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Wednesday, 30 January 2013

COMMISSIONER WELCOMES NEW SPECIALS

 

John Dwyer, the Police and Crime Commissioner met the latest intake of thirteen Special Constables at the weekend.

John Dwyer said, "These men and women have volunteered to give some of their time to help make Cheshire an even better place to live.

"After training they will have the same powers as regular officers and will work alongside them to keep our streets and our homes safe.

"It is a challenging but rewarding task and I believe the volunteers benefit from learning new skills and broadening their experience.

"I want to see the number of Specials increase and be a valuable part of policing our neighbourhoods. They will have local knowledge and, because of that, people will use them as a point of contact when they have issues which are causing them concern.

They will be invaluable in tackling the type of crime and anti social behaviour which affects people′s everyday lives."

Council looks to secure sporting legacy

 

Cheshire East Council has moved to secure a lasting legacy from last year’s Olympic and Paralympics games in London by signing a memorandum of understanding with Sport Cheshire.

The pledge sets out how the two organisations will work together to get more people active, more often. This will boost grass-roots sport across the Borough, as well as providing health and social benefits to participants.

Since 2005, when the bid for London 2012 was won, the number of adults participating in sport across the UK has increased by 1.57 million.

However, there are still large numbers of people who are inactive and the partnership between Cheshire East Council and Sport Cheshire is determined to target these groups to improve their health.

Recent studies have shown that lack of exercise, and the obesity it can lead to, causes more deaths than smoking. More active people can experience life expectancy gains of as much as 4.5 years.

Councillor Janet Clowes, Cabinet member in charge of health and adult social care, said: “The whole of the country came together last summer for the games in London and it showed what a force for good sport can be.

“Hopefully this partnership will encourage and enable more people to take up sport and activity here in Cheshire – ensuring that the much-talked-about ‘legacy’ is secured.”

Anne Ibrahim, chief executive of Sport Cheshire, said: “To achieve our aims we need to learn more about the needs, drivers and barriers of non-participants. We can then use this information to work with Cheshire East Council and other partners to make local services more relevant to residents and encourage more people to get active, more often.

Search for missing teenager Nathan Taylor enters third day

 

Police are today continuing the search for missing Warrington teenager Nathan Taylor.

Eighteen year old Priestley College student Nathan was reported missing by his family after failing to return to home from a birthday party in Latchford last Saturday evening.

The police search is focused around Kingsway and Latchford areas of Warrington as police search advisors try to piece together Nathan′s movements on Saturday night with the help of witnesses who have come forward and CCTV images.

Superintendent Martin Cleworth said "We are extremely concerned for Nathan′s welfare, especially given the exceptionally bad weather conditions we experienced last weekend. We have a significant amount of resources committed in the search for Nathan, and understand that this is completely out of character for him to not be in touch with his family or friends. We urge anyone who may have been at the party that evening and may have seen Nathan leaving the premises, or perhaps anyone who he spoke with on that evening or since, and may have knowledge of his current whereabouts, to contact Cheshire Police as a matter of urgency".

Cheshire Police welcome the support of the local community in the search for Nathan Taylor however would not encourage members of the public to engage in any searching activities that could put their own safety in danger.  The Police are currently working with other specialists and trained volunteers to search for Nathan within a focused search strategy, and would discourage the public from taking any unnecessary risks by conducting their own searches.

Nathan′s family have spoken about their concern for his whereabouts and his parents Amanda and Chris have made the following appeal; "Nathan we are all devastated about your disappearance. If you are listening to this, or have seen the appeal for you, please contact us. We are all so worried about you and need to know you are safe"

Cheshire Police are contactable on by dialling 101.

COMMISSIONER HEARS PEOPLE'S VIEWS

 

Cheshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, John Dwyer says he has "learned a great deal" from meeting people on the street in Crewe town centre.

He was talking to people on Friday 25 January, seeking their views on the objectives in his draft Police and Crime Plan, and on proposals for police council tax for the coming year.

He said, "Despite the bitterly cold weather, plenty of people had views to express. What came across very clearly is the importance people attach to policing. They see it as an integral part of their lives and really value the concept of neighbourhood policing with its close links between themselves and their local police officers, police community support officers and special constables.

That is why we need to ensure that, whatever the financial constraints, we do what we can to protect frontline policing."

For the event in Crewe, an exhibition vehicle was stationed among the Friday market stalls.

Police community support officers combined the duty of town centre patrolling with assisting people to complete a survey on the Police and Crime Plan and budget.

John said, "Eighty six people completed the questionnaires. With those from other parts of Cheshire and others from an on line survey, I will get a very clear picture of what people think. I want to thank everyone who took part.

Waste Reduction Volunteers Needed

 

Would you like to learn how to shave pounds off your shopping bill? Cheshire East Council is hosting a training day to show people how to do just that – and become a Waste Reduction Volunteer (WRV).

Over a month the average family throws away £50 worth of food as most of the waste that ends up in our black bin becomes dinner table scraps.

The Council is now looking to recruit WRVs who can spread the word about the benefits of home composting and reducing household food waste.

The Council would like to hear from people who want to take part in a day’s training at Middlewich Community Church on Saturday 16 February.

Volunteer Sally Hoare, from Wilmslow said: “Being a volunteer has lots of benefits and I’ve met some great, like-minded people. I am passionate about doing my bit to help save the planet and enjoy talking about ways to reduce food waste at events like this throughout the year. I would definitely recommend it”.

Councillor David Topping, Cabinet member in charge of environmental services, said: “This is fun, engaging and extremely worthwhile. 

“Not only will your efforts help divert needless amounts of food and organic waste from going to landfill, the training will also help people plan their food shopping more carefully and save money in the long term – up to £50 per month for a family of four.”

Volunteers will receive training, travel expenses and membership of the WRV reward scheme. Anyone interested in becoming a WRV should visit www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/recycling  to sign up, or telephone the project coordinator on: 01270 686094.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

HS2 Announcement creates a massive opportunity for further growth and prosperity in Cheshire East via Crewe

 

Cheshire East Council today welcomed plans that will bring a huge economic boost for Crewe.

The proposed route will take this new line under Crewe and there will be a connection point from the new line to the West Coast Main Line south of Crewe. The proposed route does not directly affect our key historic towns and tourist assets, such as Tatton Park, and this is as a result of Cheshire East Council working with our MPs etc.

A HS2 connection at Crewe will enable two trains an hour from Liverpool to switch on to the new high speed line at Crewe to London and give a much-reduced journey time of 58 minutes.

This total connectivity will stimulate new investment and jobs in Crewe and the surrounding area.

In addition to this, the maintenance depot for the Manchester branch HS2 line will be at Crewe – creating more than 300 jobs.

In addition to the direct benefits for Crewe, there are significant benefits for people and businesses in the north of the Borough – who, through improved connectivity to Manchester Airport, will have direct access to the new HS2 station, which is planned to be close to the M56 junction 6.

Council Leader Michael Jones today said: “This is great news for Cheshire East and for Crewe in particular. This decision firmly demonstrates the government’s belief in Crewe and puts Crewe firmly at the centre of the North West’s growing economy. HS2 consolidates Cheshire East at the most connected area in the UK.

“Your MPs George Osborne, Edward Timpson and I, have fought hard to keep the line away from Knutsford and Tatton, which we have been successful in achieving. Throughout the process we raised concerns about the line of route and raised the profile for a common sense solution, which I believe we have achieved.

“I will continue this fight to ensure we continue to get the best deal for all the people of Cheshire East.

“This is great news for the 44,000 people who live in Cheshire East and own a business in the area and beyond. It is great news if you are seeking to invest.

“We already have international companies such as Waters and AstraZeneca, who have chosen to come here and expand their operations, and this news today reinforces the fact that Cheshire East is open for business

“The history of HS2 was that it was always coming to Manchester and to the airport and as a result of today’s announcement our industries will gain from the airport station, allowing our companies and residents accessibility to London via the airport in an hour.

“Those living in the north of the Borough will also benefit from much-improved road and rail access to Manchester Airport. 

“High Speed 2 is fantastic news for most of our residents. However, as we celebrate the news for Crewe, we should also strive to ensure any disruption is minimised and also that our beautiful land in Cheshire East is protected.

“I will work hard to minimise the impact along the proposed route and ensure that residents, businesses and landowners affected will receive the appropriate compensation in a timely manner. I will also be working hard to ensure that the environmental impact along the new line is minimised.

“I will now continue to lobby hard for a new dedicated HS2 station at Crewe in the tunnel directly under the existing station, creating a fully-integrated hub station between HS2 and the existing Rail network. This solution would provide even greater connectivity for Crewe, Cheshire East and the whole of the North West and North Wales, with a focus on a much wider range of destinations.

