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Town Mayor cuts a ribbon to open the cemetery chapel

Cemetery Chapel Reopens following Refurbishment

Knutsford’s 120-year-old cemetery chapel was officially reopened on Thursday 22nd July by Town Mayor Cllr Stewart Gardiner following an extensive refurbishment by Knutsford Town Council.

In stark contrast to the thick snow in which the chapel was first opened in December 1901, Cllr Gardiner cut the ribbon at a small ceremony in hot sunshine, inviting local clergy, funeral directors and special guests to enter the Grade II listed building to see the transformation.

The chapel was built as part of creating a new cemetery for Knutsford at the start of the 20th century and until 1974 was administered by the Knutsford Urban District Council. Following local government reorganisation in 1974 the chapel and cemetery were run by Macclesfield Borough Council, although the new Town Council retained ownership.

Cheshire East Council handed the building back to Knutsford Town Council in 2016 in a poor condition. A structural survey highlighted £52,000 of essential structural maintenance and the building was visibly tired with peeling paintwork, stained floors and cracking plaster. The Town Council secured the £52,000 needed to undertake the work to the Grade II listed building from Cheshire East Council but set its aspirations higher to undertake a full refurbishment and bring the chapel back into active use.

BEFORE

Knutsford Cemetery Chapel

AFTER

The total refurbishment programme included the installation of new water and electricity supplies, the creation of a kitchenette and accessible toilet in the anterooms and a thorough redecoration including repointing, stonework repairs, replastering, sanding and varnishing the parquet flooring and installing new heating. Various repairs were undertaken to structural beams, gutters and drainpipes and a new glass door was installed to the front. The majority of the old pews were removed to create a more flexible space with new lighting installed alongside fire and intruder alarms and a new septic tank. The total cost of the renovations, including professional fees, was £145,000 with the £93,000 balance being drawn from the proceeds of the sale of the Cemetery Lodge in 2018.

The chapel is available to hire for funerals and other suitable uses including remembrance services, community meetings and appropriate activities. The chapel will be routinely open for visitors to the cemetery for quietly reflection.

Cllr Jan Nicholson, who oversaw the project as part of the Cemetery working group said “After many years of neglect, I am absolutely delighted with the refurbishment of the Cemetery Chapel, a project instigated by my late husband Clive and I am looking forward to seeing the chapel used by the community of Knutsford.”

“Over several years our working group has toiled many hours to achieve and restore this wonderful chapel.”

During the works the council discovered the damaged remains of the original weathervane stored in the tower and is now exploring having this refurbished and reinstalled alongside the restoration and reinstallation of the chapel bell.

For information on hiring the chapel please see the Cemetery Chapel page

Cllr Stewart Gardiner hands a giant cheque to Lisa Barcroft-Lee

Support given to new Scout Hut

1st Knutsford Scouts has received a grant worth £1,500 from Knutsford Town Council to support the development of their new HQ. The council’s grant will fund the purchase of the toilet facilities including toilets, sinks, hand dryers and accessibility safety rails.

The new scout hut, nestled in the corner of the Moor on Moorside, will be the new home for 1st Knutsford Scouts, a group which has been supporting children in Knutsford for over a century.

The new timber clad scout hut, with its large glass windows overlooking the Moor will be a drastic improvement for the community compared to the previous hut which was suffering from damp, vermin and a rotten floor.

“We are very grateful to Knutsford Town Council for their welcome contribution to our new Scout Hut” said Lisa Barcoft-Lee, Chair of 1st Knutsford Scouts.

Once complete the new hut will be available for wide community use from local meetings and events to children’s birthday parties.

“Our vision for the hut is that it becomes a community resource that all of Knutsford can benefit from and therefore it is really important to us that we work with all our local partners to get the hut up and running as soon as possible” Lisa added.

