Knutsford Town Council News

A Night of Classical Music

Adrian LordKnutsfordians are being presented to an evening of classical music as part of the upcoming Knutsford Music Festival. The third key event organised by the Town Council as part of the event will be held at the Brook Street Chapel Hall on Sunday 25th June.

Knutsford pianist and composer Adrian Lord invites Knutsfordians to experience pieces from “Journey – Twelve Romances for Piano”, his debut recording as both composer and performer.  His music reflects his inspirational journey as a composer which culminated in the recording at Crear, Western Scotland.

Also performing is Knutsford based string-quartet, Fiddlesticks. Fiddlesticks have been entertaining at formal concerts and events around Cheshire since 2015.

Commenting on the announcement, Hillary Skinner, celloist with Fiddlesticks said “we are thrilled and excited to be part of Knutsford’s first music festival, what a great event!”.

Completing the line-up for the evening is the Knutsford Catenian and Friends Male Voice Choir.

Tickets costing £10 are on sale now: Buy Tickets Now

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Rebecca Downes to headline blues night

Award winning blues artist Rebecca Downes headlines an intimate night of blues at the Knutsford Music Festival on Friday 23rd June. Rebecca, who won the Best Female Vocalist and Best Emerging Artist in the British Blues Awards 2016, will top a three-piece bill at the Brook St Club. This is one of three evening events organised by the Town Council as part of its inaugural Music Festival.

Speaking of the announcement, Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Garner, said “We are thrilled to be bringing such an amazing talent to Knutsford for our first festival, and the local support acts will complement Rebecca perfectly.”

Rebecca will be supported by solo blues singer, songwriter and guitarist Rick Whitehead who will perform a range of both familiar covers and original material, drawing inspiration from the likes of Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson and Eric Clapton.

Also supporting will be the Warrington based acoustic blues band Back to Front, a musical collective delivering an interestingly laid-back take on traditional roots music.

Tickets, priced at just £10, are on sale now from https://www.tickettailor.com/checkout/view-event/id/98208/chk/ab47/ 

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Cllr Neil Forbes elected as Town Mayor

At the Annual Council meeting held last night, Cllr Neil Forbes was elected as Town Mayor 2017/18. Cllr Peter Coan was elected as Deputy Town Mayor and Cllr Forbes appointed Jack Murphy of the Knutsford Fire Cadets as his Mayor’s Cadet. Cllr Forbes named his wife, Jacquelyn as Mayoress and Rev. Rob Cotton as Mayor’s Chaplain.

Upon being elected, Cllr Forbes gave the following speech.

Cllr Neil Forbes with Mayor's Cadet Jack Murphy.

Cllr Neil Forbes with Mayor’s Cadet Jack Murphy.

Thank-you for having the confidence in me to elect me as Mayor. It’s an honour and something I do not take lightly in this my 11th year as a councillor in historic Knutsford’s 725th year since its charter.

No man is an island, I will need support in this role, so I’m pleased to report that Rev Cotton has graciously agreed to be my chaplain; thank-you Rob and that Jacquelyn will be my Mayoress so it’s now time to invest her with the Consort’s chain.

I look forward to the year ahead as I’m passed the baton from Cllr Nicholson and note that good progress has been made on developing the Neighbourhood Plan which I will endeavour to champion in the months ahead. Especially as we try to engage better with younger adults and youths (after all they are potentially the most affected by the town’s growth and population ‘explosion’ in the decades to come).

We also need to get better at gathering the views of Knutsford residents from all parts of our town so I look forward to seeing targeted attempts to do so for the next consultation stage.
The Neighbourhood Plan is very important but we must take care to not (if you’ll pardon the pun) lose sight of the council’s 2020 vision and our progress towards achieving it. 2020 seems an awful lot closer now than when we wrote the vision document.

My biggest personal challenge is to remain apolitical especially in the month ahead so I’ll move swiftly on.

I’m looking forward to seeing the council’s latest initiatives come to fruition including the new war memorial, the recruitment of a specialist Town Centre Manager to better engage with our fantastic business community and of course the music festival next month.