“The estimated cost of a hub station at Crewe is £200m. The cost for UK plc of not doing this – as a result of the loss of economic performance and social costs in areas such as North Wales, Stoke and Liverpool – could be as much as £2 billion. I will be developing this argument strongly as part of our process of active lobbying for the new station.

“With this 360 degree connectivity secured, I believe that we will have then achieved the maximum economic benefits for UK plc and for the local people and businesses of Cheshire East.”

Monday, 28 January 2013

Cheshire Police joins forces across North West to highlight anti-terror hotline

 

Cheshire Police and other Police forces across the North West are supporting a regional campaign launched by the North West Counter Terrorism Unit (NW CTU) by urging members of the public to be vigilant in the fight against terrorism.

This campaign is the latest phase of work by the NW CTU to raise public awareness about the threat from terrorism and encourages people working and living in the North West region to report any suspicious or unusual behaviour to the Confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline 0800 789 321.

Chief Inspector Dave Blood, from Cheshire Police Counter Terrorism Branch, said: "Recent events across the globe have highlighted the need to remain vigilant. The campaign is not linked to any current threat. However, the threat from international terrorism is very real and has in no way dissipated.

"Members of the public remain key to dealing with the threat of terrorism. Residents across Cheshire have the best knowledge of their communities and are more likely to notice any suspicious behaviour. Therefore, we are asking people to continue to be vigilant and to make a note of the Anti-Terrorist Hotline number so they can report anything they think may be suspicious in their community.

"We are urging people to trust their instincts and pick up the phone, they could provide the crucial piece of information that can prevent terrorism happening in Cheshire."

Individuals involved in terrorist activities can seek to exploit vulnerable people for extremist purposes and we all have a responsibility to stop that from happening. The public can help by identifying those people. If you are concerned that someone you know is acting differently or you notice a change in their behaviour, please contact the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321 or visit the Cheshire Police website for more information.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Big Battle in Nantwich were late reporting it as it was in 1664

Reporter J WhiteBattle Re-enactment at Mill Island

‘The Battle of Nantwich & Winter Fayre’ took place in the town centre and on Mill Island on Saturday 26th January 2013. The event is organised by The Holly Holy Day Society - http://www.hollyholyday.org.uk - in association with the Sealed Knot re-enactment society and Rotary. This year is the 41st year the battle has been re-enacted. Holly Holy Day traces back to the 17th century and the four year long first English Civil War between Parliamentarians (Roundheads) and the Royalists (Cavaliers) loyal to Charles I. A variety of events took place in town during the day involving wreath-laying ceremony at the war memorial to commemorate people who died in the Civil War Battle of Nantwich and other battles; along with a Farmers Market, the Domesday Morris dancers, Nantwich Players and the Nantwich Museum. The 1644 battle was re-enacted on Mill Island and was followed by a prize-giving ceremony for the best regiment.

Parade from the Town Centre to Mill IslandTroops Parade in the Town Centre

Agencies in support of ‘rape shatters lives’

 

Rises in rape and sexual assault over the winter months have been highlighted in a rape campaign that clearly communicates the message that ‘rape shatters lives, there is no excuse’. Cheshire Constabulary’s Dedicated Rape Unit have been dealing with an increase in reported rape cases since it was established over a year ago. The launch of ‘rape shatters lives’ uses the intelligence gathered by Cheshire Police with the most prolific times of the year. They work closely with key agencies in a bid to strengthen the support mechanism for the victim.

The rape unit works in partnership with St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) based in Manchester and the Cheshire Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre (RASASC) to provide victims of rape and sexual abuse with the support, advice and counselling they need to deal with what has happened and help bring the perpetrators to justice.

The partnership between Cheshire Police, RASASC and St Mary’s SARC has shown positive results. For the period July to September 2012, 80.5% of Cheshire rapes reported to RASASC were also reported to police which suggests victims are becoming increasingly confident in the criminal justice process.

Historically, victims have said they were reluctant to report a rape to the police for a variety of reasons. The fear of reprisal, especially in cases where they had a relationship with the offender, and reliving the emotional and physical trauma associated with the case, were given as strong deterrents for reporting a rape to the police.

Debbie Dodd, Detective Inspector of the Dedicated Rape Unit made the comment that "Due to the fact that not all victims want to pursue a criminal complaint through the police, the partnership provides victims with support to make the right choice for them whilst also providing advice and guidance about their wellbeing. Moving forward, it is hoped that victims will have the confidence to speak out about what has happened to them in the knowledge that they will be supported, and particularly those victims with vulnerabilities."

The joint approach and seamless referral between the agencies involved in the investigation and support of rape victims has increased confidence in the service provided and has led to victims coming forward, not only to report a rape but to stay engaged in the criminal justice process through to a successful prosecution.

At each stage of the investigation and prosecution those involved in bringing a case to court have specialist roles and are experts in dealing with rape and sexual assault. The detectives working in the Dedicated Rape Unit, the crisis workers and doctors at the SARC who provide support and forensic medical services, the specialist rape lawyers and paralegal officers from the Crown Prosecution Service based in the rape unit, through to the counsellors and Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs) from RASASC, all work to support the victim and reduce the impact on the victim at a time when they are most vulnerable.

The partnership has been instrumental in engaging with the victim and increased the rate of referrals to the Dedicated Rape Unit. St Mary’s SARC provides a range of services for people who have been raped or sexually assaulted. When an offence is reported to the police, the centre’s services are automatically offered as part of the response to sexual violence by giving medical exams and providing the rape unit with the necessary forensic evidence to corroborate the case.

Bernie Ryan, St Mary’s Centre Manager, said: "Since the Cheshire SARC service opened we have seen a total of 280 cases from Cheshire and had an extremely positive response, not just from Cheshire residents but also from the partners that have helped develop the service. Our main focus is to help and support people who have experienced rape or sexual assault. They don’t have to make a report to the police to access our service but if they do, then we are here to support them.

"The ‘Rape Shatters Lives’ campaign is an important way to raise awareness and encourage victims to come forward. We continue to work in close partnership to deliver a high quality service to all our clients."

Julie Evans, Operations Manager from RASASC commented that "it’s really useful having the Crown Prosecution Service based within the team and cases are coming to court much more quickly"

RASASC (Cheshire & Merseyside) is a registered charity that provides specialist support, counselling and information free of charge and in confidence in a safe and non-threatening environment for anyone accessing the service. RASASC provide services throughout Cheshire and Merseyside, with offices based in Cheshire East, Cheshire West, Halton, St Helens, and Warrington. They are commissioned to provide the Cheshire SARC in partnership with St Mary’s, Manchester and offer aftercare to people who are aged over 13 and in need of support following rape or sexual assault.

RASASC provide Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs) who meet with a victim and agree a care plan. This can include making appointments for sexual health checks and providing in-house counselling, but an ISVA will usually accompany the victim to the police station to report an offence of rape and will support them throughout the criminal justice process by giving advice on how the case is progressing. Coupled with the support and advice provided by the rape unit for the duration of the case gives the victim the confidence in the service and reduces that feeling of "having to cope on their own."

When asked how effectively the partnership works, one of the ISVAs stated that "having a team of specialist officer’s means we know who to go to if we need any further information about a case"

Numerous people who have used RASASC and have experienced the partnership in action comment on their experience:

A 13 year old girl raped by her boyfriend said: "I moved schools, and now have a better education and yes I do feel loved and special again and no-one will ever take it away from me again. My anger has changed a lot and I have my old personality back."

A 50 year old woman who suffered child sexual abuse by a family member said:

"I would have had so many negative effects if this service had not been available. I do feel that my confidence in other areas has improved greatly. Awareness is vital for people to have the benefit of this service − I will remember RASASC in my future and hope that doctors and police have information that can be obtained easily when needed."

Julie from RASASC commented that "All of our ISVA’s have found the close working relationship with the Dedicated Rape Unit really helpful in supporting our clients. We feel that the partnership enables us to keep clients informed and ensures people feel supported through the criminal justice system."

If you would like to read more about our rape campaign, please visit www.cheshire.police.uk.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Traffic Light Upgrade – Crewe Green Roundabout

 

The traffic lights at Crewe Green roundabout are being upgraded this weekend as part of an ongoing refurbishment and energy-saving programme.

On Saturday and Sunday (January 26 and 27), the traffic lights will be switched off on Crewe Green Road, University Way and Crewe Road while the work takes place. The junction will act as a conventional roundabout.

The works have been scheduled on a weekend to minimise delays for motorists.

The lights are being replaced with Light Emitting Diodes (LED) traffic signals, which are more visible to drivers, longer-lasting and they also reduce maintenance costs compared to the existing signals.

The LED upgrade of traffic signals, which is happening across Cheshire East, will cut energy consumption by 75 per cent – significantly reducing CO2 emissions and cutting the Council’s electricity bill.

