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Friday, 28 November 2014

The Crewe Christmas lights switch-on

Reporter Jonathan White, Crewe

The Crewe Christmas lights switch-on took place on Thursday 27th November 2014 on the Crewe Town Square. Entertainment included Ruskin Soul Band, Ruskin Blue Bin Drummers, Matrix Cheer Squad, and TheFunkyChoir.com. Father Christmas also took time out of his busy schedule to make an appearance, although the Grinch also made an appearance and made a nuisance of himself! The Mayor of Crewe Councillor Pam Minshull, assisted by South Cheshire College student Ellie Gregory who designed the Crewe Christmas Lights switch-on flyer, Father Christmas and a creative writing winner, turned on the Christmas lights, which were followed by a firework display by local company Blitz Fireworks http://www.blitzfireworks.com . There were also children's fairground rides, refreshments stalls and an outdoor market. Local organisations represented included All Change for Crewe (smarter ways to travel) http://www.allchangeforcrewe.co.uk/smartertravel/cycle/ and Creative Crewe http://www.creativecrewe.co.uk/ . The switch-on also marked the start of late-night shopping in Crewe over the festive period with late night Thursday shopping until 8pm on 4th, 11th, 18th December, plus Monday 22nd December and Tuesday 23rd December.

I’ve uploaded my photos to Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jonathanawhite/sets/72157647167241304/

Crewe Christmas lights switch-onFireworks over Crewe Town Square

Thursday, 27 November 2014

£1m boost for revitalisation of Congleton town centre

 

Congleton is to get a £1m boost to revitalise the town centre – thanks to Cheshire East.

The grant from Cheshire East Council is a key development project designed to dramatically improve the centre of Congleton.

This investment is in addition to the creation of a new upgraded leisure centre and the proposed new link road.

Starting early next year, Cheshire East and Congleton Town councils will look to begin to improve the pedestrianised areas of High Street, Bridge Street, Duke Street and Little Street, as well as create a community square at the junction of High Street and Market Street.

These improvements between High Street and the pedestrianised zone will create a high-quality, multi-use space for occasional markets, festivals and other street activities.

The scheme will be part of a plan to re-establish Congleton as an attractive location to live, work, shop, visit and do business.

One of the key problems for many towns, including Congleton, is the proliferation of ‘street clutter’. Signs, bollards, advertisements and pedestrian guardrails all contribute to both the visual and physical intrusion on the environment. This makes it harder for pedestrians, especially the elderly and those with young children, to move though the town.

Improving the streetscape will have the added benefit of enhancing the buildings and their architectural appearance. Costs for the project are yet to be finalised but are estimated to be in the region of £1m.

Councillor David Brown, Deputy Leader of Cheshire East Council and Cabinet member in charge of strategic outcomes, said: “The Council is keen to deliver these projects as soon as possible as a way of facilitating and promoting further developments within the town.

“Congleton has a rich heritage and a lot still to offer and we are determined to boost the economic wellbeing of the town.

“This project will act as a catalyst for further change and investment alongside a new upgraded leisure centre. It is another example of this Council putting residents first.”

Cllr Bob Edwards, Leader of Congleton Town Council, added: “This is fantastic news for Congleton town centre. We look forward to working with Cheshire East on revitalising the town centre and will be sharing information with businesses and residents as soon as possible.”

Deputy Mayor opens pop-up shop for charity tackling domestic abuse

 

Councillor Hilda Gaddum, Cheshire East Council’s Deputy Mayor, has officially opened a pop-up shop at Crewe Market for Cheshire Without Abuse (CWA), a charity that works with families affected by domestic abuse.  

The shop will redistribute excess donations of clothing, toys and household goods as well as raising awareness of CWA’s services.

It will also open up volunteering opportunities that will increase confidence and self-esteem, and provide personal development and employability skills.

The formal opening took place on Wednesday, November 26, the day after White Ribbon Day, or the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.  The shop will be open for six weeks up until Christmas and will move on to another community venue in the Crewe area in the New Year.

