A graphic with the text: Knutsford Art Trail, Saturday 10th to Sunday 11th July

Knutsford Art Trail under 2 weeks away

There are less than 2 weeks to go until incredible local artwork will be displayed throughout Knutsford in a brand-new Art Trail.

The new event will be held across 2 days on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th July from 11am to 4pm. The event includes pop-up shops hosted by local businesses, where members of the public can view and even purchase artwork from local artists and displays installed in empty units and local art galleries.

Displays will be viewable in 60 King Street, the former Belle Epoque building owned by Knutsford Town Council, exhibiting pieces from 9 different artists, ranging between paintings, illustrations, digital art, ceramics and sculptures.

Further displays will be viewable at Serenity Designs and Vermilion Gallery, both situated on Princess Street, as well as Chalk 33 on King Street displaying work from four artists.

A mixture of paintings, sculptures, ceramics, illustrations and digital art will be on display during the weekend, and works will be on sale in select locations.

For full details of the event you can visit the Facebook event for all event locations and to download a copy of the trail map to print at home or display on your phone. Physical copies will also be available from all of the pop-up and display locations. You can visit the Facebook event here https://fb.me/e/POcqbeMw and find out more information about all Town Council events by visiting www.knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk

Town Mayor Cllr Gardiner with Ian Cass outside the Council Offices

Nominations open for the 2021 Town Awards

Nominations are sought for the 2021 Town Awards with the community encouraged to put forward their unsung heroes for consideration.

The awards, which are organised by the Town Council, were launched in 2013 and aim to shine a spotlight on those who make Knutsford a better place to live. The awards cover five categories recognising the efforts of individuals, businesses and community groups for their service to the wider Knutsford community.

The Civic Award which is presented to individuals who give their time voluntarily to undertake work in the community. Previous winners in this category have included Beryl Jenyons for her voluntary service at the Welcome and Gary Davies for his role supporting Knutsford and District Scouts for over 40 years.  Three Civic Awards are presented each year.

The Business Award goes to a business which has supported or worked with the community, last years winner were the traders of Knutsford Market Hall for their work supporting the most vulnerable in the community during the first coronavirus lockdown.

The Youth Award is presented to someone aged 21 or under who early in their lives have already started supporting the community. Previous winners have included Lillie Bryers and Lucas Cronan for their litterpicks on the Moor and Emily Coffey for her voluntary work with the Kntusford First Responders.

The Community Award recognises the importance of the various voluntary organisations operating in Knutsford with awards having previously been presented to We Are Knutsford (2020), Knutsford Lions (2013) and Knutsford Beer Festival (2015).

The final category is the Extra Mile Award which is presented to someone who as part of their paid job is going above and beyond to the benefit of the community. The first award went to Knutsford’s Town Ranger Bob Garner in 2019 with former PCSO Chris Pountain receiving the award in 2020.

The awards have been sponsored by the Forum of Private Business since inception. Ian Cass, Managing Director of the Forum said: “The Forum of Private Business are delighted to be sponsoring Knutsford’s town awards again after what has been a very difficult year for the town and the businesses in it, but Knutsford is a great community which works together, innovates to get through tough times like these, the Forum have been part of this community for over 40 years and are proud to support the town and the awards!”

Presented as part of the main Town Awards is the Knutsford and District Youth Council School’s Sustainability Award. The Youth Council introduced the award in 2020 and are looking for businesses which demonstrate environmental awareness in their products and supply chain and work to minimise their carbon footprint.

Nominations for all awards are open until 31st July and can be here: Town Awards Nomination Form or in writing to Council Offices, Toft Road, Knutsford, WA16 6TA. Nominations need to be accompanied by a citation outlining why the nominee deserves an award. All nominations will be reviewed by a panel with awards presented at a special awards evening in September.

Cllr Peter Coan holds a door open and an arm out welcoming you to a building

Council creates space for new businesses

New business premises have been created in the town centre by converting previously redundant space in the town’s public toilet buildings.

