Archive for News

Knutsford Music Festival 2020 Cancelled

Knutsford Town Council has continually monitored the latest government advice concerning the spread of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and the evolving social distancing advice designed to limit the spread of the virus. Our priority is always public health and we strive to make responsible decisions when planning events to protect the public, our volunteers and our staff.

The Events and Town Centre Management Committee met on 26th May to review the latest guidance with respect holding the Knutsford Music Festival in September. With huge regret the decision was taken that it would not be sensible to attempt to hold the event and as such there will be no Knutsford Music Festival 2020. Knutsford Town Council prioritises the health and safety of our residents and we do not feel that continuing with a large-scale event at this time is the best way to do this.

We know that this will be disappointing for those who were planning to join us for a great line up of musicians, for the performers who were due to perform and for our local businesses who were organising events in their shops, bars and restaurants but we hope that all can understand this decision was made with the best of intentions to keep our residents and visitors safe. Planning for the 2021 festival will begin immediately with a view to announcing the dates of next year’s events as soon as possible.

We will be contacting everyone who purchased tickets for events to offer a refund and ask that all ticketholders bear with us as we process a large number of refunds.

The council will continue to closely monitor the guidance in relation to events as things develop over the coming months. Currently there have been no changes made to the Pumpkin Path event scheduled for 31st October or the Knutsford Christmas Markets scheduled for 28th & 29th November. The committee will review advice closer to these events and make decisions as to whether these events can be safely held in the coming months.

Knutsford Town Council would like to thank everyone for their patience as we work hard to minimise disruption during this tough time and we will continue to keep the public updated with our plans as we proceed.

If you would like more information, you can contact the council’s Events Officer at alex.brown@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk.

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Proposals Submitted for Temporary restrictions in Knutsford Town Centre

Knutsford Town Council has put forward proposals to Cheshire East Council for temporary restrictions in Knutsford Town Centre to enable shoppers to maintain social distancing.

The proposals were submitted to Cheshire East Council today (22nd May) and aim to provide more space for pedestrians in the main shopping streets through limiting traffic and widening pedestrian spaces by the removal of parking.

The decision on what measures to implement will be taken by Cheshire East Council at which stage the detailed implementation of the measures will be agreed and widely communicated, but the suggestions put forward by the Town Council are:

King Street

  • Closure of the central section from the junction with King Street Car Park to the junction with Egerton Square.
  • Removal of on street car parking from the entrance to the railway station to just after Giovanni’s restaurant – except for a limited number of disabled parking bays where pavement widths allow
  • The King Street Car Park to be signed as entrance only from King Street, whilst remaining entrance/exit from Moorside.

Princess Street

  • Through traffic to be deterred from Princess Street through the installation of ‘access only’ signage
  • Removal of on street parking along the length of Princess Street from the junction with Canute Place to Simon Boyds, except for the provision of limited disabled parking bays

In tandem to these restrictions the Town Council has also stressed the importance of delivering an increase in parking provision elsewhere in the town centre and has put forward proposals for increasing the number of parking bays in Tatton Street car park and on Gaskell Avenue.

The Town Council has proposed a two-hour free parking period on Cheshire East car parks to replace the on street parking and encourage turnover of visitors.

The Town Council has also suggested a blanket ban on a-boards to ensure pavements remain clear for pedestrians.

The proposed measures seek to maximise space for pedestrians whilst minimising disruption to residents and businesses within the town centre.

The Town Council has already secured public use of three private car parks thanks to local hoteliers:

  • The Rose and Crown car park (accessed off Silk Mill Street) is available Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
  • The Cross Keys car park (accessed between Fine and Country and the Lost and Found) is available all week until the hotel reopens
  • The Courthouse Cheshire carpark (Toft Road) is available all week whilst the Courthouse undergoes extensive refurbishment

Town Mayor, Cllr Andrew Malloy said “As we begin to emerge from lockdown, Knutsford Town Council has been very conscious of the need to maintain a social distancing for those visiting the town centre.  As a result, we’ve been discussing the best way to implement a solution, listening to businesses, residents and government advice, and as such we’ve set out our recommendations to Cheshire East Council for implementation as soon as possible.

This is just a first step, and the situation will remain under review, with further steps to be requested as required, but it is important to implement restrictions to traffic on both King and Princess Street to ensure safety for all during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

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A further update regarding Covid-19 (Coronavirus) and our Events Programme

A further update regarding Covid-19 (Coronavirus) and our Events Programme

A further statement regarding our Events programme and the status of our events during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Knutsford Town Council is continually monitoring the latest government advice concerning the spread of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and the latest social distancing advice to limit the spread of the virus.

We are closely monitoring government advice day-by-day and will continue to follow guidelines, including postponing and cancelling events where this becomes necessary. We will always prioritise public health and make responsible decisions when planning events to protect the public, our volunteers and staff.