With Knutsfordians’ and our amazing local businesses’ help I hope to raise funds to support local charities and good causes. Previous Knutsford mayors have played golf for charity, undertaken swimathons, walked across hot coals and even bungie jumped to raise funds.

My cycling and competitive field archery days are sadly behind me and I find myself much more of an eat, drink and make merry sort of fellow these days. So you should expect a list of events in that vein published within the next few weeks which you may wish to join in some or all of. I do hope so.

These to include the return of ‘Knutsford’s Got the Talent Factor’ and hopefully a big band swing & jazz event. Watch this space, Twitter and elsewhere for more information; why not join the Mayor’s events’ mailing list to gain advanced information especially for events which sell out fast? Buying one of our market hall’s brand new stylish reusable bags will also add some pennies to the pot.

Which brings me to the Charity and good causes I will be supporting. They are the Knutsford Youth Orchestra, The Knutsford Friendship Club (this recently opened club is for those with Alzheimer’s and their carers) and the final charity although it is located a mile or so outside of town, has Knutsford based beneficiaries and volunteers (including the Mayoress); It’s Mid-Cheshire Riding for the Disabled.

The principals from Knutsford Youth Orchestra are all teaching music now so sadly can’t be here but representatives from the other two organisations are here so please take a few minutes to have a chat with them over this evening’s refreshments to find out a bit more about the wonderful work they do.

In addition to the serious council business, I’m hoping we can all have a great deal of fun and entertainment raising funds for them all – with your support we will.

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Over ward by-election results

Knutsford Town Council has a new member following the election of Cllr Jon Wells-Bradshaw to Over Ward on 4th May.

The by-election, called following the resignation of Cllr Yvonne Bancroft, was fought by three candidates with a turnout of 29.61%. The results were:

Jon Wells-Bradsahw (CON) – 532
Rebecca O’Rourke (IND) – 364
David Stephenson (LAB) – 305

Cllr Wells-Bradshaw will attend his first meeting as a member of the Council on Monday 8th May, the Annual Council Meeting. He can be contacted by his ward residents:

Crow Trees Cottage,
35 Chelford Road,
Knutsford,
WA16 8NN

jon.wells-bradshaw@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk

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Bench Dedicated to Cllr Clive Nicholson

cllr-nicholson-benchA memorial bench has been installed in memory of Cllr Clive Nicholson who passed away while serving as a Town Council in 2014. Clive, who was elected in 2011, had played an active role on the Town Council, in particular looking at the transfer of assets from Cheshire East Council and improvements to the Cemetery.

The bench has been installed in the garden of the Town Council offices and was dedicated by his wife and current Town Mayor Cllr Jan Nicholson.

Speaking of the bench Jan said “I am proud to dedicate the bench to my late husband, Clive, who was a proud resident and councillor for Knutsford”

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Music Festival Headline act announced

The headline act for the key event of Knutsford Music Festival has been announced by organisers Knutsford Town Council with Knutsfordians ‘staying out for the summer’ with a semi-acoustic set from 90s Britpop stars Dodgy.

Dodgy, who have sold over a million records worldwide and enjoyed 12 top 40 singles, will be headlining a four-act evening in St John’s Church on Saturday 24th June as part of the first ever Knutsford Music Festival.

Nigel Clark, lead singer, said “Dodgy are really excited to be playing at the Knutsford Music Festival, we want everyone to have a great time and to have a memorable weekend”

Dodgy will be supported by Adam Bradbury with his original acoustic pop and rock tracks. Adam has toured the UK extensively over the past few years including supporting Bryan Adams at two stadium shows.

London-based singer/songwrite Freja joins the bill performing her piano-led songs with enchanting melodies and storytelling charm. Freja has recently written the title song for upcoming online game Worlds Adrift.

The line-up for the evening is completed with Knutsford’s own Abigail Chetham. The 16 year old singer/songwriter, who performs regularly in Knutsford, has promised a set of her take on classics, originals and more in her acoustic/indie/folk style.

Announcing the line-up, Town Clerk Adam Keppel-Garner said, “We’re delighted to have been able to attract such a brilliant line up to our inaugural music festival, it looks set to be a fantastic evening.”

Tickets for the evening will be on sale May 8th.

