Knutsford Town Council News

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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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Mayor’s Christmas Message

It’s been a busy time with the Christmas Market, Lights Switch On, Lantern Parade and Crib Service.  There were some amazing lanterns taking part this year!  Thank you to Manor Park Primary School Choir for singing at the Crib Service.

As we draw near to the end of a turbulent year of global uncertainty, the eternal message of peace and goodwill to all has never been so relevant. Although we are very lucky in Knutsford to have a great community who give so much to the many charities and good causes of the town, we have to ask ourselves … could we do more?

Giving the gift of time to help others is one of the best ways to truly express the spirit of the season; whether that is making the time to have a cup of tea with an elderly neighbour, putting the Christmas tree up for someone who is unwell or giving a lift to the shops for someone who doesn’t drive. Life is so busy these days and everyone from children, partners, parents and even our pets, demands a claim on our time.

But will an hour out of our week really prevent putting the dinner on the table or getting the school uniforms ironed? Let us do some small service for our fellow beings.  Let us look to 2017 for being the year we make time for others.

Wishing everyone a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.

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Five New Blue Plaques Installed

FIVE NEW commemorative plaques have been installed by Knutsford Town Council as part of its Blue Plaque Scheme. The plaques are the first to be installed following the adoption of the policy last year and see five sites recognised.

Cllr Jan Nicholson inspecting the Royce Plaque

Cllr Jan Nicholson inspecting the Royce Plaque

The aim of the scheme is to help residents and visitors identify with the history of Knutsford and aims to promote recognition and awareness of people, places and events which have been of lasting significance in the life of Knutsford or more widely.

Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Garner, said “We are delighted to install these five new plaques which greatly add to the everyday sense of heritage enjoyed in Knutsford.”

Edward Penny RA, a founding member of the Royal Academy of Arts, is commemorated on the Freemason Arms. Penny was born and lived on Silk Mill Street from 1714 and was the first Professor of Painting at the Royal Academy.

Knutsford’s iconic Gaskell Tower features a new plaque noting it was designed for Richard Harding Watt and dedicated to the 19th century author whilst the Royal George is also recorded as one of the Town’s earliest hostelry and coaching inn which became ‘royal’ following a visit from Princess Victoria in 1832.

Knutsford’s Sessions House, soon to be a new hotel now also boasts a blue plaque noting the history of Quarter Sessions in Knutsford and the prison which stood behind until 1934.

Outside the Town Centre, Brae Cottage on Legh Road now features a plaque commemorating Henry Royce, co-founder of Rolls-Royce who lived in the cottage from 1898-1908.

The Town Council hopes in the future to be able to install a plaque on the Old Town Hall, now Lost and Found, noting its eminent architect and original use.

Cllr Jan Nicholson admiring the Royal George Plaque

Cllr Jan Nicholson admiring the Royal George Plaque

Members of the public are invited to nominate sites for future Blue Plaques on the Town Council website. “It could be for an eminent member of a profession like Edward Penny, the site of a key event in our history or for an important building like the Royal George Hotel.” Adam added.

Nominations for new plaques are reviewed by a panel of councillors with representatives of Knutsford Heritage Centre and the Knutsford Conservation & Heritage Group review any nominations for new plaques.

Photographs courtesy of WA16:PR.

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Knutsford in Bloom Winners 2016

Mayor of Knutsford, Cllr Jan Nicholson accompanied the Chairman of Knutsford in Bloom (and fellow councillor) Yvonne Bancroft as the winners of the 2016 Knutsford in Bloom awards were presented.

Winners of the front Garden Competition

Winners of the front Garden Competition

This year Knutsford in Bloom tried a new approach for the Front Garden competition, with friends and neighbours nominating their favourite gardens. “We wanted to acknowledge some of the lovely front gardens in Knutsford that had not previously entered. We asked members to spread the word and take a snap of front gardens making an impact in Knutsford” said Yvonne.

The group received so many nominations that members had to sift the photos to compile a top ten. The top ten gardens were then visited and judged by Cllr Nicholson, KiB Deputy Chairman Mary Johnson and Doug Christie, grounds team leader for ANSA.

The winners were:

1st place – Mrs Loretta Crabtree, Blackhill Lane

2nd place – Mr Graeme Webster, Branden Drive

3rd place – Mrs Jackie Edwards, Grove Park

“These are always of an excellent standard and make Knutsford look so inviting year round” Yvonne commented as the judges headed into the Town Centre to look at the efforts of the Knutsford business community. Across five categories fifteen businesses received an award for their contribution to Knutsford’s floriculture. Knutsford in Bloom have praised the business community for going ‘above and beyond’ year after year and thanked the traders who took time to create a display.