We have made the decision not to postpone our VE Day Street Party event planned originally for 8th May to later in the summer, due to concerns that the event would not be able to be held due to restrictions still being in place. The event has now been cancelled and will not take place this year. Instead, the Town Council is holding a live VE Day 75th Anniversary commemorative service on our Facebook page at 2.45pm on Friday 8th May – just head to www.facebook.com/knutsfordtowncouncil to watch.

On Monday, the council’s Events and Town Centre Management Committee agreed to postpone the Knutsford Music Festival which had been scheduled to take place from 12th – 14th June. A suitable weekend in September has been identified which the festival could potentially be postponed to, although no final decision has been made on this yet. The committee will meet again on 26th May to review the latest government advice and determine whether the event can be safely postponed to September or whether the 2020 event will be cancelled.

If the festival is postponed, tickets will be automatically transferred to the new dates. If ticket holders cannot attend on the new dates, refunds will be offered. If the festival is cancelled, all ticket holders will be entitled to a full refund less the transaction fees and will be contacted to arrange refunds.

The council is working hard to ensure that events are postponed where possible, but the Town Council will continue to prioritise public health and will cancel events if it is felt it would be unsafe to hold them, or where government mandates that mass gatherings must be banned.

The council will continue to closely monitor the situation as it develops over the coming months and make decisions regarding events scheduled to take place later in the year closer to the time.

Currently there have been no changes made to the Pumpkin Path event scheduled for 31st October or the Knutsford Christmas Markets scheduled for 28th & 29th November. The committee will review advice closer to these events and make decisions as to whether these events can be safely held in the coming months.

We would like to thank everyone for their patience as we work hard to minimise disruption during this tough time and we will continue to keep the public updated with our plans as we proceed.

If you would like more information, you can contact the council’s Events Officer at alex.brown@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk.

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75th Anniversary of VE Day

Knutsford Town Council would like your help to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day on Friday 8th May.

The Town Council is creating a commemorative video to mark the anniversary and is inviting Knutsford residents to send content for the video.

Toasts to the fallen heroes of the war can be recorded, with clips of ideally no longer than 10 seconds being filmed in landscape mode on a phone or camera and sent to the council for inclusion in the video.

The Town Council is also inviting any veteran related content, be that in the form of videos of veterans sharing their experience of the war, any photos of veterans during war time and them now or other content that residents feel would be relevant to the video.

All content should be emailed to alex.brown@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk by 30th April for the video to be produced and broadcast on 8th May.

The video project is in partnership with Rachel Bishop Consulting, who are kindly compiling the celebratory video.

The video can be viewed at the end of a special online VE Day service which will be broadcast live to Facebook on Friday 8th May. The short service will commence at around 2.45pm and will pay tribute to fallen heroes and mark the anniversary of the day of victory in Europe. The service will conclude with the first broadcast of the special anniversary video.

Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Green said “We didn’t want this important anniversary to pass without recognition in the community and we encourage you to send us your toast to the fallen and then tune into our Facebook page on 8th May.”

This replaces the council’s previously planned VE Day Street Party which due to social distancing restrictions has had to be cancelled. This online service will replace the commemorative service that was due to take place by the town’s Centennial War Memorial on the day.

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Public Participation at Virtual Council Meetings

The Town Council is taking advantage of new regulations permitting councils to meet virtually during the coronavirus restrictions.

Access to our meetings has never been easier as they will now be broadcast live via Facebook. This will be for those who wish to watch a meeting but not participate and the council will not be following any comments made during the meeting live; we will, however, review any comments after the meeting and respond as appropriate.

All meetings will continue to have a period set aside for public participation, this is where you can address the meeting to make comments or submit questions relevant to the items being discussed at the meeting or the council’s work in general.  To participate you must:

  • Access the meeting via the link published on the meeting agenda, joining with your email address and full name.
  • Raise your “hand” when invited to do so (at the bottom of your zoom screen):

When you are invited to speak, the Town Clerk will allow you to address the meeting – this will be audio only and be heard by the council and any viewers.

If you have any queries about our virtual meetings, please email townclerk@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk

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Cllr Katherine Fletcher Steps Down

Katherine Fletcher MP
Official Photograph

Nether ward councillor Katherine Fletcher has stepped down from the Town Council after being elected as MP for South Ribble in the December 2019 general election. Katherine, who was elected unopposed in the May 2019 council election, resigned with “heavy heart” to the Town Mayor on 15th April.  

In her resignation letter Katherine said “I had hoped to serve Knutsford through this COVID crisis as well as perform my duties as a newly elected MP. It has now become apparent that the sheer volume of work within Parliament and constituency, leaves no room to also do my duties as a Councillor, and it’s with a heavy heart that I find I must resign.”

