31 October 2019 13:02
A total of 242 candidates fought it out this year, with all 82 seats across the 52 wards on the Conservative-controlled Cheshire East Council up for grabs. The Conservatives fielded 81 candidates, Labour 65, the Liberal Democrats 33 and the Greens, 20. Ukip, which put up candidates for 44 seats at the last Cheshire East elections in 2015, has this time fielded just two. There isn't expected to be any major upset in Cheshire East this year - all eyes will be on neighbouring Cheshire West and Cheshire where Labour has a majority of just one and the boundary changes could also be a major factor. We won't have to wait too long now to find out - the Cheshire East count, which will take place across two locations in Crewe and Macclesfield due to the unitary authority's size, is now under way.
COUNTING has started for the results of Cheshire East Council's (CEC) elections. Seats are up for grabs in all 52 wards, with results due to start coming in at Crewe Lifestyle Centre shortly. The Conservative group, which has a solid grip on the authority, is fielding candidates in every ward with the aim of continuing its growth agenda. Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party are all running in various wards across the borough, while UKIP and The For Britain Movement could also gain representation on CEC. In the first result of the afternoon, council leader Rachel Anne Bailey, Conservative, survives a scare to hold onto her Audlem seat.
Tory councillors Peter Groves, 1106 votes, and Andrew Martin, 1224 votes, retain their Nantwich South and Stapeley seats. But the candidates to lose out in the battle to secure a seat are Labour's Richard Alexander Banks, 613 votes, independent Stuart Robert Bostock, 426 votes, Lib Dem Stephen Ford, 520 votes, Lib Dem Matthew Cameron Theobald, 516 votes and Labour's Sinead Vera Lois Wheeler, 565 votes. And it is joy for the Conservatives in Haslington after Steven Edgar, 1061 votes, and Mary Addison, 1058 votes, win the two seats. Tory councillors Les Gilbert, 1583 votes, Andrew Kolker, 1539 votes, keep hold of their Dane Valley seats. But there is an upset in the Leighton ward, as independent Byron Evans takes the seat from the Conservatives.
All seats on CWAC are up for grabs, while some town and parish councils across mid Cheshire are also taking part – with every Winsford Town Council ward contested. In the biggest story of the day so far, Lib Dem candidate Malcolm Gaskill pipped Stephen Burns, Labour and former CWAC deputy chairman, by just 11 votes to represent Winsford Swanlow. Independent candidate Phil Herbert (1,048 votes) pipped Conservative rival Gaynor Sinar (825) for the second Hartford and Greenbank seat – with sitting Conservative member Patricia Parkes winning the most votes (980). Gillian Edwards, independent candidate for Weaver and Cuddington, has been elected onto CWAC with 2,212 votes. The Conservatives secured the first victory in mid Cheshire, winning all three Marbury seats. The Conservatives have also kept hold of Shakerley, with Mark Stocks (700) pipping former Rudheath and Witton councillor Tony Lawrenson, Labour (225). Labour's Joanne Moorcroft (434) has picked up the new Winsford Gravel seat, while the party held Winnington and Castle – with husband-and-wife team Bob (678) and Kate Cernik (752) being elected. Labour's Nathan Pardoe (425) is the new member for Winsford Wharton, while his party colleague Andrew Cooper (481) will represent Northwich Leftwich. CWAC is set to be hotly contested – with Labour currently holding a majority of three over the Conservatives. But a number of independent, Green, Liberal Democrat and UKIP candidates are keen to shake things up in the council chamber at Wyvern House. Samantha Dixon, Labour group leader, and Lynn Riley, Conservative group leader, have both secured their seats on the council. The Green Party has secured its first CWAC member, with Paul Bowers winning in Helsby. Labour has secured 13 seats on Winsford Town Council – while the Lib Dems have two, losing previous members Bev Theron and Charlie Parkinson. Mike Kennedy (578 votes) and Dorothy Jump (473) votes have been elected in the Dene ward, over family Lib Dem duo Matt Gaskill-Jones (286) and Eleanor May Gaskill-Jones (304). Joanne Moorcroft (457) and Julie Savage (378) have pipped Lib Dem pair Paul Carter (274) and James Lowe (205) in the Gravel ward. Damon Horrill (499), Chris Le (446) and David Ellis (474) have won for Labour in Over, pipping Lib Dems Charlie Parkinson (340), Brandon Parkey (263), Bethan Parkey (303), Conservative Mike Baynham (386) and independent candidate Graham Cawley (177). Don Beckett (647), Stella Mellor (622) and Tom Blackmore (730) won for Labour in Verdin, beating Lib Dems Bob Barton (365) and Ken Isherwood (271), and Saundra Middleton, Conservative (414). In Wharton, Lyndsay Barwell (380), David Edwards (362) and Nathan Pardoe (402) won for Labour, pipping Lib Dems Jo Conchie (259), David Cottam (276) and Bev Theron (343). But in Swanlow ward Mal Gaskill (389) and Ailsa Gaskill-Jones (411) have secured seats for the Lib Dems, beating Tory Shaun Hopkins (259) and Labour's Andy Kendrick (307) and Ian Molton (243). Enquiries into becoming a foster carer for the local authority have increased by a third in one year. In April 2018, Cheshire West and Chester Council, together with Cheshire East Council, Halton Borough Council and Warrington Borough Council, formed Foster4, Cheshire's regional foster carer recruitment service – one of the first in the country. In the first year of operation, the service has seen a significant increase in enquiries from residents interested in becoming a local authority foster carer. Emma Taylor, director of children's services at Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: "We created Foster4 to recruit more foster carers by pooling resources and build on the strengths of the existing teams. "Some of our carers have been fostering over 40 years, others just a few months. All are part of a dedicated community of local foster carers who come from different walks of life and we really value every single one of them. "If you would like to help local children to get the best start in life please make an enquiry into becoming a foster carer today. Foster4 run six Become a Foster Carer information sessions each month, across the four local authority areas. The polls are closed, the votes have been cast and now all that remains is for the results to be declared in what should be an exciting 2019 election for Cheshire West and Chester Council. Labour's hold over the authority could not be more slender - a single seat won them control of CWaC in 2015 at what was the most thrilling election in living memory, requiring a number of recounts and going over into a second day with the final result being declared on the Saturday afternoon at the Northgate Arena. Just to remind everyone, the current make-up of Cheshire West and Chester Council is as follows: Labour 38 members, Conservatives 35, 2 independent members. But what is going to happen today is anyone's guess with local council results which have already been declared elsewhere in the country demonstrating that the electorate is fed up with the way both Conservatives and Labour have handled Brexit which is making it a very good day for smaller parties like the Liberal Democrats and the Greens. But also make sure you follow our live coverage as we bring you every CWaC result as it is declared and try to provide you with an idea of how the authority is shaping up.