Courtyard Coffee House - Winners of the  Large Business category!

Courtyard Coffee House – Winners of the Large Business category!

1st Place in the Hanging Basket displays went to Arthur Lee with Gerald’s following in second place and Shamoli in third. Top place for the Small Business category went to Nicholas Austin with King Barbers and Gareth West close behind in second and third respectively.

Courtyard Coffee House snapped up first place in the Large Business category with Hague Lambert second and Nxtep third. The best Pubs and Inns display was the Old Sessions House, with the Lord Eldon second and White Bear third.

Judging the RHS displays saw Gusto awarded first place; the same as they were awarded by the RHS judges, with Zapatos second and Clare & Illingworth third.

Knutsford in Bloom is funded by Knutsford Town Council and manages and plants a number of areas in Knutsford. The group have acheived a Silver Gilt at the North West in Bloom awards for six years running! For more information on Knutsford in Bloom and for photographs of all the winners visit

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Neighbourhood Plan Survey Launched

Residents of Knutsford are being urged to help shape the future of their town through the Knutsford Neighbourhood Plan. Knutsford Town Council, leading on the development of the community-led plan has launched the first survey to capture people’s views on a range of topics.

Cllr Nicholson and Cllr Gardiner implore residents to complete the survey

Cllr Nicholson and Cllr Gardiner implore residents to complete the survey

The questionnaire, which is being delivered to every household in Knutsford, will help inform the first stages of creating the Neighbourhood Plan which will shape development in Knutsford alongside the Local Plan.

Covering everything from Health and Housing to Education and the Environment the survey results will form the basis of the next stages of developing the plan.

“This is an important step in developing our Neighbourhood Plan and I implore everyone to spare the time to have a say in the future of our Town” said Mayor of Knutsford, Cllr Jan Nicholson.

“It is vital that this plan has the support of the community and built on firm engagement with residents and the first stage for this is getting as many responses as possible” Cllr Nicholson added.

Households will receive a paper copy of the questionnaire with a pre-paid envelope for returns and it is also available online at

“The more responses the better” was the call from Chairman of the Neighbourhood Plan Committee, Cllr Stewart Gardiner who added “We have set the survey out in theme groups and are happy for residents to choose the topics most important to them, whether that’s heritage, the Town Centre, sport or something else”

Residents who have any queries about the survey or want to find out more about the Neighbourhood Plan can visit or contact the Town Clerk on or 01565 653 929. The survey is also available in large print and if you need help completing the questionnaire this can be arranged.

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Town Council achieves Quality Gold Status

Knutsford Town Council has joined an exclusive club in being one under twenty town and parish councils in the country to be awarded Quality Gold Status as part of the Local Council Award Scheme. The scheme, operated by NALC, celebrates the success of the very best local councils and Knutsford is the first Town Council in Cheshire to receive the award.

The Town Council has joined Holmes Chapel Parish Council as the second council in Cheshire to be awarded Quality Gold status and Sandbach Town Council which has received the Foundation award under the same scheme.

“This award demonstrates the Town Council is at the forefront of best practice and demonstrates our commitment to excellence in governance, community leadership and council development” said Town Mayor, Cllr Jan Nicholson.

Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Garner added “It is fantastic to be one of the first councils in Cheshire, and indeed across the country, to receive this award and is a testament to the excellent work of both our councillors and officers.”

The award was presented to the Town Council by Mayor of Cheshire East, Cllr Olivia Hunter, and Chairman of ChALC, Philip Jackson, as part of the Mayor’s Announcements at a meeting of Cheshire East Council.

The award panel in particular commended the Town Council on its website and the level of detail provided on the council’s activities and finances.

Ann Wright, Assistant Chief Officer at the Cheshire Association of Local Councils said “we congratulate Knutsford on obtaining Quality Gold Status, it’s the highest award level and an indication of the excellent working practices.”

“The council has worked hard to achieve the award and we offer our congratulations to the members and staff at the council and the community which is supporting them.”

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End of Cllr Dean’s Mayoral Year

Having the good fortune to be the Mayor of Knutsford for a year is a real life-enhancing experience.  As many have mentioned before, the real effects of attending events to which you are invited as Mayor over the year are education about the town in which you live, allied to a humbling realisation of just how much work is done in Knutsford for the benefit of the community, mostly by volunteers who are always unpaid and often unsung.