Knutsford Town Council took ownership of the public toilet buildings at King Street Car Park and the Bus Station in 2013 through an asset transfer from Cheshire East Council. On transfer the council appointed national toilet provider Danfo to create three new cubicles within each larger building which saw the town’s toilets transform from facilities which were frequently the subject of complaints due to the poor condition and maintenance to toilets that have been accredited as Platinum standard in the national Loo of the Year awards.  

The creation of the new toilets in 2013 left large areas of redundant space in the buildings which were previously large male and female spaces. Utilising capital funds raised from the sale of the Cemetery Lodge in 2016, the Town Council has converted these spaces into modern glass fronted units designed to accommodate a range of businesses. The conversion works were undertaken between February and May and involved creating new openings to the buildings, installation of individually metered services and heating, insulation and lighting. The units were designed to enable new tenants to quickly move in and decorate the units for their use.

The premises at the King Street car park has been named Lily Lodge with the property at the bus station named Justice View. The properties were advertised for let through local agents Williams Sillitoe and the council is currently agreeing the leases with two new local businesses.

“Our aim with this project was to put empty space into economic use” said Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Green. “The new units will generate a rental income for the Town Council and will provide a home for two great Knutsford-grown businesses brining more business and more employment into our town centre”.

Cllr Peter Coan opens a door.

Top – Cllr Peter Coan, Chairman of the Assets and Operations Committee, at Justice View.
Bottom – Cllr Peter Coan at Lily Lodge

A view of a grassland meadow

Wildflower Meadow in Bloom

Knutsford Town Council is committed to tackling climate change and improving the town’s biodiversity and natural habitats – as defined and guided by the Knutsford Nature Action Plan.

As part of the Action Plan, the Town Council looks to support wildlife corridors and habitat creating across Knutsford and to support this have collaborated with the Cheshire Wildlife Trust to create wildflower meadows.

A fantastic tool for improving biodiversity and provide habitat for pollinating insects, the Knutsford Wildflower Meadow seeds are all local varieties and were harvested from a meadow in Swettenham. The seed mix included Yellow rattle, Ox-eye daisy, Cat’s-ear, Mouse-ear, Common knapweed, Devil’s-bit scabious, Betony, Self-heal, Red clover, Ribwort Plantain, Meadow buttercup and Common sorrel as well as four grasses – Crested dog’s-tail, Sweet vernal, Common bent and Yorkshire fog. The sowing of the meadow also disturbed cornflower and poppy seeds from a previous annual meadow on the site.

The Environment Committee is looking for other suitable areas to allow for more wildflower meadows to be created in Knutsford for their positive impact on the environment and local wildlife. 

Cllr Matthew Robertson stood at the Barncroft Meadow
Cllr Matthew Robertson at the Meadow

After visiting the Wildflower meadow on The Barncroft, which is behind St Cross Church , Cllr Matthew Robertson, Deputy Chairman of the Environment Committee said: “I am proud to have been elected to represent a community with such passion for preserving and protecting it’s natural heritage and environment. It is a responsibility I take seriously and I am fully committed to supporting any projects which will help achieve the goals of the Knutsford Nature Action Plan.

The Wildflower Meadow is a fantastic project to bring a more natural and environmentally friendly space back to the centre of Knutsford. It is great to walk through The Barncroft, and I have especially enjoyed seeing how the variety of seeds have developed.

We are looking for other areas and as this has been a successful project. We encourage residents to get in touch with their suggested areas.”

Residents can suggest areas for a new wildlflower meadow by emailing townclerk@kntusfordtowncouncil.gov.uk

Photo of the meadow courtesy of Kevin Griffiths.