Due to the impact of coronavirus and global price increases for materials, the scouts need to raise several thousand pounds of additional funding to get the scout hut completed. Anyone who is able to help get them over the line can contact Lisa at lisa.barcroftlee@knutsfordscouts.org.uk

A view of an under construction scout hut whilst two people converse in the background

The Town Council Community Grant Scheme is open to community organisations delivering services or running assets which benefit Knutsford’s residents. It looks for projects which provide improved services/opportunities for those under 18 or over 65, which provide a new or improved asset or service or projects which enhance the profile or reputation of the Town.

The council operates two schemes; a small grants scheme makes awards of up to £1,500 three times per year and a large grant scheme which considers applications for over £1,500 annually. The next deadline for the small grants scheme is 29th October and the 2021 large grants deadline is 31st August.

Town Mayor with Sunrise Mobberley's flower

Love Themed Flowers on display in Wallwood

Visitors to Knutsford Town Centre will find a vibrant display of unique flowers decorated by children from Knutsford’s schools and nurseries and residents of retirement homes as the Town Council’s second Flowers in Wallwood display.

The flowers were crafted by Knutsford Town Ranger Bob Garner from sustainable materials and one flower was provided to each of the participating schools, nurseries, and retirement homes in Knutsford and surrounding villages. The initiative was funded through sponsorship from Eleven Recruitment and Little Waitrose.

The flowers have been decorated in a style reflecting the RHS theme of Love. Participants were innovative in decorating the flowers in to reflect kindness and thoughtfulness for others.

The display has been installed in Wallwood, the council’s community woodland near the entrance to Tatton Park.  A small, Covid-19 compliant photoshoot session led Tessa Harri Carroll photography took place on Thursday 15th July with Knutsford Town Mayor Stewart Gardiner, representatives from sponsors and many of those involved in decorating the flowers. Town Ranger Bob Garner then took them away for ‘planting’.

Sandra Curties, Town Centre and Marketing Officer at Knutsford Town Council said: “It was lovely to see so many of those involved plus representatives from our two generous sponsors visit our offices for our little photoshoot. We had a great time celebrating the achievements of this project and admiring all the beautiful flowers. Everyone has put so much hard work into these creations from their and we are amazed at the level of thought, effort and creativity that has been put into every single flower.”

Sandra added: “A massive thank you must go out to our sponsors Waitrose and Eleven Recruitment without whose support this project wouldn’t have been possible! It has been a real community effort and an exciting project to work on. We encourage everyone will take the chance to visit Wallwood and have a look at the wonderful display. We hope to be able to continue this project next year”.

The flowers will be in Wallwood until early September (weather dependent) after which they will be returned to the schools for permanent display. Can’t view them in person? Check out the Town Council’s Facebook page where you can view photos of the children’s’ efforts.

Volunteers surveying a tree

Milestone in Tree Mapping Project

A milestone has been reached by volunteers working to promote trees in Knutsford as part of the Town Council’s Nature Action Plan as they complete a census of all trees on public land.

The volunteers, led by Malcolm Thomas and Kevin Griffiths seek to raise awareness across the town and to encourage tree maintenance and planting. They believe that trees give our neighbourhood life, colour and beauty, clean our air, protect us from extreme weather and provide habitats for wildlife.

With support from the Town Council, the volunteers are carrying out a census of mature trees. So far, they have tagged, recorded and mapped 940 street trees. Whilst they had previously estimated from aerial images that there were 8000 such trees in Knutsford their work has established that most trees in Knutsford are on privately owned land, including schools, sports clubs, businesses and house gardens.

Currently, the group is extending the census to community woods, including College Wood, St John’s Wood and The Heath, in collaboration with Friends groups and local residents.

To complete the census, the group is appealing to the local community for help, asking community groups and businesses to share information about trees on their land. Volunteers are available to help landowners undertake the tree census and provide guidance on the project. The group are also welcoming new volunteers to assist with the project.

If you are able to support the project as a volunteer or by providing information / access for trees to be surveyed you can contact the group via the Town Council’s Planning and Facilities Officer, Bob Allen bob.allen@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk.

