Posts Tagged Town Clerk

Neighbourhood Plan Submitted

Knutsford Town Council’s Neighbourhood Plan Committee is celebrating as it reaches the key milestone of submitting the final draft of the Neighbourhood Plan to Cheshire East Council. The Neighbourhood Plan has been painstakingly prepared by a team of councillors and volunteer residents over the past four years and has been informed by three public consultations.

The submission of the plan to Cheshire East brings the plan sees its adoption on the horizon with it now being subject a final statutory consultation which runs until November 23rd. Members of the public can view the Neighbourhood Plan and its supporting documents on the Neighbourhood Plan website – www.knutsfordneighbourhoodplan.org.uk and comments on the policies can be submitted to Cheshire East Council.

The plan will go to examination by a planning expert in December with a public referendum on its adoption expected in February, but by reaching this crucial stage the policies already begin to have some weight in making planning decisions.

Town Clerk Adam Keppel-Green said “We are proud to be reaching this key stage and moving a step closer to the Neighbourhood Plan being brought into force. Once again we would like to place on record our thanks to all those who have taken the time to contribute to the plan and especially to the volunteers on our working groups who have helped us create a Neighbourhood Plan”

Nearly 100 residents have worked on the detail of the polices and hundreds more have fed into the process at consultations over the past few years. The Town Council was supported by Macclesfield based Urban Imprint who provided technical knowledge and have helped ensure the plan meets its statutory requirements.

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Full steam ahead for Neighbourhood Plan

Community volunteers are on track to deliver a Neighbourhood Plan for Knutsford in 2018. The Neighbourhood Plan, led by Knutsford Town Council but driven by community volunteers, held a successful consultation on its emerging policies in November/December and is now moving ‘full steam ahead’ to get the plan submitted to Cheshire East Council this year.

614 residents completed the emerging policies consultation with an additional 200 visiting one of the exhibition events held across Town and at the Christmas Market. Ten consultation respondents were drawn to win one of the £75 cash prizes. The winners were; Val Edwards, Sharon Ilman, Zoe Whittington, Zoe Cooper, Helen Gilbert, Paul Langley, L Carrasco, Beverley Hill and C Moore. Beverley Hill did not provide her adders and the Council is awaiting her to come forward for her prize.

Feedback from the consultation indicated broad support for the emerging policies, with consultants Urban Imprint having issues the Town Council with a series of recommended changes ready for the next stage of developing the plan.

“This consultation was about the ideas we had for policies, the next stage is about adding the meat to the bones”, said Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Green.

Volunteers working on the plan are currently reviewing these proposed changes and will be agreeing the final emerging policies at the end of February before work producing the full draft policies begins, with a tight target of reaching agreement on the draft policies by April when the community will get a say on the detail.

“Producing a Neighbourhood Plan is a key ambition for the Town Council and we are indebted to the support from both the volunteers directly working on our policies and behind the scenes gathering evidence and the residents who took the time to complete our survey for visit us at the Christmas Market” Adam added.

“The plan really starts to come together now, and it is full steam ahead to developing the first draft of the Neighbourhood Plan for consultation in April/May and hopefully having a referendum on its adoption in late 2018”.

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Town Council Precept

Residents receiving their council tax bills from Cheshire East Council may have noticed an increase in the Town Council element of their bills. This 14.6% reflects a £6.35  per year increase in the amount a Band D property pays to the Town Council, or just 12p extra per week.

The Band D for Knutsford is now £49.84; the fourth lowest for the towns in Cheshire East (only the larger towns of Wilmslow, Macclesfield and Crewe are lower). The precept of £286,020 accounts for 60% of the Town Council’s income, and was increased by £38,912 for the new financial year.

