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Monday, 27 February 2017

The Andrews Panto & Plays Society

Reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

The Andrews Panto & Plays Society (TAPPS) performed the pantomime 'Cinderella' earlier this year at St Andrews Church Hall, Bedford Street, Crewe. The panto made a profit of £788 and £300 of this has been given to St Luke's Cheshire Hospice.

Members of the panto cast and crew were present at a buffet and cheque presentation evening, with cast members wearing their costumes. The cheque was gratefully received by Rachel Mellor from St Luke's Hospice. Rachel said, "This is a very generous donation and will be of great help in furthering the work done by the hospice."

Fred Allman, TAPPS director/organiser, said "The profits are divided between church funds and a nominated charity after all our productions. Since the formation of TAPPS in September 2014 we have given away over £1,500 to the church and charities."

As well as the annual panto TAPPS stages two variety shows and summer play reading evenings each year. There is also an active social programme. If you would like to get involved with this lively group please contact Fred Allman via text/phone on 07968829999.

Fred Allman from TAPPS presents the  cheque to Rachel Mellor from St Lukes HospiceTAPPS Cinderella cast wearing their  costumes

Cheshire East highways team hold firm in face of Storm Doris


While many people remained in their homes, the highways response team for Cheshire East Council were busy ensuring that the borough’s residents were still able to continue with their normal daily lives.

Gusts of up to 80mph did not deter the highways team from dealing with more than 200 incidents ranging from localised flooding to falling trees. More than 136 of those had already been successfully dealt with by lunchtime today.

Disruption to the road network was spread across the borough but the majority of incidents happened in Congleton, Crewe, and Knutsford. Among the incidents, the highways team dealt with were:

  • A fallen tree which blocked the A34 Manchester Road, Congleton;
  • Structural damage to a wall on Nixon Street, Crewe which blocked the road;
  • A fallen telegraph pole on London Road, Adlington, Macclesfield;
  • A diesel spillage on the Nantwich bypass; and
  • A fallen tree which blocked the A534 OId Mill Road; in Sandbach, towards the M6.

Throughout the day, close communications were maintained with the emergency services and other partner agencies to ensure that the impact of any disruption across the wider region was considered and prompt responses made.

The Thelwall viaduct (M6 Junction 20-21) was closed for a large part of yesterday but the road network in Cheshire East coped well.

To maintain the safety of residents and road users at all times, a number of roads were closed, including the A50, which reopened at lunchtime today. All other roads that closed temporarily were reopened yesterday.9

There were some power issues which affected traffic signals in Monks Heath and Plumley but these are now back up and running again.

Councillor David Brown, cabinet member for highways and infrastructure, said: “The true test of a highways team is how they react when the going gets tough – as it did yesterday.

“I’m proud that our team of operatives and inspectors were able to completely stay on top of a rapidly-changing situation, including many colleagues, who worked long into the night.”

Any outstanding road closures will be monitored and work will be completed to make roads safe so that they can be opened as quickly as possible.

As part of its continued response, the highways team is also working closely with Cheshire East Council’s arms-length company Ansa to ensure that roads that require sweeping are kept clean.

We advise members of the public to report any issues via the customer contact centre on 0300 123 5020 and not via social media, to ensure that incidences are appropriately logged and responded to.

Council backs national clean-up campaign


Cheshire East Council is backing the Great British Spring Clean campaign, which calls on residents to take part in the biggest community-led clean-up the country has ever seen.

The campaign – co-ordinated by Keep Britain Tidy – takes place throughout March and will see around 500,000 people clearing up the places they love to help rid the country of litter.

The main weekend of action takes place from March 3-5. In Cheshire East, 20 events have been registered so far – with schools, businesses and community groups involved.

Councillor Paul Bates, Cheshire East Council’s cabinet member for communities and health, said: “Across Cheshire East, there are numerous community groups and individuals that are already doing great work to help tackle litter, which supports the work of our own waste and environmental teams.