Over the past year, CWA received more than 1,600 calls on its 24-hour helpline, nearly 300 adults and 346 children were referred to it, 149 places were taken up on its adult recovery programmes, and 26 families with complex needs were supported. 

Ninety per cent of adults referred to CWA’s refuge came from the Cheshire East area.

Number of houses given planning permission on appeal has gone up by 800%

       
UKIP Councillors Andy Barratt and Brian Silvester have citicised the Cheshire East Council (CEC) for the enormous increase in lost housing appeals.
Brian said, “ The number of houses passed on appeal has increased by a whopping 800% and the number of appeals lost has gone up by 400% since 2012. (See below)

The reason for this gigantic leap in houses passed on appeal is that CEC does not have an Adopted Local Plan and does not have a 5 year supply of housing land, as they have recently admitted in a Spurstow appeal.(See attached)As a consequence 29 appeals have been lost in 2014 and the cost of defending these appeals is over £400,000.
The good people of Cheshire East have been totally betrayed by the Conservative and Labour Councillors who voted for the failed plan. They were promised that there precious green fields, green gaps and green belt would be protected but instead they are forced to standby and see them concreted over due to the gross incompetence of the Conservative Councillors on CEC."
Andy said, “For the last couple of years Councillors Jones and Brown have both been spouting on that we have a 5 year supply of housing land, even though several appeal Inspectors have been saying differently. They failed to listen and submitted a Local Plan that was doomed to fail. They should both stand down ,not just step back.”


Brian said, "It does not need to be like this.
To sort out the planning fiasco in Cheshire East, inflicted by the Conservatives at both local and national level, UKIP are committed to a ten point action plan :-
1) No more development in the Green Gaps/Belt in Cheshire East.
2)The early establishment of a 5 year housing supply that won’t get overturned on appeal.
3)The speedy adoption of the Local Plan.
4)The repeal of the National Planning Framework, which the Conservatives introduced as a Developers Charter.
5) Major planning applications to be decided by referendum and direct democracy, if sufficient residents sign to request a referendum
6) Priority to be given to development on brown field sites. Low grade agricultural land should only be used if necessary for the 5 year supply.
7)UKIP is the only party who will shut the open door to EU migrants. Our beautiful open countryside is being concreted over, partly because 36% of all housing demand is created by migrants. We will need to build 200 new homes a day over the next 25 yrs to house these migrants 8)UKIP will encourage and make it easier for brown field development by issuing low interest bonds to enable decontamination.
9)Houses built on brownfield sites will be exempt from Stamp Duty on first sale and the VAT relaxed.
10)We would promote and encourage the refurbishment of empty properties.

Only UKIP have a clear way forward out of the planning catastrophe that currently exists in Cheshire East."


Cllr Brian Silvester BA (Hons)
Leader of the UK Independence Party Group, Willaston and Rope Ward Councillor Cheshire East Council
11 Rimsdale Close
Rope,Crewe
CW2 6RS
Tel/fax 01270 567757
Text 07760147609
e-mail Cllr.Brian.Silvester@gmail.com
www.twitter.com/cllrbsilvester
www.facebook.com/CllrBrianSilvester

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Trading Standards officers issue seasonal scams warning

 

Cheshire East Council’s trading standards officers are warning residents to beware of scams after a spate of incidents around the Borough.

Recently reported incidents include:

  • Nantwich: man knocking on doors offering to cut trees;
  • Macclesfield: man ‘claimed to be working with/on behalf of the police’, trying to sell front doors by cold calling at residents homes;
  • Poynton: unsolicited phone call offering ‘a service to stop cold calls to land lines’ and asking for residents’ bank details;
  • Wilmslow/Handforth: unsolicited phone calls offering ‘a service to get a Council Tax refund’ with an upfront fee payable;
  • Congleton: man falsely claiming to be working with trading standards;
  • Holmes Chapel: ‘young’ men selling household products, falsely claiming to be on a probation scheme after leaving prison.  There were some complaints of aggressive language and rudeness and although they had hawker paperwork or cards, none were found to hold the appropriate pedlar’s certificate;
  • All areas: phone calls claiming to be from ‘Microsoft technical support’, asking for access to a home computer to fix a virus.