Although the LED upgrade is solely maintenance activity, the Council is still pursuing longer-term alterations that will improve this vitally important section of the highway network.

Fewer Victims Of Crime in Cheshire

 

Crime in Cheshire has fallen by a further 5% in the past year, and the chances of becoming a victim of crime are at their lowest since 1990 according to figures released today by the British Crime Survey.

The latest quarterly crime figures show falls across many categories of crime, including a substantial decrease in domestic burglary. There are 500 fewer victims of burglary across the county compared to the same period in 2011. This means that far fewer people are returning to their house and discovering their home has been targeted by thieves and fewer Cheshire residents are experiencing the emotional distress and financial implications that this particular crime brings.

Assistant Chief Constable Janette McCormick welcomed today’s findings. She said, "Our focus is very much upon the impact that crime can have upon its victims, and happily in Cheshire the chances of becoming a victim are at their lowest since 1990. For some time now we have adopted a sustained and intelligence led approach to reducing crime and antisocial behaviour in an effort to reduce levels of offending and in turn improve the quality of life for our residents and businesses."

ACC McCormick continued "Particularly reassuring is the indication that victims of rape and serious sexual offences have the confidence in policing to come forward and report the matter to us, resulting in more perpetrators of sex crimes − particularly historical sex crimes - being brought to justice. This has resulted in an increase in the number of sexual offences recorded."

There is good news for car owners as vehicle crime has again reduced. 300 fewer offences were reported compared to the same period in 2011, however the Constabulary is continuing to urge car owners to take responsibility for their vehicle security and to keep valuables out of sight as traditionally vehicle crime offences rise during the winter months.

A fall of 11% in violent crime that includes violence against the person causing injury equates to 600 fewer victims, including those victims subject to domestic assault. The Constabulary have recently launched campaigns to raise awareness of these issues including advice in respect of safe and responsible drinking and a campaign to support victims of domestic abuse. There has been a strong focus on policing the night-time economy with the introduction of the Archangel Protected Town scheme which maintains standards of behaviour around the pubs and clubs of four major towns in the County.

John Dwyer, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire said "I am delighted to see that the crime figures for Cheshire continue to fall. This is due to the dedication and commitment of the all the officers and staff who work hard to keep the people of Cheshire safe. I also believe that it can be attributed to the work being done with the most persistent and prolific criminals to reduce re-offending".

Thursday, 24 January 2013

COMMISSIONER SUPPORTS "UNDULY LENIENT SENTENCES (RIGHT OF APPEAL) BILL".

 

Police & Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, John Dwyer has supported a 10 minute "Unduly Lenient Sentences (Right of Appeal) Bill" which was presented to the House of Commons on 22 January.

Gareth Johnson, MP for Dartford, presented the Bill to extend the powers of prosecuting authorities to appeal against unduly lenient sentences imposed in the Criminal Courts.

The Bill is designed to balance the scales of justice to ensure that sentencing can be challenged for both victims and offenders and to redress the inequality of the defence being able to appeal against any sentence and yet, in the vast majority of cases, the prosecution are prevented from appealing.

Currently it is only the most serious of cases that can be appealed by the prosecution. This includes rape, murder, and serious robbery. In some cases the sentence can be substantially changed on appeal, this right should be available to the prosecution in far more cases.

John Dwyer said, "This Bill perfectly complements my manifesto commitment to introduce sense in sentencing where victims are often left bewildered and scared as offenders receive lenient sentences. I want a sentencing process that strikes the balance, embracing severity and strictness when needed. At present we have an appeals procedure that favours the rights of the offender over the rights of the victim. It also allows the Courts to be as lenient as they like without redress, yet subject to appeal if they are robust."

Under current UK criminal procedure, defence teams can appeal any sentence that they feel has been too tough. This ability is automatic for sentences given at the Magistrates or Youth Court or through leave of a Judge against Crown Court sentences. Conversely the prosecution cannot appeal at all against unduly lenient sentences where they are imposed in the Magistrates or Youth Court and only for a handful of offences when sentencing takes place in the Crown Court. For example, a person sentenced in the Crown Court for a handful of sexual offences, some serious assault and public order matters, burglary or dangerous driving cannot currently be subject to a prosecution appeal, even where a prosecutor believes that the sentence was too lenient.

A number of MPs have already offered their support for the Bill which will receive its second reading in the House of Commons on 2 March 2013.

Council gets tough on unauthorised development

 

Cheshire East Council has successfully secured a court order requiring Gypsy families to leave an unauthorised site in Pickmere, near Knutsford.

The order, which will allow the site to be restored to grassland, is subject to the outcome of a planning appeal.

The Gypsies moved on to the land, which they own, and developed the site without planning permission. A second retrospective planning application in August 2012 was refused.

The refusal is now being appealed, with the decision being heard by a public inquiry starting on March 25, 2013.

Following the inquiry, the planning inspector will write a report to the secretary of state, who will then issue the final decision.

If the Council’s decision to refuse the planning application is upheld, the residents must leave the site within three months.

Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “Firstly, we are aware that this is an emotive issue and one that involves families with children. Naturally, we will handle this sensitively, working with those concerned.

“We have worked closely with the local parish council in light of current efforts to identify both permanent and temporary sites for Gypsies and Travellers.

“We are looking for plan-led sites that are sustainable and dispel the perception that there is a free-for-all when it comes to Gypsies and Travellers setting up sites in Cheshire East.

“This order sends out a clear message that Cheshire East Council will not tolerate people developing land without any concern for planning permission.

“We are blessed with beautiful countryside here in Cheshire East and our planning procures seek to protect this, not just for us, but for future generations.”

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Don’t be SAD this winter

 

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can affect as many as a third of all people.

Also known as the ‘winter blues’, it is officially recognised by doctors as a medical condition and the Cheshire East Council is urging anyone who is feeling unusually lethargic or depressed this winter to make contact with their GP.

People in the UK are more susceptible to SAD as they experience profound changes in

light levels between the summer and winter.

They also experience periods of dark, gloomy weather, which can reduce the amount of light received and this can have a significant effect on body clocks.

A combination of a change in seasonal light, hectic lifestyles and the periods of darker days and poorer weather can have dramatic effects.

Councillor Janet Clowes, Cabinet member in charge of health and adult social care, said: “Our Spread the Warmth campaign offers a range of information on numerous subjects, including how to get help if people feel they are suffering with depression or lethargy.

“By visiting our website, we can point people in the right direction. Anybody who feels he or she is lacking in energy, is unable to carry out a normal routine or has sleep problems, finds it hard to stay awake during the day or is having disturbed nights should think about speaking to a health professional.”

Health professionals are in a good position to assess the nature and severity of any changes in mood and advise on the best course of action. Often just the opportunity to talk can provide relief and reassurance.

GPs are also in a position to refer people to experienced health care practitioners, counselling colleagues or to Council and voluntary sector services that can help with a range of practical and social problems, which may be contributing to increased anxiety and depression.

Other potential features of SAD include:

•           Loss of libido, not interested in physical contact;

•           Anxiety, inability to cope;

•           Social problems, irritability, not wanting to see people;

•           Depression, feelings of gloom and despondency for no apparent reason;

•           Craving for carbohydrates and sweet foods, leading to weight gain.

Sean Reynolds, the chair of the Cheshire East Adult Safeguarding Board, said: “It is at times like these that people may be less able to protect themselves or seek help. It is therefore important that we all show more understanding to our partners, parents, friends and neighbours and show extra vigilance and willingness to report any concerns.”

Could you become a local councillor for Crewe?

 

Are you passionate about helping your community? Do you believe you can make a difference to people’s lives?

Now, you could have your chance after Cheshire East Council agreed to a new parish council in Crewe (see notes to editor).

A total of 20 locally-elected people will serve the town as it also looks to take charge of a number of key assets such as public toilets and allotment sites for the benefit of the town.

With Crewe to have a more local voice, people are being asked if they are up to the challenge of becoming a local councillor and deliver for the town.

Anyone interested in being a candidate is welcome to attend a public meeting on Wednesday, February 13 at 7pm or Friday, February 15 at the Municipal Buildings, Crewe, at 2.30pm.

Councillor Paul Findlow, Cabinet member in charge of corporate policy, said: “We asked the people of Crewe if they wanted a parish council and the answer was clearly ‘yes’. In fact, a Cheshire East ballot found almost nine out of 10 people who voted feel it is the best thing for the town. Now, this is to become a reality.

“Cheshire East will help to get the new council on its feet in the first year with contributions to the budget but it will then be up to the 20 councillors to organise their own budget and provide best value for the people of Crewe.

“Local facilities are to be run and managed by local people. This is a view we must agree with when local people have voted so emphatically in favour, and I am confident that the new council will prove to be of great benefit to Crewe.”

