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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

YOUNG OFFENDERS CLEAN UP WILLASTON 'GROT SPOT'

 

Willaston Borough Councillor Brian Silvester has praised a Community Payback team, supervised by the Probation service, that has cleaned all the rubbish away from  the 'hideaway' adjacent to the pedestrian path across the  A500, near the Horse Shoe pub.

He said," The Parish Council and local residents have been concerned about this grot spot for some time. I am grateful to the Deputy Chairman of the Parish Council, Cllr. Colin Todd, for organising this clean up. It is satisfying that young offenders can do good work like this to help their local community instead of harming it. I hope that the area is now kept clear of rubbish in the future. Consideration could also be given to fencing it off too prevent future problems."

Cheshire East urges people to make their pledge to end domestic violence

 

White Ribbon Day

Cheshire East Domestic Abuse Partnership (CEDAP) is leading the campaign to mark White Ribbon Day.

The campaign, which culminates on Friday, November 25, urges people to wear a white ribbon as a pledge against violence against women.

There are around 5,000 domestic incidents reported to police each year in Cheshire East, but many more incidents go unreported.

Nationally, two women die as a result of domestic violence each week and it affects one in four women and one in six men during their lives.

Cheshire East Council has been working with voluntary sector partners Adullam, Arch, Barnardo’s and Crewe Women’s Aid as well as staff at the Primary Care Trust, Cheshire Police, Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and the Probation Service, to provide a programme of activities.

These include visits to support centres, a display of artwork produced by women who’ve survived domestic abuse and a self defence day at Crewe Police Station.

Cheshire East Councillor Roland Domleo, Cabinet member with responsibility for adult services, said: “This is our opportunity to send a strong message that abuse is never acceptable.

“It is important we work with our partners to do all we can to reduce incidents of domestic violence across Cheshire East. Wearing a white ribbon shows that we will not ‘commit, condone or stay silent’ about violence against women. It is this kind of strong community rejection of abuse which will really keep adults and children safe.

“Just one violent incident – woman, man or child – as a result of domestic violence is one too many.”

This Friday, CEDAP housing sector partners are signing up to a ‘joint protocol’ which sets out standards and procedures for responding to families affected by domestic abuse.

These partners play a critical role in identifying abuse, responding to housing need as a result of abuse and supporting families to be safe in their homes.

Cheshire East Council has also launched its Employee Domestic Abuse Policy which aims to ensure that domestic abuse is properly addressed as a workplace issue through clear procedures, guidance and training and to highlight the levels of support available.

CEDAP’s newly established Survivors Forum has also produced a piece of artwork that will form part of the day. This artwork reflects on individual objects or locations that have helped women to recognise or affect change.

Those who do not get chance to view this artwork as part of the White Ribbon campaign can contact the Domestic Abuse Family Safety Unit on 01606 363531, where it can be booked for a team event.

Everyone has the right to feel safe in their own home. CEDAP urges any man or woman, who is experiencing domestic violence or knows someone who is, to contact the Cheshire East Domestic Abuse Family Safety Unit, in confidence, on 01606 363532 or contact the national domestic violence free 24-hour helpline on 0808 2000 247.

More information can be found by typing ‘White Ribbon Day’ into the search engine on www.cheshireeast.gov.uk or at www.whiteribboncampaign.co.uk

Stay Warm, Stay Well, Stay Safe in Cheshire East this winter

SWSWSF mug

Winter is here and Cheshire East Council and its multi-agency partners want to support everybody to keep warm, well and safe.

With forecasters predicting another very cold season, the Cheshire East Adult Safeguarding Board is launching a campaign which it hopes will give vulnerable people the information they need to cope with a harsh winter.

Cheshire East has put together a wealth of detail in one place at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/winter where residents can find advice on a wide range of topics from heating, eating and winter safety to school closures and public transport.

Information sheets are also being passed around, with important contact details for residents to use should they have any concerns about their safety or for the safety of others in the neighbourhood. These will soon be available in all libraries and customer service points in Cheshire East.

Councillor Roland Domleo, Cabinet member with responsibility for adult services and health and wellbeing, said: “Stay Warm, Stay Well, Stay Safe – that is the message we want to get across to Cheshire East residents this winter.

“We realise that there will be people out there who find severe weather conditions and the winter cold very distressing and we wanted to provide a platform for them to find support and advice.

“For others, winter weather can be fun but sadly, more people are at risk of illness and death during this season than at other times of the year and may need extra help from us all.

“This is why we are also urging people to look out for their neighbours, as they may need your help and our support, especially if they are older, or have a disability or chronic illness.”

Residents with internet access can help their friends and neighbours by downloading and printing off the Stay Warm, Stay Well, Stay Safe information sheet from the website and giving it to them.

Cheshire East Mayor Councillor Roger West said: “The Stay Warm, Stay Well, Stay Safe campaign includes a host of advice from electric blanket safety to health support and domestic abuse.

“We have a responsibility to make people aware of vital services within Cheshire East and I am confident this initiative will prove very useful to all residents.”

Meanwhile, Twitter users can follow ‘CheshireEast’ for all latest winter news.

Tree of Light Festival returns to Crewe

 

Cheshire East Council is please to announce the return to Crewe of the “Tree of Light” festival of remembrance.

It started eight years ago when Crewe Cemetery staff invited people to remember those they had lost by dedicating a silver star to them, which is then placed on a tree within the grounds.   The designated tree is then lit up with thousands of lights during a special ceremony.

This year’s service will be held at Crewe Cemetery on Friday 2 December at approximately 4.30pm.

Once the service has taken place, the tree will remain lit until the twelfth night.

Cheshire East Councillor Rod Menlove, Cabinet member with responsibility for environmental services, said: “Christmas can be a difficult and painful time for many people and so the importance of such ceremonies for those who have lost loved ones cannot be underestimated.   The silver stars are a symbol of remembrance and I am sure are a great source of comfort to many.

“The Tree of Light festival helps us to remember those who are no longer with us and share cherished memories.”

All Change for Crewe – £6m boost for revitalisation of rail station

CREWE STATION

Plans to give Crewe Rail Station a massive overhaul and make it an iconic 21st century gateway to the town have been given a multi-million-pound boost today (Monday).

Cheshire East Council has warmly welcomed news that the joint project with Network Rail has been successful in its bid for £6.177m from the Government’s £100m rail stations improvement fund.