“But we’re keen to encourage even more people, including businesses, to come together and help to keep our borough clean and tidy.

“If you can’t take part in the weekend of action, please consider organising an event for later on in the month – it’s also a great way to get active and get outdoors.”

The Great British Spring Clean campaign is backed by wildlife presenter Steve Backshall and businesses and organisations which include the Women’s Institute and the RSPCA.

In Cheshire East, events will be taking place in towns including Crewe, Nantwich, Sandbach, Macclesfield, Wilmslow, Knutsford and Congleton.

Cllr Bates added: “If you do notice a street cleansing issue or fly-tipped waste while you’re out and about in Cheshire East, please report it to us online or call 0300 123 5021.”

The Great British Spring Clean will build on 2016’s ‘Clean for the Queen’ activities, which inspired 250,000 people to do their bit in making their communities a better place to live.

To register to take part, or for more information and details of events taking place in your area, visit:

Council Tax rise to meet growing demand for care


Cheshire East Council has voted through a Council Tax increase to help meet the huge financial challenge it faces particularly in adult social care.

Of the 4.99 per cent increase, three per cent will go directly towards caring for the elderly and vulnerable, where the council must fund a £97m adult care budget.

To add to the challenges ahead – and in order to balance its books – the council must also fill the void created by a reduction in government grant support between now and 2020.

The council has set a revenue budget of almost £264m to spend across its broad spectrum of frontline services. Those services will cost taxpayers around £3 per day, while the increase equates to £1.21 per week on the average Band D property.

In 2017/18 the average Cheshire East Council Tax will be in the order of £1,324 per year. This will still be lower than the national average of all unitary authorities.

Councillor Peter Groves, cabinet member for finance, said: “For five consecutive years, between 2010 and 2015 we were able to freeze Council Tax followed by a 3.75 per cent increase in 2016/17.  But now we are left with little choice but to introduce year-on-year increases until 2020, owing to the enormous financial challenges that we, and all local authorities, now face.

“Despite austere times, our productivity and value for money has continued to increase. Caring for our vulnerable residents is paramount though, and Cheshire East Council wishes to reassure those individuals and their families that their needs will receive priority and our full commitment.

“We spend 54 pence of every pound supporting our vulnerable residents, whether they are young people seeking a start in life or those with particular health needs.

“We will continue to do all in our power to protect frontline services, including caring for the vulnerable – young and old. For adult social care services alone, we will need to find an additional £20m to balance the budget.

“By 2019/20 there will be no general government grant support to the revenue budget of Cheshire East Council. The speed of this change is a major challenge.

“When increases in demand, related to protecting vulnerable people and coupled with inflation, are taken into account then this requires a Council Tax increase in line with government expectations.”

The council’s turnover is in excess of £700m and its net budget for 2017/18 stands at £263.8m. In addition to the 500 or so services provided to residents each day, Cheshire East has an ambitious capital investment programme of more than £500m over the next three years.

The council will continue to invest in infrastructure through a policy for economic growth to open up opportunities for business development and job creation.

The authority is also looking forward to hearing further news regarding a HS2 hub station at Crewe to accommodate high-speed rail.

Cheshire East will continue to apply prudent financial management while protecting the essential services that our residents need. 

Friday, 24 February 2017

Storm Doris causing disruption across Cheshire

Subject: Storm Doris causing disruption across Cheshire

This is a message sent via Neighbourhood Watch. This information has been sent on behalf of Cheshire Constabulary

(Please do not reply or forward this email directly; please use the Reply, Share buttons at the bottom of this message)

Message sent by

Dan Hind (Police, Media, Chesh Engagement Unit)