Councillor Les Gilbert, Cheshire East’s Cabinet member for localism and enforcement, said: “Our trading standards officers keep track of scams and we are working with Cheshire police to protect the public. 

“Forewarned is forearmed, and we hope this timely and comprehensive summary of what scammers are up to will help residents to stay one step ahead.”

Trading standards is advising residents not to purchase goods or services from cold callers either knocking at the door or via an unsolicited phone call.

Some traders who call at your door can be honest and genuine. However, some are not and can be extremely persuasive. Examples of bad practices associated with cold calling and doorstep selling include pressure selling, unfair contracts, overpriced or substandard home maintenance or improvements, phoney consumer surveys and bogus charity collections.

Services frequently offered through cold calling are home improvements and repairs, security systems, mobility aids, gardening services, power washing, tarmac and driveway repairs et cetera.

Doorstep sales people may pressure you to agree for work to be done or to conclude a sale. Scammers often:

  • Make you feel grateful, committed or that you have lots in common with them;
  • Create a sense of urgency – the offer is for ‘one day only’;
  • Sell a ‘sob story’ or say that their livelihood is in danger.

Rogue doorstep sellers will usually insist on starting the work the same day and will often ask for cash up front. They may offer to take you to the bank or building society so you can get the money out. These are some of the phrases they may use:

  • ‘We are only in the area today’;
  • ‘We were doing a job in the area and we have some materials left over’;
  • ‘I noticed you've got a few loose tiles on your roof’;
  • ‘There have been a lot of burglaries in the area recently’;
  • ‘This cut-price special offer is only available if you sign today’;
  • ‘If you pay by cash we will give you a discount’;
  • ‘If you don't have work done it could cause further damage’.

Cheshire East Trading Standards advises:

  • Find some time to warn residents who you feel may be especially vulnerable to this type of approach;
  • If you ‘feel concerned’ about anyone behaving suspiciously, especially where a vulnerable neighbour may be involved, call trading standards via the Citizens’ Advice Consumer Service on 0345 4040506 or Cheshire police to report your concerns.  In a non-emergency call 101 and in an emergency 999;
  • Write down a description of any vehicles or suspicious people.  A vehicle registration and description is especially helpful;
  • If you do require any home maintenance or gardening work contact the Cheshire East Trading Standards-run ‘buy with confidence’ on 0300 123 5500 or visit www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk;
  • Register with the telephone preference service to cut down on unsolicited sales or marketing calls, contact them on 0845 070 0707 or visit www.tpsonline.org.uk;
  • Reduce unwanted calls through recent technological advances in call blocking devices;
  • For any overpayments or re-banding of Council Tax, residents can get an assessment done free with the Valuation Office Agency by contacting them on 03000 501 501 or visit www.voa.gov.uk;
  • Cybercriminals behind the ‘Microsoft technical support’ unsolicited calls often use publicly-available phone directories so they might know your name and other personal information when they call you. They might even guess what operating system you're using. Once they've gained your trust, they might ask for your user name and password or ask you to go to a website to install software that will let them access your computer to fix it. Once you do this, your computer and your personal information is vulnerable. Do not trust unsolicited calls. Do not provide any personal information;
  • Cheshire East Council’s Trading Standards can provide a ‘super sign’ that tells cold callers to leave. Ring the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06 to obtain yours.

Cheshire East Council supports White Ribbon Day

 

Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, marked White Ribbon Day with a public pledge to help stop violence against women.

Along with many male colleagues, he publicly pledged ‘never to commit, condone or remain silent about men's violence against women’.

November 25 has been White Ribbon Day, or the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, since it was inaugurated by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999. It is part of the international White Ribbon Campaign – one of the world’s largest men’s anti-violence programmes.

