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Thursday, 26 February 2015

Ministers see for themselves the value of Cheshire East’s life science sector


Two government ministers were today (Thursday, February 26) seeing for themselves the importance of Cheshire East’s life sciences sector.

Greg Clark, science and universities minister and George Freeman, life sciences minister, visited the BioHub at Alderley Park and Mr Freeman also toured AstraZeneca’s Hurdsfield factory in Macclesfield.

Worldwide demand for the innovative prostate cancer drug Zoladex means that the factory accounts for more than one per cent of total UK exports by value.

Mr Clark and Mr Freeman were accompanied by Macclesfield MP David Rutley, who has been closely involved in plans to convert the former AstraZeneca research base at Alderley Park into a thriving business park for life science companies.

Manchester Science Partnerships has acquired the 400 acre site and a draft development framework, drawn up by Cheshire East Council, is now out to public consultation.

Councillor Michael Jones, leader of Cheshire East Council said: “It is exciting to see how Alderley Park is developing and it is great to see continued investment by AstraZeneca in the Hurdsfield site. 

“We hope this visit will give ministers, the local MP and the Council some insights into how they can support AstraZeneca’s commitment to Cheshire East and in particular the plans they are developing to create a European centre of excellence for packaging of pharmaceuticals at Hurdsfield.

"It should not be forgotten that drugs packaging originally came to Macclesfield due to the dexterity of silk workers, who were used to dealing with small, precise instruments.

"We are absolutely committed to protecting and growing jobs in our science corridor, so it is pleasing to see AstraZeneca’s long-term commitment to Hurdsfield.”

Substance misuse service opens its doors to recovery


Cheshire East substance misuse service welcomed over 40 members of the local community to publically launch the new service (24 February).

Cheshire East Council appointed Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP) as lead provider of the all-age service in November 2014. The new and integrated service is designed for people whose lives are affected by drug or alcohol issues.

The open day was held at one of the Trust’s sites, Catherine House in Crewe, to show local people the types of support available and how people can access it. Service partners also provided interactive demonstrations to show people how to take better care of themselves as part of holistic recovery and wider health and well-being.

Kat Chapman, a spokesperson at the event, spoke about her addiction to drugs along with Noel Baker who spoke about his issues with alcohol. Kat said: “Without the support of this service, I wouldn’t be here today. I began using cannabis, but then moved on to harder stuff. I didn’t realise I had a problem, I just thought I was doing a bit too much at the time, until I hit rock bottom and was close to losing everything.

“The team helped build me back up, they didn’t judge me or question me, just accepted that I needed help and support. I would encourage anyone to get help as early as you can. I am living proof that there is hope and you can recover.”

Dr Heather Grimbaldeston, Cheshire East’s director of public health, said: “Doctors and nurses tell us they are incredibly worried about the amount of alcohol people are drinking. The new service will help us do more to help people avoid the physical, mental and social damage so often seen as a result of misuse of alcohol or drugs.”

Councillor Janet Clowes, Cheshire East’s cabinet member in charge of care and health in the community said: “We are delighted to have CWP deliver the new service. The change in the service design means there will be a greater focus on prevention and early help support.

“We want the best for our young people. Families and adults and this service will help empower people to develop skills and confidence to build stronger and safer communities.”

Andy Styring, director of operations for CWP, says: “Substance misuse affects all members of our communities; from those who have issues themselves to those around them such as their family and friends. We are committed to seeing the ‘whole person’ and not just the condition. By working with people and their families, we want to reduce avoidable harms and continue to deliver the best care possible, as safely as possible in collaboration with our service partners.”

The substance misuse service is open to people of all ages whose lives are affected by drug or alcohol issues. Referral is accepted from any source including self-referral and via a GP.

Pay boost for Council frontline staff and apprentices


Frontline staff and apprentices at Cheshire East Council are to get a welcome pay boost after a series of announcements made today (Thursday, February 26).

Council leader Councillor Michael Jones told a meeting of Full Council that the authority is committing to the introduction of the Living Wage, which means that following a period of consultation, directly-employed Council staff at the lower end of the pay scale will earn a minimum of £7.85.

This will be a big lift for staff such as general assistants and catering assistants. Cheshire East is to consult with partners, including schools, on the move during the coming year.

In a double-whammy of good news, all apprentices employed by the authority are to receive pay rises thanks to a further funding commitment of £137,000. The new rates of pay will meet the national minimum apprenticeship pay rate for each age group.

The Council currently employs more than 50 apprentices.