The scheme is central to the Council-backed ambitious plans to regenerate and revitalise the town centre and surrounding area. This vision is called ‘All Change for Crewe’

The new Government cash will fund the first phase of a comprehensive overhaul and enhancement of historic Crewe Rail Station and the adjoining former Royal Mail site. The land is owned by Network Rail and the Council.  Phase one will include:

● A new surface-level car park of about 250 spaces;

● Improved facilities for taxis;

● A new area for people to pick up and drop off their family and friends;

● New ticket machines and passenger information displays;

● Reopening the pedestrian subway linking the new facility straight into platforms one to five and six to 11;

● A new area for servicing vehicles to access the station; and

● A new commercial development site to provide a business opportunity for activities, which will be ancillary to the station.

Over the past two years, consultants appointed to advise the Council, working with key stakeholders, have identified what they believe needs to be done to ‘unlock’ the huge potential of the town and surrounding area and turn it into a leading player in Britain’s 21st century economy.

Councillor Jamie Macrae, Cabinet member with responsibility for prosperity, said of today’s announcement: “This is wonderful news and a keystone of long-term regeneration not only of the town centre but also the wider 20-year All Change for Crewe project. The station is vital to our work to enhance the attractiveness of Crewe as a place to live, work and do business.

“There is still a lot of hard work to be done – and we will not be complacent about this –but this funding announcement is a critical vote of confidence in the station, the town and wider regeneration scheme. A revitalised rail hub will be critical to boosting the town’s visitor economy and its attractiveness to business.”

It is hoped the £6.177m funding will be a springboard to attracting further investment from Government and the rail industry to achieve Cheshire East’s ultimate ambition for the redevelopment of the station.

Last November, Cheshire East’s main political parties united behind the ‘All Change for Crewe’ vision for the town.

The leaders of the local Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour parties joined the Mayor of Crewe to sign a historic ‘Concordat’, in a public show of support for moves to turn Crewe and the surrounding area into an ‘economic powerhouse’ by 2031.

Since then, the Council’s Cabinet backed the appointment of a dynamic ‘delivery executive’, Tom Russell, to lead and drive forward schemes for regeneration, galvanise all stakeholders and help turn Cheshire East’s ambitious vision for the revitalisation of Crewe into reality. The All Change for Crewe Partnership Board has also recently been launched to support the achievement of these objectives.

In a bold move, Cheshire East Council also bought the landmark former Royal Mail site in Crewe for £2.75m. The 4.5-acre Weston Road site became vacant when Royal Mail relocated its sorting offices to Stoke and Warrington.

The site is seen as a prime spot for a landmark development as part of ambitious plans to redevelop Crewe Rail Station and the town centre.

All Change for Crewe received another big boost with the announcement in September that nationally-renowned firm Expert Logistics was relocating to Crewe 360 – bringing 350 jobs to the town.

The short-term lease negotiated with Expert Logistics for the former Royal Mail site, to support the investment and transition process, was an important factor in its decision to relocate.

For further information about All Change for Crewe, visit the Council’s website at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/allchangeforcrewe

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

MP’s 103rd electronic news bulletin.

 

Edward Timpson MP

Monday 21, November 2011

Welcome ...

Welcome to this my 103rd electronic news bulletin.

This week saw a positive move for the public finances with the sale of Northern Rock to Virgin Money.  It is an important first step in getting the British taxpayer out of the business of owning banks.  It represents value for money; will increase choice on the high street for customers; and safeguards jobs.  This represents a significant step in returning public sector stakes in banks to the private sector.  The sale is in the best interest of the taxpayer, secures the long-term future of the company and will increase competition in the banking sector.  It forms part of the Government's wider strategy for the banking sector with safer ring-fenced banks and more competition for customers.  >From the sale the Government will receive £747 million in cash on closing the deal, with the potential in the future to receive over £1 billion in total.

Please remember, you can always contact me directly if you have any questions for me.

You can forward the bulletin on to your friends and family, who can sign up themselves by clicking here for my website.

Best wishes 

Edward Timpson
Member of Parliament for Crewe & Nantwich

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I have recently ...

  • Attended a Citizenship ceremony at Crewe Hall to present certificates to newly welcomed British citizens
  • Met with representatives of the Cumberland Sports Ground in Crewe and the Crewe & Nantwich Athletics Club to catch up with their superb progress and plans for the future
  • Held a constituency surgery at Shavington Village Hall
  • Visited South Cheshire College in Crewe, where I met with the Principal Peter Swift and Governors who gave me a tour of the new building.
  • Joined in with a lesson with students at South Cheshire College on the Public Service course
  • Held a Street Stall in Nantwich Town Centre as part of my 'On your street' campaign to get out and about in the constituency to listen to what matters to you

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Photos & Video ...

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Edward cutting a cake to celebrate the opening of the new cafe at the Haslington Bakery .

You can view all my photos and video at edwardtimpsonmp.com

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Community News

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Support the Looking After the Homeless Group

With a really harsh winter being predicted The LATH Group (Looking After The Homeless) are in dire need of donations, to help ease the lives of those that are homeless & many of whom sleeping rough this Christmas.
Many of us are going to be spending a wonderful Christmas with our loved ones with plenty to eat and drink near a cosy fireplace or in the warmth of the sunshine. In the spirit of goodwill and kindness I urge you to spare a thought for the many people that won't have this luxury and many who will be alone on Christmas Day.
To make a donation please click here - Please forward this link to your friends, your families & your colleagues, add the link to your Facebook & Twitter pages to help our cause and spread the word.
Your money will be used to feed, create warmth, clothe, and help shelter those who need it this winter.
Do you have community news to share? Email me and it could be here too!

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Seahorses take the plunge for Nathan

Crewe & Nantwich Guardian

LOCAL MP Edward Timpson attended a sponsored swim at the Crewe Swimming Baths on Flag Lane last week.

Some 25 swimmers and volunteers of the Seahorse Swimming Club took part in a ten-mile sponsored swim with participants taking turns to complete the distance.

Funds are being raised through the Children’s Disability Charity, Newlife Foundation for local child, Nathan Hill, who requires a new wheelchair.

The sponsored swim raised at least £500 but there is still some way to go as a wheelchair of the required lightweight type costs £3,373 which will be of huge benefit to Nathan, who has been a member of Seahorse for two years.

Edward, who attended along with Crewe’s Deputy Mayor Margaret Martin, said: “There was a high turnout at the sponsored swim which is a strong indication of the support there is for Nathan’s wheelchair fund, and it’s great to see the community getting behind him.

“I wish Nathan all the best in gathering the rest of the required funds and encourage others to contribute too.”

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Richmond Village in Nantwich hosts black tie charity ball for the ABF Soldiers Charity

Crewe Chronicle

A BLACK tie charity ball held at a Nantwich residential complex has raised thousands of pounds for the ABF Soldiers Charity.

The event at Richmond Village was enjoyed by 75 guests, including VIP visits from the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire David Briggs, MP Edward Timpson and Deputy Mayor of Nantwich Cllr Graham Fenton.

