Candidates for the Wilmslow Council Lacey Green ward election

jack headshot - landscape

The candidates for the vacancy on Wilmslow Town Council, representing the Lacey Green Ward, for next month's Local Elections have been announced.

Residents in the Lacey Green Ward will have the choice of two candidates when they go to the polls on Thursday, 6th May.

The candidates are:

I have published brief interviews with each of the candidates - standing for the vacant seat on Wilmslow Town Council, in the order in which I received a response to my request.

Jack Illingworth, The Conservative Party

Please tell me about yourself - occupation, how long you have lived in Wilmslow, interests, family?

I live in Styal, Wilmslow, with Katie, my wife.

I work in recruitment, specialising in Information Technology. I thoroughly enjoy my work, as I am passionate about helping people to further their careers and it is so rewarding to be able to help people improve and progress. Through my work, I understand the importance of making myself accessible and available – something that I would apply if elected as a Town Councillor. I will be there for the people of Wilmslow – ready to listen, support and assist, wherever possible.

Are you a member of any local groups or societies?

I am a member of the Tatton Conservative Association, Wilmslow Branch, and I regularly volunteer to help with their charity campaigns. During lockdown and the intermittent months, the Tatton Association ran a number of charitable campaigns, including, litter picking sessions, coffee morning fundraisers and supplying drinks and snacks for our brave frontline workers.

Why have you decided to stand for election as a town councillor?

I decided to stand because I want to give back to the local community and make a difference. Wilmslow is the best town in the North West. I am very proud to call it my home--so the opportunity to be able to not only contribute, but to make it even greater, would truly be an honour.

My objective is to play my part in what I believe is everybody's wish, which is not just to fix things, but to make them better than they were before.

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

At the moment, I feel that COVID recovery is one of the key issues facing our community. A focus on supporting existing businesses--alongside a drive to encourage new businesses to invest in our town centre is vital. Fostering an environment in which our Town and Community can grow and thrive will be beneficial to all--creating revenue that can be reinvested into critical services such as youth facilities.

Previously, Conservative councillors, Ellie Brooks and Viveene Brooks, were successfully involved in improving the facilities at the Lacey Green Pavilion. This needs to continue. I feel that through a focus on economic COVID recovery and lobbying CEC for a fair share of Borough Funding, we can make significant re-investments that will be beneficial all.

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

Wilmslow is one of the best places to live in the North of England. If elected, as your representative on the Town Council, I will do everything in my power to ensure we are not just simply protecting local amenities, but making them better.

As we emerge from lockdown, there has to be a sharp focus on helping the recovery of Wilmslow's Town Centre. The Conservative-led Town Council has already allocated £75,000 to help the Town bounce back. We need to continue the concerted efforts to encourage exciting independent businesses into the area. And vitally, creating employment opportunities for local residents.

Many of our neighbourhood roads are dangerous whether for drivers, cyclists or pedestrians. The situation is made worse by dangerous driving. We are plagued with speeding drivers, often late at night, and with gangs riding quads and motocross bikes with no license plates and no regard to safety or how intimidating they may be. This needs to be addressed and I will work with my fellow Councillors and the local PCSOs to try and find a solution.

During the past winter, Cheshire East Council (CEC), controlled by Labour and supported by the "Independent" councillors, have proposed taking Lacey Green roads off the gritting routes. Despite Cheshire Councils receiving £143 million of extra Government funding and CEC raising our Council Tax...the Labour/ "Independent" Council still propose to remove the gritting route from Lacey Green.

CEC must be forced to take our concerns over our roads seriously. Our roads are a mess, with deep potholes and cracking surfaces. No gritting and the new policy of short-term surface patching when craters develop, will only serve to further endanger road users, exacerbate problems and increase costs. Such an approach is failing. If elected, I will work with my fellow Councillors and our Cheshire East representative, Councillor Don Stockton, to lobby CEC and fight for Wilmslow to get a fair share of Highways funding.

What experience and personal qualities will you bring to the role?

I think one of the most useful things my career has taught me is the power of listening. After speaking with people on the doorstep, it is clear that people often feel that are not heard or understood – as seen by the recent increase in Cheshire East Council Tax. The Conservative-led Wilmslow Town Council recognised the impact of COVID on our community and refused to raise their part of the Council Tax.

Whereas, Cheshire East Council did not listen to your concerns – and ploughed ahead with an increase to your Council Tax.

Conservative Councillor Don Stockton, voted against the proposed increase. However, I was dismayed to see that the Residents of Wilmslow Cheshire East Councillors voted in favour and supported tax increase.

Why should Wilmslow residents vote for you?

A vote for me will mean a promise of active engagement on your behalf.