Councillor Michael Jones said: “Our frontline staff work extremely hard for the taxpayer and they thoroughly deserve to be able to earn a fair wage which allows them to provide for themselves and their families.

“We will soon be consulting on the Living Wage with our partners but it is entirely the right thing to do, as is looking after our young apprentices.

“Apprentices are our future and we want to equip them with the skills to make a real difference during their working lives. Our apprentices are bright and enthusiastic people who deserve improved rates of pay.”

The Living Wage is based on the amount a person needs to earn to cover the basic costs of living and is promoted by the Living Wage Foundation. An independent study found 75% of employees reported increases in work quality as a result of receiving the Living Wage.

Meanwhile, Cllr Jones added: “We remain committed to ensuring we do not offer ‘zero-hours’ contracts, as they are often termed in the media.

“The Council is a dynamic business which has a number of roles where flexibility is required. We therefore offer ‘permanent variable hours’ contracts on local Government terms and conditions.

“These arrangements are regularly reviewed with the individual employees.”

Councillor Barry Moran, Cabinet member in charge of performance, said: “We do not restrict any workers’ wish to work for other employers if they only work a few hours for Cheshire East Council.

“Some services have a fluctuating demand for staff, such as seasonal work at Tatton Park. We offer permanent variable hours contracts to meet these needs and adopt good practice set out by the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development).”

He added: “This is all great news for our staff. We pride ourselves on being a Residents First Council but we also highly value our workers.”

No more 15-minute care visits in Cheshire East


Cheshire East Council is to stop commissioning 15-minute home care visits.

The move was announced by the authority’s leader, Councillor Michael Jones at a full council meeting today (Thursday, February 26).

Charities and voluntary organisations concerned with older people have campaigned against 15-minute home visits, arguing that it is not long enough to provide proper adult social care.

The change will take effect from April 1, 2015 for new service users. The council will also be working with existing service users to rearrange their care plans and ensure that domiciliary care providers have staff in place to provide longer visits.

But 15-minute slots will still be available if service users ask for them – for example if they need help to make a cup of tea or take medication at a particular time of day. This would normally be offered in conjunction with longer visits as part of the service user’s care plan.

Councillor Janet Clowes, Cheshire East’s Cabinet member in charge of care and health in the community, said: “There may be occasions when people want a 15-minute visit first thing each morning. But unless a service user requests it, we will not be commissioning care visits in 15-minute slots.

“It is not long enough to provide proper care with all the dignity and respect that our residents deserve.”

Councillor Jones said: “These service improvements will require investment but we believe it is necessary to provide the standard of care that we aspire to in Cheshire East.

“This is another example of Cheshire East Council putting residents first and taking care of the people as well as the pounds and pence.”

Cheshire East set to freeze Council Tax for the next two years


Cheshire East Council is planning to freeze Council Tax for the next TWO years.

The local authority is the first in the country to announce this landmark move.

The announcement made today (February 26) by Council Leader Councillor Michael Jones would mean no increase for six consecutive years.

The authority today voted to freeze Council Tax for the fifth year running for 2015/16        – while increasing spending on services for vulnerable adults and boosting investment on roads and infrastructure.

Cllr Jones also revealed the Council’s intention not to increase Council Tax in 2016/17.

The announcement comes despite the continued reductions in government grants and increasing cost pressures on councils.

Cheshire East Council Leader Councillor Michael Jones said: “This is the best budget in the North West and one of the strongest in the UK.

“We don’t just want to freeze Council Tax for a fifth consecutive year next year – we want to keep people’s bills at their current level until 2017.

“Cheshire East Council is demonstrating once again how local authorities can cut costs via innovative ways of working and a listening approach that puts residents first.

“We care about the pounds, the pennies and the people. And I am delighted and proud that there will be no Council Tax increase for our residents for a fifth consecutive year, despite having our revenue support grant from central government cut by £9.66m or almost 20 per cent.

“However, we want to go further and continue that freeze up to 2017 – attracting people, jobs and business into Cheshire East and bolstering its position as the ‘best place to live’ in the North West, with a strong and resilient economy.”

The Cheshire East Band D Council Tax will remain unchanged at £1,216.34.

The budget and financial reports voted through by full Council today show that medium-term finances are ‘in great shape’ and set to generate a small budget surplus, for a third year running, of about £0.5m in 2014/15.

A balanced budget, low unemployment and increased levels of investment in major capital projects across Cheshire East confirm that the Council is working innovatively to deliver excellent services and great value for money for local taxpayers.

Annual Council spending is more than £750m, with a proposed balanced net revenue budget of £264.7m for 2015/16.

