It's Andrea's turn to be grilled by Chase Indies to say why she would like your support to be your County Councillor for Cannock Villages ( HEATH HAYES, WIMBLEBURY AND NORTON CANES) 

1. How long have you lived in Heath Hayes? If you were not born in the town can you tell us a bit about where you were born, where you have lived and what brought you to Heath Hayes?

I was born and grew up in West Bromwich.
I then lived in London for a few years while attending London College of Fashion and then moved back to the Midlands, and have lived in Heath Hayes for 28 years.

2. What is your most favourite thing about the villages of Heath Hayes and Norton Canes?

I love that Heath Hayes, Wimblebury and Norton Canes are all still villages. Norton Canes in particular has seen its fair share of new builds over the last few years, but our villages still have a feeling of being connected to the countryside. I appreciate the open spaces and the countryside views more than anything.

3. On a personal level what are the highpoints and best achievements in your life to date?

Number one has to be my three children who are almost all grown up now.
I am very proud to have been a district councillor since May 2019. Over recent years I’ve enjoyed working on local campaigns, in particular setting up Chase Line Action group, which brought passengers together to put pressure on West Midlands Trains to improve the service.
I’m also proud of being involved in the creation of the Chase Community Independents Group. I’m glad I’m now part of a group where I have freedom of thought and am free to vote and express opinions of all residents without being restricted by party politics. It has broadened my thinking and approach which I feel makes me a better councillor for the residents of Cannock Chase District.
Other high points were being involved with the successful campaign to save our school crossing patrols and more recently setting up Chase Coronavirus Support Network, to bring volunteers together during the first lockdown in March last year.

4. What has led you to be standing as a councillor now?

I love being a district councillor and being involved in the community. Unfortunately, you can't achieve everything you want to do, because many issues are dealt with by the County Council. Being an independent voice on the County Council would help me to make sure that the funds we pay in are allocated fairly back to us, the residents and so we are not always saying 'We can't do anything about that, it's the County's responsibility!'

5. What issues do you think are most important to residents in Cannock Villages?

There is an ongoing issue with parking particularly around our schools, Norton Canes and Jerome Primary, Five Ways Primary and Heath Hayes Academy are examples where in the past the presence of a local police officer helped enormously.
Also, the condition of the roads and roadworks, the proximity of the Poplars waste disposal site, flooding in Norton Canes, congestion around Five Ways Island to name a few.
People are using their local village shops more than ever due to the pandemic and it would be great to see small traders supported once they’re allowed to open again after lockdown. This shows that with more community engagement, we can make the high streets of our villages thrive again by discovering what amenities each community needs. One thing that each village would benefit from, are aesthetic additions such as hanging baskets and business sponsored displays on roundabouts. Setting up community groups similar to Friends of Hednesford Park and Friends of Cannock Stadium will help keep these displays maintained and transform our villages with a bright and welcoming feel.

6. If there is one thing you could achieve in your area, what would it be?

It would be to ensure that the character of our villages will be preserved.
Improved and better maintained parks are essential for our children’s wellbeing and our green and open spaces that identify each village as an independent entity need to remain. Better consultation over planning applications for new housing developments is needed. Making sure each resident has knowledge of intended plans well in advance of deadlines will be a priority of mine. 
Andrea Layton


Not just about the politics! But mainly I am. Chase Independents Councillor Cannock North plus a few other things.