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Wednesday, 26 December 2012

MP’s 131st Bulletin

 

Edward Timpson MP

Monday 24, December 2012

Welcome ...

Welcome to this my 131st news bulletin.

Keep our countryside green

There has been plenty of discussion about house building in the national media recently, and I wanted to make one thing clear as a result: I am a big supporter of the green belt and our countryside.

Only last week I received a petition, which I launched back in July, from campaigners against the proposed housing development in Stapeley.

I will be presenting this to Cheshire East Council and making my views very plain.

Local people do not want this site, and it looks like the Council are listening.

There has been no change in national green belt protection. The green belt is an important protection against urban sprawl, providing a ‘green lung’ around towns and cities. The Coalition Agreement commits the Government to safeguarding green belt and other environmental designations, and brownfield sites should be prioritised for development.

In addition, new planning guidance on traveller sites has strengthened protection of the green belt and open countryside.
More widely, the Government’s reforms to the planning system are about giving local communities a greater say on planning by scrapping top-down regional targets. The Act allows for the abolition of Labour's Regional Spatial Strategies, which sought to bulldoze the Green Belt around thirty towns and cities across the country.
It has always been the case that local councils can amend the green belt – including creating new, additional green belt around large new developments to prevent urban sprawl. The draft Local Plan provides an opportunity to do just that.

Forward to 2013

2012 has been a year of action for me in Crewe and Nantwich.

I organised a successful Jobs Fair with the Chronicle, attended by over 2,000 people at Crewe Alex, and welcomed the Olympic torch to Crewe. I lobbied successfully for funding for new and renewed road and rail infrastructure, and ran my 8th London Marathon raising over £6,000 for a local children's charity (this time with Mrs Timpson!). I prevented another travellers' site taking root.

I've also rolled up my sleeves working in both Leighton Hospital and a local primary school, opened new businesses, sung with the Funky Choir, judged local beer in Nantwich, rolled a fig pie down the hill in Wybunbury, and fought for the future of local residents in sheltered housing.

We shared the joy of Beth Tweddle winning an Olympic medal, Crewe Alex getting promoted in such exhilerating fashion, and the prevailing of common sense that saw local man Sgt Danny Nightingale reunited with his wife Sally and two young daughters in time for Christmas.

This is just a taste of the busy life of your local MP, and 2013 promises to be much the same.

In a difficult economic environment you have to fight for and justify every penny, and much of my time is spent in Westminster helping make the case for Crewe and Nantwich, the infrastructure we need, and the skills and talents we have to offer in return.

2013, like 2012, will be a year of opportunity for us on this front. We in Crewe and Nantwich have to present ourselves in the best light to ensure success, and work hard to convince the Government that we are well placed to deliver the jobs and growth that the country so badly needs.

To do that, I need your help, so if you have any ideas or you need some assistance, do get in touch.

I wish all of my constituents a very merry Christmas, and a happy New Year.

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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Locally I have...

  • Held a number of surgeries around the constituency and an 'On Your Street' session in Nantwich bringing my surgery to your doorstep
  • Met with the Duchy Action Group who are campaigning to stop developments in the Barthomley area
  • Supported the St Luke's fundraiser at the Nantwich 'Church View' Health Centre
  • Took receipt of the Save Stapeley petition from Cllrs Groves and Martin so that I can present it to Cheshire East
  • Visited the Crewe & Nantwich Gymnastic Club extravaganza display at Camm Street in Crewe. Thanks to June for showing me the budding Beth Tweddles and Louis Smiths in action
  • Met with the Director of local business Alexta to provide guidance and information
  • Visited Alexander Paper Supplies based at  Dagfield’s Craft Centre near Walgherton which is in its 18th anniversary year and which has been doing very well despite the current economic challenges
  • Launched 'Reggie App' at Brine Leas Sixth Form developed by the visual communication agency GSD based in Nantwich
  • Held a presentation ceremony for the winners and runners-up of my annual Christmas Card Competition at the Crewe Municipal Buildings
  • Joined with the Mayor of Nantwich to support the inaugural Regents Park Christmas Fayre which was lots of fun for all the family

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Westminster Report

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Read my most recent Crewe & Nantwich Talk

Click here or on the image

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Photos & Video ...

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Edward with the finalists of his 2012 Christmas Card Competition

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

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Community News

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Home Heat Helpline

The helpline advises people worried about paying their fuel bills and keeping warm during the winter. It also gives advice to low-income households in urgent need of heating help and advice. It is free to call and is open 9am-6pm Monday to Friday, and 10am-2pm on Saturdays.

Calls to the helpline are answered by friendly expert advisors at the  Home Heat Helpline call centre. They can give you quick, clear information on the grants, benefits and payment schemes that you may be entitled to as well as basic steps that you can take to save money on heating bills by making your home more energy efficient.

For information visit the Home Heat Helpline website or call them on 0800 33 66 99.

Do you have community news to share? Email me and it could be here too!

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MP Edward Timpson backs superfast broadband for rural Nantwich

Nantwich News

Rural areas of Nantwich will get superfast broadband after the Government earmarked £3.24 million for Cheshire.

The move has been welcomed by politicians who say it will help Crewe and Nantwich deliver jobs and boost growth.

The EU gave the £530 million rural broadband investment across the UK the green light after several months of delay and Government pressure.

Nantwich MP Edward Timpson said: “This decision is great news for Cheshire.

“Britain is in a global race and we cannot allow our rural areas to get left behind because of bad infrastructure.

“Cheshire will now get the infrastructure to match its aspiration, providing local people and local businesses with the tools they need to get on and prosper.

“We are working hard to make sure rural areas are not left behind as the Coalition strains every sinew to help create growth, jobs and future prosperity.”

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MP Timpson backs Crewe and Nantwich “Green Gap” 4,000-name petition

Nantwich News

A 4,000-name petition calling for the Green Gap around Nantwich and Crewe to be protected, has been backed by local MP Edward Timpson.

Campaigners launched the "Save the Green Gap" effort in Willaston two years ago to safeguard the area from excessive urban development.

Mr Timpson, MP for Crewe and Nantwich, has thrown his support behind the campaign and presented a petition with over 4,000 signatures to Cheshire East Council and Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

The petition is made up of over 250 children's signatures and 4,000 signatures from Crewe and Nantwich residents, collected by Cllr Derek Bebbington and his team.

Mr Timpson said: "I stand behind the residents of Crewe and Nantwich, who are understandably worried about the plans that Cheshire East Council have for our green fields.

"The council needs to understand that people care deeply about their local environment and want it protected."

The Green Gap around villages such as Shavington, Willaston, Wybunbury, Weston, Haslington, Leighton and Maw Green was originally protected from development by the former Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council in 1993.

But Cheshire East Council has been reviewing its plans for the development of the borough, and current draft plans do not mention the Green Gap.

In November 2010, a campaign was started by the Willaston Green Gap Action Team.

They handed in a petition of 1,221 signatures to Cheshire East Council in December 2010 asking for the retention of the Green Gap to be included in the Cheshire East Core Strategy development document.

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Free wifi launches on Crewe housing estate

Crewe Chronicle

CREWE and Nantwich MP Edward Timpson pushed the button to officially switch on a new service offering free WiFi access in South Cheshire.

The free internet access is being offered by Wulvern Housing, local community group the Beech Drive Project and Internet Central. It will be available to Sherborne Estate residents in Crewe with plans to expand the service across South Cheshire soon.

The project is the first in the North West.

Wulvern director and All Change for Crewe board member Rob Allen said: "All Change for Crewe recognises that there is a need for wider access to the internet in our priority neighbourhoods, particularly for vulnerable people.

"Access improves the quality of life for residents. It impacts on a whole range of issues from education, to finding the latest money saving offers.

"Our aim is to make the internet accessible to communities across South Cheshire giving them opportunities and support to get connected.

"After registering with Wulvern WiFi, users can access the internet via any enabled device as well as a whole host of services, local businesses, schools and community facilities."

Wulvern is also encouraging residents to get on-line by offering a free computer loan scheme, free repairs to IT equipment and software, free computer classes and a free digital helpline via telephone and email.

Beech Drive project manager John Bottomley said: "Of the 8.7m UK adults who have never used the internet, over 4m are among the most vulnerable in society.

"We are delighted to be able to offer this fantastic service.

"Our aim is to make the internet accessible to communities across in South Cheshire giving them opportunities and support to get connected."

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MP Timpson welcomes rise in apprenticeships in Crewe and Nantwich

Nantwich News

Crewe & Nantwich MP Edward Timpson has welcomed the rise in apprenticeship positions across the borough.