Cheshire East Council has been a proud supporter of the campaign for more than four years. This year, the Council’s male workforce demonstrated its commitment by wearing the iconic white ribbon at public meetings and signed the white ribbon pledge in offices and staff rooms.

Councillor Michael Jones said: “I am proud to wear the white ribbon pin and be part of this campaign. There is no place for violence against women and girls in our communities. We want residents of Cheshire East to feel safe and supported.”

Councillor Janet Clowes, Cheshire East’s Cabinet member in charge of adult services, said: “We are proudly working in partnership with public and charitable organisations to prevent and reduce the harm caused by domestic abuse and sexual violence.”

While the international campaign recognises that most men are not violent towards women, men all over the world are helping to help raise awareness of the anti-violence message. The Council is urging residents of Cheshire East to make a stand against violence towards women and to make the white ribbon pledge.

For more information visit www.cheshireeast.gov.uk or follow us @CheshireEast

If you are affected by domestic abuse or you are concerned for someone else, phone the Cheshire East domestic abuse family safety unit on 01606 363532. In an emergency always call 999.

New bus service provides boost for local people

 

A school bus service is being extended to help local people travel between Nantwich and Leighton Hospital

The new number 68 service was previously a school-only service but has now been made available to all passengers as a public transport route.

This service, which runs from Leighton Hospital to Nantwich Bus Station via Walley’s Green and Church Minshull, has been introduced as part of the regular tendering process which allowed for a number of improvements at no additional cost to the Council.

It was originally a service for Malbank High School and Worleston School pupils only.

The Council’s transport team has sought to integrate services to maximise the use of resources by opening up one contract to serve both school and public transport needs.

The service also provides a limited daytime timetable on Thursdays and Saturdays.

Cheshire East Councillor David Topping, Cabinet member for service commissioning, said: “This is good news for local people, helping boost connectivity and social inclusion while reducing traffic congestion and curbing carbon emissions. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

“Local government is going through an unprecedented period of change. Cost pressure and rising expectations mean that councils must constantly look for ways to improve services while delivering value for money – doing more for less. We have firmly grasped the nettle in Cheshire East.

“This Council is also working hard in other areas, where operators have decided that it is not in their commercial interest to continue a bus service, to seek to ensure that public transport services are maintained as much as possible.

“This new scheme is another example of the real potential to work differently and innovatively to deliver better services in the local community and offer better value for money to the council and the taxpayer.”

For more detailed information about the 68 service visit the Council website at:

www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/public_transport

or visit the link below:

www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/public_transport/bus/bus_service_timetables/nantwich_rural_services.aspx

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Warning to Shopper in Crewe

Shoppers are being warned to be vigilant after Police foiled attempts of would- be 'purse dippers' in the town over the last few days.

The busier festive shopping season traditionally sees an increase in this type of offence and local police are providing a highly visible presence in the town centre shopping areas and Grand Junction Retail Park to deter would-be thieves and offer a reassuring presence to shopkeepers and visitors.
Just last Friday, keen-eyed shopworkers on Grand Junction retail park alerted Police to a suspicious man thought to be approaching elderly shoppers in an attempt to distract them and steal from their bags. Thankfully Police and staff were alerted and the man was removed from the store.

'Jingle Bells' that attach to your bag to alert you to anyone attempting to reach into your belongings are available from Crewe Police Station.
Be aware of your personal surroundings when out and about, keep mobile phones, purses and keys safely zipped away and not accessible to thieves.

Council Leader robustly defends spending on Local Plan to protect residents and countryside

 

Cheshire East Council Leader Michael Jones has robustly defended the authority’s spending on its Local Plan – to protect residents and the countryside while delivering economic growth for the future.

Critics have attacked the authority for spending £3.7m on the blueprint for development in the Borough up to 2030.

However, Councillor Jones said the sum was money well spent to protect Cheshire East from unplanned and unsustainable development and ‘a drop in the ocean’ compared to the economic benefit to all the residents in the years to come.

