A view down King Street

Join our Town Centre Recovery Focus Group

Knutsford Town Council is seeking a cross-section of residents to take part in a small focus group to contribute towards efforts to support local businesses in the recovery of the town centre and encourage footfall and local spend in the town centre post-lockdown.

The focus group will be held using Zoom and will discuss the reasons residents visit the town centre, what would encourage them to visit more and how the town compares with other areas.

“This focus group is about the town centre now and in the new future, we won’t be tackling the wider and longer-term issues of public transport, accessibility and car parking which will be tackled through our emerging Town Centre Masterplan, but focusing on what we can do now to support the town centre.” said Sandra Curties, the Town Centre and Marketing Officer at Knutsford Town Council who will be hosting the focus group.

“We are aiming to work with local businesses to support them through the economic recovery and ensure our town centre survives”

If you are interested in participating please email sandra.curties@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk. To help ensure the focus group includes a cross-section of the community please include your age, address, profession, and an overview of your household unit. This information will be used solely for selection of the working group.

Town Ranger with Bug Hotel in Wallwood

Bug Hotel Opens in Wallwood

A new hotel has opened in Knutsford Town Centre – Bob’s Bug Hotel is now accepting bookings!

The bug hotel can be found in Wallwood and was created by Town Ranger Bob Garner as part of the town council’s Nature Action Plan and will soon be followed by a sister hotel on Higher Town Green.

Bug hotels provide a safe hideaway for wildlife and are made with an assortment of recycled materials, they are popular as nest sites for insects and solitary bees.

The hotel accommodation has been started off by Bob with space left for families to take part and complete. Families visiting the town centre can bring an assortment of materials to create a range of nooks, crannies, crevices, tunnels and cosy beds!

“I’ve filled one side with natural materials for our mini beasts’ stay but we need your help to fill it all. This is a great project for young people to spend some time with nature” said Bob.

Materials that can be used include pinecones, straw, bamboo canes, non-plastic tubes, old tiles and even cardboard. The key is to create a diverse and varied hotel with a range of habitats.

The Town Council adopted its Nature Action Plan in March, setting out three missions to increase the number of trees in Knutsford, improve biodiversity and connect green corridors and increase wildlife friendly planting. The council is currently planning a survey to map all trees in Knutsford and identifying locations where new trees, shrubs and wildflowers could be planted.

Town Councillors at Mayor Making 2019

Opportunity for Nether Ward by-election

Electors living in Knutsford’s Nether Ward now have the opportunity to demand an election to fill the vacancy created when Katherine Fletcher stepped down from the council in April as Knutsford Town Council has today posted the notice of vacancy.

If ten electors write to Cheshire East Council before 4th August requesting a by-election to fill the seat an election will be triggered. If an election is not triggered the existing councillors will choose a new councillor to fill the vacancy.

Under current legislation an election will not be held until May 2021 as all elections, national and local, have been suspended until this date. If no election is called a new councillor will be co-opted in November.

To request an election electors must write to: The Returning Officer, Cheshire East Council, Westfields, Middlewich Road, Sandbach, CW11 1HZ stating they wish to request a by-election of the vacant Nether Ward seat on Knutsford Town Council, giving their full name and address.

Recognising the delays in postal services due to coronavirus, Cheshire East Council will also accept service of this demand by email to electoral.information@cheshireeast.gov.uk to ensure it is received by the deadline of 4th August but require that a hard copy is posted at the same time to comply with Electoral Commission guidelines.

The Knutsford town boundary sign with a floral planter beneath

Publication of Unaudited Accounts

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

ACCOUNTS FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 MARCH 2020

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

1.Date of announcement Tuesday 14th July

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 2019, 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 20 July 2020
and ending on Friday 28 August 2020

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: 2019/20 Annual Governance  and Accounting  Records

An aerial view of the Moor

Town Centre Masterplan Consultation Conclusions

The Town Council held a consultation on proposed changes to traffic and parking arrangements in Knutsford Town Centre from 5th February to 16th March 2020. These form the first stage of a comprehensive Town Centre Masterplan.

In total we received 658 responses to the consultation which demonstrate overall support for the proposals. A report on the consultation has been prepared and will be published in July when the recommendations from the Town Centre working group are presented to the Town Council.