Latest figures show half a million people started an apprenticeship last year in the UK, and 1,490 of those were in Crewe and Nantwich.

Mr Timpson says that's an increase of 810 apprentices compared to the year of the last General Election 2009/2010.

"It is fantastic that 1,490 people in Crewe & Nantwich started an apprenticeship last year," he added.

"We are getting behind people who work hard and want to get on in life. Apprenticeships are a great way to help people get the skills they need to make a better future for themselves.

"I want many more people in Crewe and Nantwich to have the chance to earn and learn at the same time.

"I would urge everyone to think about whether they can benefit from the many apprenticeship opportunities that are now available."

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Street Pastors scheme is launched in Nantwich

Crewe Chronicle

A SCHEME to curb anti-social behaviour at night has been launched in Nantwich.

The ‘street pastors’ initiative was launched on Saturday in a joint project between Nantwich’s churches and the local police.

Twenty volunteers undertook the first of a dozen training sessions at Nantwich Methodist Church and enjoyed lunch with guests of honour, MP Edward Timpson and Nantwich deputy mayor John Lewis.

The mini army will be out on the streets during the busiest nights to assist visitors to pubs and clubs and help them get home safely.

Joint co-ordinator David Maidment explained: “The four-person teams will operate independently, but in close liaison with the police, and offer a friendly presence and help to those that need it.

“That might include the provision of advice to those with transport problems getting home, water or help for those feeling unwell, the clearing of dangerous litter and provision of flip-flops to those too unsteady in their high-heels, and the calming of situations where problems seem to be developing.

“Where the scheme has been running in other towns, a significant reduction in crime and anti-social behaviour due to drunkenness has been reported.

“Guests at the launch spoke of their support for the scheme and the value they believed it would bring to Nantwich’s nightlife.”

Nationally, 300 street pastor schemes are in operation – with successful local schemes in Middlewich, Chester and Wrexham.

The volunteers have embarked on a training course in street safety, listening skills and conflict management, as well as national street pastor procedures.

They will be fully trained and out in force by Christmas.

Sergeant Richard Tomlinson of the Nantwich Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “A lot of what they do will help take pressure off our officers and it’ll be good to see them out there.

“It’s had success in other towns so I’m sure it will be a success here too.

“We’re all working to the same ends to make sure people can come out to Nantwich and have a safe and enjoyable night.”

Sgt Tomlinson added he hoped Cheshire Constabulary’s ArcAngel scheme – the quality standards initiative for licensed premises – will be introduced soon.

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5 ways to contact Edward Timpson

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Saturday, 22 December 2012

Xmas Lights

reporter Jonathan White

Alton Street - House 1 (1)

I enjoy the Christmas lights in the Nantwich and Crewe town centres, but I also really enjoy the over-the-top Christmas lights and decorations (including the occasional inflatable decoration) that some local homeowners setup each year. Their electricity bills must be sky high, but they never fail to bring a smile to my face. My favourites so far in Crewe are two houses opposite each other in Alton Street (Queens Park end) and a twenty foot plus lit Christmas tree in the front garden of a house on Jesmond Crescent. My favourites so far in Wistaston are in Lear Drive (off Broughton Lane), Westfield Drive and Park Drive. 

Alton Street - House 1 (2)Lear Drive

Council extends Local Plan consultation – so grab your chance to make a difference!

 

Cheshire East Council is giving people more time to get involved in the next stage of consultation on its draft Local Plan to shape and protect the future growth of the Borough.

The aim is to give the best opportunity for as many as people as possible to comment on these important proposals.

The new Local Plan will aim to promote economic growth, improve connectivity and protect our countryside from unplanned development for the next 20 years.

Consultations on the Local Plan began two years ago. Since then, the feedback on the Issues and Options paper and the individual Town Strategies has been considered to produce a draft Development Strategy.

The six-week consultation on the Development Strategy and Policy Principles was due to be launched on January 15, via a range of consultation methods to ensure everyone can comment on the proposals.

However, given the public’s interest in planning and development matters, an advance copy of the draft Development Strategy has been made available today on the Council’s website, to view over the Christmas Holiday period and beyond.

Councillor David Brown, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of strategic communities, said: “We are preparing a new Local Plan that will promote economic growth, improve connectivity and protect our countryside from unplanned development.

“We want people to have as much time as possible to digest and understand our draft Development Strategy – and so we are bringing forward the publication of the document so it can be viewed on our website over Christmas and people can then give their views.

“We hope this will give the best opportunity for as many as people as possible to comment on the proposals.

“I believe this draft Development Strategy keeps the best of what we all cherish about our towns and villages, whilst also providing for a successful and prosperous future for us all.

“This plan will ensure that Cheshire East will maintain and enhance its position as the number one Borough in the North West.

“I urge everyone to continue to get involved and let us know your views.”

Cheshire East Council Leader Councillor Michael Jones said: “I take very seriously my responsibility to protect the people of Cheshire East from unwanted and unplanned development.

“By extending the period for people to comment on the Development Strategy, I am confident that we will give more people the time they need to consider the issues in depth and to put forward robust and constructive comments that will benefit all our local communities.

“Our Development Strategy is a robust, jobs-led strategy to deliver targeted and sustainable development to benefit all the people of Cheshire East.

I have today committed additional resource to ensuring that this plan is in place so that we can speed up the process.

“The Development Strategy will deliver 27,000 new houses and 20,000 new jobs and the infrastructure needed for this to happen. It will also continue to support Cheshire East’s position both as the economic powerhouse of the North West and as a beautiful place to live.

“This is a sustainable, plan-led Development Strategy, which sends a strong message to the developers besieging our towns, inviting them to work with us to strengthen our towns and deliver positive outcomes for the people of Cheshire East.”

To view the draft Development Strategy document (from December 21) visit the weblink: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/localplan

Spread the warmth

 

Cheshire East Council and Age UK Cheshire, in association with their partners and the Local Adult Safeguarding Board, are offering a range of advice and support to residents on how to keep warm, well and safe this winter.

The Council 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.

This week, residents are urged to make use of their libraries during the holiday period.

Stock up on free winter reading

With the colder weather very much upon us, Cheshire East Council would like to remind people that its libraries are at hand for those who want to stock up on their free winter reading.

Residents are being encouraged to take advantage of the chance to borrow free books from the area’s libraries.

Councillor David Brown, Cabinet member in charge of strategic communities, said: “With temperatures dropping, it would be a good idea to stock up on your reading material this winter.

“Our libraries are excellent and offer a warm, safe environment. Not only can you borrow books, you can also borrow music and films for a small charge.

“Many of our libraries are now much more accessible with the most up-to-date technology.

“They also have computers, which can be used free of charge, and most of our libraries can also help you to get on the internet and use email and social media. Council services and details on community events can also be accessed.

“Libraries provide more online services than ever before. You can reserve and renew library books without leaving your home as well as accessing the ‘virtual’ reference library or listening to classical music through the libraries subscription to Naxos.”

Monthly reading groups are held in libraries across Cheshire East. Those interested are advised to contact their nearest library for more information. The authority also has mobile libraries which take books for all ages into the rural areas of Cheshire East.

Sean Reynolds, chair of the Local Adult Safeguarding Board, said: “Cheshire East Adult Safeguarding Board welcomes any initiative to assist its most vulnerable people, especially during the winter months, to feel warm, healthy and safe.

“It is often harder to find things to do during the winter period, particularly outdoors. Reading is one answer to this and being able to renew loans without having to leave the home is likely to be welcome by many older and disabled people. The people of Cheshire East have high-quality facilities on their doorstep.”

Book loans can be renewed from home by calling 0845 148 0148 or visiting www.cheshireeast.gov.uk and typing in ‘libraries’ into the search engine.

Cheshire East libraries are always looking for volunteers to help people get online or help at library events. The Council is appealing to those with time to spare to contact their local library for more details or call 0300 123 5018.

Meanwhile, during winter, members of the Go Project, which helps people and organisations realise and fulfil their own missionary calling, are encouraging neighbourliness this Christmas.

Its initiative called Connect 4 Community, supported by Cheshire East Council and Cheshire police, encourages people to make contact with their neighbours to introduce themselves and get each other’s contact details.

This means they will know where to find those who may be vulnerable or at risk in times of trouble or may just be alone or in need of a friend.

For more information on this project, visit www.goproject.org.uk or email enquiries@goproject.org.uk

Join forces to combat crime!

Grab your chance to become an independent member of the Cheshire Police and Crime Panel

The Cheshire Police and Crime Panel is seeking two committed and energetic people from Cheshire to serve as co-opted independent members.

This is an exciting opportunity to be involved from the start of new and very different arrangements for police governance and accountability. Independent members will serve for a four-year term.