High winds are affecting road users across the county this morning.
Cheshire Police have received an unprecedented number of calls relating to Storm Doris, since 9am today, Thursday 23 February. Residents are advised avoid making any unnecessary journeys at the current time.
Chief Inspector Sarah Edgar said: "The situation is currently being monitored by the police and our partner agencies and we to respond to incidents as they occur.
"The winds at the current time are extremely strong across the county and I would advise motorists to consider delaying any journeys that they have planned over the next couple of hours unless they are absolutely essential.
"There are numerous road closures across the county, including the M6 Thelwall Viaduct, Central Expressway in Runcorn, A49 at Higher Whitley, A559 at Great Budworth and many smaller roads. The A533 Jubilee Bridge in is Runcorn is also closed to high sided vehicles. Diversions are currently in place, but delays are expected.
"We have had a large number of calls relating to fallen trees in the road and damaged buildings which have been passed onto the local councils to deal with. Adverse weather conditions do not of course just affect motorists; members of public are urged to be aware of their own safety and pay attention to warnings and advice being issued."

Storm Doris is continuing to cause disruption across Cheshire, although the worst of the storm has now passed.
Since 9.00am today, Thursday 23 February, Cheshire Police has received an unprecedented number of calls, with officers responding to over 500 incidents.
Chief Inspector Sarah Edgar said: "Although the worst of the weather has now passed, Storm Doris is continuing to cause disruption across the county.
“We continue to monitor the situation closely and we are working with partner agencies to respond to incidents as they occur.
"As darkness begins to fall I would like to advise motorists travelling on the county’s roads to take extra care. While all efforts are being made to clear the roads as soon as possible, a large number of trees have come down as a result of the storm and there is still a significant amount debris on the roads. It is anticipated that further trees will fall due to being weakened during the storm.
"The M6 Thelwall Viaduct has now reopened but numerous road closures remain in place, including the A54 at Delamere, A49 at Higher Whitley, A559 at Great Budworth and many smaller roads. The A533 Jubilee Bridge in Runcorn is also closed to high sided vehicles. Diversions are currently in place, but delays are expected.
"We have had a large number of calls relating to fallen trees in the road and damaged buildings which have been passed onto the local councils to deal with. Adverse weather conditions do not of course just affect motorists; members of public are urged to be aware of their own safety and pay attention to warnings and advice being issued."

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Wistaston Rose Queen’s ‘Fashion Show & Sale’

Reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

Wistaston Rose Queen’s ‘Fashion Show & Sale’ took place on the evening of Thursday 16th February 2017 at St Mary's Church Hall, Wistaston.

The event featured a catwalk of people modelling quality clothes at bargain prices from The Fundraising Fashion Show Co Ltd, who are based in Nottingham. All items could be purchased on the night. There was also a cake stall, refreshments and a raffle.

The event was organised by Wistaston Rose Queen Emma Horne with her family Mike & Christine Horne and the Crewe and South Cheshire Voluntary Group of Diabetes UK.

A fantastic £865 was raised, which will go to Diabetes UK.

Wistaston Rose Queens Fashion Show  and Sale - cake stallWistaston Rose Queens Fashion Show  and Sale - raffle stall

Crewe community groups secure grants to promote cycling


Two community groups in Crewe have been given cash grants to promote cycling.

Community Recycle Cycles and Christian Concern will share equally almost £20,000 to encourage local people to get on their bikes.

The funding will also help the charities to boost skills and training in the town – with Christian Concern hoping to recruit a cycle maintenance trainee at its base at the St Paul’s Centre, in Hightown.

The grants have been awarded by Travel Cheshire, a Cheshire East Council scheme funded by the Department of Transport, which was set up last year to promote walking, cycling and other forms of ‘active travel’.

Christian Concern was set up in 1987 and collects unwanted bikes and furniture from households across the town. Items are refurbished and sold to raise funds to help the homeless and others facing hardship or difficulties.

Residents can also access low cost bike maintenance – delivered by a trained mechanic and a team of volunteers.

The funding from Travel Cheshire will help trainees to undertake a cycle maintenance programme, while students from local after school clubs will be given the chance to learn the basics of bike repair on a series of courses.

Community Recycle Cycles is a community interest company with a volunteer-run, not-for-profit bike shop, on Coronation Crescent in Crewe. It offers low-cost bikes and repairs to the local community.

