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Monday, 19 February 2018

Pancake Party

Reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

Parishioners and visitors enjoyed a ‘Pancake Party’ on the evening of Shrove Tuesday (13th February 2018) at St Andrew's Church Hall on Bedford Street in Crewe.

The pancakes were supplied and cooked by church members. The Andrews Panto & Plays Society (TAPPS) provided a cabaret style entertainment to the audience after they’d eaten their pancakes.

Shrove Tuesday is the traditional feast day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday. Lent is the 40 days leading up to Easter.

Weekly services at St Andrew's Church are: Sundays (Said Communion, 8am; Worship and Communion - coffee is served after this service - 9:30am; Evensong or Sung Eucharist, 4pm), Tuesdays (Said Communion, 9am; Open informal worship with coffee and cakes, 6:30pm), and Thursdays (Said Communion - coffee and cakes afterwards, 10am). Saturday Café takes place every week 12noon to 1:30pm with soup, sandwiches & cakes in a relaxed atmosphere.

If you would like to learn more about the work of St Andrew's Church, join the choir or volunteer for any of their community projects please contact Revd. Lynne Cullens on 01270 569000 or

Pancake Party - the audience await their pancakes

NFORMATION BULLETIN – By-election for Bunbury ward

A by-election for the Bunbury ward of Cheshire East Council is set to be held on 22 March.

The deadline for candidates who wish to stand in the election is 4pm on Friday 23 February 2018. Nomination papers must be hand delivered to:

The Returning Officer
Elections Office
Macclesfield Town Hall
Market Place
Cheshire, SK10 1EA.

Nominations may be delivered on any day (excluding weekends and bank holidays), between 10am and 4pm – but not later than 4pm on 23 February.

If the election is contested, the poll will take place on Thursday 22 March 2018 between 7am and 10pm.

Any changes to, or cancellations of, existing postal or proxy vote records and new applications to be treated as postal voters, must reach the Electoral Registration Officer, either by hand at the Elections Office at Macclesfield Town Hall or by post at the Elections Office, Macclesfield Town Hall, c/o Municipal Buildings, Earle Street, Crewe, Cheshire, CW1 2BJ by no later than 5pm on Wednesday 7 March 2018 if they are to be effective for this election. You must allow sufficient time for posted applications to be received in the Elections Office by the deadline.

All new applications for proxy voting arrangements must reach the Electoral Registration Officer, either by hand at the Elections Office, Macclesfield Town Hall, Market Place, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK10 1EA, or by post at the Elections Office, Macclesfield Town Hall, c/o Municipal Buildings, Earle Street, Crewe, Cheshire, CW1 2BJ by no later than 5.00pm on Wednesday 14 March 2018, if they are to be effective for this election.  You must allow sufficient time for posted applications to be received in the Elections Office by the deadline.

For further information, please visit the council’s website at and look under the council and democracy link.

Cheshire East Council calls on dog owners to ‘get a grip’

Cheshire East is calling on dog owners to ‘get a grip’ and ensure their pets don’t harm livestock and nesting birds.

Dogs worrying and attacking livestock is a serious problem, having a major emotional and financial impact on all involved.

Many attacks occur during the lambing season and during nesting time. It is vital that dogs are kept on leads – especially during these times.

Cheshire East Council animal health and welfare team, Cheshire police and the countryside rangers have launched a joint campaign to reduce incidents in the borough.

They have drawn up a checklist of dos and don’ts. For dog owners these include:

● Your dog should never be unaccompanied outside of your home. Many incidents of

worrying and attacks occur when owners are not present;

● You have a legal responsibility to ensure your dog is secure and cannot escape and

cause problems;

● Consider using alternative routes away from livestock, where possible;

● Keep your dog on a lead in enclosures containing livestock (walkers are advised to release their dogs however if threatened by cattle, so that they can get to safety separately); and

● Pick up after your dog and dispose of faeces responsibly – in a bin or take it home for disposal. Dog faeces contain parasites that are harmful to sheep and cattle. 

Farmers should:

● Display notices that advise dog walkers of livestock in fields and ask the public to keep

livestock safe by keeping their dogs on leads; 

● Ensure notices are up to date and removed if not required;

● Report all incidents of livestock worrying and attacks to the police by ringing 101.

