Knutsford Alfresco Dining Evenings August 2022

Following the success of the 2021 event, and as part of our ongoing plans to support the town centre, we are bringing back alfresco dining evenings on Friday 12th and Saturday 13th August.  To facilitate this, there will be the following road closures which may affect you:

  • King Street – from Church Hill to Egerton Square (allowing access to and from the King Street car park) Closed Saturday 13th August
  • Princess Street – small section outside the Lost and Found (as well as some restricted parking bays) Closed Friday 12th August
  • Minshull Street – full closure. Closed Friday 12th August

The roads will be closed from 5.30pm to 11.00pm and our local hospitality businesses will use the outside space for dining. Only existing Knutsford hospitality venues are taking part although some shops may take advantage of the event and stay open later.  We are contracting a traffic management company and are engaging with the emergency services to ensure the safety of the evenings. Roads will be reopened fully from 11pm. We are also looking to repeat this event on 9th and 10th September.

We are working extremely closely with the participating restaurants to ensure safety for those walking through the town centre and the evenings. We have also stressed the importance of ensuring the spaces used are routinely cleared up and that customers are reminded that a number of residents live in apartments above shops. We sincerely apologise for any disruption this causes but your cooperation is very much appreciated by the Town Council, and our hospitality industry as we continue to keep our town centre thriving. We welcome your feedback on the evenings and hope that you can take advantage of these opportunities too.

If you have any queries or questions regarding this, please contact me by email Alanah.mudie@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk

Four people, one the town mayor, stand in a cemetery holding up the green flag

Knutsford Cemetery achieves Green Flag

Knutsford Town Council is celebrating as Knutsford Cemetery has received the prestigious Green Flag Award, an international quality mark for the management of parks and green spaces.

Responsibility for the cemetery transferred to Knutsford Town Council in January 2020 and since then it has worked to improve the quality of management of the cemetery and bereavement services, receiving numerous compliments from visitors who recognise the investment and attention the cemetery is now receiving. 

The Green Flag Award scheme, managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for the management of green spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world.

“Attaining the award is testament to the quality of management the Town Council has instigated, through our cemetery working group, since we took back its operation two years ago. The award particularly recognises the work of our Cemetery Groundskeeper, Fergal Owens, who has worked incredibly hard to improve the quality of grounds maintenance and our Planning and Facilities Officer Bob Allen who has put in place strong management practices” said Town Mayor, Cllr Mike Houghton.

The council will be continuing to improve the cemetery and deliver on its new five-year management plan. The council is currently creating a new cremation garden and later this year will be improving the entranceway to the cemetery, over the coming years it will create additional flowerbeds, install cycle parking and develop its customer engagement.

Knutsford Cemetery is the third green space in Knutsford to be awarded the Green Flag, joining Cheshire East managed areas The Moor and Tatton Park.

Food and Drink Festival Poster

Knutsford Food & Drink Festival 2022

Foodies unite as a new food and drink festival is coming to Knutsford this summer!

 

Knutsford Food & Drink Festival will make its inaugural appearance on Saturday 13th August, bringing a variety of food and drink related activities together for one day across Knutsford.

 

Visitors can expect taster sessions and masterclasses as well as promotions across bars, restaurants, cafes and pubs in the town. A special Taste Knutsford walking food tour will be held on the day to give guests a real taste of Knutsford hospitality.

 

An indoor market will be held in St John’s Church on Church Hill from 11am – 5pm, offering the finest local food and drink products including speciality bakes, cheeses, pies, bottled wines and other artisan products.

 

An outdoor market will run on Silk Mill Street from 12-7pm, featuring an array of local street food traders, including Mexican, sausages, southern BBQ, pizza, Thai and more, as well as dessert offerings such as warm cookies, churros and crepes, plus a selection of local beer, wine and cocktails. The outdoor market will feature a seating area as well as a small stage with entertainment featuring local talent.

 

King Street will turn alfresco in the evening with the return of the al fresco dining event ‘head out not home’ where hospitality traders in the town bring dining onto the streets of Knutsford to continue the festivities. Princess Street and Minshull Street will have set things off the night before.

 

Events Officer at Knutsford Town Council, Alex Brown, said: “We are really excited to bring the first food and drink festival to Knutsford this summer. Knutsford is home to a fantastic selection of hospitality businesses and traders, and we hope this event will showcase and support this important trade which has faced hard times over the last couple of years.”