It will use the funding to run free ‘Dr Bike’ check-ups to ensure cyclists’ bikes are safe and roadworthy.

The grants scheme is funded by the Department of Transport’s sustainable travel transition year (STTY) initiative, which aims to widen access to skills, training and employment opportunities by promoting walking, cycling and public transport use. 

The project has also seen the creation of a new website – – to help widen people’s travel options and encourage more active forms of transport.

Councillor David Brown, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for highways and infrastructure, said: “Reducing congestion on our roads, helping people get fit and active and improving the environment are top priorities for the council.

With the excellent Travel Cheshire project we’re delivering on all three. We’re keen to promote cycling in all its forms in Cheshire East – whether people want to ride to the shops or work, ride purely for fun or competitively.

“By supporting these two local community-based organisations in Crewe we hope to encourage more people to discover the joys of cycling.”

Council launches consultation on levy to boost development infrastructure


Cheshire East Council has launched a consultation on a proposed planning levy to help fund new community facilities and infrastructure to support local development.

The new Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) would be payable once new developments start construction and is calculated per square metre of eligible floor space.

The CIL would complement the long-established system of section 106 agreements, whereby developers are required to help fund developments’ supporting infrastructure, such as roads, schools and medical facilities.

Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for housing and planning, said: “Our borough is growing and we want to ensure that sufficient funding is in place to pay for new community facilities – the roads, schools and recreational spaces that residents will need in future.

“The Community Infrastructure Levy provides a fair and consistent method of funding, especially for large, strategic projects. As this is a new venture for the council, we are keen to engage with all stakeholders with an interest in new developments to ensure we set the right rates for the different parts of our borough.”

The CIL consultation sets out the various charging rates that would apply for new development, alongside different charging zones throughout the borough. These zones are based on the costs and viability of new development rather than the cost of new infrastructure.

The draft charging schedule divides Cheshire East into five charging zones for residential development – ranging from a zero rate in many built-up areas through to £168 (per square metre) in property ‘hot spots’.

Business development and new shops will be zero rated, apart from developments in the prime retail areas of Handforth Dean and the Grand Junction Retail Park, in Crewe.

The consultation runs for six weeks from Monday, February 27 until April 10. Full details can be found via the council’s website at:

Once the consultation feedback has been collated, a final decision on the levy will be taken at a cabinet meeting.

Local Plan moves forward with consultation on blueprint details


Cheshire East Council is launching a consultation on the second part of its blueprint for development in the borough.

The authority’s Local Plan Strategy sets out the strategic framework for development and has been broadly backed by a planning inspector, subject to some necessary changes. Now the council is seeking views on its ‘daughter document’ – the Site Allocations and Development Policies (SADP) – which provides much of the detail.

This new planning document will give the borough a much finer grain of planning guidance and will also allocate some smaller sites for development within town centres, the larger villages and rural areas.

Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East cabinet member for housing and planning, said: “Now that the Local Plan Strategy is nearing completion we want to press on and complete the second, more detailed stage of the plan. This will provide our towns and villages with a greater depth of policies and proposals.

“At this point, it’s very much ‘early days’ in this particular process and so we are encouraging all who have an interest in development and who care about the future of our borough to get involved in the consultation.

“The Local Plan is the council’s most important tool for shaping development in Cheshire East to 2030, so I would encourage people to take the time to share their views.”

The Site Allocations and Development Policies’ ‘issues document’ will be subject to a six-week consultation from Monday, February 27 until April 10 (2017). Following this, an initial draft plan will be prepared and further consultation will follow.

In the meantime, the document launch is accompanied by a ‘call for sites’ so the council can gain an up-to-date picture of what land is potentially available for future development.

Landowners and developers with suitable sites are being asked to put them forward during the consultation process. This call for sites will replace previous versions – and particular encouragement is given to smaller sites at this stage of plan preparation.

Full details can be found here:

Community grants raise aspirations across borough


Community organisations across the borough have been given a boost of more than £35,000 by Cheshire East Council after the latest round of community grant funding was announced.