This includes meeting a target net saving of £7.7m without compromising key services. The Council has achieved permanent savings of £5m in management costs alone over the past two years.

Under the Council’s medium-term financial strategy (2015-18) additional spending on key frontline services is also earmarked – with £6.5m extra for highways improvements and £1m extra spending for adult social care.

An ambitious capital programme also plans £0.5 billion of investment over three years – our biggest ever.

With no new planned borrowing in 2015/16 and external debt being reduced by a further £8.5m, Cheshire East now has less debt than it did when it was created as a unitary authority in 2009.

The projected £13m funding gap in the Council’s finances for 2016/17 will be closed by some prudent activities already under way. Potential ways to meet the funding include:

● £3.4m from money set aside for business rates appeals, which have been settled;

● £1m expected from growth in the business rates tax base and from shared benefits of collaboration with Greater Manchester;

● £1m from new jobs and new homes that are increasing the Council Tax base;

● £2m return on the invest to save schemes in the capital budget;

● £2.2m from government grants, such as the New Homes Bonus scheme;

● £1.7m from eliminating growth through efficiency savings of 0.7 per cent; and

● £2m from reducing the impact of inflation on the Council’s budget.

High Court backs Council’s rejection of Moorfields housing scheme


A High Court judge has backed Cheshire East Council’s refusal of planning permission for the controversial Moorfields housing scheme in Willaston.

Last August, a planning inspector granted consent for the proposal by Richborough Estates to build 146 houses on a green field site. However, the Council’s determination to have the decision overturned has now been successful, with costs for the High Court action awarded to Cheshire East.

The judgement represents yet another victory for the Council in cases where it has strongly opposed ‘unsustainable development’ on green field sites.

In four instances so far this year, where developers have challenged the Council through the planning appeals process, the Council has won its case for refusing permission.

In her judgement, Mrs. Justice Lang said that for many years the Council’s local planning policies had sought to maintain the separate identities of Nantwich, Crewe and the settlements between them and to preserve areas of open countryside from encroachment.

The Judge considered that green gap policy should not be set aside simply because the Council did not currently enjoy a five-year supply of housing land.

She said she doubted that the National Planning Policy Framework was intended to be used to routinely bypass local policies, which were protecting specific local features and landscapes.

Quashing the planning inspector’s decision of August 2014, Mrs. Justice Lang said she agreed with the council that the green gap was ‘esigned to protect specific areas or features, such as gaps between settlements’ and was not merely a housing supply policy.

Responding to the latest judgement, Council Leader Councillor Michael Jones said: “I hope our critics will take note of this.

“This is yet another vindication of our policy to promote only sustainable development and to resist unsuitable, inappropriate development in the green gap.

“I am committed to protecting our communities from intrusive housing schemes, while endeavouring to see new homes built in areas of the Borough where they are really needed and do not conflict with planning policy.”

The High Court judgement comes just a month after the Secretary of State supported the Council’s refusal of a plan to build up to 880 homes at Gresty Oaks, Shavington, on the grounds that it was unsustainable in the green gap.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Council explains costs of Lyme Green scheme


Figures compiled by Cheshire East Council reveal that the net cost of the cancelled Lyme Green Waste Transfer Station project in Macclesfield is £262,000 when all potential and actual savings and costs are factored in.

A full review has been carried out in response to questions from members of Council and criticism of the financial impact of the scheme in the press.

The figures show a comparison between the actual costs of aborting the project and the estimated costs had the scheme progressed as initially planned.

The information is drawn from the Council’s financial records and accounts and is supplemented by the Council’s assessment of the costs of making good the Lyme Green site for any future development.

Taking into account the residual value of buildings, operational savings of £412,000 per year since 2013 and a saving of £390,000 in landfill gate fees and other associated costs, the actual net cost to the Council between November 2011 and March 2015 is £262,000.

This also includes the costs of the independent (DIP) review and compensation payments to staff whose employment with the council was terminated.

Site clearance and preparation costs of £292,000 would have been paid out in any event as would the £18,000 spent on professional fees in relation to any future sale.

Since the introduction of the silver bin collection scheme, the council has increased the volume of recycled tonnage to 54 per cent, which is the fourth-highest performance rate across the whole of the North West.

Council Leader Michael Jones said: “I am pleased that the residents of Cheshire East now have the true picture of the costs arising from this event.

“It is important that we are fully apprised of the facts and I am satisfied that this presents a much more accurate account of how money was spent, how it was saved and how other factors came into play to mitigate the full financial impact of this episode.

