Knutsford Town Council News

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Neighbourhood Plan Reaches key Milestone

 

Cllr Peter Coan studying the draft plan

Knutsford’s journey to a Neighbourhood Plan has made a leap forward as the first full draft plan has been published by the Town Council for public consultation.

The draft plan is the culmination of hundreds of hours of work by councillors and volunteers from the community who have been working on the plan since 2014. The plan deals with a range of land use issues in Knutsford across core themes spanning everything from traffic and education to housing and sports.

Monday (21st May) saw the start of the formal regulation 14 consultation on the draft plan and residents, local businesses and other stakeholders are invited to review the plan and provide feedback. The plan, and a suite of supporting documents and evidence, can be found online at www.knutsfordnp.org.uk.

To support the consultation the Town Council has produced an eight-page summary document which is being delivered to every home in Knutsford by a team of volunteers as well as a series of supporting events.

The Town Council is hosting three themed events which will examine different areas of the plan in detail. The events, at Knutsford Methodist Church from 7pm to 9pm over the next three weeks, offer an opportunity to hear about aspects of the plan and discuss issues with the council’s planning advisers, Urban Imprint.

 

Weds 30th May Supporting Infrastructure Focus on Transport, Sports and Leisure, Health, Community and Education

 

Weds 6th June Creating Places Focus on Design, Heritage, Environment, Open Spaces and the Town Centre

 

Thurs 14th June Meeting Local Needs Focus on Housing and Employment

 

Chairman of the Neighbourhood Plan Committee, Cllr Stewart Gardiner, is encouraging all residents to engage in the consultation process as he said “It is your chance to help preserve the character of our historic Town, whilst ensuring that any new developments seek to compliment all that Knutsford offers the residents of today, whilst helping to meet the aspirations of the current younger generation and those to come”

Hard copies of the Draft Neighbourhood Plan can be accessed at the Library, Council Offices, Market Hall and Welcome Café. The consultation runs until Monday 2nd July.

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Cllr Peter Coan elected Town Mayor

At the annual ‘Mayor Making’ ceremony on Monday 14th May 2018 the Town Council elected Cllr Peter Coan as Mayor of Knutsford for the ensuing year with Cllr Andrew Malloy being elected as Deputy Mayor.

Cllr Peter Coan has been a member of the Town Council for the last 12 years and served as Mayor in 2010.  In addition to chairing Full Council meetings, the Mayor represents the Town at a variety of events both in Knutsford and the surrounding areas.  Peter is a retired Firefighter from Cheshire Fire Service and served as Deputy to outgoing Mayor Cllr Neil Forbes.

The Mayor has nominated four local charities/good causes to support with his fundraising events which will run throughout the year:  Knutsford Heritage Centre, The Welcome Café, Friends of the Moor and Knutsford Community First Responder Trust.  His first event will be a BBQ on Thursday 5th July at the Council Offices.

Cllr Coan said “I’m looking forward to seeing all our council’s latest initiatives come to fruition including the Centennial war memorial, the new market hall and the refurbishment of our cemetery chapel. I look forward to the new and improved community use of our council office building, the improved support to local businesses that our specialist Town Centre Manager will provide, and, of course, our fabulous music festival next month.”

The Mayor will be supported by his wife Ann as Mayoress.  Cllr Coan has chosen Air Cadet Max Risley as his Mayor’s Cadet for his term.  The Cadet will represent the Mayor and the Town at Civic Functions including Civic Sunday on Sunday 8 July and Remembrance Sunday. 

Revd Rob Cotton was appointed as Mayor’s Chaplain and will lead the Civic Service at Knutsford Methodist Church on 8 July. 

For more information or to invite the Mayor to one of your events or functions please contact the Mayor’s PA Annabel Irvine on 01565 653 929 or email Annabel.irvine@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk.

Last year the Mayor or Deputy Mayor attended over 100 events in the local area for a variety of community organisations, charities, businesses etc.

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Statement on Management of 60 King Street

The following statement was issued to the Knutsford Guardian in response to a statement sent by the council’s tenant, La Belle Epoque Limited.

Knutsford Town Council takes seriously its multiple responsibilities as a landlord, custodian of one of the Town’s most treasured buildings and, as a council, its responsibilities to the tax payers of Knutsford.

The Town Council has considerable obligations under the lease to maintain the exterior of 60 King Street and has spent over £200,000 in the past six years with another £50,000 of works planned for 2018. At the same time, the rental income from the tenant has meant we have been able to keep the precept down by £21,500 each year.

