A group of councillors sat around a table with an audience

New Committee Structure Introduced

A new committee structure at the Town Council has been introduced, aligned to deliver the council’s emerging strategic plan.

The Town Council will be adopting a new strategy at its June 12th meeting and has commenced the new civic year with changes to the committees designed to deliver the plan, which was subject to public consultation in January-March this year.

Old committee structure

  • Assets and Operations
  • Environment and General Purposes
  • Events and Town Centre Management
  • Finance
  • Personnel
  • Planning and Licensing

New committee structure:

  • Assets and Operations
  • Community
  • Environment and Transport
  • Events
  • Finance
  • Personnel
  • Planning
  • Town Centre

The changes introduce a new Community Committee which will administer the council grant scheme and have responsibility for volunteer programmes, communication and engagement, civic pride, social issues and the Town Awards.

The Events and Town Centre Management committee has been split into two. This creates a Town Centre committee with responsibility for the town centre masterplan, tourism, markets (only excluding the Christmas Market), Christmas lights and the town economy. The Events Committee retains responsibility for celebrations and events, including the Christmas Market, Music Festival and Pumpkin path.

Environment and General Purposes has become Environment and Transport, with responsibility for floriculture, Streetscene, environment and climate change, non-council owned open space, highways, heritage and active travel and transport.

As part of the changes, Finance, Events and Personnel move to meeting quarterly. Planning continues to meet every three weeks and all other committees meet every other month.

A group of people standing in Lost and Found

Flash Fashion hailed a success

May 20th saw Knutsford hold its third and most successful to date Flash Fashion event.  The spring sunshine brought residents and visitors alike into the town to shop for the latest spring/summer womenswear.

The day also saw the event’s first catwalk show held at The Lost and Found.  The show was introduced by Councillor Stewart Gardiner and kindly compered by Nikki Cartwright of Detaljer. The models were volunteers or friends of the boutiques taking part with dressers from Knutsford Academy and it proved the perfect way to start the day and the staff at the Lost and Found were the consummate hosts providing welcome drinks and discounted breakfast for guests.

Sandra Curties, Town Centre Manager, said, “This was our first catwalk show and it was lovely to see the venue packed out – it was standing room only when the show commenced – with people enjoying their goody bags and taking photos of their favourite outfits, before venturing into town.”

Pauline Leadbetter, owner of Chalk 33 on King Street said, “This was my third Flash Fashion event and the most successful.  My customers enjoyed the fashion show and as soon as it finished my shop was busy all day with new and existing customers.  The day raised awareness of the Chalk 33 brand. What a lovely day for Knutsford.”

Roberta Dyer, of Roberta Beauty Redefined said, “We really enjoyed taking part in this event on both a personal and professional level! I tried my hand at modelling for The Edit for the catwalk show and afterwards had pop-ups at both Cocaranti and Willow Boutiques.  This worked great for both raising awareness of the Roberta brand and selling the Dermalogica range.  All in all, a fantastic day, and a true collaborative event across the town’s boutiques”

A selfie frame was placed in Cotton Shop Yard for shoppers to enjoy and a competition was run in partnership with Pulse of Perfumery for the ’best selfie’ taken on the day. This was won by local resident Lauren Leach who is to collect her bottle of fragrance from the King Street Perfumier direct.

Sandra Curties, continued, “We have received extremely positive feedback from everyone involved on the day.  We do these events to raise the profile of Knutsford as a shopping destination, increase footfall in the town, increase both revenue, and brand awareness for those involved and so far, it seems all criteria was met.”

Flash Fashion was sponsored by Knutsford Dry Cleaners which is celebrating its 30th year in business this year.  Mobberley Dental practice sponsored the catwalk show.

Katherine Priddy

Knutsford Music Festival’s Fantastic Folk Line Up

Next month Knutsford Music Festival will return for its sixth year starting off on the 8th June with an exclusive pre-festival event at Knutsford Little Theatre from Mark Radcliffe & Friends. This one-off show, hosted and featuring BBC Radio presenter Mark Radcliffe, will not only launch the music festival but is also one of four acts in the Folk programme of the long weekend event. This opening night is close to selling out so act fast to secure tickets.

The Town Council is again working with Mark to host a weekend of leading folk acts, at Folk in the Theatre/Folk in the Church.

Starting on Friday the 9th June at 7:30pm at St John’s Church, Welsh musician Georgia Ruth will be headlining. Using folk influences to create a truly unique sound, her debut album Week of Pines won the Welsh Music Prize in 2013 and was nominated for two BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. The support act will be Chris Fox & John Parker Folk troubadour and bassist duo.