Guests tucked into a three-course dinner with entertainment from local DJ and entertainer Chris Radford, before Brigadier Rodney Walker CBE, representing the South Cheshire branch of the ABF, gave the official welcome.

A charity auction was held with prizes including a signed Crewe Alex shirt, a meal at The Residence in Nantwich, a VIP visit to Nantwich Town Football Club and a two-hour radio show on Cat Radio.

The evening was rounded off with dancing until midnight to a jazz band.

In total, the night is expected to have raised about £2,500.

Co-organiser and village manager Alison Harding said: “We are delighted to have hosted this event on behalf of the ABF and hope that this will be the start of a number of events to help raise awareness and funds for this wonderful charity.”

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New Haslington bakery cafe set to rise

Crewe Chronicle

STAFF at a new bakery cafe in Haslington are hoping to give customers Food for Thought.

Crewe and Nantwich MP Edward Timpson was on hand to cut the ribbon at the official opening of the Crewe Road shop.

Friends and well-wishers of owners Lee and Judy McNeill enjoyed refreshments and a glass of bucks fizz at the event.

Judy said: “Using only the fresh produce supplied by its ‘parent’ Food for Thought Bakery next door, the cafe is already a hit with local residents and passing trade who find the relaxed ambience, friendly service and attractive, tasty food enjoyable.”

Open seven days a week, the Sunday breakfasts have already proved a great success with all age groups.

Owners Lee and Judy said they are also delighted to be able to offer more employment opportunities to people in the area, particularly during the recession.

Judy added: “You will find a warm welcome and tempting fresh food – and can eat with the knowledge that everything is additive-free, hand-made and delicious!”

For further information call Lee or Judy on 01270 254911.

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5 ways to contact Edward Timpson

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Come and find out more about Crewe’s governance review

 

“How would you like your town to be governed?”

That is the question Cheshire East Council is asking the people of Crewe as it enters its first wave of consultation into future governance options for the town.

Views are being sought on the public’s preferred options, which could result in the establishment of one or more town/parish councils; community associations; neighbourhood management groups; residents associations or community forums.

It is the second time Cheshire East Council has canvassed residents’ views after the idea of a town council was rejected following a ballot of the people of the town in January last year.

Cheshire East staff will be on hand in various locations in Crewe up to December 16 where further information on the review can be obtained. These include:

  • Thursday, November 24 – Eagle Bridge Health & Wellbeing Centre, Dunwoody Way, Crewe, 10am-2pm
  • Friday, November 25 – Crewe Market Hall, 10am-2pm
  • Saturday, November 26 – Crewe Market Hall, 10am-2pm
  • Monday, November 28 – Crewe Market Hall, 10am-noon
  • Friday, December 9 – Crewe Market Hall, 10am-2pm

Information will also be displayed at Delamere House throughout early December during normal office hours.

Councillor David Marren, Chairman of the sub-committee, which is conducting the review, said: “Most towns and parishes in Cheshire East have a more local level of governance which is specific to that town, village or parish.

“These usually take the form of a town or parish council. However, Crewe does not currently have a democratically-elected arrangement such as this.

“Now, bearing in mind Cheshire East Council’s commitment to transferring services and assets to more local levels, the authority feels it is appropriate to consult the people of Crewe again on whether they feel a more local level of governance is appropriate.

“I can assure residents that the sub-committee will conduct this review fairly and all views will be taken into account as we seek to ensure that future arrangements for Crewe reflect the interests and identities of the community.”

Views collected up to December 16 will be analysed by the sub-committee before a second wave of consultation begins early in 2012.

More information on the potential options for governance, with a breakdown of the facts on each, is available at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/crewegovreview

There is also an online tool designed to assist anyone who would like to know which option best suits their views. This tool can also be used to submit feedback and views to the Council.

Alternatively, residents can email communitygovernancereview@cheshireeast.gov.uk or write to Registration Service and Business Manager, Democratic Services, Cheshire East Council, Westfields, Sandbach, Cheshire, CW11 1HZ.

Council’s A-Team heralded on the premier league stage

A-Team

Cheshire East Council has been spreading the word about its outstanding apprenticeship scheme on a fitting, top-flight stage.

Members of the Council’s A-Team programme gave a lesson in how to provide top-class, on-the-job training for young people at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.

So impressed were the National Apprenticeship Service and Stockport Borough Council with this programme that they invited the authority to share its success story and best practice model with other councils across the north.

It was part of the biggest-ever gathering of councils to explore apprenticeships called ‘Sharing Best Practice in Local Government approaches to Apprenticeships’.

Councillor Peter Mason, Cabinet member with responsibility for procurement and shared services, said: “Cheshire East was asked to pass on its experience and knowledge to other councils to improve apprenticeships and share knowledge of what makes a successful scheme.

“This event consolidated the A-Team’s status as a leading apprenticeship scheme in the UK and it is now acting in a consultancy role to other councils to help them develop or improve their schemes.

“Our overarching philosophy is ‘inspiring apprenticeships’ – to try and get as many people and organisations involved in our scheme and apprenticeships as a whole.

“This event gave us national recognition and I would like to congratulate the work of our human resources department in building such an outstanding scheme.”

Visiting delegates attended workshops which looked at separate key messages and best practices of delivering a good apprenticeship programme within a council organisation.

Cheshire East’s workshop was based on ‘apprenticeships developing innovative approaches and initiatives.’

This included a presentation from the Council’s senior organisational officer Ben Whitter, activities and talks from A-Team apprentices about their personal experiences and a question and answer session.

The A-Team’s workshop attracted more than 65 people and was given extremely positive feedback.

The event was addressed by the Stockport Council chief executive, Eamonn Boylan,  and National Apprenticeship Service northern divisional director, Sue Price. Other authorities that delivered workshops were Staffordshire, Calderdale, Wirral and Hartlepool councils.

Anybody interested in finding out more about apprenticeship opportunities in Cheshire East should call Ben Whitter on 01270 686662, email apprenticeships@cheshireeast.gov.uk or alternatively go to www.cheshireeast.gov.uk and click on jobs and careers.

New Partnership Board boosts ‘All Change for Crewe’ regeneration project

 

A new partnership has been unveiled to help give vital impetus to the ‘All Change for Crewe’ regeneration scheme.

The All Change for Crewe Partnership Board has been formed in recognition of the need to provide vital private sector strategic leadership to the implementation of the All Change for Crewe strategy to make the town and surrounding area an ‘economic powerhouse’ by 2031.

All Change for Crewe aims to integrate the long-term physical renewal and development of the town with action to improve economic prospects and social conditions for its residents.

