Town Mayor, Cllr Stewart Gardiner and Managing Director of Knutsford based Forum of Private Business, Ian Cass, toured the town centre to judge the efforts of local businesses in the annual Knutsford Christmas Window Competition.
Each year the standard of the Christmas Window displays continues to get higher and higher. All the Town Centre window displays were viewed as part of the competition though we had formal entries from a large range of retailers and businesses including, but not limited to; Holly Johnson Antiques, Kanoa Living, Cheshire Quality, Arthur Lee, Nicholas Austen, The White Orchid, Dafferns, Mr Simms and Clare and Illingworth.
The overall winner was presented with a trophy and certificate with highly commended certificates going to the runners up.
This year the winner was Gerald’s of Knutsford with Nicholas Austen coming in 2nd place and Daniella Draper in 3rd place. There was also a prize for the best dressed Charity Shop window; this was won by Barnados on Tatton Street.
Cllr Stewart Gardiner said “I was impressed at how people had gone the extra mile in their window displays this year. Everybody should be extremely proud of their efforts in making the town look particularly festive. Picking winners was especially difficult and six or seven shop fronts were in the running for first place. However, there could only be one winner, Gerald’s of Knutsford!”
Electors living in Knutsford’s Bexton Ward have the opportunity to request an election to fill the vacancy created following the death of Cllr Barbara Hamilton Coan.
If ten electors write to Cheshire East Council before 7th January 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 be held in May 2021 as all elections, national and local, have been suspended until this date. Any election will be held on the same day as the election for the vacancy on Nether Ward. If no election is called a new councillor will be co-opted in March.
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 Bexton Ward seat on Knutsford Town Council, giving their full name and address.
Recognising the delays in postal services due to coronavirus and Christmas, Cheshire East Council will also accept service of this demand by email to email@example.com to ensure it is received by the deadline of 7th January but require that a hard copy is posted at the same time to comply with Electoral Commission guidelines.
Second year university students from Knutsford are encouraged to apply for the Millennium Bursary from Knutsford Town Council.
Since 2000 the Town Council and Knutsford Lions have offered a £500 bursary to a second-year student from Knutsford to assist with their final year studies. The Knutsford Lions often also provide further smaller awards to runner-up students.
The bursary is open to all second-year university students whose term-time address is in Knutsford or Toft. To apply, students simply need to complete a short form giving a background to their studies and how the bursary will help them achieve more at university.
The deadline for applications is 21st December. The application form can be completed online at: www.knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk/services/millennium-bursary
All applicants will be invited to an interview in early January with the Town Mayor and Knutsford Lions who will seek to better understand how the bursary can help students’ studies.
The deadline is approaching for groups in Knutsford to apply for funding from the Town Council’s community grants scheme.
Grants of up to £1,500 are available from the Town Council for projects which meet one of its grant outcomes: providing improved opportunities/services for under 18s or over 65s, providing new or improved assets or services which benefits a significant percentage of residents and projects which enhance the profile or reputation of the town.
Previous grant awards from the council have included £1,500 to 2nd Knutsford Scouts towards resurfacing the driveway at their scout hut and £650 to the Knutsford Talking Newspaper to purchase new equipment.
“We’ve been able to fund some excellent community projects through our grant scheme in the past and invite community groups, sports clubs and charities to submit applications to us at any time throughout the year” said Town Clerk Adam Keppel-Green.
The council will not fund salaries, hospitalities, religious organisations (except for non-religious activities), core school expenditure or projects with party political links.
The deadline for the final round of applications in the current financial year is 11th December, with decision being made by the council in January 2021. More information on the grant scheme and the application forms are available at: www.knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk/services/community-grants
Knutsford Town Council is sad to announce the death of Councillor Barbara Hamilton Coan, who passed away on 20th November after a short illness.
Barbara was first elected to the Town Council in May 2008 representing Over Ward for seven years before not seeking re-election in 2015. After a four-year break, Barbara returned to the council in May 2019 as a councillor for Bexton Ward.
Barbara was elected Deputy Town Mayor in 2012 and served as Town Mayor 2013-14. Speaking on her election as Town Mayor in 2013 Barbara said there was “no greater honour than to be elected mayor of the town in which I was born and the town which made me.”