A sculpture of King Canute in the council office gardens, with a tree

Nominate a Garden for the 2021 Front Garden Competition

Knutsford is starting to bloom with the RHS Tatton Flower Show in town in July, floral shop window displays planned and an upcoming visit from the Northwest in Bloom Competition judges. Knutsford Town Council is now inviting residents to get involved further by nominating gardens for the 2021 Knutsford Front Garden Competition and under 16’s to enter their own competition for the Best Plant Pot.

The Front Garden Competition encourages residents to get involved with the In Bloom campaign and either show off their own beautiful front gardens or to nominate a neighbour or a garden they have seen around town. Under 16’s this year are being encouraged to show their creativity too by decorating a garden pot and choosing what goes inside.

The front garden competition is open to any garden which is on view from the road, and anything can be nominated from window boxes to large, landscaped gardens. Residents are encouraged to take a photo of their favourite Knutsford front gardens and enter them into the competition by emailing the picture to the council. Residents can nominate their own gardens, a neighbour’s garden, or a garden that they have passed by around town.

The Best Plant Pot competition is open to anyone under the age of 16 in Knutsford. Allow your gardening creativity to run free in your choice of how you decorate your plant pot and what goes inside. Perhaps it is the colour of the plant you particularly like, or the smell of the herb, a plant that will attract bees or a seed you have grown. Take a photograph and email us with your name to show us what you can create.

This year’s competition is sponsored by T&S Riley Nursery on Sudlow Lane and Fryers Garden Centre on Manchester Road who will be providing prizes for three winners. The competition will be judged by the Town Mayor with a representative from Knutsford in Bloom, T & S Riley and Fryers.

“Whether you’re proud of your own garden, think your neighbour’s efforts have been paying off or you are a young person who can create an eye catching plant pot display, all you need to do is send us a picture to enter it – it’s a fun, local competition focused on recognising that nature spaces brighten people’s days” said Knutsford Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Green.

The competition opens on Monday 21st June and will be open for three weeks until Friday 16th July. To enter just send a photograph and the address of the garden to jill.webb@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk. You can enter as many gardens & pots as you like and can also submit entry photographs in person to the Council Offices on Toft Road.

The Town Mayor wearing a bright jacket and the mayor's chain stands outside the Mere Hotel

Mayor’s Autumn Ball now on Sale

The Mayor of Knutsford’s Summer Ball has been postponed. The glamourous fundraising event promised to give Knutsford residents a welcome opportunity for fun and dancing while supporting The Mayoral Charites but to comply with government requirements the event will now be a fabulous Autumn Ball.

The ball is the Town Mayor’s biggest fundraising event of the year and promises to be a fun filled evening with entertainment from Fun Time Frankie’s band, a DJ and a close up magician.

Town Mayor Cllr Stewart Gardiner said; ‘While I am clearly disappointed at having to cancel the Summer Ball, I am hoping that moving the event to early Autumn will be an opportunity for everyone (including those who have been reticent about getting out and about in July) to come together for a fabulous evening of good food, fine wine and quality entertainment.

“So put the date in your diary, dust off your glad rags (or even use it as an excuse to splash out on some new ones) polish your dancing shoes and limber up to make some shapes on the dance floor. 

However, let us remember the reason for this event is to raise lots of money for two local and worthwhile charities while celebrating being out and having some fun. I would like to thank the Mere and all those involved in the Summer event for agreeing to the rescheduled date and I look forward to working with you all to make October 9th a night to remember.”

Tickets are available for the night at £48 per person for a delicious 3-course meal, arrival drink and entertainment.  To book your place you can contact the Civic Events Officer Michelle Bate on 01565 653929 or email michelle.bate@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk.

Raffle tickets are also now on sale for the Mayor’s Prize Draw at £2 each with a range of great prizes up for grabs. The raffle will be drawn at the Ball but anyone can purchase tickets by contacting Michelle or visiting the Council Offices.

Any businesses wishing to make a prize donation for the raffle or auction can contact Michelle at the details above.