The public examination of the Local Plan has now been paused as the Council is minded to make some modifications following the Planning Inspector’s interim report. This is not unusual and is happening in many other local authorities across the country.

Cllr Jones said: “First of all, the Council put the spending figure in the public domain in the first place. We have nothing to hide.

“It is perfectly reasonable and sensible to spend £3.7m putting together such a large, complex and vitally important document as the Local Plan and I don’t understand why some critics are seemingly so upset.

“A spend of £3.7m would equate to the monetary value of about 1.5 acres of development on land in the north of the Borough.

“When you consider that many developers are trying to get planning permissions on our greenbelt and greenfield sites – £3.7m to protect us from up to £81 billion of development gain going in unsustainable locations seems pretty good value for money to me.”

The Local Plan has been a massive undertaking: the Council has received more than 40,000 responses from residents and organisations, which were collated, assessed and fed into the submission version of the Local Plan Strategy. The strategy has also undergone nine rounds of public consultation since 2010.

This work is of real value and has already contributed towards the Council receiving tens of millions of pounds of Government funding for our roads.

The work done on the Local Plan also forms the building blocks of whatever plan the Council goes forward with – so none of it is wasted.

Cheshire East has also now created a Task Force, led by Councillor Peter Raynes, to drive and coordinate the work to address the inspector’s concerns and strengthen the Local Plan.

Cllr Raynes, Cabinet member for finance, added: “It is important to bear in mind that the pause in the public examination of the Local Plan is not a rejection of the entire Local Plan – and we welcome the opportunity to address the specific areas of concern to the Inspector.

“The report highlights some weaknesses in the Local Plan but there’s plenty that’s right – the duty to cooperate with neighbouring Councils for example.

“The delay is regrettable but it is important that this document is right for the people of Cheshire looking forward to 2030.

“We fully support the Government’s Localism agenda and believe local people should have the power to shape their communities and the final Local Plan will reflect this.

“We will continue to put residents first while working with the Planning Inspectorate to get this right. Our mantra has always been to protect Cheshire East from unsustainable development and is a commitment we stand by.”

Refurbished play area is a hit with families

 

A play area in Middlewich is proving very popular with children and families after it was refurbished in a project supported by Cheshire East Council.

The Stallard Way play area was officially opened on Friday, November 14, by Fiona Bruce MP and the Mayor of Middlewich, Councillor Paul Edwards. 

The refurbishment project was progressed through Middlewich Vision, Middlewich Town Council and Ansa Environmental Services, Cheshire East Council’s wholly-owned subsidiary for streetscape services.

Councillor David Topping, Cheshire East Council’s Cabinet member for service commissioning, said: “It is good to see that this project has been successful in improving facilities for local residents. I am sure the play area will give people a lot of pleasure for many years to come.”

A very generous £47,500 grant was awarded by WREN, a not for profit business that awards grants to community projects from funds donated by FCC Environment to the Landfill Communities Fund.

Peter Cox, managing director of WREN, said “WREN is committed to funding projects that make a real difference to local communities, children and families.

“The Stallard Way play area will make a fantastic space for local families to get outdoors and have some fun.  We are delighted to support the group in making this project happen for the benefit of the local community.”

The project was also funded by Cheshire East Council, Great Places Housing Group, Middlewich Town Council and Middlewich Vision. 

Resurfacing work on A533 completed ahead of schedule

 

Work to resurface the A533 London Road, Sandbach from its junction with Moss Lane to St Stephens Court has been completed ahead of schedule.

The work was originally expected to take three weekends with traffic diversions set up between 5pm and 11pm on Saturdays and 8am and 5pm on Sundays.

Early completion of the work means that there is no need for the diversions planned for November 29 and 30.

The improvement work is part of Cheshire East Council’s ongoing commitment to the Highways Investment Programme.

Councillor David Topping, Cheshire East’s Cabinet member for service commissioning, said: “I am very pleased that this much needed work has taken less time than expected, thus saving the public from a weekend of disruption. 