The newly-elected Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner will be required to consult with the panel on its plans and budget for policing, as well as the level of its Council Tax charge and the appointment of a chief constable.

It will also maintain a regular check and balance on the performance of the Commissioner.

Councillor Les Gilbert, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member with responsibility for communities and regulatory services, said: “The role of a panel member will be a very important and demanding one. The typical commitment required from a member of the panel is expected to average one day a month, including preparation time.

“Meetings will normally be held during office hours at varying locations throughout Cheshire. Panel members will be able to claim reasonable travelling expenses and will receive induction and other appropriate training.

“The panel aims to reflect in general the breadth of communities in Cheshire and welcomes applications from all eligible people – irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or belief.”

An application pack can be downloaded from this link:  http://www.warrington.gov.uk/info/200727/crime_support_and_prevention/893/police_commissioners_and_crime_panels/3

This includes further information about the role of the panel, eligibility for co-option and an application form. An application in Word format is also available to download.

The closing date for applications is Friday, January 18.

For further information about Cheshire Police and Crime Panel contact:

Paul Jones on 01270 686458 or paul.jones4@cheshireeast.gov.uk

or Bryan Magan on 01925 442150 or bmagan@warrington.gov.uk

Have your say on access to the countryside

 

If you know your footpaths from your bridleways, then Cheshire East Council wants to hear from you – as it looks to recruit members for a new countryside group.

The Cheshire East Local Access Forum offers residents the opportunity to advise the Council on public access to the countryside.

The panel has a key role in looking at how the Authority, and other local bodies, can improve access to the countryside for a variety of activities, including walking, cycling and horse riding.

Anyone who has an interest in, and experience of, countryside issues is invited to join the forum.

The group must cover a range of interests and experiences, including:

  • Recreational use;
  • Land management;
  • The rural economy;
  • Nature conservation; and
  • Health, transport, heritage and other matters. 

Members of the group would be expected to start, and contribute to, discussions about countryside access, and come up with imaginative solutions to any problems they may face.

Councillor Rod Menlove, Cabinet member in charge of the environment, said: “We are fortunate enough to live in a beautiful rural area and the right of people to get out and enjoy the countryside is vitally important.

“This is why the forum is so important, and why I would encourage anyone who can give up a little of their time to apply for one of the posts.”

The group meets four times a year. The closing date for applications is 5pm on Friday, February 8, with interviews held on Monday, February 25.

For further information, and an application form, please contact Genni Butler on 01270 686059, or by email: laf@cheshireeast.gov.uk

Further information on the Local Access Forum is available at: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/prow.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Crewe Police release CCTV image of men sought after burglary

aggravated burglary Crewe

Crewe Police have released CCTV images of two men they would like to speak to in connection with an aggravated burglary in Crewe.

At 9.45pm on 11 November 2012, three men gained access to a house in Lawton Street.

They burst into the bedroom and threatened a woman with a knife demanding cash. The offenders then searched the house and left through the front door with jewellery and cash.

The woman was not harmed but was shaken by the incident.

The first offender is described as in his mid 20s, 5ft 6 to 7ins tall with a thin build and light brown skin. He was wearing a dark hoodie with fitted jeans and dark ankle boots. He spoke English and Bengali.

The second offender is described as in his late 20s to early 30s, with a light skin tone. He had a trimmed beard with a small tuft. He wore dark clothing and had a distinctive black woollen hat. He wore a waist length jacket with a collar but no hood.

The third offender is described as in his mid 20s, 5ft 6ins tall with dark, short spiked styled hair. He was clean shaven and dressed all in black with black trainers which were possibly Nike. He also spoke Bengali and English.

Anyone with information should contact DC Kev Lloyd on 101 quoting incident number 956 of 11 November 2012. Alternatively information can be given anonymously by contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Bogus callers claiming to be from Action Fraud

 

Cheshire Police are reporting a scam which is taking place with fraudsters claiming to be from Action Fraud. The conmen frequently impersonate officials in an attempt to convince people that their offer is genuine. Fraudsters impersonate an Action Fraud representative to trick people into sending money.

The caller states that they are from Action Fraud and that the person they are calling is entitled to compensation from a recent incident. The scammer then asks for money to be sent via a Ukash voucher in order to process the compensation claim. The amount asked for is usually in the range of £200 to £400.

Action Fraud is warning people not to pay these bogus telephone callers; there is no way to retrieve Ukash payments as they are in effect cash transactions. This is a scam. You will lose your money.

Action Fraud is in no way affiliated with these fraudsters. They would never under any circumstances be involved in processing claims for compensation.

Pete Kidd, Detective Sergeant from Crime Operations Team comments, "The genuine Action Fraud is the UK’s national fraud reporting centre where consumers can report if they have been scammed or defrauded.

Victims of fraud who report an incident via our online reporting centre or call Action Fraud will receive a crime reference number which is the victim’s unique reference which only they will know. Any rep of Action Fraud would quote this number but in most cases, reported frauds or scams would be passed onto Cheshire Police Fraud Team to then make contact."

You can report fraud online via actionfraud.police.uk or call them on 0300 123 2040. For more information on fraud please visit cheshire.police.uk

Christmas Crime Prevention Guide

 

With the Christmas holiday season upon us, now is a good time to remind people to take steps to make sure your Christmas isn't spoiled by criminals.

Criminals take the opportunities afforded them by the extra shopping we do, the hustle and bustle of the town centre as we rush around, and the value of the goods we buy as presents and store in our homes until the big day. We might also be more trusting and generous at Christmas when requests for charity are made, giving the unscrupulous a chance to collect for their own causes.

The advice below is often common sense, but you might overlook it in your haste to get everything ready.

1.) OUT SHOPPING

When the shops are crowed, the pickpocket has more chance to steal from you. If you can't arrange to shop during less busy times, make sure you stay alert and be extra careful with your wallet or purse. If you have too many bags you will be too busy trying to hold on to these to be aware of anyone stealing from you. You could try to make smaller shopping trips rather than do it all at once and carry too much. Have your purse/wallet close to your body and don't carry too much cash. The same applies to travelling on crowded buses or trains. If you travel by car, make sure you park in a well- lit area, lock all doors and windows and do not leave presents in view. Try not to return to your car to leave purchases in the boot before continuing with your shopping trip as thieves may well watch car parks for just such a chance. Arrange to collect heavy items from stores when you have finished all your shopping. Keep your chequebook and cheque card separately.

2.) AT HOME

Having bought all those wonderful presents, don't make it easy for someone to steal from your home. Keep them out of sight until last thing on Christmas Eve and if you 'hide' or store larger items such as bicycles in the shed or outbuildings, make sure they are very secure. Now is a good time to check that you know what you have both normally (TV, Video etc) and with the extra presents you have bought. You may well find you need to check your insurance to make sure you are covered for the value of goods in your home. Take the frame numbers of new cycles and the serial numbers of new electrical equipment for future reference. Remember, empty boxes left outside advertise that you have new goods inside - dispose of packing carefully.

If you go out for the evening - make it look like someone is at home by turning on lights and the radio. Don't leave curtains open so people can see your decorations as potential thieves can see in. Be extra careful about locking doors and windows.

If you go away for the holiday period - use an automatic timer for lights and ask a trusted neighbour to watch your home. Don't forget to cancel newspapers and milk if you have them delivered and either redirect your mail through the Post Office or have your neighbour take mail into the house - unopened Christmas cards and mail are a sure sign that a house is empty.

Strangers at the door - genuine delivery personnel usually have uniforms and liveried vehicles and should not need to come into your home. Charity collectors will have identification and will not be offended if you ask to see it. If you are not sure but want to make a donation, ask whether these can be made in other ways, perhaps through a bank or via a secure online website instead.

3.) OUT ON THE TOWN

With office parties and general Christmas celebrations, pubs, restaurants and other venues are often crowded. Don't leave bags over the back of your chair and keep wallets and purses close to your body to make it more difficult for the pickpocket. Busy places make it easier for the sneak thief, so be alert at all times. Make prior arrangements as to how you will get home. Avoid any potential disturbances on the street. Stay with friends if you can. Avoid the temptation to take a minicab on the street even if you are having difficulty getting a cab - it is illegal for minicabs to take passengers who have not pre-booked. Make sure someone knows where you are going and what time you will be back. Don't drink too much - you could become a target for thieves. When visiting cash machines be aware of who is hanging around you and try not to make it obvious if you are withdrawing larger amounts of cash. 

Cheshire East roads given £2m boost for repairs

 

Work on damaged roads in Cheshire East is to be bolstered by more than £2m of grant funding from central Government.