A group of adults in a meeting within a beer garden

Head out Not Home Alfresco Dining Nights

Two weekends of alfresco dining will take place in Knutsford on the weekends of 6 and 7th August and 10th and 11th of September.

A section of King Street and a small section of Princess Street (outside the Lost and Found) will be closed to traffic from 5.30pm to 11pm on those dates to allow restaurants, bars, and cafes to place tables and chairs on the roads for alfresco dining. 

Sandra Curties, Town Centre and Marketing Officer said, “The past 15 months have been incredibly hard for everyone, especially our hospitality sector. These two evening closures will go someway to provide additional space for venues for their customers and the community to enjoy the amazing food and drink Knutsford offers”.

The road closure is from 5.30pm to 11pm and covers the following areas:

  • King Street from the entrance to King Street car park (by Chic Interiors) to Egerton Square.
  • Princess Street small section opposite the Lost and Found.

Amberon will be providing traffic management services and the roads will re-open at 11pm ready for the next day of trading.

The following venues will be providing alfresco dining or drinking tables from 6pm to 10.30pm:

  • Evuna
  • D13
  • Rose and Crown
  • Gusto
  • Real Fruit Creamery
  • The Tea Room
  • Wine and Wallop
  • Piccolinos
  • Cheshire House Bar & Grill
  • King Street Kitchen
  • Copper 29.

Ben Antoniak from King Street Kitchen said, “Although we opened in December 2019 because of the pandemic we still feel like one of the ‘newbies’ on King Street.  We are delighted to take part in the alfresco event – the extra seating will really help promote our venue and we look forward to greeting customers new and old.  Fingers crossed the weather is kind too!”

Sandra Curties, added, “It must be stressed that these two weekends are trials, and we will be evaluating feedback from those taking part, residents affected and those venues outside the road closures.  We would like to see all our hospitality venues busy during these weekends and any shops wishing to stay open a little later will add to the continental atmosphere”.

Patrons are urged to contact their chosen venue direct to see whether they need to book a space in advance.

A graphic with the text: Knutsford Art Trail, Saturday 10th to Sunday 11th July

Knutsford Art Trail under 2 weeks away

There are less than 2 weeks to go until incredible local artwork will be displayed throughout Knutsford in a brand-new Art Trail.

The new event will be held across 2 days on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th July from 11am to 4pm. The event includes pop-up shops hosted by local businesses, where members of the public can view and even purchase artwork from local artists and displays installed in empty units and local art galleries.

Displays will be viewable in 60 King Street, the former Belle Epoque building owned by Knutsford Town Council, exhibiting pieces from 9 different artists, ranging between paintings, illustrations, digital art, ceramics and sculptures.

Further displays will be viewable at Serenity Designs and Vermilion Gallery, both situated on Princess Street, as well as Chalk 33 on King Street displaying work from four artists.

A mixture of paintings, sculptures, ceramics, illustrations and digital art will be on display during the weekend, and works will be on sale in select locations.

For full details of the event you can visit the Facebook event for all event locations and to download a copy of the trail map to print at home or display on your phone. Physical copies will also be available from all of the pop-up and display locations. You can visit the Facebook event here https://fb.me/e/POcqbeMw and find out more information about all Town Council events by visiting www.knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk

Town Mayor Cllr Gardiner with Ian Cass outside the Council Offices

Nominations open for the 2021 Town Awards

Nominations are sought for the 2021 Town Awards with the community encouraged to put forward their unsung heroes for consideration.

The awards, which are organised by the Town Council, were launched in 2013 and aim to shine a spotlight on those who make Knutsford a better place to live. The awards cover five categories recognising the efforts of individuals, businesses and community groups for their service to the wider Knutsford community.

The Civic Award which is presented to individuals who give their time voluntarily to undertake work in the community. Previous winners in this category have included Beryl Jenyons for her voluntary service at the Welcome and Gary Davies for his role supporting Knutsford and District Scouts for over 40 years.  Three Civic Awards are presented each year.