This town has more than its fair share of volunteers, and they make their presence known every single day. They run the Knutsford First Responders, the Heritage Centre, the Hampers of Hope organisation, most of the Church’s  works, the Hosts, the Lions, Community Spirit and many, many more charitable and community organisations around the town. If you cold capture all the work, the good spirit, all the imagination and innovation produced by these groups in just one year you’d have the basis of an answer to most of the world’s problems, right there! Seeing all this in action was the humbling bit.

It’s also worth noting just how much of this work is invisible to many residents. I have lived here for nearly 21 years now, and thought I had a good handle on what went on in the town, but actually I knew about 10% – the often referred to ‘tip of the iceberg’. How many people in this town are aware of the work done by the Gymfinity organisation in training chidden in gymnastics three times a week at Egerton Youth Club, for example, or the Knutsford Fire Brigade’s work with difficult teenagers from St. John’s School every year? Coming across previously unseen community works for the first time this year was the educational bit for me.

Of course, it’s not only volunteers who apply themselves to doing good works for our community, there is also the semi-hidden work done by business people in the town to help make a success of events like the Pumpkin Path at Halloween, the Bunny Hop at Easter and the lights switch-on at Christmas time. The local private businesses also put their heart and hours of work into making this town an even more special place at Royal Horticultural Show time and again at Christmas, when they glam up their shop windows and shop fronts to match those seasonal themes. The Town council also plays its part here, by awarding prizes to those businesses which the Mayor and Deputy Mayor think have produced the most attractive and imaginative results at these times.

A special mention here just has to go to Peter Murray of Pulse of Perfumery, he seems to have taken our community to heart and puts a great deal of time and effort into the year’s events in the town. I’m not sure I’ll forgive him, though, for disappointing every child in the town by encouraging a rumour that Harry Stiles was making a surprise appearance at the closing ceremony of the Pumpkin Path at Halloween, so they all turned out to see the black cloak whipped off the mystery guest – ME! I can still hear the sighs of disappointment today.

One of the difficult things to do before you start your year is to choose your Mayoral charity, or charities, for whom you are going to raise money by organising events throughout the year. I chose the Knutsford District Scouts and the local Salvation Army group. I used to be a Scout, and have always admired the way they have continued to stay relevant to young people from the days of Baden-Powell through to today. They do a lot for their members in raising life-skill levels and confidence, and their benefit to society as a whole is immeasurable.

Throughout my life I’ve always admired the Salvation Army for opting to help the people who have fallen the furthest, into addictions, homelessness and hopelessness. They also tend to deal with people at the other end of the age scale to the Scouts, so I thought the two charities were a well balanced and deserving choice. By organising a party, a golf day, a concert, a quiz night and a Ball at different times of the year, I’m pleased to say we raised £11,155.28, and along with £1000 in match funding from Barclays we were able to present The Scouts and The Salvation Army cheques for £6077.64 each.

Many people have contributed to the fundraising over the year, but I would like to recognise here the extra special efforts of Steve and Alison Moss who held the first charity event, a garden party, at their house, Heyrose Golf Club for giving us a good deal for the Golf Day, Gordon Roberts and the Mancunian Singers for the wonderful concert, and the Mere Golf Resort for giving us a deal on the Charity Ball. All of these were enjoyable and successful events.

The year was not all about the money we raised, however, it was also about representing Knutsford in a good light both within the town and outside. I would therefore like to draw towards a conclusion by thanking the four people who worked alongside me all year, for all types of event. Firstly, I’d like to thank Revd. Rob Cotton for being a sound, dependable and always cheerful Mayoral chaplain this year. Secondly, I must thank my three musketeers, Clare Stuart-West, my PA who organised everything so well for me, my wife Gill, the Mayoress, for being so good at the role, and Sgt. Nancy Nuttall from Knutsford’s ATC, my Mayoral Cadet, who accompanied us on many occasions and was a massive credit to her unit, her school and her family all year.

Thanks to all of you, and I wish Jan Nicholson, the new Mayor, and her team an enjoyable and successful year ahead.

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Community Grants Awarded

The first community grants of the new financial year have been awarded by Knutsford Town Council. Three organisations received funding from the Town Council’s community grants budget, which this year is £7,000.

