Paul Langley with Ian Drinkwater of Slipped Discs

Calling all local shopping champions

Knutsford Town Council is calling on all residents and lovers of Knutsford’s high street to get in touch and join a social media campaign to promote the variety of shops on offer.

Sandra Curties, Town Centre Manager, said, “In an increasingly difficult economic climate it is more important than ever to champion our town centre and its wonderful businesses.  We are asking residents and supporters of our town to get in touch and let us know their three favourite shops.  We will then video or interview these shopping champions and share their ‘top shops’ on our social media platforms.  Restaurants, pubs, clothes shops to hardware shops – we don’t mind. The most difficult thing is actually choosing the top three!”.

First up was local resident Paul Langley who chose Detaljer, Slipped Discs of Knutsford Market Hall and The Cheeseyard.  A few more residents are already lined up and if you wish to join them, please email Sandra.curties@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk

Paul Langley, said, “I am proud to be part of this initiative and support our wonderful businesses. I would urge everyone to get involved!”

Proposals invited for future of Knutsford’s iconic 60 King Street

Knutsford Town Council is inviting detailed proposals for the future of 60 King Street, the iconic Grade II* listed building also known as Kings Coffee House. The building, which has been vacant since 2019, offers a unique opportunity for a range of uses in the centre of the Knutsford high street.

The council had been exploring the feasibility of securing major heritage lottery funding to renovate the building in one go, however following further investigation it concluded the likelihood of success in the incredibly competitive funding programmes was too low weighed against the likely investment required to develop a competing bid.

At a Town Council meeting on 10th January, the Town Council voted to invite proposals for a range of uses to enable it to determine the future of the building, including for community led schemes and the sale of the freehold.

Community led proposals should provide a detailed plan of how the building will be used and include a business case for how the building will be operated, how repairs will be funded and phased, detail the personnel involved in the project and provide a project timeline and action plan.

At the same time, the council will also consider offers for the sale of the freehold of the building. With a guide price of £1.1m, it is a rare opportunity to own a prestigious building and proposals for the purchase should include the proposed purchase price, an overview of proposed alterations and setting out he proposed use for the building and how it will support Knutsford Town Centre.

The council is also open to considering any other proposals including lettings.

More information on submissions is available at www.knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk/60ks. All proposals must be submitted by 4pm on 10th March and will be considered at a special Town Council meeting w/c 20th March.

Viewings of the building for those preparing a proposal will be held on Friday 27th January from 10am to 4pm; booking is required and a slot can be booked by emailing townclerk@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk with your preferred time.

Town Mayor, Cllr Mike Houghton said “The Town Council recognises the importance of this incredible building and will carefully consider all proposals received, seeking to find the best future for the building for Knutsford”

“It is important to remember that this is a Grade II* listed building meaning the integrity of the property will always be protected adding, as it does, so significantly to the town’s unique character”

marketing stock photo

Free skills and business development workshops

Knutsford Town Council is hosting a series of workshops aimed at supporting and developing local businesses and skills that will help them compete.

The workshops, which are free to all Knutsford based businesses, are being delivered by local businesses to support their fellow traders by sharing expertise, experience, and tips.

The first workshops to be delivered are:

  • 31st January – Instagram with Kate Rowland, Bella Marketing and Design
  • 13th February – Leadership, Planning and Control with Kevin Jardine, Retail Excellence Partnership
  • 7th March – Excel at Customer Service with Peter Murray, Pulse of Perfumery
  • 21st March – Getting the most from Canva with Rachael McCann, Knutsford Admin
  • 17th April – Window Display and Visual Merchandising with Sue Cottingham, Living-uk

Each workshop will start at 6.15pm and will be held at The Courthouse Cheshire or Knutsford Town Council Offices on Toft Road.

Sandra Curties, Town Centre Manager said, “We are blessed with some fantastic business owners here who work extremely hard but who also want to share their experiences, knowledge, and skillset.

These workshops work both ways – if a business owner wants to attend and share their ideas that is great too.  Anything that helps Knutsford maintain its competitiveness in these difficult times is welcome. This is the first draft of workshops and in the future, we are hoping to add TikTok, other social platforms as well as SEO and Google analytics. We are also extremely grateful to the Courthouse Cheshire for offering their facilities free of charge – it all shows how fortunate we are to have a wonderful business community in Knutsford”.

