In the run up to the local elections on May 2nd I will be publishing brief interviews with each of the candidates - standing for seats on both the Parish Council and Cheshire East Council - that respond to my request, in the order in which they respond.
To read interviews with other candidates you will be able to click on the tags at the bottom of the article. For example, pieces on the other candidates for the Alderley Edge Parish Council election will all be tagged 'Alderley Edge Parish Council 2019 Election'. Candidates representing the same party or group will also be connected via the tags and all articles will be tagged '2019 Local Elections'.
Bev Chapman is an Alderley Edge First candidate for Alderley Edge Parish Council.
Please tell me about yourself - occupation, how long you have lived in Alderley Edge, interests, family?
I have lived in Alderley Edge for the last 32 years having worked throughout the UK and across the world.
I worked in the airline industry for most of my career, mainly in customer service roles, which included delivering training and development. I specialised in the procedures used to manage the aftermath of accidents involving commercial passenger aircraft. This brought me into contact with the relatives of the Lockerbie air disaster, as well as many others affected by similar terrible events. I learned to become a good 'listener' and my Certificate in Counselling Skills has stood me in good stead.
My interests are varied but definitely veer towards anything 'outdoors' - gardening, walking and playing tennis. My voluntary work has made my life a busy one full of new challenges.
Are you a member of any local groups or societies?
When I retired from full time work I became involved in village matters because I wanted to give something back to the community I have lived in for nearly half my life. Meeting and working alongside like-minded people who love our village has been a wonderful experience for me. When I was invited to join the Parish Council in 2018 I was delighted to accept.
I am also the Treasurer of Alderley Edge in Bloom and a regular 'Bloomer'! We seek to make our village a cleaner and more pleasant environment for everyone. All the 'Bloomers' are volunteers who litter pick, fill hanging baskets and planters and maintain them. They have most recently transformed the Waitrose woodland into a sight to behold; no public space will stay 'unloved' - from our station car park area to Wood Gardens and many others besides. Our special allotment garden continues to grow vegetables for the Luncheon Club.
I am the Chair of The Patients Participation Group at our Medical Centre, which gives our wonderful doctors vital feedback from a wide variety of patients. We are all volunteers with a keen drive to make a difference for residents. My involvement in all these organisations has been very rewarding and I look forward to doing more.
Why have you decided to stand for re-election as a parish councillor?
I want to continue to make a difference. The changes I have seen in our Village over the last few years have inspired me to want more for our residents. The 'feeling of community' is coming back to Alderley Edge. It made my decision to become a Parish Councillor very easy.
How have you found the last few months as a parish councillor?
There is quite a learning curve to be negotiated, for sure! I have found it interesting and challenging and I have learned a very great deal. So much takes place on a daily basis with every discussion, formal or informal painstakingly recorded to ensure 'transparency' is maintained in all that is done. It is a privilege to be part of it all.
What have been your biggest disappointments/achievements as a councillor in the past few months?
Absolutely no disappointments! Far from it - as I have found a group of like-minded villagers who are all 'on the same page' as me. As to my achievements, I have to say I have only been a member of the Parish Council for a few months now but my own 'agenda' is building up and I look forward to making a real contribution.
What do you consider to be the important issues facing Alderley Edge?
Any issues that are bought to our attention are important. Our Neighbourhood Plan continues to be a vitally important focus for us. And, of course, we are a developers' and builders' dream, as everyone wants to live in Alderley Edge, so we have to make sure that we get thedevelopment that the village needs. I have no doubt that the future will continue to throw challenges at us, from green space to car parking; house building to planning; elderly residents to care in the community; our younger residents to recreational amenities; potholes to road repairs – and all this set against a political landscape that is far from certain.
What do you hope to achieve and how in the next 4 years?
I am a passionate believer in the importance of preserving and enhancing the green spaces in our village, to ensure that they are clean and well maintained for the enjoyment of everyone that uses them.
I also believe it is important that we provide for our Senior Residents. My mother was a trained pharmacist, midwife and nurse, and she owned and ran a nursing home in Suffolk where my childhood was spent and where I developed some early caring skills.
The Luncheon Club at the Methodist Church is a delightful and important part of bringing older residents together and I feel we can do much more towards similar events.
What experience and personal qualities will you bring to the role?
I find it difficult to blow my own trumpet! I am not a politician – just an Alderley Edge resident who wants to do the best job possible for us all. Appropriate and timely communication is the key to any role and this has always been a big part of my working life.
Why should Alderley Edge residents vote for you?
I know our Village well and I have watched it grow in stature over these last few years. People want to live here and I want to be part of the teams that continue to make it a desirable place to live. I want families to be secure and happy with younger residents able to play safely. I know I will do my very best to meet their expectations.