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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Town Centre Traffic and Parking 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.

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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.

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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.

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Proposals Submitted for Temporary restrictions in Knutsford Town Centre

Knutsford Town Council has put forward proposals to Cheshire East Council for temporary restrictions in Knutsford Town Centre to enable shoppers to maintain social distancing.

The proposals were submitted to Cheshire East Council today (22nd May) and aim to provide more space for pedestrians in the main shopping streets through limiting traffic and widening pedestrian spaces by the removal of parking.

The decision on what measures to implement will be taken by Cheshire East Council at which stage the detailed implementation of the measures will be agreed and widely communicated, but the suggestions put forward by the Town Council are:

King Street

  • Closure of the central section from the junction with King Street Car Park to the junction with Egerton Square.
  • Removal of on street car parking from the entrance to the railway station to just after Giovanni’s restaurant – except for a limited number of disabled parking bays where pavement widths allow
  • The King Street Car Park to be signed as entrance only from King Street, whilst remaining entrance/exit from Moorside.

Princess Street

  • Through traffic to be deterred from Princess Street through the installation of ‘access only’ signage
  • Removal of on street parking along the length of Princess Street from the junction with Canute Place to Simon Boyds, except for the provision of limited disabled parking bays

In tandem to these restrictions the Town Council has also stressed the importance of delivering an increase in parking provision elsewhere in the town centre and has put forward proposals for increasing the number of parking bays in Tatton Street car park and on Gaskell Avenue.

The Town Council has proposed a two-hour free parking period on Cheshire East car parks to replace the on street parking and encourage turnover of visitors.

The Town Council has also suggested a blanket ban on a-boards to ensure pavements remain clear for pedestrians.

The proposed measures seek to maximise space for pedestrians whilst minimising disruption to residents and businesses within the town centre.

The Town Council has already secured public use of three private car parks thanks to local hoteliers:

  • The Rose and Crown car park (accessed off Silk Mill Street) is available Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
  • The Cross Keys car park (accessed between Fine and Country and the Lost and Found) is available all week until the hotel reopens
  • The Courthouse Cheshire carpark (Toft Road) is available all week whilst the Courthouse undergoes extensive refurbishment

Town Mayor, Cllr Andrew Malloy said “As we begin to emerge from lockdown, Knutsford Town Council has been very conscious of the need to maintain a social distancing for those visiting the town centre.  As a result, we’ve been discussing the best way to implement a solution, listening to businesses, residents and government advice, and as such we’ve set out our recommendations to Cheshire East Council for implementation as soon as possible.

This is just a first step, and the situation will remain under review, with further steps to be requested as required, but it is important to implement restrictions to traffic on both King and Princess Street to ensure safety for all during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

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A further update regarding Covid-19 (Coronavirus) and our Events Programme

A further update regarding Covid-19 (Coronavirus) and our Events Programme

A further statement regarding our Events programme and the status of our events during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Knutsford Town Council is continually monitoring the latest government advice concerning the spread of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and the latest social distancing advice to limit the spread of the virus.

We are closely monitoring government advice day-by-day and will continue to follow guidelines, including postponing and cancelling events where this becomes necessary. We will always prioritise public health and make responsible decisions when planning events to protect the public, our volunteers and staff.

We have made the decision not to postpone our VE Day Street Party event planned originally for 8th May to later in the summer, due to concerns that the event would not be able to be held due to restrictions still being in place. The event has now been cancelled and will not take place this year. Instead, the Town Council is holding a live VE Day 75th Anniversary commemorative service on our Facebook page at 2.45pm on Friday 8th May – just head to www.facebook.com/knutsfordtowncouncil to watch.

On Monday, the council’s Events and Town Centre Management Committee agreed to postpone the Knutsford Music Festival which had been scheduled to take place from 12th – 14th June. A suitable weekend in September has been identified which the festival could potentially be postponed to, although no final decision has been made on this yet. The committee will meet again on 26th May to review the latest government advice and determine whether the event can be safely postponed to September or whether the 2020 event will be cancelled.

If the festival is postponed, tickets will be automatically transferred to the new dates. If ticket holders cannot attend on the new dates, refunds will be offered. If the festival is cancelled, all ticket holders will be entitled to a full refund less the transaction fees and will be contacted to arrange refunds.

The council is working hard to ensure that events are postponed where possible, but the Town Council will continue to prioritise public health and will cancel events if it is felt it would be unsafe to hold them, or where government mandates that mass gatherings must be banned.

The council will continue to closely monitor the situation as it develops over the coming months and make decisions regarding events scheduled to take place later in the year closer to the time.

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.

We 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.

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75th Anniversary of VE Day

Knutsford Town Council would like your help to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day on Friday 8th May.

The Town Council is creating a commemorative video to mark the anniversary and is inviting Knutsford residents to send content for the video.

Toasts to the fallen heroes of the war can be recorded, with clips of ideally no longer than 10 seconds being filmed in landscape mode on a phone or camera and sent to the council for inclusion in the video.

The Town Council is also inviting any veteran related content, be that in the form of videos of veterans sharing their experience of the war, any photos of veterans during war time and them now or other content that residents feel would be relevant to the video.

All content should be emailed to alex.brown@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk by 30th April for the video to be produced and broadcast on 8th May.

The video project is in partnership with Rachel Bishop Consulting, who are kindly compiling the celebratory video.

The video can be viewed at the end of a special online VE Day service which will be broadcast live to Facebook on Friday 8th May. The short service will commence at around 2.45pm and will pay tribute to fallen heroes and mark the anniversary of the day of victory in Europe. The service will conclude with the first broadcast of the special anniversary video.

Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Green said “We didn’t want this important anniversary to pass without recognition in the community and we encourage you to send us your toast to the fallen and then tune into our Facebook page on 8th May.”

This replaces the council’s previously planned VE Day Street Party which due to social distancing restrictions has had to be cancelled. This online service will replace the commemorative service that was due to take place by the town’s Centennial War Memorial on the day.

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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

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Cllr Katherine Fletcher Steps Down

Katherine Fletcher MP
Official Photograph

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.

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Town Centre Masterplan Update

Knutsford Town Council thanks the 658 people who completed questionnaires to provide feedback on the draft traffic and parking proposals for Knutsford Town Centre in our recent consultation. Volunteers on our town centre working group have analysed the data and have prepared an initial draft report which is being reviewed.

A sizeable majority supported the proposals, with 58% saying Yes to the question “Overall do you support this 3-part scheme as a first step towards securing the future of Knutsford town centre?”  Support for each of the three parts was even stronger; such as 77% in favour of fewer cars parked on Top and Bottom streets, and enforcing the ‘no-parking’ regulations.

Clearly, however, the sudden economic and social impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has changed things.  The proposals, therefore, will remain dormant until the pandemic has passed and life settles into some new normality.

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