If any Knutsford based business wishes to attend or offer to run a workshop, please contact sandra.curties@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk.

Town councillors 2022

Chance to find out about being a town councillor

In May 2023, residents will head to the polls to elect their 15 town councillors – but only if people put themselves forward for election.

Elections are held for the 15 seats on the council every four years and the last full elections in May 2019 saw 14 councillors elected unopposed with one co-opted by the council a month later. With up to eight of the current councillors potentially not standing for re-election this year, the Town Council is keen to promote the opportunity of serving as a councillor and see contested elections across all five wards.

The Town Council is hosting two information evenings to help potential candidates decide if being a councillor is right for them.

The sessions will include an overview of what the council can and cannot do, the role of a town councillor and the process for standing for election.  They will also include a Q&A with serving town councillors so residents can here just what the life of a town councillor actually is.

“Perhaps you aren’t sure what the role of a councillor involves, you want to know how it could work with your other commitments or you’re daunted by the election process – maybe you actually want to be standing for Cheshire East Council. These sessions aim to help you decide whether to stand this May” said Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Green.

The sessions take place at 7pm on Thursday 16th February and Monday 20th February in the Council Offices. The second session will also be livestreamed to Facebook.

Questions for the Q&A, about the role of being a councillor, can be submitted to townclerk@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk or asked on the evening.

David Biggs and Nichola Marshall of Knutsford Together receive a laptop from the Town Mayor

Knutsford Together among this year’s recipients of Community Grant Scheme

Our community grant scheme was introduced with the intention of supporting local organisations, charities, and CICs that are actively supporting Knutsford and providing community services. The grants come in either the form of donations of up to £200, small grants of up to £1,500, or large grants over the value of £1,500.

This year, one of our beneficiaries is Knutsford Together, a new charity that understands that it isn’t always easy accessing the help you need or knowing where to look.  Knutsford Together are committed to ensuring that people in Knutsford are directed to the right services relevant to their situation and are encouraging people to sign up and become Local Connectors to help make this happen. Becoming a Local Connector only takes one hour of training!

Knutsford Together received a grant in kind of two laptops, which have already helped the day-to-day running of the organisation. Nicola Marshall, chief officer at Knutsford Together said: ‘’We are so grateful for the laptops that we kindly received from Knutsford Town Council. They’ve already proven invaluable since I joined Knutsford Together in July. It has enabled me to put together a directory of services that will be listed on our website as well as carry out day-to-day admin tasks. Going forward, they are going to prove even more vital in being used to signpost and connect members of the community to local groups and services as well as securely enabling us to case manage clients when we work with them on a one-to-one basis.’’

The Town Council aims to fund organisations and projects that provide improved services or opportunities for those aged under 18 or over 65; create or improve services and facilities benefiting a significant percentage of residents or which enhance the profile or reputation of the town. If you would like to learn more about our community grant scheme and see if your organisation could be a good fit, visit: https://www.knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk/services/community-grants.

If you would like to learn more about the work of Knutsford Together or become a Local Connector, visit: https://www.knutsfordtogether.org.uk/.

Wine and Wallop reiceve a trophy and certificate as winners of the Christmas window competition

Christmas Window Competition Winners 2022

The Mayoress Kate Houghton and Managing Director of Knutsford based Forum of Private Business, Ian Cass, toured the town centre to judge the efforts of local businesses in the annual Knutsford Christmas Window Competition.

Each year the standard of the Christmas Window displays continues to get higher and higher. All the town centre window displays were viewed as part of the competition and we had formal entries from a large range of retailers and businesses including: Detaljer, Diamond Nails, Canine Cutting Club, B&V Trading, Arthur Lee, The White Orchid, and Clare and Illingworth.

The overall winner was presented with a trophy and certificate with highly commended certificates going to the runners up.

This year the winner was Wine and Wallop with The Tea Room and Ürban Sanctuary being highly commended. There was also a prize for the best dressed Charity Shop window, and this was won by The Children’s Adventure Farm Trust on Canute Place. The best small window competition was won by Innovations Hairdressing.

Mayoress Kate Houghton with Ian Cass outside runners up The Tea Room.