Mark Palethorpe, Cheshire East Council executive director of people, said: “Dog owners have a duty to be responsible, considerate and obey the law regarding their pets. I would remind everyone that it is a criminal offence for an owner or person in charge of a dog to allow it to worry livestock. 

“The majority of pet owners are responsible – but all should be aware that, as a last resort, a landowner or someone acting on their behalf, has the legal right to shoot a dog to protect their property, under the Animals Act 1971.

“Please keep your dog on a lead, where livestock is grazing or there could be a threat to ground-nesting birds. Any dog, regardless of breed, has the potential to chase and worry livestock. Do not let it be your dog.”

If you allow a dog to worry livestock you may be prosecuted or fined and ordered to pay compensation.

For more information on this issue visit:

Council’s urgent warning of ‘unsafe’ motorbike helmets

Cheshire East Council has issued an urgent recall of some motorcycle helmets over safety fears including helmets likely to have been sold for use by children.

The council has issued urgent recall notices to the Cheshire-based importer, known as Quads Inn, which is a trading name of Hough Mill Development, Lea Forge, Wybunbury, Cheshire.

Two of the models have been found not to comply with safety standards* while the third model of helmet failed to comply with the US Department of Transportation (DOT) standard.

Some helmets failed rigidity and impact absorption testing.

It is believed that all of these helmets have been sold by Quads Inn on Amazon and eBay and a small number of helmets may have been sold through the company’s own website

Anyone who has one of these helmets is advised to stop using the helmet immediately!

Details of helmets which have failed safety tests:

· Qtech/Jix – Q7/FF007 Full-face motorcycle helmet twin/sun integrated sun visor  labelled on the chin strap E9-13.10312;

· Qtech/Jix – Q998 Motorcycle flip-up front helmet and double visor. Sold in various colours – marked on the chin strap with E9-05.1810. Serial numbers from 34.842.801 to 34.849.200;

· Qtech/Jix – FF601/JX-F601 Kids off-road/motocross/BMX crash helmet known as FF601/JX-F601. Sold in various colours – no batch or serial code but with descriptions such as Sporting, Black Knight and Ninja. 

Sean Hannaby, Cheshire East Council’s director responsible for regulatory services, said: “These helmets were batch tested in an accredited, independent laboratory and a number of them failed to meet the required safety standards.

“The council has, therefore, issued recall notices to the importer, and is urging anyone in possession of one of these helmets to make them unwearable, preferably by destroying them.

“Our trading standards officers have gone to enormous lengths to track down likely purchasers through eBay and Amazon and other outlets.  We would urge anyone who believes they may have bought one or are using one of these helmets, to check through Cheshire East Trading Standards or through Citizens Advice.

“We believe that these helmets could present a serious risk in the event of a road accident, while the helmets sold for use by children do not meet the safety standards to be permitted on UK roads.”

Cheshire East Council is also taking steps to alert other retailers and wholesalers across Europe through the Rapid Alert System (Rapex), which enables the quick exchange of information between European countries.

Since issued with the recall notice, Quads Inn has ceased trading meaning that the business will not be able to refund consumers in line with the recall measures.

Anyone requiring further information about the recall should contact Cheshire East Trading Standards on 0300 123 5500 or email

Further information about obtaining refunds from businesses no longer trading can be obtained from Citizens Advice on 03454 040506 or via their web site.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

'We love 90s House Live'

Reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

A 'We love 90s House Live' concert takes place at The Studio Nightclub & Entertainment Venue - - on Castle Street in Nantwich on Friday 2nd March 2018. Admission is free with donations to Mid Cheshire Hospitals Charity

The event will feature live dance music band 'House Jammerz' , making a return to the venue, on stage at 9:30pm and performing the biggest and best House tracks ever.

The gig will be followed by an ‘I love the 90s’ club night from N-Trance original member ‘DJ Kuta’ until 3am.

Nigel Woodhouse, Director of Operations at The Studio said, "The House Jammerz are an incredible act that takes you right back to the biggest decade of dance music the UK has ever seen - I was lucky enough to be a Customer and a Club Manager through this iconic decade. We also have the pleasure of DJ Kuta doing our 90s only after-party - he was an N-Trance original. We are free entry with any donations going to Leighton’s Dementia appeal a worthy cause.”