 

To find out more about the festival, visit www.knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk or email enquiries@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk, or alternatively you can call 01565 653 929.

Two groups of people discussing things around a table

Workshops held to inform Strategic Plan

Knutsford Town Council hosted five workshops last week as part of creating its new 10 year strategy.

Three sessions were held at Egerton Place in the town centre and one at the Welcome Café on Longridge.  The Town Council also ensured it heard from the younger members of the community by delivering a session to a class of year 9 students at the Knutsford Academy and they were joined by a few year 12s too.

The Town Council is developing a new 10-year strategy to guide its work and until 5th August is running an open consultation to hear from the community what it wants to see the council do to better serve Knutsford.

“We’re keen to understand what the community wants to see change over next ten years so we can work to help deliver that change for the town” said Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Green.

The council’s next workshop is being held online via Zoom next Thursday (14th July). Residents can register to join it via the council website at www.knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk/strategicplan.

The website also hosts a short survey which replicates the format of the workshops – including a short introductory video. The survey is open until 5th August.

“Our aim is to hear from as many residents as possible over the next few weeks” Adam added.

All feedback from residents is encouraged and the council also invites residents to send their views in via letter or email to the Council Offices, Toft Road, Knutsford, WA16 6TA or townclerk@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk

“The more people that come forward to tell us what is important to them, what they want to see more of or less of in the town – no matter how small or grand – will help us shape our pan in the knowledge we’re meeting our resident’s needs” Adam said.

Stall at Market Hall with empty shelves

Join the Knutsford Market Hall Family

Calling all small businesses owners, entrepreneurs, and aspiring traders! There are currently two exciting opportunities for you and your small business to become a part of the Knutsford Market Hall family.

 

In Knutsford, we are proud to offer an array of local and independent retail opportunities. We believe in shopping small, shopping local and supporting the vitality of our town centre.

 

Knutsford Market Hall has been an active part of our community since 1964 and with a refurbishment looking to be undertaken, now is a great time to get your foot in the door, support the ongoing project and join what is already a fantastic group of traders.

 

We are currently searching for a trader to re-establish the options of occasional cards, balloons and more. The large space of stalls 10 & 11 is ideally laid out and readily equipped for a new owner to make it their own. The current monthly fees are £415.74 inc VAT.

 

Alanah Mudie, Town Centre and Marketing Officer explains: “This particular stall has been dearly missed by our regular customers. We always have people coming in to the Market Hall to ask who they can buy cards from. It would be fantastic to reinstate this stall, especially at such an exciting time for the market as we look to transform it with a new refurbishment.”

 

We are looking for traders who are available 4 days a week on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, from 8am-4pm, with the options to open on additional days with agreement.

 

Applicants are invited to discuss their idea with the  Town Centre and Marketing Officer on 01565 653 929 or alanah.mudie@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk.

 

Applications can be made online at: https://www.knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk/services/market-hall/trade where potential applications can find the current Market Hall Regulations which govern market licenses.

 

 

Photo                    Stall 10/11, Opposite the Market Butcher

 

Press contact:                    Alanah Mudie, 01565653929

                                                alanah.mudie@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk

Knutsford Music Festival celebrates another huge success

Between 10th – 12th June, the town was drinking and dancing at Knutsford Music Festival, which has once again been hailed a huge success by the community and those who travelled far and wide to attend. This was the fifth year of the festival and involved a variety of incredible artists, activities, and venues across Knutsford.

Launched with fantastic folk and brilliant blues, the weekend started with headliners Zervas & Pepper at the Little Theatre for the return of Folk at the Theatre whilst Mat Walkate & Alex Haynes headed Friday Night Blues over at the Brook Street Chapel Hall. The star event was a sensational performance by Kate Rusby and Damien O’Kane, whose delicate folk and audience interaction stole the hearts of the crowd at St John’s Church.

Closing the weekend was Gary Stewart’s Graceland who lit up the Little Theatre with their vibrant performance. Brass bands filled the streets of Knutsford with summer music, while DJs and local talent filled bars with music in the evenings. Visitors were also able to enjoy a wonderful outdoor session on the Moor on Saturday 11th June, enjoying music, activities and delicious local food and drink in the sunshine. Venues including Regent Street, The Angel, April’s Kitchen, The Lost and Found, The Old Sessions House and the Lord Eldon hosted some very entertaining fringe events throughout the weekend.