Cheshire East Council publicly apologised in 2011 for proceeding with preparation work for a waste transfer station at Lyme Green but the scheme had to be cancelled.

The decision not to proceed, led to the Council reviewing its waste strategy. The decision to move to a council-owned company avoided outsourcing procurement costs that could be as much as £800,000.

The Lyme Green site continues to operate as the main salt highways depot for the north of the Borough.

Local community road safety – tell us your concerns!


Cheshire East Council is to target resources to address local community concerns about road safety – as part of its commitment to putting ‘residents first’.

To ensure this investment is targeted in the right areas, residents are being asked to provide the authority with feedback about their local priorities.

The information gathered will be used to develop an initial local community road safety programme and will also be fed into the Council’s forward programme of speed limit reviews across the Borough.  

Cheshire East residents have ranked ‘improving road safety’ as one of their most important highway service priorities.

Only ‘improving the conditions of the Borough’s roads’ and ‘tackling congestion’ are rated as higher priorities.

The Council continues to invest in improving the condition of our extensive highways network – and its strategic approach has been effective in reversing deterioration.

This does not mean the work is complete – as there is clearly more work to be done. However, the process being followed is working and will continue to be developed over the coming years.

The Council has an ambitious road safety education programme, which recently won the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award for its partnership approach to accident prevention.

The Council remains committed to continuing to drive forward road safety improvements to make our highways safer.

Councillor David Topping, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of service commissioning, said: “We are a listening Council that’s determined to put residents first – so it is important that people tell us what work they would like to see prioritised to improve safety for our road users.

“Writing or emailing only takes a few moments and ensures that we get the chance to meet local needs most effectively.”

If you have a particular road safety concern you would like to be addressed, please email before March 16, 2015, ensuring the area of interest is clearly identified.

Alternatively please write to:

RS Consultation

6th Floor – Delamere House

C/O Municipal Buildings

Earle Street




For more information about Cheshire East highways, visit the Council’s website at:

Rural touring brings theatre to Cheshire’s village halls


High-quality professional theatre is on the way to Cheshire’s rural areas.

Cheshire Rural Touring Arts (CRTA), which is supported by Cheshire East Council, has announced its programme for spring 2015.

Claire Smith, of CRTA, said: “We are proud of our reputation for bringing very high quality professional performances to your doorstep at affordable prices.

“We can only do this because of our willing throng of skilled volunteer promoters (170 last year), who choose the shows, and host companies and audiences alike in the heart of their communities.

“In Cheshire, one third of our population lives in rural areas so we offer an opportunity

for these communities and others to get together to enjoy the intimate and unique

experience that is captured by rural touring.

“We programme the very best of what is on offer across the country and internationally, it just comes in smaller packages to fit into our smaller spaces.”

This season, which starts on March 5, includes a diverse range of performances.

Musically, the Berlin cabaret scene will be represented by Orichalcum’s show ‘From Berlin, to Broadway’ and the beautiful lyrical voice of Canadian singer songwriter Ian Sherwood.

‘The Imperfect Pearl’ will offer an opportunity to experience a baroque musical drama – a new and unique rural touring experience.

Theatre highlights come in the form of Cheshire-based Harmonettes – with their show ‘Dorothy’s War’, made for the First World War centenary and The Foundry Group’s retelling of the first ever non-stop transatlantic flight in ‘Those Magnificent Men’.

From Canada, Theatre Newfoundland Labrador presents ‘With Cruel Times In Between’ and Melody A Johnson appears in ‘Miss Caledonia’.

For families there is the fabulous and inventive ‘Land of the Dragon’, ‘Cake’ and ‘When Trolls Try to Eat Your Goldfish’.

The Youth Live show this season is Jackie Hagan’s ‘Some People Have Too Many Legs’ and our Cutting Hedge show is Reckless Sleepers’ ‘The Last Supper’.

The spring brochure can be downloaded at


RED NOSE DAY 2015 is set to offer more than just Red Noses this year. Bright red comedy glasses with hair raising eyebrows, as modelled by the fabulous Gok Wan are also coming to Crewe Specsavers.

Visitors to the town’s Specsavers store in Market Street can follow in the footsteps of Gok Wan and make their faces funny for money with Specsavers’ official Red Nose Day glasses in small or large sizes, for just £3 with £1 donated to Comic Relief.

Michael Elleray, store director of Specsavers Crewe, says: ‘We’re all set to make our faces funny for money in support of the great work that Comic Relief does and we’d love you to join us!