A reorganisation order to formally establish the council is now available for inspection at Cheshire East Council’s headquarters in Westfields, Sandbach from 9am until 5pm on weekdays. An election to fill the council’s seats will be held on April 4.

Town and parish councillors are able to help shape the future of their area by commenting on planning applications. They also have a key role in helping to run and manage some key public facilities.

The Crewe parish is to be divided into six wards and will comprise 20 councillors. These are broken down as follows and fairly reflect the populations of each ward:

· Crewe St Barnabas – 2

· Crewe Central – 2

· Crewe North – 2

· Crewe South (except for Gresty Brook) – 4

· Crewe East – 6

· Crewe West – 4

Anyone who requires further information should call Cheshire East Council’s elections team on 01270 685922.

Meanwhile, having also considered the results of the ballot of electors, the unparished part of the Borough ward of Leighton is to be included within the Leighton Urban ward of Minshull Vernon & District Parish Council.

This means there are now parish councillor vacancies in the Leighton Urban Ward of Minshull Vernon & District which can be filled by co-option. For more information, contact the parish clerk Carol Jones on 01270 812065 or carol.jones@ceparishclerk.co.uk

Councillor Derek Bebbington, ward member for Leighton, who also sits on Minshull Vernon & District Parish Council, said: “The respondents in the Leighton Borough ward have opted to remain as a whole community with the rest of the Minshull Vernon & District Parish.

“Now, we are actively seeking people who will come forward to represent the local community on this council.

“At the same time, we must support the new council in Crewe and hope that it works for the people of the town.”

Waste/Recycling Collection Update

 

Cheshire East Council staff are working hard to clear the backlog of collections, caused by the severe winter weather, as access to side streets improves.

However, some roads and tracks, especially in rural areas which have had limited traffic or are on a slope, may remain inaccessible. 

Our staff are emptying as many missed bins as we can today (Tuesday) and will be running additional vehicles again tomorrow.

If residents’ waste has not yet been collected, due to the bad weather, people are being advised to leave their bins out (and accessible) until they are collected.

This will be dependent on weather conditions over the next few days.

We would like to thank residents for their patience and understanding.

Motorists being driven by road safety messages

 

Cheshire Police have now released their winter drink and drug driving results following a series of road safety initiatives which were conducted from November of last year. These included targeting motorists who drive the morning after a night of drinking. Road safety messages were communicated via a series of measures to include engagement days and breathalyser check points set up in specific areas to target motorists committing moving traffic offences. This ran alongside a national campaign by ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) to warn drivers that getting behind the wheel after a festive tipple could see them end up behind bars over Christmas.

According to police chiefs from ACPO, officers across the country carried out nearly 20,000 extra breath tests on Christmas drivers over the age of 25 and found that a small percentage were failing. In Cheshire, the number of positive breath tests carried out across the force has noticeably reduced during 2011 and 2012, and indicates a drop in arrests from 5.7% in 2011 to 4.8% in 2012. It is hoped by these latest statistics from Cheshire that the public are responding to drink driving messages which are delivered throughout the year by the police, and are taking it on board so they don’t risk the lives of others on the road.

One of the main focuses of the ACPO winter campaign was on the under 25s after research from 2011 showed that drivers aged between 20 and 24 failed more breath tests than any other age group. In a bid to tackle the issue, police across the country breathalysed more than 1,000 extra drivers in this age category compared to 2011 and findings reveal that there were 104 fewer young drivers failing tests compared to 2011.

Assistant Chief Constable, Ruth Purdie added that, "The outcome of the 2012 winter drink driving campaign shows the excellent work, and tenacity of our officers in keeping our roads safe. By stepping up enforcement measures and utilising extra resources over Christmas, this has allowed us to identify those motorists who are still not heeding our "don’t drink and drive" warnings.

However, what is still clearly evident is the worrying trend that the younger generation are not showing compliance despite our continued road safety messages to consider the consequences of your actions and think before getting into a car, after having drunk alcohol or taken drugs."

ACPO lead for Road Policing, Deputy Chief Suzette Davenport, also commented that "We made it clear to drivers before Christmas that we would be stepping up our efforts to breathalyse them and it is encouraging to see that the message had got through to even more drivers than last year. However, there is still a small but significant number who believe that they can risk their own lives and the lives of others, by driving under the influence and we will continue to focus on catching them."

As part of the enforcement measures, Cheshire Police also tested drivers for being under the influence of drugs. Across Cheshire, 26 field impairment tests were carried out, but with 8 arrests made which carries a similar pattern from 2011. From the results, the average age of drug drivers is 28. Dave Murray, Road Safety Officer said in relation to this, "many young people I speak to genuinely believe that certain drugs - mainly cannabis and stimulants make you a safer driver, this is a myth.  The reality is that taking drugs and attempting to drive carries serious consequences. Drugs, like alcohol, have the capacity to distort your perception of things in all kinds of ways.  One thing is certain, they definitely do not enhance your ability to carry out the complex task of driving, and they only make it more difficult and dangerous"

PC Andy Taylor, North West Motorway Police Group also commented that, "The results from last years Operation Keret demonstrate that a certain amount of drivers are willing to flaunt the law and drive whilst under the influence of drink and drugs. Cheshire Police will continue to detect and prosecute drivers under the influence to make the communities of Cheshire East, Cheshire West, Halton and Warrington a safer place."

To read more about Cheshire Police, please visit cheshire.police.uk.

Community Grants

 

The latest round of community grants has been announced, with 34 local groups benefitting from more than £20,000.

This instalment was the final allocation for the 2012/2013 financial year – a year that has seen community groups in Cheshire East receive a total of £96,133 in grant funding, helping to deliver projects with a total value of well over £700,000.

Grants are available to support community, environmental, sports, arts, heritage and play projects. Only one grant can be awarded to each organisation per financial year.

Organisations often use the grants to complement, or even ‘unlock’, other funding to finance larger schemes. 

Applications are judged on a number of criteria and they should be able to display that their project: enhances the quality of life for Cheshire East residents; increases involvement in the community; demonstrates the potential to be sustained in the future; and that it can attract more participants.

Some of the successful groups in the latest round (amount awarded in brackets) are:

Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre (£1,300)

The centre wishes to create an elevated pond and wild flower area to improve interactive learning for schools and community groups. This large project is expected to cost £15,600 with other funding coming from sponsorship and contributions from the centre.

Wishing Well Project (£1,500)

Wishing Well want to purchase a mobile recording studio for their youth club and partner youth clubs to use. It is thought that it will help improve confidence, reduce social isolation and improve literacy skills among young people.

Brereton Scout Group (£3,000)

The group is looking to replace the scout hut roof as it leaks and the timbers are becoming damaged. The entire project will cost £5,750, with the group also contributing funding.

Councillor Lesley Smetham, Cabinet support member for strategic communities, said: “We are delighted that our grant scheme has helped 119 community and voluntary organisations over the last year.

“We are also pleased that despite the tough financial climate, we are not planning a reduction in funding for next year’s community grant scheme – this is in recognition of the important community activity these grants support.

“I would advise anyone interested in applying for the next round of grants to get in touch and find out more.”

For more information on Community Grants go to www.cheshireeast.gov.uk and look in the Community and Living section. The next deadline for applications is March 29.

This decision is subject to the standard call-in period.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Snow in the area

reporter Jonathan White, Wistaston

Joey the Swan snow (Fri 18-1-13) top section 2

Hundreds of local people took advantage of the snow to have fun at ‘Joey the Swan’ in Wistaston. Local school and college closures meant that the slopes were swelled with people riding sledges of all shapes and sizes including half a canoe, along with the occasional snowboarder. The bottom section doubled as the nursery slope, whilst the top section was the preserve of the more confident tobogganist. The cold weather is forecast to extend into next week, so the fun should last for a little longer.

Wistaston in the snow (18-1-13) -  St Mary's Church (3)

Tennis anyone?

Wistaston in the snow (18-1-13) -  Wistaston Jubilee Tennis Club (3)

Cheshire East Council is losing out to the tune of £55 million(£150 per head) per year.

 

'Cheshire East Council is losing out to the tune of £55 million( £150 per head) per year, due to unfair grant funding from the Government, ' says Willaston and Rope Ward Councillor Brian Silvester. He has supported a cross party group of MPs calling on the government to reconsider the impact its funding settlement will have on rural communities.

Cllr Silvester said," Urban councils already receive 50% more per head of population than rural areas. The funding gap between rural and urban councils will  be further widened by the Local Government Financial Settlement. This is grossly unfair, especially as services cost a lot more to deliver in rural authorities like Cheshire East. The Rural Services Network has calculated that rural residents pay more in council tax than urban residents yet government grants for urban areas are 50% higher per head of population. At the same time, rural residents earn less, on average, than people in cities. People in rural areas earn less, pay higher council tax and then receive substantially less support for services from the Government. Rural residents are not getting a fair return on the national taxes they pay and urban taxpayers are getting a much better deal. It is about time that the rural areas like Cheshire East got a fairer deal. Enough is enough. Urgent action is required. I hope the MPs will be successful in their campaign and our local MPs will support them."

