Archive for Town Clerk Column

The new Council

It’s been a busy few weeks with the elections and on Monday night we held the Annual Council meeting or ‘Mayor Making’. This was where Cllr Tony Dean was voted in as the new Town Mayor along with Cllr Jan Nicholson as Deputy Town Mayor.

I have been asking each of the newly elected (or re-elected) councillors what their priorities over the next four years are; with answers ranging from continuing to seek the agreed asset transfers, increasing highway safety through working with Cheshire East and supporting and developing town events to drive footfall into our town centre.

The contact details for your new councillors are all now on the Town Council website and I am sure they are looking forward to hearing from the residents in their respective wards. All councillors have a dedicated councillor e-mail address in the format firstname.surname@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk

The leases for the transfer of the Allotments have now finally been signed and the transfer of these assets to the Town Council is now imminent. We have been working closely with the Allotment Society and have already planned some quick improvements.

The recent news on the Local Plan helps highlight the importance of Neighbourhood Planning. So, if you want to help shape the future of Knutsford please do contact me to find out more about volunteering for one of the working groups which will help drive a forward Knutsford’s plan for the way Knutsford develops.

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Did you know there’s an election?

You may not have noticed; but there are a few elections in Knutsford tomorrow (Thursday). In all wards except Bexton (where the Town Council is not contested) residents will be handed three ballot papers to elect our MP, Cheshire East Councillors and Town Councillors. Your polling card tells you where your polling station is (or call 0300 123 5016 to speak to CEC Election Services if you don’t have your polling card).

You may have seen we have now commenced the trial for the new Outdoor Market which is every Friday opposite the Market Hall. Please do come along and show support, if this is successful it could be a permanent new market for the town.

Community groups – have you booked to attend the free Meet the Funders event on 20th May? It’s a great opportunity to meet funding bodies and get help securing grants for your organisation’s needs!

Nominations for the Town Awards are now open and I urge everyone to think on who they believe deserves recognition for their work in our community. With the number of nominations made last year, choosing the winners was no mean feat – please give the panel an equally challenging time this year by encouraging everyone you know to make a nomination.

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Meet, Elect, Award

Tonight the Town Council hosts the Annual Town meeting at Curzon. We have around 20 community groups booked to speak from the Promote Knutsford Forum to the Friends of the Moor and Knutsford Hosts. The meeting also offers residents an opportunity to tell the Town Council and the wider community your concerns or suggestions for the year ahead. It starts at 7pm and it would be great to have as many of you there as possible.

Three of the four town council wards are contested and there will be elections held on May 7th. We have 16 candidates standing for the 12 seats. Bexton Ward was uncontested and Tony Dean, Simon Hutchence and Christine Gray were elected unopposed. You can view the full list of candidates at the Town Council website.

From tomorrow you will be able to make your nominations for the 2015 Town Awards – so get thinking. Who do you believe deserves recognition for the work they do in the community? Which business has engaged with Knutsford to the benefit of the town? You will be able to make your nominations online and at a number of sites across the town. The Town Awards have again been generously sponsored by the Forum of Private Business.

The Town Clerk’s Column is a bi-weekly blog appearing in the Knutsford Guardian.

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Last chance to Stand

The Town Council can now offer low cost website hosting for community organisations for just £15 per year. You can find out more on the community section of our website.

Also under the community section you can find information on the Knutsford Citizens Advice Service which is funded by the Town Council and currently operates from the Council Offices. We are working with the Citizens Advice Bureau to find a permanent location for their twice-weekly service.

The Annual Town Meeting is an opportunity for everyone in the town to hear updates from local community groups, the first opportunity to nominate in the Town Awards and an ideal place to raise suggestions or concerns about what should be happening in the Town – this year it is being held on Wednesday 22nd April at 7pm in the Cranford Suite.

The final full council meeting before the elections was held last Monday and we have just four more meetings before the election. You can view the full meeting calendar for 2015 on our new website.

If you are planning on standing for election on May 7th you need to get your nomination papers to Cheshire East at Sandbach by 4pm tomorrow. If you haven’t already registered to vote in the elections – make sure you do by April 20th – visit www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

The Town Clerk’s Column is a bi-weekly blog appearing in the Knutsford Guardian.

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Town Council Elections 2015 – Get Involved

On Friday I posted the notice of election on the Town Council noticeboard; kicking off the countdown to Election Day on May 7th. On May 7th, Knutsford electors will have the opportunity to vote in the Parliamentary, Borough and Town elections – the first time all three have been held on the same day.

There are two important roles for you to play in these elections. The first is applicable to everyone – make sure you are registered to vote. The deadline to register to ensure you can vote in the elections is April 20th. Registering is easy and can be done online in seconds at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

Some of you may want to have a greater role. How about standing for election to the Town Council? Knutsford comprises of four electoral wards for the Town Council – Nether, Norbury Booths and Bexton all elect three councillors each whilst Over Ward elects 6 councillors. You could stand for election in any ward; you just need two electors from the ward to propose and second you.

If you would like to discuss what is involved in being a town councillor simply give me a call on 01565 653 929 or you can get a glimpse of what the Council does by visiting our website.  NALC also has some fantastic guides on their website www.nalc.gov.uk/publications.

The deadline to hand-deliver your nomination papers to the elections team at CEC is 4pm April 9th.

The Town Clerk’s Column is a bi-weekly blog appearing in the Knutsford Guardian.

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Meet the Funders

The Town Council is working on a new website which will be launched in early March. The new site will feature more community information as well as more information on the Town Council’s services and projects. If you have any suggestions for content please let me know.