‘We’re encouraging everyone, young and old, to join in the fun and buy their Red Nose Day glasses, and to entice you in, we’ll also be donning our red outfits and hosting a fun-day and bake sale with an array of tasty treats on the big day, Friday, 13 March.’

Specsavers in Crewe has joined Specsavers stores nationwide to support Comic Relief to help poor and vulnerable people living tough lives both here in the UK and across Africa.

Whether it’s at home, work or school, the public are being encouraged to make their faces funny for money this Red Nose Day, which takes place on Friday 13 March.

From painting their faces to donning the Specsavers funny specs millions of people up and down the country will be making their faces funny and raising life changing cash. The money raised through Red Nose Day helps poor and vulnerable people living incredibly tough lives both here in the UK and across Africa.

To book your next appointment at Specsavers Crewe call 01270 250707 or visit

Big Box double-header with The Courtesans & Moving Moscow


Crewe's premier music venue is set for a big double-header of local music this weekend.

Featuring Wrenbury's Vikki Brown, The Courtesans headline their second show at The Box as part of a UK tour on Friday, February 27.

And they are backed by Crewe 6-piece Moving Moscow, who return to the Pedley Street venue for the first time since their raucous headline show there in September.

Singer Dan Parry said: "We've got some new material to debut so we're all massively excited for this gig.

"And it should be fun to play with The Courtesans as they're one of the more unique acts out there at the moment. They put on a great live show, with a twist.

"And the local links both bands have make it even more interesting. I know we're excited to play in our hometown again."

The Courtesans, a London-based all-female quartet, are following up a Valentine's night sell-out show at the Macbeth Club down in the capital.

The band challenges the perception of women's role in music and society. A spokesman said: "Their first single 'Genius' outlines the complete body transformation many women now feel they have to go through just to be accepted and to, in some way, feel normal.

"The Courtesans believe it is their right to express their sexuality on stage like many men in music have done for the past 50 years without being vilified, or their music dismissed, because of it."

Classed by some music media as 'doom rock', The Courtesans' music is a dark mix of rock and electro.

Tickets are £7 in advance via the bands themselves or at

Moving Moscow are planning an EP for the summer and play their first Manchester headline show at Gulliver's in the Northern Quarter on Friday, March 27.

Follow the band on Twitter @MovingMoscow and at

The Courtesans are on Twitter @the_courtesans and at

Monday, 23 February 2015

RHS Award for Crewe Community


Members of the community on the Sherborne Estate in Crewe have once again been recognised for their achievements in improving the quality of their urban environment. Local people of all ages and abilities have been actively involved in improving their neighbourhood by constructing raised planting beds, putting up hanging baskets and also growing their own fruit and vegetables. These efforts have been assisted by an initiative known as Grow in Crewe, a project supported by Crewe Town Council and delivered by Greenspaces South Cheshire CIC with funding support from the Big Lottery Awards for All Funding Programme. The project has seen participants engaging in weekly sessions at the Greenspaces ‘Grow Hub’ at the heart of the Sherborne Estate as well as sessions to improve some of the open spaces in with support from Sir William Stanier School Pupils. Local families have been learning new skills and gaining knowledge along the way with some now setting up and growing their own food in raised planters in their own back yards.

The improvements to the environment and the neighbourhood as a whole have been recognised for the second time by the Royal Horticultural Society’s ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ awards and this year the community has been elevated to category of Level 4 – ‘Thriving’.

Crewe Mayor, Pam Minshull said: This is a great achievement for the local community. During regular visits to the area, I have seen for myself the improvements that have been made and sampled some of the healthy, home grown fruit and vegetables. The teamwork and efforts by the residents and project partners is improving the quality of life of individuals and the quality of the neighbourhood as a whole.

The community are now looking to take the project to the next level and have recently submitted a bid to the Health Lottery to seek funding to enable them to showcase their ideas and achievements at the RHS Tatton Show in 2016.

Pictured: Crewe Mayor, Pam Minshull and local grower John McGinlay with the award from the RHS.


Saturday, 21 February 2015

MP’s 159th news bulletin.

Welcome to this, my 159th news bulletin.