I will engage with the community, listen to the issues and work with residents to resolve them. I want do my part in not only making sure Wilmslow stays a great place to live but where I can, make it even better.

I will support the Town Council to continue to deliver for the people of Wilmslow. But most importantly, if elected, I promise to focus on the issues specifically facing the Lacey Green Ward and ensure that these problems are recognised and addressed by the Town Council and Cheshire East Council.

For instance, with your vote, I will work with our Conservative Cheshire East Councillor, Don Stockton, on the issues around road safety outside Lacey Green Primary Academy, campaign against CEC's proposals to take Lacey Green Ward off the gritting routes and work with the Environment Agency to look for a solution to the Styal Road flooding issue.

Additionally, I think it is important that people make sure to use their vote on the 6th May. Or, if you aren't yet ready to or are unable to leave home - use a postal vote. As a Conservative, I believe that the right and ability to vote is vital to our community.

On polling day, Thursday 6th May, polling stations will be open between 7am and 10pm. Covid-secure arrangements will be in place, similar to those you might expect in shops and banks, such as hand sanitiser, floor markings and face masks so that voters can vote safely.

When visiting polling stations, voters should wear a face covering (unless they have a valid exemption), bring their own pencil or pen, follow signs and guidance from staff and adhere to social distancing.

2021 Local Elections, Wilmslow Town Council Election


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

Manuel Golding
Friday 23rd April 2021 at 10:17 am
John Illingworh's election address, printed on this site, is just so typically local Tory "central Office":misinterpretation, untruths, painting its previous councilors in aura of righteous nous. They will be no different for us to expect anything different this time around. Why did the Conservatives LOSE 4 of their 5 CE councilors back in 2019 and lost more of their own on WTC?RoW candidates won 4 Cheshire East wards (the only survivor being in Lacey Green as RoW didn't field a candidate (that is another sad story but not to be repeated). He fails to explain the voters' confidence in RoW's candidates alongside their loss of faith in his party's- RoW was trusted whereas the Tories had proven over the years they could not be.
For years RoW lobbied the Conservative Cheshire East leadership and Wilmslow's CE councilors to save & protect the town's Green Belt. The Tories meaningless words ensured the Green Belt was to be sacrificed to the greedy land owners & developers.they were going to ensure their avaricious supporters & their desire for gain mega £s profits by raping the town's Green Belts would win-the-day.

Take Lacey Green.The then proposed "Little Staneylands" housing development with a number of very well attended public meetings in the Staneylands Hotel. As far as I can recall not one Conservative town councilor attended and only one CE councilor did. Cllr Stockton attempted to placate the attendees but offered no he[p or support. Was the same at the 2017 Full Council Meeting when the majority and controlling Tory majority voted to destroy the town's Green Belt in the face of overwhelming public opposition. Cllr Ellie Brooks did abstain whereas the other Wlm 4 voted "For".This is the genesis of RoW as we realised the Tories had no intention to protect our Green Belts they were only too willing to ensure the rape of our Green Belts in favour of greedy & uncaring land owners and developers. The same sorry story across the town, aided & abetted by the Conservatives on CE & WTC - none of them stood up to be counted and risk being excommunicated by their party. And these are the same ilk that Mr Illingworth tells us just how "wonderful, the local Conservatives are today. But the truth is they were and still are to-day a disaster for Wilmslow.

Only Residents of Wilmslow candidates and councilors will stand and support our town. On that basis alone, Simon Bullock deserves your votes for a better and safe Wilmslow. RoW team on WTC is making great efforts to pump life back into the town after the disastrous Covid pandemic.

As par for the course, the Conservative has got it all wrong when it comes to local politics. Currently we have a Conservative government and a Conservative run Wilmslow Town Council. Therefore, we can only be surprised Mr. Illingworth not mentioned the success of these administrations rather than criticise Cheshire East, which runs independently of the town councilor role for which he is standing

Currently we have a Conservative government and a Conservative run Wilmslow Town Council. Therefore, I am surprised Jack has not mentioned the success of these administrations rather than criticise Cheshire East, which runs independently of the town council role he is standing for.

Instead of criticising RoW and our Independent allies on CEC he should focus on real local RoW initiatives, such as the £75000 Town Centre Scheme; a Residents of Wilmslow initiative that took three months to persuade the Tory run Town council to support this scheme. Remember the Tories voted against this initiative when RoW first proposed it.

Road gritting is yet another example of his ignorance. the Dept of Transport require all councils to use its criteria on deciding which roads be gritted or CE will lose funding.Currently we have a Conservative government and a Conservative run Wilmslow Town Council. Therefore, I am surprised he has not mentioned the success of these administrations rather than criticise Cheshire East, which runs independently of the town council. He is ignorant of the distribution of responsibilities which leads me to ask - is he the right person to be a town councilor, the role for which he is standing and has very limited knowledge?