A total of 24 voluntary, community and faith sector organisations have just benefited by £35,560.

The funding was awarded to successful applicants from a broad range of community groups across Cheshire East, including. Cheshire Wildlife Trust, Evolve: Tackling Substance Abuse, The Barnby Choir in Wilmslow and Macclesfield Garden Festival.

Cheshire Wildlife Trust was awarded £4,000 for a new hub, allowing them to transport tools for their work parties from their headquarters in Malpas to the 20 nature reserves they manage in Cheshire East.

Macclesfield Garden Festival wants to work with schools, businesses and artists to work on the ‘Yarn Tree project’. A £750 grant has been given by Cheshire East, which will be used for a planter competition to brighten up local streets for 10 days in the spring.

Councillor Paul Bates, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for communities and health, said: “It was very satisfying to see such a broad spectrum of the community represented and successfully apply for funding.

“The best part is yet to come – and that is seeing it all in action. I am passionate about seeing a healthier and more active aspiration in our local communities and this commitment came through strongly in this latest round of funding.

“I wish all our community groups the very best of luck in realising their ambitions.”

If you are involved in a community group and have a specific reason to seek funding, please get your application in early by registering your project at:

The closing date for the next round of applications is Friday, March 31.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Great Work by Crewe LPU Officers

Subject: Great Work by Crewe LPU Officers

This is a message sent via Neighbourhood Watch. This information has been sent on behalf of Cheshire Constabulary

(Please do not reply or forward this email directly; please use the Reply, Share buttons at the bottom of this message)

Message sent by

Jess Street (Police, PCSO, Crewe LPU East PCSO)

Officers arrested and charged a man responsible for the theft of a charity box from the Horseshoe pub in Alsager. Wayne Moss, aged 43, has attended court this morning and received a 12 month 14 day sentence, charged with two burglaries and two motor vehicle thefts. Excellent investigative work by Crewe LPU officers!
Have a great day,
Crewe LPU.

'Suspended Coffees'

Reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

Denise & Steve Lawson, owners of the Nantwich Bookshop & Coffee Lounge , have introduced a 'Suspended Coffees' scheme to their shop at High Street in the centre of Nantwich.

When a customer buys a coffee (or any other hot drink) they can also pay for a second one - which can then be claimed by someone who cannot afford it themselves.

They don't have to "prove" anything to claim one, but the scheme relies on the good faith of everyone involved.

The Suspended Coffees movement - - began in Italy several years ago, and has already been embraced by hundreds of cafes around the world.

Denise & Steve said, "We are truly humbled by the generosity of Nantwich folk. Since early February this year, when we joined the 'Suspended Coffees' movement, we have had over forty coffees and over twenty teas purchased by customers. We are promoting the scheme to make people aware of this amazing act of kindness. Thank you to everyone who has donated a hot drink."

Denise and Steve Lawson with  Suspended Coffees board

Meet The Beatles'

Reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

‘Meet The Beatles' performed at Nantwich Civic Hall on the evening of Friday 17th February 2017 in front of a sell-out audience.

Talented acoustic guitar and female vocal duo 'Chapter Two' warmed up the audience with a mixture of classic tracks.

They were followed by 'Meet The Beatles’ who sang and played several of the Fab Four’s hits including ‘I Saw Her Standing There’, ‘Please Please Me’, ‘From Me To You’, ‘Do You Want to Know a Secret’, ‘All My Loving’, ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’, ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’, ‘A Hard Day's Night’, ‘And I Love Her’, ‘Can't Buy Me Love’, ‘Roll Over Beethoven’, ‘Yesterday’, ‘Eight Days a Week’, ‘I Feel Fine’, ‘She Loves You’, ‘Twist and Shout’, ‘Help!’, ‘Ticket to Ride’, ‘Nowhere Man’, ‘In My Life (I Love You More)’, ‘We Can Work It Out’, ‘Drive My Car’, ‘Penny Lane’, ‘All You Need Is Love’, ‘Hello, Goodbye’, ‘Yellow Submarine’, ‘Back in the U.S.S.R.’, ‘The Ballad of John and Yoko’, ‘Lady Madonna’, and ‘Hey Jude’. Their set included a costume change and their final floor-filler and encore was ‘Get Back’.

