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Town Awards Open for Nominations

The call has gone out for the community to put forward its unsung heroes as part of the annual Town Awards. The awards, now in their seventh year, celebrate the contributions of individuals, businesses and community groups to the wider Knutsford community. 

Nominations to the awards close on 31st March and can be submitted to the Town Council online here: Submit a Nomination.

The awards, which have been sponsored by the Knutsford based Forum of Private Business since inception, will be presented on Monday 27th April at Knutsford Academy.

Ian Cass, managing director of the Forum of Private Business said “The Forum of Private business are delighted to be sponsoring the Knutsford Town Awards again this year, we have been based in Knutsford and part of this wonderful community for over 40 years and it’s a pleasure to be able to give something back to support the wonderful individuals and businesses who contribute so much to the town”

Ian Cass of the Forum of Private Business with Cllr Andrew Malloy.

Seven awards are presented and award organisers Knutsford Town Council urge the community to submit nominations with Town Mayor, Cllr Andrew Malloy saying “The awards are an ideal opportunity to recognise unsung heroes, those who go above and beyond to support our local community, whether an individual, community group or business, young or old, send us your nominations, give us as much information about the nominee as you can, let’s reward those who truly deserve it.”

The Town Council is looking for nominations in the following categories:

Civic Award –presented to individuals who give their time voluntarily to undertake work in the community.

Business Award – recognises a business which has supported or worked with the community.

Youth Award – presented to someone aged 21 or under who is giving their time to support the community

Community Award for a voluntary organisation delivering a service to the community

Nominations to the 2019 awards inspired a new category open for nominations in 2020, the Extra Mile Award which last year went to Knutsford Town Ranger Bob Garner, will be presented to given to someone who as part of their paid job is going above and beyond to the benefit of the community.

Nominations should be accompanied by a short explanation of why an award is deserved which helps the panel decide who the award should go to.

Also new for 2020 will be the Knutsford Schools’ Sustainability Award. Children are encouraging local businesses to make 2020 the year they reduce plastic and boost their green credentials and have launched the sustainability award for businesses which have made a significant contribution to making Knutsford ‘plastic free’. The award will be decided by the new Knutsford and District Youth Council.

Alison Hooper, Head of Egerton Primary School and coordinator of this award said “Our children were amazed by the fact that in weight there is more plastic than fish in the sea, so they decided that the Youth Council number one priority was to try and make Knutsford plastic-free. They believe that together we can make a difference.’ 

Businesses are encouraged to put themselves forward for this award by emailing jill.webb@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk and demonstrate just three things that they have done to reduce plastic use in their business, how it has made an impact, and what their plans are for the future.

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Consultation Meetings for Town Centre Masterplan

Knutsford Town Council is launching a consultation on proposals for changes to Town Centre Traffic and Parking arrangements as the first stage of developing a Town Centre Masterplan.

The council’s Town Centre Masterplan Working Group, which comprises local residents, businesses and councillors, has prepared proposals for a limited-vehicle access scheme for the Town Centre. The scheme aims to reduce the volume of traffic on King and Princess Streets whilst maintaining access to all homes, businesses and car parks.

The bold proposals include creating new pedestrian squares at Canute Place and outside Lost and Found on Princess Street as well as the development of well-designed multi-storey car parks to increase parking. The proposals also include creating an access to Princess Street directly from the A50 through the car park behind Waitrose.

Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Green said, “These proposals form the first part of developing an overall master plan for Knutsford Town Centre with the overriding aim of ensuring we have a town centre which continues to flourish. These proposals focus on the mechanics of the town centre, and future work on the masterplan will look at issues such as pavement and road surfaces”

Public consultation events are being held on Tuesday 4th February (6:30pm) and Wednesday 5th February (2pm) in Knutsford Methodist Church. Town Centre residents and businesses were invited to preview the proposals at events held this week and the Town Council hopes to engage as many stakeholders as possible to garner their views on the proposals.