Pot Holes - The pot-hole filling process is in operation due to the 15 year Highways outsourcing deal the Conservative Cheshire East council signed in their last year of administration. Next year, the Department for Transport has cut the money it gives Cheshire East for road repairs by -23%, so they do not share the view that after decades of under spending, our roads now desperately need a massive investment.

The £143m payment to Cheshire East was for work the government asked it to do, such as distribute business grants, support shielding residents and to fund the councils other direct Covid-19 costs. Rishi Sunak’s budget confirmed the Treasury underpaid ALL English councils for this work and expected a 5% council tax rise to fund the shortfall. This meant Cheshire East had to either pass this council tax rise onto residents or else implement a level of cuts never before seen in the borough.

Wilmslow Town Council already has over £500,000 of reserve funds. It raises £375,000 every year but never spends this amount. Therefore, the Conservative run town council should either be lowering the precept or else providing more services for the money it raises.

Every six months, all Wilmslow’s CEC councillors have a joint meeting with Highways to discuss road safety issues and priorities. Hopefully, Cllr Stockton will now mention road safety outside Lacey Green Primary Academy.

Since being elected in 2019, RoW’s CE councilor, David Jeffary has identified the cause of the long-standing flooding on Alderley Road and is liaising with Royal London to get it fixed. Therefore, I am not sure why the Conservative needs to help his Cheshire East colleague to fix the Styal Road flooding problem especially since his Tory CE colleagues must have been well aware of the problems Their solution to all problems was to instruct complaining residents to post the concern online - not for them a direct approach as we see from Cllr Iain Macfarlane (see drain clearance photo on our newsletter).

Residents of Wilmslow (RoW) is building a councilor team, in alliance with our like minded Independent colleagues across the borough, that our voters can rely on to support the town and borough after many years of Tory mismanagement and neglect.

As demonstrated above the RoW approach is many faceted 1) your RoW councilor will get issue sorted, 2) RoW or our Independent allies do not use the "Whip" system (o do as the leadership demands or else) which means that your councilors are free to act for you as they individually see fit to act in their voters' best interest (whether on CEC or WTC) & 3) quite the opposite from what the Conservatives do & 4) hence RoW slogan is clear "People Before Party".Simon Bullock will always put his voters' concerns at the forefront, he will always put your concerns at the forefront
Philip Barton
Friday 23rd April 2021 at 7:46 pm
Clearly Manny your getting a bit senile,... possibly like me. But even I know that ROW are now labour in disguise. It's not the conservatives propping up a minority labour CEC, it's ROW. Even your own councillors are aghast at the abuse of power and can't justify it. Wake up to your fantasy of Boris calling Jack it's wearing thin.
Local councillors are dealing with local issues, largely independent of politics but dealing with local problems.
Gemma Evans
Saturday 24th April 2021 at 10:49 am
Philip Barton, the majority of the independents on Cheshire East council prior to the last election were against the cabinet system which the Conservatives were using. Labour and the Lib Dems also opposed the cabinet system. Despite the Conservatives losing their majority they did not drop their demand for retaining the cabinet system, hence why an interim Labour-Independent coalition was formed. I understand the intention of the independents is to end their coalition arrangement with Labour once the cabinet system has been suspended and replaced with a new system. Even as things stand one of the conditions of the independents agreeing to work with Labour was that the Conservatives would remain in charge of the scrutiny committee. Saying the independents are Labour in disguise isn't justifiable, they were in favour of making Cheshire East more democratic after 9 years of Conservative mis-management.

The fact that once the Conservatives decided Michael Jones was unfit to remain Cheshire East council leader, they appointed Rachel Bailey (who had been on the committee for the Lyme Green waste facility) says it all.
Jon Newell
Sunday 25th April 2021 at 3:52 pm
Mr Illingworth is completely wrong on his statement that the Wilmslow Town Council Conservative members refused to recommend an increase in the precept because of Conservative political views.

As a member of WTC - representing Residents of Wilmslow. - and having been part of the discussions, I can confirm categorically that WTC voted unanimously to keep the precept at the same level because
1. We have substantial reserves because the COVID pandemic has significantly reduced the number of claims for grants.
2. We are expecting substantial grant claims over the next two years as we look to recover from the effects of the pandemic and look to implement the aims of the Wilmslow Neighbourhood Plan. We have sufficient reserves to cope with these anticipated claims.

If you wish to make claims such as this, I suggest you first check with your fellow Conservatives on WTC. I am sure they will confirm my recollection of our discussions. It had absolutely nothing to do with a national political aim of containing Council Tax increases. This was not even discussed - as the minutes of the meeting will show.

Jon Newell - member of WTC
Residents of Wilmslow