The tenant has been in arrears of rent since 2015 through which time the council had sought to be extremely patient. The tenant missed numerous informal agreements on when debts would be settled and it was with regret that the council has had to progress no fewer than four legal proceedings to recover the debts which have included claims via the County Court and most recently a wind-up petition.

This has, naturally, put a great strain on the relationship between the Town Council as landlord and its tenant, La Belle Epoque Limited and this is deeply regrettable. However not receiving the income we were due would begin to affect our ability to maintain this iconic Grade II* Listed Building and our ability to minimise the council tax paid by our residents; this was a situation considered unacceptable by the council.

The Town Council disputes it has responsibility to clean the exterior of the building of pigeon mess but has put in place plans to minimise pigeon roosting on the building; this requires Listed Building Consent and the Council’s agent has been in discussions with the Conservation Officer regarding this.

The Town Council had planned to undertake a programme of high-level works which would require the erection of scaffolding for an extended period; we have had difficulty in arranging these works due to the disruption it would have on the tenant’s business but we are proactively seeking to arrange these when we are able to agree with the tenant a suitable period.

There are further ancillary issues, including the unauthorised installation of decking and the repair of the staircase in the tower which is a tenant responsibility. Throughout all discussions the Town Council has made it clear that the payment of the rent is of paramount importance.

The Town Council has agreed to mediation in an effort to seek to resolve issues and repair relations between us as Landlord and La Belle Epoque Limited and throughout the Council has never refused mediation.

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Annual Town Meeting & Town Awards Shortlist

Knutsford Town Council is inviting the community to attend the Annual Town Meeting on Thursday 26th April. The meeting will be ‘a celebration of volunteering’ with the presentation of the Town Awards. The meeting is being held at 7pm in St John’s Church.

The Town Meeting will feature a talk from the Chief Executive of Cheshire Voluntary Services CE on the support they can offer to community organisations. In a change of format, the meeting will not feature talks from community organisations, instead focusing on the presentation of the awards.

The end of the meeting will provide an opportunity for residents to raise any issues they would like to bring to the attention of the Town Council and wider community.

The Town Council has also announced the shortlist for three of the Town Awards categories with the winners to be announced on the night. The Town Awards were once again generously sponsored by the Knutsford based Forum of Private Business, with its Managing Director Ian Cass serving on the decision panel alongside the Town Mayor, Town Clerk and Chairman of the Council’s Events Committee.

Civic Award Shortlist (three awards to be given)

  • Sue Banks – for services to the Girl Guiding movement in Knutsford
  • Hazel Cussons – for dedicated service to the Welcome Cafe
  • Michele Hammond – for fundraising for the 1st Knutsford Scouts and work with Friends of the Moor and St Vincent’s PTA
  • Debbie Jamison – for work with Friends of the Moor and Knutsford Residents of Over Ward
  • Stuart Willis – for work with the Knutsford Fire Cadets and First Responders

 

Community Award Shortlist (one award to be given)

  • Knutsford Friendship Cafe
  • Knutsford Knitting Club
  • Knutsford League of Hospital Friends
  • Lower Moss Wood

 

Business Award Shortlist (one award to be given)

  • Julia Chard of Mr Simms Olde Sweetshoppe
  • Peter Murray of Pulse of Perfumery

 

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Mayor’s Big Band Night

The Mayor of Knutsford is pleased to announce that tickets are now on sale for his final fundraising event “Mayor’s Speakeasy Big Band Night” on Friday 27 April at St John’s Church.  This is sure to be a great night with jazz, swing and funk music from the Fish Lip Soup Big Band featuring guest vocalist Jenn Clempner.

Tickets are £12.50 per person.  To book your place at the event please contact the Mayor’s PA Annabel Irvine on annabel.irvine@knutsfordtowncouncilgov.uk or telephone 01565 653 929.  For full details click here.

All money raised from the event will go to Knutsford Youth Orchestra, Knutsford Friendship Café and Mid-Cheshire Riding for the Disabled.

Cllr Neil Forbes said “My fundraising year is ending.  It is sure to be a great night; the BIG Band are excellent.  I hope to have a great turnout to help me smash my fundraising target to raise money for local charities.  Don’t worry I won’t be on the stage!”

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Norbury Booths By-Election Results

Electors of Norbury Booths went to the polls yesterday to elect a new councillor. Two candidates stood in the by-election which was called following the resignation of Charlotte Greenstein.

A total of 731 ballots were cast, 368 of which were postal votes, giving an impressive (for a Town Council by-election) turnout of 35.61%.