The consultation commences on Wednesday 5th February when full details will be published on the Town Council website. The consultation runs to March 13th.

You can view the consultation page here: Town Centre Masterplan Consultation

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Town Council Precept Increase

Knutsford Town Council is aware of the recent comments in the Knutsford Guardian concerning the council’s 2020/21 budget and precept (our share of the council tax) and wishes to provide additional clarity on the changes and answer some people’s concerns.

What is the change?

The Town Council sets an annual precept which is collected as part of Council Tax. In 2019 this cost a Band D taxpayer £64 per year and in 2020 this will increase to £88. This is an increase of £24 over 12 months.

This change sees the council collect £511,118 from council tax, a £140,048 increase on the 2019 figure of £371,070.

How did the Belle Epoque affect the budget?

La Belle Epoque Limited was a tenant at 60 King Street, a property owned by the Town Council. Under the lease, which was agreed with the former tenant the council was required to undertake the maintenance of the building which owing to its age and listed-status was significant and on-going.

The former tenant, La Belle Epoque Limited is now in liquidation; the company entered this owing the Town Council just over £67,000, primarily for legal fees incurred by the Town Council in seeking to enforce the lease. Towards the end of the tenancy La Belle Epoque Limited had been failing to pay rent on time for almost three years and had been frustrating the council’s ability to undertake essential maintenance. While the Town Council took no pleasure in terminating the lease with the company we did so in the long-term interests of our taxpayers.

The short term consequence of the termination is that the council has incurred additional costs; including paying for the removal of the rubbish and furniture left by the tenant, additional maintenance of the vacant building as well as the costs involved in obtaining a new tenant. These have been in the region of £19,000. The Town Council had also spent just over £46,000 from its general reserve fund in the 2018 financial year to cover the cost of scheduled maintenance which it planned to cover from the 2019 rent. In total this left our year end position with a combined deficit of £132,000.

The Town Council took the decision to forfeit the lease with a view to securing a new tenant on better terms. The Town Council is currently considering bids from three prospective tenants and under all options the tenant will be responsible for the maintenance of the building; rather than the next five years seeing the council make no surplus on the property (as we would have under the old lease), we anticipate that our 2021 budget will see a surplus that would allow the council to reduce the precept.

In addition, the Town Council’s Finance Committee will be looking at reviewing the council’s reserves policies with a view to ensuring that the council’s reserves can better accommodate any future changes in tenant without needing to rely on a precept increase.

Why increase the staff budget?

The Town Council’s staff budget has increased by around £50,000 for 2020. £20,000 of this is covered by the income from Knutsford Cemetery which the Town Council became responsible for in January and this funds the administration and maintenance of the cemetery.

During 2019 the Town Council undertook a root and branch review of its staffing. This resulted in the creation of a separate Events Officer role (previously combined in other roles) to provide  better management of the organisation of the council’s events programme and an increase in the number of hours for our Town Ranger so he can spend more time out and about tackling the small jobs that matter to residents. The new staffing structure ensures that the council has the staff it needs to deliver the varied services we provide to the Knutsford community.

What does the Town Council do for £88?

Here’s just a few of the things we do for the £88 charged to a Band D property the Town Council:

  • Provides funding support to local charities and community groups
  • Funds the provision of the Citizens Advice service in Knutsford
  • Provides public toilets, allotments, the market hall, a cemetery and Wallwood
  • Will be renovating/creating gardens behind Booths Supermarket and around the Chelford Road Obelisk
  • Will be undertaking reviews of the town Conservation Areas to ensure our heritage is preserved
  • Organises the Bunny Hop, Pumpkin Path, Music Festival, Christmas Lights and Christmas Market to help keep our town thriving
  • Will be organising a street party on the Moor to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day