Weather update

 

Highways

Cheshire East Council will continue to grit all the Borough’s major routes over the next 24 hours. However, motorists are urged to drive with care, especially on rural routes that may not have been treated.

Gritting started early yesterday evening on the hills in the east of the Borough as snow fell. Treatment in this area has been continuous and we have managed to keep the Cheshire East side of the A537 and the A54 open to traffic. 

Crews have spread around of 800 tonnes of salt since yesterday evening and stocks remain plentiful.  All of our gritters have been out to ensure that conditions are as safe as we can make them.

As we move towards the next few days we are expecting less snow.  However, the problems will quickly shift to ice as temperatures drop.

Work in the town centres, outside schools, railway stations etc. has been ongoing all day. In total we have around 100 additional bodies on the network clearing snow and spreading salt. 

Waste Collections

The majority of routes have been collected as normal today. However, in the interests of safety the Leader, Councillor Michael Jones, has now taken the decision to suspend all waste collections where the conditions are deemed too dangerous for crews to operate.

If residents’ waste has not been collected by the end of today (Friday, January 18), people are advised to bring it in and put it back out on Monday morning.

Crews will do their best to catch up on Monday, but this may not be possible and some collections may fall in to Tuesday. If your bin has not been collected by Monday evening leave it out for collection on Tuesday. 

However, this will be dependent on weather conditions over the next few days.

Schools

Currently we have 30 schools confirmed as closed across Cheshire East. Parents are advised to check with schools directly, and we would encourage parents to continue to do this if the weather is poor next week. 

For further information please go to : www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/winter , or follow us on Twitter: @cheshireeast

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Crewe motorists reminded to lock their cars after theft spate

 

Police are again issuing a "lock your vehicles" warning after thefts from unlocked cars in Crewe continue to rise.

Over the past few weeks 18 cars have been targeted over night, with nine of them, all in Wistaston, left unlocked.

Sgt Andy McGillian 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 McGillian 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.

All Change for Crewe – work set to begin on £6m revitalisation of rail station

 

Work is starting on the first phase of a £6m overhaul of Crewe Rail Station.

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

Phase one of the overhaul of the rail station includes a new surface-level car park with 240 spaces and 11 disabled bays, new pedestrian access from Weston Road and a new commercial development site next to the station.

It also includes a new entrance with facilities for taxis and for people to pick up and drop off family and friends, refurbishment of the existing subway to platforms and a new area for delivery vehicles to access the station.

The existing customer entrance on Nantwich Road will not close during the work and the taxi rank will still operate there as normal. The work will create dual access to the station at the upper and lower levels.

The scheme is a key part of a wider project to turn the historic site into an iconic 21st century gateway to the town and help unlock Crewe’s potential as an economic powerhouse by 2030.

The phase-one work has been made possible after a successful bid by Cheshire East Council, supported by Network Rail, for £6.177m from the Government.

Cheshire East Council Leader Councillor Michael Jones said: “This is tremendous news both for Crewe and for Cheshire East as a whole.

“This work is a crucial piece of the jigsaw to deliver long-term regeneration to enhance the attractiveness of Crewe as a place to live, work and do business.

“Starting this work is a massive vote of confidence in the station, the town and wider regeneration scheme.

“A revitalised rail hub is critical to boosting the town’s economy and its attractiveness to businesses and visitors.”

Demolition and foundation digging work is due to start early next month (February 2013). The work is due to be completed by spring 2014.

John Lea, chairman of the All Change for Crewe Board – the private and public sector partnership set up to drive forward regeneration – said: “Works at the station are long overdue but at last townspeople can see positive change taking shape.

“The Victorian infrastructure has been crying out for investment and finally we have something which is not a proposal or a plan but a scheme under way.

“This may only be phase one, but it’s the start of a new era for rail travel, giving Crewe a station which lives up to its reputation as a famous rail hub.

“A new-look station, with 21st century facilities, will do wonders to restore civic pride and make Crewe an attractive prospect to investors.”

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

Dog handlers seek support from the public

PC CRoss and Roco

Cheshire Police are asking local breeders, suppliers and the general public if they would like to donate suitable dogs or bitches for the purposes of training them to work alongside the police dog handlers.

Ideally, the police dog handlers are looking for a German Shepherd or Alsatian dog, or Mallinois dog aged between 12 months and 2 years old. The dog must be confident around people and other animals and enjoy the interaction.

Because of the training that the handlers put the dogs through, it is also essential that the dog meets with the following criteria:-

What makes a good training dog?

- A dog with confidence and with plenty of energy and enthusiasm

- Friendly in nature, i.e., wagging its tail and not aggressive around the public

- Playful − likes to run after a ball once thrown and

- A good nose − as some of the training will focus on searching for and finding toys when they are hidden out of sight

However, please note that dogs that have been reported to the police following any complaints made by the public are not being considered.

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.

Icing on the Cake for Sportsmans Parents

Photo_MatthewDewhirstFoundationLaunch 

CREWE Alex manager Steve Davis was the guest of honour at a ‘cake-athon’ organised by RedShift Radio at the Boot and Shoe pub in Nantwich.
Friends of RedShift, Sue and Chris Dewhirst tragically lost their son Matthew Dewhirst last summer during rugby training in Shropshire.
Matthew, who would have been 18 on the day of the cake-athon fundraiser collapsed with an undetected cardiac defect.
The Matthew Dewhirst Foundation, now linked to C.R.Y(Cardiac Risk in the Young) has been set up in his memory to raise awareness and funds to ensure that young sports people across South Cheshire and Shropshire can be provided with the test that will detect any heart problems that could be affected by sports training.
RedShift Radio’s Liz Southall said: “I was thrilled with the turnout. There was such a lovely atmosphere and it proved a brilliant launch to our campaign to get our local sports teams tested for a condition which claims many lives.
“Having the commitment from Steve Davis to be a Patron for the Matthew Dewhirst Foundation is superb and I would like to thank him for coming along at short notice.”
The event invited sweet-toothed regulars to chip in £1 per slice to enjoy cakes and desserts by members of the Clandestine Cake Club.
The group, which includes keen cooks from across Nantwich, pops up at venues to share delicious cakes and recipes with members of the public.
Local coordinator, Helen Gregory said: “This was by far the most popular Cake Club meeting since we started six months ago. It’s so nice to know that our cakes were shared by so many and helped to raise a whopping £350 for CRY.”
The next Clandestine Cake Club will meet on Monday February 18. For information on the “secret” location email liz@redshiftradio.co.uk or call 01270 214 868
To find out more about Cardiac Risk In the Young, visit www.c-r-y.org.uk

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 explore how Cheshire East Council is working with parish councils to assist local communities in the event of snowfall and ice.

Council donates snow-clearing kits

Cheshire East Council is offering free snow clearing kits to parish councils.

Containing a snow shovel, a bag of rock salt, ice breaker, a broom, gloves, hi-visibility jacket and a guidance sheet, the packs are designed to help parishes to assist their communities in the event of snow.

The area has experienced its first snowfall this week and the Council wants to work with parishes and volunteers to ensure vulnerable people are able to get in and out of their homes safely.

Councillor Janet Clowes, Cabinet member in charge of health and adult social care, said: “We anticipated a cold winter and some challenging weather conditions and we wanted to be as well prepared to assist people as we could.

“These kits will prove very useful to clear any snow and to salt pavements outside homes and I encourage all parish councils to get in touch with us and we will provide as many packs as we can.

“Cheshire East is keen to work closely with communities as their local knowledge is invaluable in targeting those residents and areas most likely to need help during adverse weather.”

Cheshire East Council’s Local Area Partnerships (LAPs) across the Borough are now looking at various ways to distribute the packs to parish councils.

Due to high demand, the Council must stress that one pack is available per parish council and any additional kits required will be supplied subject to availability.

Community groups will also be able to access kits to help keep pathways clear for local residents.

Funding for the kits has been made available by the Council thanks to monies allocated from last year’s successful bid for the Stay Warm, Stay Well, Stay Safe campaign. This has been allocated to the LAPs to provide a quick response this winter.

In addition, the LAPs are putting together ‘winter warmth packs’ for the elderly and vulnerable and are holding a range of events to distribute them and share information. Crewe LAP has held a number of days within the town so far.

Nantwich LAP is joining forces with Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and Nantwich police on January 24 for a ‘winter warmth’ event to promote to deliver ‘winter warmth packs’ to those in need. They will be based in Nantwich from 9am to noon, Wrenbury from 1pm until 2pm and Audlem from 2.30pm to 3.30pm.

