Trustees needed to help Jubilee Hall

One of Knutsford’s key community buildings is in search of new trustees to help manage it. Located on Stanley Road as part of the Libris building, the Jubilee Hall is managed by the Knutsford Old Folks Club, a registered charity. It is home to groups such as the Thursday Club, the 58 Club and the town’s three WI group as well as being the venue for a range of community meetings.

Two long-serving trustees are stepping down in September and the charity seeking three new trustees to oversee key aspects of the hall’s management, without which the hall’s future could be uncertain. The hall, which opened in the year of HM The Queen’s golden jubilee, is currently closed due to the coronavirus restrictions on gatherings.

The three new trustees needed are:

  • Chairman/secretary to oversee the general management of the charity including to coordinate monthly trust meetings
  • Treasurer to manage the charity finances (turnover £10,000 per year)
  • Building supervisor to oversee the maintenance and general management of the hall and supporting the booking secretary

Encouraging volunteers to come forward, retiring chairman Derek Empson said “I have fulfilled the three roles myself for the last twelve years but now need to hand over the reins. 

With the support of three new trustees the Jubilee Hall will be able to continue serving the Knutsford community, providing a modern, accessible and affordable meeting space. Without new trustees the future of the hall is unknown, and it would be terrible if it was lost”

Knutsford Town Council is supporting the charity to help it find new trustees, if you are interested in supporting the Jubilee Hall by taking on one of these roles, please contact Town Clerk Adam Keppel-Green on 01565 653 929 or email townclerk@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk

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Volunteers sought to map town’s trees

Volunteers are sought to help map every tree on public land in Knutsford.

The tree mapping project is part of the Town Council’s Nature Action Plan and will see a record made of the species and location of each tree to help create plans to ensure the town retains its sylvan character.

The project is being led by volunteers Malcolm Thomas and Kevin Griffiths who came up with the idea and volunteers will be given an area to survey with guidance on how to identify the different tree species. Volunteers will then attach a metal tag to the tree and log it using their smart phone.

“Malcolm and Kevin’s preliminary work suggests there are over 8,000 mature trees in Knutsford around half of which are in private gardens; the other half are on public spaces and this project will help ensure their long-term protection to keep Knutsford a town amongst the trees” Town Clerk Adam Keppel-Green said.

The tree mapping project will be followed by the Town Council setting out plans to see thousands more trees planted in Knutsford as part of its commitment to nature and the environment. Other projects include installing bird and bat boxes on council trees and sowing a wildflower meadow on the Barncroft.

Those interested in volunteering to help map trees can contact the Town Council on 01565 653 929 or email jill.webb@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk.

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Mayor’s Charity Ball Cancelled

Mayor’s Charity Ball Cancelled

The star event of the Mayor of Knutsford’s events calendar, the annual Civic Ball, has been cancelled.

The event was originally planned for 21st March but was postponed to 18th September at the introduction of the lockdown period due to the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. It was initially hoped that a September event would be viable, but organisers at Knutsford Town Council made the difficult decision that the current social distancing requirements prevent a suitable enjoyable event being held.

An alternative fundraising event will be planned in its place for the early autumn and will likely be an interactive online event. Cllr Andrew Malloy, the town mayor, hopes to announce details of this new event will soon and anyone wishing to participate or find out more can register their interest by emailing mayor@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk.

Andrew is also preparing for his final sponsored event to raise funds for Knutsford youth sporting activities and a starter fund for a new skate park. Details of his Cheshire Three Peaks walk, including how to sponsor him, will be released once a date for the challenge has been set.

Cllr Andrew Malloy, Mayor of Knutsford, said: “The Mayoress and I are really disappointed to not be able to host a Mayors Ball this year. This is the biggest event in the Mayoral diary, and the opportunity to try to raise a significant amount for my causes, youth sporting activities and a skatepark. But as you’ll understand, in the current Covid situation, it would be very difficult to justify getting a large number of people in a room together for an indoor celebration, even with the intention of raising money for local causes.

Hopefully we can organise another Covid safe event to close out the extended Mayoral year, and we still hope to take on the Cheshire Three peaks in the coming months too, so anything you can do to support us raise as much money as possible in the remaining few months would be very gratefully received”.

