Town Mayor cuts a ribbon to open the cemetery chapel

Cemetery Chapel Reopens following Refurbishment

Knutsford’s 120-year-old cemetery chapel was officially reopened on Thursday 22nd July by Town Mayor Cllr Stewart Gardiner following an extensive refurbishment by Knutsford Town Council.

In stark contrast to the thick snow in which the chapel was first opened in December 1901, Cllr Gardiner cut the ribbon at a small ceremony in hot sunshine, inviting local clergy, funeral directors and special guests to enter the Grade II listed building to see the transformation.

The chapel was built as part of creating a new cemetery for Knutsford at the start of the 20th century and until 1974 was administered by the Knutsford Urban District Council. Following local government reorganisation in 1974 the chapel and cemetery were run by Macclesfield Borough Council, although the new Town Council retained ownership.

Cheshire East Council handed the building back to Knutsford Town Council in 2016 in a poor condition. A structural survey highlighted £52,000 of essential structural maintenance and the building was visibly tired with peeling paintwork, stained floors and cracking plaster. The Town Council secured the £52,000 needed to undertake the work to the Grade II listed building from Cheshire East Council but set its aspirations higher to undertake a full refurbishment and bring the chapel back into active use.

BEFORE

Knutsford Cemetery Chapel

AFTER

The total refurbishment programme included the installation of new water and electricity supplies, the creation of a kitchenette and accessible toilet in the anterooms and a thorough redecoration including repointing, stonework repairs, replastering, sanding and varnishing the parquet flooring and installing new heating. Various repairs were undertaken to structural beams, gutters and drainpipes and a new glass door was installed to the front. The majority of the old pews were removed to create a more flexible space with new lighting installed alongside fire and intruder alarms and a new septic tank. The total cost of the renovations, including professional fees, was £145,000 with the £93,000 balance being drawn from the proceeds of the sale of the Cemetery Lodge in 2018.

The chapel is available to hire for funerals and other suitable uses including remembrance services, community meetings and appropriate activities. The chapel will be routinely open for visitors to the cemetery for quietly reflection.

Cllr Jan Nicholson, who oversaw the project as part of the Cemetery working group said “After many years of neglect, I am absolutely delighted with the refurbishment of the Cemetery Chapel, a project instigated by my late husband Clive and I am looking forward to seeing the chapel used by the community of Knutsford.”

“Over several years our working group has toiled many hours to achieve and restore this wonderful chapel.”

During the works the council discovered the damaged remains of the original weathervane stored in the tower and is now exploring having this refurbished and reinstalled alongside the restoration and reinstallation of the chapel bell.

For information on hiring the chapel please see the Cemetery Chapel page

Cllr Stewart Gardiner hands a giant cheque to Lisa Barcroft-Lee

Support given to new Scout Hut

1st Knutsford Scouts has received a grant worth £1,500 from Knutsford Town Council to support the development of their new HQ. The council’s grant will fund the purchase of the toilet facilities including toilets, sinks, hand dryers and accessibility safety rails.

The new scout hut, nestled in the corner of the Moor on Moorside, will be the new home for 1st Knutsford Scouts, a group which has been supporting children in Knutsford for over a century.

The new timber clad scout hut, with its large glass windows overlooking the Moor will be a drastic improvement for the community compared to the previous hut which was suffering from damp, vermin and a rotten floor.

“We are very grateful to Knutsford Town Council for their welcome contribution to our new Scout Hut” said Lisa Barcoft-Lee, Chair of 1st Knutsford Scouts.

Once complete the new hut will be available for wide community use from local meetings and events to children’s birthday parties.

“Our vision for the hut is that it becomes a community resource that all of Knutsford can benefit from and therefore it is really important to us that we work with all our local partners to get the hut up and running as soon as possible” Lisa added.

Due to the impact of coronavirus and global price increases for materials, the scouts need to raise several thousand pounds of additional funding to get the scout hut completed. Anyone who is able to help get them over the line can contact Lisa at lisa.barcroftlee@knutsfordscouts.org.uk

A view of an under construction scout hut whilst two people converse in the background

The Town Council Community Grant Scheme is open to community organisations delivering services or running assets which benefit Knutsford’s residents. It looks for projects which provide improved services/opportunities for those under 18 or over 65, which provide a new or improved asset or service or projects which enhance the profile or reputation of the Town.

The council operates two schemes; a small grants scheme makes awards of up to £1,500 three times per year and a large grant scheme which considers applications for over £1,500 annually. The next deadline for the small grants scheme is 29th October and the 2021 large grants deadline is 31st August.

Town Mayor with Sunrise Mobberley's flower

Love Themed Flowers on display in Wallwood

Visitors to Knutsford Town Centre will find a vibrant display of unique flowers decorated by children from Knutsford’s schools and nurseries and residents of retirement homes as the Town Council’s second Flowers in Wallwood display.