House Jammerz will perform at The  Studio

British man Jim Matthews

British man Jim Matthews who fought AGAINST ISIS abroad is to be charged with terror offences by the Met Police. It is the first charge of its kind in the UK.

This is utter madness He was fighting AGAINST ISIS. ISIS is a death cult that wants to kill us. In the meantime Brits who fought WITH ISIS abroad are allowed back into the UK, where they are a potential threat to us and some are offered Social Housing The whole world has gone mad Stark raving mad

The Prime Minister has said use of drone strikes to kill UK citizens who fight FOR ISIS abroad was“necessary & proportionate”and that she would authorise such strikes in future.

So it's alright for the Government to kill UK jihadis abroad but if a Brit goes abroad and kills one he is thrown in the clink?

During the Second World War many Brits went to fight with French Resistance against the Nazis.

When they came back, if they did, they were treated like heroes They weren't thrown in prison This Tory Gov has totally left leave of its senses

UK is home to up to 35,000 fanatical Islamists. With 3,000 of them “worrying." And this stupid Tory Gov wants to lock up a man who went abroad to fight AGAINST ISIS Beyond belief Why isn't the Government locking up the jihadis in the UK? They really are a threat to us.

The 'For Britain Party' would not let ANY jihadis return to the UK. All the other parties would allow them to return. The other parties are putting the human rights of jihadis BEFORE the safety of us Brits.

Cheshire East awarded £20m housing infrastructure funding

Cheshire East Council has been awarded nearly £20m of government funding to unlock the infrastructure required to deliver new homes in Macclesfield and Crewe.

The council’s wholly-owned development company, Engine of the North, worked closely with the authority’s strategic infrastructure team to land the successful bid.

The government grant is a portion of the £2.3 billion of housing infrastructure funding (HIF) which has been made available nationally to local authorities via Homes England, to support the delivery of 100,000 new homes across the country.

Half of the funding awarded to Cheshire East will go towards a £19.5m new link road, as part of the South Macclesfield Development Area scheme that was granted planning permission last August. The route will open up the site and improve connectivity around Macclesfield for the community.

The remaining £10m will support the strategic infrastructure team to deliver a new link road as part of the Leighton Green scheme in Crewe. The site could deliver up to 850 new homes with around 400 of these on the southern part of the site, within Cheshire East Council’s ownership.

Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for housing, planning and regeneration, said: “We’re delighted with the news of HIF funding that will support the delivery of new homes, economic growth and employment opportunities for Cheshire East.

“The funding will bring certainty to the South Macclesfield Development Area project that, due to some constraints to the site, requires significant up-front infrastructure and remediation costs. The site has long been identified for growth by providing new housing alongside employment, retail, community, recreation and sporting facilities, as well as significant green infrastructure.”

Cheshire East was awarded the highest amount of HIF funding in the North West and the second highest nationally.

Homes England assessed all bids through a competition process. The allocation of funding to all successful bids will be subject to further financial checks and due diligence.

Council helps to secure three-year arts investment around popular transport heritage events

Sandbach Transport Festival and ‘TrAction’ Crewe will both benefit from a significant financial investment over the next three years, following successful 2017 pilot events to introduce more families to the arts.

Cheshire East Council, in conjunction with Crewe Town Council, Sandbach Transport Festival and Fleetwood Festival of Transport, has secured a £528,467 Arts Council grant to help stimulate enthusiasm for the arts through SpareParts:Accelerate, a three-year engagement programme targeting communities where the arts is considered to be under-represented.

SpareParts:Accelerate will be a prominent feature of the two colourful carnivals in Sandbach and Crewe, setting out to involve people who would not normally consider the arts as something for them.

This year, the two events will be even bigger and better and will include a wider programme of school and family workshops together with additional features aimed at raising the profile of both towns.

Themed around transport through the ages, SpareParts:Accelerate will feature the customary parade of imaginative and wacky creations, adding humour and entertainment to both carnivals which, by tradition, celebrate the rich heritage of the borough’s transport connections.

The Arts Council grant will help Cheshire East Council and the Fleetwood Festival to deliver a number of arts-based workshops in schools and communities, introducing adults and young people to new creative skills and encouraging future participation.

A principle objective of the whole project is to deliver economic benefits for both towns and contribute to the skills development of adults, young people and children through the arts. 