Independent candidate Quentin Abel received 233 votes but was beaten by Conservative candidate Elizabeth Beswick who received 496 votes and was duly elected.

You can contact your new councillor on: elizabeth.beswick@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk

2 ballots were void for uncertainty/unmarked.

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Market Hall Consultation

Knutsford Market Hall invites Knutsfordians to its public consultation to view the plans for the Market Hall building on Tuesday 10th April between 2-4pm and 6-8pm at Knutsford Market Hall on Silk Mill Street.

Knutsford Town Council announced it was working with local architects SiCa to demolish the existing Market Hall and re-build a new hall to ensure the market’s future into the 21st century.  Those plans have been developed and the Council is keen to listen and take note of public opinion. The plans include four two-bedroom apartments above the market hall.

Sandra Curties, Town Centre and Market Manager said, “We know how loved the Market Hall traders are, but the current building is well past it’s sell by date.  We need a Market Hall that does both the traders and the town justice.  The public consultation is a way of gathering opinion and feedback and we welcome Knutsfordians and Market Hall customers alike to come along and have a look at the plans”.  Council staff and architects will be on hand during both sessions and the public consultation follows on from a previous trader consultation.

The consultation will include information on the financing of the project with the Town Council planning to borrow up to £1m to finance the works which will be repaid from the income from the apartments and market traders.

Knutsford Market Hall is open every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 8am to 4pm. Shoppers at Knutsford Market can find everything for dinner from, fruit and veg and a great range of meat, poultry and fish.

You can also view the consultation boards at: www.knutsfordmarket.co.uk/market-hall-redevelopment 

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Help Protect Longridge Playing Field

Knutsford Town Council is calling for the community to support its application to register an area of public open space as an ‘Asset of Community Value’. The application is designed to demonstrate the community’s desire to retain the open space at Longridge/North Downs and help prevent Cheshire East Council from disposing of the space.

Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Green explained “To get this land registered as an asset of community value we need to demonstrate how the community has used it over a number of years. We’re asking residents who have enjoyed this space to help support our nomination”.

The Town Council is writing to residents living near the open space who signed the KROW petition against its sale but is appealing to any users of the space to give their evidence.

You can submit your evidence by writing to the Town Council by e-mail/letter setting out the activities you have used the public open space for and over what time period. Any photographs showing the community using the space, or posters from events held there would also support the nomination.

The statement should set out how long one has been using the area and what activities one has undertaken there – from walking the dog to playing football and everything in between. The aim is to demonstrate how the area has benefited the social wellbeing of the community.

“The more statements we have the easier we can demonstrate that this open space is truly valued by the community and the more likely it is our application will succeed” Adam added.

Before disposing of a registered Asset of Community Value the seller must provide an opportunity for a community to purchase the land on the open market. It was used in Holmes Chapel to protect the AP Sports Club and saw Holmes Chapel Parish Council purchase the site to create a new community centre.

The Town Council is seeking submissions by Friday 6th April.

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Second Events Forum Planned

Event organisers in Knutsford are being invited to attend the second Events Forum hosted by the Town Council. The Knutsford Events Forum was introduced last October as an opportunity for those organising public events in the town to share information, skills and experience.

Convened by the Chairman of the Town Council’s own Events Committee, Cllr Andrew Malloy, the forum brings together all those who organise events in the town as well as an opportunity for those with ideas for potential new events to come together.  At the last meeting several community organisations were involved such as the Knutsford Lions, Knutsford Heritage Centre, Knutsford Promenades as well as The Courthouse, Sharston House and Willow Boutiques.

Andrew said, “Knutsford’s vibrant events calendar contributes greatly to making the town such a special place to live.”

“The aim of this forum is to make it easier for everyone organising events in the town through sharing of experience and knowledge and providing a networking opportunity for event planners”.

“This second meeting will focus on funding available for community events as well as highlighting the various avenues available to organisers to help promote their events across Cheshire and beyond”

The second meeting of the forum takes place on Wednesday 21st March at 6pm in the Town Council Offices.  To register your attendance please email Sandra Curties, Town Centre Manager, on Sandra.curties@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk

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Candidates for Norbury Booths By-Election

Two candidates have put themselves forward for election in the Norbury Booths By-Election which will take place on Thursday 5th April.

Quentin Abel (11 St John’s Road, Knutsford) is standing as an Independent candidate against Elizabeth Beswick (Woodlea, Manor Lane, Ollerton) who is standing as the Conservative Party candidate.

The by-election was called following the resignation of Cllr Charlotte Greenstein in January.

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