A man in an easter hat holding easter eggs

Knutsford Bunny Hop Returns This Month

Knutsford’s favourite Easter event will be hopping back to town in just two weeks!

Knutsford Bunny Hop is an annual Easter themed trail event which has been organised by Knutsford Town Council since 2018. The event invites local families to search for 10 cardboard bunnies hidden around the town outside local shops and hospitality businesses and find the letter pinned to each bunny. The letters can then be used to spell a hidden phrase and completed entry forms are submitted in a designated post box to enter a special prize draw!

The event runs annually on Easter Saturday which this year falls on Saturday 30th March 2024 and will be held between 10am-4pm. As well as the main trail, families can enjoy additional entertainment including a colouring competition in Knutsford Market Hall on Silk Mill Street and freebies from local businesses.

Pick up a trail map from one of the local businesses for further information about chocolate workshops at Mini and Moi hosted by Oli the Choc. And hop into St Johns Church for hot cross buns throughout the event.

Be in town between 1pm and 3pm to catch a glimpse of the characters of Alice in Wonderland. Take the opportunity to have your picture taken with one of your favourites. Supported by the team from Noodle Performing Arts.

Attendees can also bring their Easter bonnets along and enter the Easter Bonnet competition opposite Knutsford Olde Sweet Shoppe on King Street, hosted by owner Julia and judged by the Mayor of Knutsford at 11am on the day of the event. Participants will all receive a small gift each for joining in and there are three prizes available for first place and runners up for the best bonnet!

Special thanks to this year’s silver sponsor Linden Stores. Without the generosity of our great sponsors this event would not be possible.

For any enquiries regarding the event, please contact enquiries@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk or call 01565 653 929.

Sabrina Cowley of Its a Little Thing, standing in front of some cards

It’s the Little Things opens in Knutsford Market Hall

It’s the Little Things have opened  a contemporary and largely eco-friendly card stall in Knutsford Market Hall.

Owner, Sabrina Cowley said,  I am delighted to be back trading in the market hall.  It’s the Little Things will sell a range of reasonably priced contemporary and eco-friendly cards and balloons. I will be selling a small range of gifts suitable for birthdays, christenings or just to cheer up someone’s day.  After all it is the little things that count!”.

Sandra Curties, Town Centre Manager said, “There is a definite need in Knutsford for reasonably priced cards and celebratory gifts and balloons.  It’s the Little Things fills that gap, and we are delighted to have Sabrina back in the market hall as a permanent trader. As everyone knows, 2024 is a huge year for our market hall.  Not only is it our 60th anniversary it also the year we refurbish the market. This will signify a new chapter in the market’s history and secure its position in the heart of Knutsford for future generations”.

Knutsford Market Hall is open on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 8am to 4pm.  

Permanent traders are as follows –Heathfield Fruit and Veg, The Market Butcher, The Market Café, The Market Hall Barber, Slipped Discs, Knutsford Mobile and Nyx Cat Crystals. There is also one pop-up stall – Knutsford Sports Exchange. Due to the pending refurbishment, the market is currently only looking for short term pop-ups.  If interested, please email hello@knutsfordmarket.co.uk with details of your stall.

New greengrocers at Knutsford Market standing by the fruit and veg

Knutsford Market Hall welcomes a new greengrocer

Peter and Gaynor Riley of Heathfield Nursery have opened a greengrocer stall in Knutsford Market Hall offering fresh vegetables and fruit alongside bedding plants and seasonal cut flowers.

Gaynor Riley said,  “We are delighted to be joining the Knutsford Market Hall family. 2024 marks both the market’s 60th anniversary and the exciting redevelopment plans. Many people will already know us from our Heathfield Nursery in Plumley. We can’t wait to be in the heart of the town offering both homegrown and locally sourced fruit and vegetables alongside our range of bedding plants and cut flowers. We look forward to welcoming both new and old customers”.

Sandra Curties, Town Centre Manager said, “We are delighted to have Peter and Gaynor on board.  A greengrocer is an essential part of our market hall offering and we know our customers will give them both a warm welcome. They will be offering a wide range of fruit and vegetables with much of it homegrown which is fantastic.  A true shop local experience!”

Knutsford Market Hall is open on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 8am to 4pm.   Permanent traders are as follows –The Market Butcher,  The Market Café, The Market Hall Barber, Slipped Discs and Nyx Cat Crystals. There is also one pop-up stall – Knutsford Sports Exchange. Due to the pending refurbishment, the market is currently only looking for short term pop-ups.  If interested, please email hello@knutsfordmarket.co.uk with details of your stall.