Festival director of SpareParts:Accelerate Adam McGuigan said: “The support of Arts Council England is invaluable to us. We can be more ambitious with the programme and participation opportunities. We have some incredible artists for 2018 and we look forward to announcing more detail in the near future.”

Organisers hope the input of SpareParts:Accelerate will attract more spectators, particularly from further afield, driving forward the local economy while introducing visitors to a variety of creative opportunities.

Councillor Don Stockton, Cheshire East cabinet member for cultural economy,, said: “These are truly fantastic, creative events not just celebrating the borough’s links with transport, but also raising the profile of the arts as a form of education and entertainment.

“The funding is particularly exciting as it will allow for additional activities in the run up to the festivals so that each community can be more involved, creating performances and mobile artworks that will sit alongside the professional street performers.

“It will also enable the appointment of a participation manager who will work with schools and community groups to build engagement and sustain the festivals in future years. 

“I would like to thank all our partners who have worked hard to secure this grant and I can announce that Cheshire East Council is also investing £30,000 over three years to support this entire arts programme.”

The Sandbach Transport Festival 2018 takes place over two days Saturday 21 – Sunday 22 April, while TrAction Crewe takes place on Saturday 7 July.

Elsie Alcock, from Sandbach Transport Festival, now in its 28th year said: “Sandbach is a transport town.  Its recent history is embedded in the road haulage industry with Foden and ERF once big employers in Sandbach.  This is excellent news and we would like to thank all those involved in helping to secure this funding.”

Crewe Town Council leader Simon Yates said: “We are thrilled. The funding will enable us to add more fun and excitement to Crewe’s ‘TrAction’ event and to work with schools and community groups to get added local involvement, especially in the parade, which should become a major feature of the day.”

To find out more about Sandbach Transport Festival see:

To find out more about TrAction Crewe see:

Cheshire East Council is to consult residents on ways to promote healthier and greener travel to schools

The authority agreed at a cabinet meeting last week to consult on its sustainable modes of travel to school (Smots) strategy for six weeks, starting on Thursday (15 February). 

This important document sets out how the council can support schools to promote healthier and more active travel and reduce congestion on local roads, improve air quality and road safety.

For many children, young people and their parents, travel to schools within Cheshire East is an essential aspect of daily life, with options including walking, scooting, cycling, public transport and car sharing. Walking and cycling are proven to be good for physical and mental health and the council wants to work with schools and parents to promote more physical activity to help create stronger, healthier and more vibrant communities.

Cheshire East is encouraging schools and colleges to have a travel plan – a document which sets out the measures and initiatives they will use to reduce car journeys and promote other ways of getting to school in safer, healthier and more environmentally-sustainable ways. 

The sustainable modes of travel to school strategy  was prepared following a review of school travel plans and found the following issues:

  • Cars parking on both sides of the road outside the school, limiting visibility for pedestrians;
  • Inappropriate vehicle speeds outside school and in the surrounding area;
  • Limited footpaths on non-designated available walking routes to school; and
  • Lack of suitable, secure cycle-parking spaces.

Frank Jordan, executive director of place at Cheshire East Council, said: “Our draft Smots strategy identifies current travel patterns and the barriers parents encounter when they want to travel in a more sustainable way.  It proposes a range of mechanisms and support from the Council to help schools address these barriers.

“Before adopting the strategy, we are asking for comments and feedback to find out if schools and residents and our partners agree with the document’s aims and content.”

The consultation opens on 15 February and closes on 29 March. For more details and to complete the online survey, visit: email: or ring 0300 123 5500.

Road repairs highest priority for council’s highways service

Cheshire East Council’s highways service is working flat out to deal with the increasing number of road defects caused by fluctuating winter temperatures. 

Each day, Cheshire East Highways teams are repairing an average of 150 road defects, including potholes, and re-surfacing up to 300 square metres of highway to make the borough’s roads safe for residents.

Defects are categorised according to a national standard of acceptable road surface quality.

The council recognises that residents are concerned about the number of potholes appearing on our roads and our highways service is working throughout the borough to address the problem on a priority basis.

The council is directing additional resources by increasing the number of teams tackling potholes from 12 to 19.  

Councillor Don Stockton, cabinet member with responsibility for highways, said: “We are in a similar position to many other local authorities.

“Repeated fluctuations in weather conditions – from above to below freezing – coupled with heavy rainfall, create the worst possible conditions for road surfaces, and result in an increase in the number of potholes.