All guests booked to attend the Mayor’s Ball should have received an email with information on claiming a refund, if any guests have not received this or have any queries they should contact the Town Council Office on 01565 653 929 or email.

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Events to Return to Knutsford this autumn and winter

Events to Return to Knutsford this autumn and winter

Work is underway to deliver Knutsford Town Council’s autumn and winter events programme with plans being put in place for the annual Knutsford Pumpkin Path and Knutsford Christmas Markets.

The Town Council’s Events and Town Centre Management Committee agreed revised plans for the Halloween and Christmas events which will return with a number of measures in place to ensure that social distancing and other preventative measures can be in place due to the ongoing Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

The Pumpkin Path, which usually takes place on the evening of 31st October will instead take place over the span of a week and encourage families to attend at their own leisure to enjoy the Halloween trail through the town centre. None of the usual on-street entertainment will be arranged for 31st October, and no road closures will be in place. Instead, the council is encouraging families to plan their visit to the town centre at a time best for them as they hunt to find the hidden pumpkins in shop windows and enjoy the spooky window displays. Participants will also enjoy a few freebies and submit their completed entry forms to be in with a chance of winning one of a handful of special prizes.

The council will be holding its first ever pumpkin carving competition, with families encouraged to send in photos of their spooky carved pumpkins; these will be judged by the public via social media and the winners will receive a special spooky prize.

Local businesses are being encouraged to add additional spooky-fun by organising their own small Halloween themed workshops or activities for the week.

Knutsford Christmas Market will return on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th November, from 11am to 4pm, at a new location on the Princess Street and Silk Mill Street car parks. The number of stalls for the market has been significantly reduced to allow sufficient space for social distancing. Other Covid-19 preventative measures will be in place including sanitiser stations at every entrance and exit and a one-way system.

The Christmas Lights will be switched on by the Mayor of Knutsford on Friday 27th November but this year the celebration will be livestreamed for residents to join from the comfort of their own homes rather than crowding in Canute Place.

Two events won’t be held in 2020 – the Santa Parade and the Lantern Parade have both been cancelled due to the crowding these events traditionally promote. There will also be no Santa’s Grotto at the Christmas Market due to social distancing guidelines making an enjoyable grotto experience for children impossible.

The annual Crib Service will take place on Saturday 5th December, mostly likely as a livestreamed, digital event.

Alex Brown, Events Officer at the Town Council, said: “We are really pleased to be bringing back some form of our autumn and winter outdoor events, as we know these are very popular and help to support our local traders.

We have made significant changes to the set-up of these events to provide for social distancing and introduce a range of other preventative measures, and we will work hard to ensure that the atmosphere and excitement of the events is still in place despite the changes.

We will release more details of the events in the run up to them, and we encourage regular visitors to familiarise themselves with the plans for this year to avoid disappointment.”

The council is continually reviewing the latest government guidance and will refine or postpone arrangements should it not be possible to organise safe events for the community.

Any residents who would like to get in touch with the Town Council regarding the events can contact alex.brown@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk or call the office on 01565 653 929.

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Town Council calls on Cheshire East to support the From Top to Bottom Street report

Knutsford Town Council has officially called upon Cheshire East Council to begin work on implementing the proposed changes to traffic and parking in Knutsford Town Centre, following the proposals receiving 58% public support in the From Top to Bottom Street consultation.

The consultation report has been published and can be read here: Consultation Report. Full details of the proposals are available on the Ton Centre Masterplan webpage: Town Centre Masterplan

The Town Council has requested that Cheshire East Council:

  • commits to work with us to further analyse the proposals in our From Top to Bottom Street report and develop them into an integrated workable scheme.
  • commits to support these proposals and allocates budget and expert resource to work with us to take them further including to undertake traffic flow measurements and computer simulations for the different options for changes to the road layouts so that together we can determine a feasible, detailed plan for traffic in the Town Centre.
  • holds in abeyance any proposed changes to the Canute Place roundabout, Adam’s Hill and Toft Road/Bexton Road junction until such time as they can be harmonised and integrated within these proposals – this is particularly important to ensure that investment from development taking place is not wasted on schemes which damage our ability to improve the town centre
  • ensures that the proposed Knutsford Parking Review (under the Local Transport Plan) fully considers these proposals and that Cheshire East Council works with us to develop a restructuring of public parking in the town centre including studies to prepare for one or more multi-storey car parks

Cllr Christopher Gray, lead member for the Town Centre working group said “As a Town Centre councillor I am delighted that the proposals put to the businesses and residents to ensure the long term viability of the town centre have received an overwhelming positive response following the public consultation.

