Knutsford Town Council News

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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Maison Rustique joins Knutsford Market Hall

Teresa SteeleKnutsford Market Hall has welcomed its newest trader, Teresa Steele of Maison Rustique. Teresa began trading at the Market Hall last week, in the unit formerly occupied by Williams Bakery before it merged with Café 64.

Visitors to the Market Hall won’t miss Teresa’s brightly coloured rustic ceramics and range of items for the home and table. Teresa has previously sold her ceramics, sourced from around the world, at the Makers Market and Knutsford Christmas Market for a number of years.

“Teresa sells beautiful items at affordable prices and brings something different to the Market Hall and to Knutsford” said Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Garner.

“It is great to be able to provide a space for her business and I hope that it helps draw more visitors to our little gem of a Market Hall”.

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 fresh bread, fruit and veg and a great range of meat, poultry and fish.

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Knutsford Music Festival – Dates for your diary!

Knutsford Town Council is excited to announce the dates for the inaugural Knutsford Music Festival which launches in June this year.

The three-day event will take place from Friday 23rd to Sunday 25th June and feature a variety of music genres to appeal to a range of interests; from Jazz and Blues to Choral and Classical; the town centre will be alive with music for the weekend.

Knutsford Music Festival Logo

Knutsford Music Festival Logo designed by Lyndsey Green Illustration

The event is being led by the Town Council with the aim of celebrating local talent and drawing more visitors to Knutsford town centre. The festival will include performances at a variety of venues from pubs and bars to restaurants and churches.

Knutsford based illustrator, Lyndsey Green, has created the logo for the event, adapting and redrawing the 120-year-old logo of the Knutsford Urban District Council which was retired in 1955. King Canute stands proud, fording Knutsford but with his traditional axe swapped for a shiny new Fender Stratocaster.

The Town Council will be working with Knutsford businesses to curate a range of events for the festival with four key events organised directly by the council, aiming to provide something for everyone.

Deputy Town Clerk, Lisa Benskin said “we are currently compiling a list of venues and acts looking to take part in this new event so if you want to perform or want to host, please get in touch.”

“We hope to begin announcing more information over the next two months”, Lisa added.

You can register your interest in performing or hosting an event by contacting Lisa on 01565 653 929 or lisa.benskin@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk. To keep up-to-date with the event follow the dedicated twitter account: @KnutsfordMusic

 

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Tree dedicated to former Mayor Vivien

Tree dedicated to former Mayor Vivien

A lasting memorial to one of Knutsford’s former Town Mayors has been dedicated on the Moor. The English Oak tree in memory of Vivien Davies, who passed away in 2015, was planted by current Mayor, Cllr Jan Nicholson and Vivien’s husband, John Davies.

The tree was planted in memory of Vivien as former Mayor, Chairman of Friends of the Moor, a town and borough councillor and for her many years of commitment to the Moor and the community of Knutsford.

Mayor of Knutsford, Cllr Jan Nicholson said “It was lovely to be joined by John and have so many present for the planting of a tree in Vivien’s memory. It was good to remember all the commitment Vivien had given to numerous organisations in Knutsford and the tree will be a lasting testament to this.”

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Response to the consultation on the Closure of the Wilmslow Job Centre

Knutsford Town Council has written to the Department of Work and Pensions as part of the consultation to close Wilmslow Job Centre. The Town Council discussed the proposed closure of the job centre, which serves Knutsford residents, at a Town Council meeting on February 20th.

At the meeting  Collin Billingsley of the DWP outlined proposals  to introduce outreach services such as job coaches in Knutsford; however the council is concerned that these are not guaranteed and have not been outlined in the consultation document.

The Town Council objects to the proposed closure of the job centre in Wilmslow if these outreach services are not guaranteed and would expect such outreach services to be in place for users prior to the closure of the Wilmslow centre.

The Town Council has raised concerns about the ease of travel to Macclesfield as the alternative job centre, noting that bus connections to Macclesfield are less reliable and less frequent than those to Wilmslow. One of the Town Council’s key concerns is the accessibility of the Macclesfield centre by public transport from Knutsford and the council has stated this must be considered by the Department when considering the closure of the Wilmslow centre.

The Town Council has implored the Department to engage with a consultation starting later this year on the bus services in Cheshire East, to ensure that the transport needs of jobseekers are a key consideration in any proposed changes.