At a time of economic difficulty, when tough decisions have been made on public spending, there's little sympathy for those who don't make their full contribution.
I believe we should welcome businesses to Britain with open arms and have the lowest business taxes of any major country in the world.
Britain is moving to a system lower and more competitive taxes, but I believe people and businesses should pay those taxes, not aggressively avoid or evade them.
Some companies are going to extraordinary lengths to avoid paying their taxes and that is not fair on Crewe and Nantwich taxpayers.
That is why I'm pleased action has already been taken on tackling the aggressive tax avoidance of some large companies and individuals. The UK started the global work on changing international tax rules and is now leading the world in implementing these changes in Britain.
In contrast, Ed Miliband and Ed Balls did nothing to deal with aggressive avoidance and evasion while in the Treasury during the last Labour government. We’ve turned that around because as Conservatives we believe in low taxes, but taxes that are actually paid – so the system works for hard-working taxpayers.
Since April 2010 the Government has made 42 changes to tax law, closing loopholes and introducing major reforms to the UK tax system. These include the introduction of a General Anti-Abuse Rule and strengthening the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes regime.
Furthermore, the Government has invested £1 billion over the last four years to tackle tax avoidance and evasion. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as secured over £85 billion in through tax investigations since the beginning of this Parliament, and is committed to recouping an additional £5 billion by clamping down in the next Parliament.
In addition, around 80 per cent of the avoidance cases heard in the courts are being won by HMRC, protecting £2.7 billion of tax in 2013/14.
To make sure the largest companies contribute, the Government is introducing a 25 per cent tax on multinationals’ profits where they are artificially shifted out of the country.
This behaviour isn't fair to firms in Crewe and Nantwich that pay their taxes, nor is it fair to local taxpayers, so I'm pleased the Government is introducing this Diverted Profits Tax from April to help put a stop to it. This will raise over £1 billion over the next five years.
The introduction of new anti-avoidance measures will dramatically reduce the benefits from complex arrangements such as the so-called ‘double Irish’ used by some large multinationals, especially in the technology sector, and the new General Anti-Abuse Rule will deter the creation of abusive tax avoidance schemes. The Government is also consulting on new powers for HMRC to collect unpaid taxes from people owing more than £1,000.
The G20 group of countries has agreed a new global mechanism that makes it easier for HMRC to identify UK taxpayers hiding assets or income offshore. Those avoiding tax can be fined twice the tax owed, with the possibility of criminal prosecution and a prison sentence.
I wholeheartedly support the Government in this fair approach to tackling aggressive tax avoidance and evasion, and hope that this information is reassuring to my constituents who work hard, pay their tax and contribute fairly to the running of our great country.
If you would like to read more about the action the Government has taken to tackle tax avoidance and evasion, this can be found online at

Edward Timpson MP
Member of Parliament for Crewe and Nantwich
Please remember, you can always contact me directly if you have any questions for me, or if there is anything I can do to assist you.

Since my last e-mail, I have...

  • Met with local farmers in Oakhanger, through the National Farmers Union, to talk about their needs and concerns locally, as well as the national issues affecting the farming industry.
  • Joined in with the St Thomas More Catholic High School darts evening, raising money for St Luke's Hospice with the only school darts club in Crewe and Nantwich.
  • Addressed the public meeting of the Wychwood Community Group, who are campaigning against the development of 900 homes on Gorstyhill golf club.
  • Enjoyed a game or two of table tennis with the youth group at St Marys Church in Wistaston, who also invited me to talk to them about my work as the local MP and Minister for Children and Families.
  • Visited Shavington High School, to talk to pupils and staff about the latest developments at the school.
  • Gone 'back to the floor' for a shift at Leighton Hospital, to get a better understanding of the challenges currently facing our busy local hospital.
  • Held the latest of my regular constituency advice surgeries at my office in Crewe.

Solar park on outskirts of Nantwich is refused
Having met with local campaigners and visited the application site, I was pleased to support local people in objecting to the application for a solar farm in Hatherton.
I am therefore delighted that this week, Cheshire East's councillors have listened and rejected this application.
You can read the full report from the Crewe Chronicle.

Photo: Shavington High School - I was really pleased to visit Shavington High School recently, to see the latest developments at the school, and to talk to the students and teachers.

Action group calling on residents to object to controversial development
Crewe Chronicle: The action group has the backing of more than 1,200 residents and over 250 people were crammed inside the village hall  to listen to updates from community members, as well as Crewe and Nantwich MP Edward Timpson.

Terraced houses, Copyright 'Espresso Addict'

MP welcomes Cheshire crime rate drop
Nantwich News: Crewe & Nantwich MP Edward Timpson has welcomed new statistics which show a drop in crime rates in Cheshire. Latest figures from the independent Office for National Statistics (ONS) show since 2010 recorded crime in Cheshire has fallen by 19 per cent.

Business growth is welcomed
MP Edward Timpson has backed the announcement of £15.13m additional government funding to support businesses and infrastructure in Crewe and Nantwich - helping to create jobs and support businesses.