Meanwhile, LAP teams in Macclesfield, Congleton, Poynton, Knutsford and Wilmslow are looking at how they can distribute kits and share information with the community.

For more information on the snow clearing kits, call Jane Kavanagh on 01270 685854.

Recycling in Cheshire East goes from strength to strength

 

Cheshire East is one of the best-performing boroughs in the north west when it comes to recycling, with over half of all household waste collected now being either recycled, reused or composted.

The latest figures, which cover 2011/2012, show that 52.9 per cent of household waste was recycled – up from 49 per cent the previous year.

The impressive figures are largely down to the introduction of the ‘all-in-one’ silver bin system, that was rolled out across Cheshire East in 2011.

The new system simplifies recycling for residents by asking them to place all recyclables in one bin. This is collected fortnightly, with residual household waste collections the alternate week. 

Cheshire East is now the second best-performing authority in the region for recycling and it comes in the top 50 nationally.

Councillor David Topping, Cabinet member in charge of the environment, said: “These figures are excellent news and I would like to thank residents for working with us to make Cheshire East a cleaner and greener place to live.

“We will not be resting on our laurels and will continue our efforts to reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill and improve our recycling rate further.”

And there’s still time to let us know what you are doing to reduce, reuse, recycle by entering the Cheshire East recycling family of the year competition.

To enter, people just need to explain in 150 words what makes their family the recycling champions of Cheshire East. It could include tips for making tasty meals from leftovers or novel ways or recycling

The winner will receive a 12-month family pass to all Cheshire East Council’s leisure centres, with six runners up getting a family pass to the Magic of Beatrix Potter, at Tatton Park.

To enter, send an email with your name, address and telephone number (along with your 150 words) to: info@cheshireeast.gov.uk

The deadline for entries is January 18, 2013. 

For more information on exactly what can be recycled please visit: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/recycling

Councillors attend meeting to discuss walking-to-school route

 

A senior Council Cabinet member has met with local people to discuss concerns over a proposed walking-to-school route.

Councillor Rachel Bailey, the Cabinet member with responsibility for overseeing the home-to-school transport review, attended a public meeting to listen to residents’ issues about the proposed walking route from Willaston to Malbank School in Nantwich.

Councillor Bailey was invited to last night’s meeting (January 14) by local ward members Councillors Margaret Simon and Brian Silvester.

Representatives from Malbank School and Willaston Parish Council were present, along with a parents’ representative.

Councillor Bailey said: “This was a positive meeting where I gained a good insight into the concerns of all parties involved.

“I would like to stress that the road safety assessments are being revaluated and any final decision won’t be implemented until September, at the start of the 2013/2014 academic year – if, of course, changes are to be made.”

A panel of three councillors, chaired by Councillor Bailey, will consider each individual route assessment before coming to a final decision.

In a joint statement, Councillors Margaret Simon and Brian Silvester said: “We would like to thank Councillor Bailey for attending this meeting and it shows how seriously the concerns of parents and residents are being taken.

“Matters discussed during this meeting, along with all the representations the Council has received on this route, will feed into the assessment process to give the panel an accurate picture before making a decision.”

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

South and Mid Cheshire residents help raise more than £4,000 for St Luke’s (Cheshire) Hospice by donating over 350 Christmas trees

Paul Jackson from Fords of Winsford, centre, and Barclays staff grappling with the cutters as they part part in St Luke's Christmas Tree Recycling Scheme 

Hundreds of generous Crewe and Nantwich households helped to raise a total of £4,000 for St Luke’s (Cheshire) Hospice this weekend as part of its biggest Christmas Tree Recycling scheme yet.

For the last two years, St Luke’s have collected and chipped Christmas trees after 12thnight, 6 January, in return for a donation to the hospice and, this year, more South Cheshire families than ever were happy to help out and save themselves time and money plus the annual hassle of taking their tree to the tip.

Volunteers from the Winsford hospice teamed up with Macclesfield based charity, JustHelping, countryside management students at Reaseheath College, Nantwich, Rotarians from Tarporley and Sandbach plus Round Tablers from Northwich and 10 volunteers from Barclays, to offer the fundraising service to homes in Crewe, Nantwich, Sandbach, Winsford, Northwich and Tarporley.

The hospice’s head of event management, Jane Thompson, said: “Over 350 trees were collected and it is a terrific boost to our funds right at the beginning of our 25th anniversary year.

“This year’s Christmas Tree Recycling Scheme has been the best yet and we’re thrilled the final figure is expected to be more than £4,000.

“Trees were collected, in our loaned vehicles, for a donation from local businesses, schools, churches and, of course, hundreds of homes. The volunteers worked all day Saturday and were kindly fed by Domino Pizza of Winsford on their return.

“Fords of Winsford was even so generous as to offer us £50 to take their very large tree away.

“We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who asked us to collect their tree and of course to all the volunteers and the JustHelping team for their invaluable support.

“The Reaseheath College students did a great job of mulching and chipping all the collected trees.

“There was a great sense of camaraderie and it was great fun for everyone involved.”

JustHelping’s Christmas tree removal scheme started in Macclesfield and last year raised over £60,000 for East Cheshire Hospice alone, from trees collected in 2012.

New Cabinet member wages war on potholes in Cheshire East

 

Councillor David Topping has been announced as Cheshire East Council’s new Cabinet member in charge of the environment.

And his first job will be to lead the Council’s war on potholes, which will be boosted by a £25 million cash investment over the next two years.

Severe flooding, which caused the second wettest year on record in the UK, has put huge strain on the roads and the Council is now working to radically improve the Borough’s highway network.

Under the stewardship of Councillor Rod Menlove, who resigned earlier this month, the Council repaired more than 46,000 potholes since April 1, 2012, at a cost of £1 million and now aims to fix another 42,000 by the end of this summer.

To help with the battle against potholes, Cheshire East Council’s highways team continues to use the Velocity patcher (see notes to editor).

Councillor Topping said: “Successive bad winters and under-investment by the former Cheshire County Council has left our roads in a bad way.

“Now, Cheshire East Council is working extremely hard to keep the network in a safe condition.

“I am honoured and delighted to take on the environment portfolio, which is in a good condition thanks to the hard work of Councillor Menlove, to whom I would like to pay tribute to for his achievements.”

Currently ward member for Congleton West, Councillor Topping has been a borough councillor since 2004 and has spent some of that time as a portfolio holder for the former Congleton Borough Council.

He is also a member of Cheshire Fire Authority and was its chairman for three years up until 2012.

He added: “With road conditions deteriorating and new potholes forming rapidly, the Council is experiencing a backlog of defects so we must prioritise repairs during the remaining winter months.

“This means busy commuter routes will be treated before, say, residential cul-de-sacs which have less traffic.

“But we are determined to get on top of the problem using the latest technology Velocity patcher combined with traditional highway patching and maintenance activities.

“By adopting this approach, we are expecting to address more than 42,000 potholes by the end of summer and resolve a significant number of defects that have formed in residential areas that can’t be treated during the winter months.”

The money will be spent during the next two years and includes more than £2 million secured from the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement for national road improvements.

During the past three weeks, the Council’s dedicated hotline to report potholes across the network has received more than 2,000 enquiries from road users and the Council is grateful to them for taking the time to report defects.

The backlog of defects currently being experienced is higher than it typically would be, thanks mainly to 2012 being the second wettest on record in the UK.

Residents are being asked to report any defects to Cheshire East’s online fault reporting page at www.cheshireeasthighways.org/ReportIt or by phoning the highways team on 0300 123 5020.

Those were the days……

 

Cheshire East Council is backing a new project that encourages older people to share their memories of the iconic ‘Crewe Works’.

The Council’s partnerships team is working with the Enterprise and Education Alliance (EEA) and the Crewe and Nantwich Senior Forum on the initiative, called ‘Those were the days’.

The aim is to capture the memories of people who worked in Crewe Railway Works during its heyday from the 1930s to the1970s, when British Rail used the site to build and repair steam trains, electric trains and carriages.

As a major manufacturer ‘the works’ employed thousands of people and played an integral role in local life, particularly in the neighbourhood of St Barnabas, where the facility was located.

Rail-related work is still carried out on site and part of the project will be to document the change in working practices over the years.

Using £9,000 of Heritage Lottery Funding secured by the EEA, Council staff will encourage conversations between the elderly community and record the rich oral history of the area.

This will be done through visual displays, films, interactive workshops and even trips to other areas with a rich rail heritage, such as York.

Councillor Les Gilbert, Cabinet member in charge of communities and regulatory services, said: “Crewe is a railway town and ‘Crewe Works’ plays a major part in the pride and passion townspeople have for the railways.