The number of respondents supporting or opposing the three aspects of the proposed scheme are:

Discouraging through traffic – 426 (65%) FOR | 232 (35%) AGAINST

More parking & a multi-storey – 517 (79%) FOR | 139(21%) AGAINST

Limiting parking on King and Princess Streets – 505 (77%) FOR | 151 (23%) AGAINST

The numbers answering the question “Overall, do you support this 3-part scheme as a first step towards securing the future of Knutsford town centre?” were:

                                                YES:  383 (58%)  |  NO: 268 (41%)

61 respondents identified themselves as business owners/ managers; of these 38 voted YES, 23 NO.

The many comments qualify and explain the support or lack of it for the various aspects of the scheme.   Topics attracting comment include:

  • traffic congestion on the A50 and Adams Hill caused by closing King and Princess Streets to through traffic,
  • drivers being confused by the proposed road changes, and disappointed at having to drive around the town, not through it,
  • support for a multi-storey especially at the Tatton St. car park, but concern that unless well designed, it would be out of keeping with Knutsford’s heritage.
  • concern that a multi-storey on the King Street car park would spoil the view from the Moor,
  • traffic along Moorside posing a hazard near the children’s playground,
  • the desire to be able to park near a shop and call in for a few minutes, free of charge,
  • the pedestrianisation of King Street,
  • enforcing the double yellow lines,
  • the state of the pavements in King and Princess Streets,
  • consideration for the particular needs of town centre residents,
  • low cost parking for town centre employees,
  • the ultimate need for a bypass.
60 King Street with Bunting

Council writes off La Belle Epoque Debt

The Town Council has resolved to write off a debt of £67,494.44 owed by La Belle Epoque Limited. The company was tenant at 60 King Street and entered administration owing the council legal fees, rent and VAT. The administrators have now confirmed that none of this will be recovered and the council was therefore required to remove the debt from its accounts.

The company was a limited company, this means that it is a distinct legal entity and the liability of its directors for the debts incurred by the company are limited to the value of any shares they hold. Whilst it is noted that the directors of La Belle Epoque Limited now operate a similar business (Larkspur Lodge Limited) it is not possible to pursue either the directors individually nor the new business for any part of the debt.

The debt written off is:

                Recharged legal fees                                 £ 49,619.44
                Rent (25/03/2019 to 16/06/2019)              £ 14,895.83
                VAT on rent                                                 £    2,979.17

The VAT will be recovered with the council’s next VAT return. The council’s 2019/20 budget and precept forecast that this debt would be written off.

History of the Debt

The company was tenant in the property with an internally repairing lease originally granted in 1974 and subject to the security of tenure provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. The issues leading to the bad debt began in 2014. In accordance with the lease the rent was due in four equal instalments on the 25th of March, June, September and December. In accordance with the lease, the company was required to reimburse the council all legal costs connected with enforcing its rights as landlord under the lease. As the chronology below sets out, the council was forced to commence numerous proceedings to enforce the payment of rents as the company continually failed to pay rents on time and in spite of assurances and extensions to deadlines. The council recovered the majority of its legal fees up to the middle of 2018.

 2014

In March 2014 the council’s agent informed the company that the council would be ‘opting to tax’[1] the property with effect April 2015 and that from this date the quarterly rents would be subject to VAT.  June 2014 was the five-yearly rent review date and the council commenced the process of reviewing the rent with the company.

2015

The June quarter rent was the first quarter to be paid with VAT, the payment received from the company did not include the VAT element and the company’s director explained that he had not amended the standing order. In July the rent review was concluded, increasing the annual rent to £71,500 ex-VAT. The lease specifically provided that where the revised annual rent is not agreed on or before the review date the company shall continue paying rent at the pre-review date rate and once it is agreed shall pay the shortfall (if any) between the amount paid for the period from the review date to the next payment date following agreement. In accordance with the lease, and the signed memorandum of rent review, the revised rent was therefore backdated to the rent review date of 1st June 2014.

In September the company challenged the fact that VAT was charged on invoices and the quarter rent was paid without the VAT. The council had incorrectly charged VAT on the backdated rent (for the period 01/06/2014 to 01/04/2015, i.e. covering the period prior to the option to tax) and once guidance had been received from HMRC to ascertain this the VAT invoiced was credited to the company’s account in December, leaving an outstanding balance of £14,533.08.