Copyright © 2015 Edward Timpson MP. Promoted by D Potter on behalf of E Timpson both at Churchyardside, Nantwich, Cheshire, CW5 5DE
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Edward Timpson MP

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Council secures pilot enterprise scheme for Reaseheath College


Cheshire East’s farming community, food growers and suppliers could soon benefit from a successful bid by Cheshire East Council to secure Food Enterprise Zone (FEZ) status, a government scheme aimed at boosting the economy in the countryside.

Reaseheath College, Nantwich has been chosen to pilot the scheme in parallel with ten similar pathfinder projects throughout the UK.

Cheshire East is one of 11 potential FEZs announced by Elizabeth Truss, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Through a local development order, agricultural businesses and communities will be able to take advantage of relaxed planning regulations to encourage new enterprises and business development in the food growing, food supply and farming industry.

The 272 hectares which form the Reaseheath Estate are at the heart of the Cheshire dairy farming industry and it is hoped that if the pilot scheme is successful, similar FEZs will be established in other parts of the borough.

Reaseheath has a longstanding reputation for working alongside the agriculture industry, food growing and supply chain.

The proposal is to create a unique and highly innovative integrated FEZ within which businesses can access support, skills, specialist technical resources and facilities to grow and thrive.

Welcoming the announcement, Cheshire East Council Leader Michael Jones said:  “This is more excellent news for this part of the Borough and great news for our local farmers and food growers.

“I congratulate our team on their successful bid.

“Food Enterprise Zones will help to unlock the potential of our local producers, food and agricultural businesses.

“It will encourage enterprise and job creation across the board, generating opportunity and innovation.

“The County of Cheshire and Cheshire farmers represent a great tradition and have been at the heart of the UK’s food production industry for centuries.

“Reaseheath College is a beacon of excellence in the agri-economy of the UK and is a glowing example of the breadth and depth of skills and innovation in and around the towns of Crewe and Nantwich.”

The Reaseheath enterprise zone will encompass five sites. Schemes will include a new knowledge and development facility to demonstrate the use of drones and remote imaging to increase efficiency in crop production.

There will be incubator space to support and develop new business within the FEZ.

Other initiatives include the development of a nutrition centre to explore the impact of diet on exercise performance and well-being in the general population.

The ambition and objective of the FEZ is to strengthen research, technical development, innovation and skills, to enable more collaborative working along the food supply chain and to support economic growth and healthy competition.

Meredydd David, Principal of the college, said: “Reaseheath is delighted to be working with Cheshire East Council on securing Food Enterpise Zone status, as this will help the college to continue to support the agricultural, food manufacturing and rural businesses within the sub-region of the Local Enterprise Partnership and the surrounding counties.

“Defra’s selection of this project as a ‘pathfinder’ is recognition of the importance of the agriculture and food industry to the regional and national economy and the role that both Reaseheath College and Cheshire East Council play in supporting this hugely valuable industry.”

Cheshire East Council’s successful bid was spearheaded by Caroline Simpson, the authority’s newly appointed Executive Director of Economic Growth and Prosperity, in conjunction with the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership.

Grants of up to £50,000 will be made available for the initial process of establishing a Local Development Order, an essential step towards the creation of a FEZ.

The UK’s food industry is worth more than £100 billion a year to the UK economy and FEZs will ensure that farmers and agricultural businesses in Cheshire East can grow more top quality food and develop innovative businesses that will help to boost the rural economy.

The zones will empower local communities to influence the choice and location of businesses and give added protection to the countryside around their communities.

In a statement, Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said: “Food and farming is at the heart of our long-term economic plan and vital to securing Britain’s economic future.”

Cheshire East waste collection passes the TEEP test


Cheshire East Council’s waste collections operations have passed a major test – and saved taxpayers £650,000.

Because of amendments to The Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011, councils have to collect recyclable waste paper, metal, plastic and glass separately, unless they can show that it is not technically, environmentally and economically practicable (TEEP).

Currently, the Council collects the items co-mingled in the silver bin and they are separated later at a materials recovery facility.

A thorough, independent examination of the Council’s waste collection operations found that changing the system could cost £650,000 more and would be likely to result in a reduction in the amount of recycled material collected.

The report, which will go before the Council’s Cabinet on March 3, demonstrates that there is no necessity to collect the four materials separately and that it is not technically, environmentally and economically practicable to do so.

Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “The report strongly endorses Cheshire East Council’s current, easy-to-use, recycling scheme and the high quality of the recycled materials.

