Councillors Houghton, Nicholson, Beswick, Coan, Dalzell, Forbes, Gray, Lowe, Malloy, McCulloch Morris and Robertson.
In attendance: A Keppel-Green (Town Clerk)
22/054 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies were received from Cllrs Abel, Gardiner (business) and Power (personal business).
22/055 DECLARATIONS OF MEMBERS’ INTERESTS
Cllr McCulloch declared a prejudicial interest in 22/060 on the grounds of being Chairman of the Friends of Knutsford Heritage Centre. Cllr Nicholson declared a prejudicial interest in 22/060 on the grounds of being a trustee of Knutsford Heritage Centre.
22/056 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
A resident noted that the Town Council had in its possession the statue of Mary and Joseph from the War Memorial Cottage Hospital and asked if the cartouches had been preserved; the Town Clerk responded that the statue was removed by the Red Cross before it vacated the building but the cartouches had not been removed prior to demolition.
A resident spoke seeking the council’s support for a temporary 30mph speed limit along Tabley Road and Tabley Hill Lane.
A resident spoke in relation to the planned fairground on Knutsford Heath stating they believed s38 consent was required and had not been applied for, that there had been no consultation with residents and asking the council to write to the landowner objecting to the proposed fairground.
A resident spoke in relation to the condition of the railings around Knutsford Heath, expressing their concern about the safety of the railings noting that rusted rebar was exposed in a number of areas, presenting an estimate as to the cost of replacement of the railings and requesting the council write to the landowner requesting repairs be made to the railings.
22/057 COMMUNITY POLICING
The Town Mayor welcomed PCSO Mike Dean to Knutsford. PCSO Dean responded to questions from members advising that: all front desks in Cheshire police stations had been closed with the priority being to invest in beat police, that he needed training to be able to undertake speed enforcement which was scheduled to take place shortly, that he believed the perpetrators of the arson on Beechwood were known to the police and that overall there had been little anti-social behaviour.
22/058 CONFIRMATION OF PREVIOUS MINUTES
It was RESOLVED to confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 4th July.
22/059 COMMITTEE MINUTES
The minutes of the committee meetings held since the previous ordinary meeting were noted.
Cllr Nicholson reported further on the Personnel Committee work to evaluate staff salaries, reporting that the committee projected an overspend on the current year of £12,700 attributable to the new salary gradings. Cllr Nicholson further advised that the national negotiation on the inflationary increases to salaries was ongoing but likely to increase all salaries by £1,925 (pro-rata) resulting in a further overspend of £25,300.
22/060 HERITAGE CENTRE ANNUAL GRANT
Cllrs Nicholson and McCulloch left the meeting.
Mr Chris Henretty, Chairman of the Knutsford Heritage Centre board of Trustees, and Mrs Val Bryant, trustee and manager, provided further background to the request for a continued funding agreement and took questions from the council.
It was RESOLVED to provide a central support grant of £5,000 per year to Knutsford Heritage Centre for the financial years 2023/24 to 2026/27; that the grants for the first two years be £7,500 and that the value of the grants for 2025/26 and 2026/27 be determined in 2024 with a commitment to provide at least £5,000.
Cllrs Nicholson and McCulloch re-joined the meeting.
22/061 CHESHIRE EAST COUNCILLORS’ REPORTS
The reports of Cllrs Abel, Dean, and Gardiner were noted. No borough councillors were in attendance, but questions were raised regarding who is responsible for the quality of road resurfacing, what communications Cheshire East Council is having with Wolverhampton City Council concerning out-of-area taxi operators in the local area, and how much sewage has been discharged into the Moor Pool.
Cllr Robertson left the meeting.
22/062 MEMBERS’ REPORTS
Cllr Forbes reported that the Parkletics equipment was due to be installed within the next four weeks and that it would then be launched with patients.
Cllr Malloy reported that works had been undertaken at College Wood which have resulted in the area being opened up and this has reduced instances of anti-social behaviour and that the youth council had not met. Cllr Malloy further reported that the Mid Cheshire Community Rail Partnership was commencing recruitment for a new Community Rail Officer, that it had hosted music trains over the summer and that there had been disruption due to industrial action on the railways.
Cllr Morris reported that Friends of the Heath had an upcoming volunteer work day to which all were invited to support scrub removal.
Cllr Dalzell reported that the Crosstown Community Orchard had held a successful summer BBQ attended by around 100 residents, that it had held a bat walk and moth event led by the Cheshire Wildlife Trust and that it was hoping to hold a wreath making event in November.
22/063 WINTER WARMTH BANK
The proposal to host a warmth bank at the Council Offices was discussed with concern expressed about the operational impact it could have and the necessity of the council delivering the service, with the expectation third sector organisations would deliver warmth banks if needed.
A motion to host a winter warmth bank, signposting to other organisations providing complementary services and subject to addressing concerns raised by members and only proceeding if no other organisation was providing a service was proposed but not seconded.
22/064 CONVEYANCE OF STATEMENTS FROM ABSENT MEMBERS
It was RESOLVED that a restriction on the conveyance of statements from absent members be introduced via a standing order.
A motion to insert a standing order that:
A statement from an absent member may only be conveyed to the meeting if has been submitted in writing to the Town Clerk in advance of the meeting who shall read such statement to the meeting.
was proposed and seconded and stood adjourned without debate.
22/065 TOWN CENTRE MASTERPLAN
The Town Clerk reported that he had spoken with the Head of Transport and Cheshire East Council who had advised that the meeting due to be held the following day would provide an update with respect the From Top to Bottom Street proposals.
22/066 MAYORAL DUTIES
The Town Mayor reported on duties as detailed in Annex A.
The payment schedules were noted.
22/068 OUTSTANDING MATTERS LOG
The outstanding matters log was noted.
22/069 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
A resident enquired as to progress on the 60 King Street project.
A resident enquired as to how quickly the council would act on the points raised during the public participation section.
22/070 QUESTIONS TO THE TOWN CLERK
The Town Clerk responded to a question advising that the permissibility of events on the heath is contested, that the guiding principles document had been agreed by the council, Friends of the Heath and Tatton Estates in 2016 but that there was differing opinion as to the standing of the document sufficient that the Town Clerk was seeking to work with Friends of the Heath and Tatton Estate to agree an updated text for approval.
The Town Clerk responded to a further question stating that the responsibility for repairs to the play areas on the Moor and Longridge Play Area lies with Cheshire East Council but their budget allocation for repairs is insufficient. The Town Clerk further explained that the replacement zip wire for the Moor was on order and that ANSA was likely holding of repairs at Longridge due to the expected replacement of equipment.
Cllr Morris left the meeting.
Members congratulated the Town Clerk on the 10 year anniversary of his working at the council.
The Town Clerk responded to a question advising that the works to install the lighting at the war memorial were supposed to have taken place the previous week, that the units had not been delivered and that the Planning and Facilities Officer was chasing the contractor to have them installed well in advance of Remembrance Sunday. The Town Clerk further confirmed that seating would be available at the 11am service and that he would raise the condition of the pavement decal outside the library gates with Cheshire East Highways.
22/071 DATE OF THE NEXT MEETING
To note that the next scheduled meeting will be held on Monday 7th November at 7pm.