Three more events are being organised by the Town Council as part of the music festival, including a classic and choral evening, a blues night and a schools concert. A range of events are also being planned by Knutsford’s businesses community, with sixteen venues already signed up to take part.

Cllr James Power, member of the working group developing the festival, said “with 16 businesses and venues already signed up for this is going to be a superb event for Knutsford showcasing some outstanding musicians.”

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Town Awards Presented

Knutsford’s Town Awards were presented last night as part of the Annual Town Meeting. The Awards, sponsored by the Forum of Private Business, were launched in 2013 with the aim of celebrating the contributions to the community from individuals, community groups and businesses.

Nominations were sought from the community in January and February, with the decision panel facing tough decisions on the winners for this year’s awards. A shortlist of candidates were invited to the awards ceremony, with the awards being interspersed between community presentations and updates from the Town Council.

2017 Town Awards Winners

2017 Town Awards Winners

The Youth Award went to Nathan Brown for his dedicated volunteer work at the Welcome Café in Longridge. One of his nominees noted that he “shows his dedication and commitment to the welcome café by volunteer most days, always with a smile on his face”.

The 2017 Community Award was presented to the Knutsford First Responders Trust for the range of services they provide which include responding to 999 calls, providing free HeartStart training, providing defibrillators and cardiac screening for the under 35s as part of the CRY campaign.

A commendation went to the Secret Garden of Springfields which the panel noted as being an outstanding and inspiring project. Also shortlisted for the community award were the Canute Lunch Club and Knutsford Heritage Centre.

The winner of the Business Award was announced in true Oscars fashion with a video from MD of the Forum of Private Business, Ian Cass, who couldn’t be at the awards; he revealed that of the two businesses shortlisted, Julia Chard of Mr Simms Sweetshoppe and Erica Goggins of the Knutsford Directory, the award went to the Knutsford Directory for its support of the community publishing content and adverts to help promote community activities and events.

Ian Cass of the Forum of Private Business, sponsors of the awards, said “we are delighted to be involved in the Town Awards again.  We are very lucky to live in Knutsford and it is great to see so many businesses and individuals putting back into their community.”

The first Civic Award went to Sarah Pownall for her work campaigning to protect services at the Knutsford Children’s Centre and her work as part of the Strong Women project. The panel had heard about how brave Sarah had been in revealing her challenges as part of both campaigning and working on the Strong Women project and one of her nominees cited her as an “asset to the Longridge and Shaw Heath area”.

The second Civic Award was presented to Brian and Sylvia Chaplin. Both had been nominated individually and as a couple for their dedicated engagement with the Neighbourhood Plan and planning matters in Knutsford. Sylvia’s nominations also detailed her work with the Town Council on the protection of the War Memorial Cottage Hospital, plans for the Centennial War Memorial and her work recording the history of the town’s servicemen and women.

The final Civic Award went to Tony Leadbeater for this life of service to the youth of Knutsford through the Knutsford Scouts. Tony had been awarded the Silver Wolf by the Scout Association, its highest accolade, in 2014 and the panel felt that it was time his dedication was recognised locally.

Also shortlisted for the award were Ian and Barbara Taylor for their work with the Hampers of Hope, Julie King for work as lay-pastor at the Welcome Church and Hazel Cussons for her work volunteering at the Welcome Café.

Speaking after the awards, Mayor of Knutsford Cllr Jan Nicholson said “The Town Awards show the strength of our community and it was an honour to be able to present these awards to the winners”

“The awards seek to remind everyone that supporting your community is always recognised, always welcomed and always appreciated. We hope the awards help inspire more people to play an active role in the community of Knutsford.”

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Annual Town Meeting 2017

Residents are encouraged to attend the Annual Town Meeting on April 12th from 7pm in the Cranford Suite, Curzon.

The annual assembly for the electors of Knutsford is a community meeting for residents and this year includes the presentation of the Knutsford Town Awards.

Community organisations who would like to speak for two minutes during the Community Organisations report should e-mail townclerk@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk to book a spot.