Katherine Priddy will headline on Saturday 10th, again at the beautiful St John’s Church, at 7:30pm. The Birmingham-based artist who emerged onto the Folk scene with her long-awaited debut EP ‘Wolf’ in 2018 will be joined by Australian Alt-Country duo The Weeping Willows.

Closing the weekend, and the final night of the folk programme is Budapest Café Orchestra bringing gypsy and folk flavoured music in their own surprising way. Doors open at the Little Theatre at 7pm with the event starting at 7:30pm.

Mark Radcliffe said ‘Once again thanks to the council, St.John’s and Knutsford Little Theatre for supporting me in my ongoing mission to brink the very best folk and acoustic artists to our little festival. I really urge you to come. I promise you music and entertainment of the highest standard and we need you there. We want to keep this going and without you backing us – we can’t do that. So come. You won’t regret it’.

Tickets for all the Knutsford Music Festival Events including all Folk performances are available at https://www.knutsfordmusicfestival.com/buytickets. The festival also includes evenings of classical music and a Friday Night Blues session, alongside a variety of performances in local businesses. Programmes with full details of events will be available from venues around Knutsford very soon.

A future vet holds a bundle of lambs

Future vet Ella wins Bursary

Future vet Ella Senior has won the 2023 Knutsford Millennium Bursary, securing £575 towards her studies.

Introduced in 2000, the Millennium Bursary is awarded annually to a student from Knutsford to support their third year university studies. The bursary is delivered in partnership with Knutsford Lions who provide an additional discretionary award.

Queensway resident Ella is studying Veterinary Medicine and Surgery at the University of Edinburgh.  Speaking of being award the bursary Ella said: “I’m very excited at the opportunity to be able to use this bursary to help me with the large amounts of work experience I have to do with my degree.

I have had some amazing experiences so far working on farms all over the country and this bursary will help fund travel, accommodation, and living costs during my placements (including replacing several pairs of ripped waterproof trousers thanks to the horns of some slightly angry sheep!).

It will go towards equipment I need during my training such as suture kits, riding helmets, and lecture notes. I have three years left of placements to go and this help from the town council will be really appreciated to assist me along my way.”

Six students applied for the 2023 bursary and were interviewed by Town Mayor Cllr Mike Houghton and Lydia Kennedy of Knutsford Lions. Mike and Lydia were impressed by the enthusiasm of each candidate for their field of study and the journey their studies are taking them on.

Lydia said “This year’s winner, Ella provided us with a clear plan on how she would use the bursary where it will make a difference to enhance her studies and university experience. Her dedication and enthusiasm for her future career as a vet shone through, and we wish her every success.”

Knutsford Lions also agreed to make a discretionary award to Ryan Ketley. Ryan, of Grebe Close, is studying Nursing at the University of Salford.

“Ryan Ketley’s positive approach to his studies really struck a chord for us. His passion and work ethic are un-mistakable, he is clearly driven to succeed and pursue his nursing career. So, we wanted to recognise this with an additional award from Lions this year.” Lydia added.

Applications for the 2024 Millennium Bursary open in November.

The door of a public toilet showing a card reader and coin slot

Card payments now accepted at public toilets

Visitors caught short no longer need to worry about not having change to access the public toilets following the installation of card readers to two cubicles.

Knutsford Town Council provides two public toilet blocks in the town centre, one at the bus station and another on King Street car park near the Moor. Each block comprises three toilets – a female, unisex and unisex accessible.

The unisex accessible cubicles, which also include a baby change table, can now be accessed by credit/debit card and contactless payments. This is in addition to access via a RADAR key or coin.

“We know that an increasing number of people don’t carry cash so wanted to ensure that accessing our public toilets is easy for everyone who needs to.” said Town Clerk Adam Keppel-Green.

The Town Council will be reviewing the impact of the card terminals on usage at the toilets and may consider adding terminals to the other cubicles in the future.

Alongside the installation of the new card payment terminals, the usage fee for the public toilets has also increased to 30p. The 20p charge was introduced when the Town Council took on public toilets in 2013 and contributes to the annual cost of cleaning and repairs. The Town Council consulted its contractor, Danfo, who provide public toilets across the country who highlighted that 30p is now the standard cost for most public toilets.

Knutsford’s public toilets have consistently been recognised for their high quality in industry awards (yes, there are awards for toilets). The toilets were awarded Gold/Platinum in the Loo of the Year awards until 2021 and subsequently given a 4-star rating by the British Toilet Association.

A cropped photo of a man serving olives with lots of olives in bowls in front of him and some paprika roasted garlic in the foreground

New Traders at Knutsford Market Hall

Knutsford Market Hall has welcomed two new traders and seen a familiar face return to their Silk Mill premises.

