The candidates for the upcoming Cheshire East Council Election, representing Handforth have been announced.
Handforth residents will have the choice of six candidates to fill two seats on CEC when they go to the polls on on Thursday, 4th May.
The candidates standing to represent Handforth on CEC are:
- Nisa, Ribia - Labour Party
- Hutchene, Simon Glynn - Conservative Party Candidate
- Robertson, Matthew Kirkland - Conservative Party Candidate
- Smith, John Michael - Independent
- Smith, Julie Anne - Independent *
- Earl, James Andrew - Liberal Democrats
I am publishing brief interviews with each of the candidates, in the order in which I receive a response to my request. Use the tags below to locate the other candidate interviews published to date.
Please tell me about yourself - occupation, where you live, how long you have lived there, interests, family?
I have lived in Handforth for the past 22 years with my husband John. For the last 10 years I have worked in the community pharmacy at Handforth Health Centre.
Are you a member of any local groups or societies?
I volunteer for Friends of Handforth Station, Friends of Stanley Hall Park, Colshaw Estate Tenants and Residents Association, Handforth Junior Youth Club, Handforth Senior Youth Club, SENsational stay and play youth club (a group for special needs children and their families which I have been involved in since it's inception in 2021) I have also worked with and support Time Out Group, Always Active, Hope Central and the Crochet and Mental Health Group. I am also a member of Wilmslow Aid Trust, a charity which helps vulnerable and struggling residents.
Why have you decided to stand for re-election as a borough councillor?
When I was first elected in 2019 my main aim was to build on the amazing community spirit in Handforth, something which was brilliantly displayed during the Coronavirus pandemic when 86 volunteers answered my request on Facebook for a 'Neighbours Helping Neighbours' group expertly co-ordinated by Handforth Town Councillor Sue Moore, which resulted in practically every road in Handforth covered by people shopping and collecting prescriptions for shielding residents. A further example was during the recent Community Governance Review when over 1200 residents made their wishes to remain independent from Wilmslow and Chorley known.
I have decided to stand for re-election as I believe there is still a lot of work to be done in Handforth. I am standing with my husband John as Independent candidates. We have personally funded our campaign and pledged to deliver every leaflet and knock on as many doors as possible ourselves to introduce ourselves to our residents. Many of the issues discussed with residents are things which I have, and will continue to deal with should I be re-elected such as Anti Social Behaviour in the village, parking problems, potholes, maintenance of parks and open spaces, retaining and increasing provision for our young people and supporting our elderly and vulnerable residents.
What do you consider to be the important issues facing Handforth?
With funding from Handforth Town Council and Onward Housing Association I introduced the concept of regular community skips around the village which has had the effect of decreasing fly tipping drastically. I also organise regulat community litter picks which are very well supported. I have distributed Winter Warmth items and food parcels to many vulnerable residents and spent many Saturday mornings in the library last year helping people apply for the £150 council tax rebate. These are all things which are important to residents and therefore important to me and which we will continue to build on.
What do you hope to achieve and how in the next 4 years?
Through talking to residents, police and local group leaders it is apparent that there is a need for support for victims of domestic abuse and sufferers of men's mental health problems. I have already started looking into setting up groups in both these areas which I would hope to be able to continue with. During the February half term holidays I took a group of 10 children to spend a few hours with the Always Active group which is a group of residents with dementia. This inter generational trial was exceptionally successful and something which we will be doing again during the summer. I will work with CEC and Friends of Handforth station to see the installation of lifts to create the long overdue 'access for all' and will continue to fight to retain our local bus services.
Why should Handforth residents vote for you?
As a non-aligned member of Cheshire East Council I am able to truly represent our community rather than being constrained by party politics and having to 'Toe the Party Line'. I do not believe that party politics has any place in local democracy and I will continue to remain Independent in order to get the best possible outcome for Handforth and Colshaw.
I am asking for people to vote for me because they know I do what I say, NOT what I say I'll do. I don't always succeed in helping everyone but I hope they accept that it's not for the want of trying.
Julie Smith will continue to represent the Handforth West Ward on Handforth Town Council. There will be no election as the 4 seats were uncontested.