“I would like our residents to be aware that we are working each day to address this problem. However, cold and wet weather conditions are not conducive to carrying out effective and lasting repairs. This means that in order to ensure the roads remain safe, some of the works are of a temporary nature.

“It has always been our policy, and that of other authorities, to work this way. The bulk of our annual road repair budget is invested in the summer months when working conditions are better and we can deliver longer, lasting repairs.

“All reported potholes and road defects are inspected and we have directed additional resources towards tackling the problem. We have a code of practice which states that necessary repairs are completed within a specified timescale and we have a reporting tool on the Cheshire East highways website so that our residents can alert us to a new defect.

“Over the last four years, we have invested £35m to maintain our road network and we will continue to invest in our roads to make them safe.”

People can report any issues directly to us via our online reporting tool at: or by calling 0300 1235020.

The council’s code of practice can be accessed at:

Sunday, 11 February 2018


AN exciting line-up of original art, new gadgets and thought-provoking talks from technology experts has been unveiled for a forthcoming free event bridging the digital and artistic worlds.

‘CONVERGENCE’ is a symposium developed by two Cheshire organisations SHIFT and WEAVE and will take place at Macclesfield Town Hall on Tuesday, February 13, from 12pm to 8.30pm.

The event is open to anyone to attend, from technology and arts professionals to those who simply have a curiosity. Throughout the day there will be an eclectic range of speakers, group discussion sessions and an opportunity for attendees to wander and experience an exhibition of installations for themselves.

Among the featured installations at CONVERGENCE are:

● A virtual reality film reflecting on the trial of famed computer scientist Alan Turing

● A digital sculpture by acclaimed Liverpool-based artist Laurence Payot, who created an interactive art installation at Crewe train station last year.

‘The Dreamer is still asleep’ sound installation, which has been a key feature at the National Trust’s Little Moreton Hall near Congleton.

One of the key aims of the event is to demonstrate how the digital and art worlds can be fused together to develop new technologies that captivate and inspire people. Amongst the speakers are representatives from Siemens, Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT) and the University of Salford.

SHIFT is a council-backed programme celebrating all things digital in Cheshire East, responsible for promoting the event.

Its programme manager Marieke Navin said: “Traditionally, people might have viewed the arts world and digital industries as being at polar opposites but today that couldn’t be further from the truth. In the modern world, technology firms are seeking artistic flair and creativity from their employees,” she said.

“Our Symposium event – a convergence of digital and art – is shaping up to be an exciting event to inspire, stimulate new ideas and possible surprise people.”

Julian Cobley, Weave member and managing director of the Skills and Growth Company, added: “The creative digital sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in the Borough, with around 2,000 businesses and strengths in gaming, software, marketing and new media locally. This event is a great opportunity to find out more about the exciting new part of our economy”

Following an afternoon where as well as listening, engaging and sharing ideas, people will have a chance to network with industry professionals; at 6:30pm a Weave organised ‘Town Talk’ will be held.

This will showcase the proactive, community driven cultural scene and how this can be supported to deliver benefits beyond the arts community, for place-making, regeneration and the wider economy.  

For more information about the Symposium event, and to book your place, visit:

'The Perfecto Allstars'

Reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

'The Perfecto Allstars' fund-raising concert took place at 'The Studio Nightclub & Entertainment Venue' on Castle Street in Nantwich on Friday 2nd February 2018.

Perfecto Records roster DJ's who played sets based around trance and house music were Nat Monday, Danny Stubbs, Zed White, and Scott Callis, along with local DJ Alex Brown. Nearly £400 was raised and all proceeds will go to the Down's Syndrome Association: .

It was the second Perfecto Records fund-raising concert at The Studio after the first event in November 2016 - which also celebrated 25 years of Perfecto Records – to raise money for Oliver ‘Moo Bear’ Callis, to help fund a trip to Disneyland. Oliver has Down’s syndrome.

Nigel Woodhouse, Director of Operations at The Studio, said: “It was great to have the Perfecto DJs back at The Studio and great to see them signing and supporting local talent and all for a great cause. Down’s syndrome has an effect on many families and every penny raised will help with the support they may need.”