In such uncertain times with shopping habits changing due mainly to the success of on line shopping it is essential to ensure that our historic town centre is attractive, safe and pollution free.

The Working Group comprising mainly of residents and business owners recommended sweeping changes to the traffic and parking in the town centre which were approved by the Town Council in order to progress the scheme with the highway authority, Cheshire East.

The Councillors recognise the urgency of the situation and will press the three local Cheshire East Councillors to actively promote the  ideas as a priority.”

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Resident 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.

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Bug Hotel installed 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. 

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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.

You can view the notice here: Notice of Nether Ward vacancy

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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

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An update regarding Knutsford Christmas Market 2020

We will be opening applications to this year’s Knutsford Christmas Market on Friday 17th July. Whether you are a trader who has traded at our market previously or a new trader who intends to apply for the first time, please read the following information detailing changes that may need to be put into place following the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic to ensure that our event is safe for visitors, traders and town centre businesses. Whilst some of this may sound negative, we wanted to be upfront about the way we may have to hold this year’s event and we hope it does not put you off applying.
 
We are currently exploring options to run our market differently this year to reduce crowding and ensure the market is safe for users. This will mostly likely mean holding the market on Silk Mill Street and Princess Street car parks rather than on Princess Street as holding the market in its usual format would not enable social distancing at the market or for local businesses. Changes to the layout will be to  enable us to space out stalls and create designated walkways with a one-way system in place. These changes may also involve reducing the overall number of traders at the event to ensure that we can allow adequate space between stalls and large enough walkways to allow social distancing between visitors if required.
 
If we are required to reduce our usual number of traders, this will be communicated to all applicants as soon as possible – we are continually monitoring the latest government advice and our aim is to run an event that is both safe and successful. We may choose to offer fewer weekend slots than usual to allow us to showcase a greater number of traders while still reducing overall numbers; we would ask that all traders please bear with us if we are unable to offer everyone weekend slots and work with us to offer trading opportunities to as many local traders as possible.
 
We may be required to omit certain types of stall from the market to reduce crowding or to ensure that there is no blockage to walkways, and that we can fit in as many stalls as possible whilst still maintaining any necessary distancing. This might include stalls that sell large or bulky items or usually trade across a larger area; we may have to reduce the number of stalls of this kind for this year and we apologise in advance if this will affect some traders – we encourage you to still apply as we will work to find solutions to enable us to accommodate as broad a range of traders as possible.
 
The Christmas Market will most likely be more of a traditional market this year with entertainment stripped back or removed  to prevent crowding in order to allow users to safely visit their favourite traders and shop in a safe and secure way.
 
We will proceed with our Park and Ride shuttle bus service which has been popular at our event for the last two years. The Park and Ride offers visitors a chance to park and board a shuttle bus for free into the town centre. This service helps to drastically reduce the number of cars trying to park in the town centre and we would encourage as many users as possible to utilise this free of charge service as car parking spaces in the town centre will be greatly limited.
 
Knutsford Town Council considers the health and wellbeing of our residents an utmost priority and will continue to monitor government advice as the year progresses to determine the safest way to hold the market this year. Whilst we appreciate that this is a hugely popular event not only to the local community but for people from further afield, we will continue to prioritise the safety of our residents and, reluctantly reserve the right to cancel the event at any time if we believe that this is the best way for us to keep our community safe. We will continue to communicate our plans with all traders and the public and will seek to proceed with the market in the safest way possible for all. We are grateful for your patience and co-operation at this time.
 
If you have any questions regarding this statement or this year’s festivities, please contact us at christmas@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk or call us on 01565 653 929.

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