It follows intensive lobbying of Ministers by Cheshire East Council Leader Michael Jones and members of his Cabinet to get extra government cash to repair our weather-damaged roads.

The Council will get £1.485m in 2013/14 and a further £795,000 in 2014/15 to tackle potholes and badly-worn highways.

The Department for Transport has released £215m to local authorities as an exceptional payment, following the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, to help with much-needed road repairs over the next two years. It follows the severe weather experienced across the country in recent winters.

Cheshire East received a similar one-off payment of more than £2m from central Government last year and about £1m the year before.

The Council’s highway service team handled an eight-fold increase in pothole reports in January 2011and was hit by more frost and ice damage the following winter and then the effects of flooding and torrential rain last summer.

The Council has spent almost £17.7m on the upkeep of Cheshire East’s highways in 2011/12, including £2.1m on major capital schemes.

Councillor Rod Menlove, Cheshire East Cabinet member in charge of environmental services, said: “We are delighted to have received £2.28m from the Department for Transport and Cheshire East intends to make every penny count for our road users.

“Our highway network suffered significant damage from the severe weather again this year. This additional funding from the Department for Transport is very welcome and, over the coming months, we will spend the money wisely to repair our roads and enhance the Cheshire East environment.

“Our trained staff will be targeting some of the worst roads in the Borough, identified through our Local Area Partnerships and local residents.”

Residents should report any defects to Cheshire East’s online fault reporting page at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk or by phoning the highways team on 0300 123 5020.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Root & Branch Review of Policing

 

John Dwyer, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire will instigate a ‘root and branch’ review of Cheshire Constabulary to look for more efficient ways of working.

He says he wants to be sure every aspect of policing is organised to provide best value for money.

"Performance is already very good," he says. "In the past year crime has reduced by six per cent, which means there were four thousand fewer victims of crime. At the same time considerable savings were made to meet Government reductions in funding but I want to look at everything the Constabulary does; how it does it and why it does it.

I want to be sure that officers and staff are delivering exactly the right type of policing to all the communities they serve. That means listening to people’s opinions and never adopting the attitude that ‘we do things this way because we have always done things this way’.

I am confident that, working with the Chief Constable, I will be able to find areas where we can make further savings or generate external income.

That means more resources can be delivered to front line policing, where they will be most effective. I want to be sure that officers spend their time deterring and fighting crime; not stuck behind desks."

Mr Dwyer has also said that he is not a fan of privatisation of policing, but believes strongly in collaboration and partnership working. He has announced plans for a multi-agency partnership to target Cheshire’s one hundred most prolific offenders and said he will prioritise measures to prevent re-offending, including advice and guidance to serving prisoners.

He says, "In the end it is all about reducing crime and anti social behaviour, because that is how we can help to improve the quality of life for everyone in Cheshire."

Spread the warmth

 

Cheshire East Council and Age UK Cheshire, in association with their partners and the Local Adult Safeguarding Board, are offering a range of advice and support to residents on how to keep warm, well and safe this winter.

The Council 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.

This week, Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service focuses on fire safety and being safe in the home.

Stay safe this Christmas

Cheshire East Council’s colleagues in the fire service are urging people to think about fire safety this Christmas.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service is encouraging people to get their cookers cleaned before putting this year’s Christmas dinner in the oven.

More than half of accidental fires at home are started by cooking – often when cookers and grills are left unattended.

Chief Fire Officer Paul Hancock said: “Christmas and New Year is a great time to share with family and friends but, unfortunately, fires can easily start if people don’t take enough care. Therefore, I recommend that everyone has a working smoke alarm fitted in their home and also follows our safety tips so that they can enjoy the festivities safely.”

People are advised to:

· Avoid leaving children in the kitchen alone when cooking on the hob;

· Make sure saucepan handles do not stick out – so they do not get knocked off the stove;

· Keep ovens and grill pans clean and free from grease and fat build up;

· Take care if wearing loose clothing – it can easily catch fire;

· Keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob;

· Double check the cooker is off when the cooking is finished;

· Take care if leaving the kitchen while cooking, take pans off the heat or turn them down to avoid risk.

Unfortunately, national statistics show that people are 50 per cent more likely to be fatally injured in an accidental house fire during the Christmas period than at any other time of the year.

Councillor Janet Clowes, Cabinet member in charge of health and adult social care, said: “It is vital that people take extra care during Christmas and New Year celebrations. I urge residents to heed the fire service’s advice and also the handy tips and information available on Cheshire East Council’s website.”

People should also check that their electric blankets are safe and ‘if in doubt, don’t use it.’

Look out for these danger signs:

· Scorch marks or discolouration;

· Wires are visible or poking through the fabric;

· The fabric is frayed or worn;

· Damage to the electrical cord;

· The control makes a buzzing sound or smells;

· The connector is damaged or over-heating.

Remember not to use a hot water bottle and electric blanket together.

Sean Reynolds, chair of the Local Adult Safeguarding Board, said: “Winter is a time when the most vulnerable people need access to electrical items to help keep them warm. But they must ensure they are safe, particularly if the items are old.”

For more tips on how to stay safe both at home and on the roads or for advice about smoke alarms this Christmas, visit www.cheshirefire.gov.uk and for further detail, visit www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/winter

Reading challenge inspires hundreds of youngsters

Emily Culshaw (1).jpg

The Summer Reading Challenge has inspired a whole new generation of young readers.

Almost 200 more children have now taken out library membership thanks to the Council-supported initiative.

Around 4,800 schoolchildren took part and were challenged to visit the library at least four times and read six books over the summer break.

A total of 2,774 children completed the challenge and received a medal and certificate at special ceremonies across the Borough attended by MPs, councillors and local VIPs.

Emily Culshaw, of Wistaston Church Lane Primary School, in Crewe, won the National Summer Reading Challenge (SRC) with her literary contribution to complete Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson’s ‘Red Man Green Man’.

The Mayor of Cheshire East Councillor George Walton, who supported the challenge, said: “What a fantastic success – hundreds more children involved in their local libraries and a national winner for Crewe.

“Cheshire East is an excellent place for our children to be educated, with fantastic libraries that nurture a culture of learning in leisure time.”

Councillor David Brown, Cabinet member in charge of libraries at Cheshire East Council,

said: “We are truly proud of our libraries and we understand how important they are to the community, especially to the development of young people.

“We support any initiative that promotes reading among young people and we are extremely proud of Emily, who has done so well to win the competition.”

About the summer challenge:

The annual Summer Reading Challenge aims to improve literary levels and supports informal learning in partnership with schools, parents, carers and library staff. Library staff visited 61 schools to promote the challenge.

A total 2,492 children attended events this year which included many run by library staff as well as outside agencies and Cheshire East partners.

As in previous years, the events were varied including Crazy Colin the magician, crafts, stories, arts, and dance as well as 49 award ceremonies.

We also welcomed the contribution of the Council’s leisure development team who provided 13 active play and craft sessions for children and their families in the libraries.

Volunteers were recruited and trained at 14 libraries and a total of 63 SRC volunteers joined the libraries over the summer.

Their help was extremely valuable and many libraries would have struggled to maintain their high standards without their contribution.

The volunteers ranged in age from 12 to 70 and the most common age range was 16 to 19. These volunteers gave the libraries a record total of 1,531 hours of their time and were highly valued

Decision on school expansion deferred

 

The Cabinet member responsible for children and family services has postponed a decision to expand Wheelock Primary School to allow all the Sandbach primary schools to come forward with different solutions.

At a portfolio meeting, Councillor Rachel Bailey deferred the expansion decision, which will now be taken on January 28.

The current proposal would involve increasing the capacity at Wheelock Primary School from 210 to 315 places. This would be introduced from September 2013 with an intake of 45 in the reception year. This reflects the increase in demand for school places in the Wheelock area.

The increase in school places is needed as pupil forecasts predict a shortfall of 144 places across the six Sandbach primary schools by 2017.

A consultation on the proposals was launched on October 15, which received a large number of responses (271) that the Council has considered.

From the responses 48.7 per cent (132 responses) indicated they support the move, or had no view on the matter.

Councillor Bailey said: “This is an important decision that will have consequences for a wide-range of people in the local community, not just those directly involved in Wheelock Primary School.

“As such, it is only right that we take the time to ensure we make the right decision. Neighbouring schools have indicated that there are other options – well now is the time to come forward with them.

“Our forecasts predict a shortfall in places in Sandbach and the surrounding area, and action must be taken to address this.”