The main event was preceded by a 'Perfecto Records Pre Party' earlier in the evening at 'The Talbot' on Oatmarket in Nantwich. The Pre Party featured The Talbot’s in-house ‘Zoo’ DJ’s - Romes, Wills and Brero - who played a range of trance and house music. They put on this extra event for charity. They perform a ‘ZooFest’ event at The Talbot on the last Saturday every other month. Their next ‘ZooFest’ is during the Bank Holiday weekend on Sunday 1st April 2018 from midday until 1am.

The events were organised by Perfecto Records in association with SOS (Speed of Sound) to raise funds for the Downs Syndrome Association who support people with Down’s syndrome to live full and rewarding lives.

Scott Callis, Event organiser, said: “We had a fantastic show of support from all over the country. Many thanks to those whom supported/donated. We look forward to hosting future events to aid other worthwhile causes.”

Zoo DJ at The Talbot

Flight Ticket Fraud Alert

Action Fraud (National Fraud Intelligence Bureau)

Message Type Icon

Flight Ticket Fraud Alert

Flight Ticket Fraud
Fraudsters are attempting to entice victims who are looking for cheap flights abroad.
Victims have reported booking tickets via websites or a “popular” ticket broker, only to discover that after payment via bank transfer or electronic wire transfer, the tickets/booking references received are counterfeit. In some cases, all communications between the company or broker and the victim have been severed.
Fraudsters are targeting individuals who are seeking to travel to African nations and the Middle East, particularly those wishing to travel in time for popular public and religious holidays.
Prevention Advice:

  • Pay safe: Be cautious if you're asked to pay directly into a private individual’s bank account. Paying by direct bank transfer is like paying by cash – the money is very difficult to trace and is not refundable. Wherever possible, pay by credit card or a debit card.
  • Conduct research on any company you’re considering purchasing tickets from; for example, are there any negative reviews or forum posts by previous customers online? Don’t just rely on one review - do a thorough online search to check the company’s credentials.
  • Check any company website thoroughly; does it look professional? Are there any spelling mistakes or irregularities? There should be a valid landline phone number and a full postal address so that the company can be contacted. Avoid using the site if there is only a PO Box address and mobile phone number, as it could be difficult to get in touch after you buy tickets. PO Box addresses and mobile phone numbers are easy to change and difficult to trace.
  • Be aware that purchasing tickets from a third party, particularly when initial contact has been made via a social media platform can be incredibly risky.
  • If tickets to your intended destination appear cheaper than any other vendor, always consider this; if it looks too good to be true, it probably is!
  • Look for the logo: Check whether the company is a member of a recognised trade body such as ABTA or ATOL. You can verify membership of ABTA online, at
  • If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or visiting

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Council commits to delivering earlier interventions

Cheshire East Council has committed to set up an early intervention framework that will provide services to help people to stay healthy for longer and ensure more efficient service delivery for residents.

This cross-service approach will enable Cheshire East and its providers to work together to pool resources and simplify the process of applying for funding, based around shared goals of value and service quality.

Councillor Janet Clowes, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for adult social care and integration, said: “This early framework is important to ensure that people are able to access the right support at the right time. It will help to improve the health of people in Cheshire East and reduce pressure on social care and health services.

“The new framework will support the council achieve its stated ambition of allowing more people of all ages and abilities to live independently and for longer.”

Councillor Jos Saunders, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for children and families, said: “This is an excellent example of a holistic approach to intervention, which will only benefit our children and young people. It will be especially pertinent when they transition to adult care.

“There are many obvious benefits for adopting this framework and I am delighted that we have made that commitment today.”

The framework is planned for implementation in the autumn.

Cheshire East takes great strides to reduce bed blocking in hospitals

Cheshire East hospital patients are among the least likely to be delayed being allowed home – according to national figures.

Statistics for October 2017 put Cheshire East top out of 151 local authority areas in England for avoiding ‘bed blocking’ – the term used to describe delays to people being discharged from hospital due to a lack of suitable NHS services or social care to support patients in the community. Figures for November also ranked the authority 85th out of 151 for performing well.

Cheshire East is also bucking the regional and national trend, which saw 89 out of 151 councils missing their target for beds being ‘blocked’ due to delayed transfers of care.

The ‘top table’ performance shows Cheshire East Council and its health partners in the NHS are working well together to provide the care that people need.