The flowers were crafted by Knutsford Town Ranger Bob Garner from sustainable materials and one flower was provided to each of the participating schools, nurseries, and retirement homes in Knutsford and surrounding villages. The initiative was funded through sponsorship from Eleven Recruitment and Little Waitrose.

The flowers have been decorated in a style reflecting the RHS theme of Love. Participants were innovative in decorating the flowers in to reflect kindness and thoughtfulness for others.

The display has been installed in Wallwood, the council’s community woodland near the entrance to Tatton Park.  A small, Covid-19 compliant photoshoot session led Tessa Harri Carroll photography took place on Thursday 15th July with Knutsford Town Mayor Stewart Gardiner, representatives from sponsors and many of those involved in decorating the flowers. Town Ranger Bob Garner then took them away for ‘planting’.

Sandra Curties, Town Centre and Marketing Officer at Knutsford Town Council said: “It was lovely to see so many of those involved plus representatives from our two generous sponsors visit our offices for our little photoshoot. We had a great time celebrating the achievements of this project and admiring all the beautiful flowers. Everyone has put so much hard work into these creations from their and we are amazed at the level of thought, effort and creativity that has been put into every single flower.”

Sandra added: “A massive thank you must go out to our sponsors Waitrose and Eleven Recruitment without whose support this project wouldn’t have been possible! It has been a real community effort and an exciting project to work on. We encourage everyone will take the chance to visit Wallwood and have a look at the wonderful display. We hope to be able to continue this project next year”.

The flowers will be in Wallwood until early September (weather dependent) after which they will be returned to the schools for permanent display. Can’t view them in person? Check out the Town Council’s Facebook page where you can view photos of the children’s’ efforts.

Volunteers surveying a tree

Milestone in Tree Mapping Project

A milestone has been reached by volunteers working to promote trees in Knutsford as part of the Town Council’s Nature Action Plan as they complete a census of all trees on public land.

The volunteers, led by Malcolm Thomas and Kevin Griffiths seek to raise awareness across the town and to encourage tree maintenance and planting. They believe that trees give our neighbourhood life, colour and beauty, clean our air, protect us from extreme weather and provide habitats for wildlife.

With support from the Town Council, the volunteers are carrying out a census of mature trees. So far, they have tagged, recorded and mapped 940 street trees. Whilst they had previously estimated from aerial images that there were 8000 such trees in Knutsford their work has established that most trees in Knutsford are on privately owned land, including schools, sports clubs, businesses and house gardens.

Currently, the group is extending the census to community woods, including College Wood, St John’s Wood and The Heath, in collaboration with Friends groups and local residents.

To complete the census, the group is appealing to the local community for help, asking community groups and businesses to share information about trees on their land. Volunteers are available to help landowners undertake the tree census and provide guidance on the project. The group are also welcoming new volunteers to assist with the project.

If you are able to support the project as a volunteer or by providing information / access for trees to be surveyed you can contact the group via the Town Council’s Planning and Facilities Officer, Bob Allen bob.allen@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk.

A group of adults in a meeting within a beer garden

Head out Not Home Alfresco Dining Nights

Two weekends of alfresco dining will take place in Knutsford on the weekends of 6 and 7th August and 10th and 11th of September.

A section of King Street and a small section of Princess Street (outside the Lost and Found) will be closed to traffic from 5.30pm to 11pm on those dates to allow restaurants, bars, and cafes to place tables and chairs on the roads for alfresco dining. 

Sandra Curties, Town Centre and Marketing Officer said, “The past 15 months have been incredibly hard for everyone, especially our hospitality sector. These two evening closures will go someway to provide additional space for venues for their customers and the community to enjoy the amazing food and drink Knutsford offers”.

The road closure is from 5.30pm to 11pm and covers the following areas:

  • King Street from the entrance to King Street car park (by Chic Interiors) to Egerton Square.
  • Princess Street small section opposite the Lost and Found.

Amberon will be providing traffic management services and the roads will re-open at 11pm ready for the next day of trading.

The following venues will be providing alfresco dining or drinking tables from 6pm to 10.30pm:

  • Evuna
  • D13
  • Rose and Crown
  • Gusto
  • Real Fruit Creamery
  • The Tea Room
  • Wine and Wallop
  • Piccolinos
  • Cheshire House Bar & Grill
  • King Street Kitchen
  • Copper 29.

Ben Antoniak from King Street Kitchen said, “Although we opened in December 2019 because of the pandemic we still feel like one of the ‘newbies’ on King Street.  We are delighted to take part in the alfresco event – the extra seating will really help promote our venue and we look forward to greeting customers new and old.  Fingers crossed the weather is kind too!”

Sandra Curties, added, “It must be stressed that these two weekends are trials, and we will be evaluating feedback from those taking part, residents affected and those venues outside the road closures.  We would like to see all our hospitality venues busy during these weekends and any shops wishing to stay open a little later will add to the continental atmosphere”.

Patrons are urged to contact their chosen venue direct to see whether they need to book a space in advance.