We would like as many groups as possible to attend and give a short talk to the town” said Town Clerk Adam Keppel-Garner. “It is a great opportunity to share your successes and ideas as well as helping to raise awareness of what your group does”

Residents are encouraged to come armed with comments and queries too. The Open Forum session is to stimulate public discussion on issues affecting Knutsford. “It’s an opportunity for residents to tell community organisations and elected representatives what in Knutsford needs attention” Adam added.

Agenda for the meeting:

  1. Welcome from the Mayor of Knutsford
  2. To note the minutes of the 2016 Annual Town Meeting
  3. Presentation from Knutsford Town Council
  4. Introduction of the Knutsford Town Awards 2017
  5. Presentation of the 2017 Youth Award
  6. Presentation on the Knutsford Neighbourhood Plan
  7. Presentation of the 2017 Business Award
  8. Presentations from Knutsford Community Organisations (pt1)
  9. Presentation of the 2017 Community Award
  10. Presentations from Knutsford Community Organisations (pt2)
  11. Presentation of the 2017 Civic Awards
  12. Open Forum – an opportunity for residents to raise suggestions, questions, concerns and comments on any matters affecting Knutsford.

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Bluebells for Wallwood

Knutsford Town Council teamed up with 1st Knutsford Beavers and 2nd Knutsford Beavers and Cubs to plant 500 bluebell bulbs at Wallwood. The native English bluebells were planted around the edge of Wallwood, the small wood at the tip of Tatton Street and King Street, and will be complemented with Red Campion and additional bluebell seeds to add a colourful edge to the woodland.

Wallwood Bulb Planting March 2016 2With advice from local environmental expert, David Hackett of Knutsford based Biora Group, the planting has reintroduced the native English bluebells into Wallwood. The Town Council will then be removing the invasive Spanish bluebells which threaten the English bluebell.

“Bluebells are an iconic part of a woodland and once established will provide a fantastic flash of colour to Wallwood as well as supporting bees and butterflies” said Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Garner.

“This is part of a few environmental improvements we are looking at in Wallwood to promote wildlife and improve the little woodland for the community.”

Cllrs Andrew Malloy and Hayley Wells-Bradshaw joined the beavers and cubs with all 500 bluebell bulbs, plus a small number of wild garlic, being planted in just over half an hour on Wednesday 29th March.

“A big thank you goes to the beavers, cubs and leaders from 1st and 2nd Knutsford for their help planting the bulbs and I hope they will all enjoy seeing them burst into flower” Adam added.

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Town Council Precept

Residents receiving their council tax bills from Cheshire East Council may have noticed an increase in the Town Council element of their bills. This 14.6% reflects a £6.35  per year increase in the amount a Band D property pays to the Town Council, or just 12p extra per week.

The Band D for Knutsford is now £49.84; the fourth lowest for the towns in Cheshire East (only the larger towns of Wilmslow, Macclesfield and Crewe are lower). The precept of £286,020 accounts for 60% of the Town Council’s income, and was increased by £38,912 for the new financial year.

The key question is why the precept has increased;

  • The loss of £6,200 of funding from central government (through Cheshire East Council) for tax bases changes implemented in 2014
  • Continuing the development of a Neighbourhood Plan for Knutsford
  • Installing new Speed Indicator Devices at two entrance roads to Knutsford
  • Delivering a new Music Festival and supporting the Pumpkin Path
  • Transfer of the Knutsford Town Council Offices from Cheshire East Council

In addition to this the Town Council is continuing to undertake a range of projects including improvements at Wallwood, Tabley Hill cemetery and other public open spaces as well as continuing to support community organisations through its community grants scheme.

Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Garner said “The Town Council aims to keep its precept to a minimum whilst delivering the maximum impact for its residents”

“We go through a rigorous process to set our budget and always seek to find efficiencies and minimise costs without reducing the services we provide.”

You can view the Town Council budget in full here: Budget 2017/18

How does Knutsford Compare?

 

Town Band D Rate
Nantwich  £     104.60
Middlewich  £        86.96
Congleton  £        81.93
Alsager  £        79.54
Sandbach  £        79.20
Holmes Chapel  £        77.49
Poynton  £        74.14
Alderley Edge  £        66.99
Bollington  £        58.00
Knutsford  £        49.84
Crewe  £        43.14
Macclesfield  £        38.60
Wilmslow  £        27.45

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