Ellesmere Port has some of the most disadvantaged areas in the country – what is being done to improve these neighbourhoods?

Ellesmere Port is a fantastic town – but too many people struggle to get by. There’s only one sure way to help them: a strong economy that is creating jobs and enabling people to move from welfare in to work. More than 1,100 people in this constituency have come off benefits since 2010 – that’s over a thousand people with the security of a regular pay packet, and some of them for the very first time. We’re not finished yet and there’s a lot more to do to help people in disadvantaged communities, but the solution lies in a strong economy, investing in infrastructure like HS3, and generating good jobs here.

Do you support fracking in the town?

No. Fracking definitely has potential for the future and we need to be more energy secure in the decades to come. I do not want to be in hock to Putin-controlled Russian gas supplies, but I don’t want to see fracking in residential areas.

Should the M53 be moved out of town as suggested by Cllr Mike Jones to reunite the town centre and the waterfront?

The waterfront is one of the most beautiful parts of our industrial heritage and I want to support it as a vital part of our local economy. However, I think money can be better spent than re-directing the M53 at great cost and inconvenience. For example, superfast broadband rollout and better transport connections across the Northern cities.

Is the new borough council better for the town than the previous Ellesmere Port and Neston Council?

Absolutely. By pooling our resources we’ve been able to make £134 million worth of savings in the Council and invest this money in freezing Council Tax and new facilities like a replacement for the EPIC. The old Labour-run Council dithered for years on replacing the EPIC. They also ran out of money to maintain social housing resulting in a very poor rating for community houses and the disgrace of people moving into homes with graffiti on the walls and water soaked walls. With a bigger Conservative-run borough Council we’ve put an end to the dithering and we’re delivering for local people.

Are local bus services good enough for those who wish to reach education or employment or visit family and friends?

They need improving. Large parts of Ellesmere Port are well-served by the Number 1 and Number 2 bus services. But we could do better. I’m helping Strawberry’s Council candidate Nicholas Hebson campaign for the later running of the Number 2 bus to help people in Great Sutton in particular. I also want to see better bus-train connections. Conservatives in Government have given over £10 million to re-open the Halton Curve, and I hope we can use this to see if we can bring more trains through Ellesmere Port.

Should all town centre parking be free to boost the shops in what has been described as one of the poorest town centres in the country?

We need to support our town centre and free parking is a great way of doing it. We’ve made a lot of progress – with the Conservatives who despite not having a majority of Ellesmere Port Councillors have worked to successfully bring about £8m of central government investment to start regenerating the town centre. On car parking, currently 12 Ellesmere Port car parks are free and the rest are free after three. If we’re to make more car parks free, we need to know the cost of doing so and the financial consequences for rate-payers across the town. But if we can afford it I’m totally in favour of the idea.

Fact File:

Education: Altrincham Girls Grammar School & Nottingham University - BSc (Hons) in Biology

Occupation: Small business owner

Home: Cheshire

Website: www.fletch4epn.co.uk

Twitter: @Fletch4EPN

Facebook page: Fletch4EPN

See what the other candidates had to say here:

Michelle Palmer, Green Party

Justin Madders, Labour

Felicity Dowling, Left Unity

Trish Derraugh, Liberal Democrats

Jonathan Starkey, Ukip

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