In May, the Council will be hosting a “Meet the Funders” event with CVSCE. This will be an opportunity for community organisations to engage with a number of local grant funders – which will include the Town Council’s community grant scheme.

The Town Council is entering Knutsford into the Cheshire Community Pride awards again; so fingers crossed that in October we will advance from a runner up (behind Sandbach) to best kept Market Town.

Next week the Operations Committee will be setting out its “Vision for Knutsford Cemetery” as part of our working with Cheshire East to deliver improvements to the Cemetery at Tabley Hill. It will include aspirations of the cemetery achieving Green Flag status and having an active Friends of Knutsford Cemetery group by 2020. Operations will also be looking at installing lighting in Wallwood and how it will work with the Allotment Society to deliver improvements following the imminent transfer of two of the allotment sites to the Town Council.

The Town Clerk’s Column is a bi-weekly blog appearing in the Knutsford Guardian.

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Vision for the Cemetery

Knutsford Town Council has set out its vision for Knutsford Cemetery identifying key aspirations over the next 5 years. Whilst the Cemetery is owned by the Town Council it is operated by Cheshire East. The Town Council has firstly committed to re-standing a number of broken/fallen headstones to make the cemetery more attractive to visitors. The full vision will be on the new Town Council website, launching very soon.

The Town Council has committed to playing a more active role in s106 agreements – these agreements, between CEC and developers, see developers contribute financially towards improvements in the town.

If you are considering standing in the Town Council elections this May, you can now collect a nomination pack from the Town Council offices. You can find out more about what is involved by contacting the Town Clerk or more generally by visiting www.nalc.gov.uk/publications

The new Town Council website is getting ready to go live and will be up very shortly – if you have any suggestions for content – information you think should be online or any comments once it is live – please let us know.

Finally, don’t forget to share your views on the relocation of the Haron Baronian statue to form a new Town Centre War Memorial – the consultation on the Council’s website ends this Friday.

The Town Clerk’s Column is a bi-weekly blog appearing in the Knutsford Guardian.

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New War Memorial and future of Sessions House

The Town Council hosted a positive meeting about the future uses of the Sessions House last week and we hope that the representations the Town Council will make following the meeting will help protect the building for the future.

The next matter the Town Council is seeking your opinions on is the relocation of Haron Baronian statue to form a new town centre memorial. We have been working with the Knutsford Royal British Legion and you can find out more about the proposals on our website from next week or by visiting the drop-in sessions in the Old Town Hall on the 20/21/22 February.

I accompanied two of the Knutsford Lions to Knutsford Academy last week to help promote the Young Leaders in Service scheme, which the Town Council supports, to year 7. I gave a very brief introduction to the Town Council and was pleased to note that a number of the pupils had heard of it. If you know someone aged 11-18 who might be interested in the scheme, please do contact one of the Lions.

On a final note; don’t forget the Mayor’s Quiz next Wednesday at the White Bear – register a team with Clare to be in with a chance of winning a bottle of wine – or just turn up on the night.

The Town Clerk’s Column is a bi-weekly blog appearing in the Knutsford Guardian.

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Busy start to 2015

It has already been a busy start to 2015 for the Town Council with plans being made for a new weekly outdoor market. A trial will be taking place in May and June – so if you are a budding market trader please contact me for more information.

The Events Committee has outlined its plans for Christmas 2015 and is keen to hear from residents on any ideas for improved light displays or additional events to really make Knutsford buzz this December.

The two allotment sites at Warren Avenue and Sparrow Lane will finally be transferred to the Town Council in February and the Operations Committee is beginning to work with the Allotment Society to improve the sites and establish if more allotments are needed in the town.

Progress is also being made on the Neighbourhood Plan with the steering committee now meeting monthly at the Council Offices – you can find out more at www.knutsfordneighbourhoodplan.org.uk.

Improvements to Knutsford Cemetery will also be made this year with the Town Council investing in fixing a number of headstones which have been laid flat or fallen. The aim is to make the cemetery a nicer area for visiting friends and relatives.

The Town Council will also be launching a new website this year; improving its compatibility with tablets and smartphones, introducing new sections and improving the navigation.

Finally, the Town Council will be seeking “Quality Gold” status under the new Local Council Award scheme; we have a few minor bits to do before we submit for accreditation, but hope to be able to wear the “Quality Gold” badge very soon.

The Town Clerk’s Column is a bi-weekly blog appearing in the Knutsford Guardian.

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Blue Plaques & Christmas Review

A Blue Plaque scheme will soon be adopted by the Town Council which will potentially see Blue Plaques recognising people such as Edward Penny RA (founder of the Royal Academy, born on Silk Mill St) and buildings such as the Royal George. If you know of a location or person you think deserves immortalising in a Blue Plaque the scheme will provide an avenue for a plaque being installed.

What did you think of the Christmas Lights? The Events Committee will be looking at how it can improve displays this year so if you have any comments or suggestions please let us know. Similarly if you have any feedback on the Lantern Parade and Christmas Lights switch on event – please pass your comments to me or one of your councillors.

In December we launched a new website for the Neighbourhood Plan – www.knutsfordneighbourhoodplan.org.uk and a Twitter account – @KnutsfordNP. Both are designed to introduce neighbourhood planning and provide information on where Knutsford is up to.

Towards the end of February we will be consulting on the proposed relocation of the Haron Baronian statue to a Town Centre location. This will involve drop-in engagement events in the Old Town Hall on February 20th, 21st and 22nd. More details will be in the Guardian as it gets closer.

The Town Clerk’s Column is a bi-weekly blog appearing in the Knutsford Guardian.

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