Two greengrocers stood by a bedding plant stall
A CGI render of the revised frontage to the market hall

Market Hall Planning Application Submitted

Plans for the renovation of Knutsford Market Hall have taken a step forward with the submission of the planning application, which is due to be determined by 25th March 2024.

The application, reference 24/0336M, was prepared by Knutsford based Hive Architects on behalf of Knutsford Town Council and sets out proposals for the major remodelling of the front to the market. The refurbished market hall will benefit from a large, glazed front and new rooflights to flood the building with natural light.

The works will create a modern and flexible trading space with a central section of demountable seating and stalls to create an open hall which will be used for events and community uses outside trading hours.

The materials for the redesigned front have been influenced by the Knutsford Design Guide which specifies traditional materials of brick, wood and slate to be used. The brick has been selected to fit in with the exposed brickwork near Silk Mill Street and will include raking soldier courses around the gables and alternate projecting brick courses to add interest and depth to the façade.

The proposals include a number of measures to enhance the environmental sustainability of the building, including a sedum roof, solar panels, an air-source heat pump to provide heating and the installation of insulation. The market will feature bifold and automatic doors enabling the frontage to be open during the summer but retain heat during the winter.

This project has received £720,000 from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and the Community Ownership Fund.

“Knutsford Market Hall was built in 1964 and as it celebrates its diamond anniversary it will be having a major renovation to ensure its ongoing vitality. These proposals will create a bright and flexible trading space and enable the building to be used more efficiently for the community” said Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Green.

“Whilst the planning application is being determined we’re now working with our structural engineer and architect on the technical design of the building and developing the design of the internal stall structures”

“We are also working with our traders on the plans to relocate the market into 60 King Street when works take place ensuring our businesses can continue to trade with minimal interruption”.  Adam added.

Knutsford Market Hall remains open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 8am to 4pm where customers can find a butcher, greengrocer, crystals, records, thai food, a café, barbers and mobile phone repairs. The market is hosting a variety of pop-up stalls which are promoted on social media.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-shared-prosperity-fund-prospectus

The Town Mayor, trustees and residents of the Marjorie Hurst almshouses gather to unveil the new plaque

Philanthropist behind Knutsford almshouses honoured with blue plaque

A blue plaque dedicated to the founder of a local almshouse charity has been unveiled on Silk Mill Street.

Town Mayor, Councillor Peter Coan, and former Town Mayor Valerie Young JP MBE, the longest serving Trustee of the Charity, cut the ribbon to unveil the new plaque dedicated to Marjorie Hurst.

The Charity of Marjorie Hurst provides almshouses for older residents of Knutsford and owns a row of flats and cottages on Silk Mill Street. The plaque was installed following extensive research by Jenny Collis of Knutsford Heritage Centre into the origin of the town centre almshouses and the life of Marjorie Hurst.

“We knew very little about Marjorie Hurst and how she established the almshouses so we are delighted with the research put in by Jenny Collis and the support from the Town Council in providing the plaque which is now there for everyone to see” said Rick Dallimore, the Chair of Trustees.

The plaque commemorates Marjorie Hurst who was a spinster and life-long Knutsfordian who spent much of her life looking after her parents. Her father, Frederick Hurst, had been the manager of the Union Bank on King Street but it was through the line of her maternal grandfather that Marjorie inherited property. In her will she left property and money upon trust to the then Knutsford Urban District Council with the bequest that the dwellings she owned on Silk Mill Street be used as “almshouses for the deserving” of the town.

Initially the almshouses were provided rent free to the occupiers, but over time the dwellings fell into disrepair. In the 1980s the Town Council received permission from the Charity Commission to charge the residents a weekly maintenance contribution provided that a separate new trust was set up. The Charity of Marjorie Hurst was established and in the 1990s the Trustees secured a Housing Corporation grant to renovate the four remaining cottages and to build the six flats that exist on Silk Mill Street today.

Town Mayor Cllr Peter Coan said “It was an honour to unveil our new blue plaque honouring the legacy of Marjorie Hurst with the trustees and residents of the charity that bears her name. Through Marjorie’s philanthropy, Knutsford has a charity providing housing to those who might otherwise not be able to afford a home of their own – what a forward-thinking Knutsfordian.”

The Charity of Marjorie Hurst is today managed by a board of five trustees. More information about the charity can be found on their website: www.marjoriehurstcharity.org.uk

The Angel Hotel and a view down King Street

Studies to be undertaken to inform Town Centre Masterplan

The feasibility of a range of changes to Knutsford Town Centre will be explored as part of the Town Council’s work to develop a masterplan for Knutsford Town Centre.