Knutsford Town Council supports proposals to deliver more services more locally and introducing the delivery of services alongside organisations such as the Welcome, Library service and the Citizens Advice Bureau is to be encouraged. However, this must be balanced against the disadvantages of users having greater difficulties in attending the Job Centre for the two-weekly ‘signing-on’ appointments. The Town Council encouraged the Department to look at modernising the way it conducts such appointments (such as Skype) and encourages these to be delivered as locally as possible too.

In summary, the Town Council would not object to the proposals to close the Wilmslow job centre on the proviso that outreach services are delivered in Knutsford prior to the closure and are suitably safeguarded for the future.

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Cllr Yvonne Bancroft resigns

Over ward councillor, Yvonne Bancroft, resigned from the Council on Friday on the grounds of personal reasons. Yvonne, an independent councillor, was first elected in the February 2013 by-election and was re-elected in May 2015.

Cllr Yvonne Bancroft

Cllr Yvonne Bancroft

Yvonne served on numerous committees and working groups, was Chairman of the Town Council’s Planning Committee and Deputy Chairman of the Neighbourhood Planning Committee.

Cllr Jan Nicholson, Mayor of Knutsford, said “It was with sadness that I received Yvonne’s resignation. I would like to thank Yvonne on behalf of the whole council for her dedicated contributions as a councillor over the past four years and wish her all the best for the future.”

The notice of vacancy has now been posted, giving electors fourteen working days to request a by-election to fill the casual vacancy.

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Vacancy on Over Ward

Notice has today been given for the vacancy on the Over ward of Knutsford Town Council. This follows the resignation of Cllr Yvonne Bancroft, who resigned from the Council having served four years, on Friday.

Electors of Over ward now have fourteen working days to request a by-election by writing to:

The Returning Officer
Cheshire East Council
Westfields
Middlewich Road
Sandbach
CW11 1HZ

If fewer than ten electors request an election, the vacancy will be filled by co-option. A by-election is likely to take place towards the end of April.

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Neighbourhood Plan Survey Results

Volunteers working on the development of a Neighbourhood Plan for Knutsford have moved one step closer towards setting policy following the analysis of the initial survey results. The results of the survey, undertaken in September and October 2016, have been considered by the working groups responsible for progressing the nine key areas of the plan.

Chairman of the Neighbourhood Plan Committee, Cllr Stewart Gardiner said “On behalf of everyone involved in the development of the plan I would like to thank all those who took the time to respond to this survey.”

“We are now working with our appointed consultants, Urban Imprint, to review the responses and use this information to draw up a vision, objectives and policies for the draft Neighbourhood Plan”

The raw data gathered from the survey has been published online here: RAW Survey Results (excel)

Volunteers interested in driving the plan forward through the working groups are still welcomed; if you would like to help drive the future of Knutsford, contact the Town Clerk on townclerk@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk.

Survey Highlights

Getting Around

PUBLISHED PERCENTAGE* OF RESPONDING RESIDENTS IN FAVOUR OF SPECIFIC DEVELOPMENT

97% – Improve Safety & Efficiency of Transport Network

96% – Reduce Congestion

91% – Improve & Develop Pedestrian Networks

83% – Improve & Develop Cycle Networks

89% – Ensure Ease of Access of Public Transport across Knutsford

85% – Ensure all Homes & Businesses connected to Superfast Broadband

61% – Knutsford should have a Relief Road despite probability of infill development

(*Percentage of residents who both agree & strongly agree to specific development)

Heritage

Knutsford’s historic open spaces with their open views is the aspect that was seen as most important to Knutsford’s distinctiveness and character, closely followed by the historic ambience of its streets and its historic buildings and memorials. Nearly three quarters of respondents strongly agreed that new development should respect the local vernacular and character of Knutsford.

In response to how residents thought that the Neighbourhood Plan should enhance the historic feel of Knutsford the issues identified by the highest proportion of respondents were the preservation and conservation of the historic buildings and green open spaces; the improvement or enhancement of the public realm in the Town Centre and the character of Canute Square; the removal or reduction in excessive street signage, furniture, ‘clutter’ and traffic; the creation of infrastructure to improve accessibility and visitor services and a design guide for developments.