On 25th December a further £21,450 was due (the quarter rent), the council received payment of £10,000, leaving an outstanding balance of £26,003.08.

2016

In January a further £5,000 was paid by the company and the director stated that he could not explain why full payment was not made as it was being dealt with by his accountant. In February the director stated, “as far as I’m aware I’m not withholding rent, I’m seeking answers to the queries I have raised.”

In March the agent met with the directors who apologised for being in arrears and stated that that the reasons were due to being unaware the rent review would be backdated, that the VAT change had impacted the company’s cashflow and that the company had expended funds on surveyors and legal fees for the rent review and subsequent arrears dispute. The company gave assurances that the March rent would be paid in full and the arrears settled in three monthly instalments to bring the account to balance by the end of June.

The March quarter rent was not paid in full, a payment of £10,000 was received leaving a total balance of £32,453.08. In April the company requested an extension to pay the balance owing to theft of takings; this was granted and payments totalling £12,001.03 were received in May, reducing the balance to £20,452.05. No payment was received in June and the June quarter rent was unpaid leaving a new balance of £41,902.05.

In July the company advised the agent that it was having cashflow issues which would be temporary; they were attributed to the loss of a “substantial” court case and the theft of a “substantial” amount of money but that the company would be receiving a “substantial” cash injection which would enable it to pay the rent arrears immediately “with plenty to spare” and payment was assured for the 23rd July.

At a meeting of the Assets and Operations Committee held on 18th July it was resolved [A16/040] that should payment not be received action to recover the debt would be commenced with the courts. The company subsequently reported that it could not pay the rent, but thought it could pay the previous quarter by the end of August. A payment of £5,000 was received.

In August the council issued the first claim for the arrears through the courts. In September the company admitted the debt of £39,950.05 and requested time to pay. The Council rejected the offer of payment by instalments noting that the company had failed to honour previous promises. The September quarter rent was unpaid, increasing the debt to £52,852.05. In October a £10,000 payment was received.

In November the County Court issued judgment ordering the company to pay. No payments were received and the council instructed bailiffs to recover the debt in December; settlement was made before the bailiffs visited and a balance of £950.05 was left outstanding. The December quarter rent was not paid, increasing the balance to £22,400.05.

2017

In January payment of the £950.05 was received and the council issued a second court claim for the new arrears. Payment was received in March. The March quarter rent was not paid in full, leaving a balance of £7,921.28 which the company was given four weeks to settle.

In March the agent wrote to the company requiring it to undertake repairs to the staircase in the Gaskell Memorial Tower, a tenant obligation in accordance with the lease. At a similar time the council was notified that the company had breached the lease by removing an internal stud wall and installing decking without authorisation.

In May a third court claim was issued due to non-payment of the arrears. In June the rent was unpaid, increasing the balance to £29,371.28.

At the July Assets and Operations Committee meeting it was resolved [A17/027] to issue a notice under Section 146 of the Law of Property Act 1925 requiring the tenant to remedy the breaches. In August the tenant paid the June quarter but the council was obliged to return this payment so as not to prejudice the action to require the remedy of the breaches as acceptance of payment after a breach has occurred indicates acceptance of the breach.

On September 14th the Town Clerk and Cllr Julian Goodrich, the then Chairman of the Assets and Operations Committee meeting met with the company directors to discuss all the issues. At this meeting the directors stated they were in a position to pay the rent and explained the financial issue the company had had, acknowledging they should have been upfront about the financial problems rather than promising the rent it would be paid when it was unable to do so. At this meeting the company stated it was preparing a claim against the council for the cost of cleaning pigeon waste around the property.

Following this meeting a number of the issues highlighted in the s146 notice were resolved and a stay in proceedings was agreed until January. The council also agreed to waive £10,000 of legal fees if the rent was paid on time and undertook to commission a heritage report to guide the necessity of the repair of the staircase. The council also undertook to continue to review options for the method of undertaking major works to the front of the property.

The September quarter rent was unpaid, leaving a new balance of £50,821.28. In October the June quarter payment was received and the Town Clerk met with the directors to discuss progress on the matters agreed at the September meeting.