The new board is made up of 10 members, including five private sector representatives, and a private sector chair. The full membership of the board comprises:

· John Lea – Morning Foods (Chair);

· Mike Hawes – Bentley Motors;

· Matthias Kuhn – Air Products;

· Andrew Pass – John Pass Jewellers;

· John Dunning – South Cheshire Chamber of Commerce;

· Neil Pickering – Homes and Communities Agency;

· Dennis Dunn – Manchester Metropolitan University;

· Tracy Bullock – Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Trust;

· Councillor Michael Jones; Cheshire East Council Cabinet member with responsibility for resources;

· Councillor Jamie Macrae, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member with responsibility for prosperity.

A further place has been allocated on the board for a representative of the rail industry – in recognition of its importance.

There was a widespread interest in joining the board from the private sector. Those not successful will be able to contribute to the delivery of the strategy aspirations through involvement in individual project boards to be established in due course.

Board chairman John Lea, managing director of Morning Foods and High Sheriff of Cheshire, said: “I am delighted to become chairman of this important and influential partnership board and very much look forward to providing strategic leadership and direction. 

“It's very good to see the private and public sectors working together to harness the drive and enthusiasm which will help to promote the strategic development of our town and ensure that the exciting and ambitious plans are fully implemented so that Crewe and its immediate area can achieve its full economic potential.”

Cllr Wesley Fitzgerald, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “This is an important development for Crewe.  Although Cheshire East Council continues to drive forward the regeneration objectives of All Change for Crewe, we clearly can’t do this in isolation.  The Council can help create the conditions for new jobs and investment, but it’s ultimately the business community that delivers. 

“There was immense interest from the local business community in taking a place on this board, which is very heartening.  The fact that it has a real cross-section of the local business community will serve it well in driving forward Crewe’s regeneration and sends a signal to the business community nationally that Crewe is a can-do place for new investment and jobs.”

One of All Change for Crewe’s key aims is to attract a more educated, skilled and ambitious workforce to the local area to boost the economy and play a central role in plans for the town to become a dynamic regional centre.

A major investment in Crewe train station and town centre and the completion of the Crewe Green Link Road will be at the heart of several major projects planned to revitalise the town and the surrounding region.

Information on the All Change for Crewe Strategy is now available on the following website: www.allchangeforcrewe.co.uk

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Cheque presented to Willaston in Bloom

 
2011 (5) Photos 006
An evening of entertainment organised by Cllr Brian Silvester at Willaston Social Club to celebrate his 35 years of service as a Councillor raised more than £1,500 for local good causes in memory of former Parish Council Chairman Mike Heywood. A donation from the fund has now been made to Willaston in Bloom. A cheque for £440 was presented to Wayne Lewis Parish Councillor and Chairman of Willaston "Britain in Bloom" committee, on the Village Green in Willaston which is to be re-named 'Mike Heywood Green'. (See attached photo)

Cllr Silvester said," In the 'Small Town' category of the North West Britain in Bloom competition Willaston was successful again this year and was presented with the Silver award. The Willaston in Bloom group do wonderful work and I salute the local volunteers who give so freely of their time to make the village look so beautiful. There is a wonderful community spirit in Willaston and the award was fully justified. I pay tribute to all those many volunteers and the Parish Council who ensure that a wide range of local groups flourish and make the village such an excellent, beautiful and friendly place to live.
I am pleased that I have been able to help in a small way in the continuing success of Willaston in Bloom. The money was raised in memory of Mike Heywood, the former Chairman of the Parish Council. I am sure he would be delighted with the recent success of the village he loved."
Cllr Silvester went on to say, "Thirty-five years service is a remarkable milestone in my life. There have been numerous highlights and successes and I will always treasure those. I greatly enjoy serving as a councillor. I would like to thank all those residents who have voted for me to be their Councillor over the last 35 years. It is an honour to serve them. I now look forward to the next 35 years!!!"


The attached photos show L to R, Willaston in Bloom volunteers Maureen Nash, Julie Lewis, Chairman Cllr. Wayne Lewis, Brian Silvester Sheila Davies, Former Mayoress of Crewe and Nantwich, and volunteer Cllr. John Flackett.

Brian Silvester

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Nantwich Swimming Pool to get £1.4m boost

Nantwich swimming pool

Swimming and leisure facilities at Nantwich Swimming Pool are to be given a £1.4m cash boost, Cheshire East Council has announced.

A full review of the Wall Lane complex has now been completed and funding has been agreed to realise the full potential of the facility, making it fit for the future.

The money will be spent on the ageing changing rooms, showers and toilets to create a ‘changing village’ – a unisex changing area with cubicles and individual family changing rooms.

This will provide a much more modern experience suitable for all users.

There are also plans to create a new entrance and enhanced fitness facilities as well as improved roofing, paved surfaces, a new boiler, pool filters and air handling unit.

Councillor Rod Menlove, Cabinet member with responsibility for environmental services, said: “I am delighted to say that we have agreed funds for this work, which would result in a swimming facility of which Nantwich and its people can be rightly proud.

The review of the complex focused on the building infrastructure, pool, equipment and the key improvements required to improve the customer experience and generate additional income.

“We realise it has much potential and we want to enhance the existing facilities and make them fit for the future.”

Cheshire East now plans to progress the exciting project as soon as possible and aims to work with pool users to minimise disruption during any development work. The Council has agreed the work following consultation with ward members.

Regular users are delighted with the news. Rosie Jennings, 25, of Crewe Road, Nantwich, who has been using the swimming facilities since she was a child, said: “It is really good news that there is going to be a revamp.

“The changing rooms could do with some updating. Some of the building is a bit dated as it hasn’t really changed since I came here when I was younger. This is a really positive thing for the local community.”

Stapeley resident Andrea Leach, 34, added: “It is good news that the Council is going to invest money in the pool, especially in this climate. It will be good for Nantwich.”

The Council will be keeping all relevant parties up to date as the development progresses.

Crewe and Nantwich MP Edward Timpson said: “This is excellent news for Nantwich residents that will deliver a long-needed upgrade of the baths. I’m pleased that Cheshire East Council, in providing this significant improvement to local facilities, recognises the importance of our area and enhancing the town’s appeal further.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

CHESHIRE EAST COUNCILLOR RE-ELECTED TO NATIONAL BODY.

 

Cllr. Brian Silvester has been re-elected at the  top of the poll of the 27 Conservative Councillors elected to the Rural Policy Review Group of the Rural Commission of the Local Government Association, of which he is also a member. (See below the official remit of these bodies)

Cllr Silvester said, "I am delighted to be re-elected. Cheshire East is predominantly rural, covering over 450 square miles and it is important that we have a voice on the national stage to lobby Ministers and the Government on the important rural issues that concern our local residents.