Council team seize Crewe loan shark in joint operation

 

A loan shark who charged his ‘clients’ 10 per cent interest per week has been arrested and cautioned as a result of a joint operation by Cheshire East Council Trading Standards and the England Illegal Money Lending Team.

The 43-year-old man was arrested at his home in Crewe on Thursday morning (November 20) in a raid involving the two teams and supported by Cheshire Police.

In the operation code named ‘Ellef,’ a number of documents and mobile phones were seized for examination and revealed that the offender had been lending to four borrowers since 2012.

The man admitted operating a money lending scheme without a licence and received a police caution.

Councillor Les Gilbert, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member for localism and enforcement said: “Illegal money lending is a serious offence and can cause untold misery for families and individuals already facing financial pressures.

“While there is no suggestion this was the case here, illegal money lending is often followed up by violence and intimidation when borrowers struggle to meet the high interest rates these loan sharks demand.

“We at Cheshire East Council are pleased to be working alongside the Illegal Money Lending Team for England, applying enforcement action wherever we can to identify and arrest offenders.”

Cheshire East Council has been pro-active in clamping down on illegal money lending, working closely with the Cheshire Neighbours Credit Union (CNCU) to promote safe and secure lending with savings accounts and affordable loans for people who may not be able to borrow money from high street banks.

The Council has also banned ‘payday’ loan companies from its web sites in all the Borough’s public libraries.

If you have been offered a loan by an unlicensed money lender, or threatened by a money lender then please contact the Illegal Money Lending Team who are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 0300 555 2222;

e-mail:reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk

or by text to: loan(space)shark(space) + your message to 60003

Calls to the above are treated in the strictest confidence.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Council Leadership hails victory over Traveller site appeal

 

The leadership of Cheshire East Council has hailed its victory in a controversial Traveller site appeal.

The Secretary of State for communities and local government has upheld a decision by Cheshire East Council not to give planning permission for a pitch for up to two Travellers caravans on land off Moor Lane, Mobberley. This overturns an earlier decision on appeal that went against the Council.

This decision comes forward at the same time that the Council has announced plans for a transit site for Gypsies and Travellers.

A site has now been identified on Cledford Lane, Middlewich, which has the potential to accommodate 10 pitches and is being progressed currently through the pre-application stage of the planning process. Cheshire East is in negotiations with the owners of the site with a view to purchasing it.

Council Leader Councillor Michael Jones hailed this week’s ruling (Tuesday) as ‘great news for the people of Cheshire East’.

He added: “This is the right decision and it is good to see the Secretary of State backing Cheshire East and the views of its residents.

“We want to work with Gypsies and Travellers but pitches have to be planned, sustainable, legal and in the right place.”

Councillor Don Stockton, Cabinet member for housing, planning, economic development and regeneration, said: “We warmly welcome this ruling, which upholds the original decision taken by Cheshire East Council.

“We are delighted that the Secretary of State shares this view and has backed the Council and upheld the wishes of local residents.

“In Cheshire East, we want to deliver sustainable sites for Gypsies and Travellers that are fit for purpose. It was and is strongly felt that the site in Moor Lane is not an appropriate development.

“It is great to see common sense prevail.”

The site application was rejected by the Council’s strategic planning Board in November 2012, but that was overturned on appeal by the applicant. Now the Secretary of State has upheld the Council’s original refusal of appeal.

The Secretary of State said the site was an ‘inappropriate development in the greenbelt’ and that ‘harm arising from the development’ would not be outweighed by other considerations.

Councillor Jones added: “Cheshire East Council wants to reassure our residents and businesses that we are committed to providing, as a priority, a transit site to reduce the level of illegal encampments and to enable the police to use their powers, under the Criminal Justice and Public Order act 1994, to direct Travellers on to more appropriate sites.

“This will reduce the negative impact on residents and local businesses. If the Travellers refuse to move to such sites they have to leave the local authority area and cannot return for three months. While occupying the transit site, they will have to pay for services, including rent.”