The key question is why the precept has increased;

  • The loss of £6,200 of funding from central government (through Cheshire East Council) for tax bases changes implemented in 2014
  • Continuing the development of a Neighbourhood Plan for Knutsford
  • Installing new Speed Indicator Devices at two entrance roads to Knutsford
  • Delivering a new Music Festival and supporting the Pumpkin Path
  • Transfer of the Knutsford Town Council Offices from Cheshire East Council

In addition to this the Town Council is continuing to undertake a range of projects including improvements at Wallwood, Tabley Hill cemetery and other public open spaces as well as continuing to support community organisations through its community grants scheme.

Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Garner said “The Town Council aims to keep its precept to a minimum whilst delivering the maximum impact for its residents”

“We go through a rigorous process to set our budget and always seek to find efficiencies and minimise costs without reducing the services we provide.”

You can view the Town Council budget in full here: Budget 2017/18

How does Knutsford Compare?

 

Town Band D Rate
Nantwich  £     104.60
Middlewich  £        86.96
Congleton  £        81.93
Alsager  £        79.54
Sandbach  £        79.20
Holmes Chapel  £        77.49
Poynton  £        74.14
Alderley Edge  £        66.99
Bollington  £        58.00
Knutsford  £        49.84
Crewe  £        43.14
Macclesfield  £        38.60
Wilmslow  £        27.45

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Five New Blue Plaques Installed

FIVE NEW commemorative plaques have been installed by Knutsford Town Council as part of its Blue Plaque Scheme. The plaques are the first to be installed following the adoption of the policy last year and see five sites recognised.

Cllr Jan Nicholson inspecting the Royce Plaque

Cllr Jan Nicholson inspecting the Royce Plaque

The aim of the scheme is to help residents and visitors identify with the history of Knutsford and aims to promote recognition and awareness of people, places and events which have been of lasting significance in the life of Knutsford or more widely.

Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Garner, said “We are delighted to install these five new plaques which greatly add to the everyday sense of heritage enjoyed in Knutsford.”

Edward Penny RA, a founding member of the Royal Academy of Arts, is commemorated on the Freemason Arms. Penny was born and lived on Silk Mill Street from 1714 and was the first Professor of Painting at the Royal Academy.

Knutsford’s iconic Gaskell Tower features a new plaque noting it was designed for Richard Harding Watt and dedicated to the 19th century author whilst the Royal George is also recorded as one of the Town’s earliest hostelry and coaching inn which became ‘royal’ following a visit from Princess Victoria in 1832.

Knutsford’s Sessions House, soon to be a new hotel now also boasts a blue plaque noting the history of Quarter Sessions in Knutsford and the prison which stood behind until 1934.

Outside the Town Centre, Brae Cottage on Legh Road now features a plaque commemorating Henry Royce, co-founder of Rolls-Royce who lived in the cottage from 1898-1908.

The Town Council hopes in the future to be able to install a plaque on the Old Town Hall, now Lost and Found, noting its eminent architect and original use.

Cllr Jan Nicholson admiring the Royal George Plaque

Cllr Jan Nicholson admiring the Royal George Plaque

Members of the public are invited to nominate sites for future Blue Plaques on the Town Council website. “It could be for an eminent member of a profession like Edward Penny, the site of a key event in our history or for an important building like the Royal George Hotel.” Adam added.

Nominations for new plaques are reviewed by a panel of councillors with representatives of Knutsford Heritage Centre and the Knutsford Conservation & Heritage Group review any nominations for new plaques.

Photographs courtesy of WA16:PR.

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Deadline for Neighbourhood Plan Survey extended

The deadline to complete the Neighbourhood Plan survey has been extended to allow more time for residents to have a say in the future of Knutsford. Residents now have until October 23rd to get their comments into Knutsford Town Council.

Photograph courtesy of Cllr Jonathan Farber

Photograph courtesy of Cllr Jonathan Farber

“We wanted to ensure everyone had the opportunity to have a say in the future of Knutsford and have extended the deadline to help ensure we can reach more residents” said Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Garner.

The questionnaire, which was delivered to every household in Knutsford, will help inform the first stages of creating the Neighbourhood Plan which will shape development in Knutsford alongside the Local Plan.

