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Santa’s Grotto supported by Ivy Cottage Tree Farm

A child’s visit to Knutsford Christmas Market wouldn’t be complete without a visit to see Santa and his Elves.

Situated on Silk Mill Street, Santa’s grotto will be open throughout the Christmas Market, closing before the reindeer parade at 5pm on 1st December to allow Santa to prepare his reindeer and sleigh before arriving in Canute Place to switch on the new Christmas lights.

Tony Riley of Ivy Cottage Tree Farm, supplier of the town’s shop front Christmas trees has kindly agreed to help decorate the grotto this year, donating a Christmas tree and decorations.

“We are very pleased to support Knutsford Town Council and, of course, Father Christmas in their efforts to raise funds for such a great charity. Every child deserves to have a magical Christmas and the Children’s Adventure Farm Trust do a great job of trying to ensure that is the case”

Ivy Cottage Tree Farm, Cheshire’s biggest grower of Christmas trees, encourages residents to buy Christmas trees direct and is and based on Racecourse Road, Wilmslow. Open 7 days a week from 20th November.

The grotto will raise funds for the Children’s Adventure Farm Trust.

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Gold Award winning Knutsford in Bloom seeks new volunteers

Knutsford has won the sought-after Gold Award in the North West in Bloom competition for the third year running. Volunteers from Knutsford in Bloom worked in partnership with the Town Council to provide stunning displays around the town.

Knutsford in Bloom is a volunteer group established in 2009 which is made up of 10 dedicated members. The success of this year’s entry is even more impressive given the long drought that preceded the judging day in July this year.

The group is now looking for new members to join, offering opportunities to be involved in larger projects such as planting a wildflower meadow as well as the opportunity to work on displays in prominent town centre locations.

Sam Youd, member of the group and former Head Gardener at Tatton Park, is particularly keen to see younger people involved in the projects, inviting interest from local schools and youth groups such as the Scouts and Guides.

Cllr James Power, Chairman of the Town Council Environment Committee said “A massive thank you to the incredible volunteers who have won gold again for Knutsford. I would encourage anyone who is interested in joining Knutsford in bloom to get in touch”

If you or your group would like to know more about how you could be involved, contact the Town Council to register your interest in taking part on 01565 653929 or email townclerk@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk

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Public feedback Highways Priorities

A call for residents’ input to the Highways working group review prompted feedback from dozens of residents, assisting the group in identifying over 20 areas for improvement.

Speeding issues and rat runs raised particular concern and the areas identified will all be monitored using the speed indicator device, which not only records speed, but also shows volume of traffic on the road. The SID is currently located on Longridge, an area which residents have expressed concern that drivers are breaking the 30mph speed limit. This data will feed in to police monitoring and longer-term traffic management strategies.

Parking caused a number of residents’ concern where vehicles parking on the pavement and grass verges are causing an obstruction to pedestrians and other vehicular access points. It is recognised that this is often the result of limited parking on roads, in particular those which are only suitable for one vehicle to pass. Resident parking schemes can be challenging to implement as if introduced must see vehicles parked wholly in a marked bay – meaning that on some of Knutsford’s streets (such as Queen Street) it would half the number of cars able to park.

Residents are reminded that parking on the pavement is unnecessary where there is enough space for another vehicle to pass and that consideration should be always given for a wheelchair or pushchair to pass on the pavement. Obstructive parking should be reported to the police who can issue penalty notices or remove the vehicle.

Other problems raised in the review included the high numbers of HGVs travelling through the town, some residents calling for a bypass and town centre restrictions.  Suggestions for new and improved pedestrian crossings were given and concerns were raised about the bus stop provision on Longridge, where passengers are now boarding and alighting on to grass verges due to new service routes.

The working group would like to thank all the residents who participated in this review and welcome feedback at any time. All of the issues reported will be considered when the Council gives feedback on consultations and will be reviewed to establish priorities for funding.

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Minor Highway Improvements

In the coming months Knutsford Town Council’s Highways Working group will be reviewing Knutsford’s roads to put forward suggestions for minor highways improvements to Cheshire East Council.

Whilst the larger junctions in the town centre are already earmarked for improvements through s106 contributions from the housing developments, the Town Council is focusing on the minor improvements in residential areas, such as improvements to parking or changes to traffic flows.

The council is keen to hear from residents on any small highways issues they have encountered in the Town.