Jon Mitchell, Event Manager from Warble Entertainment, said, "Once again, both Warble Entertainment and Nantwich Town Council are incredibly thrilled with the success of the show. Tickets sold out within three weeks of being put on sale and we could have potentially put on a second night judging by the interest in tickets, especially after the show had sold out. When you see the performance, it's easy to see why it's so popular. With such tight musicianship and all the hits, Meet The Beatles are up there as one of the premier tributes to the Fab Four in the UK”.

‘Meet The Beatles' was organised by Warble Entertainment - - in partnership with Nantwich Town Council - .

Meet The Beatles after their  costume changeMeet The Beatles

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Weston Christmas Light Display - £22,680 cheque presentation

Reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

Graham Witter, aged 22, is a final year Business Management degree student and Pride of Crewe - Community Individual Award Winner 2016.

He setup hundreds of Christmas lights where he lives at Carters Green Farm in Weston to raise money for charity.

His Christmas light display took place every day from 1st to 28th December 2016. The display covered a farmhouse, a garden, an adjacent yard and a barn and contained a combination of rope lights, LED lights and animated 3D figures, along with background Christmas music. There was also a small wooden Santa’s Grotto and a life-size Santa's sleigh. A new feature was a 1950s Whitby Morrison Mr Whippy ice cream van. Santa himself even made an appearance every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and the last few days before Christmas. It took Graham six weeks to set it all up.

Graham raised £1,000 in 2013, £5,720 in 2014, £10,280 in 2015 and an incredible £22,680 during the 2016 display. Thus, he has raised close to £40,000 during the past four years.

For the fourth year running all the money has gone to The Donna Louise Children's Hospice - - who provided respite care for his teenage sister Jessica. Jessica peacefully passed away on 31st December 2015, having enjoyed the event for many years. Graham decided to continue with his display in her memory.

The £22,680 raised in 2016 will be used by The Donna Louise Children's Hospice to help equip and support the new hospice build to provide care to young adults post 19 years old.

Graham presented the cheque to The Donna Louise Children's Hospice in Trentham in their fully refurbished sensory room that the £10,280 from the 2015 display helped to fund.

Nikki Wrench, Challenge Events Manager at The Donna Louise Children's Hospice, said, “I am so happy you got to share your amazing event with everyone in the community. The money you and your team have raised through community support is truly overwhelming, and will help us so much! I would also like to thank you for being more than a fundraiser - you are a really fantastic ambassador for the hospice and it has been my pleasure to work with you over the years.”

Graham said, “It has always been my pleasure to organise the ‘Weston Christmas Light Display’ for a children’s hospice which has done so much for my family. My late sister Jessica, had a truly amazing fascination with colour, light and sound, which was my inspiration in 2013 to organise a local community Winter Wonderland!

I started decorating the house with animated characters, filling the garden with inflatables and making our family home like a mini ‘North-Pole’! It enabled me to bring our community together whilst creating a local family tradition which many families and young children can enjoy.

But at the heart of this event was a ‘thank-you’ for all the respite care, family support and home activities the care team provided my sister. After losing my close sibling in December 2015 and having raised £17,000, I felt that I should continue my event in her memory. With new lighting ideas, a festive ‘Mr Whippy’ van and the opportunity for a ‘Sleigh Selfie with Santa’ the 2016 display delivered an astounding success, raising £22,680.

I have so much satisfaction that my time, commitment and dedication is helping improve the lives of children, young people and their families across our community. To know my event has thrilled festive visitors, but most importantly, improved services the hospice can offer, gives me satisfaction to continue my fundraising. Exciting plans are being drawn together for another successful event this year, so it will be another Winter Wonderland for everyone to enjoy!”