Statement from the Mayor

Town Mayor, Cllr Andrew Malloy said “As taxpayers ourselves, councillors are of course very conscious of the impact of any rise on our residents. We know that a 37% increase sounds dramatic but encourage residents to consider the pounds and pence – this increase is £24.07 over 12 months, or 46p per week”

“Whilst it is too early to prepare our 2021 budget, I can say that we have the intention to reduce the precept next year and we fully expect we will be able to”

 “As well as seeking to secure increased net income from 60 King Street, the council is looking to reduce the costs of operating its public toilets and looking to secure tenants for new commercial spaces it is creating within the buildings”

“We welcome scrutiny of our budget, which is available on our website, and invite residents with queries about any aspect of the budget to contact our Town Clerk.”

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Town Council takes back Knutsford Cemetery

Cllrs Jan Nicholson and Andrew Malloy

Knutsford Town Council marked the turn of the new year by becoming a burial authority as Knutsford Cemetery returned to local control; this followed a review of options which took place in September 2018 when the council decided to terminate the service agreement with Cheshire East Council.

The five-acre site on Tabley Road opened in January 1902 and whilst it had been managed by Cheshire East Council and the former Macclesfield Borough Council since 1974 the ownership of the site has always been held by Knutsford Town Council.

“Our aim is to have a place of remembrance in which we can all commemorate, remember and spend time with our loved ones, a place which the community can be truly proud of and we believe the town council is best placed to deliver this.”

Cllr Andrew Malloy, Mayor of Knutsford

During 2020 the council will be introducing a number of changes as part of ambitious plans to make the cemetery the best in Cheshire. The council’s plans include:

  • Installation of new bins across the cemetery to make it easier for visitors to dispose of on-site waste
  • Creation of new flower beds at the entrance to the cemetery
  • Installing additional benches to provide a place for visitors to sit and reflect
  • Planting trees to replace those which have been felled in the past
  • Re-standing fallen grave stones
  • Removing the existing ‘road blocks’ made with old grave stones and replacing them with flower planters

A new part-time post of Cemetery Groundskeeper has been created and will start in March with the mission of ensuring the cemetery is continually well cared for. On top of the essential maintenance the groundskeeper will be levelling lawns and tackling areas which have been overtaken by weeds. The groundskeeper will help the council minimise costs and cut carbon emissions by composting all green waste generated at the cemetery, creating compost which will be used on site.

The transfer of the cemetery operation is being delivered at no cost to the Knutsford taxpayer as costs are forecast to be covered by the fees charged for burials.

“We have been exploring the options on how best to manage the cemetery for a number of years and with it now back under direct town council control we are looking forward to making improvements and maintaining a quality cemetery for our residents”

Cllr Jan Nicholson, Deputy Chairman of the council’s Assets and Operations Committee and member of the council’s cemetery working group

The council welcomes feedback on all the services it offers and especially suggestions as to how it can work it make the cemetery as welcoming and pleasant as possible. 

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Millennium Bursary 2019

Second year university students from Knutsford are encouraged to apply for the Millennium Bursary.

Since 2000 the Town Council and Knutsford Lions have offered a £530 bursary to a second-year student from Knutsford to assist with their final year studies. The Knutsford Lions often also provide further smaller awards to runner-up students.

The bursary is open to all second-year university students whose term-time address is in Knutsford or Toft. To apply, students simply need to complete a short form giving a background to their studies and how the bursary will help them achieve more at university.

The deadline for applications is 31st December. The application form can be downloaded at: www.knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk/services/millennium-bursary

All applicants will be invited to an interview in early January where the interviewers (Cllr Andrew Malloy, Mayor of Knutsford, Ms Jennifer Holbrook, former Mayor and Mr Michael Goldman, Knutsford Lions) will seek to better understand how the bursary can help studetnts’ studies.

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Remembrance Sunday Services

Knutsfordians are invited to join the Knutsford Royal British Legion and Knutsford Town Council for services of Remembrance this Sunday, 10th November. The order and format of events has changed for 2019 with the parade commencing earlier to facilitate the 1045am service at the Centennial War Memorial which will now form the focus of the town’s commemorations.