“Not only will this create a valuable historical resource that future generations can use, but it will also allow older people to get out and socialise and reminisce about times gone by.

“I expect that local schools will also get involved and pupils will be able to learn about how their grandparents lived and worked.”

Lesley Christiansen, from the EEA, said: “We are looking forward to talking to older residents and learning about their skills, abilities, home and work life, and sharing those memories with everyone.”

‘Those were the days’ will be launched on Redshift Radio on Thursday, January 24, between 6.45pm and 8.45pm.

If anyone would like to get involved with the project they can contact Lesley Bakkers at the EEA on 07949 240371, or Deb Lindop from Cheshire East Council on 07736 694443.

They are particularly keen for any old photographs or documents relating to Crewe Railway Works that could be scanned and then used as part of a display. 

Sunday, 13 January 2013

The Nantwich Camera Club -

Reporter Jonathan White

The Nantwich Camera Club - http://www.nantwichcameraclub.org.uk/ - Photographic Exhibition 2013 features a selection of members' most recent prints. It takes place at Nantwich Museum - http://www.nantwichmuseum.org.uk/exhibitions.htm - in Pillory Street from 12th January to 23rd March. Visitors are asked to choose their most favourite photograph and write it into the visitor's book. The majority of prints are for sale at £30 each, with £10 from each sale going to the Museum. Admission is free. 

photo 2

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Just So Festival

Organisers of the region’s top family festival are promising this year’s event will be the “best yet” - and have promised not to increase ticket numbers.
With early bird tickets to the Just So Festival already sold out the festival has added a number of artists and classes to its popular line up.
And despite the success of last year’s event at the Rode Hall Estate, in Scholar Green, near Congleton, ticket numbers will be held at 5,000 as organisers aim to maximise “fun, not numbers”.
The Just So Festival is now established as one of the region’s cultural highlights for families.
It has grown from strength to strength in its first three years and organisers are confident that Just So Festival 2013 will be the best yet.
Held in the rural surround of Rode Hall, the 2013 festival team will be delving further into the woods on the estate to bring the audience exciting new areas including Telling Tales, a world full of books and The High Chaparral.
Buckets and Spades, a beach installation from 2011, will be making a return on the banks of the picturesque lake at Rode Hall.
Co-director Sarah Bird said: “We’re proud and thrilled to be able to offer such a rich blend of activities, workshops and performances. We’re particularly excited about extending the theatrical programme and can’t wait for families to see and participate in a really diverse range of performances.”
Highlights include The Revenge of Mr Trout, an interactive outdoor adventure; The Boggart, who will invite the audience into a world of local folklore and myths; Taking Flight Theatre’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Whispering Woods aerial artistry.
The very youngest festival-goers can enjoy returning favourites baby yoga, baby massage, choral lullabies and clay babies, along with new additions including Shiny, an interactive dance experience for babies and toddlers; Bubble Hour and the Shake, Rattle and Roll music-making session.
Co-director Rowan Hoban said: “With hundreds of activities yet to announced this will be the most adventurous and exciting programme line up we’ve ever had.”
The Just So Festival will take place from 16th-18th August, with an expected audience of 5,000 across the weekend.
Tickets are on sale from www.justsofestival.org.uk
The festival will take place at Rode Hall Park, Scholar Green, Cheshire, ST7 3QP
Early Bird tickets sold out in September and with numbers limited the festival directors advise families to book soon.
Tickets are available on the website now at justsofestival.org.uk

PPI SCam

Please be mindful that there has been several reports of phone calls relating to PPI claims. Residents have been receiving calls stating to be relating to PPI claims which are in progress (of which some residents have no claims currently active). Unfortunately there will be scams whereby callers will claim to be from companies stating that money is waiting to be claimed by you.
Unless you have contacted a company personally to investigate any possible refunds owed to you please do not pass any banking details over the phone.
Please be mindful that most phone companies have a free service whereby they will bar unknown numbers from calling your home or mobile phone number. As many cold calling companies use withheld numbers this will reduce the risk of you becoming the victim of a scam.

Man named following fatal collision in Nantwich

 

A man who died following a collision in Nantwich yesterday (Thursday 10 January) has been named.

Richard John Leah, aged 66, from Nantwich, died following a collision on London Road near to Stapeley Terrace.

Police received reports of a collision involving 2 vehicles at 1.25pm. Sadly Mr Leah died at the scene.

Anyone with any information in relation to the incident is urged to call Cheshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 353 of 10 January.

Council fights controversial Hind Heath appeal decision

 

Cheshire East Council is to take legal action to try to overturn the controversial granting at appeal of planning permission for more than 250 homes on a Sandbach greenfield site.

The local authority says that the Government ruling has not applied planning law correctly and therefore should be challenged in the High Court.

Proposals for a mix of one, two and three-bedroom homes on 7.5 acres of agricultural fields off Hind Heath Road, in Wheelock, were first unveiled in June 2010, prompting a backlash from residents.

Cheshire East’s Strategic Planning Board unanimously threw out the application for the development of 269 dwellings and a 3m-wide shared footpath/cycleway next to a section of Hind Heath Road in October 2010.

Members ruled that the development was unsuitable, posed a threat to the landscape, was an unsustainable development and that more suitable brownfield sites were available elsewhere.

The developers, Richborough Estates, appealed to the Planning Inspectorate and a public inquiry was launched. In its appeal, Richborough argued that there was a shortfall of deliverable housing sites in the area, stating that the Council did not have the required five-year supply of housing land in the town.

In July 2011, Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles dismissed the bid, overruling the findings of the Planning Inspector Derek Thew, and supporting the Council’s original decision.

But Richborough Estates appealed again – this time to the High Court, which quashed Mr Pickle’s decision and ordered a second inquiry.

Last month, after considering the appeal, the Secretary of State announced he would grant planning permission for the development.

Today (January 11) Cheshire East Council Leader Councillor Michael Jones said: “Our towns and villages are under siege from an unprecedented onslaught of unplanned and unsustainable development proposals.

“We will therefore scrutinise carefully all planning appeal decisions to ensure that they apply planning policy and planning law correctly. In this case we believe the Secretary of State has made an error in law – and had he not done so, a different outcome could well have been reached in the case.

“It is no easy task to overturn a planning decision through the courts and we do not undertake such challenges lightly. Nevertheless, the fact that we are prepared to go to the High Court demonstrates our commitment to defend our towns from unsustainable development, where we believe there are good grounds for doing so.

“Let me be clear: we want and need growth to ensure our future prosperity. But we need to ensure developments are planned properly after listening to local people – and that they reinforce, rather than undermine, our Local Plan, based on a vision that we can all agree.

“It is very disappointing that the Secretary of State has made this decision at a time when we have just published an ambitious Local Plan Development Strategy which promotes substantial new jobs and homes across the Borough.

“We would much prefer to work with the development industry on delivering our new plan than fighting them in this way. I have even met with Richborough Estates to ask them to change their approach.

“We will soon have an adopted Local Plan in place – and the days of unplanned speculative development are clearly numbered. I’d like developers to see that the writing is on the wall – and to work with us on our significant planned development proposals across Cheshire East.

“In the meantime, this legal action is regrettably necessary to help ensure a greener and more civilised future for all our towns – and Cheshire East Council will fight to protect the people of Cheshire East and their families.”

The Council is already taking steps to counteract the unprecedentedly-high volume of planning applications for housing. We are acting to:

· Produce a new Local Plan in a thorough but timely fashion that will promote the growth we need while protecting the areas we cherish;

· Demonstrate the five-year supply of housing land as required by Government policy

· Lobby Government ministers to ensure the National Planning Policy Framework is interpreted properly at planning appeals with greater emphasis on sustainable development;

· Request that the Planning Inspectorate support Cheshire East Council’s policy of plan-led and sustainable development; and

· Work with the construction industry to boost home building on sites that are already accepted for development.

Crewe gets new bus service

 

A new bus service has been launched in Crewe this week.

Operated by D & G Buses, the ‘oneLink’ service is designed to make it easier for people to get to and from work and into the town centre.

It is all part of attempts to unlock Crewe’s excellent economic potential by 2030 and developing efficient transport links is a key part of this strategy.

The service started on Monday (January 7) and operates across the town from Bentley Motors to Crewe Business Park, providing a regular 15-minute daytime service from Monday to Saturday.

On the way, it links residential areas in the north-west of Crewe with the town centre, Grand Junction Retail Park and Crewe Gates Industrial Estate.

Regular travellers on ‘oneLink’ will benefit from special value-for-money tickets:

· oneDay for £2.50;

· oneWeek for £9; and

· oneMonth for £30.

D & G Buses’ ‘Rover’ season tickets are also valid on ‘oneLink’.

In March, a brand new fleet of high-specification buses is to be introduced with more comfortable seating and free Wi-Fi access.