Cllrs Gray, Robertson and Dalzell sat at a meeitng

Volunteers sought for CIL Committee

Knutsford Town Council is seeking two volunteers to join a committee to help determine how money from development is spent in the town.

Community Infrastructure Levy was introduced in Cheshire East in 2019 and 25% of the receipts for Knutsford housing development is paid to Knutsford Town Council which expects to receive over half a million pounds over the next ten years.

The ‘neighbourhood share’ of CIL can be spent on infrastructure or anything else which addresses the demands development places on the town and the Town Council has adopted a CIL Framework to govern how it will make decisions on using this important investment in the community.

The framework acknowledges that whilst the town council is the recipient of CIL it may be that the best use of the funds would be for projects delivered by partner organisations and the framework sets out that decisions on which projects should receive CIL funding will be chosen by a joint committee of residents and councillors.

Building on the success of creating the Knutsford Neighbourhood Plan, the council is establishing an advisory committee which will include eight resident leads covering the themes of the neighbourhood plan – town centre, environment and open spaces, heritage, housing and employment, sports and leisure, health, education and community and getting around. Six of the residents who led the neighbourhood plan have volunteered to continue leading their theme leaving two spaces to fill.

The role of the advisory committee will be to review bids for funds and produce a recommendation to the council’s Finance Committee.  The council is looking for two residents to join the committee with a special interest in the ‘sports and leisure’ and ‘education and community’ themes.

“CIL presents a significant investment in the community but we know that there will be more investment needed than funds we’ll receive. By being part of this committee you’ll help determine which projects are prioritised and play a role in shaping the future of our town” said Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Green.

If you are interested in joining the committee, contact the Town Clerk on 01565 653 929 or email townclerk@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk setting out the reasons you would like to be considered.

Cllr Mike Houghton stands by a bin branded as Knutsford Town Council's against a green leafy background

Campaign to tackle dog fouling

Knutsford Town Council is spearheading a campaign to tackle the increase in dog fouling across the town and is calling on residents to help in one simple way – report the poos they find.

Using the information of where fouling occurs, the town council will take a targeted approach to tackling the issue in that area as part of a four pronged plan agreed by its Environment Committee.

Under its plan to tackle fouling the council may take a combination of the following actions:

  • Installing temporary signage to remind dog walkers of their responsibility to clean up after their dogs and the potential fines they can receive if they fail to do so.
  • Installing signage on existing litterbins so dog walkers know that dog waste can be deposited there
  • Installing dog poo bag dispensers so dog walkers don’t have the excuse that they don’t have a bag
  • Installing new litter or dog bins if there are none close by

There are 115 litter bins across Knutsford emptied by Cheshire East Council and these have been mapped by the Town Council ready to tackle the problem. It is no longer the case that dog waste can only be placed in dog bins – bagged dog poo can be deposited in any litter bin.

“Councillors have received an increasing number of complaints from residents about dog fouling and we are working to tackle this” said Cllr Mike Houghton who is leading the campaign.

“Whilst the majority of dog owners are responsible and clean up after their pets, we are looking to take away the common excuses of the minority who are causing the problem.”

“We are asking all residents to help us by reporting fouling they come across so we can map the issue and determine the best approach for stopping the fouling in that location”

Residents can report fouling using the free PooperSnooper app (see website here: https://poopersnooper.app) which creates a map of fouling reports to help the council understand exactly where fouling is the biggest problem. Residents can also report fouling by emailing enquiries@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk with a description of the location.

The Town Mayor, wearing his chain of office, stands in 60 King Street where ripped wallpaper can be seen in the foreground

Funding Bid for 60 King Street

A firm of specialist consultant partners who are experts in reimagining historic buildings for sustainable future use have been engaged by Knutsford Town Council with the aim of securing a significant investment to renovate and breath fresh life into its property at 60 King Street.