Med Olives run by Unsal Sarikir opened on May 6th with Nyx Cat Crystals opening a couple of months ago, before moving to a more prominent location opposite Jonty’s Fruit and Veg.  Grandad’s Attic return to the market hall on May 20th opposite Slipped Discs.

Med Olives sells a huge selection of olives, nuts and Turkish Delight and is already a familiar face due to trading at Knutsford’s Makers Market.  Unsal, said “I have been made to feel very welcome at Knutsford Market Hall and I look forward to meeting customers new and old.  There is nowhere else in the town offering such a vast and varied range of olives – the perfect addition to any grazing platter”.

Nyx Cat Crystals took part in Knutsford Christmas Market in 2022 before taking the leap and joining a permanent market.  Nicky Facey is extremely knowledgeable and has a loyal customer base.  Nicky said, “I am really enjoying trading from Knutsford Market Hall. Each crystal is ethically sourced and intuitively chosen with love! Today’s world is so fast-paced, and crystals emit a range of positive, uplifting energising and calming vibrations that help even the most cynical!”

Grandad’s Attic have traded in the market before,  sell a range of upcycled furniture and traded in the market in a larger stall before moving back.  Owner, Linda Kendall said, “We just missed the vibe of the market – both customers and traders – everyone is so friendly.  Our smaller stall showcases our key pieces but if any customer wants something more bespoke, we can always source it for them”.

Knutsford Market Hall is open on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 8am to 4pm.   Traders are as follows – Style Loft Boutique, Grandad’s Attic, The Market Butcher, M&J Cards, Jonty’s Fruit & Veg, The Market Café, The Market Hall Barber, Sabrina’s Baby Boutique, Radchester Garden Ornaments, Slipped Discs, Med Olives and Nyx Cat Crystals

Manchester Road Medical Centre

Public meeting on medical facilities

For too long, Knutsford has been calling for improvements to primary medical facilities in the town, with an ambition to create a central ‘super surgery’ bringing together the three GP surgeries into a modern and accessible venue with enhanced access to services which residents currently have to travel for.

Until March 2023, it was understood that Knutsford was a priority for investment from the Clinical Commissioning Group (now replaced by an Integrated Care Board) but the Town was alarmed when it was advised that alternative options were being explored and a combined centre was no longer a priority.

The Town Council wrote to Graham Uwin, Chief Executive of the new Cheshire and Merseyside ICB expressing dismay at this decision and was pleased to note his response that investment was not off the table:

The proposal for a new centralised Primary Care facility in Knutsford has not been declined by NHS Cheshire and Merseyside but in light of external circumstances e.g. the increasing cost of construction materials we have agreed to explore alongside the new centralised facility potentially more cost-effective alternatives within the town. This will involve reviewing current assets that exist and how they may be adapted to suit the long-term requirements for healthcare within Knutsford. We have been engaged with both East Cheshire NHS Trust and Cheshire East Council to review the current assets for some time and several options are being considered.

At a time when Knutsford is growing, with two major housing developments already under construction and local doctors expressing severe concern that they will not be able to cope with the rising population, the Town Council is keen to maintain pressure on local decision makers to ensure money is secured and investment delivered in Knutsford at long last.

The Town Council is therefore hosting a public meeting on Wednesday 31st May at 7pm in Knutsford Methodist Church to hear from and question leaders in relation to primary healthcare provision in the town. The meeting will be attended by representatives of The Cheshire and Merseyside NHS, Cheshire East Council and Tatton MP Ester McVey. The meeting will be chaired by the Town Mayor and supported by doctors from the Knutsford Medical Partnership.

The aim of the meeting is to provide an opportunity for the public to put questions to decision makers, hear from the NHS what it is doing to ensure access to medical services in Knutsford and ensure all partners are committed to working closely together to expedite investment in facilities.

Amy Travis of Kanoa Living holds up a red dress

Flash Fashion lands in one week

Knutsford independent fashion shops have been busy putting the finishing touches to the third Flash Fashion Knutsford which takes place on Saturday 20th May.

Different for this year, the day commences at the Lost and Found at 10am with an informal catwalk show showcasing the latest spring/summer womenswear from a selection of independent fashion retailers. Guests can then peruse the shops and enjoy a variety of complimentary services instore including on-hand stylists, beauty treatments, a glass of fizz and goody bags.

Sandra Curties, Town Centre Manager, said, “There is no need to pre-book onto the catwalk show, guests can just turn up and enjoy! We are looking forward to the day, each shop has worked hard curating their SS23 looks – from casual and beach holiday to workwear and special occasion. There is something for everyone and for every budget”.

