Council backtracks on proposals to merge Wilmslow, Handforth and Chorley


Cheshire East Council has backtracked on its proposals to merge the parishes of Wilmslow, Handforth and Chorley to "form a single community" called Wilmslow.

However the Final Recommendation do include transferring the new housing development of 185 properties between Clay Lane and Sagars Road be from the parish of Styal to Handforth.

The review also proposed an increase in the number of seats on Wilmslow Town Council from 15 to 20 and from 9 to 12 members on Alderley Edge Parish Council from 9 to 12 members.

The above recommendations were the result of a borough-wide review carried out by Cheshire East in 2018 to ensure that community governance arrangements 'continue to reflect local identities and facilitate effective and convenient local government'.

The review considered changes to parish areas and parish electoral arrangements across the whole Borough. Proposed changes include the alteration, merging, creation and abolishing of parishes; the naming of parishes, and the adoption of an alternative style for new parishes. They also include changes to the electoral arrangements for parishes (the council size; the number of councillors to be elected to the council, and whether to divide the parishes into wards for the purposes of elections).

The Council published its Draft Recommendations in March 2021, which were approved for consultation by Full Council in June of that year. The Council then held a 12-week public consultation on the Draft Recommendations, which ran from 6th September to 28th November 2021.

A total of 4,824 responses were received during this consultation stage. The Borough Council has now analysed all these submissions and in early 2022 held further informal workshops with elected Members. Following that stage, the Borough Council produced its Final Recommendations, which are set out in Summary Report prepared for the Community Governance Review SubCommittee meeting on April 4th.

These Final Recommendations will form the basis of a new Cheshire East (Parish Areas and Electoral Arrangements) Order. The Council intends that this Order will be in place in time for the next ordinary elections for the parish councils which is scheduled for 2023.

The Final Recommendations that the Council is making include:

  • Alderley Edge - no change and keeping the number of seats on the Parish Council at nine.
  • Chorley - no change and and keeping the number of seats on the Parish Council at seven.
  • Handforth - External boundary change and increasing the number of seat numbers on the Two Council from 7 to 11. with 4 East seats (increase from 2), 3 South (increase from 2) and 4 West (increase from 3).
  • Wilmslow - No change to the total number of 15 seats on the Town Council, but internal changes in each ward - Dean Row 4 seats (no change), East 3 (decrease from 4), Lacey Green 3 (increase from 2), West 5 (no change).
Community Governance Review


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

Jonathan Follows
Saturday 26th March 2022 at 10:12 am
This looks like a good decision to me.
I'm in Wilmslow West and Chorley, but I have to look this up each time, so it's apparently less important to me than which parliamentary constituency I'm in. Nonetheless I don't feel that "a single community" as proposed was appropriate.
Stuart Redgard
Saturday 26th March 2022 at 10:41 am
At least CEC officers now recognise that their initial proposal was simply an opinion which was based on absolutely no evidence whatsoever!
Nick Jones
Saturday 26th March 2022 at 8:06 pm
When the small bifurcated County of Cheshire, with less than 1M population ... East and West ... has been unified... to reduce duplication of services at either end of our small county .. demonstrating 1st hand how reduced bureaucracy will actually save our taxes and be more efficient .. then and only then maybe consider a revised version of this proposal... Practice what you Preach !...
Jon Williams
Tuesday 29th March 2022 at 8:09 pm
Handforth Parish Council viral meeting probe costs £85k !

"An investigation into a parish council which went viral due to a chaotic Zoom meeting has cost taxpayers more than £85,000, it has emerged.

Clips from a meeting at Handforth Parish Council, now Handforth Town Council, racked up millions of views online in February 2021.

Investigating multiple complaints cost Cheshire East Council £85,716, a report revealed."
Simon Atkins
Thursday 31st March 2022 at 12:12 pm
But why did it cost £85k? what and how was the money spent to justify this charge?
John Smith
Thursday 31st March 2022 at 5:56 pm
£85,000 is the external legal costs of the investigation into the behaviour of the 3 councillors, going back to July 2020. The investigation formally commenced November 2020

The viral meeting took place 10th December 2020 but did not go viral until February 2021

The investigation process suffered repeated and prolonged delays due to insistence on revisiting, repeatedly and in detail over the course of approximately two months, matters falling outside the scope of the investigation or a refusal to engage at all.

Of the 6 councillors on HPC at that time, the 3 named were found to have breached the Code of Conduct. The remaining 3, Cllrs Moore, Samson and Smith were found to have NOT breached the Code of Conduct.

The full report is available on the CEC website.

I hope this clarifies the matter

John Smith - Chairman
Handforth Town Counil
Peter Moore
Friday 1st April 2022 at 6:53 am
Simon Atkins

The initial complainant was Handforth's Clerk. He used standard procedure of
sending a formal complaint to CEC's monitoring officer. He had been
illegally suspended with the threat of the sack by Ex-Councillor Burkhill
(ex- Mayor and still Handforth's Ward Councillor) ex-Chairman Tolver and
ex-councillor Brewerton. The Clerk was supported by current Councillors
Moore, Smith and Samson, who had also received legal threats from Burkhill,
Tolver and Brewerton. Normally the complaints would have been handled by the
Monitoring Officer and an independent individual. Because of the
unprecedented seriousness and complexity of the case CEC decided they had no
choice but to employ a Law Firm with a Barrister specialising in Local
Government law, hence the cost. It's a very complex story and the famous
Jacqui Weaver video is merely a side show. It's really about what lengths
three councilors would go to retain power and control of the Council. Apart
from incredible embarrassment (courtesy of the Jacqui Weaver video) they've
all resigned and 'got a way with it'.
Laurie Atterbury
Friday 1st April 2022 at 7:06 am
So glad the merger is not proceeding. Had it done so the potholes in Wilmslow would have trebled overnight!
John Harries
Friday 1st April 2022 at 9:09 am
It's 'cost' a great deal more than the eye watering circa £85k reported here (closer to £135k), just makes one wonder how CEC actually calculate other overheads, costs and charges 'cos they appear to be a damned expensive luxury - well, many of us appreciated that anyway but not the full extent of the value to 'professionally administer' (that's a contradiction too) on our behalf?
I personally value the Parish (now Town) Council idea (and it has done good work) but the dis-functional misbehaving defunct Handforth Parish Council got themselves hung out to dry in the wind on an International public dirty washing line but is there any good reason why the Handforth boundary changes have been made as I don't recall that appearing anywhere in the original proposals - opinions would be appreciated but I'd guess the stated 185 new greenfield site properties (and that seems to be different from the initial planned 250 that was later reduced to around 220 - less social housing thus higher development value perhaps!) maybe now 'deemed' to require better access than the original planning approval made out to be adequate; just two (very narrow 'dead ended' access roads, both with on street parking) to carry (a conservative) circa 1000 extra vehicle movements/day - all accessing the B5358 Wilmslow Road which is already creaking under the existing traffic 'management' (another contradiction in words) scheme!!
Planning, you couldn't make it up but then, money talks where CEC is concerned 'cos they make a a jolly good job of finding ways of squandering time, valuable resources and our dosh and then need even more to justify their useless existence.