Cllr Mike Houghton outside the Council Offices

Consultation launched on council’s strategic plan

A consultation has been launched on Knutsford Town Council’s draft strategy for the next ten years.

The strategic plan was developed following community consultation in Summer 2022, when the Town Council held a series of workshops and an online survey to hear from residents what they wanted to see the council address in the coming years.

The plan is an overarching strategy and intentionally doesn’t detail the solutions. It details the council’s core aims and objectives – how the council delivers on this will be set out as it progresses through the next decade.

The five strategic aims set out by the council are:

  • Supporting a thriving Town Centre
  • Promoting Active Travel
  • Leading a Strong Community
  • Improving Open Spaces and the Environment
  • Ensuring access to services and facilities

The aims are what the council will work towards in the long term and each is supported by a series of objectives which sets out how they will make these aims a reality. Each year the council will  produce specific action plans detailing what it will be doing to meet our objectives.

“This plan was built on the back of what we were told in our community engagement sessions last year and aims to ensure the council is addressing the needs and ambitions of the community” said Town Mayor, Cllr Mike Houghton. 

“Before the plan is adopted, we want to ensure it has your support. We want to hear from you again to tell us if you agree with our aims and objectives and to suggest what specific actions you believe the council should be undertaking to deliver them.”

The consultation runs until Friday 3rd March. The Town Council will then review all feedback and present a revised plan for adoption to the new council following the May 2023 elections.

The plan can be read online at www.knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk/strategicplan and feedback provided by the accompanying feedback form. Comments can also be submitted by email to strategicplan@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk. Paper copies of the plan and questionnaire can be found in Knutsford Library, The Welcome and Knutsford Market Hall. 

The council is also hosting an open forum on the strategy at 7pm on Wednesday 22nd February in Knutsford Methodist Church. At the meeting the council will talk through the development of the plan and answer any questions from the community.

Cllr Mike Houghton outside the Council Offices

Have your say on new 10 year council plan

Knutsford Town Council is inviting the community to come forward with what it wants to see the council delivering for it over the next ten years as part of its new strategic plan.

 

The council’s strategic plan will cover the 2022-2032 period and set out what the council aims to achieve for the community over this period.  The council is keen to ensure the plan is built on the back of the priorities of the local community so before setting its objectives is running a series of workshops to hear what the town’s residents want to see achieved for the town over the period.

 

The council is hosting five workshops to stimulate discussion and ensure it understands the priorities of the community. The workshops are being held at different times to maximise the ability for people to be able to attend:

 

  • Tuesday 28th June 11am – Egerton Place, Church Hill
  • Wednesday 29th June 7pm – The Welcome, Longridge
  • Thursday 30th June 7pm – Egerton Place
  • Saturday 2nd July 2pm – Egerton Place
  • Thursday 14th July 7pm – Online using Zoom

 

Those who cannot attend the workshops can also feed their priorities in via a survey on the council’s website which goes live on Monday 27th June.

 

All fifteen councillors have starred in a promotional video aiming to get the word out about the consultation and encouraging residents to participate. The video highlights some of the achievements of the council over the last ten years which have included making improvements at Knutsford Cemetery, delivering award winning public toilets and running community events.

 

Speaking in the video, Town Mayor Cllr Mike Houghton said “This is your opportunity to have a say on how the council can work to improve Knutsford for us all. Please take the time to engage as we really do want to hear what you think.”

 

The council’s strategic plan is not to be confused with the Cheshire East Local Plan or the Knutsford Neighbourhood Plan, both of which are planning documents. Instead, the council’s strategic (or corporate) plan will set out what the council itself aspires to achieve for the local community, whether that is through lobbying, delivering new services or improving town assets.

 

More information about the new strategic plan, the workshops and how to have a say online can be found at www.knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk/strategicplan

‘Where Next’ for 60 King Street?

‘Where Next’ for 60 King Street is the question Knutsford Town Council is asking the local community as part of a consultation to inform how the iconic Grade II* listed building will be used in the future.

The building, also known as Kings Coffee House, was home to the Belle Epoque until 2019 and previous attempts to find a new tenant were unsuccessful. In 2021 the council changed approach and appointed heritage consultants to lead a major grant bid to secure funds to regenerate and reimagine the building.

Speaking in a video released to promote the consultation, Town Mayor Cllr Stewart Gardiner said “Our vision is for a hybrid community and commercial space that will serve the whole of Knutsford but ensure the building remains financially viable”

The council has developed a range of ideas as to how the building could be used in the future to both generate income to offset maintenance costs and deliver a direct community benefit as had originally been intended when the Kings Coffee House was opened by its creator Richard Harding Watt.

“To help us shape our plans we are holding an open consultation, because we want to know your views on how this space should be used in the future” Cllr Gardiner added.

The survey aims to ensure that the building responds to the needs of the Knutsford community by helping identify gaps in service and space provision within the town.

Aware that many residents will not be aware of the extent of the property, the council is opening the doors of the building and offering a series of guided tours on Saturday 23rd April to enable the community to see the whole building and grounds. Numbers on the tours are limited and pre-booking is required. Each tour will end with a group discussion on what they have seen and their initial thoughts on how the building could be best used.

The survey and booking form for the guided tours can be found at: www.knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk/60KS. Paper versions of the survey can be collected from Knutsford Library, Knutsford Market Hall and the Council Offices. Residents not on the internet can book a space on a tour by calling 01565 653 929.

To support the consultation, and for those unable to attend a tour, the council has released a short promotional video which features interior and exterior views of the building; the video can be viewed on the council website.

An aerial view of the Moor

Town Centre Masterplan 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.
An aerial view of the Moor

Town Centre Masterplan Proposals

Knutsford Town Council is launching a consultation on proposals for changes to Town Centre Traffic and Parking arrangements as the first stage of developing a Town Centre Masterplan.

Led by Cllr Christopher Gray the council’s Town Centre Masterplan Working Group, which comprises local residents, businesses and councillors, has prepared proposals for a limited-vehicle access scheme for the Town Centre. The scheme aims to reduce the volume of traffic on King and Princess Streets whilst maintaining access to all homes, businesses and car parks.

The bold proposals include creating new pedestrian squares at Canute Place and outside Lost and Found on Princess Street as well as the development of well-designed multi-storey car parks to increase parking. The proposals also include creating an access to Princess Street directly from the A50 through the car park behind Waitrose.

Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Green said, “These proposals form the first part of developing an overall master plan for Knutsford Town Centre with the overriding aim of ensuring we have a town centre which continues to flourish. These proposals focus on the mechanics of the town centre, and future work on the masterplan will look at issues such as pavement and road surfaces”

Public consultation events are being held on Tuesday 4th February (6:30pm) and Wednesday 5th February (2pm) in Knutsford Methodist Church. Town Centre residents and businesses were invited to preview the proposals at events held this week and the Town Council hopes to engage as many stakeholders as possible to garner their views on the proposals.

The consultation commences on Wednesday 5th February when full details will be published on the Town Council website. The consultation runs to March 13th.