For further information relating to the Weston Christmas Light Display please visit:

Pictured left to right: Mike McDonald - Chief Executive at DLH, Graham Witter, Nikki Wrench - Challenge Events Manager, and Nikki Culverwell - Play Specialist

Cheque presentation to the Donna Louise Hospice of £22680 from Weston Christmas lights

It has always been my pleasure to organise the 'Weston Christmas Light Display' for a children's hospice which has done so much for my family. My late sister, Jessica had a truly amazing fascination for colour; light; and sound which was my inspiration in 2013 to organise a local community Winter Wonderland!

I started decorating the house with animated characters; filling the garden with inflatables and making our family home like a mini 'North-Pole'! It enabled me to bring our community together whilst creating a local family tradition which many families and young children can enjoy. 
But at the heart of this event was a 'thank-you', for all the respite care, family support and home activities the care team provided my Sister. After losing my close sibling in December 2015 having raised £17,000, it felt I should continue my event in her memory. With new lighting ideas, a festive 'Mr Whippy' van and the opportunity for a 'Sleigh Selfie with Santa', the 2016 display delivered an astounding success, raising £22,680.00.
I have so much satisfaction that my time, commitment and dedication is helping improve the lives of children, young people and their families across our community. To know my event has thrilled festive visitors, but most importantly improved services the hospice can offer, gives me satisfaction to continue my fundraising.
As an ambassador for the hospice I am hoping to draw up exiting plans for the 2017 display...and hope to fascinate visitors with a festive magical experience that cannot be missed! Let's hope Santa can continue wrapping our presents, so he can make a trip back with the reindeers this year! - Graham

Road and rail heritage events to get new cultural twist


Transport and engineering festivals in Crewe and Sandbach will feature a new roaming arts festival this year known as SpareParts: On the Move, thanks to a tie up with a similar event in Lancashire.

Cheshire East Council has entered into a partnership with several organisations under the umbrella of the Arts Council England’s ‘strategic touring fund’ programme, allowing the two festivals in Cheshire East to link up with the Fleetwood Festival of Transport on the Fylde.

A £100,000 grant from the arts council will enable SpareParts: On the Move to take their unique carnival of transport and motion on the road to Sandbach and Crewe later this year. 

Cheshire East has a policy to deliver quality performing arts events across the borough and the council’s financial backing and expertise within its cultural economy service has helped to secure the grant and a position within a wider arts programme.

All three organisations, Fleetwood Festival of Transport, the Sandbach Transport Festival and’ TrAction’ in Crewe, will work together to produce and deliver an exciting programme of outdoor performing arts themed around transport and transport heritage.

It will be a pilot project, which aims to continue a partnership approach and develop a touring network of transport festivals.

The Fleetwood Festival of Transport attracts some 60,000 people to the coastal town and it is hoped the three-way tie up will boost audiences in Crewe and Sandbach too through a parade and display of colourful and whacky live street performances bringing together mayhem, motion and fun, say the organisers.

Councillor David Brown, cabinet member for arts and culture, said: “This exciting pilot project has been delivered by the council’s cultural economy team and will help to boost the two transport and science/engineering festivals that are established events in the borough’s calendar of cultural attractions.

“We hope it becomes a great success and a regular feature of the two festivals in Sandbach and Crewe.

“I would like to thank SpareParts and the Fylde coast arts and cultural programme LeftCoast for bringing this very colourful and entertaining transport carnival to Cheshire East. We are all looking forward to joining in the fun.”

The Sandbach Transport Festival takes place over two days starting on April 22 and celebrates the great truck-building heritage of the town where Foden and ERF were big employers with a family history dating back 150 years.

TrAction in Crewe, which takes place on July 8/9, celebrates the town’s great railway heritage alongside technology, science and engineering and has always proved to be a big hit with families.

Elsie Alcock, from the Sandbach Transport Festival, now in its 27th year, said: “We are delighted to be working with ‘SpareParts’ and grateful for Arts Council funding and the role played by Cheshire East Council, to bring an exciting arts programme to the festival.