Last week councillors and residents on the Neighbourhood Plan committee met with Knutsford’s MP, George Osborne, who is encouraging residents to have their say, commenting “Knutsford Town Council is working hard to ensure that local people have a say in the future of their town and I am pleased to back this crucial consultation”

Residents who have any queries about the survey or want to find out more about the Neighbourhood Plan can visit www.knutsfordnp.org.uk or contact the Town Clerk on townclerk@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk or 01565 653 929. The survey is also available in large print and if you need help completing the questionnaire this can be arranged.

To begin the survey, click here: Neighbourhood Plan Survey

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Town Council achieves Quality Gold Status

Knutsford Town Council has joined an exclusive club in being one under twenty town and parish councils in the country to be awarded Quality Gold Status as part of the Local Council Award Scheme. The scheme, operated by NALC, celebrates the success of the very best local councils and Knutsford is the first Town Council in Cheshire to receive the award.

The Town Council has joined Holmes Chapel Parish Council as the second council in Cheshire to be awarded Quality Gold status and Sandbach Town Council which has received the Foundation award under the same scheme.

“This award demonstrates the Town Council is at the forefront of best practice and demonstrates our commitment to excellence in governance, community leadership and council development” said Town Mayor, Cllr Jan Nicholson.

Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Garner added “It is fantastic to be one of the first councils in Cheshire, and indeed across the country, to receive this award and is a testament to the excellent work of both our councillors and officers.”

The award was presented to the Town Council by Mayor of Cheshire East, Cllr Olivia Hunter, and Chairman of ChALC, Philip Jackson, as part of the Mayor’s Announcements at a meeting of Cheshire East Council.

The award panel in particular commended the Town Council on its website and the level of detail provided on the council’s activities and finances.

Ann Wright, Assistant Chief Officer at the Cheshire Association of Local Councils said “we congratulate Knutsford on obtaining Quality Gold Status, it’s the highest award level and an indication of the excellent working practices.”

“The council has worked hard to achieve the award and we offer our congratulations to the members and staff at the council and the community which is supporting them.”

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Mission to protect Knutsford’s Trees

One of the Town Council’s key aims as part of its 2020 Vision was to protect, maintain and safeguard Knutsford’s street trees and woodlands. As part of this aim, the Town Council will be investigating applying for additional Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) for important trees within the town.

Cllrs James Power, Peter Coan and Charlotte Greenstein

Cllrs James Power, Peter Coan and Charlotte Greenstein

TPOs are made by Cheshire East Council in order to protect specific trees, groups of trees or woodlands in the interests of amenity and this prohibits felling, topping, lopping, uprooting, wilful damage and wilful destruction of trees without written consent.

There are already a large number of trees protected, either specifically by TPOs or as part of the town’s Conservation Areas. Five town councillors have volunteered to walk their wards to assess if any further trees need adding to the schedule of protected trees.

Councillors Yvonne Bancroft and Peter Coan will be surveying Over Ward, Cllr James Power will be walking Nether Ward, Cllr Simon Hutchence, Bexton Ward and Cllr Charlotte Greenstein has taken on Norbury Booths.

Orders are mainly used for trees where the removal would result in a significant negative impact on the local environment and its enjoyment by the public and where protection would bring a reasonable degree of public benefit in the present or future.

“If any member of the public knows of a tree or woodland that they believe should be protected, they can help by sending a photograph and a description of the location to us” said Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Garner.

Photographs and information can be sent to the Town Clerk at townclerk@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk or to the Council Offices.

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Listed Building Review

Knutsford Town Council has undertaken a review of the Listed Buildings in Knutsford and outlined 14 historic buildings it plans to apply to have listed as a building of special architectural or historic interest with Historic England. The list includes the only remaining Gas Lamp installed by the Knutsford Freeholders in 1844 and the War Memorial Cottage Hospital on Northwich Road. The Town Council identified a further seven buildings it will apply to have added to the schedule of Locally Listed buildings too. The review was undertaken in conjunction with Knutsford Conservation and Heritage Group.