Councillor Liz Wardlaw, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for health, said: “This is excellent news for patients and their families as no one wants to be in hospital longer than is absolutely necessary. These new figures highlight how health staff and our care teams are working effectively together to improve outcomes for inpatients and freeing up vital beds for those awaiting hospital care.

“This is especially important during winter – when there is increased pressure on our hospitals. However, there can be no room for complacency and we know there is still work to be done to ensure better joined-up working between hospitals and the council’s care teams to ensure hospital beds are used efficiently and effectively to be available for those most in need.

“This collaborative work with our NHS colleagues is part of our joint commitment to provide the right care in the right place at the right time. As with wider adult social care support, we know that most people want to be cared for and supported at home – where practicable – and we are working with our health partners to achieve this and give people greater choice.

“As winter continues to really pinch, we also need all members of the public to play their part in helping us achieve this, by using A&E services wisely and using alternatives, where appropriate for less serious health matters, so as not to unduly burden our under-pressure emergency teams.”

Cheshire East’s performance in the latest reports is the result of new arrangements between hospitals and other care providers for planning the discharge of patients who are likely to have ongoing care and support needs after a hospital stay.

John Wilbraham, chair of the Eastern Cheshire A&E Delivery Board and chief executive of East Cheshire NHS Trust, said: “This good national ranking is a reflection of the Cheshire East health and social care systems working together to provide improved services for people.

“For advice on warding off winter ailments and choosing the right care at the right time, visit and search for ‘stay well this winter’.”

Tracy Bullock, chief executive of Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and chair of the Central Cheshire A&E Delivery Board, said: “Teams at Leighton Hospital have been working incredibly hard alongside local partners to ensure our patients do not stay in hospital for longer than they need to. As a result, our delayed transfers of care (DToC) rate has recently been the lowest it has ever been and at one stage was the best in the country.

“It’s pleasing to see the success of this collaborative working and, more importantly, that it is benefitting patients.”

Targets for reducing DToCs were introduced this year by the Department of Health and Department for Communities and Local Government to encourage the NHS and local government to work better together to reduce the number of people remaining in hospital because of health-related or social-care related delays.

Each month, local authorities receive their ranking regarding health and social care partner working together to reduce DToCs. Cheshire East was ranked top in October and 35th in September.

More information about staying well this winter can be found on the council’s website under Winter Wellbeing at:

Cheshire East’s sound finances on track to deliver value for residents

Cheshire East Council’s sound financial management is protecting frontline services and easing the pressure to find additional savings.

Cabinet today backed several key pre-budget reports that reveal the authority is on course to deliver a balanced budget in 2018-19, while protecting key frontline services and delivering on its core outcomes for residents.

It follows a pre-Budget Consultation 2018-21, launched in November, which set out initial proposals for how the council could target resources more effectively and save money – while achieving balanced finances. 

Key proposals include earmarking £2m from the New Homes Bonus scheme, to be used in our communities via a method under consideration.

Following extensive consultation, the proposed revenue budget is balanced for 2018-19 with net revenue spending of £267.9m and total capital investment of £326.1m identified over the next three years. A total of £197m is estimated to be spent over the next three years on maintaining and improving our highways network.

Cheshire East invited feedback from residents, businesses, councillors, staff, town and parish councils and other stakeholders to inform decisions. This consultation will be an ongoing process over the next three years.

As a listening authority, the council has reflected on people’s comments and amended some of its proposed savings. These include:

● Keeping all libraries open – axing proposals to close those in Alderley Edge, Disley and Prestbury;

● A reduction in the savings to be found from highways from £500,000 to £150,000; and

● Scaling back a reduction to bus route subsidies from £1.57m to £1.1m – ensuring 97 per cent of subsidised services are retained.

The latest financial reports take place against a challenging national background of an overall public sector deficit – which is being partly met by big reductions in government grants to councils – and rising demand for both adult social care and children in care.

For Cheshire East, this means expected reductions of central government grants, inflationary costs and rising demand totalling more than £70m over the next three years.

The council proposes to meet this financial challenge via a mix of tax increases and changing our service offer. The aim is to make the council financially self-sufficient by reducing its reliance on central government revenue support grant from £40m in 2015/16 to nil in 2020.

It is now proposed to increase Council Tax by 5.99 per cent to invest in essential frontline services. This would add up to £1.28 per week to the average household Council Tax bill. A Band D property bill would rise from £1,324.92 to £1,404.28 – an increase of £1.53 per week.