Building on the work of the From Top to Bottom Street report, which was considered in a public consulted in 2020, the Town Council has appointed a team of consultants to develop the proposals further. The work includes:

  1. Modelling the impact of changes to town centre traffic flow from restricting through traffic and creating public squares
  2. Exploring the cost of making these changes and developing a better understanding of the impact works would have on the town
  3. Exploring the cost and impact of upgrading Moorside to an adoptable highway standard
  4. Exploring the cost and traffic impact of creating an new access to Princess Street from King Edward Road
  5. Exploring the feasibility of creating an attractive multi-storey car park on Tatton Street car park
  6. Exploring the costs of creating public squares in Canute Place and Princess Street 
  7. Developing different options for improving the pedestrian experience in the town centre whilst retaining vehicular access

Each of these areas are ideas put forward in the From Top to Bottom Street plan and the output of this work will enable the Town Council to determine if they have merit and could form the basis of a masterplan.

The output of the 2020 consultation had been to call on Cheshire East Council to undertake these feasibility studies directly, but to date they have been unable to allocate the resource needed to take them forward.

“We know that creating a plan for improving the town centre is one of our residents’ top priorities and its therefore one of our top priorities too. This work will take us a step forward and better understand the impact of a range of potential changes” said Cllr Christopher Gray, Chairman of the Town Council’s Town Centre Committee.

This project has received £80,000 from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The output of this work will lead to a public consultation later in 2024 and be used by the council’s Town Centre Masterplan working group to develop the masterplan. 

The Town Council is also looking for those interested in helping develop the wider Town Centre Masterplan to join its working group, anyone interested can email townclerk@kntusfordtowncouncil.gov.uk.

A group of people holding awards with the mayor

Nominations sought for 2024 Town Awards

The call has gone out for residents to nominate their community heroes for the annual Knutsford Town Awards.

The Knutsford Town Awards aim to recognise and celebrate excellence, community spirit, and positive contributions within Knutsford. Established to honour individuals, businesses, and community organisations, the awards showcase the efforts and achievements that collectively make Knutsford a thriving and dynamic community.

Nominations can be made online at the Town Council website by 22nd March or by filling in a paper form, which can be found at Knutsford Library, The Welcome or Knutsford Market Hall.

Nominations can be submitted for any of the following categories:

The Civic Award which recognises the work of individuals. Last year’s winners included Rob Lyons who was honoured for leading 1st Knutsford Scouts for a decade.

The Youth Award which recognises those aged 21 and under. Last year the award was jointly awarded to Twin sisters Liv and Jess Johnson for their voluntary work with 7th Knutsford Brownies as part of their bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award.

The Business Award recognises businesses who give something back to their community, such as last year’s award winners Tatton Perk who were praised for being a “warm hub” providing free drinks and a friendly welcome to those who may need it.

The Community Award shines the light on local charities, committees, and other groups. Last year it went to the Knutsford and District Talking Newspaper, who provide a free audio version of the Knutsford guardian to people who are visually impaired.

Finally, the Extra Mile Award is for those who go above and beyond in their paid work for the benefit of the local community such as 2023 winner Jack Street, who works at Johnsons the Cleaners and was commended for his kind and patient support to customers, particularly helping older people to use new technology for various services on offer.

Mayor of Knutsford, Cllr Peter Coan urges local residents to take the time and put forward those who make a difference to the Knutsford community, from litterpickers to leaders and everything in between.

“Our town is filled with special people who go out of their way to make a difference to the community they live in. Each year we ask the Knutsford residents to nominate those who make the town a better place and without your nominations these awards would not be able to take place. We want to let these people know that they are valued and appreciated and the work they do, does not go unnoticed”.

Thanks to the Forum of Private business for sponsoring the event.

Fingerposts pointing to Knutsford Heritage Centre

Households to pay just £9.99 per month for council services

At a meeting of the Full Council, the Town Council set its precept for 2024/25 at £719,511, meaning a Band D household will pay £9.99 per month towards the services delivered by Knutsford Town Council.

The Town Council’s budget covers the delivery of a range of services from supporting community organisations to maintaining public toilets.

Over the next year the council will be introducing its first apprenticeship when it employs an apprentice town ranger. The new apprentice will complete a horticultural qualification whilst learning from the council’s experienced town ranger and cemetery groundskeeper and enable the town ranger service to complete more of the tasks that “somebody” should do. 