Despite assurances that payments would be made the company continued to fail to clear the debt. The council decided it was necessary to change the approach for debt recovery and issue a statutory demand for the debt of £38,743.39. Failure to settle a statutory demand indicates a company is unable to meet its debts and allows creditors to commence court proceedings for the winding up of the company.   Following the issue of the demand a payment of £21,469.39 was received and the December quarter rent was paid within 10 days of it falling due.

2018

In January the council rejected an offer from the company to settle legal fees incurred by the council by instalments, requiring payment of the full debt. The legal fees were settled in January and a balance of £7,921.28 remained outstanding; this related to the March 2017 quarter rent which formed part of the stayed court claim.

The company failed to pay the March quarter rent and a statutory demand was issued for settlement. The company settled the statutory demand in April. A formal request for mediation was received. Mediation took place over a full day in June but was unsuccessful. The £7,921.28 was settled.

The company paid £5,000 of the June quarter rent in advance, but on the due date advised it could not make full payment but would do so the following week. The council gave the company a seven-day extension as requested; the company did not settle the quarter until 26th July. At the end of July the company owed £21,387.50 in legal fees, principally the costs incurred for mediation.

The September quarter rent was paid within two days of falling due. The December quarter rent was waived by the council as compensation for business interruption whilst essential works were undertaken to the front of the building in January 2019[2].  By the end of 2018 the company owed £26,187.50 in legal fees.

2019

The council was continuing to incur legal fees in respect of the outstanding 2017 court case. The claim against the company had been settled (by the tenant paying the debt it related to) and by this stage the case was the counter claim from the company against the council (primarily relating to the company claiming the council owed it money for cleaning the exterior of the property[3]). Legal fees were routinely being recharged to the company in accordance with the lease. At the end of February the balance owed was £31,687.50.

In February the company entered into a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) with its creditors but failed to include the debt owed to the council nor inform the council of the CVA. The company’s published statement of affairs details debts of £774,522.64 excluding that which was owed to the council. 

The entering into a CVA triggered the forfeiture clause of the lease and set into motion the termination of the lease.

The lease was forfeited in June 2019 and the company was issued with invoices for the rent (between 25th March and 16th June) and final legal fees dealing with the disputes. An inconsequential sum was recovered through the sale of chattels (£162.44) leaving a total balance of £67,494.44 inclusive of £2,979.17 of VAT.


[1] Lettings of property are by default VAT exempt (no VAT is charged). If the total amount of VAT to be reclaimed on expenditure relating to VAT exempt business exceeds £7,500 in one year, then the organisation can reclaim none of the VAT incurred. In a review of its finances, the council determined that it was likely to exceed the threshold due to the costs of repairing the building combined with other VAT-exempt business (e.g. markets). It was determined that it was necessary to elect to charge VAT on the property (and the Market Hall) and convert them to standard rated supplies which have no cap on VAT reclaim. The lease provided for this and set out that the rent must be paid with any VAT which may become due.

[2] The works involved the erection of scaffolding for an eight-week period. Following discussions between the agent and the company the works were to be programmed in January/February at the to minimise business disruption.  In September 2014 the agent notified the company of the intention to undertake these works between January and March 2016. As the date approached, the company objected and the works were postponed.  The council explored alternatives for undertaking the works but this was the only viable option. The works were reprogrammed during 2018 to take place in January/February 2019 with a rent holiday provided as compensation for the loss of business during this period; at the 11th hour the company requested the council move the works to the summer months. This request was refused as the council had provided a rent holiday and programmed the works when requested and it was not confident that they would again be delayed if pushed back.

[3] The company claimed that the council was responsible for the cleansing of bird droppings. The company invoiced the council in excess of £20,000 backdated to 2009 (the commencement date of the then lease). The council took extensive legal advice from Kings Chambers and was set to robustly defend its position that this was a tenant responsibility.

Two men looking at a stage wearing t-shirts which say "crew" on the back

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.

Cllrs Gray, Robertson and Dalzell sat at a meeitng

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

Town Councillors at Mayor Making 2019

Cllr Katherine Fletcher Steps Down

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.

A sculpture of King Canute in the council office gardens, with a tree

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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