COMMISSIONER APPOINTS MARGARET OLLERENSHAW AS DEPUTY

 

John Dwyer, Police & Crime Commissioner for Cheshire said, "I am delighted that the Police and Crime Panel has confirmed my proposal to appoint Margaret Ollerenshaw as my deputy.

"I said during my pre-election campaign that I would wait to see whether I would need to appoint a deputy until I was elected. It quickly became clear to me that in order to perform my duties effectively I would need a second in command. Margaret Ollerenshaw was the obvious choice as she has the breadth and depth of experience and has the respect and support of other Leaders in Cheshire.

This is a twelve month appointment to enable me to fully understand the scope of this new and challenging role and to see how the Government’s proposals for the role continue to evolve.

Margaret has a proven track record and has good experience of business management in the private sector and has made a valuable contribution in the voluntary sector. She also has considerable experience of the criminal justice system through her time as a Magistrate. Most recently, as Member and Chairman of the former Police Authority, she demonstrated her ability to effectively scrutinise and challenge and clearly has the qualities necessary to support me in ensuring both the delivery of an efficient and effective policing service; and continuous improvement in services and performance. Her skills, knowledge and experience will be invaluable in the transition from the police authority model to the new way of working, which I am already introducing."

On hearing the confirmation of her appointment Margaret said, "I am delighted that John Dwyer has appointed me as Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner for Cheshire. I enjoy working with the police and in criminal justice as I know it can make a real difference to people’s lives. I am looking forward to assisting the Commissioner in delivering his Police and Crime Plan and ensuring the services delivered to the public best meet their needs and continue to improve."

John Dwyer added "the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 stipulates that the Police and Crime Panel undertake a confirmatory process of the proposed appointment and we thought it only right and proper that we should await their confirmation before making this announcement."

The term of the proposed appointment will be for a period of one year, which may be extended. Remuneration will be on the basis of 30% of the salary of the Commissioner (£22,500) based on an average three days per week. Expenses will be paid in accordance with the Home Secretary’s determination in relation to expenses for Police & Crime Commissioners.

Cheshire East deliver drink and drive message

 

The winter drink and drug driving campaign is now in force across Cheshire with Road Traffic Police running intelligence led, targeted operations in specific areas. There will be key initiatives being stepped up over the Christmas period with road safety advice being delivered to the public.

As from November 30th, Cheshire road safety messages have been running alongside a national campaign by ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) who, this year are joining forces with THINK! − who form part of the Department for Transport to warn drivers that getting behind the wheel after a festive tipple could see them end up behind bars this Christmas.

ACPO launched its anti-drink and drug driving campaign, warning that young drivers and people driving the morning after a night of drinking pose a huge risk.

Breathalyser checks in the East will run alongside an alcohol awareness campaign - ‘Totally Wasted’ to get the message across about drink driving with leaflets being handed out at various checkpoints to warn against even thinking about driving the morning after a night of drinking and drivers will face the consequences of their actions if they are pulled over and found to be over the alcohol limit.

As part of the drink driving safety initiatives, an engagement morning will form the basis where anyone caught committing a moving traffic offence will be pulled over and breathalysed then redirected to a centre where they will be invited to view a crashed car in which a young person died.

Sergeant Daryn Wilcox, from Eastern Division comments that, "by using the initiatives to engage with the public, we hope to reinforce key road safety messages. We will be cracking down on irresponsible driving and using our existing alcohol awareness campaign, Totally Wasted, to educate and inform young drivers in particular."

For more information on the winter drink driving campaign and the ‘Think’ Car, please go to www.cheshire.police.uk.

Warning over PPI scam after man targeted in Crewe

 

Police in Crewe are warning residents about a scam after a local man was conned out of £500.

The scam mirrors a national problem and this is one of several to have been reported across Cheshire.

The con artists will cold call their victim, claiming to offer refunds on mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance (PPI).

They then ask the victim to purchase a quantity of ‘Ukash′ vouchers as ‘commission′ for the refund.

‘Ukash′ vouchers are used to buy goods online and are available in shops and post offices.

The fraudsters then request the code on the voucher, enabling them to steal the money. The victim does not receive the PPI refund.

The latest victim, a 79-year-old man from Crewe, was targeted in the same way earlier this month.

PC Andy Mannering of Crewe NPU said: "We would like to highlight this scam to people and ask them to make their elderly relatives and friends aware about it.

"We would ask that anyone who receives a call of this nature, or who believes they may have been a victim, contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 as soon as possible."

The emergency services work together to protect those most at risk from the winter months

 

As winter takes hold and the weather turns wetter and cooler local officers from Cheshire Constabulary are visiting those people in their communities who may be vulnerable from the cold and wet weather.

Cheshire Constabulary is committed to protecting and keeping safe those people for whom the winter months can bring additional challenges for their safety and wellbeing and have launched an initiative in partnership with Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, and supported by the Met Office, to provide advice, guidance and support to a variety of people identified as being most at risk from the winter weather.

ACC Janette McCormick said:

"As part of the joint initiative, Police officers and Police Community Support officers (PCSOs) have visited those people most at risk of any adverse weather conditions such as flooding or snow and ice.

"Officers have also identified members of our communities who may be vulnerable to being targeted by thieves and criminals because of their home circumstances. Everyone can feel isolated in their community and in bad weather we can often feel alone but there are particular members of our communities that are more vulnerable than most. It is this group of people we want to reach through this initiative to make sure they have the information at hand should they need help during the winter months."

Officers took the opportunity to talk about a variety of topics during the home visits, including how to keep yourself safe at home during the winter months, how to make sure your home is secure and information on simple steps anyone can take to protect their belongings and their homes."

Everyone visited received a community safety pack which included useful information and details of who to contact should they need further support or help as we move deeper into the winter months.

More than 950 people have been visited across Cheshire with 250 safety packs distributed in Halton and Warrington, 280 around the East of the County and 420 safety packs were distributed across the Western area of Cheshire.

Anyone wishing to access this support or any other community safety advice should visit the http://www.cheshire.police.gov.uk/ or email communities@cheshire.pnn.police.uk

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Heavy rain leads to flooded roads.

 

Cllr Brian Silvester, Willaston and Rope Ward Councillor, is calling on the Borough Council to clean drains out more regularly to prevent flooding and to take action against landowners whose actions makes the likelihood of flooding more likely.

He said," In the last few weeks there has been flooding in Eastern Road, Gresty Lane and Rope Bank Avenue . Parts of Eastern Road  had to be closed for a while because the flooding was so bad. If the drains were cleaned out more regularly this flooding would not be happening. Also off Gresty Lane, the land adjacent  to the road has been artificially heightened, without planning permission, and the Council  and the Environment Agency seem reluctant  to take action.

During the winter the lying water on the roads is dangerous because it freezes and can lead to  car accidents and pedestrians slipping over."

Cllr Brian Silvester

Tel/fax 01270 567757

'COMMUNITY REMEDY' GIVES VICTIMS A VOICE

 

Cheshire′s Police and Crime Commissioner says ‘Community Remedy′ punishments could provide a real step forward in tackling anti social behaviour.

John Dwyer is urging people to make their views known on the proposals, which are now in a consultation period.

‘Community Remedy′ will allow a victim of anti social behaviour or low-level crime to select the punishment for the offender from a list of options agreed by their local Police and Crime Commissioner.

These are likely to include measures such as: paying compensation, repairing damage or cleaning up graffiti, doing unpaid work or taking part in alcohol or drug treatment.

John Dwyer said, "This system will give the victim a real voice and should provide quick and effective solutions to the type of low level crime and anti social behaviour which blights people′s lives.

"In many cases there will also be a benefit to the wider community and, ultimately, a positive outcome for the offender. In fitting the punishment to the crime it should make the offender more aware of the consequences of his, or her, actions; a vital factor in preventing re-offending.

"Tackling yobbish behaviour was a high priority in my manifesto and ‘Community Remedy′ can be a significant part of that.

"These punishments are not intended to be soft options. Restorative Justice is already being used successfully in Cheshire and these measures, used in appropriate cases, can extend its range and effectiveness."

Top athletes given Freedom of the Borough

 

The cream of Cheshire East’s sporting talent was recognised last week as Olympians and Paralympians were granted the Freedom of the Borough – the highest accolade the Council can bestow upon an individual.

A special full meeting of Council was held in Congleton to formally bestow the honour on seven athletes who excelled in cycling, sailing and gymnastics.

Sarah Storey OBE, Barney Storey MBE, Niki Birrell and Craig MacLean attended the meeting to receive the honour in person. However, Beth Tweddle MBE, Ben Ainslie CBE and Victoria Pendleton MBE were unable to attend due to other commitments, but their certificates will be passed on to them.

