Deal struck for new coalition to run Cheshire East Council


Cheshire East Independent Group has confirmed that an agreement has been reached to form a joint administration with Labour to run the council for the next four years.

Following the local elections on May 4th, non of the political groups gained overall control, as the number of seats required to form a majority is 42. As a result none of the political groups were able to form a majority without working with the Independent Group - who have been in talks with both the Labour and Conservative Groups regarding partnering with them to run Cheshire East Council.

Announcing the news, Independent Group Leader, Cllr Craig Browne commented: "This agreement concludes a period of intense negotiations with both the Labour and Conservative Groups at Cheshire East.

"As a result of these negotiations, we have been able to secure enhanced representation for the Independent Group in key positions, notably the Chairs of Highways & Transport, Environment & Communities, Economy & Growth, Licensing and Northern Planning Committee.

"These positions will allow the Independent Group to have greater influence over the running of these key service areas, thereby enabling us to deliver for our residents and the residents of the wider Borough.

"On behalf of the Independent Group, I would like to thank the Leaders of the other two groups for their constructive approach to the negotiations. Ultimately we received strong offers from both groups; however, on this occasion we have decided that stable leadership is what the Council most needs at this time. The agreement we have reached today is valid for the next four years, but will be reviewed at the end of each year to ensure that both sides are upholding their part of the deal."

Cllr Sam Corcoran, Labour Leader of Cheshire East Council said "This agreement ensures continuing stability at Cheshire East Council which will be of major benefit to our residents. Labour will continue to lead the Council, with a similar arrangement to that of the previous joint administration regarding Committee Chairs. Our increase in representation on the Council also increases our committee membership and the opportunity to make a difference in delivering services and regulatory matters.

"Labour has also secured agreement to the vast majority of our manifesto pledges and will work to implement these through the joint administration and our increased representation and influence on the Council's decision-making committees.

"I would like to thank both the Leader of the Independent Group and my own negotiations team for their hard work to deliver this agreement which is subject to formal ratification at our Labour Group Meeting on Saturday, 20 May 2023."



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

Nick Jones
Tuesday 16th May 2023 at 9:36 am
Well the last 4 years were significantly better than the previous administration, (although still not without its issues), but lets hope this next 4 years builds on that previous stability and is a springboard not only to improve CEC's representation to its residents, but remove some of the partisan and unnecessary attacks in the lead up to this election. The electorate are no fools.. They want issues addressed not complicated,
"Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference"... W. S Churchill
Good luck to the new ( yet continuing ) administration.
Jonathan Follows
Tuesday 16th May 2023 at 12:35 pm
I agree that it's better the devil that you know, and the last administration was the best we've had since Cheshire East was established, not that that's necessarily a high bar to reach, so I'm happy enough with the outcome of "more of the same".
Pete Taylor
Tuesday 16th May 2023 at 2:08 pm
This seems like a very sensible arrangement with regard to Wilmslow, Handforth and Alderley Edge, where no Conservative candidates were elected.

Judging by the serious fallings out and splits in the Conservative Party nationally (following their disastrous local election results) there may not even be a Conservative Party in four years time, when this CEC arrangement is due to end.

Congratulations to Craig and the team for securing the key positions, there is still much work to do but I’m confident the Independent team will be very effective.
Mark Goldsmith
Wednesday 17th May 2023 at 6:04 am
With no majority for any political party, it once again fell to the Independents to form the administration at Cheshire East. We spoke at length with both Labour and the Conservatives and pushed very hard for the best outcome for Wilmslow. This announcement means Independents and your RoW councillors will now oversee all the key areas that most affect Wilmslow:

Highways: To ensure Wilmslow gets its fair share of road repairs and improvements.

Environmental & Communities: This controls Planning and it will create the new Local Plan,
which shows how and where Cheshire East will fulfil central government's demands for new houses over the next decade.

Economy & Growth: Which will create the plans for the major improvement of Wilmslow's town centre.

Northern Planning: That oversees all planning applications in Wilmslow and the north of the borough.

Therefore, we have key roles at the heart of Cheshire East, putting Wilmslow's needs front and centre of council policy.

Additionally, up until 2019, Cheshire East endured a long period of scandal and mal administration. Then in the past 4 years it underwent a fundamental change to the way it is governed, experienced a global pandemic and the challenging effects of 50-year high inflation. However, despite all this, it is now rapidly improving and another agreement with Labour will provide the stability and continuity for these improvements to continue. In the end, this was the key consideration that finally tipped it in their favour.

Ultimately, we know the limitations of the Labour group, but we know the ability of the Independents compensates for it. This has proved a successful combination. While we know the different issues a Conservative alliance would bring, we are far less confident about overcoming them. Therefore, it would be a bigger risk but with no clear benefit to the public.

Instead, we agreed a better deal with Labour that now ensures Wilmslow gets top billing in Cheshire East’s plans. This will enable us to best resist over-development in Wilmslow and to attract the investment the town centre badly needs. And we can do it without jeopardising the major improvements Cheshire East is making either.

Therefore, we now look forward to starting our new roles, so we can deliver all these improvements. Then in 4 years time, we can once again show you that "We do what's best for Wilmslow".

Your RoW councillors at Cheshire East

Cllr Lata Anderson - Dean Row
Cllr Mark Goldsmith - Wilmslow West & Chorley
Cllr Michael Gorman - Wilmslow West & Chorley
Cllr Chris Hilliard - Lacey Green
Cllr David Jefferay - Wilmslow East
John Duckworth
Wednesday 17th May 2023 at 1:26 pm
ROW are part of an independent group - are you saying ROW are not in the independent group that is forming a coalition with Labour
Roger Bagguley
Wednesday 17th May 2023 at 2:05 pm
Many thanks to Mark and fellow RoW Cheshire East Councillors for spending so much time on making what I will say is the best decision for Wilmslow. Cheshire East Council too.

I do want to take this opportunity to congratulate all of the RoW councillors, both Cheshire East and Town on their amazing success taking all 20 seats in the recent local elections. To thank them too for their hard work and for stepping forward to give their very best in representing all residents of Wilmslow.

Roger Bagguley

Chair (RoW)
Simon Worthington
Wednesday 17th May 2023 at 3:22 pm
“The electorate are no fools”
Just have a look at who some voted for!! Time for those who pay to call the tune not those who don’t!! Remember Liverpool with the non-payers voting for MT!
William White
Thursday 18th May 2023 at 7:06 am
This is crazy.

The Labour party did not gain a single vote in Wilmslow, now they are running it with the collusion of 5 supposedly "Independents" who know very well that the natural choice of mainstream party in this area is Conservative. Likewise Alderley. That's why they offered no candidates.

Good on yer RoW for your efforts on the Town Council, you deserve your success.

But the Labour councillors are largely drawn from the run down areas in and around Crewe, Sanbach and Macc and have nothing but contempt for the voters of middle-class Wilmlsow. By aligning with them you have sold us out.
David Smith
Monday 22nd May 2023 at 7:21 am
Simon Worthington:
What on earth are you saying? Care to explain with more words and detail?

Roger Bagguley:
Please explain a bit more about RoW?
We have the 5 ELECTED RoW councillors - well done and hope it stays that way in the future. Welcome Chris Hilliard who replaces my local conservative councillor left over from the 'old days'. It is refreshing to have a younger, educated person with, hopefully, more energy and clear thinking to do well for us all.
However, Roger - what exactly is your role as the Chair of RoW? I mean as an UNELECTED person what role do you have within the group of ELECTED representatives that constitute RoW?
Are there any more unelected RoW members who hide in the background of RoW and what role/influence do they have on policies and generally what goes on - if any?