“The partnership with TrAction Crewe and Fleetwood Festival of Transport will enable us to learn together and bring this new arts aspect to our events.”

Pam Minshall, chair of the Crewe community and environment committee, said: “We are delighted that TrAction Crewe will this year be part of 'On the Move'. This will add an exciting programme of art, performance and spectacle to our transport weekend and we look forward to working with Spare Parts to ensure a wonderful two days of entertainment and interest for our town.”

Prestigious ISO award recognises high standard of borough’s highways maintenance strategy


Cheshire East Council’s highways service has become a UK exemplar for the way in which the borough’s highways maintenance programme is managed, meaning the authority is in line for a grant ‘bonus’ from the government.

ISO 55001 gives the authority’s highways service international recognition for its high standard of asset management. The borough’s £5 billion’s worth of roads, bridges, lighting, footways and traffic signs are the council’s biggest material asset.

The British Standards ISO award recognises the proactive management of highways maintenance and the way in which repairs and improvements are prioritised in order to make the most cost-effective use of the £9m highways maintenance grant.

Reports of road defects to the council reduced dramatically from 17,000 in 2012/13 to just over 4,000 in 2015/16.  

The award could now mean that the council will qualify for further incentive funding to the tune of £870,000 with the potential for a further increase in funding in 2018-19.

Highways works in Cheshire East are planned through an ‘asset managed’ approach to maintenance and repairs so that works are carried out at the right time, in the right location and with the right and appropriate degree of treatment.

Councillor David Brown, cabinet member for highways, said: “This award recognises the hard work that takes place behind the scenes to budget-manage and deliver our highways maintenance and improvement schemes in the most cost-effective way on behalf of our residents.

“This ensures that the borough’s highway infrastructure remains sustainable over the long term, to make best use of the highways budget.

“We believe we may be only the second authority in the country to receive this award, which is great news for our service.”

Compared with other road networks in the North West and based on Department for Transport statistics Cheshire East’s roads showed the greatest improvement in 2016 with A and B roads improving by three per cent and C roads by six per cent, compared to 2013.

This is the second BSi award made to the council’s highways division within a year.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Council ready to press on with showcase garden village


Residents and interested parties will have a chance to have their say on the proposed garden village at Handforth as Cheshire East Council prepares to draw up a planning framework.

The site, allocated within the Cheshire East Local Plan, has now been supported under the government’s garden town and village programme and will provide around 1,500 new homes by 2030.

It is intended to be a high-quality development scheme, unique to the borough and much work and local engagement has already taken place.

To finalise and refine the site proposals, a consultation process will take place to enable all those with an interest to contribute to the discussion and influence the shape and various elements of the development.

The need to deliver homes for people is the council’s immediate priority and the garden village will not only see the development of starter homes and affordable homes but also the opportunity for self-build.

Councillor Ainsley Arnold, cabinet member for housing and planning, said: “Given the need to progress the new village, there needs to be a secure and certain planning framework. Therefore, we are not proposing that the emerging Handforth neighbourhood plan covers this site.

“We want to ensure that the new garden village has the clearest possible framework to guide its development. We therefore feel that to overlay the existing local plan with further policies within the neighbourhood plan, operating on a different set of timescales, would complicate an already complex planning situation.

“We are very keen that local people are closely involved in the planning of the new village and that this is best done within the context of the Local Plan rather than a separate development plan.

“This will enable us all to move ahead and plan the village community and the new homes that so many people need.”

The council’s wholly-owned company Engine of the North expects to be in a position to submit outline plans for the 102-hectare site later this year when a full consultation process will take place.

Company chairman Cllr  Jamie Macrae said: “It is envisaged that the garden village would see extensive areas of green landscaping, trees and open spaces, incorporating new green transport links and cycle ways, together with the required infrastructure such as schools and health facilities. 

as a completely separate entity and it makes sense not to include the scheme within the proposed neighbourhood plan.”