These issues include rural transport, rural broadband, rural education, farming issues, rural jobs, Government funding, rural affordable housing and planning issues. Cheshire East is one of the biggest Councils in the country and it it important that we punch our weight on the national scene to ensure that our rural residents get the best deal possible. I will do my utmost to successfully lobby for the interests of our rural residents at the national level."

The official remit of the two bodies is :-

The Rural Commission provides the forum within the LGA for member authorities with an interest in rural affairs. The Rural Commission acts in a way that complements the principles of the LGA as a whole.

The purpose of the Commission is to:

  • provide the forum in which rural authorities can discuss matters of common concern and exchange good practice and experience.
  • assist the LGA take into account the needs, priorities and aspirations of rural authorities in formulating and promoting its policies;
  • help the LGA to promote the role and interests of rural authorities and the ability of those authorities to meet the needs of the communities they serve

The Rural Policy Review Group, on behalf of the Rural Commission, fulfills the role of sounding board for policy development and review on rural issues.

Despite austere times Cheshire East Council continues to provide help for residents – via a discounted insulation scheme

 

Around 3,000 properties could benefit from a discounted insulation scheme being offered via Cheshire East Council.

Homeowners and landlords will be offered cheaper rates for loft and cavity wall insulation.  The subsidised scheme means each option costs only £74.

After a thorough competitive procurement exercise, the Council has chosen Middlewich-based KG Insulation as their partners for the project.

Around £40,000 has been made available for the scheme – funded from grants secured by Cheshire East Council from the Northwest Regional Housing Board. It will operate on a first-come, first-served basis.

Despite austere times, the Council remains committed to continuing to deliver for the people of Cheshire East and helping those in need.

The Energy Savings Trust has recently updated their estimate of how much people can save on their fuel bills by insulating their home. According to their figures, loft insulation   can save up to £175 per year, and up to £135 per year for cavity wall insulation.

Councillor Jamie Macrae, Cabinet member with responsibility for prosperity, said: “We are all facing rising fuel bills and there is the possibility of another severe winter.

“I would encourage people, where possible, to get their property insulated through this scheme. The discounted rates mean that it could pay for itself comfortably inside one year.

“Last year we were able to offer discounts to around 1,000 homes funded by grants. The fact that we are aiming to treble this number indicates how much of an issue this has become for local residents. I am pleased that we have been successful in securing the ongoing funding.”

To find out more please contact KG Insulation on 01606 841398, or visit their website www.kginsulation.co.uk

MP’s News

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Edward Timpson MP

Friday 4, November 2011

Welcome ...

Welcome to this my 101st electronic news bulletin.

The Eurozone countries have made very good progress on the key issues they needed to make progress on - recapitalising the banks, reinforcing the firewall and resolving the Greek situation. We now need to get the detail but the crucial thing is to maintain the momentum and to put the deal into practice. It is going to be a difficult road ahead, but they are on the right road.

Britain has had real influence in putting pressure on the Eurozone to sort out their problems. And our voice is going to continue to be heard on key issues like the single market or on competition policy on financial services. Solving the Eurozone crisis is in Britain's national interest as well in the interests of the Euro.

But the United Kingdom is not in the Eurozone and that is why we will not be directly contributing to the bailouts or the new firewall fund. We are pleased that we managed to get the UK out of the permanent bailout fund agreed by Labour so that our exposure to possible bailouts through the EFSM will end in 2013.

British taxpayers should not contribute to the so-called special purpose vehicle, the special fund, discussed last night to bail out other Eurozone members. Other countries like China, who have got a surplus, can but since Britain has a deficit we just do not think it's right for us to contribute.

Please remember, you can always contact me directly if you have any questions for me.

You can forward the bulletin on to your friends and family, who can sign up themselves by clicking here for my website.

Best wishes 

Edward Timpson
Member of Parliament for Crewe & Nantwich

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I have recently ...

  • Held a surgery in my Crewe office
  • Met with representatives of major employers from Crewe and Nantwich at the Parliamentary franchising reception
  • Attended the National Care Leavers’ Week Conference in London
  • Participated in the Westminster debate on the Effectiveness of the Regional Growth Fund where I was able to highlight the £4.4m total investment into Bentley Motors in Crewe by the Government through the fund. Read more here
  • Went with students from Malbank Sixth Form College in Nantwich and the Holocaust Education Foundation on a day trip to Auschwitz, an extremely challenging and thought provoking experience
  • Hosted the group on Looked-After Children and Care Leavers in Parliament at the beginning of National Care Leavers Week

This weekend I will be...

  • Holding my On Your Street session in Haslington bringing my surgery to your doorstep

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Photos & Video ...

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Edward visiting Auschwitz with students from Malbank Sixth Form College

You can view all my photos and video at edwardtimpsonmp.com

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Petitions

To sign Edward's Welfare Petition click here

To Sign Edward's Immigration Petition click here

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Community News

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Support the Looking After the Homeless Group

With a really harsh winter being predicted The LATH Group (Looking After The Homeless) are in dire need of donations, to help ease the lives of those that are homeless & many of whom sleeping rough this Christmas.
Many of us are going to be spending a wonderful Christmas with our loved ones with plenty to eat and drink near a cosy fireplace or in the warmth of the sunshine. In the spirit of goodwill and kindness I urge you to spare a thought for the many people that won't have this luxury and many who will be alone on Christmas Day.
To make a donation please click here - Please forward this link to your friends, your families & your colleagues, add the link to your Facebook & Twitter pages to help our cause and spread the word.
Your money will be used to feed, create warmth, clothe, and help shelter those who need it this winter.
Do you have community news to share? Email me and it could be here too!

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Richmond Village in Nantwich hosts black tie charity ball for the ABF Soldiers Charity

Crewe Chronicle

A BLACK tie charity ball held at a Nantwich residential complex has raised thousands of pounds for the ABF Soldiers Charity.

The event at Richmond Village was enjoyed by 75 guests, including VIP visits from the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire David Briggs, MP Edward Timpson and Deputy Mayor of Nantwich Cllr Graham Fenton.

Guests tucked into a three-course dinner with entertainment from local DJ and entertainer Chris Radford, before Brigadier Rodney Walker CBE, representing the South Cheshire branch of the ABF, gave the official welcome.

A charity auction was held with prizes including a signed Crewe Alex shirt, a meal at The Residence in Nantwich, a VIP visit to Nantwich Town Football Club and a two-hour radio show on Cat Radio.

The evening was rounded off with dancing until midnight to a jazz band.

In total, the night is expected to have raised about £2,500.

Co-organiser and village manager Alison Harding said: “We are delighted to have hosted this event on behalf of the ABF and hope that this will be the start of a number of events to help raise awareness and funds for this wonderful charity.”