Deputy Town Clerk, Sarah Morgan said “We are seeking your views on Knutsford’s traffic in residential areas, particularly in relation to traffic flow, rat runs and problem parking areas – but not major infrastructure such as a bypass or maintenance issues such as potholes”

Pot holes are not part of the review, but the council urges people to report these directly to Cheshire East Council using their online reporting service.

The speed indicator device purchased by the Town Council earlier in the year is in constant use for monitoring speeding problems around the town. Suggestions for new monitoring locations are always welcomed and previous data capture can be viewed on the Council website at www.knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk/speed-monitoring

If you know a problem area or have any suggestions for minor improvements for the Highways Working Group, please email sarah.morgan@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk or call 01565 653929

 

 

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Town Council responds to airport Noise Action Plan consultation

Knutsford Town Council has responded to the Manchester Airport consultation on its new Noise Action Plan to cover the period 2019-2023. The plan is described as its ‘strategy for reducing aircraft noise to reduce impacts on communities living around the Airport’

The Town Council’s Airport working group prepared a response to the consultation with local experts on airport operations.

The Town Council considers that further actions should be taken in all areas of the plan and that the new Action Plan does not fulfil the Airport’s obligations to reduce the harmful health effects of noise, especially at night time.

With an increasing number of flights arriving and departing from the airport, retaining a fixed percentage restriction on total movements allows for increased noise disturbance to residents within the maximum quota count which has not yet been reached. The Town Council is asking for this number to reduce, particularly in relation to the use of Runway 2 at night, removing pricing incentives which entice the no frills airlines to make flights at night during the summer.

Residents living within the 63dB contour are currently eligible for the Sound Insulation Grant scheme. The Town Council also requests a programme of works to reduce to impact of noise discernible at ground level to those who live within the 54dB contour.

The council has suggested that the Airport commissions independent specialists to measure and report its performance against its legislative and regulatory requirements each year, as this would ensure openness and transparency on quality assured data in the future.

The consultation on the Draft Noise Action Plan runs until Tuesday 21st August. Further information can be found at https://www.manchesterairport.co.uk/community/environment/environmental-management/

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Front Garden Competition winners are announced

Green-fingered Knutsford residents showed even the smallest of gardens can impress the judges during Knutsford Town Council’s front garden competition.

All shapes and sizes of green spaces were entered into community contest, judged by the Mayor of Knutsford, Cllr Peter Coan, Bijal Mistry, manager of Fryer’s Garden Centre and Yvonne Bancroft, chair of Knutsford in Bloom.

With a cherry tree in full fruit, beautiful hanging baskets, lighting, bird feeders and baths and a small seating area, judges were in complete agreement that Peter Holt’s garden in Middle Walk was the winning entry.

A strong second place went to Susan Edwards and Richard Ankers in Lilac Avenue who had created a modern design with slate and wooden sleepers, impressing judges with their colour schemes, design, bird feeders and range of planting which was buzzing with bees.

Gina Cross won third place with her spectacular hanging baskets and potted displays outside her first floor flat in Middle Walk which, alongside Peter’s garden, make a wonderful floral walk down Middle Walk to the Moor.

Cllr Pete Coan said, ‘’It is absolutely wonderful that the local residents take such a pride in making Knutsford look lovely and there were so many gardens to judge, it was difficult to choose a winner.  however, pride of place has to be given to Peter for his wonderful all year-round display. His garden was absolutely outstanding, and I hope it gives as much pleasure to passers-by as it did for me to judge’’

The Mayor presented winners with a certificates and gift vouchers which were kindly donated by Fryer’s Garden Centre.

 

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Welcome Planters are In Bloom

Knutsford is in full bloom with a new welcome for visitors.

Large wooden planters have now been set around the ‘Welcome to Knutsford’ signs in Northwich Road, Knutsford Road and Chelford Road.

A smaller hanging planter is also on display on the Toft Road entry sign as part of the town’s submission for the North West in Bloom competition.

RHS judges were in Knutsford on 18th July to assess the town in the categories of horticultural achievement, environmental responsibility and community involvement for its entry.

Over the past two years Knutsford has won gold at North West in Bloom thanks to the hard work of the volunteers who maintain planters and beds around the town. Their efforts are supported by the Town Ranger, ANSA Environmental Services (Cheshire East) and the Town Council.

This year the judges were greeted by some traditional Knutsford street sanding at the council offices before embarking on a tour which took in Sparrow Lane allotments, Bexton Primary School’s garden and the floral displays in the town centre. Along the way the judges met volunteers from Friends of the Heath, Friends of the Moor, Knutsford in Bloom, Knutsford Heritage Centre garden volunteers and Town Ranger Bob Garner to talk about their contributions to the ‘In Bloom’ campaign.

