both the Councils and Governments, affect the decision making process. Whilst I do not personally agree with all current policies, particularly those of Cheshire East Council, this knowledge empowers residents to make informed decisions, particularly when it comes to local elections.

What have been your biggest disappointments as a councillor in the past 4 years?

Without doubt my biggest frustration has been that despite the best efforts of many opposition councillors, 99% of the time 99% of members of the Conservative Party, who currently hold the majority at the Council - and therefore effectively make all the decisions - vote in line with party policies, irrespective of the views of the local residents they represent.

Similarly my biggest disappointment was the approval of the Local Plan by Conservative Councillors at Cheshire East Council when the majority of councillors of both the Independent Group and Labour Party voted against it. Not only has this eradicated large tracts of Green Belt land but Conservative Councillors also voted in the full knowledge that there were no firm proposals, or the finance, to provide the additional infrastructure that was already needed in Wilmslow.

It has been claimed that infrastructure will follow however a working example of how this works can be demonstrated using the Bollin Park development off Adlington Road which was granted planning permission in 2014. It was 2018 before the required road improvements were implemented onto the A34 at Summerfields village and the improvements to Browns Lane Recreation area are still awaited. On last seeking clarification from officers they were unable to confirm if, or on what, the financial contribution made to support Educational needs had been spent.

What do you consider to be the important issues facing Wilmslow?

I think the most important issue facing Wilmslow, and for that matter all towns and villages in the Borough, alongside the lack of infrastructure, is the complete lack of joined up thinking at the Council, and a lack of forward planning, for individual areas. The approval of the Local Plan is a case in point and more recently Wilmslow's parking issues another. I have worked closely with Wilmslow Town Council on this issue as we share the view that insufficient justification has been given for increasing car parking charges (particularly long stay) during the ongoing long overdue parking survey when the car parks in the town already generate a net profit of over £900,000 annually.

Why have you decided to stand for re-election as a ward councillor for Wilmslow?

Good question! Whilst it is hard work it can also be very rewarding, I enjoy meeting people and I enjoy learning. Training at the Council is minimal so to be effective you have to learn about a wide range of subjects and keep up to date on Policies. I also enjoy a challenge so I'm not afraid to ask difficult questions!

What do you hope to achieve and how in the next 4 years?

If re-elected I will continue to work hard for the residents I represent and Wilmslow as whole. Many changes are needed at Cheshire East Council and I will continue to campaign for a more efficient, democratic, open and transparent Council that does not waste tax payers money.

Why should Wilmslow residents vote for you?

As an existing representative, and candidate, of Residents of Wilmslow I am part of the growing Independent Group at Cheshire East Council. Unlike other political parties members of the Independent Group are not whipped to vote in line with party policies – we vote based on the views and the best interests of the residents represent.

If you want to continue to be represented by a councillor that works with you and for you and that will represent your best interests rather than those of a political party, please vote for me.

2019 Local Elections, 2019 Residents of Wilmslow Candidate, Dean Row Ward


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

Damian Carr
Thursday 25th April 2019 at 7:37 pm
Hi Toni,

Great statement and I wish you the best of luck.

My 'specialism' is Community engagement & development so I'd love to work with you to unlock that 'New Homes Bonus' funds and create & improve local facilities.

Whether elected or not I intend to improve Wilmslow for the better ;-)
Roger Bagguley
Friday 26th April 2019 at 10:22 am
If there is a harder working councillor around than RoW Toni Fox then please let me know. She has brought new energy to representing the residents of Dean Row and will continue to do so.

Toni and her fellow Independent Councillors are challenging Cheshire East Council and the way it is being run in a way never been known before.

All the very best Toni.
Nick Jones
Friday 26th April 2019 at 11:19 am
I raised an environmental concern regarding deliberate damage to green belt with Toni, and Residents of Wilmslow; She went 'above and beyond' expectation addressing the matter with a genuine concern.

Its a pity she isn't my ward councillor [ who voted with his lemming colleagues to remove so much land from green belt protection]

Fortunately I now have the opportunity to vote for Toni's colleague David Jefferay

Toni and David are the 'fresh change' local government needs. Vote Residents of Wilmslow... people before party !
Deleted Account
Friday 26th April 2019 at 11:20 am

You are right - what a power force for good Clr Toni Fox is !

Other so called "Experienced" councillors would have brushed all complex issues Toni has tackled under the carpet.

But not Clr Toni Fox (Residents of Wilmslow)

She badgered & pestered Cheshire East for years to FINALLY get the A34 Summerfields Village exit widened

And now, as a result of her tenacity, all residents benefit.

Thank you Clr Toni Fox. Keep up the hard work.
Terry Roeves
Saturday 27th April 2019 at 8:47 am
Very happy with Toni as our Cllr. Does so much for so many, way beyond the call of duty. And we do need gender balance at CEC. Look what the men have created.
Manuel Golding
Saturday 27th April 2019 at 7:13 pm
I feel justifiably proud and delighted to be the person responsible for "persuading" Toni Fox to join Residents of Wilmslow (RoW) and to step up for the arduous task of fighting an election and subsequently winning to become THE outstanding CEC Wilmslow councillor.

Whilst the other four (4) Wilmslow CE councillors, "surprisingly" all Conservatives, are only too delighted to not rock their party masters' boat, Toni has been the one bright & shinning light in the local political ferment. Canvassing this past fortnight in her Dean Row ward, I was often pleasantly surprised with the sincere welcome at households by so many residents she had assisted during her first four years as their worthy & hardworking councillor.

She is not afraid to ask the CE leadership some very pertinent and embarrassing, for the leadership, questions relating to the way the Leader's party dictates every aspect of politics - the disappeared original tranche of New Homes Bonus money, s106 money (Dean Row Rd improvement being an example & now Browns Lane 'park' money etc); she votes & argues for what so many residents across the town feel are their concerns because the other Wlm CE councillors (Menlove,Barton, Brooks & Stockton) will not/do not stand-up for their voters if contra to party policy (highly questionable planning decisions, car parking, Lindow Peat site, buses, continuing police investigations, bullying of staff, numerous employees' "gardening leave" etc).

Toni and RoW clearly understand the way to a democratic and open Cheshire East will only come about with the outing on Thursday of the Conservative dictatorial clique and the yes-men, and women, who do as they are instructed by their party. As a former Conservative Party member I am appalled at the way its councillors all behave - they listen but do not hear; always their way or no way.

As in all organisations, the culture comes from the top and works down, CE Cons are certainly no different. It is rotten from the top down.

Residents of Wilmslow (RoW) has assembled a strong, impeccable team of candidates who will follow Cllr Toni Fox's lead when elected to CEC - Toni Fox at Dean Row; Mark Goldsmith & Iain Macfarlane at West - two councillors to be elected here; David Jefferay at East. If these candidates are elected it will go a considerable way to ensuring Wilmslow, and the Borough as a whole, will get a vastly improved and better deal for its residents.

"Vote Residents of Wilmslow, Vote for Change" at Cheshire East on Thursday!