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Bentley Motors lands £3m grant to develop new engine

The Sentinel

LUXURY car-maker Bentley has won a £3 million Government grant to help it sell more vehicles in China.

The firm's latest Regional Growth Fund (RGF) grant will pay for the research and development of new engine technology geared towards the Chinese market.

The award comes six months after the Crewe-based manufacturer secured a £1.7 million grant from the same fund to train its workers.

Bentley, which has already sold 1,000 cars in China this year, says the latest grant will safeguard more than 200 jobs in its 900-strong engineering department.

Chairman and chief executive Wolfgang Dürheimer said: "This is a real boost for Bentley, which has one of the most highly-skilled automotive workforces in the country and, uniquely, has now been awarded two RGF grants.

"It shows the Government recognises the importance of Bentley and the contribution we make to high-value manufacturing and UK exports.

"Our customers expect the best in terms of exclusivity, technology, quality and engineering excellence, which requires significant ongoing investment in research and development. This is why we retain such a strong engineering capability exclusively for Bentley here in the UK.

"This grant will help safeguard those operations as we look to develop new engine technology which appeals to new markets and new customers."

Customers in emerging markets like China have traditionally been drawn to Bentley's four-door models like the Mulsanne and the Continental Flying Spur, although they are increasingly showing interest in the new two-door Continental GT and GTC.

Research and development on the project will take place at Bentley's Pyms Lane headquarters, which employs almost 4,000 people.

It comes as the company is planning to double this year's 40-strong graduate and apprentice intake next year, in anticipation of continuing global growth.

Crewe and Nantwich MP Edward Timpson, pictured below left, said: "This is a great show of confidence in Bentley, and will be to the benefit of thousands of my constituents who work for Bentley, their families, and those who work in the Bentley supply chain."

Bentley was among 119 companies and projects awarded a total of £950 million from the second round of the RGF yesterday.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "The Regional Growth Fund will help businesses like Bentley drive local growth."

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Nantwich Players welcome VIPs

Crewe & Nantwich Guardian

NANTWICH Players were joined by local MP Edward Timpson and Nantwich Mayor Arthur Moran for the penultimate performance of the French farce Don’t Dress for Dinner last week.

The VIP guests were able to see an example of the quality of production for which Nantwich Players win regional awards every year and the constraints of the small 82 seat theatre.

The guests also had the opportunity to meet the cast and backstage crew responsible for the sell-out production.

In November, the Players are embarking on the main fundraising phase of the Nantwich Theatre Project to build a new theatre and arts space for Nantwich on the existing Love Lane site.

Mr Timpson, impressed with the quality and endeavours of the Players, said: “The Government has increased the amount of Lottery money going to the arts through Arts Council England and is keen to see local community groups like Nantwich Players taking a lead by applying for capital grants.”

Commenting on the theatre project, Nantwich Mayor Arthur Moran said: “We’re right behind your fundraising efforts.

“The proposed arts space and larger theatre will be greatly appreciated by the townspeople of Nantwich.”

Fundraising will take at least two years and meanwhile Nantwich Players continue with their 84th season of productions with The Railway Children.

Tickets for the production go on sale on Monday November 21 from the Nantwich Tourist Information Offic

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5 ways to contact Edward Timpson

Cheshire East towns to form part of London 2012 Olympic torch relay route

Crewe TR

The Olympic Flame will blaze a trail through Cheshire East as the country gears up for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Four Cheshire East towns will form part of the Olympic torch relay route, the Council is delighted to announce.

On May 31, 2012, people from Crewe, Congleton, Macclesfield and Knutsford and the surrounding areas can join in the excitement of the arrival of the torch and celebrate the achievements of the torchbearers.

They are four of more than 1,000 villages, towns and cities announced by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) through which the Olympic Flame will be carried in the relay, which is presented by Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung.

LOCOG has worked closely with Cheshire East Council to devise the route. Street by street detail will be confirmed next year.

Councillor Rod Menlove, Cabinet member with responsibility for environmental services at Cheshire East Council, said: “I am sure this will mean an awful lot to the people of Cheshire East and the surrounding area to see the Olympic Flame and to witness the spectacle of the Olympic torch relay.

“I would urge everybody to join in the Olympic spirit and mark the countdown to the start of the Games. This will shine a light on Cheshire East as its people come to welcome the flame and support the inspirational torchbearers who have volunteered.”

Sebastian Coe, chairman of LOCOG, said: “We are thrilled to confirm that Crewe, Congleton, Macclesfield and Knutsford will act as host locations for the Olympic Flame, extending an invitation to people in the area to welcome the Olympic torch relay during its journey around the UK.

“This is the UK’s moment to shine and I want to encourage people across Cheshire East to start planning how they can be part of this once in a lifetime opportunity and show their support for the inspirational torchbearers chosen to carry the Olympic Flame as we count down to the start of the Olympic Games.”

The 70-day relay will start at Land’s End, Cornwall on the morning of May 19, 2012.

On leaving Land’s End, the Olympic Flame will travel an estimated 8,000 miles around the country giving thousands of communities and individuals their moment to shine.

In announcing the villages, towns and cities LOCOG has realised the aspiration of taking the Olympic Flame to within an hour’s journey time of 95% of the population. In fact, more than 95% of the population will be within just 10 miles of the Olympic Flame next summer.

Meanwhile, an interactive map of the entire route can be viewed at www.london2012.com/olympictorchrelaymap

Nantwich Town Council to take on major assets from Cheshire East

 

Cheshire East Council is delighted to announce the first major transfer of assets in the Borough.

As part of the local service delivery project, Nantwich Town Council has agreed to take on the town’s Civic Hall and the indoor and outdoor markets from April 2012.

Town councillors also voted to take charge of the public toilets in the market, on the Barony Park and on Snow Hill car park. Allotment sites are also being passed to the town council.

Both Cheshire East and Nantwich Town councils are delighted with the move – which is in keeping with the Government’s localism agenda.

Councillor Rachel Bailey, Cabinet member with responsibility for safer and stronger communities, said: “Cheshire East is delighted that Nantwich Town Council has acted so positively and has agreed to take on these important services.

“We are working very closely with the town council to progress the transfers and to ensure that the services continue to run smoothly.

“The maintenance and running of these facilities will be in the hands of local people, who are best placed to decide how local services should be managed.”

Cheshire East aims to build strong communities with all forms of government working together, reducing duplication and working in partnership to make a difference.

Nantwich town councillor David Marren, leader of the town plan and partnership committee, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for Nantwich and I am very pleased that the town council’s decision was unanimous and enthusiastic.

“This decision provides certainty that these important local services will continue and be protected and provided for the benefit of the people of Nantwich.

“I very much applaud Cheshire East’s programme of transferring assets and devolving services to local communities – it is far sighted.