As well as the Freedom of the Borough, the Leader of Cheshire East, Councillor Michael Jones, also confirmed that each of the athletes would have a street named after them – as a public and permanent way of marking the lifetime achievements of the seven.

Mayor of Cheshire East Councillor George Walton presented the certificates. He said: “The legislation says that Freemen should have ‘rendered eminent service’, and there is no doubt that these seven athletes have done this.

“They have not only made significant achievements in their chosen sport, but they have also contributed to the wider community and Cheshire East.”

Leader of Cheshire East Councillor Michael Jones said: “This year sport, and particularly the Olympics, has captured the nation’s hearts and it is only right that we recognise the achievements of those who have given us so much joy over the summer.

“To have seven top athletes from Cheshire East is quite remarkable and hopefully this will inspire both children and adults to take part in sport and maybe provide the Olympic and Paralympic stars of tomorrow.”

Cheshire Police warn against using mobile phones whilst driving

 

Cheshire Police will be out in force during the winter months to deliver road safety advice and to target motorists who are taking risks by using their mobile phone whilst driving.

The targeted enforcement campaign − which runs until the end of January - will involve the use of patrols to reinforce the message to drivers and the local community about driving whilst using a mobile phone in a bid to drive down the number of persons killed or seriously injured on the roads of Cheshire East, Cheshire West, Halton and Warrington as a result of someone having used a mobile phone.

Cheshire Police state that you are four times more likely to crash if you use a mobile phone whilst driving. Drivers are at risk whether they use the phone hands free or hand held as they are much less aware of what’s happening on the road, fail to see road signs, react more slowly and can take longer to brake.

Tweeting and driving is a new risk. According to a recent survey of 1,000 motorists, it showed that while 92% knew it was illegal to use a hand held mobile whilst driving, as many as 45% sent text messages and made calls whilst at the wheel. 37% said they found it impossible to ignore mobile alerts whilst driving and 19% have rummaged through a handbag or pocket to try and find their phone whilst at the wheel. Motorists are being increasingly distracted − messages being posted on Twitter are a cause for concern for the safety of other motorists and pedestrians. As many as 9% of motorists are using mobile internet services while driving.

Many of the incidents which Cheshire Police deal with involve the use of mobile phones. Last year, a vehicle was driving in the direction of Congleton Town with a vehicle following closely behind. The car in front slowed as it approached a temporary set of traffic lights, but the driver behind was slow to respond and drove straight into the back of the car in front. The driver admitted that they had been on their mobile phone and failed to stop in time.

In November of this year, a driver was given three points on his licence and fined £120 for using his mobile phone whilst behind the wheel. The driver from Macclesfield was spotted by a police officer talking on his phone whilst in a queue of stationary traffic waiting to get petrol in Congleton back in March of this year. He pleaded guilty to the offence last month and was also ordered to pay £200 court costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

A third of motorists still use a hand held phone while driving, despite more than a million convictions for the offence over the past decade, figures reveal today.

A Cheshire Police Road Traffic Officer states that "Our advice to motorists is to remove the temptation by switching off all mobile phones, so that you can focus on the road ahead."

In a study carried out by a professor, the reaction times of drivers in a driving simulator demonstrated how being distracted by a mobile phone whilst behind the wheel showed much slower reaction times than if the driver had been drinking alcohol. The evidence showed that even a slight increase in reaction time will result in a driver travelling closer to the hazard by some distance before a driver reacts.

To read more about the winter drink driving campaign, please go to www.cheshire.police.uk.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Your chance to travel the world and raise money for St Luke’s (Cheshire) Hospice in 2013

St Luke's (Cheshire) Hospice is looking for fundraisers to take part in next year's London to Paris cycle ride

St Luke’s (Cheshire) Hospice is inviting intrepid adventurers to take part in two once-in-a-lifetime oversees fundraising challenges.

If you've looking for the opportunity to do something truly amazing and support an invaluable local cause, then this is your chance.

The Winsford hospice is looking to assemble two teams of fundraisers to take part in a London-Paris cycle ride from 3-7 July, and a Sahara Desert trek and community project from 19-26 October in 2013.

Liz Wells, St Luke’s Fundraising Events Co-Ordinator, explains: “The London to Paris charity cycle is a great experience and a fabulous challenge.

“Cycling over 5 days you will cover nearly 500km from the heart of London to the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

“A challenge like this is not just about distances covered and start and finishing points, the bike ride is about group effort, friendship and more importantly spirit.

“Charity treks and cycles bring together a vast array of people from many different back grounds, each with their own reasons for taking up the challenge and fundraising stories. Over the five days you’ll meet like minded people, swap stories and ideas and find new friends all while completing a truly wonderful cycle ride.

“The physical side of the trip is sometimes a worry for people who may not have cycled much before signing up or who believe themselves to be out of shape but each ride is designed to ensure that everyone can take part and everyone completes what they started.

“With some ground work covered at home before the trip you will be more than capable of achieving the distances covered each day and the group spirit will certainly keep you going if times get hard.”

Then in October, the Sahara Trek and community project is a truly unique opportunity to support the Cheshire hospice and the children of Africa.

Liz adds: “This is an amazing opportunity. Participants will experience the stunning landscape of the Sahara desert as you drive and then trek through this inhospitable yet enigmatic environment, getting to know the life of the nomadic tribes which still wander with their camel trains across the lonely lunaresque dunes.

“Each night you will have the chance to sleep under the stars (weather permitting!), eat incredible food cooked in the traditional Berber way and fall asleep to the sound of the crackling campfire and the gentle snores of the camels.

“Then after your trek, spend two days helping on a range of tasks at a street children project which aims to restore broken links between children and their families, provide support in the form of shelter, clothing and food; social reintegration and much more.

“The project is based in Marrakesh and there are many activities you could be involved in during your time helping there such as painting a shelter, decorating, meeting the children and teaching basic English and so on.

“Your help will go a long way to improving the lives of the children and you will leave feeling as if you have really made a difference.”

If you’re keen to get involved  in the London to Paris Cycle Ride or the Sahara Trek and Community Project or to find out more, contact Liz Wells at St Luke’s Hospice on 01606 555816 or email: liz_wells@stlukes-hospice.co.uk.

New dog recruits take leading role

Ola and Kaiser became the latest recruits to the police dog team and completed their training last Friday with a passing out ceremony to celebrate, complete with their previous owners being present to proudly watch them perform for the public. The public were shown a demonstration by the dog handlers which showed the hard work that had gone into training both dogs.

PC Daniel Lomas who is new to the police dog handling team had the additional challenge of training a new police dog − Ola - and getting it through its training.

Police dog handlers invest a lot of time in training their dogs and working with the dog’s personality for a closer bond so that they can use them on police operations. Once licensed and in the care of Cheshire Police, the officers take their own police dogs home, making sure to integrate them into their family unit.

PC John Reid, who is in the care of Kaiser, has 20 years of experience as a police dog handler. After retiring his last dog, he acquired Kaiser, a donated dog, who went through 11 weeks of training to finally make it as a police dog. He will be used for operations ranging from tracking, searching for evidence and public order.

John Reid says about training Kaiser "He was a pleasure to train, a challenge at times as he didn’t take to training exercises quickly but he made real progress in the last few weeks. He will make an excellent police dog and the fact that he is donated just goes to show the value that dogs - who are unwanted or whose owners are struggling to keep for whatever reason - can bring to the police force. Therefore, we are appealing to the public that if they know of any dogs or bitches, preferably of German Shepherd or Mallinois breed, to consider donating them to Cheshire Police."

Kaiser was referred to Cheshire Police from germanshepherdrescue.co.uk after his owner Linda Duff and her husband, from Cheshire could no longer look after him. Their change in jobs resulted in longer working hours and he was on his own for most of the day, which they didn’t feel was fair to Kaiser. He deserved a better life, and is quite a lively and enthusiastic dog, so his personality is suited to the police force where there will always be new challenges. Linda commented, "I have a mixture of emotions today, as I watch Kaiser in his passing out ceremony, but I am very proud watching him in action. I feel that I made the right choice in donating him to the police."

For anyone who has a dog they would like to donate, can you please ring and ask for Mike Jones on 01606 362681. For more information on police dogs please visit cheshire.police.uk.