The consultants, who have supported the regeneration of historic buildings across the UK, will be assisting the council in creating a costed business case and options for the building to operate sustainably. The council is looking to secure a significant Heritage Lottery Fund grant to regenerate the Grade II* listed building and bring it into operation as a mixed-use community, civic and commercial space.

This early consultancy phase of work, including the exploration of options and the development of funding sources is being completed by the consultants on the basis that compensation and future work is subject to funding success.

“We are looking at an exciting new approach to bring this iconic building back to life” said Town Mayor, Cllr Stewart Gardiner “Over the coming months we will be working with our consultants to develop proposals for the building and are optimistic about our prospects of securing funding to rejuvenate one of the town’s landmark buildings”

60 King Street was formerly home to La Belle Epoque but has been vacant since June 2019 when that company went into administration. Over the past two years the Council has sought to obtain a new tenant through national estate agents Savills and had been in negotiation with a prospective tenant. Negotiations folded in early 2021 with the business withdrawing due to the scale of investment required in the building which similarly deterred other potential tenants.

The Council was then faced with the tough decision of either selling the building or needing to borrow significant monies to fund upfront repairs. A report prepared by surveying firm Fisher German highlighted a likely expenditure in excess of £675,000 being required in the next 10 years as the 116-year-old building requires re-roofing, in addition to render and stonework repairs plus the renewal of a concrete deck amongst a range of other smaller works.  The building also needs a new heating system not to mention extensive redecoration owing to the building being left in a very poor internal condition by the former tenant.

“Our goal with 60 King Street has been for it to be in active use, good repair and to deliver a surplus for the council to reduce the precept. We were naturally disappointed that it was not possible to secure a tenant for the whole building due to its condition.” said Cllr Peter Coan, Chairman of the Assets and Operations Committee.

“We are hopeful that this new approach will secure a sustainable future for the building, and we have engaged the consultants on terms which ensure that if they are unable to win funding there will be no cost to the Council.”

If you have any questions about this article please email townclerk@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk

Engraved stone column with the names of Kings of England

Notice of Public Rights and Publication of Unaudited AGAR 2020/21

ACCOUNTS FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 MARCH 2021

Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 Sections 26 and 27
The Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/234)

  1. Date of announcement Friday 11 June 2021
  • Each year the smaller authority’s Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR) needs to be reviewed by an external auditor appointed by Smaller Authorities’ Audit Appointments Ltd.  The unaudited AGAR has been published with this notice. As it has yet to be reviewed by the appointed auditor, it is subject to change as a result of that review.

Any person interested has the right to inspect and make copies of the accounting records for the financial year to which the audit relates and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers, receipts and other documents relating to those records must be made available for inspection by any person interested. For the year ended 31 March 2019, these documents will be available on reasonable notice by application to:

Adam Keppel-Green, Town Clerk
Council Offices, Toft Road, Knutsford, WA16 6TA
townclerk@kntusfordtowncouncil.gov.uk – 01565 653 929

commencing on Monday 14 June 2021
and ending on Friday 23 July 2021

  • Local government electors and their representatives also have:
  • The opportunity to question the appointed auditor about the accounting records; and
  • The right to make an objection which concerns a matter in respect of which the appointed auditor could either make a public interest report or apply to the court for a declaration that an item of account is unlawful. Written notice of an objection must first be given to the auditor and a copy sent to the smaller authority.

The appointed auditor can be contacted at the address in paragraph 4 below for this purpose between the above dates only.

  • The smaller authority’s AGAR is subject to review by the appointed auditor under the provisions of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014, the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 and the NAO’s Code of Audit Practice 2015.  The appointed auditor is:

PKF Littlejohn LLP (Ref: SBA Team), 1 Westferry Circus, Canary Wharf, London,  E14 4HD / sba@pkf-littlejohn.com

This announcement is made by Adam Keppel-Green, Town Clerk and Responsible Financial Officer

The unaudited AGAR can be seen here: Unaudited AGAR 2020/21 (PDF)