Respondent’s further comments covered a very wide range of topics, however there were a significant number of references to the importance of heritage to future generations and to the economy of the town, also contemporary architecture and sympathetic new developments and use of heritage assets.

Town Centre

The results of the town centre questionnaire resulted in no surprises, the opinions are totally in line with previous questionnaires.

In essence, residents wish to have a vibrant town centre which is friendly, clean, safe and a place where there is less conflict between pedestrians and vehicles.  On the whole whilst the town centre does fulfil their needs there is much which could and should be done to make significant improvements for the long term benefit of both residents and the town centre businesses.

Education & Community

Analysis of survey results indicate high support for youth centre for teenagers/young people, both indoor and outdoor facilities.  Also meeting halls to be available to everyone at low cost.

New school places must be sustained with house growth and adult education/evening classes should be accessed within the town. Schools should be within easy travelling distance from home to relieve congestion on the roads.  All schools to provide good exercise routines for children.

Housing

Between 92% and 97% of replies strongly or very strongly agreed that new housing developments should reflect the scale and building styles of Knutsford as a historic market town; that the quality of in-fill developments, conversions and extensions should add to the look of the town; that existing views of the local landscape should be protected and new vistas created; and that facilities and amenities in new developments should complement not replace those in the town centre.

Just under 90% of replies support a mix of housing types and tenures on each new development. One in three do not want Knutsford to have any more new homes than already allocated; rather more thought additional homes should be on the present sites and the rest suggested a variety of locations with in-town sites being the most suggested.  The responses provide strong guidance for Housing Policies in the Neighbourhood Plan.

Health

The views which the community have expressed in the survey will know help us to develop the town to have health services which will reflect our growing town in the future. Working with other health professionals we will be able to discuss the best outcome which can be achieved for the benefit of all, and how to access those services by public transport an be best achieved.

We shall also be considering very closely what levels of pollution that our town will be experiencing as the growth in traffic in general and aircraft will increase.

The response level also indicated the towns view that green spaces for the purpose of walking, cycling and generally keeping fit is a key consideration for us to take forward.

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Knutsford Music Festival Green-lit

Knutsford Town Council’s Events Committee has approved plans for a new music event to be launched this year.

A working group of councillors and officers have been beginning to pull plans together for this new event, with the format for 2017 agreed as a series of events in venues in the town centre (e.g. bars, restaurants) organised by the venues with the Town Council providing promotion for these as part of the festival event.

imgID96929917.jpg

The Town Council will also be organising a series of events over the weekend, with ideas such as an orchestral evening, schools concert and acoustic sessions, at other venues.

Cllr Jonathan Farber stated “I am really looking forward to the town coming alive with the sound of music in 2017. This will bring even more cultural and creative interest into heart of Knutsford.”

The dates and detail of the event are to be agreed over the coming months; with a target of June 2017.

Cllr James Power added “I was thrilled The Knutsford Music Festival was agreed by the council. Knutsford is bursting with talented musicians and you can see this at so many venues around the town, at open mic nights and in our schools. The Knutsford Music Festival will be a huge opportunity to showcase the very best of the town.”

For more information or to register interest for a venue or act or to sponsor the event contact Deputy Town Clerk, Lisa Benskin, on lisa.benskin@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk or call 01565 653929.

 

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King Street Car Park Improvement Works

Knutsford Town Council has today been made aware that Cheshire East Council will be carrying out improvement works to King Street Car Park resulting in partial closure of the car park from Monday 23rd to Tuesday 31st January 2017.

We are advised that signs are in place at the Car Park and those residents and shops with access off the car park have been provided with leaflets advising of the works.

Not all the car park is to be closed and there will be small area of limited parking maintained throughout, with the majority of the works taking place at the toilets end of the car park and the central parking bays , as shown on the plan below.  In addition, the entrances off King Street and Moorside are to be resurfaced, however, one entrance will be kept open at all times with traffic advised to use the other entrance.

Access to the rear of shop premises from the car park will be available throughout the period.

The works are to be carried over 6 working days, commencing Monday 23rd January re-opening fully on Tuesday 31st January 2017.

If you have any further queries please call the Cheshire East Council Property Helpdesk on 01270 686888 or email on property@cheshireeast.gov.uk.

Plan of works location

Plan of works location

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