Lock your cars warning for Crewe motorists

 

Police have issued a "lock your vehicles" warning after a number of thefts from unlocked cars in Crewe.
Five cars were targeted some time in the evening of 10 December and early hours of 11 December, four of them were left unlocked.
Sgt Lindsay Chamberlain said: "They are a clear case of an opportunist thief trying door handles in the hope of striking lucky.
"Sadly in Crewe, there appears to have been rich pickings as they found four cars unlocked and were able to take advantage.
"While we continue to crackdown on car thieves, we urge people to lock their cars up and report to police anyone acting suspiciously in their street.
"We also advise people never to leave cash or valuables in a parked vehicle and certainly not to leave anything of value on show."
Sgt Chamberlain offers the following advice:
•Ensure your vehicle is locked and secure when it is unattended - even for a few seconds. Always activate the alarm and/or steering lock.
•Remove any valuable items - such as mobile phones, laptops and cash - from the vehicle. Do not be tempted to hide valuable items in the glove box or under seats.
•Remember to remove the sat nav and the fascia of car stereos - ensure you detach the cradle. Wipe away the mark from the windscreen that has been left by the suction pad - this is a tell-tale sign for thieves that a sat nav is being used in the vehicle.
•Record important information such as the make, model and serial numbers of any valuable property so that the property can be identified if it is ever stolen.
•Consider fitting a special anti- theft number plate to your vehicle. These plates will shatter or distort if they are forcibly removed making them unusable by thieves.
•Your car keys are also important so make sure you look after them and know where they are at all times.
•Try and park in well-lit areas where there are a lot of people around. If a garage is available for overnight parking ensure that it is used whenever possible and that it is locked and secured.
Anyone with any information about vehicle crime is urged to contact officers from Congleton police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Efit released of Crewe sexual assault suspect

efit-Cranbourne Rd

Police investigating a sexual assault in Crewe have released an efit of the suspect.

Two young girls were outside an address in Cranborne Road at around 8pm or 8.15pm on Sunday 4 November 2012 when an unknown man approached them to say he′d lost his dog.

The 9-year-old girl went with the man to look for his dog. The man hugged the girl and touched her inappropriately. The girl protested and ran to her home address to inform her family.

The man is described as white, possibly in his 30s with brown eyes and a slim build. He has an English accent and called himself Dave.

DS Jim Boulton said: "We have had no more incidents of this nature but we would urge parents to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour to police immediately. The little girl did the correct thing by telling her parents straight awaybut wewould urge parents to remind their children not to talk to strangers or go off with them.

"We are hoping that by releasing this efit someone may recognise or remember seeing someone in the area of this likeness and that it will prompt them to make contact with us with any information they have."

Anyone with information should contact DC Mike Rushton on 101 quoting incident number 890 of 4 November 2012. Alternatively information can be given anonymously by contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Spread the Warmth information days

 

A number of information days are being staged at the Market Centre in Crewe in support of Cheshire East Council’s Spread the Warmth campaign.

The Council’s Crewe Local Area Partnership, along with Crewe & Nantwich Senior Forum, is hosting the events where visitors can collect their winter planning kit bag, which are subject to availability and eligibility.

These kits contain information booklets on staying warm, saving fuel costs, information on boiler repair grants, flexi transport and welfare services, as well as a hand warmer and porridge oats, among other items.

Also, subject to eligibility and on completion of a questionnaire available on the day, essential items like clothes, hot water bottles, hand warmers and fleece blankets will be given out.

Thermometers will also be distributed, giving people an idea of when they should turn their heating on, plus information guides including tips on how to stay warm in the home, health information, emergency contact numbers, prescription services and how to plan journeys.

The events are on:

· Monday, December 17 (10am-2pm);

· Monday, January 14 (10am-2pm);

· Thursday, January 17 (11am-1pm) – slow cooker demonstration only;

· Friday, January 18 (10am-2pm).

Love is in the air in Cheshire East!

 

New Census figures published this week show that couples in Cheshire East are some of the most committed to marriage in the North West.

A total of 52.1 per cent of Cheshire East adults (aged 16 and above) have tied the knot and remain married, compared to 44.8 per cent for the North West and 46.6 per cent for the whole of England and Wales.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) published its second tranche of figures from the 2011 Census on Tuesday and the marital status figures further demonstrate that Cheshire East is a wonderful place to get married and settle down.

Only Ribble Valley (54.6 per cent), Eden (54.4 per cent) and South Lakeland (53.9 per cent) have higher proportions of married people than Cheshire East out of 39 North West boroughs.

Meanwhile, a total of 563 adults in Cheshire East are currently in registered same-sex civil partnerships, which makes up 0.2 per cent of the adult population and in line with the England and Wales percentage.

Councillor David Brown, Cabinet member in charge of strategic communities, said: “Nationally, Census 2011 has revealed some very interesting statistics which show that England and Wales has changed dramatically over the past decade.

“The first set of figures, released in July, showed that we have a rapidly growing older population in Cheshire East and now we see statistics which dig a little deeper into trends emerging in our communities.

“It is wonderful to see that so many couples in our Borough have chosen to commit their lives to each other, which inevitably means people are putting their roots down here in Cheshire East and see it as a place to settle.

“One of our objectives is for Cheshire East to be an attractive place to live, work and study and the results of Census 2011 show that we are achieving this aim.”

Other notable figures show that a high proportion of people have a degree-level qualification in Cheshire East.

The number of people aged 16 and over with a degree has risen from 23.8 per cent in Census 2001 to 32 per cent – higher than the national rate of 27.2 per cent.

The proportion of adults in Cheshire East with no qualifications has fallen from 24.7 per cent to 19.6 per cent, lower than the national rate of 22.7 per cent.

For more information and statistics from Census 2011, visit www.ons.gov.uk

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Cheshire East Council working hard to bridge funding gap

 

Cheshire East Council is working hard to bridge the funding gap and protect essential public services.

Council Leader Michael Jones today announced that the funding gap for 2013/14 has already been reduced to single figures, as part of a longer-term plan to balance the Council’s books.

This major reduction in costs is the result of an ongoing effort, spearheaded by the Leader, to identify all possible ways to save money and reduce the tax burden on local people, whilst at the same time protecting essential frontline services.

Major reductions in unnecessary costs have already resulted from a thorough examination of the Council’s service structures and ways of working by the Leader and his Cabinet.  More work will be done over Christmas and in the New Year.

Councillor Jones said: “We have left no stone unturned. Savings must be driven by improving the way the Council organises itself and by improving its productivity.

“We have detailed plans, over the next few years, to reduce our management overheads, cut out waste and unnecessary bureaucracy and rethink the way we do things.

“To provide better value for money, we will make bold changes to slim down and group together related activities. This will provide a better and more seamless service to local people.

“We know that Government funding in future years will be much less, as we reduce the public deficit in the UK. But we are responding well in the Council to this unprecedented challenge.

“We know there will be increasing pressures also on our limited resources as we go on caring for the growing number of elderly people, from safeguarding vulnerable children and adults, from welfare reform and for changes in education as more local schools seek to become academies.

“Over Christmas, my Cabinet and I will continue our tireless work to have a plan in place to balance our books and to create an effective Council that is sustainable in the future.

“This will include using fewer buildings to reduce costs and slimming down our management structures to protect essential frontline jobs. The Chief Executive and I will be announcing more about this in the New Year.

“After Christmas, we will also start a conversation with local people about the part they can play in helping us reduce our costs and offer them an even better deal.

“People should have confidence in Cheshire East Council. It is changing for the better. We have already made improvements since the demise of the former local authorities, including better waste services and higher levels of attainment in our local schools.

“Our sound financial management means also that we will be able to make major investment in new roads and other infrastructure to grow our local economy, to create new jobs and bring greater prosperity for residents.

“You have my complete commitment to continue these improvements and to give a fair deal to the people of Cheshire East.”

Spread the warmth

 

Cheshire East Council and Age UK Cheshire, in association with their partners and the Local Adult Safeguarding Board, are offering a range of advice and support to residents on how to keep warm, well and safe this winter.

The Council 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.

This week, we look at how the Council can assist vulnerable people with essential home repairs.

Improving homes, improving lives

Cheshire East Council is doing its bit to support older and disabled people with home repairs and adaptations to keep them safe, warm and independent in their homes.

Care and Repair is a service for older and disabled people, guiding them through the often complex or daunting process of carrying out repairs and adaptations in their own home.

And the Council may be able to help people to find ways to pay for the required work through a loan or grant from the authority, including urgent heating repairs during the winter.

Councillor Jamie Macrae, Cabinet member in charge of prosperity and economic regeneration, said: “If you are over 60, or if someone in your household has a disability, Cheshire East Council can help.

“People may need advice about home repairs or adapting their home to suit their needs or there may be small jobs around the home that they can no longer do.

“Also, we may be able to help homeowners who need urgent help with heating repairs but can't afford it. We have access to some fast-track funds to help to quickly put the problem right, and also have information about loans for bigger and longer term repairs.