Mayoress Kate Houghton said, “I was impressed at both the innovation and sense of style even more this year. Everybody should be extremely proud of the displays they created in making the town look so festive. Picking the winner was difficult and there were several shop fronts being in running for the top slot. Unfortunately, there could be only one winner – Wine and Wallop – their display was festive, eye-catching and innovative!”

Mayoress Kate Houghton with Ian Cass and Charity Shop Window winner The Children's Adventure Farm Trust.
The Mayor and Santa switch on the lights

Knutsford Christmas Market 2022 A Huge Success

Knutsford’s favourite Christmas Market kicked off the festive season last weekend, with a packed two-day celebration on 3rd and 4th December.

Over 130 stalls filled Princess Street and Silk Mill Street both days, selling a variety of artisan products ranging from homemade art and crafts, locally brewed beers and alcohol, festive bakes and lots of exciting gift ideas.

Thousands attended the event which also featured the Santa Parade on Saturday, supported by Knutsford Hosts and We Are Knutsford. Santa paraded up King Street and Minshull Street alongside City of Chester Brass Band and Travelling Light Circus performers before arriving in Canute Place ready for the big Switch On.

The Mayor of Knutsford was joined by his cadet, Jamie, and Santa Claus to light up Knutsford for the festive season at 6pm, followed by a headline performance from Small Horse & The Plan.

Santa also visited lots of children during the weekend at his Grotto, which was kindly supported by and in aid of CAFT. Children also enjoyed rides from John Collins Funfair, who were open all weekend on Princess Street car park.

Sunday saw live entertainment from Get Back Band and Knutsford Beats, both of whom were busking to raise money for various charities.

Alex Brown, Events Officer at Knutsford Town Council, said: “This was our busiest Christmas Market yet – we were thrilled to see thousands enjoying the market and entertainment throughout the weekend. It was our first full Christmas Weekend since 2019 following the pandemic and poor weather conditions last year, so it was fantastic to finally bring back the event in full this year. We hope everyone had a great time welcoming in the festive season in Knutsford!”

The festivities continue this weekend with the Mayor’s Christmas Crib Service on Saturday 10th December at 4pm outside the Lost and Found, where the Mayor and local churches will bless the town crib, followed by brass music, Christmas carols and mulled wine and mince pies courtesy of Knutsford Catenians! A Christmas Remembrance Service follows at Knutsford Cemetery Chapel on Sunday 11th December at 4pm, where residents can remember those who have passed this year.

If anyone would like to provide feedback on this year’s event, you can contact enquiries@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk or call 01565 653 929.

A black and white photo of the Edward VII Coronation bonfire in Knutsford

From the archives: A Coronation Bonfire

The Town Council holds an archive of documents containing a wealth of local history and, thanks to the work of two dedicated volunteers, the archives are being sorted and catalogued for the first time.

Jenny and Mary attend the council offices each week to sift and sort the various files and we are keen to share the information they unearth. This article was prepared by them for the Friends of Knutsford Heritage Centre newsletter when they found an old photo showing men on a stack of hay?

When King Edward VII ascended to the throne after the death of Queen Victoria in 1901 towns and villages began planning extravagant celebrations for his coronation, which was planned for June 1902.

Many towns, including Knutsford, built large bonfires. This photo (which has been skilfully enhanced by Peter Spooner) shows the bonfire on the heath. The men standing on each tier are allegedly the town councillors of the time. You can clearly see a small silver crown near the top and the initials ER.

A black and white photo of the Edward VII Coronation bonfire in Knutsford

Knutsford’s bonfire and celebrations are mentioned in George Payne’s ‘A History of Knutsford’, published in 1904:

“On June 26, 1902, the loyal people of Knutsford, besides having a bonfire which measured 52 yards in circumference and was 44 feet high to the floor of the cabin placed on the top, which was itself 10 feet high, had what was quite appropriate, a sanding competition, in which twenty three cottages and tradespeople entered. Most beautiful and artistic designs adorned the street and pavements in front if the houses, and a number of prizes were awarded, the judges touring the ancient streets in a motor car.”