The Business Award goes to a business which has supported or worked with the community, last years winner were the traders of Knutsford Market Hall for their work supporting the most vulnerable in the community during the first coronavirus lockdown.

The Youth Award is presented to someone aged 21 or under who early in their lives have already started supporting the community. Previous winners have included Lillie Bryers and Lucas Cronan for their litterpicks on the Moor and Emily Coffey for her voluntary work with the Kntusford First Responders.

The Community Award recognises the importance of the various voluntary organisations operating in Knutsford with awards having previously been presented to We Are Knutsford (2020), Knutsford Lions (2013) and Knutsford Beer Festival (2015).

The final category is the Extra Mile Award which is presented to someone who as part of their paid job is going above and beyond to the benefit of the community. The first award went to Knutsford’s Town Ranger Bob Garner in 2019 with former PCSO Chris Pountain receiving the award in 2020.

The awards have been sponsored by the Forum of Private Business since inception. Ian Cass, Managing Director of the Forum said: “The Forum of Private Business are delighted to be sponsoring Knutsford’s town awards again after what has been a very difficult year for the town and the businesses in it, but Knutsford is a great community which works together, innovates to get through tough times like these, the Forum have been part of this community for over 40 years and are proud to support the town and the awards!”

Presented as part of the main Town Awards is the Knutsford and District Youth Council School’s Sustainability Award. The Youth Council introduced the award in 2020 and are looking for businesses which demonstrate environmental awareness in their products and supply chain and work to minimise their carbon footprint.

Nominations for all awards are open until 31st July and can be here: Town Awards Nomination Form or in writing to Council Offices, Toft Road, Knutsford, WA16 6TA. Nominations need to be accompanied by a citation outlining why the nominee deserves an award. All nominations will be reviewed by a panel with awards presented at a special awards evening in September.

Cllr Peter Coan holds a door open and an arm out welcoming you to a building

Council creates space for new businesses

New business premises have been created in the town centre by converting previously redundant space in the town’s public toilet buildings.

Knutsford Town Council took ownership of the public toilet buildings at King Street Car Park and the Bus Station in 2013 through an asset transfer from Cheshire East Council. On transfer the council appointed national toilet provider Danfo to create three new cubicles within each larger building which saw the town’s toilets transform from facilities which were frequently the subject of complaints due to the poor condition and maintenance to toilets that have been accredited as Platinum standard in the national Loo of the Year awards.  

The creation of the new toilets in 2013 left large areas of redundant space in the buildings which were previously large male and female spaces. Utilising capital funds raised from the sale of the Cemetery Lodge in 2016, the Town Council has converted these spaces into modern glass fronted units designed to accommodate a range of businesses. The conversion works were undertaken between February and May and involved creating new openings to the buildings, installation of individually metered services and heating, insulation and lighting. The units were designed to enable new tenants to quickly move in and decorate the units for their use.

The premises at the King Street car park has been named Lily Lodge with the property at the bus station named Justice View. The properties were advertised for let through local agents Williams Sillitoe and the council is currently agreeing the leases with two new local businesses.

“Our aim with this project was to put empty space into economic use” said Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Green. “The new units will generate a rental income for the Town Council and will provide a home for two great Knutsford-grown businesses brining more business and more employment into our town centre”.

Cllr Peter Coan opens a door.

Top – Cllr Peter Coan, Chairman of the Assets and Operations Committee, at Justice View.
Bottom – Cllr Peter Coan at Lily Lodge

A view of a grassland meadow

Wildflower Meadow in Bloom

Knutsford Town Council is committed to tackling climate change and improving the town’s biodiversity and natural habitats – as defined and guided by the Knutsford Nature Action Plan.

As part of the Action Plan, the Town Council looks to support wildlife corridors and habitat creating across Knutsford and to support this have collaborated with the Cheshire Wildlife Trust to create wildflower meadows.