“We aim to keep the charges as low as possible to make the service affordable and all advice and information is free of charge.

“We can offer help with many types of work around the home, from fixing a dripping tap to building an extension.”

Care and repair can also help by:

•           Offering technical advice and information about repairs and adaptations;

•           Drawing up plans and specifications;

•           Helping to employ reputable contractors;

•           Giving tips on making homes warmer and finding available offers and grants;

•           Providing information about other services to help people live independently in their own homes; and

•           Helping to find ways to pay for home repairs and adaptations and checking entitlement to benefits.

Sean Reynolds, the chair of the Adult Safeguarding Board, said: “Most of us want to live in our own homes and maintain our independence for as long as possible.

“I welcome initiatives like these, which are intended to assist its most vulnerable people, especially during the winter months, to feel warm, healthy and safe.

“This particular service can also help people to find loans and grants and give assistance with filling in application forms for funding.”

For more information, call 0300 123 5017 or visit www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/careandrepair

The Search for Recycling Champions of the Year

 

A competition to encourage more people to reduce, reuse and recycle is offering families the chance to win a year’s free membership to any of Cheshire East Council’s leisure centres.   

Cheshire East Council is committed to reducing the amount of waste that is destined for the black bin and the competition is designed to find the ‘Recycling Champions of the Year’. There will also be six runner-up prizes to see the Magic of Beatrix Potter at Tatton Park.

Councillor Rod Menlove, Cabinet member in charge of the environment, said: “We’d like to hear from ‘green’ families across the borough, doing their bit for Cheshire East.

“We want to hear the best and brightest ideas about how to recycle leftover food so that it doesn’t end up in the bin. Around one third of black bin waste is food.

“We’d also like to hear about novel ways to recycle and reuse your household waste and, hopefully, change people’s thinking to a ‘mend and make do’ mentality.

“All the great ideas will be passed on to the public through our publicity campaign and they will hopefully inspire other people to try different ways to recycle and cut down on all the unnecessary waste.”

The competition has been promoted during a series of roadshows recently that have been encouraging residents to share their tips and ideas on recycling and reducing waste, as well as practical ways to deal with changes to waste collections over the Christmas period (see below).

· The winners of the competition, including the runners-up, will be announced in January.

· To take part email: info@cheshireeast.gov.uk outlining in no more than 150 words why you should be considered as the ‘Recycling Champions of the Year’.

· Include your name, address and telephone number.

·  The deadline is January 18, 2013.

· For more information log on to: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/recycling or call 0300 123 5011.

A reminder about festive collections:

· If your normal residual bin collection is Tuesday, December 25, it will now be Thursday, December 27; Normal residual bin collection - Wednesday, December 26 (now Friday, December 28). Normal residual bin collection - Tuesday, January 1 (now Wednesday, January 2)

· If your normal recycling bin collection is Tuesday, December 25, it will now be Saturday, December 29. Normal recycling bin collection – Wednesday, December 26 (now Monday, December 31); Normal recycling collection date – Tuesday, January 1 (now Thursday, January 3). 

Christmas tree recycling:

  • Place it in your garden waste bin - cut up larger trees so that the lid still closes otherwise this cannot be collected.
  • At your household waste recycling centre (vehicle permit may be required).
  • East Cheshire Hospice may collect in postcodes SK9 - SK12 or WA16 for a donation (www.echtrees.org.uk)

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Man named following fatal collision on the M6

 

At 11.23am on Monday 11 December emergency services attended a 9 vehicle collision on the M6 southbound approaching junction 16 at Barthomley.

As a result of this incident 11 people received injuries. Sadly Alan Bullock, aged 54, from the Blackpool area died at the scene from his injuries.

A 33-year-old woman from the Sheffield area and a 50-year-old man from the Blackpool area remain in a serious but stable condition in hospital.

Cheshire Police is appealing for any witnesses to the incident to contact them on 101 quoting incident number 338 of 10 December.

Reported rapes rise attributable to newly established rape unit

 

As the ‘rape shatters lives, there is no excuse′ campaign continues, we take a look at the Dedicated Rape Unit who are based within Cheshire Police, their role in dealing with rape victims and sexual offenders and the impact that they have had since their formation, with a 38% increase in rapes reported during the period from October 2011 to September 2012.

The Dedicated Rape Unit team consists of one Detective Inspector, three Detective Sergeants and 19 Constables. The Crown Prosecution Service has also provided two specialist lawyers and two paralegal officers who work within the rape unit. They work alongside the investigating officers and provide advice in relation to the direction of rape cases and their outcome.

Cheshire Police created a Dedicated Rape Unit which was in place by 19th September 2011 and which is led by a Detective Inspector. The Dedicated Rape Unit deals with 70% of all Rape and Sexual Offences. However, some cases are passed over to specialist officers from the Public Protection Unit. During this time, the unit has worked closely with the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre (RASASC) and the Sexual Abuse Referral Centre (SARC) based at St Mary′s Hospital in Manchester to provide that much needed support to victims.

Under the old system - when a Dedicated Rape Unit wasn′t in place - cases would go to the CID and be dealt with alongside other work loads. They didn′t have the Crown Prosecution Service working with them or as close links to St Mary′s or RASASC and the officers couldn′t dedicate sufficient time to cases despite their need to prioritise any rape cases. The DRU was set up because there was a concern with the number of cases reported and crimed and they wanted to give more time and care to the victim.

The introduction of a Dedicated Rape Unit has meant that there is a much simpler method in which victims can speak to officers, the officers can meet the needs of victims and have a support mechanism in place to provide counselling and advice. The DRU can spend more time on the cases with specialised officers on hand, who are trained to deal with serious sexual assaults. It also stops the victim being passed over to different people dealing with the case, so that one officer is assigned to each case.

Adam Waller, Detective Sergeant in the Dedicated Rape Unit commented that "Rape is hugely under-reported to the Police and nationally we do not know the true extent of the crime. With the advent of the Dedicated Rape Unit, victims of rape in Cheshire will hopefully be reassured that they can come forwards and be treated with respect and dignity. In addition, through our close links with Independent Sexual Violence Advisors we will ensure that the relevant support will be put in place in order to help the victim."

You can read more about the rape campaign at www.cheshire.police.uk.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Police no longer looking for missing teenager

 

Cheshire Police are no longer looking for a 15-year-old boy who went missing last week.

The teenager was originally reported missing from the Crewe area on 29 November 2012.

He was found safe and well in the Congleton area.

PRIVATISATION NOT ON THE CARDS

 

"I am not a fan of privatisation" said Police & Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, John Dwyer. Over the weekend, John Dwyer has received over 200 e.mails from individuals urging him not to privatise the police.

John Dwyer said, " I will be responding to all the people who e.mailed me individually but I want to make it clear that I am not a fan of privatisation, in fact, I am a big fan of collaboration. I have spent my first two weeks in office meeting many partners in local authorities to talk about developing opportunities to collaborate across support or ‘back office’ functions. I believe we can do things better ourselves if we get our processes right and that we should make the best use of what we have got before we look elsewhere."

I will not consider the privatisation of frontline policing."

Update regarding situation on the M6 following serious collision

 

Cheshire Police remains at the scene of a serious collision involving nine vehicles on the south bound carriageway of the M6 this afternoon.

Emergency services were called to the collision at 11.23am today (Monday 10 December 2012).

The collision involves two vans, two HGVs and five cars. Seven people received minor injuries, three received serious injuries, two of which (a man and woman) are life threatening, and sadly one person - a man - has died. All the casualties have been taken to hospital, two by air ambulance.

The southbound carriageway remains closed between junction 16 and 18. A diversion is in place from junction 18 − although traffic along this route is heavy and is likely to remain so until the carriageway has reopened.

The incident has also affected roads surrounding the area of the motorway − in particular the A54 and the A50. Drivers are strongly advised to avoid the area and seek an alternative route where possible.

Highways Agency Traffic Officers and Cheshire Police have been working to free drivers stuck behind the collision at junction 16 of the southbound M6.

Traffic is being turned around in the carriageway and being released via Sandbach Services and junction 17 but due to the volume of traffic this is taking some time.

Anyone stuck on the carriageway - or any of the adjoining roads - with urgent concerns about their or someone else′s welfare should ring 999 for emergency help.

DCI Brian Roberts said: "We are working closely alongside the Highways Agency and are doing all we can to clear the backlog of traffic and to minimise the disruption that has been caused to the motorway network - and adjoining roads.

"We would like to thank motorists for their continued patience and would like to reassure them that we are doing everything we can to ensure that the carriageway is cleared as soon as possible."

Anyone with any information in relation to the incident is urged to call Cheshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 338 of 10 December.