It was also mentioned in other publications, including the Dundee Evening Post, July 1902, which described different bonfires around the realm, accompanied by this illustration and description: “Of quite a different shape was the bonfire at Knutsford, containing 100 loads of stuff. At the base it was 16 yards in diameter, and the blazing properties were heightened by the addition of many barrels of tar.”

The coronation day was set for 26th June 1902 and guests were invited from all over the world. However, the King suffered appendicitis a few days beforehand and developed peritonitis: unless he postponed the
coronation and had an operation immediately he would die. The King, though hugely reluctant, finally relented, and 9th August was chosen as the new date. By then he was much recovered and the service proceeded as planned.

The society magazine “The Queen’ reported at length on regional coronation festivities and in the issue
published a week before the delayed coronation in August, Knutsford gets a special mention:

“There will, no doubt, be many places which will repeat the note of joyousness sounded for June 26 last, when Aug. 9 brings, as we all devoutly hope it may bring, the ceremony that was then postponed. Flags are a possession that can be hung at any moment, and bonfires can be reconstructed, but they will not be either the flags or the bonfires that were prepared when the nation was at the height of loyal expectation.

The little Cheshire town of Knutsford was no whit behind others in its demonstrations of joy; all the customary preparations had been made to honour the King, and another form of decoration, which unfortunately does not show in the photographs, was employed to adorn the pavements of the street. This is the old custom of “sanding”; all the shopkeepers ornament the stone pavement in front of their shops with arabesques, crowns, mottoes, etc. in sand. It is done by putting the sand into a funnel and letting it out in a fine stream, rather in the manner in which a cook ices a cake. The skill that some of them attain is wonderful.

I do not know if the gentle ladies [of Cranford] ever went to any such exciting thing as a bonfire; I imagine they would have thought it slightly improper, but if ever there had been a festivity of that description in their days, certainly Peter, the wicked Peter, who owned to having shot a Cherubim, would have assisted at its making. The photograph somewhat spoilt by the iron railings shows how the bonfire looked the day before the expected Coronation; afterwards, when we lit our bonfires in gratitude that the King was out of danger, this one burnt beautifully, though it canted over in a wonderful way before it was finished, immaculate as it looks here in its resemblance to a gigantic cake.”

A graphic which reads Christmas Remembrance Service Sunday 11 December 4pm Tabley Hill Chapel

Christmas Remembrance Service

Knutsford Town Council and the Town Mayor Cllr Mike Houghton would like to invite members of the community to join a Christmas Remembrance Service.  The service aims to provide an occasion for families and friends to remember those who have been interred at Knutsford Cemetery in the past year.

We hope this service will have a relaxed and special atmosphere. Christmas songs will be performed by Knutsford Beats. Readings and poems will be shared with our guests and delivered by Reverend Nigel Atkinson alongside Nicola Marshall and David Briggs from Knutsford Together. Tea and biscuits will be served afterwards.

The service will be held at 4.00pm until approximately 5.00pm on Sunday 11th December 2022 at Tabley Hill Cemetery Chapel.

If you would like to come along then please respond to Amy Leech by 9th December, by email amy.leech@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk or by phone on 01565 653929.

Vincent from the Cheese Yard holding a poster

Christmas Parking for 2022

Shoppers are encouraged to ditch the Trafford Centre and Amazon and take advantage of free parking in Knutsford this December.

Three of the town’s car parks will be free from 10am on Saturday 10th and Saturday 17th December – Silk Mill Street, King Street and Princess Street.

Sandra Curties, Town Centre Manager at Knutsford Town Council said “Knutsford boasts an amazing array of independent shops selling unique gifts for friends and family.  The shop windows are second to none, and in these difficult times we urge people to shop local and support our wonderful town”.

In addition, on December 15th Knutsford Town Mayor Mike Houghton, alongside Ian Cass of the Forum of Private Business will be visiting Knutsford shops to judge the best dressed Christmas window and handing out certificates and the coveted to the top three.

Uncovered bicycle parking is also available all year round at King Street car park near Tatton Perk, at Drury Lane and King Street near St John’s Church and the Town Council is working to provide a covered cycle shelter at Silk Mill Street for 2023.

Press Contacts:        Sandra Curties,

Sandra.curties@knutsfordtowncentre.co.uk

01565 653929

Photo Credit:           Sandra Curties

Vincent Lazzerini of The Cheeseyard