Central Government funding for the service was achieved through the Department for Transport’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF). The Council has been awarded more than £3.5 million through the fund to implement a range of sustainable transport measures in Crewe, of which the new bus service is the first.

D & G’s contract will run until March 31, 2015.

Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “This is more excellent news for Crewe and further proof that we are delivering in the town. It is just one of a number of initiatives to be introduced over the next few months designed to change the way people can get around Crewe.

“The long-term aim is to secure the financial sustainability of the service to support and enable long term growth and job creation through the All Change for Crewe programme.

“D & G is keen to explore commercial opportunities and work with the Council to sustain the service beyond the funding period and enable the longer term growth of Crewe.

“I now hope people will make use of this excellent service.”

For more information on oneLink, visit www.allchangeforcrewe.co.uk/bus

Friday, 11 January 2013

Road reopens following fatal collision in Nantwich

 

London Road in Nantwich has fully reopened following a collision earlier today.

At 1.25pm today police received reports of a collision involving 2 vehicles on London Road near to Stapeley Terrace. Sadly, a 66-year-old local man has died at the scene.

Road closures were in place whilst the vehicles were removed from the scene. The road has now fully reopened.

Anyone with any information is urged to call Cheshire Police quoting incident number 353 of 10 January.

Make 2013 the year you foster a child

 

Cheshire East Council is teaming up with local authorities across the north west to urge people to make 2013 a life-changing year – the year to foster a local child.

Organisers of the You Can Foster campaign, the high-profile collaboration of the 23 councils in the north west, are encouraging people from all walks of life to consider how they could make a real difference to the life of a child.

With television adverts featuring real carers from across the region beginning to air on ITV1 next week, the You Can Foster team have set an ambitious target of exceeding the 1,500 enquiries achieved in 2012.

The campaign, which has recruited almost 200 new carers and attracted more than 4,500 inquiries since its inception in 2010, aims to dispel the many myths about fostering.

Applications are welcomed from those who are single, in a relationship, married or divorced; from applicants who work full-time or don’t work at all, and regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

All applicants are assessed on their own merits, with the standard of care people could offer a child being the most important thing.

Councillor Rachel Bailey, Cabinet member in charge of children and family services, said: “Following our success in previous years, we are proud to continue to be a part of such a high-profile campaign.

“The start of the new year is the perfect time for people to think about whether they could provide a loving home for a local child.

“We hope that the campaign will persuade people who have never thought about fostering to explore the subject more thoroughly.”

For more information about the You Can Foster campaign and to request an information pack, visit www.youcanfoster.org  or call 0800 6347052.

If you would like to speak to a member of the Cheshire East fostering team, please call 0300 123 3223, or visit: www.spacesforfaces.co.uk

Thursday, 10 January 2013

‘Bra-vo’ for recycling scheme to boost breast cancer charity, reduce waste and help the Third World

 

Cheshire East Council is backing a recycling campaign that will boost funds for breast cancer research, reduce waste and help the Third World.

A new initiative to launch ‘bra banks’ across Cheshire East is now being piloted in Crewe, Knutsford and Macclesfield household recycling centres.

The aim now is to help raise awareness of the scheme and encourage members of the public to recycle their bras rather than chuck them in the bin.

For every tonne of bras collected, the contractor BCR Global Textiles will donate £1,000 to the charity Breast Cancer Campaign. This will contribute to their national campaign, which, to date, has raised almost £190,000 towards its target of £1.5m.

In addition to the donation, all reusable bras will be sent out to Third World countries. The remaining bras will be recycled.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer. One in eight women in the UK will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. A thousand women in Britain die each month from breast cancer – that’s 12,000 each year. Eighty men also die from the disease each year.

Councillor Janet Clowes, Cabinet member in charge of health and adult social care, said: “This is a really excellent initiative and I would encourage people to give the bra recycling scheme their wholehearted support. It is all for a really good cause.

“This scheme encourages awareness of a significant health issue and reminds everyone of the importance of regular self checking of their breasts. It also raises vital funds for breast cancer research, helps women in the Third World and reduces the amount of waste that ends up in Cheshire East’s landfill sites.”

The household waste recycling centres in Crewe, Knutsford and Macclesfield are open seven days a week from 8am-4pm. The sites open until later in the evening between March and November.

For more information, visit the Council’s website at: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk or BCR’s Breast Cancer Campaign’s website at: www.bcrbreastcancercampaign.co.uk

Cheshire East Council acts to boost housing development

 

Cheshire East Council is to use £1m to boost housing development across the Borough.

The money from the Council’s capital fund will be used to encourage developers and social housing providers to bring forward stalled housing sites. 

Cheshire East Council’s Housing Challenge Fund will award grants of up to £150,000. It will be launched on January 31 (2013).

New homes are urgently needed to boost the economic growth of Cheshire East. However, the downturn in the economy has had a significant impact in hampering the building of new houses.

By the end of 2012, there were 6,600 dwellings with planning approval in Cheshire East. 

There were many smaller sites which have full or outline planning permissions where development has not started and where there is no indication of a start date. These have the potential to deliver more than 2,000 homes across the authority. 

Cheshire East is trying to encourage developers to start to build on these sites to bring forward both market value homes and affordable housing.

Councillor Jamie Macrae, Cabinet member with responsibility for prosperity and economic regeneration, said: “The provision of housing is a key priority for the Council.

“Housing is fundamental to the wellbeing and prosperity of Cheshire East and can have an impact on health, educational attainment, carbon reduction and care for older people. Providing sufficient housing is essential to maintain economic growth and vitality.

“The Housing Challenge Fund will help give developers an incentive to start building and bring forward much-needed accommodation for the people of Cheshire East – as well as support our plans to deliver economic growth.”

Developers and registered housing providers are invited to apply for a prospectus by emailing Vikki Jeffrey at Vikki.jeffrey@cheshireeast.gov.uk

The closing date for bids is March 31, and announcements will be made in May (2013).

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Dispose of your Christmas tree for St Luke’s Hospice this winter

 

Crewe and Nantwich households are being invited to save money and time this month by disposing of their Christmas trees with St Luke’s Hospice.

For the last two years St Luke’s have collected and chipped Christmas trees after 12thnight, 6 January, in return for a donation to the hospice, as part of its tree recycling scheme.

This year the Winsford hospice teamed up Macclesfield based charity, JustHelping, to offer the fundraising and time saving service to homes in Northwich and Tarporley, and has now expanded the service to cover Crewe and Nantwich.

The hospice’s head of event management, Jane Thompson, said: “Nobody enjoys the annual hassle of taking their Christmas tree to the tip so let us help.

“Following the success of the scheme during the first week of January we have expanded it to cover the Crewe and Nantwich area so please log onto the site and type in your postcode they will find out if we are collecting in that area.

“The JustHelping team have added new areas to the site this week now that other organisations have completed their own collections.

We have had such a great response that we’re thrilled to be able to expand the service to thousands of homes in a much wider area this year, with the support of JustHelping.

“JustHelping’s Christmas tree removal scheme started in Macclesfield and last year raised over £60,000 for East Cheshire Hospice alone, from trees collected in 2012.

“If St Luke’s could benefit by even the smallest percentage of that it would be a terrific boost to our funds right at the beginning of the year.”

Residents that would like to save themselves the time and money, not to mention the mess, of taking their tree to the tip can now book in to have their tree collected and donate at the same time. It is quite simple. Go to www.charityxmastreecollection.com.

The minimum donation is £4 per tree and the team of volunteers will collect your tree on either Saturday 12 or Sunday 13 January.

Booking is open now so book in early so the team can map out the routes and immobilise the right number of volunteers.

COMMISSIONER MAKES BUSINESS CRIME HIS BUSINESS

 

Police and Crime Commissioner John Dwyer met representatives of the business community across Cheshire to discuss their priorities and to ask for their views on the budget and council tax for policing.

John Dwyer said, "A vitally important part of my role is to represent the views of the business community when holding the Chief Constable to account. I have made sure that my first police and crime plan reflects this area of policing and I intend to make it my business to ensure that the police work hard to further reduce crimes such as robbery from businesses, theft by employees, shoplifting and making off without payment."

Representatives from Chambers of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses, manufacturers′ organisations and the Institute of Directors talked about their concerns. Discussions included how they can do more to help their members prevent on-line credit card fraud and metal theft and assist the policing of hauliers. They also discussed the need for businesses to report crime to the police and not simply accept losses from crime as inevitable.

John Dwyer added, "The figures for business crime in Cheshire are very low. Last year just 91 business robberies were reported, a 14% decrease on the previous year. Commercial burglary fell by 16 %.

In this economic climate, the police and businesses need to work together to ensure that we are doing all we can. I have seen some great work being done by the police at ground level; for example, in helping to prevent people making off from fuel stations without paying."