As Town Mayor Barbara raised funds for the Knutsford Lions and Cheshire Search and Rescue, at the time setting as new record for the mayor’s charity fundraising. During her year in office Barbara was impressed by a neighbouring town appointing a mayoral cadet and oversaw the introduction of the Knutsford Mayor’s Cadet.
During her time at the council Barbara oversaw the creation of the Events and Town Centre Management Committee of which she was the inaugural chairman and through which she was instrumental in establishing the annual Town Awards scheme in 2013. Since returning to the council in 2019 Barbara served as Chairman of the Personnel Committee.
Town Mayor, Cllr Stewart Gardiner said “It is very sad to lose a colleague; Barbara was incredibly hard working and thorough in her duties as a councillor and a very good past mayor. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time.”
The Knutsford flag will be flown at half mast at the Council Offices.
EIGHT Knutsford sports clubs which deliver youth sporting activities have received a share of outgoing Town Mayor Cllr Andrew Malloy’s charitable fundraising efforts.
Andrew was elected Town Mayor in May 2019 and was due to stand down in May 2020 when his term was extended by six months due to the coronavirus lockdown which also resulted in the cancellation of the key fundraising event of a mayor’s term – the Mayor’s Ball.
Over the past 18 months Andrew held a number of fundraising events to raise funds for youth sporting clubs and to create a starter fund for a Knutsford Skatepark. With the support of a number of local businesses and residents Andrew hosted a BBQ, Christmas Disco, three ‘Dine with the Mayor’ evenings a pub quiz, a virtual family quiz, a Christmas raffle and a virtual raffle. Along with Mayoress Nicole Malloy Andrew also tackled two active challenges – cycling over 100 miles across Cheshire East in September 2019 and tackling a 9.5-hour hike around the Cheshire Three Peaks in October 2020.
His efforts, and the generosity of a number of sponsors and guests at his would-be ball, allowed Andrew to raise a total of £13,430. Half of this will be distributed between the eight sporting clubs with the rest put aside to help deliver a skatepark for the town.
Andrew contracted the various sporting organisations involved in delivering youth sports in Knutsford to find out how they could use a share of the funding and £6,715 was shared between the eight sports clubs.
Egerton Football Club received £985 which will be match funded by the FA to provide new small, sided goals and the same amount went to Toft Cricket Club to help fund a new tarpaulin and lighting to allow practice during the winter.
Knutsford Rugby Club received £640 to fund coaching training with the Rugby Football Union and the Canute Badminton Club will also be training more of its coaches with its £350 share of the funding which will also fund new agility trailing equipment.
Swimming club the Knutsford Vikings received £985 to wards the cost of new starting blocks and Knutsford Hockey Club will be spending its £985 on a goalkeeper kit and new hockey sticks.
The final awards were made to Knutsford Tennis Club (£800) and Knutsford Netball Club (£985) who will be applying the funding to future projects.
Cllr Malloy said “I have been overwhelmed throughout my term by the generosity and support of so many people and businesses. Only with their support could the Mayoress and I have raised so much money for the young people of our town, to support their health, fitness and mental health.
With our local sports clubs really struggling during lockdown, I’ve been delighted to be able to support them. We had an incredible year as a Mayoral team, and enjoyed so many amazing events, in particular showcasing active organisations and challenges, and we really look forward to continuing our active lives with our children.”
Knutsford’s new Town Mayor, Cllr Stewart Gardiner will be announcing his chosen charities at the formal investiture planned for December 7th.
 The total includes £3,600 which was paid as a deposit for the Mayor’s Ball. This deposit has been carried forward for an event in the new Town Mayor’s term and will be reimbursed from ticket income. In the unlikely event that it cannot go ahead, the skatepark share of the funding will be reduced by £3,600.
Knutsford Christmas Market, the annual festive community market in Knutsford, has been postponed to Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th December.
The market was due to be held on 27th and 28th November but had to be moved due to the second lockdown. The market will run from 11am to 4pm each day.
The market forms part of Knutsford Town Council’s wider Christmas celebrations which normally includes the Santa Parade and Christmas Light Switch On, but unfortunately due to Covid-19 these other features of the festive weekend were cancelled, with the Lantern Parade postponed to 2021.