0845 Parade assembles at Drury Lane (Ruskin Rooms), Knutsford WA16 6HA
0900 Parade from Drury Lane to St Johns Church
0930 Remembrance Service at St Johns Church
1030 Parade reassembles to march to Centennial War Memorial
1045 Remembrance service and wreath laying at Centennial War Memorial
1120 Parade back to Drury Lane
1150 Remembrance service and wreath laying at Cross Town War Memorial
1230 Remembrance service and wreath laying at War Memorial Cottage Hospital, Northwich Road
1315 Wreath laying and prayers at the Tatton Park Parachute Regiment Memorial
1400 Refreshments at Council Offices

All are welcome to join us at the wreath laying, parade and the various services to commemorate this years Remembrance Sunday. Please note that road closures will be in place for the safety of the parade along King Street, Princess Street and Tatton Street/Canute Place. Toft Road will be closed for the parade to the centennial memorial and during the service taking place. There will also be a road closure on Mobberley Road from 1140 to 1220 for the Cross Town service.

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Council decides not to purchase Marshall House

The opportunity to purchase a landmark building in the Town Centre was considered by the Town Council at two meetings in October. Marshall House, the Victorian former Egerton School on Church Hill, was put up for sale following the collapse of Wright Marshall. At an initial meeting in October councillors decided that it was worth exploring options for the building, recognising it could provide a additional community space and public car parking.

An options paper was prepared in advance of a deadline to submit a bid to purchase the building of the 1st November. This paper was considered at a special meeting of the town council on Tuesday 29th October where it was noted that the limited time available meant a fully costed and detailed business case could not be prepared. The options paper explored the idea of purchasing Marshall House to convert it into a Town Hall venue, accommodating the Market Hall and/or Council Offices. One key benefit identified was the opening up a large hall for the community, identified as a need in the Neighbourhood Plan.

It has been anticipated that the purchase price would be in excess of £1.5m and it was concluded that purchasing the building would not provide value for public money. The council accordingly resolved not to submit a bid or explore the options any further.

Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Green said “The Town Council is always looking for opportunities to improve the facilities and services available to our community, on balance we felt that this would have presented too much risk and been a poor use of public money.

“We look forward to seeing proposals to bring this fantastic building back into active use developed by the new owners in due course”.

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Taste Knutsford turns one

Knutsford’s walking food tour, Taste Knutsford, launched last autumn has recently celebrated its 1st birthday.

The tour showcases the best of Knutsford’s culinary offerings with guests walking around Knutsford tasting a variety of foods from brunch, nibbles, ice creams, and sorbet, tapas through to afternoon tea, cheese and gin.  The tour lasts approximately 3 hours and is led by local resident and cake maker – Lucy Farnon of Knutsford Bake Club assisted by Nicola Arnell who ensures the social media feed during each tour is kept up to date.

Sandra Curties, Town Centre Manager said, “Since the Autumn 2018 around 160 people have enjoyed a food tour – meaning they have tasted 160 sausage rolls, ice cream, tapas and cheese amongst other treats!  We are really pleased about how well the tours have been received, our Trip Advisor reviews, and how hard the venues work when hosting a tour.  The guests really love meeting the owners and finding out more about the establishment and Knutsford than you would on a normal visit”.

The tours can be booked via www.tasteknutsford.co.uk and private tours for groups of six or over can also be arranged. These private tours are great for hen nights, birthdays or anniversaries.  Eateries taking part in the tour include:

  • The Market Café
  • Morgan Edwards Fine Wines & Spirits
  • Rose & Crown
  • Evuna
  • Real Fruit Creamery
  • Wine & Wallop
  • The Old Sessions House
  • The Cheese Yard
  • The Courthouse
  • Dexter & Jones
  • April’s Kitchen
  • Project 53
  • Courtyard Café
  • Giovanni’s
  • The Tea Room

Alison Cunliffe of The Real Fruit Creamery said, “We love taking part in these tours.  It is a great way to meet people and for people to ask questions, find out about the business and raise awareness”.  