The ‘Welcome to Knutsford’ flowers, planted by sponsor T & S Riley, will be replanted to bloom throughout the seasons and watered by the Town Ranger.

The Mayor of Knutsford, Cllr Pete Coan, said ‘’I would personally like to thank all the residents and businesses who worked so hard to make the town look splendid. It really does make such a difference to see the town coming together, yet again to show off their civic pride’’

Cllrs and Power and Coan watering the Northwich Road planter before the judges arrive

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Knutsford Music Festival 2018 – Blues Night at Brook Street Club

Tom Attah

A BLUES night will be rocking Brook Street Club for the second year running as part of Knutsford Music Festival.

Mat Walklate and Tom Attah will be headlining the Knutsford Town Council show as a duo at the live entertainment and community venue on Friday, June 22.

Last year’s sold out blues night at Brook Street Club with Rebecca Downes became one of the festival highlights for many.

Living in Manchester and strongly influenced by its Afro-Caribbean community, Mat Walklate is one of the UK’s most accomplished blues harmonica-players who also possesses a rich, soulful baritone.

He is also part of another duo, Walklate and Fuschi, who released their debut album, Kicking Up The Dust, in 2016 which was recorded live with no overdubs in just four and a half hours.

Tom Attah is a soulful performer of new and original acoustic blues material. 

Taking audiences on a journey right through the eras, Tom’s live shows are described as a journey from the Delta to the age of the download.

Mat and Tom will be supported by The Gritstone Clays and Ashley Sherlock, who is returning for the second year.

The Gritstone Clays are a three-piece acoustic band who play a mix of blues, folk, rock and Americana with a twist. 

Formed in Congleton in 2016, the band juggle two guitars, mandolin and harmonica so expect something a bit different.

Ashley, influenced by the likes of Jeff Buckley, Radiohead and Hozier, will be showcasing new music he recorded in Nashville, Tennessee.

After several years and hundreds of gigs performing as a solo artist, Ashley, who has worked with Aziz Ibrahim (Stone Roses, Simply Red) has now formed a full band.

Their unique blend of music incorporates gritty blues, falsetto vocal melodies and a jazz/funk-inspired rhythm section.

Steve Power, from Brook Street Club, said: “At Brook St Club we really enjoyed the inaugural 2017 Knutsford Music Festival and the benefits it brought to the town and the club.

“We’re really excited to be part of the 2018 festival which already shows the promise to build on last year’s success.”

Sarah Morgan, Deputy Town Clerk for Knutsford Town Council added: “The blues event at last year’s festival was one of the highlights and big successes of the first event.

“We’re delighted to bring it back for 2018 with a diverse line-up of acclaimed artists. We’re confident it will be just as good if not better – and unlike anything else you’ll hear on the festival bill.”

Tickets for the event cost £11 with child and carer concessions available. On sale now from  https://www.knutsfordmusicfestival.com/

 

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Miles Hunt of the The Wonder Stuff to headline Knutsford Music Festival

The Wonder Stuff’s Miles Hunt has been revealed as the main headliner of the second annual Knutsford Music Festival.
Miles, the singer, rhythm guitarist and principle songwriter of the indie rock band, will be performing solo at The Courthouse on Saturday, June 23, as part of Knutsford Town Council’s three-day event.

He will be playing classics, live favourites and rare acoustic versions of The Wonder Stuff’s back catalogue as well as his own solo material. Miles will also be giving some readings and sharing some anecdotes about his early days from his books ‘The Wonder Stuff Diaries ’86 to ‘94’.

Formed in 1986, The Wonder Stuff have had six top 20 albums and 17 top 20 singles. The band are best known for the number five single, The Size of a Cow, in 1991 but in the same year the Black Country rockers also had a chart-topper after covering Tommy Roe’s Dizzy with Vic Reeves.

Sarah Morgan, Deputy Town Clerk, said: “There’s already been a lot of interest in this gig because of Miles’ incredible career with The Wonder Stuff.

“We’re delighted to have him join us for an intimate show at The Courthouse where he’ll be showcasing some of the band’s hits in a different way.

“Miles’ readings from his book about his heyday and life in a band during the music scene of the 80s and 90s should be fascinating too.”

Joining Miles are Dan Donnelly and Knutsford’s own Fine Lines.