Katherine served on the council’s Environment, Assets and Finance Committees and was the council’s representative on the Mid Cheshire Community Rail Partnership.

Mayor of Knutsford Cllr Andrew Malloy said “Katherine’s enthusiasm and knowledge on areas in particular relating to the environment have been a real bonus to the council, especially as we have been considering the impacts of everyday life on the environment, flora and fauna. I would like to thank Katherine for her time on the council and wish her all the best in her career as a MP.”

The process of electing a new councillor for the ward is affected by coronavirus with regulations made by the government postponing any by-election to May 2021. Guidance is currently awaited from Cheshire East Council as to whether the preliminary process, giving the residents of Nether Ward the right to demand an election before allowing the council to co-opt a new councillor, can still go ahead.

An announcement will be made in due course formally declaring the casual vacancy and giving electors the right to demand an election for the seat.

Any by-election will only be for the single Nether Ward seat, not the whole council and the elected or co-opted councillor will serve the remainder of Katherine’s term, retiring with the rest of the council in May 2023.

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Town Centre Masterplan Update

Knutsford Town Council thanks the 658 people who completed questionnaires to provide feedback on the draft traffic and parking proposals for Knutsford Town Centre in our recent consultation. Volunteers on our town centre working group have analysed the data and have prepared an initial draft report which is being reviewed.

A sizeable majority supported the proposals, with 58% saying Yes to the question “Overall do you support this 3-part scheme as a first step towards securing the future of Knutsford town centre?”  Support for each of the three parts was even stronger; such as 77% in favour of fewer cars parked on Top and Bottom streets, and enforcing the ‘no-parking’ regulations.

Clearly, however, the sudden economic and social impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has changed things.  The proposals, therefore, will remain dormant until the pandemic has passed and life settles into some new normality.

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Market Hall Open for Essential Shopping

Three traders in Knutsford Market Hall are continuing to support the Knutsford community, offering an independent alternative to the main supermarkets.

The following stalls, which sell food and household essentials, are open

  • Jonty’s Fruit and Veg
  • The Market Butcher
  • Plastic Free Weigh

Shoppers are required to wash their hands before entering the market hall, with one person being served per server. Only traders touch produce and we are encouraging payment by card. Entrance to the market is limited to ensure social distancing requirements are met.

Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Green said “These are challenging times for our town centre businesses and markets across the country. With these measures we can ensure the safety of shoppers and traders whilst supporting our hugely valued independent market traders”

The following stalls are closed:

  • Balloons and Greetings of Knutsford
  • The Market Cafe
  • Morgan Edwards Wines
  • Style Loft Boutique
  • Lou Lou Bella
  • Tatton Photography

The Town Council is waiving stall fees for the traders required to close due to the pandemic.

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COVID-19 (Coronavirus): Operations Update

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday (23/03/20) the Town Council is keen to promote civic responsibility. We urge all residents to obey the new restrictions introduced in the interests of everyone’s safety.

Town Council staff are now working from home; with the exception of maintaining a single officer in Monday to Friday to provide telephone cover and help coordinate the COVID-19 Community Response with We are Knutsford.

We have considered that whilst the work our Town Ranger and Cemetery Groundskeeper do is very important, it is not essential. This is obviously work they cannot do from home but we have sent them home on full pay for the next three weeks; they remain on call to deal with anything urgent that may arise.

The Market Hall remains open in line with government advice. The only stalls trading are the Market Butcher, Jonty’s Fruit and Veg and the Plastic Free Weigh. Distancing measures have been introduced and traders are instructed to have zero tolerance for any customers not obeying these rules. Where traders have been required to close, we are waiving their rent and we encourage other landlords to do the same.

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COVID-19 (Coronavirus): Council Operations

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus. Knutsford Town Council is following Government guidance in responding to COVID-19.  We want our residents and staff to be healthy and look after their well being.

Supporting We are Knutsford

The Town Council is manning the support line (0800 118 1692) from Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. Outside these hours the line is monitored by community volunteers.

We will continue to provide support and assistance to We Are Knutsford.

Events

The council has taken the decision to cancel the planned VE Day street party and service on 8th May. The Bunny Hop and April Makers Market have also been cancelled.

Council Offices

To maximise the safety of our officers, we are restricting visits to the Council Offices and aim to deal with enquiries by telephone where possible (01565 653929). We are not hosting any external meetings or groups and admission to the offices is limited. Some staff are working from home but remain contactable by email.

Council Meetings

We are suspending our meeting calendar for the foreseeable future. On Monday 23rd the council will be discussing a temporary delegation of authority to the Town Clerk to allow decisions which would ordinarily be taken at meetings to be taken during this period.

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