Cheshire East has experienced a significant rise in the number of illegal encampments across the authority, with 78 being reported between January 1 and November 3 of this year.

These encampments have had a significant impact – not only on local residents but also on businesses too.

A recent Gypsy and Traveller accommodation needs assessment by the Council identified a requirement of between five and 10 transit pitches. 

Cheshire East took active steps to commission a site identification study, with the aim of finding a suitable site which could be put through the planning process.

Cheshire Constabulary – Cold Calling Warnings – 20 Nov 2014

 


This is a message sent via The Neighbourhood & Home Watch Network (England & Wales). This information has been sent on behalf of Cheshire Constabulary

 

Liz Biddle (Police, Home Watch Officer, Cheshire Home Watch)

Please share the warnings/information exampled below, taken from recent calls to Cheshire Constabulary, complaining about Cold Callers.
Cheshire police and Trading Standards advise residents not to purchase goods or services from cold callers knocking at the door.  If you require any of the goods or services exampled below we suggest you ask a friend or neighbour for a reputable contact.
Between 11 and 19 Nov 2014
Nantwich - man offering to cut trees
Macclesfield - man ‘claimed to be working with/on behalf of the police’, trying to sell front doors
Fearnhead - man ‘claimed to be approved by the police’, trying to sell double glazing
Poynton - phone call offering ‘a service to stop cold calls to land line’, asking for bank details
Wilmslow/Handforth - phone calls offering ‘a service to get a Council Tax refund’
Acton Bridge - man offering roofing work, driving a van.  Rude when refused.
Great Barrow - man with a van offering mattresses for sale. 
Numerous reports from the following areas: - Holmes Chapel, Cranage, Handbridge, Upton, Neston
‘young’ men selling household products, reference to young offenders.  Some complaints of aggressive language/rudeness.  Police have checked some ‘hawker paperwork/cards’ – none found to hold the appropriate Pedlars Certificate.
Numerous reports over recent weeks of phone calls claiming to be from Microsoft, asking for access to a home computer to fix a virus.
We would be grateful if you could find some time to warn residents who you feel may be especially vulnerable to this type of approach.
If you ‘feel concerned’ about anyone behaving suspiciously, especially where a vulnerable neighbour may be involved, call Cheshire police to report your concerns.
Please try to write down a description of any vehicles or suspicious people.  A vehicle registration and description is especially helpful.
To report crime and non-urgent information – ring 101
In emergency ring 999

For additional information about your local policing team, or to read their recent tweets (you don’t need a twitter account) go to the Cheshire police web site:-  www.cheshire.police.uk

Better-off fraudster now worse off after prosecution

 

A woman is facing a bill for nearly £2,000 and a community penalty after Cheshire East Council discovered that she had carried on claiming benefits despite becoming better off financially.

Stephanie Cargill, 26, of Ordsall Close, Sandbach, began claiming housing benefit, council tax benefit and council tax support in July 2012, saying she was working but on a low income.

However, in April 2014 investigators from Cheshire East Borough Council’s benefit fraud team found that Cargill’s earnings had increased and she had moved to a new home with a lower rent.

She admitted two offences of failing to report a change in circumstances in relation to her claims when she appeared before South and East Cheshire Magistrates’ Court on November 18, 2014.

Magistrates sitting at Crewe were told that she received state benefits totalling £1,654 that she was not entitled to.

They sentenced her to do 40 hours of unpaid work and ordered her to repay the overpaid benefits as well as costs of £300.

The prosecution was brought by Cheshire East Council’s legal team.

Councillor Peter Raynes, Cheshire East Council’s Cabinet member in charge of finance, said: “It is a big mistake for people to think they can get away with claiming benefits they are not entitled to. Although the sums of money they have obtained may not be large, they risk ending up with a criminal record.

“We have a zero tolerance policy on benefit fraud because we are determined to ensure that the benefits system works for the people who really need help.”