The shops taking part on the day are:

  • The Edit Boutique
  • Cocaranti
  • Redress at Dexter and Jones
  • Blossom Boutique
  • Paris Ladies Boutique
  • Glamorous of Knutsford
  • Willow Boutiques
  • Smook Styling
  • Chalk 33
  • Milania Boutique
  • Roberta Beauty Redefined
  • Kanoa Living
  • Second hand Styling
  • The Thrifty Ginger at Cancer Research
  • Zapatos

A selfie frame will be placed in Cotton Shop Yard for shoppers to enjoy.  The best selfie using the hashtag #knutsford and tagging @pulseofperfumery and @flashfashionknutsford will win a bottle of fragrance from Pulse of Perfumery.  The winner will be announced on Tuesday 23rd May and will be asked to collect their fragrance from Pulse of Perfumery’s shop on King Street.

Sandra Curties, continued, “We would like to thank Hot Cocoa, Kanoa Living, Pulse of Perfumery and Roberta Beauty Redefined for providing items for the goodie bag and the volunteers helping with the fashion show.  It is truly a collaborative event.”

Maps will be available from shops and eateries around Knutsford shortly to allow shoppers to plan their day. There will also be free parking for the day at Silk Mill Street, King Street and Princess Street car parks from 10am.

Flash Fashion is sponsored by Knutsford Dry Cleaners which is celebrating its 30th year in business this year.

The Town Mayor is shovelling soil into a freshly dug hole which now contains a small oak tree

Coronation Tree Planted

To mark the coronation of HM King Charles III, the Town Mayor planted a commemorative oak tree on the Heath in advance of the coronation barn dance. This continued a tradition dating back to the coronation of King Edward VII in 1902.

Town Council volunteer researchers Jenny and Mary recently uncovered old documents, Knutsford Guardian reports, and a map giving details of four oak trees which had been planted to commemorate the coronation of our last four monarchs, they began looking back at previous celebrations and sought the help of Friends of The Heath in identifying the exact whereabouts of the trees.  Jenny and Mary also spoke to the Town Council about the possibility of continuing the tradition of planting an oak tree for King Charles III on coronation day, 6th May.

The Town Council was keen not to break the tradition and in the week leading up to the coronation set about making swift preparations. Representatives from Knutsford Heritage Centre and Friends of The Heath, together with Mr Henry Brooks of Tatton Estates, and members of the public, watched as Town Mayor Cllr Mike Houghton performed the ceremony and dedicated the tree to the new King.

In 1902 an oak was planted by the drinking fountain in honour of Edward VII, the commemorative plaque for this tree was replaced by the council in 2022.

The 1911 tree was planted in the centre of the heath for the coronation of King George V, unfortunately it is there no longer and was likely removed c1944 when General Patton’s US troops camped on the heath.

Iron railings near the bowling club boundary wall circle a dead stump which was the tree planted in 1937 for King George VI. And Friends of the Heath have recently found a healthy oak tree in iron railings a short way across from Warren Avenue which was the tree planted in 1953 for Queen Elizabeth II.

The 2023 tree for HM King Charles III is adjacent to Tabley Road and a commemorative plaque will be installed shortly.

Crosstown Community Orchard sign with bunting

Cross Town Election Results

The votes of Thursday’s (4th May) Cross Town ward election have been counted and the results declared. Completing the council’s membership for the 2023-2027 term.

Four candidates stood for election for three seats. The results were as follows:

Peter CoanConservative393 (E)
Lesley DalzellIndependent473 (E)
Rex MearsIndependent484 (E)
Tim ReganConservative340

The Nether, Norbury Booths, St John’s Wood and Bexton and Town Centre wards were each uncontested, returning three councillors each unopposed. The new council takes office on 9th May and comprises ten Independent and five Conservative councillors.

The full list of councillors is:

  • Colin Banks (Independent) – St Johns Wood
  • Peter Coan (Conservative) – Cross Town
  • Lesley Dalzell (Independent) – Cross Town
  • Jennifer Forrest (Conservative) – St Johns Wood
  • Stewart Gardiner (Conservative) – Bexton and Town Centre
  • Christopher Gray (Conservative) – Norbury Booths
  • Bryan Hartley (Independent) – Nether
  • April Johnson (Independent) – Bexton and Town Centre
  • Scott Lowe (Independent) – Nether
  • Rex Mears (Independent) – Cross Town
  • James McCulloch (No Description) – St Johns Wood
  • Matthew Robertson (Conservative) – Norbury Booths
  • Su Russell (Independent) – Norbury Booths
  • Gus Watson (Independent) – Bexton and Town Centre
  • Matthew Wood (Independent) – Nether

Contact information for new councillors will be published shortly.