Knutsford Town Council Events Officer Alex Brown said, “It was fantastic to have the festival back in full swing this year, with music in so many venues across Knutsford. The town was bustling all weekend and it was lovely to see the support for the festival from so many local people, and also those who travelled from across the country to enjoy the music.”

The Town Council welcomes any feedback on the event and suggestions for how it can be improved for 2023.

Full photos from this year’s festival are available on the Knutsford Music Festival website and social media platforms. Enquiries for next year’s event can be sent to info@knutsfordmusicfestival.com

The top of a bench with a Knutsford Town Council plaque

Publication of Unaudited Accounts 2021/22

NOTICE OF PUBLIC RIGHTS AND PUBLICATION OF
UNAUDITED ANNUAL GOVERNANCE & ACCOUNTABILITY RETURN

ACCOUNTS FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 MARCH 2022

Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 Sections 26 and 27
The Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/234)

1.Date of announcement Friday 24th June 2022

2. Each year the smaller authority’s Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR) needs to be reviewed by an external auditor appointed by Smaller Authorities’ Audit Appointments Ltd. The unaudited AGAR has been published with this notice. As it has yet to be reviewed by the appointed auditor, it is subject to change as a result of that review.

Any person interested has the right to inspect and make copies of the accounting records for the financial year to which the audit relates and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers, receipts and other documents relating to those records must be made available for inspection by any person interested. For the year ended 31 March 2022, these documents will be available on reasonable notice by application to:

Adam Keppel-Green, Town Clerk
Council Offices, Toft Road, Knutsford, WA16 6TA
townclerk@kntusfordtowncouncil.gov.uk – 07896 669 042

commencing on Monday 27 June 2022
and ending on Friday 5 August 2022

3.Local government electors and their representatives also have:

  • The opportunity to question the appointed auditor about the accounting records; and
  • The right to make an objection which concerns a matter in respect of which the appointed auditor could either make a public interest report or apply to the court for a declaration that an item of account is unlawful. Written notice of an objection must first be given to the auditor and a copy sent to the smaller authority.

The appointed auditor can be contacted at the address in paragraph 4 below for this purpose between the above dates only.

4.The smaller authority’s AGAR is subject to review by the appointed auditor under the provisions of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014, the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 and the NAO’s Code of Audit Practice 2015. The appointed auditor is:

PKF Littlejohn LLP (Ref: SBA Team)
1 Westferry Circus, Canary Wharf
London
E14 4HD
sba@pkf-littlejohn.com

This announcement is made by Adam Keppel-Green, Town Clerk and Responsible Financial Officer.

You can view the unaudited AGAR here: 2021/22 Annual Governance  and Accounting  Records

Cllr Mike Houghton outside the Council Offices

Have your say on new 10 year council plan

Knutsford Town Council is inviting the community to come forward with what it wants to see the council delivering for it over the next ten years as part of its new strategic plan.

 

The council’s strategic plan will cover the 2022-2032 period and set out what the council aims to achieve for the community over this period.  The council is keen to ensure the plan is built on the back of the priorities of the local community so before setting its objectives is running a series of workshops to hear what the town’s residents want to see achieved for the town over the period.

 

The council is hosting five workshops to stimulate discussion and ensure it understands the priorities of the community. The workshops are being held at different times to maximise the ability for people to be able to attend:

 

  • Tuesday 28th June 11am – Egerton Place, Church Hill
  • Wednesday 29th June 7pm – The Welcome, Longridge
  • Thursday 30th June 7pm – Egerton Place
  • Saturday 2nd July 2pm – Egerton Place
  • Thursday 14th July 7pm – Online using Zoom

 

Those who cannot attend the workshops can also feed their priorities in via a survey on the council’s website which goes live on Monday 27th June.

 

All fifteen councillors have starred in a promotional video aiming to get the word out about the consultation and encouraging residents to participate. The video highlights some of the achievements of the council over the last ten years which have included making improvements at Knutsford Cemetery, delivering award winning public toilets and running community events.

 

Speaking in the video, Town Mayor Cllr Mike Houghton said “This is your opportunity to have a say on how the council can work to improve Knutsford for us all. Please take the time to engage as we really do want to hear what you think.”