Residents can report people they suspect of benefit fraud by calling free on the confidential fraud hotline number 0800 389 2787. There is no need to give a name and calls are treated in the strictest confidence.

Alternatively, suspected fraud can be reported through the Council’s website at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk

Key role for Council’s Registration Service in £30m boost to economy

 

Cheshire East Council’s Registration Service is playing a key role in the Borough’s booming wedding industry.

The number of ceremonies has steadily increased by 30 per cent since 2009 and, along with other local businesses, the Registration Service helps to contribute £30m to the local economy.

About 1,500 weddings will take place in 2014 – an increase of 2.3 per cent on the prior year.

This success is due in large part to a more proactive approach by the service and its commitment to developing strong partnerships with the private sector. The team has worked closely with Cheshire Bride, Pink Weddings and the 70-plus approved premises licence holders to grow the weddings programme significantly throughout the Borough.

October saw the fifth annual approved premises seminar at which Cheshire East Registration Service and approval holders got together to discuss ways to promote Cheshire East as a desirable place to get married. The seminar has been central to cementing the successful joint-working approach.

The team has also stolen a march on other local authorities by actively marketing the Borough as a wedding destination at major wedding shows up and down the country.

A website www.yourceremony.org.uk has been set up alongside a high-quality brochure listing the Borough’s many and varied approved wedding venues.

To cope with the growing demand, the team has increased staffing of the ceremony booking telephone line. The line has now been extended to 6pm on weekdays to cover peak hours.

In addition, the team spotted a gap in the market. By using the Silk Room at Macclesfield Town Hall and the Mayor’s Reception Room at the Municipal Buildings in Crewe, it can now offer a range of ceremonies to meet all tastes and budgets. To date, more than 100 couples have chosen to take advantage of the new facilities.

Councillor Les Gilbert, Cabinet member for localism and enforcement, said: “The wedding industry is an important part of the Cheshire East economy and we have a wide variety of outstanding venues to get married in.

“Our registration service has worked hard and closely with venue providers to make the Borough a destination of choice for couples on their big day, regardless of budget. This is an excellent example of the Council working hard to put residents first through partnership working and listening to feedback from local people.”

Council Leader could be investigated by Government for breaking publicity code

 

Willaston and Rope Ward Councillor Brian Silvester reported the Council Leader and the Cheshire East Council(CEC) to the Government(See below) for using Council staff to put out a political press release.(See below)

He said, “Cllr Jones acted amorally when he got the Council's media staff to issue a political Easter message.

The press release (below) was clearly political calling for residents to support Cllr.Jones political party and not to support other local political parties.

Firstly it is clearly wrong for Council officers to be used in a political way to issue a press release calling on residents to keep faith with the Conservatives and giving reasons why they should not vote for UKIP or Labour. Secondly  it was issued during the purdah period for the European Elections and in that period the law prohibits the Council from publishing or assisting others to publish “any material which, in whole or in part, appears to be designed to affect public support for a political party”. It is clear that from the content of the press release that the Council Leader and the Council have broken that law. I wrote an official complaint to the Council's Monitoring Officer (below) and asked her to investigate and then take action. Amazingly the complaint was put to a complaints committee that was dominated by Conservative Councillors and unsurprisingly they concluded that Cllr Jones was as clean as the driven snow and decided to take no action. The Monitoring Officer failed to respond to my complaint about the Council.

I am pleased that the Government is now going to investigate.(See attached letter) For the Council not to accept that they and Cllr Jones have done wrong is despicable. It should not be for the Government to take action, the Council should police themselves but they have proved incapable of so doing.”

Cllr Brian Silvester BA (Hons)

Leader of the UK Independence Party Group

Willaston and Rope Ward Councillor

Cheshire East Council

11 Rimsdale Close

Rope,Crewe

CW2 6RS

Tel/fax 01270 567757

Text     07760147609

e-mail Cllr.Brian.Silvester@gmail.com

www.twitter.com/cllrbsilvester

www.facebook.com/CllrBrianSilvester