A fantastic tool for improving biodiversity and provide habitat for pollinating insects, the Knutsford Wildflower Meadow seeds are all local varieties and were harvested from a meadow in Swettenham. The seed mix included Yellow rattle, Ox-eye daisy, Cat’s-ear, Mouse-ear, Common knapweed, Devil’s-bit scabious, Betony, Self-heal, Red clover, Ribwort Plantain, Meadow buttercup and Common sorrel as well as four grasses – Crested dog’s-tail, Sweet vernal, Common bent and Yorkshire fog. The sowing of the meadow also disturbed cornflower and poppy seeds from a previous annual meadow on the site.

The Environment Committee is looking for other suitable areas to allow for more wildflower meadows to be created in Knutsford for their positive impact on the environment and local wildlife. 

Cllr Matthew Robertson stood at the Barncroft Meadow
Cllr Matthew Robertson at the Meadow

After visiting the Wildflower meadow on The Barncroft, which is behind St Cross Church , Cllr Matthew Robertson, Deputy Chairman of the Environment Committee said: “I am proud to have been elected to represent a community with such passion for preserving and protecting it’s natural heritage and environment. It is a responsibility I take seriously and I am fully committed to supporting any projects which will help achieve the goals of the Knutsford Nature Action Plan.

The Wildflower Meadow is a fantastic project to bring a more natural and environmentally friendly space back to the centre of Knutsford. It is great to walk through The Barncroft, and I have especially enjoyed seeing how the variety of seeds have developed.

We are looking for other areas and as this has been a successful project. We encourage residents to get in touch with their suggested areas.”

Residents can suggest areas for a new wildlflower meadow by emailing townclerk@kntusfordtowncouncil.gov.uk

Photo of the meadow courtesy of Kevin Griffiths.

A sculpture of King Canute in the council office gardens, with a tree

Nominate a Garden for the 2021 Front Garden Competition

Knutsford is starting to bloom with the RHS Tatton Flower Show in town in July, floral shop window displays planned and an upcoming visit from the Northwest in Bloom Competition judges. Knutsford Town Council is now inviting residents to get involved further by nominating gardens for the 2021 Knutsford Front Garden Competition and under 16’s to enter their own competition for the Best Plant Pot.

The Front Garden Competition encourages residents to get involved with the In Bloom campaign and either show off their own beautiful front gardens or to nominate a neighbour or a garden they have seen around town. Under 16’s this year are being encouraged to show their creativity too by decorating a garden pot and choosing what goes inside.

The front garden competition is open to any garden which is on view from the road, and anything can be nominated from window boxes to large, landscaped gardens. Residents are encouraged to take a photo of their favourite Knutsford front gardens and enter them into the competition by emailing the picture to the council. Residents can nominate their own gardens, a neighbour’s garden, or a garden that they have passed by around town.

The Best Plant Pot competition is open to anyone under the age of 16 in Knutsford. Allow your gardening creativity to run free in your choice of how you decorate your plant pot and what goes inside. Perhaps it is the colour of the plant you particularly like, or the smell of the herb, a plant that will attract bees or a seed you have grown. Take a photograph and email us with your name to show us what you can create.

This year’s competition is sponsored by T&S Riley Nursery on Sudlow Lane and Fryers Garden Centre on Manchester Road who will be providing prizes for three winners. The competition will be judged by the Town Mayor with a representative from Knutsford in Bloom, T & S Riley and Fryers.

“Whether you’re proud of your own garden, think your neighbour’s efforts have been paying off or you are a young person who can create an eye catching plant pot display, all you need to do is send us a picture to enter it – it’s a fun, local competition focused on recognising that nature spaces brighten people’s days” said Knutsford Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Green.

The competition opens on Monday 21st June and will be open for three weeks until Friday 16th July. To enter just send a photograph and the address of the garden to jill.webb@knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk. You can enter as many gardens & pots as you like and can also submit entry photographs in person to the Council Offices on Toft Road.

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