The Christmas Market will be held this year on the Princess Street and Silk Mill Street car parks, with a few stalls on Princess Street to bring the two areas together. The market will be separated into two main sites featuring crafts, and food and drink stalls. A one-way system will be in place around the sites which organisers from the council ask that all visitors abide by to keep themselves and other visitors safe. Hand sanitiser stations will also be available at each market site entrance and exit, and directional signage will help to direct visitors around the sites to enjoy a safe shopping experience. Mask wearing is not compulsory, though visitors should wear a mask if they prefer.
The market has been scaled back to allow for social distancing and will feature around half its usual number of stalls, but organisers have ensured that favourites in pies, cakes, art, jewellery and more will still feature at the reduced market.
Visitors to the market can enjoy an easy commute by making use of the free Park and Ride shuttle service which is returning for a third year since it was introduced in 2018. The shuttle service offers passengers a free short shuttle bus ride from Booths Hall to Knutsford Bus Station to help reduce burden on town centre car parks, some of which are closed for the event. Booths Hall is situated just 1 mile outside of Knutsford and has around 1,000 parking spaces available to allow visitors to park for free and board the free shuttle bus for an easy ride into the town centre. In 2020 rules for public transport will apply and passengers will be requested to wear a face mask where an exemption does not prevent this. Donations will be collected by volunteers from the Cheshire Badger Vaccination Programme.
There will unfortunately be no live entertainment at the market this year, and no hot food and drink stalls; this is to discourage dwell within the market itself but visitors can enjoy a visit to Knutsford’s wide array of restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars as part of their visit to the festive market instead.
Knutsford Town Council wants to hear from residents on its plans to plant almost 7,000 trees across the town as part of its Nature Action Plan. The town council is consulting on its Tree Planting Plan which aims to deliver over half of its target of seeing 13,000 trees planted in Knutsford to tackle climate change and improve biodiversity and wildlife.
The proposals include planting over 250 1.5m to 2.4m specimen trees on verges and open spaces with a further 6,600 whips planted to create large new areas of woodland in suitable areas – including an extension to St John’s Wood.
The plan also sets out proposals to four fences around open spaces with hedges and identifies a number of verges where additional wildlife friendly planting could be supported.
“We adopted our Nature Action Plan in March this year as part of our commitment to make Knutsford a greener and more wildlife friendly town. Our planting plan is a key part of this and will drastically increase the number of trees in the town” said Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Green
“We see it as a win-win, the town will look more beautiful, CO2 will be absorbed from the air and locked away and in time wildlife will flourish.”
The council’s Nature Action Plan working group has identified areas where additional planting will not affect the existing use of open spaces and has chosen a range of native and ornamental trees suitable for each location.
“We would like residents to view our proposals and let us know what they think of the areas we plant and what we plan to plan. We’ll review all feedback received and finalise a planting plan in early 2021 with the intention to complete all planting over the next three years”.
A gift voucher unique to Knutsford is launching just in time for Christmas.
The Knutsford Voucher is now available to purchase from the Town Council website and (after lockdown) in person in the Council Offices on Toft Road. Initially the vouchers will be in £5 and £10 dominations and will be able to be redeemed in over 50 local shops.
The aim of the scheme is to keep spend local and support the local economy.
Sandra Curties, Knutsford Town Council Town Centre and Marketing Officer, said, “We have kept the initial launch simple – low denominations for spread of spend and we’ve had a great response from local shops. There are too many to mention here but the vouchers can be redeemed for everyday goods such as meat and vegetables to flowers, soft furnishings, bikes, and gifts – there really is something for everyone. Once the voucher is redeemed, we pay the shop back in full. It is a great way of ring fencing local spend.”
The vouchers will be available for one year from date of purchase, have been designed by local marketing agency 438 Marketing and have security features to disable fraud. Full terms and conditions will be on Knutsford Town Council’s website along with a full list of participating retailers. They make great gifts all year round and an excellent incentive for existing staff or a welcome to new starters. Chris Eversfield from Serenity Designs said, “We are really excited about this new voucher scheme. It is a great initiative from Knutsford Town Council – enabling local people to spend money in local shops”
If any Knutsford based business is interested in the scheme, they should get in touch with Sandra Curties on 01565 653929. Please note only Knutsford based shops (not surrounding villages) can take the vouchers. If successful, higher denominations will be introduced and longer term a digital option may be developed.