Importantly, three per cent of the proposed tax rise will boost services for the vulnerable elderly. It follows a similar 4.99 per cent increase in 2017 and a 3.75 per cent increase in 2016, after five years of Council Tax freeze.

Tough choices have to be made, once again, to ensure Cheshire East can target services to people who need them most. Locally funding services puts control back with local people but also comes with the responsibility to fund them in a sustainable way.

Councillor Paul Bates, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member for finance and communications, said: “These reports, backed by cabinet, outline how the council has continued to build on the achievements of recent years and maintains strong overall financial health, performance, resilience and value for money.

“This financial year presented a number of challenges for all UK local authorities, as issues such as inflation and increasing demand in care services for children and adults were compounded by falls in government funding – a funding reduction totalling £12.4m for Cheshire East. This is set to fall by a further £12.9m in 2018/19.

“In Cheshire East, the number of residents receiving care and support from adult social care is increasing by four per cent a year and the number of children in social care placements has increased by 17 per cent in the last year, in line with other councils.

“Adult social care services across the whole country experienced rising caseloads and increasing complexity of care needs, as well as rising costs from minimum wage requirements for care providers. However, these factors were particularly significant for Cheshire East, as the number of people aged over 65 is already above the national average – and is rising faster than average.

“The council’s net expenditure on adult social care services was almost £100m in 2016/17, which is equivalent to three-times the required spending on any other service area. This council will always prioritise services for vulnerable people, despite the financial challenges. But this means other services will have to deliver savings.

“Robust action is being taken across the authority to reduce budgetary pressures and ensure balanced finances – as we have successfully done in previous years. And we will be lobbying the government again to ensure future financial settlements will continue to allow us to achieve this, while protecting essential frontline services.

“We are aware, however, that local areas have differing priorities and, to support this, the budget contains a proposal to set aside £2m of revenue from the New Homes Bonus over the next two years.

“Against a backdrop of challenging circumstances, it is pleasing to note the council is set to deliver a financial outturn within 0.05 per cent of its net budget in 2017-18, in line with our forecast, with a projected overspend of just £100,000 out of a net budget of £264.8m. It is also delivering significant achievements against the council’s corporate plan and wider business plans that will help ensure Cheshire East remains a great place to live, work, visit and do business.”

Jan Willis, Cheshire East Council’s director of finance and procurement, said: “There is a fine balance between making efficiencies in services and still enabling services to meet residents’ needs. This council will continue to look for innovative ways to make every pound deliver the best outcome for local people.”

Cheshire East Council is the third-largest unitary authority in the North West, responsible for delivering more than 500 services, supporting more than 370,000 local residents.

● The budget and Council Tax for 2018-19 will be decided by a vote of elected members at the February 22 meeting of full council.

Cheshire East to retain evening bus services

Vital local evening bus services running in Crewe, Sandbach, Macclesfield, Middlewich and Congleton are being retained.

All subsidised evening services in Cheshire East were due to be withdrawn following proposals last year, but the 6E, 8, 37 and 38 bus routes will continue to operate. The changes follow a widespread consultation, which resulted in a raft of positive developments to the supported bus network.

Monday to Saturday evening bus times for the 8 service, which runs from Sydney, Crewe, Wistaston and the 37, from Winsford to Sandbach, will remain the same. The 6E service, which runs from Leighton Hospital to Shavington, will now finish after the hospital’s 8pm visiting time has ended.

The 38 Macclesfield-to-Crewe service via Congleton and Sandbach, which residents had thought would be finishing in the early evening, will continue with the same Monday to Saturday evening timetable. The evening 8 service and part of the 38 service will be operated commercially.

There is good news for residents using our more rural services, particularly in areas such as Bunbury, Bulkeley and Tiverton, with the new 70 service now going to run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays through those villages.

Councillor Paul Bates, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for finance and communications, said: “I am pleased that we have been able to retain evening services on these key routes.

“Our bus network is the lifeblood for many of our residents, whether it’s travelling to work or college, visiting relatives in our local hospitals or simply keeping in touch with friends and family.

“As an authority that is actively encouraging residents to live independent and longer, healthier lives, I am very pleased to be able to share this news today.”

The changes to Cheshire East’s bus services will be effective from 1 April.