“In 2013/14, nine out of the top 10 authorities for recycling collected their waste using a co-mingled system like ours.

“I am pleased that we have been able to show that our current system works very well and that we have been able to avoid a considerable, unnecessary additional cost to the Council Tax payer.”

The Cabinet is being asked to endorse the report, which robustly demonstrates the Council’s compliance with the regulations and should minimise the risk of legal challenge by organisations which are campaigning for waste to be sorted at the kerbside rather than collected in co-mingled bins.

To find out more about recycling:

Friday, 20 February 2015

‘Single mum’ benefits cheat ordered to repay almost £4,000 after ‘landlord’ turns out to be her lover and father of her two children


A young mum who fraudulently claimed nearly £4,000 in benefits after claiming her partner was only her landlord has been ordered by a court to repay the money – and do 240 hours’ unpaid community work.

The court heard Laura Paulden, 27, received housing benefit and Council Tax benefit after claiming she had started maternity leave, lived alone with her children and was on a low income.

In fact she was in relationship with her landlord, who was the father of her two children, and lived with him during the 17 months she fraudulently claimed benefits.

The relationship was discovered during an investigation by Cheshire East Council benefits fraud team.

Paulden, of Vincent, Street Crewe, pleaded guilty at South and East Cheshire Magistrates’ Court (on February 9, 2015) to one offence of dishonestly making a false application to unlawfully obtain housing benefit and Council Tax benefit between May 2011 and October 2012.

The court heard Paulden received state benefits totalling £3,866 to which she was not entitled.

Magistrates sitting in Crewe sentenced Paulden to a community order with a requirement to do 240 hours’ unpaid work. She was further ordered to repay the overpaid benefits and pay a victim surcharge of £60.

Councillor Peter Raynes, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of finance, said: “Benefit fraud will not be tolerated by this authority. We are an enforcing Council and committed to ensuring such offenders are brought to justice.

“This case shows that cheating the system leaves perpetrators much worse off. We proactively investigate cases like this to prevent fraudsters taking money away from those really need help.”

If you think someone is committing benefit fraud, you can ring the confidential freephone fraud hotline on 0800 389 2787. You don’t have to give your name and your call will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Alternatively, you can report suspected fraud via the Council’s website at:

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service e-Newsletter

Welcome to the February edition of the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service e-Newsletter.

Draft Five Year Strategy 2015-20

Cheshire Fire Authority has launched a new draft five year strategy, titled ‘Planning For A Safer Cheshire 2015-2020’, that sets out its plans up to 2020. The strategy clarifies some of the stark choices facing the Authority and outlines the approach and principles it will adopt to ensure it does not compromise on its commitment to protecting local communities, reducing risk and maintaining firefighters’ safety.

We would like you to get involved and have your say to help shape the future of Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Read our draft five year strategy

Cooking safety month

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service will be promoting cooking safety tips throughout the month of February. 

There are a number of cooking related dates throughout the month including Pancake Day and National Chip Week. Our kitchen safety vehicle will be out and about in Cheshire throughout February - Find out the dates and venues of our kitchen safety roadshow

Pancake Day

Pancake Day is the day when people reach for the frying pan, lemon and sugar - but some end up needing the Fire and Rescue Service too.

When making pancakes, never leave any cooking or kitchen appliances unattended. It only takes a few seconds for an unattended pan or cooker to catch fire.

Read our pancake day safety advice

National Chip Week

Reduce the chance of having a fire in your home by throwing away your chip pan during National Chip Week (16th Feb - 23rd Feb).

Please do not use traditional chip pans, because they can cause fatal fires. There are other options for cooking chips which will keep you and your family safer. Please opt for an alternative to chip pans.

Read our national chip week safety advice

Chinese New Year

Many people across Cheshire will be celebrating Chinese New Year on 19th February 2015. Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. If you are celebrating, please celebrate safely and take care to avoid the risk of accidental fires.

View fire safety advice for Chinese New Year

Could you be an on-call firefighter?

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service is recruiting for on-call firefighters at the following fire stations: Alsager, Audlem, Birchwood, Bollington, Crewe, Ellesmere Port, Holmes Chapel, Knutsford, Macclesfield, Malpas, Middlewich, Nantwich, Northwich, Poynton, Runcorn, Sandbach, Stockton Heath, Tarporley, Wilmslow and Winsford.

Could you be an on-call firefighter? If yes, you are welcome to come along to one of our taster events. The event will give potential applicants the opportunity to meet full-time and on-call crews, as well as training and recruitment officers, who will explain exactly how to follow the recruitment process.

Find out more information - On-call taster events

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