“Although the cost of the services will transfer from Cheshire East to the town council I believe that we will be able to operate these services more efficiently because we have lower management and support costs. 

“It is good for democracy as local councillors will now be in a position to shape services to meet our particular local needs. This is a good day for Nantwich.”

Cheshire East has already successfully transferred the public toilets in Audlem to local control. This was the first official transfer as part of the local service delivery project but Nantwich is the first town to take on major public buildings.

Meanwhile, Cheshire East Council will be consulting with the current users of The Gables, including the Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB) and Gables Luncheon Club, to determine the best solution for its future use.

The Council believes it is important to gain their feedback, and also that of the people of Nantwich, in deciding the next steps for the building.

The town council has also expressed its desire to take control of their offices in Brookfield Hall, although this is subject to a separate portfolio decision.

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Pioneering website for people with dementia is a year old

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Creators of a scheme to support people with dementia and their carers are celebrating a successful first year.

For the past 12 months, DemenShare.com has enabled people with dementia and their carers to come together online to discuss the ways in which dementia affects their lives.

The site was launched by Cheshire East Council, along with Central and Eastern Cheshire PCT, Age UK Cheshire and web developer Opportunity Links.

Operating in a similar way to Facebook, the pioneering website offers users the opportunity to share experiences and find out more about the support and services available.

And a year down the line, users, who are encouraged to ‘brew up, sit down, log in’, have been able to interact with and advise each other.

Councillor Roland Domleo, Cabinet member with responsibility for adult services, said: “Many DemenShare users prefer to remain anonymous and create their own usernames but we know there are success stories.

“We have seen examples of users asking for help, whether it be a relative with an eating problem or someone simply suspecting a family member has the condition. And thanks to the advice of fellow users and site managers, these problems have been addressed.

“I am delighted that this website has been a useful platform for users and I hope they can continue to find it a place where they can let off steam and share experiences.”

There are currently 360 registered users, and the past year has seen more than 6,000 visits and more than 3,900 unique visitors.

DemenShare has even attracted attention on the world stage. It was shortlisted for an International Dementia Excellence Award last year in the ‘Design Innovation’ category.

The panel was overwhelmed by the large number of excellent submissions from around the world, so being shortlisted was a real accolade.

There has been significant interest in DemenShare from other local authorities and its founders are now jointly exploring funding streams and ways of developing and extending this model of support so that many new communities can also benefit from DemenShare.

The website’s community resource manager, Diane Christopherson, of Age UK Cheshire, whose role is to signpost people to the help they need on the website, will be available at the following events to speak to existing and prospective users:

· Wednesday, November 9 (10am – 7pm) – Independent Living Exhibition at Tenants Hall, Tatton Park, Knutsford

· Wednesday, November 16 (9.30am – 2pm) – Age UK Cheshire Health and Wellbeing Open Day at the Oakley Centre, Crewe

· Wednesday, November 23 (Time TBC) – Nantwich Health Centre, off Beam Street.

Testimonials

“Having five elderly relatives ranging from 73 to 90, it is most reassuring to know that such a wealth of support is literally at our fingertips should we need it. Thank you.”

“Hi. I care for my mum, have done for four years now and I love her to bits and never want to put her in a home. I find some days really hard with her but we have lots of laughs in a day. I hope this forum takes off as sometimes it is nice to be able to read other people’s problems they are having and it makes yours seem like nothing. I look forward to catching up here each day. Have a good day today xxx”

“Hi. My name is Linda. I got this site from my doctor, very useful, very needed!”

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Help Needed

From

Cllr. Brian Silvester

Willaston and Rope Ward

 

Willaston Pre-School Group, which has been successfully caring for children for 25 years, will be forced to close if it is unable to find a Chairman. The pre-school, which runs sessions from St. John’s Church Hall in Willaston, is a registered charity run by a voluntary committee but without enough people to dedicate some time to the school, it will be forced to close, especially if it fails to recruit a Chairman.

This will be a terrible thing for a much-loved pre-school which has provided childcare to children from Willaston, Hough, Weston, Shavington, Stapeley, Wistaston and Wybunbury since 1985.

Comments from parents this July 2011 include “…lovely environment and staff”; “I can’t tell you how great it is…knowing that he’s receiving genuine care and lots of stimulation in a wonderful atmosphere”; “I’m so pleased at the way he settled in from the start. He has come on so much in his development.”The pre-school is Ofsted registered (unique reference number 305438) for up to 24 children per session. At its last inspection it was rated as ‘Good’ in all areas.

I appeal to local residents to come forward to offer to help, even if it is only for a few hours a week. It would be a great loss to our community if it had to close. It is very important for our young children to have a the best possible start in life and be able to enter Primary School able to participate fully in their new classes.

Awards

I am delighted that Willaston has recently won three awards.

In the 'Small Town' category  of the North West Britain in Bloom competition Willaston was successful again and was presented with the Silver award.

Also Willaston has received two awards in this year's Cheshire Community Pride Competition, organised by Cheshire Community Action, which was entered last March by Willaston Community Opportunities Group – COG.  Willaston was a joint winner, with Willaston Reach magazine, of the award for the Best
Community Newsletter. The Christmas edition of the magazine had been funded by the Parish Plan Implementation Grant. Willaston also received Highly Commended for Community Spirit which is awarded to the most active communities with a population of under 5000. A group of fourteen enthusiastic residents had met Judges in July to talk of their involvement in many aspects of Village life. This was an exciting result in a first attempt for many years and in the face of stiff competition.

There is a wonderful community spirit in Willaston and these awards are fully justified. I pay tribute to all those many volunteers and the Parish Council who ensure that a wide range of local groups flourish and make the village such an excellent, beautiful and friendly place to live.

This year I presented a cheque for  £440 to Willaston in Bloom from the money I raised at a celebration at the Willaston Social Club of my 35 years as a Councillor. I am pleased that I have been able to help in a small way  in the continuing success of Willastom in Bloom. The money was raised in memory of Mike Heywood, the former Chairman of the Parish Council. I am sure he would be delighted with the recent successes of the village he loved.

STATEMENT FROM LEADER OF CHESHIRE EAST COUNCIL, COUNCILLOR WESLEY FITZGERALD

 

The Leader of Cheshire East Council today warned of difficult times ahead with some hard decisions to be made.

Councillor Wesley Fitzgerald said: “In line with local authorities up and down the country we are facing a period of harsh austerity. The severity of the economic problems at an international and national level is now beginning to manifest itself in Cheshire East.

“This week the Cabinet reviewed the half-year situation which shows a worse case overspend of £16.2million. We have already made £17.8million savings, but we need to make even more.

“Our Government formula funding grant meant that we started the financial year with £11.8million less than the year before. We received £70million while Cheshire West received £96.6million.