 

The council’s strategic plan is not to be confused with the Cheshire East Local Plan or the Knutsford Neighbourhood Plan, both of which are planning documents. Instead, the council’s strategic (or corporate) plan will set out what the council itself aspires to achieve for the local community, whether that is through lobbying, delivering new services or improving town assets.

 

More information about the new strategic plan, the workshops and how to have a say online can be found at www.knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk/strategicplan

Mayor Mike Houghton holding a gin bottle

Mayor’s Gin Tasting Masterclass

Calling all gin lovers! To start a new fundraising year for the Mayor of Knutsford, this July we have a tasty event that is guaranteed to give you the Friday feeling and kick off your weekend the right way.

Recently elected Town Mayor, Cllr Mike Houghton, said he was delighted to be announcing his first fundraising event in support of the Mayor’s Charities.

“The Mayoress is known to be partial to an occasional sip of gin and for those who share her passion I will be hosting a Gin Tasting Evening. It won’t be just a tasting session as our host, Ian Cass, will be taking you on a journey to celebrate everything that is gin and we will be sampling the produce of some of our finest local distillers, including Camino Gin, Spirit of George, Hunters Gin and Marmalade Old Tom from Pocketful of Stones.” Mike added.

The evening will include five gin cocktails and food with a cash bar for those who want more. Numbers are strictly limited so be sure to book yours as soon as possible and feel free to invite your friends to make up a table.

The proceeds for the event will kickstart the mayor’s fundraising and support his chosen charities: Knutsford Scouts and Knutsford Men’s Shed.

The Knutsford Scouts do fantastic work in developing life skills for the young community of Knutsford by encouraging healthy and active lifestyles, yet they receive no outside support and so are always in need of fundraising and donations. Also, this year, the mayor is raising funds for the opening of a Knutsford Men’s Shed, which would be a branch of the Men’s Sheds Association, a charity that is working hard to provide spaces for men who are suffering from loneliness.

The event takes place on Friday 1st July at Bexton Primary School. Tickets are £30 per person and bookings can be made by contacting Michelle Bate on 01565 653 929 or emailing michelle.bate@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk.

A man stood outside the Knutsford War Memorial Cottage Hospital in 1922

War Memorial Cottage Hospital

The Town Council has received confirmation that the sale of the Knutsford and District War Memorial Cottage Hospital from the British Red Cross to McCarthy and Stone has now completed. It is therefore likely that demolition of the building will take place in 2022 ahead of the redevelopment of the site.

The below information is an updated version of an article we published in 2018 and provides a background to the work of the Town Council before planning permission was granted for the demolition and development of a retirement living apartment building. The planning permission was formally granted by Cheshire East Council in December 2019.

From the Town Council’s investigations it is confident that British Red Cross was the lawful owner of the property and had the right to sell it to McCarthy and Stone. We have not seen any legal opinion or argument that there was an inability for the Secretary of State for Health to acquire the building in 1948 and the hospital’s designation as a war memorial does not afford it any additional legal protection.

Whilst we believe there was remains a strong moral case that the hospital belongs to the community which paid for it there does not appear to be a legal basis for this which could have prevented the sale of the building.

History of the hospital 1922-1995

The Knutsford and District War Memorial Cottage Hospital was built by the community as a war memorial following World War I, opening in 1922. The funds to build the hospital were raised by community subscriptions, it was built on land donated by Cuthbert Leicester Warren and was operated as a community hospital. The land was conveyed to the hospital trustees in 1937 with a covenant that it remains a hospital. Following the passage of the National Health Service Act 1946, ownership of the hospital was transferred to the Government. The community continued to support the hospital through the League of Hospital Friends.

In 1994 the health authority declared the hospital was surplus to requirements. Consultation was undertaken and it is understood the community supported the British Red Cross using the hospital for its services. The Town Council supported this on the basis that if the British Red Cross ever vacated the site it would return to the government; such a clause was not included.

The health authority was keen to get rid of the building and loaned the British Red Cross the £275,000 purchase price; creating a charge on the building that if it was sold this would be repaid, like an outstanding mortgage. The land which benefited from the covenant created in 1937 was now owned by Manchester University which agreed to vary the covenant to allow the British Red Cross to use the hospital. The university land was later acquired by the Crown Estate which then held the benefit of the covenant.