Dan is a singer-songwriter who has played in 20 countries and has supported acts such as Air, The Darkness, Bob Geldof, Ian Dury and Duran Duran. When not touring in his own right Dan is a full time member of The Wonder Stuff. He is also in a duo with The Levellers’ Jon Sevink.

Fine Lines, a project started by singer-songwriter David Boardman, completes the bill. Influenced by the likes of Bob Dylan, John Martyn and Mercury era Rod Stewart but also modern day troubadours such as Ray LaMontagne and Ryan Adams, David’s stripped-back tracks deal in heartbreak and soul baring. In their short time together, Fine Lines, co-fronted by Zoe Blythe, have already played with the likes of Merry Hell, Mark Radcliffe’s Galleon Blast and John Power (Cast/The La’s).

Knutsford’s Mark Radcliffe has already given the band his seal of approval and even plays drums on a few of their tracks.

The band’s John Kettle produced debut album, Hour of Need, which is out now.

Tickets for the event cost £15 for adults and £10 for children. They can be bought from https://www.knutsfordmusicfestival.com/

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A Classical Spectacular at Knutsford Music Festival

A classical spectacular is taking place over three days in June as part of the second annual Knutsford Music Festival.

The event, organised by Knutsford Town Council in partnership with local venues, will see performances by Vale Royal String Orchestra, Tatton Singers, Hallé Brass and Royal Northern College of Music’s Zerbina Duo.

The concerts will be held throughout the town centre with Vale Royal String Orchestra playing at St Cross Church on June 22, Tatton Singers on stage at St John’s Church on June 23 and Hallé Brass and the Zerbina Duo at The Courthouse’s new function room on June 24.

It is part of a wider, weekend-long celebration of music in Knutsford between June 22 and 24.

Vale Royal String Orchestra with oboist Debbie Fuller will perform an eclectic programme including Cimarosa’s oboe concerto, a Divertimento by Mozart, Percy Grainger’s Molly on the Shore, Janacek’s Idyll Suite and a selection from Copland’s ballet score, Rodeo.

The orchestra, which formed in 1993 and is conducted by Richard Adamson, brings together experienced amateur and professional musicians who perform regularly throughout the year to support charities and community events.

Tatton Singers formed in 1976 in Knutsford. Their current 78 members perform traditional choral works and lesser known pieces. Under the guidance of musical director John Powell, who has been with the choir since 2005, Tatton Singers have a wide repertoire of works by classical composers.

Formed in 1965, Hallé Brass are one of the foremost brass ensembles in the UK formed primarily from principal members of the internationally renowned Hallé Orchestra.The group is also one of the oldest brass quintets in the world that played a leading role in the development of this format of chamber music. In the early years, Hallé Brass gave premieres by eminent composers such as John McCabe, Joseph Horovitz and Edward Gregson.

They will be joined by harpist Becki McIlroy and violinist Rebecca Howell, who are known as the Zerbina Duo. Becki is a music graduate from The University of Manchester, currently studying for her master’s degree at the Royal Northern College of Music. Recently she performed with the Piccadilly Symphony Orchestra alongside comedians Jason Manford and John Bishop at The Bridgewater Hall. Rebecca is currently a postgraduate student at the Royal Northern College of Music.

In March 2016, Rebecca, who also leads the Florestan String Quartet, was awarded first prize in Durham’s inaugural Soloists Competition and went on to perform Saint-Saëns’ Violin Concerto No 3 with the University Palatine Orchestra on their summer tour to Paris.

Sarah Morgan, Deputy Town Clerk at Knutsford Town Council, said: “We’re really looking forward to presenting this diverse range of classical concerts.

“These performers are among the most respected in the north west and in the case of the Hallé they are internationally acclaimed.

“For many, it will be their first opportunity to see The Courthouse’s beautiful and newly refurbished function room and we’re delighted to once again be working with Knutsford’s churches and their cherished community spaces.

“St Cross and St John’s have been instrumental in helping us put together this programme of classical concerts by organising their own events with local musicians and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their contribution to the festival.”

Tickets go on sale on Thursday, March 1, and will be priced at £12 with concessions available.

Tickets for the Halle Brass and Tatton Singers will be available through Ticket Tailor and The Tatton Singers tickets can also be purchased from 01565 650641

For all other ticket enquiries, please call Knutsford Town Council on 01565 653929 and follow the Knutsford Music Festival Facebook for ticket and event updates.

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