“Cheshire East has a healthy economy but of the business rates we collect, we receive back only 44%. The wealth we generate is in fact being used to bolster other areas which are not as robust as ours.

“I am personally lobbying the Government to address some of these issues. However, we are now at a point where we must make some very hard decisions, some of which will not be popular.

“A recruitment freeze has been implemented and we have reviewed the terms and conditions of all of our employees.  Mileage rates have been reduced for both officers and elected members. In addition, we are reviewing all grants and commissioning activities.

“We will need to reduce the subsidy on all our fees and charges and this will not be received well. We know this and regret it, but we have no choice. The soaring increases in energy costs that we have all felt in our own homes causes a massive budgetary challenge in our leisure centres and all public buildings. These are currently subsidised by the Council.

“We take pride in our education provision and our social care for children. However, the number of children in care has continued to rise and the money for their care has to come from somewhere.

“In Cheshire East we have comparatively more older people. They in turn are living longer and bring financial challenges at a time when we can ill afford it. We cannot abrogate our duty to either of these groups of vulnerable people so we must make savings elsewhere.

“It is a very difficult time for everyone with unpopular decisions that will impact on others. It is a time of growing austerity for us all and while some decisions may be unpopular, the abiding objective is that we get through this difficult period making the best of our reducing resources, while maintaining reliable services.”

Council Tax scam warning from Cheshire East

 

Cheshire East Council is warning residents to be aware of Council Tax scams believed to be circulating the Borough.

The authority has received calls from worried people reporting they have been contacted by someone claiming to work for ‘the Council Tax section’.

They were told they were entitled to a refund of their Council Tax as their banding was incorrect and had been for a number of years. They were then asked to give their bank details in order to receive the refund.

A second scam was reported, with a resident claiming they had received a phone call from ‘British Council Tax’, advising that they were due a refund for overpayment of benefit.

They then asked for bank details to pay a refund into and gave a phone number of 020 3026 5276.

It has also been reported that residents have been contacted by letter and phone from an external company offering to appeal against the banding of their property. They say that, if successful, they will charge up to 30% of the refund the person is entitled to.

Cheshire East would like to remind people that it does not work with these companies and that appeals against a person’s Council Tax banding can be made at no charge.

Councillor Michael Jones, Cabinet member with responsibility for resources, said: “I urge the people of Cheshire East not to play into these companies’ hands. Never give out personal or bank details to these callers.

“Our Council Tax advisors will never ask for bank details over the telephone for refunds and any overpayment would be either paid into a bank account automatically (if paid by direct debit) or as a cheque.”

Anybody who has any concerns should contact the Council on 0300 123 5013 or visit www.cheshireeast.gov.uk

Council offers key advice over Housing Benefit changes

 

Cheshire East Council is pulling out the stops to help advise people affected by the Government’s welfare reforms.

As a result of changes due to come into effect in the New Year, letters are now being sent to all tenants under 35 – inviting them to an interview to discuss how they are affected by new restrictions on eligible rent for Housing Benefit for shared accommodation.

About 300 customers will be affected across Cheshire East and individual benefit payments could decrease by as much as £50 a week.

Those affected are being invited to make an appointment to review their cases and discuss options with an officer from the Council’s housing benefits section and housing department. The reforms come into effect from January 1, 2012.

Councillor David Brown, Cabinet member with responsibility for performance and capacity, said: “Our intention is to ensure that everyone gets a fair result from the changes being introduced.

“Housing Benefit expenditure, nationally, has ballooned in the past 10 years, from £11 billion in 1999/2000 to £20bn in 2009/10, in cash terms.

“Within this total, expenditure on working age recipients has increased from £7bn to over £14bn. Without reform, total expenditure is forecast to reach £25bn by 2015/16, a further rise of 24 per cent. This is unsustainable in any economic climate – but the need to tackle the record deficit makes reform even more pressing.

“The new reforms will provide a fairer and more sustainable Housing Benefit scheme by taking steps to ensure that people on benefit are not living in accommodation that would be out of the reach of most people in work – thus creating a fairer system for low-income working families and for the taxpayer.

“The reforms will help ensure that resources are focused towards those most in need and will also begin to address poor incentives to work inherent in the current system

“The interviews are designed to best guide customers in their particular circumstances and ensure they get the most appropriate advice. We want to ensure that everyone affected knows what their options are and what help is available to them. Our intention is to ensure that everyone affected gets the benefits to which they are entitled.”

The advice interviews will be held at council offices in Crewe, Macclesfield and Sandbach over a period of about three weeks, starting from November 7.

Anyone who receives the letter should ring the Benefits section on 0300 1235013.

Cheshire East applies to move staff into former Cledford Infant School

 

Cheshire East Council is proposing to use the vacant former Cledford Infant School building in Middlewich as a base to assist vulnerable children and young people.

The authority has today (Monday, October 31) submitted a planning application to re-open the Long Lane South building as a base for a number of its social care teams and as a key location for delivering services.

It follows an extensive evaluation process which explored a number of options and Cheshire East found the most cost-effective and efficient option would be to relocate up to 60 of its children and families staff into one centrally-located building.

Two public ‘drop-in’ sessions on the application will take place on November 8 and 9 at Cledford Junior School between 4pm and 7.30pm. Residents will be able to view the plans and discuss with council officers. The public can attend at anytime during the sessions.

Councillor Hilda Gaddum, Cabinet member with responsibility for children and family services, said: “The buildings at the former infant school have been vacant for some time, following its amalgamation with Cledford Junior School.

“The Council has long been considering the best future use for the site. If the application is successful, it will produce a number of benefits and encourage more effective working across the newly-formed children, families and adults department.

“The service has had a number of specific and pressing accommodation requirements for some time and the refurbishment and improvement of the Cledford building is an ideal solution for the Council.”

A part of the building would be used for administrative purposes and as an office base for staff. It would also provide rooms for the Council’s children and families ‘cared for’ professionals to individually assess and provide therapy for some children with particular needs.

If approved, Cheshire East intends to grant permission for the school to use the playing fields and be able to use the existing mobile classroom, which is next to the main building. These would be securely fenced off from the refurbished office building.

It is proposed to move staff into the building in June 2012. The application does not seek to radically change the overall appearance of the building but to refurbish the interior.

Councillor Michael Parsons, ward member for Middlewich, said: “I am pleased that the buildings are the subject of a planning application for use by Council staff and provides a more appropriate use of a community asset.”

Cledford Junior and Infant schools, both situated on the same site, merged in January 2008 as part of an education review called Transforming Learning Communities (TLC), which was undertaken by the former Cheshire County Council.

Further information, including a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document and architect’s visuals, are available at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/children