Our work in 2016-17

In April 2016, when the proposed disposal of the War Memorial Cottage Hospital by the Red Cross became clear, the Town Council established a working group led by Cllr Stewart Gardiner to investigate matters further. The working group comprised councillors and residents.

The working group researched all documents related to the history, management and disposal of the memorial to compile a background information paper. This included looking at the land registry documents, minutes of the League of Hospital Friends, Town Council minutes, regional/local health authority documents, newspaper archives and records held in the Cheshire Records Office.

The Town Council applied to have the memorial registered as an Asset of Community Value in June 2016. This was under the Community Right to Bid legislation which required a strict definition of community use. This application was rejected by Cheshire East Council as they felt the evidence was not strong enough to demonstrate the current use of the building furthered the social wellbeing of the local community as defined by the Localism Act.

In August 2016 the Town Council submitted an application to Historic England for the building to be ‘listed’ as a building of special architectural or historic interest. This was rejected by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on the grounds that the building is not of sufficient special interest in a national context.

Whilst there was a national campaign to list war memorials (such as the Cross Town War Memorial which was listed at Grade II in 2016) when the memorial is a building it assessed on the historical/architectural interest of the building first and foremost.

From our investigations the Town Council is confident that:

  1. The British Red Cross are the lawful owners of the freehold of the War Memorial Cottage Hospital, having bought it from the NHS in 1994
  2. The covenant which restricts the use of the land can be varied by mutual agreement between the British Red Cross and the Crown Estate
  3. The hospital’s designation as a War Memorial does not afford it any protection and no legal definition of a war memorial exists.

It was concluded that whilst there remains a strong moral case that the hospital belongs to the community which paid for it there does not appear to be a legal basis for this which could prevent the sale of the building. It is understood that the sale price is around £2,500,000.

As it became apparent that efforts to protect the building were limited the Town Council sought an Article IV Direction by Cheshire East Council which prevented the building from being demolished without planning consent.

The Town Council held meetings with the British Red Cross and sought to secure a share of the proceeds from the sale for the community; either to be placed into a Community Trust to benefit the health and wellbeing of the Knutsford community or to fund new community facilities. This was rejected by the British Red Cross which stated they were duty bound to return the profits to the Charity.

The Town Council, and then MP George Osborne, wrote to the Crown Estate who stand to share in the profits from the sale again to seek a share of the proceeds to be invested into the community. This was rejected by the Crown Estate which stated it was duty bound to return its profits to the Treasury.

The Town Council has written to NHS England, which it understands will also share in the profits from the sale, to seek its proceeds being invested in new health facilities in Knutsford. No response was received.

The Town Council is aware of rumours that it has sought to profit from the sale of the building; it has only ever sought to get the best possible outcome for the Knutsford community considering that the prevention of its sale is unlikely.

Sale to McCarthy and Stone

The Town Council was informed in August 2017 that the Red Cross proposed to sell the memorial to McCarthy and Stone and the working group met with them in September and October 2017 to understand their plans which, it transpired, involved the demolition of the hospital. McCarthy and Stone attended the Town Council meeting in November 2017 where it formally outlined its plans, stated it was not viable to retain the hospital building.

The working group considered that with the protection of the building highly unlikely it was in the community’s best interests to work with McCarthy and Stone to influence proposals. The working group met with McCarthy and Stone in December 2017 and January 2018 where it was confirmed that the building would not be demolished in 2018, that a memorial garden would be incorporated with the working group providing input into its design and including recognition of the hospital through interpretation boards or similar and that the new building would be named to reflect the former use of the site. It was agreed that the two oak panels which list the fallen would be relocated into public view at the Council Offices. The Town Council was disappointed that its request that one of the apartments be placed into a community trust was rejected.

In April 2018 the Town Council submitted formal objections to the planning application requesting that other uses for the building be explored.

Cheshire East Council’s Northern Planning Committee considered the application in October 2018 and granted permission for the demolition and redevelopment.

Speaking in 2018, Cllr Stewart Gardiner, lead member for the working group said: “We set out to prevent a sale and to protect Knutsford’s war memorial, attempting numerous avenues to do so. We investigated the ownership, sought statutory protection and its registration as a community asset.”

“We are as frustrated as the wider community that it appears that protecting the War Memorial is not possible. We have now, reluctantly, taken an approach that if we cannot stop this from happening, we must do something to ensure the community does not lose out completely and that the history of this site is remembered.”