Vincent Lazzarini, Director of The Cheese Yard said, “The Taste Knutsford tours are a great opportunity for me to showcase my independent business and what The Cheese Yard has to offer. We look forward to hosting more Taste Knutsford guests in the coming year”.

If any Knutsford establishment wants to get involved, please contact us.

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Join the Mayor for a Meal

Cllr Andrew Malloy, Mayor of Knutsford invites residents to join him for a fundraising dinner at The Lost & Found on Tuesday 12 November. 

Tickets are priced at just £25 per person for a 3-course meal with a glass of Prosecco.   All proceeds will support the Mayor’s fundraising for Knutsford youth sports and a starter fund for a new skate park for Knutsford.  Please book your place by Monday 4 November.

Andrew said: “Do please join me and the Mayoress, for what should be a fun night, or food, drink and great company, all in aid of my youth and sporty causes.”

For more information visit: http://www.knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk/council/town-mayor/fundraising or contact the Mayor’s PA Annabel Irvine: 01565 653 929 / Annabel.irvine@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk.

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Pumpkin Path is Coming

Knutsford is ready to welcome residents and visitors alike to its annual Pumpkin Path trail on 31st October from 4pm to 7pm.

Like last year Knutsford Town Council are organising the event in conjunction with many of the town’s retailers and businesses.  As per previous years the event will see youngsters and their parents scouring King Street’s shops and restaurants to find the eleven carved pumpkins which spell out “PUMPKIN PATH” before submitting their entries to the Heritage Centre and Wallwood’s spooky post boxes. A huge number of local traders will join in the fun to make Knutsford a truly special and spooky place to visit. 

Sandra Curties, Town Centre Manager, said “This year is a true community led event with dancing provided by Fuchsia School of Dancing, and singing from local choir Knutsford Beats. Main sponsor Savills will be providing a goodie bag to collect treats and offering ‘story time’ sessions in Wallwood at the end. Another sponsor Mere Day Nursery will also be having a little pop-up stall. It is so lovely to see so many shops stay open late and join in – not just the Pumpkin Hosts and see local (and not so local) families having fun.  There will be a few spooky characters along the path and Wallwood will be decorated in true Halloween style.  This event has become huge and we couldn’t do it without help from our volunteer groups and business community who are all amazing”.

As well as the shops hosting pumpkins (kindly donated by Jonty’s Fruit & Veg of Knutsford Market Hall) the whole of the community gets involved.  A huge variety of retailers will be decorating their windows, including Town & Country, Lockton’s, Wendy Diddams and Mr Simms.  Families can collect their entry forms and wristband from one of four ‘Registration Desk’s dotted along King Street. People can vote for their favourite by completing the entry form on the night and the top three will be announced by the Mayor the following day.

Knutsford Market Hall will also be staying open hosting traditional Halloween games, mulled wine from Morgan Edwards, Face Painting (donation to Knutsford May Day) and some Halloween food from The Market Café.  This year those who complete the path will be given a bag of treats courtesy of Swizzels Matlow and a commemorative bookmark declaring ‘I Survived the Pumpkin Path’.

Local company Event Buddha are providing traffic management services and volunteer groups Knutsford and Districts Lions and Knutsford Hosts, Savills and Little Waitrose are assisting with marshalling duties.

Road Closures

To enable the Pumpkin Path to take place safely, road closures will be in place as follows:

  • King Street at the junction with Church Hill to the junction with Drury Lane
  • Minshull Street

There will also be parking bay suspension from midnight Wednesday 30th October from King Street junction with Tatton Street to junction with Drury Lane to enable two-way traffic to enable residents’ access to be maintained.

All affected residents have been contacted directly

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