The first grant went to Community Spirit who received £2,938 towards a variety of projects in Longridge and Shaw Heath including towards the Longridge and Shaw Heath In Bloom projects, a youth camping trip and the annual Family Fun Day.

Lucy Beesley (Great Places) and Cllr Tony Dean

Lucy Beesley (Great Places) and Cllr Tony Dean

The Canute Lunch Club received £400 to help towards the running costs which have increased recently due to a change of venue. Specifically the funding will help towards the celebratory events held by the Lunch Club for Christmas, Easter and a summer outing.

Great Places were awarded £1,328 towards the “My World” project which introduced year 6 pupils to the world of work whilst developing their life skills and aspirations for the future.

Community Organisations are welcome to apply for grant funding via the Town Council website; with applications considered by the Finance Committee. The deadline for the next applications is 9th June. The remaining grants budget is £2,334 and organisations are encouraged to contact the Town Clerk for advice on applying or to find out future deadlines.

In addition to its community grants, the Town Council has also provided £10,260 to Knutsford In Bloom’s work to make the town floral and enter into the North West in Bloom contest and provided funding of £6,000 towards the Heritage Centre’s Canute celebrations.

Tony Ranfield (Canute Lunch Club) and Cllr Tony Dean

Tony Ranfield (Canute Lunch Club) and Cllr Tony Dean

Kane Gunter (Community Spirit) and Cllr Tony Dean

Kane Gunter (Communnity Spirit) and Cllr Tony Dean

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HM Queen Elizabeth’s 90th Birthday

HM Queen Elizabeth’s 90th Birthday

In honour of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s 90th Birthday the Knutsford Town Council Events Committee have planted an oak tree at Higher Town Green, on Chelford Rd. The tree was dedicated to the Queen by the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, Mr David Briggs MBE KStJ in a ceremony on 21st April, the date of the Queen’s actual 90th Birthday.

Cllr Tony Dean planting the Tree

Cllr Tony Dean planting the Tree

The Tree was planted by the Knutsford Town Mayor, Cllr Tony Dean who said “It was a delight to plant the Tree in the Queen’s honour to recognise her many years of public service. I hope I live to 90!”

The Events Committee considered numerous locations in the Town for the oak tree to be planted and took advice from Barletts Tree Experts to ensure that the location chosen was suitable and most likely to allow the tree to remain and prosper, continuing to mark the occasion in the Town for hundreds of years.

Cllr Andrew Malloy, Chairman of the Council Events Committee commented “the Committee wanted to recognise this significant birthday of our Monarch and thought the planting of an oak tree was an appropriate and lasting way to do so.”

In addition the Town Council have produced a Street Party Guide to help Knutsford residents plan parties to celebrate the auspicious occasion across the weekend of 11th/12th June 2016, when the Queen will celebrate her official 90th birthday and the Patron’s Lunch will take place on the Mall. Cllr Malloy added “A street party is a great opportunity to engage with your neighbours and celebrate this national event together. We hope this guide makes organising a street party easier for the Town’s residents.”

The Street Party Guide can be downloaded here: Street Party Guide.

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Consultation on Roll of Honour

Knutsford Town Council has published the proposed Roll of Honour for the new central war memorial and is asking the public to review the list to ensure no-one is missed.Working with the Knutsford Royal British Legion the Town Council is planning to create a new war memorial in the Library Garden in commemoration of the centenary of World War I.

War Memorial Proposal

An early depiction of the statue in the proposed location. The actual new plinth is likely to be much larger to include the names.

Having received overwhelming support from the public on the plans through a consultation in 2015 the Town Council has been furthering the plans which it hopes could see the new memorial in place in 2016.

“It’s ambitious, but if all goes to plan we hope to be in a position to have the memorial ready for 2016” said Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Garner.

The new memorial, which will feature the statue of Haron Baronian currently outside the Memorial Hospital on Northwich Road, will have the roll of honour engraved into a new plinth.

“Our priority now is to ensure the roll of honour is correct and whilst we are quite confident that it is comprehensive are asking the public to review the list and let us know of any we might have missed.”  Adam added.

As well as those who gave their lives in the two World Wars, the new memorial will also include the names of those who have died in subsequent conflicts.

Town Mayor, Tony Dean added “I would like to thank Derek Empson and Sylvia Chaplin for their hard work researching and compiling this roll of honour and encourage everyone who lost family in conflict, who had a Knutsford connection, to review the lists”

The proposed roll of honour can be viewed here The closing date is 29th February.

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