Former Post Office, Chelford Road (courtesy of Knutsford Heritage Centre)

Former Post Office, Chelford Road (courtesy of Knutsford Heritage Centre)

Knutsford already boasts over 110 listed buildings and the Town Council set out its commitment to protect the heritage and character of Knutsford as part of its 2020 Vision. The buildings the Town Council is seeking to protect are:

  • Coronation Square
  • Moorgath, Legh Road
  • Old Post Office, Chelford Road
  • Knutsford Methodist Church,
  • Former Bucklow Rural District Council building
  • 21 Princess Street (formerly the George Tap)
  • Musgrave Gas Lamp, King Street
  • War Memorial Cottage Hospital
  • Booths Hall
  • Cranford and Fourways, Cranford Avenue
  • Kerfield House, Chelford Road
  • Humbug Cottage, Leycester Road
  • Moseley Hall, Chelford Road
  • Victorian Post Box, King Street

“Protecting the heritage of our historic town is one of the Town Council’s key objectives” said Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Garner. “If anyone has any additional suggestions for buildings which they believe should be listed, please let us know”

The Town Council has already begun researching the history of the buildings to bolster the case for listing, but is appealing for information and old photographs on a number of the buildings.

“I’ve found a fantastic account of the history of Moseley Hall, the Methodist Church and Humbug Cottage, but there hasn’t been much written about any of the others” said Adam.

Any old photographs, plans or histories of the buildings can be submitted to the town council to townclerk@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk

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Annual Town Meeting 2016

The Annual Town Meeting will take place at 7pm on Wednesday 20th April in the Cranford Suite, Curzon. This is not a council meeting, but instead a meeting of the residents of Knutsford.

The meeting is chaired by the Town Mayor and provides an opportunity to hear what the local community has been up to over the past year; it will feature reports from the Town Council, organisations such as the Heritage Centre and include a period of open forum discussion on any matters you want to raise. This year, the meeting will also feature small exhibitions from local groups where you can pick up information on what they offer or how you can get involved.

If you are part of a Knutsford community organisation and want to book a 3 minute speaking slot, simply e-mail townclerk@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk or call the Town Council on 01565 653929. This year groups will be able to feature a PowerPoint presentation to accompany their talks. If your group would also/instead like an exhibition table again, simply let us know.

The Town Meeting will start with the presentation of the first awards under the new Knutsford Lion’s Young Leaders in Service scheme.

“This is a proper community focused meeting, the agenda is what the community want to discuss and any resident is entitled to come along and raise their concerns, suggestions or comments” said Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Garner.

“I would encourage anyone who would like to find out more about what is happening in Knutsford, make suggestions for ways to improve the town, or share their thoughts on any Knutsford issue to come along.” Adam added.

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Volunteers sought to transform garden

Volunteers sought to transform garden

Knutsford Town Council is appealing for volunteers to help regenerate a community garden in the town centre. The garden area behind Booths on Stanley Road is currently owned by Cheshire East Council, with the Town Council having expressed interest in improving the area for the community.
The Town Council recognises that this space has potential as a calm oasis in the centre of town and is keen to explore ways it can improve this area for residents and visitors. One option currently being explored is building a core of volunteers to help maintain a regenerated area.

“We have ideas of how the space could be improved for users, primarily by opening the space out, planting flowerbeds and relocating the benches to the centre of the garden” said Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Garner.

The Town Council would look to organise a number of ‘clear up’ days to prepare the site which could then be maintained by volunteers with support from the both the Borough and Town Councils.

Cheshire East Council would continue to maintain the majority of the site, including tending to the trees, grass and bushes whilst the Town Council would step in to deliver the enhancement of the area.

“We have written to nearby residents and already had some fantastically enthusiastic responses, but need a core of volunteers to make this sustainable” Adam added.

“At this stage we are appealing for volunteers to offer their time either for a clear-up day or to support the ongoing maintenance of the garden”.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact the Town Clerk on townclerk@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk or 01565 653 929 by February 29th.

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