The Town Council has also allocated a small budget for the delivery of new youth and community services/activity which will be shaped by consultation with young people in the coming months. The council will continue to ensure Knutsford has a regular Citizens Advice service and the town centre is monitored by CCTV to ensure safety and security of residents, businesses and visitors. The council will also continue to maintain an award winning cemetery and public toilets, support nature conservation and biodiversity, provide an annual programme of Christmas displays and deliver events designed to support the local economy and bring the community together.

Heritage remains a key focus for the Town Council too, with the budget providing for the creation of a Conservation Area guide to support the enhancement of the heritage of the Legh Road Conservation Area following the pending approval of the new appraisal and management plan for this space. The council will also be working with partners to host events as part of the Heritage Open Days festival in September and commemorate D-Day in June.

In setting the budget, the council considered the great uncertainty presented by Cheshire East Council’s budget challenges which may see funding withdrawn or reduced for leisure centres, library, green space management, street cleaning and more. Concurrently, the Town Council had been asked to consider funding The Welcome and Knutsford Heritage Centre. The budget sets aside £100,000 to enable the council to appraise what community services it may need to contribute to or take on to safeguard for the town.

Town Mayor Cllr Peter Coan said “We are committed to ensuring our town thrives and residents are able to access the facilities and services needed to support a healthy and vibrant community. This budget ensures we can continue to deliver for the town and, should it be necessary, safeguard services that may otherwise be lost. Every penny we raise is spent supporting Knutsford”

The approved budget is available on the Town Council website at: www.knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk/council/finance.

Fruit and veg on wooden boards

Revocation of Market Hall Trader Licence

Knutsford Town Council is committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment to all customers and traders at Knutsford Market Hall.

Before Christmas, the Town Council received a formal complaint regarding a market trader. Following an investigation, a decision was taken to revoke the licence to trade due to a failure to comply with the Market Hall Regulations. This decision followed a warning which had been issued in early December.

All revocation decisions are subject to the right of appeal. The appeal was heard by the Town Council’s Town Centre Committee on Monday 15th January. After careful consideration of all evidence presented to the council, the committee resolved to dismiss the appeal

The Town Council does not consider it appropriate to discuss or comment on the specifics of this decision. However, revoking a licence to trade is not a decision taken lightly nor in haste and the council undertook a robust process in reaching this decision. The Town Council believes it is the correct decision for our remaining traders, customers and staff.

2024 is a big year for the Market Hall, as it marks is 60th birthday. We are working hard with traders to ensure our temporary move to 60 King Street goes smoothly and are excited to deliver the significant investment and modernisation at the Market Hall to ensure it continues to thrive for the next 60 years.

We know how important an independent greengrocer is to our customers. We will now actively seek a new trader to operate a fruit and veg stall. In the interim, the Market Butcher will be providing a greengrocer service.  

Those interested in operating a greengrocer stall should visit: https://www.knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk/services/market-hall/trade to complete an application form.

If you have any questions in relation to this please contact: townclerk@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk

The top of a sign stating "Knutsford"

Volunteers sought for CIL Committee

Six volunteers are sought to join an advisory committee that will help determine how money from new development is spent in the town.

Knutsford Town Council’s CIL Advisory Committee will make recommendations to the Town Council on what projects it should fund using its share of Community Infrastructure Levy.

Community Infrastructure Levy was introduced in Cheshire East in 2019 and 25% of the receipts for Knutsford housing development is paid to Knutsford Town Council which expects to receive over half a million pounds over the next decade.

The Town Council currently holds just under £26,500 as the ‘neighbourhood share’ of CIL which can be spent on infrastructure or anything else which addresses the demands development places on the town. The Town Council has adopted a CIL Framework to govern how it will make decisions on using this important investment in the community.

The framework acknowledges that whilst the town council is the recipient of CIL it may be that the best use of the funds would be for projects delivered by partner organisations and the framework sets out that decisions on which projects should receive CIL funding will be chosen by a joint committee of residents and councillors.

The role of the advisory committee will be to review bids for funds and produce a recommendation to the council’s Finance Committee.  The council is looking for six residents to join the committee and the first meeting will be held in February when it will consider the process and first proposal. It is anticipated it will meet no more than four times per year – depending on applications and available funds.

“In the last three years we have received just over £26k from minor developments and there is the potential for significant sums if the major housebuilding is approved on Manchester Road. This committee will help determine how the Town Council prioritises this investment for the community.” said Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Green.

If you are interested in joining the committee, contact the Town Clerk by email townclerk@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk setting out the reasons you would like to be considered by 31st January.